Erica and Matt Chua: Korean Food: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Korean food ran the gambit from the good, the bad and the downright ugly.  On many occasions Korean cuisine surprised us, apparently South Koreans are better at more than kimchi.  Who knew that South Korea makes the best fried chicken in the world?  I feel that I am uniquely qualified to make a judgement on the best fried chicken in the world because I’ve tried my fair share due to my husband’s  fried chicken addiction.  He even believes his future is in fried chicken and beer.  So, while I know your dying to hear about kimchi, let’s start with the ugly and work our way to the highlights.  I want you to enjoy Korean cuisine, so I’ll end on a high note.

You will enjoy Korean food if you avoid two things; Lotteria and pig’s foot.  Lotteria is South Korea’s answer to McDonald’s.  Everything from the menu to the value meals is a mirror of McDonald’s offerings.  While I’m not a huge fan of McDonald’s, we were told several times that we had to try Lotteria.  We decided we didn’t have too much to lose as it is a fast and cheap food option.  Little did we know that the similarities ended with the look alike menu. The cheeseburger we had tasted as if it had strawberry jam mixed with mayonnaise on it and I’m convinced the french fries we were served were made weeks ago.  In short avoid Lotteria at all costs.

The pig’s foot should have been more obvious than Lotteria as something to steer clear of, some may even say that I deserved what I got when I decided to try this local delicacy.  However, I am a firm believer in the old adage “when in Rome…”  We had heard of the popularity of pig feet, but it wasn’t until we saw it prominently displayed by every vendor in Seoul’s Namdaeumun Market that we decided we had to try it.  We hunted out the best pig foot we could find, not having any idea what you look for in a good pig foot.  Because quite frankly “good pig foot” sounds like an oxymoron to me.  However, even as I watched the woman we purchased our foot from working to dismember it in preparation for us to eat it I remained positive. When she set it in front of us it didn’t look too promising and then she gave us each a set of plastic gloves and my optimism started to fade.  Anything too vile to touch with bare hands probably shouldn’t be eaten, but against my better judgement I put a gelatinous piece of foot in my mouth.  It lived up to my worst nightmares, it was a fatty, Jell-O like texture and the taste was so bad I almost gagged trying to swallow it.  Then and there the award for worst item imbibed on this trip was given to the pig’s trotters.  We paid for our foot and passed on the remaining bits to the eager Koreans sitting next to us, laughing at our disgusted expressions.

Read the rest of…
Erica and Matt Chua: Korean Food: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Sleep

jyb_musingsI am about to go to sleep

After my insomnia lets go it’s grip on my brain
And sleepiness displaces restlessness
And I get ready for bed
And drink another warm glass of milk
And get into bed
And try to go to sleep
After I set my alarm
And check it to make sure it is set
And after realizing, again, it is far too late to be getting to bed
But feeling relieved that short sleep is nearing
And finally drifting toward oblivion thinking to myself

I am about to go to sleep

Saul Kaplan: 10 Reasons Companies Fail at Business Model Innovation

Companies fail at business model innovation because they’re so busy pedalling the bicycle of current business models they leave no time or resource to design new ones.

Most companies focus innovation efforts on new products and on driving efficiencies into current models. These are important activities, but not sufficient in the 21st century when business models don’t last as long and face disruption. This means business model innovation is the new strategic imperative. In this post I outline the top 10 reasons why businesses fail to innovate.

CEOs don’t really want a new business model

The most obvious reason companies fail at business model innovation is because CEOs don’t want to explore new business models. They are content with the current one and want everyone in the organisation focused on how to improve its performance. The clearest indication is when any discussion about emerging business models is viewed and treated solely as a competitive threat.

Business model innovation will be the next CEO’s problem

Let the next guy or gal handle it. There may be a disruptive business model on the horizon but we can beat it back, pass laws to slow it down and treat it as a niche player. Sound familiar? Today’s leaders have never had to transform their business model. Tomorrow’s leaders will. Disruptive technology is everywhere and trying to outlast it is a risky strategy. Leaving the challenge to the next CEO is not a good idea.

Product is king. Nothing else matters

The lines are blurring between product and service business models. Take the iPod. Apple didn’t bring the first MP3 player to the market. Yet, the company changed the way we experienced music by delivering on a value proposition that bundled product (iPod) and service (iTunes). Industrial era thinking forces a false choice between product or service focus. A proud product heritage can get in the way.

Saul KaplanInformation technology is only about keeping the trains moving and lowering costs

“I’m from IT and I am here to help you … ” Many companies fail because IT resources are disproportionately allocated to support legacy systems. Deploying new capabilities takes a back seat. The prevalence of enterprise systems is a barrier to business model innovation.

A change anywhere within the organisation affects every function, making it difficult to develop new capabilities, let alone an entirely new business model. Enterprise systems increase the efficiency of the current business model but can be a straightjacket-constraining business model innovation.

Cannibalisation is off the table

It’s hard enough being at war with competition, so why compete internally? When executives look at new business models they see them through the lens of the current business model and view them as competition. Organisations fail at business model innovation because they blindly take cannibalisation off the table, even if a new business model may have significant upside potential.

Read the rest of…
Saul Kaplan: 10 Reasons Companies Fail at Business Model Innovation

John Y. Brown, III: R.I.P Jim King

jyb_musingsI didn’t know Jim King well but as we have learned in our collective grieving the past 24 hours, everyone in Louisville seems to have a Jim King story, including me.

The first time I ever had an extended conversation with Jim King was just over 5 years ago when Jerry Abramson announced he would not seek reelection and Jim King’s name immediately circulated as a likely candidate for mayor.

A local community leader and mentor of mine called me and said “You have to meet the man who is going to be Louisville’s next mayor, Jim King. You will be very impressed!” I said I’d love to meet Mr King and that I had met him before but only causally and that I didn’t have a good sense of what he was like but would love an introduction and opportunity to get to know him better.

A meeting was set up and I went to one of Mr King’s banks and he met with me promptly at the exact time we had scheduled. He talked about his background, his business, and most of all, his vision for the city of Louisville and the kind of leadership he felt was needed and that he felt he could offer.

I was, indeed, very impressed.

After I left I called my mentor/friend and thanked him for urging me to meet with Mr King and introducing me to him. “What was your impression of Jim?” he asked me. “Do you think he’ll win the mayor’s race if he runs?”

“Jim King certainly has a very mayoral presence. That’s for sure.” I said. “He commands respect and has an even greater command of the issues facing our community and seems to care deeply and genuinely about our city. Those are all important qualities but I’m not sure that is what makes him stand out most as a possible candidate for mayor.”

“What do you think makes him stand out most as a candidate?” I was asked.

“Well,” I hesitated because I wasn’t sure how I was going to say what I was feeling. But it came out like this: “Well….I think after my one brief meeting with Jim King I would say that his greatest strength as a mayoral candidate is that….is that after you meet him you feel afraid NOT to vote for him.”

We both broke out into laughter before I interrupted. “I don’t mean that like it sounded. I mean that people want a strong personality for their mayor and a sense that their mayor will protect them. I felt that for sure from Jim King. He is a strong and forceful personality who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The mayor is a CEO-type office and requires a CEO-type personality and Jim King certainly has that, too. He seems like the consummate ‘no nonsense, get ‘r done’ kind of leader. The challenge for people like Jim King in politics is that they sometimes don’t have the patience for the beauty contest aspects of a long political campaign. They just want to get on with running things”

My friend said, “Maybe so but no one will work harder or smarter than Jim King.” I agreed and that is where we left our conversation.

Jim King did run for mayor and, of course, didn’t win, but like the determined community leader he was he never let up and continued working away on behalf of Louisville and Louisvillians in the leadership role he did secure as Metro Council President. And he was relentless. A relentless worker but most of all relentlessly passionate about his work, and his family, and the betterment of the city we all had the privilege to share with Jim King.

After my first meeting with Jim King I had the opportunity to visit with him on several other occasions and these subsequent visits left a markedly different impression on me than my first. I got to see the other sides of Jim King. He was incredibly thoughtful and caring and compassionate in ways that ran far deeper than his seemingly tough exterior. He was a complex “big picture” leader, on the one hand, and yet also was easily able to singularly focus on every issue before him, no matter how small or big. And he was a local leader our entire community came to trust and rely on far more than we were ever fully aware.

After my first visit with Jim King there was never another time I used the word ‘afraid’ in conjunction with his name —until yesterday. When I told a good mutual friend that “I am afraid our city has just lost one of it’s greatest citizens.”

And we have.

RIP Mr King

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My True Gifts

jyb_musingsMy lovely wife Rebecca has, again, failed to fully appreciate me and the gifts I possess.

Tonight, or this morning really, Rebecca woke up to me making clanking sounds in our closet as I pushed unneeded hangers into the garbage can. I was so proud of my work. I had stayed up much of the night clearing out and organizing my side of the closet and knew Rebecca would really be excited. Actually, I just hoped she wouldn’t be mad because I did make a lot of noise the last 30 minutes and did wake her up.

Well, you guessed it. She wasn’t really happy or proud of me. She instead seemed irritated with me–just like she was when I stayed up late at night cleaning out my closet in November and woke her up. (The closet had gotten disorganized again since November.)

Rebecca didn’t say “Thanks” or “This looks great” but rather the more disappointing and familiar “John, this is not normal behavior.”

“Well, you know what?” I offered, “I’m not completely normal. OK? And that’s a good thing. In fact, I think my behavior is probably a sign of something that is very positive. Like above average intelligence.”

“Oh really?” Rebecca said while grinning in a state of disbelief. “No. It’s not.”

Oh, yes. It sure is. I remember reading that many years ago in college in a book by Jim Fixx called ‘Running.’ The book was about the benefits of jogging —which I didn’t do–but that’s not the point. In fact, part of the reason I didn’t take up jogging is he died of a heart atrack right after the book got published but that’s not the point either. The point is that in some part of the book the author mentions he is in MENSA, the high IQ society, and lists some of the behavioral traits of highly intelligent people he has met in MENSA. And one of those traits of highly intelligent people is that they need less sleep.”

“Oh, that’s nonsense.” Rebecca blurted as she rolled her eyes and walked away.

“Not at all.” I countered. “He lists a lot of different traits of highly intelligent people and I rememberer that one clearly because that was the only one I really had in common with MENSANS and it allowed me to hold out hope I might have some kind of giftedness. So, you see, this is just part of who I am. Part of the John Brown package and there are, admittedly, some annoying traits mixed in but that’s just part of the whole really good –on balance– ‘package deal’ you got with me.”

“Oh really?” Rebecca said chuckling. “Well, then, we are about to start going through this package and throwing out a lot of the parts in it.”

“But you can’t do that.” I explained. “It’s all one integrated system”

“I always throw away accessories that aren’t needed.” Rebecca said unconvinced.

“That won’t work here. Look, if I had gotten you some big…some big…machine ….for Christmas, like a vacuum cleaner –you know, something you put together– you wouldn’t look at the different pieces and throw out the ones that you didn’t like. You need all the pieces or it won’t work. You see?” Rebecca still seemed unconvinced. I went on, “Think of this piece of me that is irritating you this morning as being attached to the motor –my motor—that is me. You can’t throw away a piece of a motor. The machine stops working then. You don’t want that to happen, do you?”

“Oh Lord.” Rebecca said exasperated. “Are we going to church?”

“Yes, of course.” I agreed. “But would you mind running out and getting us both some coffee first? My motor could use some fuel right now. The good part of my motor, that is. The non-annoying part. The part that you like”

Rebecca left to get the coffee and I couldn’t tell by the way she was walking really fast —like she does when she is trying to leave the room before she says something she doesn’t really mean— I couldn’t tell if she was really convinced about my whole “high intelligence–motor –cleaning out the closet half-the-night” theory or not. I just didn’t know.

But here’s the funny part. I made it all up. Seriously. The truth is I couldn’t sleep and cleaned out my closet and was being annoying –but tried to make Rebecca believe my odd behavior was really a reflection of something grand or gifted about me. But it really isn’t. At least I don’t think it is.

Is it? Who knows? Heck, maybe it is.

Hey, at least I made myself wonder if there’s something to my theory, even if Rebecca doesn’t buy it. And that has to count for something.

Julie Rath: If You Try One New Thing This Winter, Make It THIS Accessory

One thing about winter that gets me more excited than I probably should is BOOTS. Boots pretty much rock my world, and I’m thrilled that it’s time to start looking at what’s in stores this Fall.

Here’s why boots are so awesome:

1) Boots are a great way to distinguish your work clothes from your “going out” clothes.
2) [this one’s sneaky] Since boots often have thicker soles than regular shoes, they can give you a little help in the height department.
3) There are loads of different boot styles that allow you to create your own unique look (we’ll go over a few below), and designers are always coming up with hip new details.
4) Because boots are not as ubiquitous as, say, regular dress shoes, wearing stylish boots will set you apart as someone who is “in the know” about style.

And here are 3 great boot picks for this Fall in various price ranges:

Up to $250

Men's Style Advice: Topman BootsTopman - $100 Don’t let the buckle scare you. It’s a subtle touch that will only be visible when you’re sitting down.

 

$250-$500
Men's Style Advice: Rag & Bone bootsRag & Bone – $450 – The roughed-up suede makes them gritty and masculine, but the half captoe maintains the polish.

 

$500 +

Men's Style Advice: BootsOfficine Creative – $690 – These boots are made from a gorgeous glossy cognac buffalo leather and will look great with both your jeans and dress pants.

Have you ever worn boots before? If not, I’d love to hear why. Leave me a comment below.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Slim Fit

jyb_musingsI inadvertently purchased a “slim fit” shirt for myself over Christmas. And grabbed it and put it on quickly this morning before realizing what I had done.

At first I thought I may have unknowingly been taking steroids. Then I thought perhaps it was my son’s shirt. Or about anybody else’s shirt but mine. By the time I realized what happened, I was already in my car and several miles down the road and already running a little late so I was stuck.

I tried best I could to conceal the issue by standing as straight as possible and sucking in my stomach and trying to look like I wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as I appeared to people looking at me and noticing my overly-strained shirt buttons trying not to snap off if I exhaled too fully.

I tried to give a look to others that said, “This shirt fits me fine. It really does. I may have picked up 2 or 3 extra pounds over the holidays that may make it seem a little tighter today than it really is. But that is just for today and a silly holiday thing. This shirt fits great and is shaped perfectly for me.” That is a really hard look to maintain for nearly 13 hours. Heck, that’s a hard look to maintain for 13 minutes. Or even 13 seconds.

But I did it anyway. Which says something about me. Mostly that I am able to go nearly 13 consecutive hours taking only short shallow breaths.

Josh Bowen: 5 Things to Start Doing

joshIf I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, fitness impacts everything about ourselves. From personal relationships to our jobs to our self confidence in ourselves, working out actually enhances ourselves to be better at many things. BUT life is busy and often times other people take priority over ourselves. Our spouses, our friends and family and our jobs take precedent over our own needs. It is a huge dichotomy over what we need to do and what we want to do.

I train people all day. I often think about my clients needs before I think of my own. For example my toe. I have a staph infection and for 10 days refused to do anything about it for fear I would miss a session or something would be off. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze into an appointment between clients and all was great. However, my unwillingness to take care of myself could of caused a big problem.

I also focus a ton on my client’s mental and emotional well being. This is important to me because if the mind is cleared and focused anything physically will be a piece of cake. I often find that people do not do a good job of taking care of their selves in one manner or another. So I compiled a list of 5 things that you should start doing for yourself to make life a littler easier and a lot more enjoyable:

Start Spending Time with the Right People

These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally. If someone does not do any of the above, think about the relationship you have with them and what can be done to improve it or eliminate it.

Start Appreciating What you Have

It is easy to look at what other people have and become envious. It is also natural. However, when it becomes a battle internally on why someone has something you do not and then you take it a step further and continue to beat yourself up for it, this becomes a vicious cycle. I challenge you to look around you and see all the things that you do have and just how special they are to your life. Worrying about what you do not have is a waste of time.

Start Giving your Dreams a Chance

In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win. Fear nothing, achieve everything.

Start Accepting Things When They are Less Than Perfect

Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.

Start Concentrating on Things You Can Control

You can not control what happens to you but you can control how you handle it. Concentrating on things you cannot control is the biggest waste of worry and energy. When you start to worry, ask yourself “what can I control?” If the answer is nothing then there is no reason to worry about it. Give yourself the credit you deserve by concentrating on things you CAN control. Life will be much simpler then.

Life is hard and will beat you to your knees if you let it. However, how we handle ourselves defines how we handle life. By implementing the above you can take your happiness and life to the next level, which will only help you fitness goals.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Retweeting

jyb_musingsBefore we “retweet” anything it is important to ask ourselves:

1) Are we doing this because we really think it is a Tweet worthy of retweeting (for the sake of humankind)?
2) Or is it worthy of retweeting more as an inside joke to an inner circle of our friends?
3) Or are we trying to curry favor with the Tweeting person even though we don’t believe the Tweet is all that special? 
4) Or are we retweeting a Tweet because that person recently retweeted one of our Tweets (and we’d like for them to do that again)?
5) Or are we just trying to encourage a friend who rarely Tweets anything to hang in there and they will eventually “get” Tweeting?
6) Or are we retweeting to just let others on Twitter know that we know about retweeting and how to do it properly?
7) Or because we just want to cast out some virtual action into the vast abyss of cyberspace in hopes it will momentarily make us feel that we really do matter and can have some impact, however marginal or meaningless, on an impersonal universe?

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Happy New Year?

jyb_musingsI am declaring (for myself anyway) that January 12 at 630 pm is the official end of having to ask people you talk to for the first time this year if they had a nice holiday and happy new year.

Unless you are genuinely curious and sincerely want to know. Or can’t think of absolutely anything else to say.

So to all friends I see for the first time this hear after tonight, we will have to wait until 2016 for me to ask you if you had a nice holiday and happy new year.

(Note: I originally intended January 12 at 430 pm to be the deadline but just finished a conference call with people I didn’t know well and extended the deadline for that call.)

The Recovering Politician Bookstore

     

The RP on The Daily Show

Sign Up For The RP's Email List!

*