Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, January 8, 2019

  • I remember seeing my teacher’s gradebook for the first time, it looked like the one above. It seemed like a sacred book of secrets which held my past and would shape my feature. I also had that feeling of, “Oh, that’s how it’s done. The Great Oz pulled the curtain back a bit.” Sometimes the teacher would call us up to look at our six-week average before report cards went out, but she used two sheets of paper to cover the names above and below.
  • I’ve been thinking about the Ferris Bueller line about Abe Froman, The Sausage King of Chicago. I think it implies there are other sausage kings of other cities, yet I can’t name any. However, if there is an actual Sausage King of Chicago, the Chigago Tribune makes the strong argument it would be Vienna Beef CEO Jim Bodman.
  • I’m taking the bold step of switching my ISP and television from Frontier FiOS and DirecTV to Spectrum. I ran the numbers and I’ll save about $750 a year (taxes and fees included) and will still receive all the channels I care about (with DVR) and my internet speed will go from 80/80 Mbps to 200/200 Mbps with no data caps, throttling, and free equipment (no rentals).
  • I still firmly believe the U.S. is better off with Donald Trump as president than Ted Cruz.
  • Christianity Today – Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2018
  • There will never be another business person I admire more than Herb Kelleher. I could write pages about my admiration for him.
  • I only worked at Southwest Airlines as a contractor, never as an Employee (it’s part of their culture to always capitalize “Employee(s)”. It was well known he drove an Aston Martin, after all, there was an “Aston Martin Speed Limit” sign in the parking lot just for him. It was also well known if you parked far away from the entrance and he was driving in, he would often give an Employee a ride to the entrance. That never happened to me, but I do recall coming back from a lunch outing and waiting on the elevator. When it opened it was like that scene in Pulp Fiction when the briefcase was opened. It was him. It was the first time I ever saw the legend in real life, my business hero. I felt like I was meeting a mixture of all things Elvis and a bit of that Bill Clinton quality in which you feel like you were his entire focus of attention and felt his affection for you as an individual. Before my brain even had a chance to engage in a verbal reaction he extended his hand and exchanged some pleasantries in such a way that made me feel like he knew me from back in high school. I thought of that moment when I read this piece from the Dallas Morning News’ Terry Maxon:
    • Everybody who met Herb Kelleher was instantly his friend. He leaned in, offered an observation, a confidence, then let go with his big, drawn-out laugh, a-HAAA-HAAAA-ha! If you said something halfway funny, he rewarded you with another big laugh that ended only when he ran out of air. For the time you spent with Herb, you were the only one who existed. You were his best friend, the person he’d rather be talking to than anyone else in the world. You were awash in the glow of his admiration.
  • He is probably the second richest person I’ve shaken hands with, the first being Ross Perot when I attended a party at his houseThe New York Times listed Herb’s wealth at $2.5 billion at the time of his death.
  • If you go to www.herbkelleher.com it will simply redirect you to Southwest.com.
  • The walls of Southwest Airlines headquarters are well known to be decorated with pictures and letters of Employees. One, in particular, got my attention. It was to Herb thanking him for co-founding the airline and making it successful and a great place to work, allowing him to have a career so he could provide for his family, buy a house, and send his kids to college. At the time, I think Southwest had 30,000 Employees. I wondered what it must be like to drive to the headquarters of a business you helped start and to know all the jobs and careers you created, and in doing so, all the lives you impacted because you created a means for them to provide their family.
  • Some of you may remember I used to write for Southwest’s blog. Here’s an old entry but I see the pictures I posted with it no longer appear.
  • This is more Neil Armstrong related than Herb related, but here’s part of a Bag of Randomness from December 2010.
    • Just an observation about the picture below which hangs on one of the walls of the headquarters of Southwest Airlines (just click to enlarge).  The person on the left is Herb Kelleher, a co-founder and Chairman Emeritus and former CEO and President of the airline.  You’ve heard me gush about him before, but the person on the right is no other than Neil Armstrong.  What cracks me up is that the first human to ever set foot on the moon, one of the most famous persons from a historical perspective, is wearing a name tag.  I know he’s not one to be in the spotlight much and he’s aged and all and that  “one small step for man”  moment happened over 40-years ago, but just the thought of the first human on the moon having to wear a name tag is a bit funny to me.
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8 Responses to Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, January 8, 2019

  1. Alec666 says:

    Re-Kelleher What would you cherish more something free or an opportunity given?
    Nowadays everyone clamors for free education, free health care etc.
    Your insight into all the opportunities he gave to all his employees cannot be overstated.
    I dont want to tax the wealthy to death, after all they provide many (myself included) with opportunities (employment, financial success) and for that I’m extremely grateful

    • Geeding says:

      Thanks for your thoughts and broadening my perspective, Mr. Alec666. I agree I don’t think anyone should be taxed to death, but I do think everyone should be taxed their fair share. And, I’m certain that’s where our thoughts will differ and there’s nothing wrong with that and I don’t intend to try to change your mind. I’ll be honest, I really don’t know what fair is, but in general, I want businesses taxed at a rate in which they can compete with their foreign counterparts and attractive enough to keep their businesses on our shores. Of course, there’s a lot of debate on how to go about that. For humans, I’d like the wealthy to be taxed in which their contribution affects them as much as a lower or middle-class worker. Currently, the wealthy certainly contribute more financially than the other classes, but the impact doesn’t affect them as much. Some may view that as a punishment on success, but I view it differently and feel that’s another conversation. Bringing this back to Herb, I don’t think if he was personally taxed at a higher rate it would have made any difference in the success of Southwest and all the jobs he helped create. He decided to give himself a lower salary than all others who had similar roles in the industry. It’s one reason why his Employees loved him. His personal wealth didn’t grow Southwest, but the growth of Southwest did grow his personal wealth. Personally, I’m not clamoring for free education or healthcare, that stuff costs money and has to come from somewhere. But, I want everyone to contribute towards those things, and because of their contribution, they can take what’s earned. Much like Social Security. Workers put money into it at a younger age and get the benefit at retirement because it was earned, it wasn’t free. Of course, the system needs tweaking and there’s plenty I’m sure we’ll disagree about that as well. Gosh, I don’t think I’m explaining myself well and I know I’m setting myself up for others. Heck, I’m sure a lot of you out there reading this are yelling at the screen that I’m flinging a bag full of socialism and should move to another country. I know you, Mr Alec666, weren’t attacking me and being nice in sharing your thoughts and perspective, I was just trying to do the same and let you know I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my silly blog.

  2. Bryan B. says:

    Good luck with the Spectrum switch. I considered switching a few months ago when I couldn’t switch from Uverse to DirectTV because of tree issues in our backyard. I finally got Uverse down to DirectTV pricing, but not without having to flirt with Spectrum. Spectrum gets beat up something bad for reliability on my area’s Nextdoor.

    I was hoping you would share your thoughts on Herb Kelleher. People that have worked for Southwest seem to hold him in very high regard.

  3. Alec666 says:

    I wish you lived closer….would like to be your friend…

  4. Towski says:

    I worked for a non-profit that was a beneficiary of Herb’s support, both financially and intellectually. The company I work for now handles all of Southwest’s corporate furniture solutions. He was revered and deserved it, and will be missed.

  5. RPM says:

    I wish I had faster internet. I’d dump DirecTv in a heartbeat. But living in the boonies you take what’s available.

  6. Suzi says:

    I always thought of Herb Kelleher as a legendary figure and I was just an infrequent flier. He was known for chain smoking and for having several martinis at the end of the day. Seemed like a really nice, gregarious guy who’d come up with a great idea (cheap, reliable, friendly service) and had made good. Sort of like if your next door neighbor was a millionaire.

    My closest brush with wealth was just standing at a crosswalk in SF’s financial district, all by myself, and all by himself on the opposing corner was the CEO of Wells Fargo, John Strumpf. I must’ve given a “hey, I know who you are” look, because he smiled at me.

    My weird elevator experience was when I traveled to LA on business; I stayed at the Biltmore, I believe. I was heading down on the elevator on a Saturday morning when who should I see but Julia Child. She said “hello”, I responded, and that was it…

  7. AndreaJN says:

    I remember those grade books. Haven’t thought about them in forever. Thanks for the flashback!

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