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Saddleback Leather - 4 Years

Saddleback Large Chestnut BriefcaseTime really goes by quickly, the Saddleback briefcase is 4 years old. It keeps on travelling across Canada, under plane seats, in overhead bins, on cars seats, in trunks.

The one thing it did not do this past year is go to the Caribbean, The Colonel opted for a smaller briefcase.

Yes...still attracts attention especially in airports.

Dave Munson of Saddleback is correct, after 4 years still looks new, with hardly any wear showing. It actually looks better now with the start of a patina.

Remains very useful to carry  all sorts of technological devices (laptop, smart phones, camera), and old school stuff like a writing pad, pens, spare change, lip balm to name a few.

Especially if you have an aversion to syntethic material, wheeled cases with a handle that are so common in airports. Lets not forget the usual back packs that you see all over the place.

Its a unique, cool, durable leather briefcase in our case ideal for business use and travel.




Why Do You Do It?

This morning we have The Colonel with us, he has not been around for some time, been a busy guy lately from what we hear.

Lets get him going with a few questions, and dispense with the niceties. Its a One on One with The Colonel.

Q: Colonel why do you do it?

A: Guys you mean Strada...simple PASSION, and after all these years there is even more passion.

Q: How much time do you spend/invest in Strada?

A: Depends on what is going on, a few hours...lets leave it at that.

Q: How come you are not a member of any club/association/guild?

A: Simple...STRADA is the publication, its the platform, agreed its a boutique publication. A free lancer needs to belong to "something" to provide a base, foundation. As you know we belong to Strada...

Q: You always mention that one needs to be their own editor, there are a myriad of pundits publishing on a myriad of platforms.

A: Absolutely, in some respects its a good thing (disseminating news), in others there is a ton of sh#t floating around. Fascinating when you apply pressure to "pedestrian" knowledge it quickly recedes.

Q: There's a ton of pundits disseminating pedestrian knowledge.

A: Its the nature of the Internet and Social Media there is a substantial layer of pedestrian knowledge being disseminated...that its probably disintermediating real knowledge. Think about that for a moment.

Q: Pedestrian disintermediating real...its thought provoking.

A: Yes is..but for another time.

Q: You mention boutique to expand?

A: If an individual wants to read comments, editorials that will provoke their thinking they will find Strada interesting and informative, and incite them to be reflective. In essence Strada is not for everyone...its never been for folks that are seeking pedestrian knowledge.

Q: Perhaps at times you are too far ahead of the 8 Ball?

A: some respects its not a good thing to attract more eyeballs. Its the editorial direction of Strada. We push the envelope, ask questions that raise a thought process.

Q: Your thought leadership might intimidate some folks?

A: Sure it does...not the best for eyeballs, but great to uphold the editorial position. We have not wavered in countless years now.

Q: Being ahead of the 8 Ball provides a competitive advantage in the auto business.

A: That's what its all about, its a competitive business, everyone is seeking an advantage. By the time its pedestrian knowledge its no longer ahead or an advantage...need I say more.

Q:Some folks might have a challenge grasping being ahead.

A: Sure they do...the reason we are a boutique publication.

Q:Do you have some examples of being ahead.

A: Wow that's a loaded question. 1- We mentioned a few months ago that low oil, low CDN dollar, presumed cheap gas, higher food prices were on the immediate horizon...most folks were talking about cheap gas presumably saving consumers a ton of money. 2- Long loan terms provide mobility not ownership...most folks relate long loan terms to longer lasting vehicles.

Q: Do you rattle cages?

A: If sharing prescient thinking, being on a thought leadership vector rattles cages, let the folks that feel rattled catch up and get ahead of the 8 Ball.

Q: Its still PASSION?

A: Absolutely...a ton of passion.





Leadership Reality

Back in the golden days of the auto business when personalities and egos were expected, and often delivered. Do we really need to mention names?

These guys back then, right or wrong had an innate understanding and knowledge base of the auto industry and business. Compared to today there was a minuscule media bubble around the auto industry. At the time the social autosphere did not exist.

Fast forward to today, the individuals in the auto business have subdued public personas, while the social autosphere is constantly expanding and evolving.

Here is the deal:

There remains a lack of leadership, accountability, populated by sidestepping, supported by reasoning that often defies gravity. This often captures the attention of the autosphere for a few fleeting moments, before its lost or superseded by another story which is more timely and might capture a few additional eyeballs.

In the autosphere its the superficial opinion often supported by a catchy headline (you need the headline for the eyeballs). When the opinion is discussed or questioned, the ensuing discussion is often deflected, since there is little "real" knowledge to corroborate and support the opinion.

In the business arena its the project that goes forward at a glacial pace, speeds up to a snails pace, while never getting into real time. It begs the question "Who owns this sh&t?"...which often is deflected with a seemingly rational explanation of various stakeholders, acronyms, and teams. While never answering "who owns the sh&t" or who is going to make it work.

Leadership, teams, teamwork, contributions, knowledge workers, the "thing" gets bogged down, and its easy to double back and distribute the ownership of the sh&t. To the point of "this broke while the team member was in the bathroom"

Think about this...who in his right mind is going to step up (lead) and own the sh&t while potentially jeopardising their mortgage payments?

Yes...we agree the Peter Principle remains enduring.




How Many Models Is Enough?

If you have been in the auto business long enough you hopefully remember from a few decades ago the movement to rationalise the number of models that were offered by a make. At the time the rationale was the Europeans and Japanese have less models.

Back in the day, Chevrolet as an example had a myriad of models and body styles, the same for Ford, and Chrysler. The thinking was to cut back on the number of models, to stop trying to fill every minute segment of the market, while selling more vehicles, and improving profitability.

The  Japanese had dramatically less models, and were inexorably gaining ground.

Once the models were rationalised, the focus shifted to decreasing the number of platforms. When you hear that a manufacturer has gone from 15 to 5 platforms. You can conclude that they are saving money while increasing profitability.

You also remember when models had an actual name, and not an alpha numeric (alphabet soup) nomenclature. Today the names are still around, Impala, Taurus, Camry, Accord, Elantra, to name a few. While the alphanumeric also thrives and seems to gain in disciples. A few examples, 3 Series, X5, CLA250, RX300, CTS, A3 to name a few.

From a manufacturer identification most vehicles have a body/platform identification; its a B Body, a W222, and a model designator its a 7BL57, 1BP67.

If you get the feeling that the model designators are creeping as "marketing" model names that are used to identify the vehicles in the market, we agree with you.

If you get the feeling that some manufacturers are establishing a parallel model line up with even more alpha numeric identifiers, we again agree with you.

Not only do the additional alpha numeric names confuse, you have to ask if they do not also dilute.

This business that constantly pushes the envelope, 1 is good, 2 is better, and 3 might be too much; with a fine line between 2 and 3.

If you think that some manufacturers are close to, or even past the 3, be patient it will be clearer in the following months. Its the classic case of sell 10 with 3 models, sell 12 with 6 models, sell 13.5 with 8 models. The sales are increasing along the the complexity, confusion, dilution, and perhaps even values.



Make A Dent

Spread a bit of love, understanding, compassion, humility...

Tell your friends to do the same...

We might just make the world a better place...

We urge you to give it a try, we will in 2015...




This morning we have The Colonel enjoying a cappuccino with us, while we pick his thoughts on "perspectives". Lets get going...

Q: Colonel Good Morning as usual you look refreshed and still with a tan from your gone fishing days.

A: Thanks guys, the tan is quickly going away with the cold climate.

Q: What can you tell us about perspectives at Strada?

A: It starts with "We don't follow, we lead"..."passion"..."always seeking an advantage" to name the most obvious.

Q: We get the feeling that you are a competitive individual.

A: To thrive in the auto business you have to be competitive, you have to "win", you need an advantage.

Q: Do we conclude that through the years you have developed and calibrated a different perspective.

A: Precisely, often we all see the same thing, its what you do with the same thing.

Q: Could that make you an outlier, somewhat off the vector that most folks adopt.

A: Absolutely, it often becomes a question of "Who is this guy?"..."What does he do? How does he see things?"

Q: At times it might be simpler/safer to follow the common path, and reap results faster as an example.

A: I don't know about reaping results faster, and I'm not well versed in following, never was.

Q: With social media, perspectives can take many nuances.

A: Yes they can and will, but if you do the right thing, tell the truth, are polite, humble, generous, share knowledge. The perspectives remain constant.

Q: You are saying that "intellectual integrity" upholds a constant perspective. Even when its easier to do something else.

A: Precisely, and intellectual integrity is a precious/priceless commodity.

Q: How do you uphold your perspectives in an age of technology, social media, being on 24/7?

A: As we always say, you have to be your own editor, you have to be observant, you have to connect dots instantly. More important you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

Q: Experience, knowledge base, wisdom surely helps, being around this business for a few decades is a huge asset.

A: Yes it is, lingering on the past is futile. Focusing on the future, seeking an advantage is essential.

Q: Its easy with social media to quickly "fall in line" with a pedestrian thought process.

A: Its the tragedy of our times, lets fall in line, lets pump our ego, lets connect, and so on. Its dramatically more demanding to have a different, thought provoking perspective.

Q: Some folks might be "turned off" or might not understand a different perspective.

A: Agreed...the reason we say "Brain Power to Energise Your Automotive Experience" folks that are not seeking the brain power are not interested.

Q: In one respect its a narrow focus.

A: Its a wide focus, wide spectrum, but you need an ongoing intellectual curiosity that is not widely appealing. 

Q: Perhaps being in the business for a few decades compromises change.

A: Not at all, with intellectual curiosity, change is easy even if uncomfortable.

Enough for this morning...




Lead With Humility

A fascinating and thoughtful read, its time well spent.

Business is a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged “by a greater meaning in life". — Pope Francis






Connecting the Dots

Pressed for time, challenged for attention in an environment flooded with content.

How do you quickly make relevant sense of all the stuff that is disseminated?

Lets take a look at some points:

  • We all gravitate to content that captures our attention, or content that is relevant to our activities.
  • We are all flooded by immense amounts of content, be it thoughts, opinions or data.
  • We instinctively filter portions if not all of the content.
  • We all know that the same news item gets repeated by a ton of platforms that are in the news business.
  • All of this pedestrian content is free, and is repeated by numerous platforms.

How do you connect dots to arrive at a meaningful perspective?

  • Its a real challenge.
  • Its time consuming.
  • It requires a profound understanding and a deep knowledge base.
  • It requires the ability to quickly uncover specific points (dots).
  • It requires the prescience to connect seemingly unrelated dots.

Once you have connected dots and have a perspective!

  • Go out and do it, usually its the stuff you read about, that someone connected dots and did it.
  • Yes...most folks will not understand, even the ones in the same business as you.
  • Obvious that when they don't understand is when you have a serious advantage.
  • Yes...they might even think that you are a s#$t disturber...its all cool do it.




Big Data 

As we get back to "reality" this morning.

Hoping that you had a wonderful summer with your family and friends, and that you are prepared to get back to the real thing.

As usual we are enjoying a few balmy days which were elusive during most the summer.

Enough pre ambles...let's get going.

Have you noticed that during a time of big data many individuals focus on the data, thinking that its the answer. We all hear data here, there, and literally all over the place, and of the various tools to better assemble big data in various formats. Dashboards becoming the favorites lately, while requiring tomorrow's data yesterday. 

Lets go back a few steps to gather some insight.

If you were around during the time when the slide rule was the order of the day. You surely remember that humans can understand a myriad if numbers and fomulas, but lacked the tools to comprehend a good quantity of numbers.

Obvious that Lotus 123 was quickly adopted by the folks that understood slide rules. It made by today's standards a modest amount of data easier to understand, and started providing a competitive advantage to companies that were proficient in understanding their numbers.

This entire process created the term "spreadsheet jockey" since one generation was more adept than another at "jockeying" spreadsheets. While focusing on numbers for the sake of the numbers.

Imagine spreadsheet jockeys, teamed up with powerpoint pilots what a powerful combination during a time of big data. Agreed you have to reflect on this for a moment.

As we get back to reality be aware that data generated by spreadsheet jockeys, and presented by powerpoint pilots is useless without a deep understanding of the customer, the business, and people.

Its the proufound understanding that makes the data come alive, become useful, provide an advantage.

During the Dog Days of Summer, we have seen more folks shuffle a bunch of data relating to the auto business for the sake of the data, that its it is scary. 





This morning we have The Colonel sharing a coffee, and his thoughts with us.

Q: Colonel Good Morning, you look refreshed as usual.

A: Thank You, and just back from a road trip.

Q: What is going on with leadership. As you know there is constant talk about leadership.

A: There is lots of talk about leadership, and when the proverbial s#%t hits the fan, there is a lot of ducking.

Q: What is going on with leadership at dealerships.

A: Great question, what leadership?

Q: Are you implying that dealers owned by "groups" are lacking leadership?

A: It goes beyond that.

Q: Care to be specific?

A: Dealers are in the people business through cars (vehicles). Its that simple, and that complex.

Q: It should be easy to be in the people business with social media, various platforms, and so on.

A: It probably is not easy, its confusing, and misleading. Dealers have all sorts of "techno apps" that often do not flow well together while augmenting the confusion.

Q: Are dealers missing the essence of being in the people business for a lack of leadership?

A: Precisely, its getting lost in the trees, and  missing the forest.

Q: There has to be some leadership, some sense of direction?

A: Absolutely, there is some, but is it enough for 2014?

Q: You point is vague.

A: Good observation, it can be interpreted as vague, and perhaps its the vagueness that is perplexing too many individuals. You need more leadership now, than 10 years ago.

Q: Its more challenging to keep folks aligned and focused on achieving results, closing deals as an example.

A: Precisely, in 2014 the focus must be laser sharp.

Q: Some dealers have exceptional leadership, which seems "old school".

A: Absolutely, it seesm old school because human nature is "old school".

Q: With all the technology one would think...

A: There lies the competitive advantage...

Q: Let the techno apps do all the grunt work, freeing the humans to lead humans.

A: Its quite an advantage for the folks that grasp the "forest".