@Bagels and Business with CEO Hair Cuttery, Dennis Ratner

Hair Cuttery has 1,000 company-owned Salons in 18 states in the USA.  


Dennis Ratner, the founder and CEO is a huge success story.


– Puts people first. 


– Gives back to the community. 


– Believes in vision, planning, and execution. 


– Dennis said: “Effort = Reward” and to be “Relentless” in pursuing your passion.


– Great roles model. 


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Lasting Decisions

So it’s a funny thing about decisions…


Decisions are supposed to represent the conclusion of a process involving the following steps:


– Research of the problem

– Decide on the scope

– Discover the requirements

– Determine viable alternatives

– Evaluate costs, benefits, and risks 

– Do some soul-searching

– And then resolve and commit on a way-ahead


While these steps are typically formalized in a work-setting, they may be done informally in our personal lives. 


But even after all this, we need to remain adaptive to changes in the environment that would cause us to reevaluate the decision and alter course. 

So a decision is a decision until we revisit the decision. 


The problem is that in some highly complex, unstable/turbulent environments, or ones where there are a lot of disagreements among stakeholders (such that there was perhaps not a consensus on the original decision to begin with) then “decisions” may be short-lived.


In this case, decisions may be half-baked, not even last until the ink is dried, and certainly not have a chance in hell to be executed on or seen through to determine whether they actually would’ve worked. 


In a way a decision that is so temporal is not even really a decision, but sticking your toe out to feel the temperature of the water, and any commitment of resources can and probably will be a complete throw-away.  


We’ve got to do the investment in the upfront work, really make a good data-driven (and inspired) decision, and give it an opportunity to blossom. 


Yes, we need to remain agile and change as we sincerely need to, but too much change and for the wrong reasons leads to going nowhere fast.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Excellence Vs. Mediocrity

So we all know how hard it can be to get ahead.  


The long hours, hard work, and grueling repetition to try to reach near-perfection. 


Even then, of course, we need G-d’s mercy and blessings and a measure of good luck to succeed. 


Also, by definition, not everyone can be “the best” at everything. 


I suppose the expectation for most people is that they try at least to excel at the things that they need to do or are most important to them, as well as maintain work-life balance. 


In this light, it was interesting to hear a story recently about mediocrity (and not excellence). 


When asked to step up on the job, one person responded in the negative saying:

C’s get degrees (too)!


Of course, this must have sounded pretty shocking and off-putting. 


In other words, they weren’t going for the “A” or even a “B”.  A “C” grade was fine for them–as long as they didn’t completely fail with a big “F”.


Who knows what circumstances may have led this person to settle for mediocrity–just wanting to pass.


Perhaps they had serious personal or family issues–and had good reason to be taking a step back (for a while). 


But I think there could also be more tactful ways to say it too–like explaining if there were mitigating or challenging circumstances in their life right now. 

If there really wasn’t mitigating circumstances and the person was just “slacking off” or didn’t care, one has to wonder why–are they just “milking the system” or is there something more fundamentally wrong?


C’s get degrees, but to me the real question is: Are you doing your best given your particular life circumstances?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hungry Pac-Man

Saw this in a window from the street. 


Pac-Man eating the dots/pellets and going for the ghost. 


The classic arcade video game from 1980s still speaks volumes. 


Pac-Man is goal-oriented and hungrily eat the pellet pieces, but if the ghosts touch him first then he’s toast (or at least one of his 3 lives are).


Not so different from real life…


We try to reach our goals, by taking one bite at a time until we “eat the elephant.”


But if those people who are naysayers, haters, Debbie Downers, and obstructionists, get to us first, then we can not only lose momentum, and but also eventually be forced to divert or miss out on achieving our goals. 


Ghosts aren’t hollow friendly creatures, but those who want to stop progress, stop you, and maybe even end your pellet-eating life. 


You need to eat the super “power pellets” to overcome and eat the ghosts.


Eating all the pellets can be a herculean task requirement strength, resourcefulness, and determination, but that’s what takes you to the next level in the game of life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Take Responsibility

I thought it was an interesting sign in the office.

Responsibility: At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start to be successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.  – Erin Cummins


While I agree that we have to take responsibility for our lives and do the work hard to achieve success, at the same time, we obviously aren’t in control of everything. 


We have to play the hand we’re dealt in life and make the very best of it.  Whatever challenges that we have, they are there for us to learn from, grow from, and become better human beings from. 


Also, success means different things to different people–for some it’s money, power and honer; for others it’s physical fitness and dashing good looks; still some care more about travel, experiences, partying, and having a good time; and yet for others it’s about G-d, family, country, and good deeds.


Whatever we want to achieve requires dedication and hard work from our end, but also a generous dose of prayer and good fortune for “the stars to align.”  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Success Anchored in Function AND Beauty

Just a saying from Dr. Ferry Porsche (as in Porsche cars) that I liked:


“It has always been a principal of our company that function and beauty are inseparable.”


If you can make something useful and attractive–you have a real winner!


Companies like Porsche and Apple get it (many, many others are clueless).  


Product development is both art and science and therein lay the foundations of their success or failure. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hopefully, All’s Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):

When the end is good, all is good. 


Or as we commonly say:

All’s well that end’s well. 


Lot of truth to this. 


And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.


When things end well, it’s as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it’s as if everything was bad. 


The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 


Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 


Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 


In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.


– Was all the hard work worth it?


– Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?


– Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 


– What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?


We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Theater And A Bagel

We stopped in at the Flying V Awesome-A-Thon yesterday. 


How can anything “awesome” not be good? 


Flying V mixes it up with the arts and culture. 


They combine theater with wrestling!


Essentially, this group tries to add adventure and combat to the more staid dramatic performances. 


Anything that brings theater more alive is definitely a good thing. 


We got to sit in on the event organizers doing a live podcast and could definitely see their enthusiasm for “Shakespeare and training” and becoming a success story.  


Anyway, they did have some snacks at the event, and this colorful bagel was definitely the standout. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Birthing An IT System

Managing IT projects is no easy task.


You’ve got to get the requirements right. 


Technical issues need to be resolved. 


Dependencies have to be lined up. 


Integrations need to work. 


Design should be user-friendly and intuitive. 


Change management takes real leadership. 


And so much more. 


A lot needs to go right for the project to be a success. 


While of course, just one or two bad apples in the project equation can quickly make for a failure if not controlled for. 


But you can’t let it…the show must go on, progress is waiting to be made, and the systems need to be delivered for the benefit of the organization. 


This is where real strength and determination by so many good people come in. 


Keep moving things forward–one step at a time–don’t stop!!!—another step and another–heave ho, heave, ho–until one day soon a beautiful and efficient IT system is born. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Not Caring or Worse

It’s interesting…


There are a lot of good people out there, but there are probably more in your orbit that simply don’t care or worse. 


You can have this problem or that. 


If they even “give you the time of day,” people will nod, tell you how sorry they are, and probably relate some of their own misery.


The good people try to see if and how they may be able to help. 


The others really don’t want to know, certainly don’t care, and just see you as baggage in the way. 


But everyone has their problems!  


If only people could look with compassion on each other. 


We all struggle with our demons in this world.  


Of course, we can’t let troubles get in the way of our doing what we need to do. 


But people can make all the difference in just providing a compassionate ear and being willing to open themselves up to understanding others and helping each other or making reasonable accommodations so people can help themselves. 


Listen, we all have our day–wouldn’t it be nice to be that person who is kind and generous to others and have others treat us that way too. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)