One of the books that Randy Mayeux presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis approximately ten years ago is Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (Crown, 2005). The author is Keith Ferrazzi.
Of course, the assumption behind the book is that there are people to eat with.
I thought it was interesting today in a column written by Cassandra Jaramillo, published in the Dallas Morning News, entitled “Let’s Talk Over Lunch,” (June 26, 2017, p. E1), that fewer people are actually going out to lunch. That means there are fewer people to talk with, and even fewer to develop relationships with.
The article presents statistics that reveal Americans made 433 million fewer trips to restaurants for lunch last year. Financially, translates into lost business of more than $3.2 billion.
Anecdotally, the article notes that if you live in the DFW area, this is not the case. The sub-title of the article is “The business crowd in North Texas defies national trend.” Undocumented observations in the article indicate that the lunch crowd is very strong here. Many restaurants, including some high-end varieties, are even now providing additional take-out options.
This may be the case. I rarely eat with anyone, including lunch. But, the few times that I do, it all depends upon where I am. Price does not seem to be an issue. For example, I am amazed at the packed crowds at Pappadeaux’s, which even at luncheon prices, would set you back about $25 per person.
Historically, I can tell you that the trend is not accurate. I am an active member of the Dallas High Noon Club. We meet weekly on Thursdays at the Hilton Doubletree Love Field hotel. The lunch is only $15, including salad, entrée, dessert, and tea or coffee. The meal value is likely about $30. Yet, we get only about 20 participants each week. I first spoke to this club in 1995, before I was even a member. The club met downtown then, and drew approximately 100 attendees at the same price we now charge. In other words, the attrition is about 80% in about 22 years.
There are two factors at work here. One, do you wish to spend the time to eat lunch with someone else? Pssst…it takes longer than eating by yourself. And, second, do you have someone you would like to eat lunch with? If you can’t answer the second question, you cannot even consider the first.
My business partner, Randy Mayeux, is strong at this endeavor. He holds regular lunch meetings with others on both relationship and business issues. He agrees with the premises in the book that he presented over a decade ago.
Whether I agree or disagree with those premises is irrelevant at this time. My situation now does not allow me to eat lunch with others. Perhaps in 6-8 weeks that will change. But, in the meantime, I am considering making a list of people I would like to meet to eat lunch with. We’ll see if that materializes.
P.S. – If the Dallas High Noon Club is of interest to you, you can get information about the weekly program by calling (214) 638-0345.
In light of recent books about women at work, such as Own It, by
Sallie Krawcheck, there is great interest about whether women are succeeding in the job market.
A study released yesterday, published by Makeda Easter of the Los Angeles Times, shows that when women lead an organization, they provide twice as many jobs to female workers.
You can read the full article at this link:
If you live in the DFW area, the article appears on page 4D of the Dallas Morning News on June 25, 2017. Here is the essence of the article:
“Startups with at least one female founder wind up building companies where nearly half the staff are women, a new study finds.
With an average of 48 percent female workers, women-led firms have nearly twice the industry average and outpace some of the nation’s largest tech companies in gender diversity including Google (31 percent), Facebook (33 percent) and Uber (36 percent), according to the study by online startup investing platform FundersClub that surveyed 85 U.S.-based tech startups.
Alex Mittal, co-founder and chief executive of FundersClub, said startups are key to addressing gender diversity in the workplace because the ones that succeed might someday be massive companies. (The majority of startups surveyed had fewer than 20 employees).
The study also examined the effect of female tech founders on leadership and engineering teams. Women made up 38 percent of executives at firms with at least one female founder — 2.4 times the average at startups with no female founders. At women-led firms, females made up 23 percent of the engineering teams — 2.3 times the average at firms led by men.
The findings come on the heels of a monthslong investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at Uber, which has elevated awareness of what long has been one of the tech industry’s biggest deficiencies.
Mittal said the timing was simply a coincidence. Women in the industry say the survey’s findings are no surprise.
“Top female talent is more attracted to work on a team where they can see themselves in leadership and know that is respected in the company,” said KJ Erickson, the CEO of Simbi, a service exchange platform.
Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors, said the survey failed to address the elephant in the room — race.
“How many of those women founders are white women,” she asked. “It would’ve been even more exciting if this report had included race and gender together.”
She recalls attending a Los Angeles gathering for women founders that attracted more than 200 women but few of color.
“There were only two black women and maybe four Asian women, the rest of women were predominantly blonde and very attractive,” Schulte said. “This is not representative of the people that are out there.”
Diversity — gender, race, age, among others — is crucial to being competitive in the startup world, Schulte said. It “can bring a richness to problem-solving that you can’t get if you have 10 people who are clones.”
The front page article by Lauren McGaughy in Friday’s Dallas Morning News, reporting that 15% of 28,000 female undergraduate students surveyed at thirteen University of Texas campuses have been raped, is eye-opening to me (March 24, 2017, P. A1). The catalyst for the story was the release of that figure by Texas Senator Joan Huffman, who has filed a bill to penalize faculty and staff who fail to report sexual assault on campuses with a misdemeanor and termination.
While there are many books about sexual assault, only a few are specifically targeted toward college campuses. The most recent that I found on Amazon.com is entitled The Hunting Ground: The Inside Story of Sexual Assault on American College Campuses by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (Hot Books, 2016). That book is actually a follow-up to a film documentary that they produced.
Given the strong statistic above, and the apparent many incidences of these assaults that go unreported, perhaps it is time for more authors to use books as a medium to educate everyone about this crisis. Raising awareness is not the same as taking action, but it is the first step toward interventions.
One of our Creative Communication Network part-time facilitators, Carmen Coreas, recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about actions that colleges and universities could take to reduce incidences of sexual assault. Here are her comments:
Often, we hear about incidences of sexual assaults on college campuses. The problem is clear, but the solution remains both vague and unimplemented. In this article, I want to suggest three interventions that might make a difference.
Most sources indicate that while overall campus crime has decreased, the number of sexual assault incidences has increased. The U.S. Department of Education released a report showing that these assaults increased by more than 50% over a decade (source: http://time.com/2851844/number-of-campus-sex-crimes-reported-surges-by-50).
I think there are three things that colleges and universities can do:
1. Encourage women to participate in “buddy” systems. No woman should walk on a campus after dark alone. Each female student should be strongly encouraged to be with at least one other person, particularly when walking through parking lots, or passageways between buildings. If a woman feels uncomfortable or unsafe, and there is no one to walk with her, she should be able to call campus security, wait in a safe place, and have a representative escort her to her car. The probability of a sexual assault decreases significantly when there is more than one potential victim present. To enforce this, female students should be required to read and sign a form at registration that educates them about the “buddy” system, and indicate their awareness and acceptance to participate in the program.
2. Greatly improve campus security. Many parking lots and campus areas are very dimly lit, and in some cases, there is no lighting at all. These areas are prime for sexual assaults. The answer is, of course, to reduce or eliminate these areas entirely by installing not only more lights, but also, brighter lights. Campus police should routinely ride through the campus streets slowly on bicycles, carts, or cars, to discourage assaults. The “blue light” help boxes that appear on most campuses are great, but there should be at least twice as many of them.
3. Make it safe to report sexual assaults. Sources vary on the statistics, but it is clear that at least 60% of all sexual assaults on a college campus go unreported. This means that the victim carries the shame and impact of the assault, while the perpetrators go free. This is wrong. Anyone who is a victim should be treated with compassion, but assured that there is no downside or retaliation for reporting the incident. Campus police and attorneys should work with local police, private rape counseling centers, and other sources to ensure that the victim’s rights are protected, but also, to ensure that it is safe for her to press charges. Perpetrators should be brought to justice.
These three ideas will make a difference because: (1) the fewer women who are alone, the less the chance they will become targets for an assault, (2) the more secure the campus appears, the fewer perpetrators will test or challenge the system by attempting an assault, and (3) the more that assaults are made known, and the consequences made public, the less that a perpetrator will take the chance to do that.
I am excited by the news that there is a resurgence in physical bookstores.
Locally, the Dallas Morning News announced in an article last week that a new bookstore, Interabang Books, would open in May, 2017, at Preston and Royal in Dallas, one of the busiest intersections in the city. The article states that the store will be a “5,000-square-foot site that will carry 12,000 titles and focus on fiction, children’s books and creative nonfiction. It will have space for up to 100 people for book signings, and a children’s stage for story times.” You can read the entire article here:
This is a national trend. This article summarizes results from seven different stores in cities where traditional bookstores are thriving. This is the citation for that article:
Even the large chain, Barnes & Noble, has seen gains in physical, on-site purchases. This article, published in Fortune.com, sites a three-month period in 2016 when online sales dropped more than 12%, but in-store sales rose 1.3%. You can read more here:
Of course, these bookstores look nothing like the “bookstores” of ten or more years ago. They contain coffee, food, music, gifts, games, and other items that attract and keep shoppers interested. The result is that the bookstores continue to be an important part of an intellectual, but also, casual shopping community.
I don’t understand the enthusiasm that some people have for technology to replace these traditional stores. There are plenty of people who do not want to read a book on a tablet, laptop, or phone. I don’t understand why we don’t view these as alternative sources, rather than as replacements. After all, if the purpose of all these sites is to increase reading, thus producing a more intellectual and informed community, why wouldn’t we want to have multiple ways to put content in everyone’s hands?
Many people consider Blackie Sherrod the best sportswriter in history. Certainly in this area, he was a legend and a mentor to many. Sherrod passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. You can read an feature article about him by Kevin Sherrington by clicking HERE.
Sherrod worked in the Dallas area for both the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. I will never forget the commercials and billboard advertisements that announced his move from one paper to the other. He was sitting a typewriter, and his energy pecking the keys was an engine, as it depicted him on the move.
Here is a brief summary of his life from Amazon.com: “Blackie Sherrod was born, reared, and educated in Texas. After a failed career as a wingback at Howard Payne College, he spent most of World War II as a torpedo plane gunner in the Pacific. Sherrod began his sportswriting career in 1946 with the Fort Worth Press. He joined the Dallas Times Herald in 1958, and since 1984 his writing has graced the pages of the Dallas Morning News. His lengthy list of honors includes the Red Smith Award for distinguished contributions to his craft, a National Headliners Club Award, inclusion in the National Sportscasters-Sportswriters Hall of Fame, and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater.”
Here is a picture with Sherrod and legendary Texas Longhorns coach Darrell Royal.
In addition to his countless number of articles in newspapers, Sherrod wrote three books. His first, called Scattershooting, was published in 1975 (Strode). The second, co-authored with Dan Jenkins, was entitled The Blackie Sherrod Collection (Taylor Publishing, 1988). The last, Blackie Sherrod at Large, was published in 2003 (Eakin Press). Although they are long out of print, you can still purchase all of these books from third-party sellers.
Sherrod was in poor health for many years, so it has been awhile since he was able to write. But, his contributions to local sports will never be forgotten.