My 2015 was probably pretty successful. However, I felt tired and unsuccessful and disappointed and withdrawn for most of it, and so my biggest triumph was learning to be OK with the year and everything else in life.

Funny thing is, I didn’t really realize that until I was smack in the middle of the flu in November — the second flu I’d had this year.

Sometimes getting lost in your head is a bad thing — the mind exaggerating minor challenges, giving you the feeling of doubt or despair almost as real as if I truly faced crisis, oppression…

My mind was boggled to hear Brian Williams could think he was in a helicopter that was under attack and forced to make a landing when, in fact, he was in a different helicopter right behind it that didn’t come under attack.

I might have thought, did he misspeak? Is he being defamed, even, however unlikely that would be? But when I heard the news, it was because Williams was apologizing. OK, then. That’s a weird thing to get wrong, and in that way, but maybe, perhaps, his memory betrayed him amid the nerves and rush of that day.

Brian Williams (Wikipedia via David Shankbone)


In the late 1950s, you could get a one-location McDonald’s franchise license from Ray Kroc for just $950.

Sure, there was $80,000 or more to invest in land, rent, building costs and startup (less if you found a mortgage, existing location to rent, etc.), but yearly revenue could hit $200,000 or more with a 20% pretax margin. And the royalty fee was minimal — 1.9% of sales. Kroc didn’t force his franchisees to buy supplies from a McDonald’s commissary. …

Today is the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. It's also another day in which some of the saddest, laziest click-bait gets published. It's my sincere hope that this short post is not an addition to that pile.

The Internet is a collection of would-be writers looking to SEO and listicle their way to traffic by finding the right combination of numbers in headlines, bulletpoints and topical references. That's just how it is, and we all traffic in this to an extent. …

Reviewing the Issues of Dec. 9, 1998, and Dec. 12, 2013

Scorpions and Centaurs via Flickr (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic):

The Onion isn’t what it used to be. What was once a weekly newspaper put together far more like a weekly periodical than you’d expect is now an up-to-the-minute, multiplatform satire machine — and maybe a little worse for wear.

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Love Field, Dallas,, on Nov. 22, 1963. (

Thoughts on Anniversaries 50 Years After of JFK’s Assassination

“It was a day I recall vividly like it was yesterday. We were, that very day, discussing the three branches of government (at a Miami high school) and the role of the President. I was making allusions to President Kennedy and the things he was doing when the announcement came over the speaker that he had been shot. "I remember walking over to a window and standing and staring out the window for an extended period of time. No one said anything. It was completely silent. I remember then telling the students, 'You will always remember this moment because what…

Lessons in supplier-buyer relations and alpha dogs

You might have heard about this: McDonald’s dropping Heinz as a ketchup supplier because Heinz is now led by a former CEO of Burger King, not to mention that 3G Capital has stakes in both of the latter companies.

Much of the initial reaction, especially and understandably among the general public, was about the short-term considerations.

But this is a 40-year-old story, one whose background and details are essential to know if you’re to draw the right conclusions. …

James daSilva

Newsletters and a blog on leadership and management at @SmartBrief. I also review The Onion from 20 years ago each week at

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