The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Riding the Waves of Business

April6

business is like a glassy-fronted wave. you need to know how to approach it and enjoy the ride as opposed to killing yourself working against the wrong currents.

metaphors are great at cocktail parties. but, they are awesome if you understand them, and know how to leverage their foundation.

I recently described the state of our economy to several of my clients through the following analogy:

“Everyone has been wondering when the economy would kick-back-in. However, it’s official, we are in crazy business mode across most of the country. What made the difference? Well… I think someone bought some foreclosure property, and while repairing their landscaping discovered a hidden lever (probably by the saline pool box). They pulled it and the lights came on everywhere. Now its a mad rush to get into the action. Welcome back everyone. Let’s build empires, shall we.”

that got a lot of attention and it went viral. I fielded some radio host chatter, and might get some national sound-bite opportunities.

more importantly, it’s true and evident. and, that’s great news for everyone, providing you, “play your cards right”, or depending on the “wave you ride”, and if you can view business like a chess board (I do). neither has to be a gamble those words imply. however, gambits provide opportunities. NOTE: gambits require information and understanding. experience certainly helps.

in any event, see below for a quick Linkedin exchange I had late in the week with the emphatic Rick Stengard.

Rick StengardRick Stengard Well said. It’s also true that corporations have been quietly cutting expenses and leaning out operations over the past 5 years. Everyone’s ready to get back to making money. We have one big road block left. The Federal and State Governments are now faced with a similar challenge to cut the fat. Have no doubt that will be a painful process but will benefit everyone in the end.

Brian Patrick CorkBrian Patrick Cork I don’t agree that corporate cut-backs have been “quiet” in nature. But, the pain is certainly evident. Meanwhile, we as a business community simply and collectively have decided it’s time to go back to work. Historically, government does not track to the commercial sectors. Instead of running parallel, they are often contrary to one another. But, look for the media’s hand in much of the signaling. Once they decide to write great news it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the other hand, this is simply how commerce works in terms commoditized business.

To wit… When one industry flags, others prosper. That said, the guys that own the Atlanta Ferrari and Maserati dealerships will tell you that cars are flying off their lots. Guess whom is buying them? Minority government contractors. More on that later. I bet I get a call from Mayor Kasim Reed as this comment is likely ignite the potential for a fire-storm. But, it’s accurate information. And, it offers insight into “how things work”.

Business is like a glassy-fronted wave. You need to know how to approach it and enjoy the ride as opposed to killing yourself working against the wrong currents.

oedipus rescued from tragedybeyond my correspondence with Rick I always find references to our government relative to business (and the economy) curious. while our current government has no clue how to stimulate the economy, the notion of government work is generally a oxymoron. but, here is the best part of this post, and I’m curious to see if people pick-up on this… when government expenditures and productivity flag, that is when they start bringing in high-powered and expensive consultants to bring everything back-online. and, in that regard, they behave just like corporate America (and, global commerce, for that matter). look for staffing and consulting companies to be exploding. that’s always a great indicator that the light have come-on and people are dashing about madly pulling levers and pushing buttons.

Ernst & Young is forecasting a growth in it’s own revenues of over $3 Billion dollars over the next twenty-four to thirty-six months.

“Over the next two decades, rising per capita wealth in rapid-growth markets will generate a significant growth opportunity for multinational companies. Understanding this market, and developing products and services that meet its needs, will become a strategic priority that cannot be ignored.”

that comes from one of my guys at E&Y on the innovative task force.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

authentic human progress

November5

Last week, I recalled that, during my many visits to the desert (you’ll ask: “metaphorically speaking?” I’ll respond: “does it really matter?”), I met a wise man named Buck O’Neil – a prophet, if you will – and, asked him the secret to a long, successful life.

“Good genes,” was all he said, at first.

Buck left us all behind October 6, 2006 – the day before my birthday, just like Dad. There is a rhythm and pattern to life with that. But, we’ll discuss it some other time.

His hair was white and his face was mahogany, calling pleasantly to mind a pint of Guinness. “I’m ninety-years old,” he continued, then pressed his fingertips to unlined cheeks, which shone like polished apples.

“Good black don’t crack”, he mused (I’m not sure he actually mused, but that word works, here).

With that, I was fully prepared to move on, and thanked him. In fact, I was already rising halfway from my seat, like a bluffing panelist on To Tell the Truth, when he said softly: “There is one other thing.”

So, I settled back, curious, I might add, and he said:

“I never fill my stomach. My mother was a great cook, but my father told me, ‘She’s only filling your stomach so another woman never gets to. She’s just trying to hold on to you.’ Ever since, I can eat more, but I never do.”

Look… The stories around Buck are countless. Many of them will bring a tear to your eye. Others will make you slap your thigh with joy in preparation of laughter. He was a black man, and it never mattered to him, even though it did to everyone else. But, everyone respected and loved Buck (Note: That might be a vital difference between men like Buck and Barack Obama. By the way, did you know that  Obama high-tailed it to Asia, pouting over his loss of the House Tuesday? Other than a vital need to drive home a point, here, I’m loathe to include Buck in the same story as Obama. But, the only real difference Obama will make in our lives is he must now change his plans to stay in power).

Let other, more articulate folks tell those stories. Especially those that lived them alongside Buck. I never had that privilege. But, I try to learn from men like him, every day, and any way.

Part of that is my on-going efforts to live the Authentic Life. And, that includes having a life well-lived, and worth remembering by those I’ve lived amongst.

So… What, then, is the secret to a life well-lived?

Here was another hint. “Don’t hate another human being,” said O’Neil, whose father was the son of a slave. “Hate cancer. Cancer took my mother, took my wife four years ago. Hate what happened on September 11. But don’t hate another human being. God made man.”

…oh wow.

I did, in fact, find myself thinking: But God made men who denied you, at various times, a toilet, a hotel room, an education, a living, your very humanity. And, of course, I voiced those thoughts, because that’s what I do (“oh really?[!]”, you exclaim. “Brian has opinions he foists on people?”).

“My parents always told me most people are good,” continued O’Neil. “Even when I was young, (Note: he lived his early days in Carrabelle, Florida), most people were good. The thing was, good people sometimes let the bad people have their way. But who wrapped their arms around Jackie Robinson in his time of need? Pee Wee Reese of Louisville, Kentucky, did. The commissioner of baseball in 1947 [Happy Chandler] was a man from Kentucky.”

With this, his left hand grabbed my forearm, and his right fist rapped his own breastbone as if it were a door.

“It comes from in here,” said he. “Doing the right thing. It takes somebody to change something. My grandfather was a slave. And God saw it wasn’t right, so he sent Abraham Lincoln. And Abraham Lincoln joined hands with Frederick Douglass, who joined hands with Sojourner Truth, who joined hands with Harriet Tubman – and, so on.”

Apparently, and thusly, human progress, in O’Neil’s view, is a chain of men with virtu (the Greek form, mind you) in their hearts (the word virtu always has me thinking of Dr. Nick Pappas at Radford University), linked at the wrist and leading to you.

O’Neil paused, and I could only sit quietly in wonder through what must be churning through that lovely mind, and then he added:

“This is the greatest country on Earth, but we can be better. That is going to be your job.”

He held my forearm like a bat. “In my day we changed some things. Now it’s your turn to change things. And you’ll do it. I know you will.”

I did pause. And, when I confessed that I struggled, with my generation, challenged to change our channels manually, much less to change the world, he invoked the memory of his grandfather Julius, born into slavery in South Carolina, and owned by a man with the surname, O’Neil.

“Grandpa used to tell me he loved Mr. O’Neil,” he said. “And I would ask him: ‘Grandpa, how could you love a man who kept you as his slave?’ And Grandpa said, ‘He never sold off a mother from her children, he never sold off a husband from his wife.’ And Grandpa, this is before all the doctors and all the medicine we have today, lived to be one-hundred-and-two years old.”

Was this good genes, I wondered, or something greater? I was merely seeking the secret of a life well-lived – how to progress – and, felt I was getting closer. So, I asked about that. And when the old man, once again, took my arm in his hand, I felt physically linked in that chain-of-virtu to all who had gone before me…

“Love,” he half-whispered, as if sharing a confidence. “Love, man. This is the whole thing.”

So… You gotta be a “Love Kat”. It’s been awhile since I invoked that one. It’s timely to be sure.

Peace be to my brothers and sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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