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How Economic Inequality Harms Societies

A TED talk by Richard Wilkinson from a few years ago that still resonates today.



What Is Your Tolerance For Poor Service?

Have you ever asked yourself how much poor service you are willing to put up with, before you run out of patience, and understanding, or both.

We probably all have our own tolerance factor for poor service, or what we perceive and understand as poor service literally in any situation.

How often do you balance the money is not worth the aggravations...sort of its not enough money to start getting aggravated. If I complain it will alter the context of this business meal.

How often does it become "intellectually insulting" and its not a case of money anymore. Now its really aggravating. Especially when you explain a situation, and its as if you explained it to yourself.

How often do service providers push the envelope to provide borderline acceptable service, value or both.

Have you seen the myriad of surveys, ratings, and so on that are constantly floating around on the various platforms. "Your opinion is important to us, how did........".

Yes...there are a gazillion different situations that can generate a gazillion examples.

Factor in dynamic pricing, and it becomes even more interesting.

How often do you simply let it go, the price was too high, the food was miserable, the value proposition did not make sense, someone or something tried to take advantage of you...and the list could keep on going, and going.

What products, establishments, companies, restaurants to name a few do you have on your personal "avoid list" and do not recommend to your friends? Agreed we are all individuals, we have different and varied expectations, and tolerances.

If you have a business how often do you push the envelope to save money, while sending the wrong message to your employees that interface with customers. "We are committed to superior quality/service, we have a great location, lets fry more chicken/fish/potatoes in the same oil to save money or time." Where is the customer in this decision?

You have to wonder why folks don't resort to social media to voice their dissapointment about a service. We suggest that you do...Twitter is the ideal platform to communicate your displeasure.

As more products are commoditised, with increasing competition and parity. Agreed price becomes a factor, but service/customer experience will ensure ongoing loyalty. Reflect on this for a moment.

Bringing it closer to the auto business.

They are all good vehicles, with comparable features, warranties, prices, incentives, and so on. Surely you see where this vector is going. What makes the enduring difference?





Is It Heavy Enough?

You have to wonder. In an age of advancing technology why are vehicles so heavy?

When vehicles had frames, thicker sheet metal, and there were no plastics. It was almost expected that vehicles were heavy, not very efficient, used a ton of gas.

Today we have all sorts of technology, its not body on frame, its unit body (a big shell), its not thick sheet metal, its high strength steel here and there, its a ton of plastics, its aluminum, in some cases its even carbon fiber.

Its still heavy....go figure.

Must be the safety equipment?

Must be the ever increasing technology content?

Its combination of a "ton" of factors, save weight here, ad weight there, and the end result is not much lighter.

Ford engineers an aluminum F150 which saves weight, while the end result is not that much lighter, and the competition embarks on a mission to prove that steel is better/stronger than aluminum.

You would expect vehicles to be lighter, more efficient, than they are.

Although they are safer, have more features, higher technology content, are on the cusp of driving themselves.





Save My "You Know What"

Have you ever noticed how much imagination and energy is consumed in the process of a last instant effort to presumably avert a deep yogurt situation?

Its fascinating in a context of presumed transparency what humans will resort to, invent, verbalise, to come out of a yogurt situation. Invariably it becomes a game of taking care of #1, mine before yours, lets see how I can come out ahead of this yogurt situation.

Human Nature

Its a constant that in some ways human nature does not change, the primal instinct to save your bacon is alive and well in 2016. Its adapted to modern realities, the presumed transparency, and the ensuing scheming veiled in transparency.


Especially in a business environment, when the shit hits the fan, its duck and immediately head for cover. Invariably in the same business environment, someone has aspirations of being ahead, while someone else is obviously left behind.


All the talk of teams here, there, and all over the place. Its a cohesive team when its all going gang busters. The moment a yogurt situation appears, the team becomes a prop to saving a bacon here, and hanging another bacon much for transparency, let alone integrity.

Someone comes out ahead, while another takes a shot.


Take a moment...

As you take it a little easier during the Dog Days of Summer, reflect on what folks do to save their bacon in a transparent environment, empowered by technology.

Also reflect on the individual in the back of the room observing the human behavior, and scheming.





The Montreal Olympic Games

With all the noise of the upcoming Rio Olympics.

Suddenly 40 years ago there were summer Games in Montreal, in Canada.

Fascinating to see the perspective of folks 40 years later, and yes Montrealers paid for a long time.

From way back in the day with Montreal coming out of Expo 67, it was only normal to host Olympics games a few years later in 1976.

Agreed...the Olympic Stadium that subsequently took years to complete, made a statement back then for a multitude of reasons. While building the stadium was an ongoing saga for a few years prior, and several years later to complete the tower.

The retractable roof...don't go there.

The games were the event of the year in Montreal, securing tickets for any venue at face value was an accomplishment.

GM was the official vehicle supplier to COJO, and there was nothing more Canadian than a Pontiac Parisienne at the time, and probably assembled in Ste.Therese. Obvious that Parisiennes were the car of choice used by COJO.

Imagine for a moment if the Internet and social media existed back then.

The Olympic Village is still there.

Following the Munich Olympics of 1972, the games in Montreal were perhaps a prescient glimpse into the security for any major event on the world stage that attracts millions of eyeballs. The Olympic Village was fenced in during the games guarded by the Canadian Military. The food for the athletes was at a central location under guard.

Yes...time passes for was 40 years ago.






If you remember the term "idiot lights" you go back long enough to have experienced several fashion and design seasons of dashboards. Is there such a thing as a fashionable dashboard?

The dashboard was originally meant to monitor the vital statistics/signs of the car. How fast are you going, the purist wanted a tachometer, and other gauges.

Later in the evolution of cars, the heating controls, as well as the radio made their way into the dashboard. It was all mechanical with various cables to operate the speedometer, open and close valves and flaps, and so on.

We could keep on going, but its easy grasp that we have come a long way.

The Mechanical Dashboard

The essential were the tachometer, speedometer, temperature, oil pressure, ammeter, gas gauge. You needed to know your speed, how fast the engine was turning, the water temperature, the oil pressure and so on.

The proponents of idiot lights would say that its too many gauges to monitor, most folks had no clue what was going on, and a shining red light would graps their attention sooner than a reading dropping on a gauge.

The proponent of gauges would say that by the time the idiot light came on, it was too late and had no clue what had developed to turn on the light.

The Layout

The dashboard with gauges, usually a black background with white markings and needle was not easy to read in a race car scenario. The strategy was that if everything was normal the needles would all point in the same direction. Usually up...all the needles are up...its all cool.

Some manufacturers initiated the philosophy that the dashboards in their cars would have the same layout for the various gauges and controls. The idea was that the owner of that brand of vehicles should not go crazy or experience a new learning curve with a new dashboard layout.

Dasboard in 2016

They are literally all over the place. Its fascinating to see the innovation, creativity of today's dashboards, and especially the center screen. As well as the lack of intuitiveness on some of the controls. At the same time they have come a long way, and the "idiot lights" are numerous for a bunch of stuff.

Which begs the question do most folks know what is going on with their vehicle and the various lights in the dashboard?

What do you think?



Canada Day

Have an awesome Canada Day, start of the Dog Days of Summer and week end with your family and friends.




All vehicles have shifters to shift the transmission be it a manual, a double clutch, or automatic.

If you are of a certain age you surely remember the ubiquitous "column shift" usually to shift a 3 speed manual transmission. At that time hot rodders were on a mission to put the column shift out of its miseries permanently. It took years to put the column shift in the "dumpster".

You probably also remember push starting cars at one time.

For a moment focus that we humans have not really changed in a couple of thousand years. While some things are more intuitive than others.

Column Shift

Allowed for a full width front bench seat. The throw from 1st to 2nd was the habitual challenge, while linkages would bind if you were too aggressive.

Floor Shift

In most applications dramatically shorter linkages, and throws although on a 4 speed the 2nd to 3rd was still a bit of a challenge. But to this day you can slam shifts aggressively.

Paddle Shift

Great for a racing application, amusing on the street. Usually used with an automatic or double clutch transmission.


Do you remember the push button shifter on Chrysler cars a few decades back.


There are all sorts of shifters, column, floor, paddle, buttons, wheels, its a fascinating variety of ways to primarily select gears for usually an automatic transmission. You usually need to look somewhere on the dash to ascertain what gear the vehicle is in...think about this for a moment.

Our Preference

At Strada we perhaps are old school...we prefer a floor shift, we believe that its the most intuitive way to select gears on any vehicle be it an automatic or manual transmission.



Excellent Sheep

The other day we were reading an opinion on higher education...the term "excellent sheep" cropped up. can agree or disagree, you are entitled to your opinion.

Is the auto business especially at the retail level generating, and perpetuating a flock of excellent sheep?

Reflect on this for a moment.

We surely don't have all the answers, but when you consider benchmarks here, best practices there, the usual pedestrian knowledge being disseminated over and over.

You have to wonder!

Here is the thing, at a time of big data, curating big data, seeking the next big or small advantage.

Being an excellent sheep surely has its advantages, you quietly fall in line with the flock, and are doing the same things everyone else is doing. Following the same benchmarks, guidelines, reviewing the same data.

There is a sense of security... can be an excellent sheep among the flock, and it might provide you enough of an advantage. Or what you think is an advantage...and obvious a sense of security.

Perhaps you will need to break out of the flock, be a disrupter, reconceptualise the data, and strategy. To gain an additional advantage.

You need to be keenly aware of the "guy in the back of the room" that is observing the "flock of sheep".




More on Passion

This excerpt is from Seth Godin...

When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again. A huge savings in time, a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.

Now what?

You can use that surplus to play video games and hang out.

Or you can use that surplus to go learn how to do something that can't be done by someone merely because she has a calculator.

Either way, your career as a long-divisionator was over.

Entire professions and industries are disrupted by the free work and shortcuts that are produced by the connection economy, by access to information, by robots. Significant parts of your job are almost certainly among them.

Now that we can get what you used to do really quickly and cheaply from someone else, you can either insist that you still get to do that for us at the same fee you used to charge, or you can move up the ladder and do something we can't do without you.


You perhaps remember the advent of the electronic calculator...and if you do let's leave it at that.

Think of the auto retail business....

Think of how many "long divisions" in the retail business have been supplanted by technology...

Think of the passion being diverted to other activities...

If you replace the electronic calculator by computers, the passion being diverted increases dramatically.

How much surplus created by technology could be directed towards passion?