Category Archives: Business

UBER’s Rise From SCAB To Superstar

So in case the term is new to you, what is a SCAB?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as: ” A worker, often temporary, who crosses a strikers’ picket line, going to work in place of the strikers.” An example of usage:
“The scabs had their cars egged when they arrived at the factory.”

SCABS used to be looked down on in America.

Well, this is how UBER arrived on the business scene in 2008.


What happened? First of all, UBER started using a computer “APP” to order a taxi (or whatever you call it in UBERese).

Uber had some financial problems like trying to break into China. But some smart financial persons solved their money problems by modifying their business plan. Now they are in the “self driving car” business.


Now they are in the “tech elite” of America!

No word about “scab labor” anymore.

They even got invited to Donald Trump’s “tech conference”. This is the same Donald Trump who counts on support of organized labor embracing a “scab company”.

California could not handle testing of self-driving cars, so they relocated to Arizona


The CSX Railroad Must BE NIMBLE!

Coal likely won’t be a major traffic/revenue for CSX anymore. Coal revenue losses, which have been mounting since 2011, are expected to total $2 billion by year’s end.

So, the Class I needed to develop a strategy to radically change the structure and operation of the coal-dominant railroad for the long term. Enter the “CSX of Tomorrow.” Formally launched in late April and expected to take several years to implement, the strategy calls for realigning the network to de-emphasize coal traffic and optimize the volume-growth potential of the more promising intermodal sector and solid merchandise segment; deploying more high-tech equipment and information systems; pursuing service excellence; and developing a workforce of the future.


The idea— and hope — behind the CSX of Tomorrow (CoT): help spur volume growth and increase profitability in the intermodal and merchandise franchises, and yet preserve the business value of coal as it becomes a smaller part of the company’s portfolio.

The Class I aims to develop a Team of Tomorrow (ToT), or a more diverse, versatile and highly skilled workforce. CSXers believe such a team can up the ante on working collaboratively, making decisions quickly, embracing new technologies and finding ways to boost productivity.

The Network of Networks: You Mean THE CLOUD

Today I spent on a project from 2013: Supply Chain Control Towers

Far greater minds than mine have defined Supply Chain Control Towers? There are many definitions but Capgemini offers a good, broad definition that many would agree with: “A supply chain control tower is a central hub with the required technology, organization, and processes to capture and use supply chain data to provide enhanced visibility for short and long term decision making that is aligned with strategic objectives.”

Yes, I wrote about Supply Chain Control Towers and Transportation Control Towers

First thing today I get a message from India. Company wants to know more about Supply Chain Control Towers. Then I read mail (uuuggghhh). Get a blog from Lora Cecere, The Supply Chain Shaman.. She knows more about Supply Chains than I ever will. But she is allied with ALL the vendors in the industry. I trust them as far as I can throw them.


But she has a great idea: A Netword of Networks

I simplify that to “THE CLOUD”

Back the Control Towers. She and I agree on a lot. Difference simply is I want EDI to be the main communications tool (other than voice-to-voice). She wants to also introduce many existing communications tools from her great vendor community. I feel EDI is proven and can communicate ANYTHING. She wants to introduce things like HADOOP, SPARK, BLOCK CHAIN to the process. ADOBE may be her great friend. All I know about them is their opening remark if I contact them. “What is your credit card number?” Still confident in the international banking system to think BLOCKCHAIN is a lot of B..S We use BNP Paribas and know it’s capabilities.


I am sure Lora and I will work out our differences. So confident that I have signed up for her Webinar in January.

This is a guest blog from my boss, Ken Kinlock. He is “The Man” about Control Towers

Star Wars: Galactic Constraints Of The Empire: Sounds Like Supply Chain Management

Using some ideas from stories on “business constraints” we find some areas of intersection between Star Wars and Supply Change Management:
(1) Business Model deficiencies
(2) Processes/Organisational structures
(3) Leadership
(4) Culture


If you have a wrong business model, you will fail. If you have a wrong strategy in place, you will ultimately be doomed. Look at Apple and Samsung versus Nokia. Look at what happened to Eastman Kodak’s “FILM” Business Model.

In Star Wars, the Galactic Empire and the Emperor had a strategy to wipe out the rebellion and establish themselves as the ultimate Lord. Their business model was a simple one – build the Death Star and use it to wipe out rebel planets. The Empire spent countless resources, including crazy amounts of manpower, money and effort to build the Death Star. After successfully destroying only one planet, the Rebels destroyed the Death Star. After the destruction of the first Death Star, neither the Emperor nor Darth Vader decides to relook at their “failed” business strategy. Instead, they decided to rebuild a bigger, newer Death Star. Again, the Rebels managed to destroy it.


One of the biggest mistakes organisations make is to focus on people.
The key to successfully getting your employees to high performance is to focus on “process”. You can still care and love them, but your emphasis must be on building institutional processes. One of the biggest mistake the Empire and its leadership made was to rely on their “top talent”. This was also the same issue that Enron had. They hired really smart people and focused entirely on these “special” people making the organisation great. Initially, Enron had stellar performance. But like the Empire, it ultimately blew up. In Episode IV: A New Hope, the Emperor disbands the Galactic Senate and handpicks a few regional governors. By Episode VI, even those are gone and only Darth Vader remains as his bastion of leadership. Mentoring was a key part of the process. Yoda explains the mentoring process of the Alliance as “always two there are, no more, no less; a master and an apprentice.” Everything has to be a process. Processes and structures are key to ensuring a high performance organisation. Just ask Darth Vader and he will share the perils of focusing solely on people.


When I talk about leadership being a constraint, it not only means the quality of leadership at the top of the organisation but also the quality of leaders all across the different layers. If you glance at the Empire’s leadership, there were very little processes involved in building the leadership DNA. It was pretty much Darth Vader and the Emperor who ruled (after they wiped out all other leaders along the way). The Jedi Rebels, on the other hand, not only had a leadership development process, but their leadership continuality was being built at all levels. When there was a gap, as we saw in Episode IV, Master Yoda steps in to train young Luke Skywalker. The Jedi Council itself spent an enormous amount of time on leadership development issues. Even at the stage of young Padawans (akin to management trainees at organisations), the Council reviewed each applicant and measured progress. And there is a clear mentor-mentee system to ensure all young Jedi are given leadership exposure and coaching. In Episode I: Phantom Menace, young Obi-Wan is sent by the Council on a diplomatic mission to Naboo accompanied by his Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. If you look at all the top organisations in the world, a key part of their success is leadership. Great leaders and managers are needed at every organisational level. It is very hard work to develop and grow leaders at each level.


The hardest part of any change initiative is to ensure it becomes part of the organisational DNA. It requires cultural alignment. People and organisations are creatures of habit, and changing habits is harder than changing structures or systems. Cultural impediments:
(a) Lack of trust or accountability between groups, including turf issues or internal competitiveness.
(b) An “observer-critic” culture that kills new ideas or a culture reluctant to accept new ideas.
(c) Groups formed under the protection of a politically connected individual which distances themselves from your initiative.
Your organisational culture is constantly evolving. If you are not intentionally designing it, someone else will.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Read More







So How is the 124-Year Old “Start-Up” Company Doing?

In Greenville, SC; G.E. makes gas turbines.(pictured above)  Because of digital technology and other improvements, the production time of 5 years has been cut in half.

In 2009, Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO of General Electric, realized how much DATA was being collected by jet engines. It could be a lot of value, but G.E. was not really using it. G.E. needed to be more capable with SOFTWARE. G.E. was a manufacturer (turbines, locomotives, jet engines, medical equipment) but needed to treat Amazon and IBM as competitors.

At that time, G.E. was returning to its industrial roots, dumping GE Capital. In 2011, G.E. opened a Software Center in San Ramon, CA. The Center’s biggest mission is to build an “industrial-strength” computer operating system. You know, like ANDROID or WINDOWS! The aim is to realize this goal by 2020.

Instead of just dumping money into San Ramon, G.E. is involving the WHOLE COMPANY. Many of the 300,000 employees are traveling to San Ramon to “soak up the culture”. The goal is to move the digital wizardy of Silicon Valley into the rest of G.E. and into industrial manufacturing.

The big goal is to incorporate the “Internet Of Things” into something that helps manufacturers. For example, how about using sensors to decide when a machine needs repairs?

It will be a transformation. G.E. will sell “business outcomes” not just machines to it’s customers.

Google and Facebook revolutionized advertising. Amazon changed retailing. G.E. will change manufacturing.

Could be that the all the data and analysis will be worth more than the actual machines!!!

Starting out, GE Digital had some early reluctance to efforts to hire software engineers and scientists. But G.E. has always been great with advertising.

The “digital revolution” is already hitting railroad trains. At this week’s InnoTrans 2016 transportation trade show in Berlin, for example, GE is unveiling a “superbrain” platform for locomotives that transforms them into mobile data headquarters—helping make trains smarter and faster. “A decade from now, digital tools will take railroad productivity and efficiency to unprecedented levels,” says Seth Bodnar, chief digital officer at GE Transportation. “The whole network will light up like a brain.”

It’s about time. Bodnar’s train brain will help railways boost locomotive horsepower, improve operations and burn less fuel. “It’s really about enabling self-aware trains in a smart ecosystem,” he says.

Written by Ken Kinlock

Port Everglades and the Panama Canal Authority Renew MOU of Long-standing Relationship

Port Everglades joins the Panama Canal Expansion Celebration in June with Chief Executive Steve Cernak (middle), joined by Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson (right), presenting a plaque on behalf of the Florida Port’s Council for a presentation to Oscar E. Bazán V., Executive Vice President, Planning and Business Development, Panama Canal Authority (left).

BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Port Everglades and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) have renewed their long-standing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote trade opportunities for another five years.
This renewal will extend their strategic alliance to 2021. The MOU solidifies both entities’ dedication to growth and best customer practices. The ACP and Port Everglades first signed an MOU in August 2009.

Areas of cooperation between the ACP and Port Everglades include joint advertising programs, data interchange, and competitive market analyses of the shipping industry. This alliance will also continue to promote the route to the West Coast of South America as well as the “All-Water Route,” the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal.

The MOU encourages collaboration between Port Everglades and the ACP, which translates to providing our South Florida residents and visitors increased access to the growing global economy,” said Steven Cernak, Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director. “We continue to share information on our modernization efforts that complement each other and to discuss ways to pursue joint marketing activities.”

Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak attended the recent grand opening ceremony of the Panama Canal Expansion Project in June. At that time, the Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano provided an update on the Expansion Program and its impact on U.S. East Coast ports. The Canal Expansion drew worldwide attention to the significance of global trade and the critical need for infrastructure investments to handle today’s modern fleet of larger cargo ships.

The Panama Canal Expansion involved the construction of a third lane of traffic allowing the passage of bigger vessels, which doubles the Canal’s capacity and has an important impact on world maritime trade. It has been the largest enhancement project since the Canal’s opening in 1914.

Port Everglades, a leading container cargo port in the United States, provides service to more than 150 ports in 70 countries and is the number one U.S. gateway for trade with Latin America. The Port has the shortest, straightest entrance channel on the Southeast U.S. Atlantic coast, which saves ships fuel costs and time. The Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opened an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) on the Port two years ago to provide even greater ship-to-rail connectivity from South Florida to points throughout the United States. Cargo can reach 70 percent of the U.S. population from Port Everglades via rail in four days.

CP ready to move this year’s larger grain crop

Canadian Pacific is touting its preparation for moving this year’s western Canadian grain crop, which is forecast to beat the five-year average.

The Class I is calling on supply chain partners to ensure grain is adequately moved and distributed. The rail supply chain has returned to normal since the extraordinary crop and winter 2013-14, and CP “has continued to move record amounts of grain,” CP officials said in a press release.

There is excess capacity in the supply chain, including thousands of rail cars in storage ready to move the latest crop. In order for the system to move record volumes of grain, it’s essential that port terminals such as Vancouver operate on a 24/7 basis, said CP officials.

“To ensure success during this crop-year, the broader supply chain must work together to collectively harness our energy so that the entire Canadian economy can reap the maximum benefit,” said CP Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison. “We have been preparing for this crop year for months and we are ready.”

Grain is CP’s largest line of business. Grain movement for the 2015-16 crop year was flat relative to 2014-15, 4.7 percent higher than the railroad’s three-year average and 11.6 percent above its five-year average, according to CP.

The Class I continues to make significant investments in its infrastructure to move grain more efficiently, CP officials said.

Genesee & Wyoming to acquire Providence and WorcesterGenesee & Wyoming to acquire Providence and Worcester

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) will acquire Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. (P&W) under a proposed merger agreement announced late last week.

Under the agreement, G&W will acquire P&W for $25 per share of common stock, or $126 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close after P&W shareholder approval in the fourth quarter, the companies announced in press releases.

G&W will fund the acquisition through its revolving credit facility under which it had available capacity of $542 million as of June 30, company officials said.Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) will acquire Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. (P&W) under a proposed merger agreement announced late last week.

Under the agreement, G&W will acquire P&W for $25 per share of common stock, or $126 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close after P&W shareholder approval in the fourth quarter, the companies announced in press releases.

G&W will fund the acquisition through its revolving credit facility under which it had available capacity of $542 million as of June 30, company officials said.

Northeast_region folding map

P&W’s headquarters is in Worcester, Mass. The railroad employs 140 people, owns 32 locomotives and operates over 163 miles of owned track and 350 miles under track access agreements. It has exclusive freight access over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Conn., and Providence, R.I., and trackage rights over MTA Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak and CSX between New Haven, Conn., and Queens, N.Y.

P&W interchanges with G&W’s New England Central Railroad (NECR) and Connecticut Southern Railroad, as well as with CSX, Norfolk Southern Corp., Pan Am Railways, Pan Am Southern, the Housatonic Railroad and the New York and Atlantic Railroad, and also connects to CN and Canadian Pacific via NECR.

If the acquisition is approved by the Surface Transportation Board, P&W would be managed as part of G&W’s Northeast region led by Senior Vice President Dave Ebbrecht.

The acquisition would enhance G&W’s service to customers and Class Is in New England, G&W officials said.

“The acquisition of P&W is an excellent strategic fit with G&W’s contiguous railroads, the New England Central and the Connecticut Southern,” said G&W President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Hellmann.

P&W also would enable G&W to “realize substantial immediate cost savings, to share and optimize the utilization of equipment and other assets, and to unlock significant new customer opportunities across sister G&W railroads as well as connecting partners at two Canadian Class I Railroads, two U.S. Class I Railroads and two regional railroads,” Hellmann added.

For P&W, the acquisition “ensures that our company will continue to provide the quality of service which our customers and the communities we serve have enjoyed over the 40-plus years since we recommenced independent operations while at the same time continuing and improving on our programs to promote employee and community safety,” said P&W Chairman and CEO Robert Elder.

In the first year of operation post-acquisition, G&W officials anticipate P&W would generate $35 million in revenue.

More Things Steve Jobs Can Teach Us About Delivering a Powerful Presentation

You don’t have to reinvent the computer to become great at giving speeches.

Who wouldn’t want to give a presentation as great as the ones Steve Jobs delivered?

He didn’t just announce a new Apple product; he found ways to get the audience as excited as possible while masterfully making that Apple product the next “must have” item. Don’t believe me? Check out his 2007 iPhone launch speech. Replace Jobs with a popular music act and the audience would be just as amped.

Thankfully, you don’t have to invent the next hot tech gadget or wear a black turtleneck to present as well as he did. There are some key takeaways from his speeches that anyone in business can sprinkle into their own communications.

Whether you’re pitching to a VC, trying to sell to a customer, or just getting your team amped up on a Monday morning, incorporate these elements and see how far they’ll take you:

Have a “Tweet-friendly headline”

Carmine Gallo, the author of 7 Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, dubbed this term for Jobs’ one sentence summaries of the product he was presenting. Some of them include “Mac Book Air: the world’s thinnest notebook”, and “iPod: One thousand songs in your pocket.”

His intro sentences were so great because they clearly outlined what the product did while creating intrigue. Rather than rambling on, he used them to perfectly convey his message as compactly as possible.

Whether you’re just writing a Tweet or presenting a new product, you can do something similar–try to cut the fat as much as possible (while still conveying your main point) to keep your audience glued.

Show your passion

You might be incredibly passionate about your business or new product, but nobody else knows that.

Take a page from Jobs, who not only acted excited, but sprinkled in words like “cool” or “amazing”, and once said “it looks pretty doggone gorgeous” with a huge smile after revealing a new iPhone.

Most speakers make the mistake of solely focusing on the topic ahead, and leaving their personality out of it. Like Jobs, you eventually want to exude passion from every pore instead. For some baby steps, you can include a few reasons you’re so excited about something when presenting it. You shouldn’t be afraid to be confident and say why you think your great product is so “amazing” or “awesome.”

Ditch the PowerPoint

Jobs famously said “people who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

Microsoft rivalry aside, he had a great point. I know I roll my eyes thinking about the hours-long slideshows I had to deal with on Wall Street while fighting off falling asleep. That’s why instead of relying on PowerPoint, Jobs kept the audience’s eyeballs on him to keep them awake.

It might take some work, but by remembering your talking points (instead of looking at a screen every five seconds), you can rely less on PowerPoint and more on yourself. If you absolutely have a burning desire to use PowerPoint, consider using those “Tweet-friendly headlines” instead of a wall of text.

Numbers are your new friend

Just like this article’s headline, Jobs used number outlines to draw the audience in.

Rather than leaving the audience guessing, he said things like “Today we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first, a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second, is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.”

This tip is simple, but powerful. Start using it today.

Tailor to the audience

“Your audience is in the room for a particular reason. It’s critical to understand why they’re listening to you so you can tune your presentation in a manner that makes them more receptive listeners,” said Jim Confalone, co-founder of ProPoint Graphics when he analyzed Jobs’ speeches.

Whether you’re networking or presenting, it’s important to realize that it should never be a one-sided conversation. When you gear your conversation towards others’ interests, you’ll find an attentive audience like Jobs.

Practice, practice, practice

“Jobs unveils Apple’s latest products as if he were a particularly hip and plugged-in friend showing off inventions in your living room. Truth is, the sense of informality comes only after grueling hours of practice,” said a Business Week article.

When was the last time you spent hours rehearsing a speech or practicing a presentation? Jobs wasn’t born being a great communicator, he worked hard at it. If you put in the elbow grease, you can be just as great as him.

Don’t worry about mistakes

Nobody’s perfect; even Jobs wasn’t when he presented.

Carmine Gallo points out that Jobs wanted to show photos from a website during a presentation once, but the screen went black instead. He laughed it off and said “Well, I guess Flickr isn’t serving up the photos today.”

This applies to everything in life, but is especially useful during presentations: take mistakes in strides. While you should learn from them, you shouldn’t let them hold you back.

Elle Kaplan

CEO, Lexion Capital Management

8 Highly Effective Habits That Helped Make Bill Gates the Richest Man on Earth

Adopting these habits may not make you a billionaire, but it will make you more effective and more successful.

How did Bill Gates get to be the richest person in the world, with a net worth around $80 billion? Being in the right place with the right product at the dawn of the personal computer era certainly had a lot to do with it. But so do some very smart approaches to work and life that all of us can follow.

The personal finance site GOBankingRates recently published a list of 10 habits and experiences that make Gates so successful and helped him build his fortune. Here are my favorites. How many of them do you do?

1. He’s always learning.

Gates is famous for being a Harvard dropout, but the only reason he dropped out is that he and Paul Allen saw a window of opportunity to start their own software company. In fact, Gates loves learning and often sat in on classes he wasn’t signed up for. That’s something he had in common with Steve Jobs, who stuck around after dropping out of Reed College, sleeping on floors, so that he could take classes that interested him.

2. He reads everything.

“Just about every kind of book interested him — encyclopedias, science fiction, you name it,” Gates’s father said in an interview. Although his parents were thrilled that their son was such a bookworm, they had to establish a no-reading-at-the-dinner-table rule. That love of reading continues, with Gates publishing an annual list of his favorite books of the year. Reading a lot is a great habit to cultivate. Just don’t do it while having dinner with your family.

3. He gives credit to others.

When asked in an interview to name the best business decisions he’d ever made, Gates replied, “I’d say my best business decisions really have to do with picking people.” Even though he and Allen have had a complicated relationship, he went on to say that choosing Allen as a business partner was at the top of that list. We all need to be good at promoting ourselves, but it’s smart to give the credit to the people you work with whenever possible.

4. He trusts his own judgment.

You can have a really good career if you always listen to other people’s opinions and predictions. But to have a breakout career like Gates or Jobs, you need to listen to yourself first and foremost, even if the entire world is telling you you’re wrong. That’s what happened when Gates and Allen launched Microsoft. In a speech, Gates said the company was “based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home.” Everyone said they were wrong, they launched it anyway, and the rest is history.

5. He’s conservative with cash.

“I wanted to have enough money in the bank to pay a year’s worth of payroll even if we didn’t get any payments coming in, and I’m true to that almost the whole time,” he told an interviewer in 1998. “We have almost $10 billion now, which is pretty much enough for the next year.” How much money do you have set aside to cover payroll just in case something bad happens?

6. He learns from his mistakes.

In an 2008 interview, Gates credited some of Microsoft’s success to his and his leadership team’s ability to quickly recognize a mistake, say, “Oops, this isn’t working,” and try a different approach. He’s certainly made plenty of mistakes over the years that he can learn from. Remember Windows Vista?

7. He gets plenty of sleep.

We all know how important sleep is. Instead of bragging about how late he works and how sleep-deprived he is, Gates makes sure to get seven hours a night, because he says he can’t be creative otherwise. That’s definitely a good habit that everyone should follow.

8. He really concentrates on what he’s doing.

Too many of us are easily distracted and guilty of multitasking, even though we know it’s dreadfully inefficient. Not only does Gates resist the temptation to multitask, he also exhibits really deep concentration while working on tasks. So much so that he’s been known to drift off to sleep while coding, wake up an hour later, and pick up right where he left off.

You don’t have to go that far. But the more you can focus on what you’re doing instead of wandering away to check Facebook or stock prices, the better work you’ll do and the more effective you’ll be.

There you have it — the habits that I believe helped make Bill gates a multibillionaire.

 Minda Zetlin

Co-author, ‘The Geek Gap’