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Life Is never In balance

I confused someone the other day who was suggesting we meet during Christmas.

While I love the idea of getting together with friends at Christmas, this year has been exceptionally busy and I find myself looking forward to spending time with my wife and family and indulging a little less in parties and dinners.

My friend seemed concerned that I would not make the time to meet and how it wasn’t healthy to not socialize. I think his suggestion might have been that I was working too hard. 

The last statement is probably true. This has been a real heads down year and when the sun is shining, it is time to make hay. I explained that life is never in balance. He was confused and I never really took the time to explain that just like a guided missile, we move through balance.

For fleeting moments, we get a glimpse of what an organized and compartmentalized life is like. For now, however, the only compartment my colleague and I have seen is the inside of an aircraft cabin. 

Our quest for heaven on Earth or nirvana is rarely if ever achieved on this Earth.

We spend too much time worrying about creating the perfect life when we should be enjoying the journey. With small, incremental adjustments along the way, we can get closer to the target.

Next year, I would like to protect family time a little more. Does it mean that I won’t be as busy? Not at all, simply that I will adjust priorities a little. 

In the same vein, we spend so much time worrying about working toward balance that we forget to enjoy the downtime.

Years ago, my father was a partner in a printing business and would worry every time the level of orders in our factory dropped a little. I would always suggest that was exactly the time to take a holiday. In truth, the orders always came back, so why stress, take a break. 

It is hard to break out of a guilt cycle. You often may feel as though you have not worked hard enough to attain the balance you might be looking for. Consequently when you do take time off, you feel guilty. 

This Christmas, I may not be doing all the rounds to visit friends.

But I do wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I will always cherish the memories we have of our friendships and when I have downtime, rest assured, I will be just a little more social than I am now.



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Trump's world imploding

Several years, ago I had the option to enter in to a masters program at Royal Roads University.

I was super excited. It wasn’t because I love academia; most people who know me understand that is the case.

It wasn’t even because I would get to visit the home of the X-Men.

It was simply because at the end of the course I would get an official title (at least once I word-smithed it a bit) of a master of disaster.

That wasn’t quite what the academic world called it, but my marketing brain works differently.

In the end, I had no time to enter a serious degree program and so I was left to create my own disasters one at a time in order that I could earn the distinction my way. 

Don’t get me wrong; there is an element of disaster in almost anything good. I wanted to do things so good that there was some mopping up to do - hence the title. 

In a similar manner, U.S. president Donald Trump has said on many occasions that he is the best person he knows to run America.

  • He is the most intelligent.
  • He is the best at negotiating.
  • He is a genius when it comes to economics.

So why are the wheels falling off the White House wagon?

Because it is build on a foundation of lies. 

In a so called effort to drain the swamp, we are left with no water and whole pile of muddy looking creatures with no way to get out.

The fence is closing in around them, however. 

The only thing that I believe Trump knew how to do was speak to an element of society that lives for reality TV.

He presented shallow, ill researched opinions on direction for the country. What was clever was speaking in a language that reality TV viewers loved.

Brighter people knew, however, that what was happening was not good. 

The fourth surprise of the day just happened with an FBI raid on a former Trump tax adviser. Good, bad or indifferent, I have said before that this much bad stuff does not happen to good people. 

Mark my words and watch what happens in the coming months and early next year. 

The epilogue to the TV show is being written as we speak.



Cars not ready to fly, yet

Press releases keep flying about the imminent launch of a flying car.

Typically, each week a few additional companies send out a release saying they are developing a flying car and will have it on sale next year.

Sorting out the wheat from the chaff can be difficult in an emerging market but in reality what does separate the real opportunity from the fiction?

While every vehicle manufacturer recognizes the column inches they can get by releasing a press releasing saying that they are in the market too, only a few businesses are truly at a point where they can deliver a flying car within the next few years and only one that will be fully certified. 

In a few weeks at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, I will have the opportunity to speak on a forum about how governments and municipalities can prepare for the new era of transportation that is unfolding at the moment. 

In relation to flying cars, the answer, in my mind is to go back to the regulators. 

As municipal planners consider being the first to offer mile-high landing pads on their tallest buildings, the truth is regulators will not support the technology that we see in cartoons today projecting that dystopian future for one very simple reason: most of the designs are not safe. 

Today, in the marketplace the one vehicle that will be certified (in other words you can be assured it is safe and meets the appropriate standards) is the PAL-V Liberty.

The Liberty is a three-wheeled design using gyroplane technology that makes it safe. It has been designed and built in complete compliance with current aviation regulations. 

Conversely, the rest of the market consists of experimental aircraft or vehicles that require a significant adjustment to the regulations to allow them to fly.

I was initially glad to see the European regulators, EASA, issued a directive  last week in regard to working with future flying car and eVTOL technologies.

Their statement was positive and alluded to the fact they want to see the development of electric powered flight and that they believed passenger drones may at some point in the future be a part fo the transportation revolution. 

It all sounded very optimistic until you read the last aspect of their comments. The comment itself supported what the team at PAL-V has been saying for a decade as they have navigated the cumbersome regulatory framework.

In essence, EASA stated that while they see new technologies forcing potential changes on the regulatory system in place today there was one overriding fundamental aviation principle that they will not compromise. 

It is obvious to a pilot, but perhaps not to the thousands of editors who are releasing articles on fictional technology with headlines that you will be able to buy this flying car next year.

The overriding principle was that in the instance of catastrophic loss of power, the vehicle must be able to “fly” to a safe and controlled landing. 

A ballistic parachute does not even come close to providing a safe landing and certainly not in a controlled manner. So in essence with one paragraph, about 95 per cent of the current flying car prototypes have been reduce to exactly that… a prototype. A vehicle that will not see the light of day without a significant redesign.

As for electric powered flight, you can read my previous columns for a look in to why that will not happen significantly for many years. 

In the meantime, expect to see flying cars in Canada in 2021 and maybe even sooner if PAL-V brings a vehicle in to drive around before it is certified to fly. 



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Airlines take you sky high

Do your own research when travelling.

Those of you who do as much flying as I do you will be familiar with all the tricks the airlines use to get more money out of your pocket. 

Those of you who don’t believe that happens, search Google for information on a class action lawsuit launched against almost all major U.S. airlines for collusion, some of which have already settled for astronomical amounts of money.

That was simply for collusion, there is also price gouging which happens on a regular basis. 

I had to fly to New York this week for business and just before I left, I had a request for a meeting in Mexico City. Fair enough. We deemed it important enough to switch my schedule around. 

I had a return ticket to New York in the bag, so I did some research using some websites that are very helpful and one apparently top secret website.

What I discovered quite quickly was that if I booked a trip to Mexico City and then back to my home destination, it was a lot of money. More than I was prepared to pay.

Instead, I looked at a one-way fare for each leg and it was almost half of the originally quoted cost.

That is a small clue if you travel regularly. Yield management on airlines ensures that it is difficult to find where the savings might be hidden, so do your homework. 

After spending 30 minutes researching, I called my loyal flyers hotline with my airline and explained my situation.

I asked to book a leg to Mexico City and a separate leg back to Spokane. At first the client service rep had a hard time figuring out that I need to cancel my return leg from New York. She was trying to change it.

She came up with a price that was way above what I had seen, so I explained that it was more advantageous to me to cancel my flight home and re-book. 

She argued initially, but then agreed to cancel the leg. By now, we were 30 minutes in to the conversation already. Finally, she gave me a price for a trip from New York to Mexico City.

It was three times the price of my original round trip ticket to New York. I explained that I had three websites open and all were showing a value of about 20 per cent of her quote.

She grumbled and indicated that I must have access to a very special website. I indicated that it was simply Google flights showing me their airline pricing for a one-way ticket. 

In frustration, she recommended that I book the ticket that way, even though I have a very high status with the airline.

So I gave in and said check the Mexico to Spokane for me. She came back with a price for a one way ticket of $2,300. At this point I explained that I can fly first class to Europe for that price and did she not think that was a little strange.

She explained that it was all her system was showing her. How was I getting my pricing of $400?

She suggested I use my very special website, that must be top secret to get my pricing. I advised her that the top secret website was her airline website. 

Now, she had to save face, so said she was taking the issue higher to the overseas booking desk who could get us a better price with their very fancy top secret booking system. 

After another 30 minutes on hold, she came back and said they had confirmed that the best price ticket I could get from their airline would be $2,300. 

I thanked her for a her time and said I would book it. 

Ten minutes later, I had two one-way tickets booked for $500US total rather than $3,500 she would liked to have charged me. 

Exactly how many people on any given week are taken for a ride in more ways than one by the airlines in North America!



More It's All About . . . articles

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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]
 

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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