Mississippi State Flag Column from 2001 (just before vote on state flag change)

Look out! Red and Fred tackle the volatile flag issue

From the Ground Up

Once again we find Fred and Red at the Main Street coffee shop discussing issues of the day and other serious matters, such as whether the unseasonably warm weather will last through the weekend.

Fred: I see you’ve installed one of those banner flagpoles on your house.

Red: I’ve been meaning to do that a long time. Last Veterans Day I looked around, and all my neighbors had those little flag banners stinking out from their houses or sprouting from trees in their front yards. One neighbor has his son’s high school banner, another has one with an acorn on it, and the lady across the street has a big yellow one with a tennis racket on it. I decided it was time for me to show off what I believed in.

Fred: So you went and bought an American flag kit?

Red: More or less. That big appliance store was giving them away with the purchase of a new big screen TV. I needed a new TV. Figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Fred: But you aren’t flying the American flag? You’re flying the Mississippi flag?

Red: Now there you go Fred, showing your ignorance again. Pass some of that artificial sweetener this way, please sir.

Fred: You have managed to confuse me this morning, Red. I thought you said that Veterans Day brought out the American in you, so you went and got an American flag. Now you are flying a Mississippi flag.

Red: The weather has got your ears messed up. I didn’t say that at all. I said that on Veterans Day I got to thinking about getting a flag. The appliance store gave me a choice — an American flag or what used to be the Mississippi flag. According to the Mississippi Supreme Court, Mississippi does not have a flag. So, let’s just refer to it as the “Flag Formerly Known as the State Flag of Mississippi.”

Fred: I haven’t seen you this emotional about something in a long time.

Red: This flag thing did it. Not only am I flying the “flag formerly known as the State Flag of Mississippi” on my house, I am sporting a new bumper sticker on my pickup that says, “Preserve Mississippi’s Heritage.” It’s time to take a stand on this issue.

Fred: Good for you. People should stand up for what they believe in.

Red: That’s right. Do you want a bumper sticker? I’ve got a half dozen of them.

Fred: No thanks.

Red: Why not? Your grandfather fought at Vicksburg. You’re a bona fide ancestor of a Confederate veteran. Aren’t you proud of your heritage? And shouldn’t people stand up for what they believe in, like you just said?

Fred: I’m very proud of my heritage and I love Mississippi. But I’m not going to put one of those bumper stickers on my vehicle. And I’m a descendent of a Confederate veteran, not an ancestor.

Red: Whatever.

Fred: This flag thing is really getting some people riled up, isn’t it?

Red: Man, you are not kidding. People are tired of having things shoved down their throats. This is one time we can make a stand.

Fred: Some people might say that the old Mississippi flag was shoved down their throats.

Red: Well then they can just vote for a new one, if and when we have a vote that’s going to cost $3 million. Ask the server to bring us some more coffee, will you?

Fred: I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in. You obviously have strong feelings about it.

Red: (standing up) Oh my gosh, look at the time. I told the wife I would bring home some butter. She’s baking a cake for the church bazaar tonight. I better get going. Now, you are going to vote, aren’t you?

Fred: Of course.

Red: Good. I’m glad we’re finally having freedom of choice. Isn’t that what everybody wanted — freedom of choice?

Fred: Um hmm.

Red: Well, tell everybody to vote for “The Flag Formerly Known as the State Flag of Mississippi.” And tell them to call me if they need a bumper sticker.

Fred: I’m not voting for the “Flag Formerly Known as the State Flag of Mississippi.”

Red: (sitting back down and leaning forward) My gosh, Fred. Don’t say that so loud. Somebody might hear you. Are you feeling okay?

Fred: I feel fine. It’s just that if more people vote for “The Flag Formerly Known as the State flag of Mississippi” then we will be worse off than we are now.

Red: What in the devil’s name are you talking about? The best flag wins. Whichever one. And that will be it.

Fred: I’m afraid not, Red. If the old flag wins then I fear we will see people filing lawsuits, marching in the streets, telling others not to have their conventions in Mississippi, and talking on national television about how we can’t get away from our racially-troubled past. Not only that, some people say that economic development will be hurt. How do you think some company is going to feel if they announce a new plant in Mississippi, then get a visit to their annual stockholders’ meeting by some group wanting to boycott Mississippi?

Red: That’s a scare tactic, and you know it, Fred. What we have here is pure and simple — some people want one flag and some people don’t want it. An election by the people is the way to decide it, and the vote is final. Loser goes home.

Fred: So you think this is all about choice?

Red: Absolutely. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Fred: Sorry, Red. This isn’t about choice.

Red: So, what’s it about?

Fred: It’s about peace.

Phil Hardwick’s column on Mississippi Business appears regularly in the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is phil@hardwick.com.

Fathers Day Thoughts

June 21, 2015

FATHERS DAY THOUGHTS – Moments after our first child was born I sat in the small chapel at the hospital pondering what was ahead in life, how things would change and what kind of father I would become. I prayed for guidance. Shortly thereafter I looked up on the wall and saw two framed cross-stitched pieces of advice. One said “More than anything else a child wants to be just like his parents.” The other said, “The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother.” Those words have served me – and my family – well. Happy Fathers Day to all you dads.

Online serial novel now up to Chapter 6

The first 6 chapters of my serial novel, THE ALIBI, are now online at www.philhardwick.com and linked to the Mississippi Business Journal. A Madison County, MS elected official is the prime suspect because the car used in the burglary bore her license plate number. OK, survey time. Do you think she was responsible for the theft of the specially-crafted Brett Favre exhibit from the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum? In Chapter 7, a visit to Ocean Springs.

It’s My Job: Concert Tech Roadie

March 20, 2015

A few nuggets from today’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “Doctor, Lawyer … Roadie,” by Neil Shah:

Live music concert technicians average $57K per year;

Tour coordinators – $175K per year;

Fulltime songwriter jobs in Nashville are down 80% since 2000;

Record sales down almost 60% since 1994.

The music industry is shifting to live music events because that’s where the profits are now. Consequently, jobs around live concerts are growing in number and in value. Employment opportunities are growing. The North American concert industry was valued at $6.2 billion in 2014, up from $1.4 billion in 1994.

Phil Hardwick’s Strategy Letter Launched

PHIL HARDWICK’S STRATEGY LETTER

Greetings:
In case you haven’t heard, I retired from the Stennis Institute recently. Of course, that does not mean I have retired altogether. I’m still teaching part-time at Millsaps College, facilitating strategic planning retreats, doing leadership training, writing and generally staying busier than ever. You can read more about that in this Mississippi Business Journal article.
I’ll also be publishing my new monthly newsletter, which will be about strategy and goal setting. Each issue will feature an organization (profit or nonprofit), a government entity and an individual.
IMPORTANT – To receive my FREE newsletter, simply send an email to phil@philhardwick.com. Enter SUBSCRIBE STRATEGY in the subject.  Oh, one more thing: Your email address will never be shared with anyone else.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s get to it.
*****
In the business world, the search for new strategies is everywhere. Newspapers and retailers especially have to figure out new strategies. Strategy is about HOW to achieve goals. Sometimes the right strategy is tied to the wrong goal, and vice versa.

In 2011, Ron Johnson left Apple to become CEO of J.C. Penney. His strategy for the struggling department store chain was to eliminate cashiers and checkout counters and have small, more upscale specialty shops within the department store. No more clearance sales and heavy couponing. An interesting strategy, for sure. How did it work out? Only 17 months after Johnson came to Penney, sales had plunged, losses had grown and Johnson was out the door. Read about it in this Business Insider slide show:
http://tinyurl.com/lx7xugs
or this Forbes magazine article:
http://tinyurl.com/coe352r

*****
Ever heard of CircleUp? It’s strategy is to connect investors with innovative consumer and retail companies using a crowdfunding platform, i.e. using the Internet to connect a large number of investors to an investment. For companies, it’s a new strategy to raise capital. Check it out at https://circleup.com.
*****
Cities are always looking for strategies to create more revenue because citizens loathe the idea of having taxes raised. Earlier this month Atlanta decided to ask businesses to place ads on public buildings and other public places. It appears that the strategy is backfiring as citizen uproar is rather loud. Just because this strategy worked for naming public sports complexes doesn’t mean it will work for other city properties. Read about it at:
http://tinyurl.com/o3w9thk
*****
It’s that time of year for New Year’s resolutions and goal setting of all types. What’s your goal for 2015? And what is your strategy for achieving it? Research has shown that there are three keys (strategies) to achieving goals: (1) write it down, (2) share it with someone else and (3) be accountable to someone. I’ll be putting those strategies into practice in my hometown by forming a goal setters luncheon club that will meet on a regular basis during the year to hold each other accountable for achieving our goals. If you’re in the Jackson, Mississippi area and would like more information about joining the group just send me an email at phil@philhardwick.com.
*****
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
We judge ourselves by our intentions. We judge others by their actions.
*****
Wishing you a healthy, happy and strategic 2015.
Phil

www.philhardwick.com
phil@philhardwick.com
Strategic Planning
Group Facilitation
Leadership Training
Keynotes/Breakouts

The Crazy World of Book Buying

December 29, 2014

Today I read an article about John Hailman’s latest book, “The Search for Good Wine.” Hailman is a fascinating individual. He’s a former federal prosecutor, syndicated food, wine and travel columnist, law school professor and a graduate of my alma mater, Millsaps College. I’ve read one of his previous books, “From Midnight to Guntown.” Having a slightly above average interest in wine and having just returned from a week in Burgundy, France I just had to get Hailman’s book on wine. Another influence was that he was a Mississippian. Hmm… a Mississippian and wine. That just doesn’t seem to go together, does it? Alas, another reason to order the book. Off I went online in search of places to order the book. Being that today is the week after Christmas the thought of a good deal entered my mind.

My first online stop was the website of University Press, the book’s publisher. It listed the price as $29.95 (cloth), plus $2.62 tax and $7.50 for shipping, for a  total of $40.07.

Next was Amazon.com, which offered a variety of prices. They were as follows:
Hardcover (?) version for $22.19, plus $4.98 shipping = $27.17;
“New” – 34 from $16.86, plus $3.99 shipping = $20.85;
“Used” – 10 from $15.11, plus $3.99 shipping = $19.10; and
Kindle edition for $16.49.

Further searching revealed that Target.com offered the book for $9.19, plus $2.79 shipping and $.84 tax, for a total of $12.82.

Finally, I checked my local independent bookstore, Lemuria Books, and discovered that it had the book in stock at a price of $29.95, plus tax of $3.97, for a total of $32.34. However, there was something special about this copy of the book. It was a signed, first edition. Because I live about a mile from this bookstore I did not consider shipping costs.

So there it is. My choices are to buy the physical book online, where the price range is from $12.82 to $40.07, delivered to my doorstep or drive a mile and pay$32.34 for a signed first edition. And of course there is the Kindle edition, which is a click away for $16.49.

The crazy, fascinating world of book buying.

 

YFS Best Small Business Books of 2014

One of the weekly business shows that I record for later viewing is Your Business, with J.J. Ramberberg. . It’s all about small business and is a program I recommend for small business owners and anyone thinking about going into business for themselves. This past week Ramberg referenced the YSF Magazine‘s (the YSF stands for Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed) Best Small Business Books of 2014. GOOD TO GREAT is a classic, and one I refer to often in my college class. Now I have four more to add to my reading list. Here’s the list:

1. #GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso
2. BUSINESS MODEL GENERATION: A Handbook for Visionaries,Game Changers and Challengers, byAlexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
3. DO IT! MARKETING: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition, by David Newman
4. GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, by Jim Collins
5. HOOKED: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal