ACIT Executive Business Breakfast + + +

On Wednesday, November 5th, 2003, I attended the Advancement for Commerce, Industry, and Technology monthly Executive Business Breakfast meeting allllllll the way out at the Huntington Hilton on Long Island. Sure I've been to LI, but only once, and on the LIRR. This time, we took the highway, and because I didn't know any better, I made plans to go to a meeting about 30 minutes after this breakfast.

Have you ever taken the highway out there? It's insane. A combined 4 and a-half hours stuck in traffic. I've never seen anything like it. There oughtta be a law banning that many cars in any town. But it's not entirely drivers' fault. It turns out the city, in it's arrogant exclusivity, decided not to spend on it's transportation and just let everyone car it back and forth. The problem is, everyone cars it back and forth to the same place, New York City, and there's only so many vehicles this city can hold.

But anyway, it's a miracle we made it there by 8am from New Jersey on this highway, but we did. We got there too late to network, but the breakfast was actually some of the best I've had. Continental AND bacon, eggs, and potatoes.

The lecture was given by Economists Dr. Pearl Kamer, Professor of Finance School of Business and Director Global Studies Institute Adelphi University, and Rae M. Rosen, senior economist and assistant vice president Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Although enlightening, much of what they spoke about was already in the papers: jobless recovery, but LI is fairing better than the rest of the state (of course.)

Sometime during this speech, I sort of zonked out and thought about the purpose of consultants. (Yea, I just think about stuff like this all the time.) Let's face it, few people like consultants. So why hire them? It's not like you can't balance your own books, defend yourself in court, or fix your company's problems given enough time and the proper resources, right? But we live in a society that hates to take the blame. It's never your fault, it's always someone else's. And that's why you hire guys like me. Not only will we tell you all your available options, we'll also tell you the consequences of each, and if you ask for it, tell you what you should do, then do it for you. And if YOU screw it up, that's ok, because you can always blame it on me.

In Japan, there are services that apologize on your behalf to someone you've shamed or wronged. Humility is a huge business in Japan mainly because they're not confrontational as a society. Sure, you can say it's led to the ridiculous government scandals, corporate fraud and f*kd up economy they've experienced in the last 5 years. But one thing Japanese never do is blame. (Hence, why you're expected to apologize.) Rather, they spend their time more effectively getting the problem fixed. The one to blame isn't fired. Instead, they learn never to do it again and generally become a very dependable person afterwards. (They used to chop off body parts as symbols or reminders. Too many mistakes, well, you get the picture.) If it'll make you feel better about hiring me to make up your mind, I'll take the blame (but won't chop off my parts. Maybe a "partial" refund). Just make sure you recognize the value of consultants in helping you reduce the risk of making those big, important decisions.

Anyway, after the economics lesson was over, they made some announcements about new board members. As the speaker got started, then kept going, I sorta counted the number of people in the room (at least 150) as he was reading off the names, and I could have sworn that half the room were board members. The reason ACIT's been successful for over 40 years is because they make everyone a board member and who wouldn't want to be "on the board" of LI's most prominent networking organization?

The organization is ultra-close knit and it's obvious that plenty of serious business gets done at these meetings. But in order for me to have taken advantage, I'd probably have to move out there and attend those things regularly. Overall, I gave it three pluses (+ + +), mainly for food and the very interesting people I did get to meet afterwards. Who knows, I may need a private investigator or prepaid legal services one day.


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