Saturday Cup of Joe: a lending and tech(ish) newsletter from Detroit

Saturday Cup of Joe #113.

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Lucky 113 or if you are into that sorta thing, Friday the 13th is coming…soon. So imagine episode 113 in preparation for Friday the 13th.

Hope you had a great July 4th. In celebration of this amazing country, here’s a beautiful list of 50 food dishes from all 50 states. Delicious.

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If food isn’t your thing, how about trivia? Here’s a list of the 50 oddest facts across our country. My two favorite are: Centralia, Pennsylvania has literally been on fire for 55 years and Monowi, Nebraska is an incorporated municipality with 1 resident, who is also mayor.

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“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”
— Henry Miller

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LeBron James, the millennial: It’s kinda crazy to suggest that someone who just signed a $154 million contract needs explaining. What’s more, nothing LeBron James does needs to be explained…especially by me. Instead, I wanted to write a little about what I find interesting about it. James moved from Cleveland to Miami to Cleveland to Los Angeles. Traditionally, professional athletes made a decision to change teams based on one of two factors — more money or the opportunity for a championship. Recent free agents, especially in basketball, like Kevin Durant and LeBron James, are factoring in a variety of additional considerations. For example, entrepreneurial and investment opportunities, in-season living arrangements, such as AAU basketball or kids’ schooling, and post-career television gigs, are all much more relevant than at any time before. James’s investments such as Klutch Sports and 2 houses in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles connect him to California beyond the contract with the Lakers.

My sense is that we’ll see more decisions by athletes and celebrities that define value much larger than contract amount and championships. In fact, millennials, as employees and celebrities alike, are defining value in new ways. Work-life balance does not seem like a factor for LeBron James, but in many ways, that’s just what this was about. More than the largest contract or best change at another ring, James appears to have considered an overall life choice at the risk of his (specific) professional success.

That’s unique and interesting. Not that the LA Lakers is any kind of settling, but it feels a lot like free agent choices, especially in pro basketball, are becoming about playing with your friends, playing in an income tax-free state, and playing in tech startup cities.

It will be interesting if the next evolution in superstardom includes how many Board seats are available for the right investment.

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More on millennials: This Medium post caught my attention and felt very, very meaningful. I hope you find it valuable, too. My reaction was two-fold. First, articulate and well written. Second, for anyone that doesn’t understand millennials or tends to blame individual millennials for perceptions of the larger cohort, I would really suggest reading the timeline of what it felt like to be this author: 11 years old for the Columbine shooting, 15 years old for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and 21 years old for the Great Recession. No wonder these consumers (and voters!) don’t trust institutions. And you thought it was because avocado toast.

Here is her economic outlook:

“I’ll go: I don’t expect to own a home. I don’t expect to retire well, or at all. I don’t expect anyone to give me anything I haven’t explicitly asked for, and even then. I don’t expect it will ever be affordable to continue my education in any formal way. If a package gets lost in the mail, I don’t expect to see it again. I don’t expect the government or the banks or the universities to do anything that benefits regular people. I don’t expect them to hold each other accountable on our behalf. I don’t expect them to expel abusers from their ranks, or to put my safety over their legacy. I don’t expect to feel safe in large crowds or alone late at night. And I don’t expect that my privacy will be respected, online or in general.”

These stories (narratives!) matter and we should be paying more attention.

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Napkin Finance: Check out this startup that can define any economic concept on a napkin. With style.

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Value add: Have you ever wondered how Netflix makes money charging $8.99–11.99/ month while creating shows like The Crown, House of Cards and Stranger Things? I have. Here’s one blogger’s take. In summary, no one knows, so enjoy it while we can.

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Scared money don’t make none: What value is moderation? A fair question in today’s political and social media climate. This week, I couldn’t resist digging deeper into moderation thanks to an essay ranging from historical context to modern application. For instance, the author cites Friedrich Nietzsche: “Moderation sees itself as beautiful, only because it is unaware that in the eye of the immoderate it appears black and sober, and consequently ugly-looking.” In other words, such as in politics, moderation is seen as “a form of appeasement that does not offer a suitable platform for mobilization and reform.”

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The rest of the story….sorta: In the age of craft bourbon and mixologists, one bourbon remains the talk of most casual and serious fans alike — Pappy Van Winkle. I’ve heard everything from “I’m saving up for a bottle of the 23 year” to “it’s overrated and nothing is worth $100 an ounce.” Regardless, I still followed with interest the story about stolen Pappy bottles in Kentucky. Turns out the story was not as open and shut as it first appeared. I included it here for two reasons. First, it speaks to the power of myth and how that can create interest in a product, regardless of quality. Story matters! Second, there’s a larger lesson here. This is a cautionary tale to any organization about how deep will you dig to find out the answer to a particular issue. Do you wanna know what happened or do you really wanna know what happened to your product or in your organization? Seems to me that no one really wants to know what happened here. The myth lives on.

And for my money, not that you asked, WhistlePig Rye is the best. Cheers.

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Chief Customer Officer: At Dell Computers, there is a Chief Customer Officer. Having created the role, CCO Karen Quintos has also revolutionized the culture at Dell. Check out this quick interview for how she expanded the definition of customer and why she chooses to “advocate” for, rather than mentor, young women she wants to support.

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Photo essay: Check out this link for the Top 4 Travel Photos of 2018 as determined by Nat Geo. Check this link for the remaining entries on Nat Geo’s website.

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Answer well: Ryan Holiday observes how Stoicism can reinforce a person when trauma or just plain bad luck lands in your life. Hemingway wrote, “if people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, of course it kills them.” It makes sense to me. Especially when you realize that it feels that way even if it’s not actually that way.

Stoicism is not the solution, but it’s about understanding what can be controlled and what cannot.

Holiday writes about how important it is to address or otherwise embrace the messiness and imperfection. From recognizing that people and circumstances will be obstacles to your success to accepting when bad things happen, it is how we react that makes all the difference.

As Holiday writes, “Those that will not break are the ones the world kills.”

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“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”- Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr.

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Question: Do you journal? I write a lot but it’s not a daily journaling practice. It’s part journaling (sometimes), part fiction (sometimes), and part this SCOJ experiment. I’m considering a daily practice and have heard/read everything from Tim Ferriss recommending it to this Medium post endorsing it. Interested in whether you journal and what has been your experience.

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Today’s thought: Yesterday’s thought. Know what I mean? After 112 today’s thoughts, I thought it might be appropriate to suggest reflecting on yesterday’s thought. For instance, after you have a failure or, more importantly, after a success, how often do you debrief and/or breakdown what happened? It’s hard to go back and find out what worked and what didn’t. Finding out what worked is only half the battle. Incorporating it into processes and procedures to ensure it can be replicated is even harder. Most organizations skip right past yesterday’s thought and move right onto the next. How do you handle yesterday’s thought?

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Quote: “The journey is better than the end.” — Cervantes

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Bonus Content: We started with a Friday the 13th reference; why not end with a map of the paranormal activity in Seattle? According to this article, Liminal Seattle maps the “strange, wonderful, unusual and unexpected.” I don’t know about those who grew up on the West Coast but for those of us East Coasters, Seattle has already held a kinda dark weirdness that makes us want to believe paranormal stories of the Pacific Northwest anyway. And if you are into that kinda thing, you MUST check out this podcast that my friend Mike turned me onto — The Black Tapes (also available wherever you get your podcasts).

Continued success and continue to answer well,

Written by

Thinker, curious leader, once an attorney…always trying to answer well.

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