Due to the technical knowledge and personal dedication of Kelly my VA (that is “virtual assistant” to the non-nerd among my readers), these words get thrust into the real world at precisely 00:01 on New Year’s Day 2022. Therefore, they are the first public discharge from my somewhat addled brain. The traditional first utterance for most is the listing of New Year’s Resolutions. In my case, that makes for a short message as I really do not make any resolutions worth reading about. But what can I communicate about my approach to the new year? If I look at what devices I have historically used in the past to view the future, I can categorize them as:
- Business Plans
Business Plans are a disciplined way to look at the future. The form and content varies, but basically you state a goal, and then create a plan to meet that goal. This requires a lot of thought, research and detailed analysis. You must clearly state the goal in precise terms. It must be a rational, obtainable goal. You must analyze and state the resources and actions required to meet the goal, in addition to setting a time line for achieving it. It is important to think about the risks that you face, and how you will measure success. If you want to learn more, get an MBA and spend the rest of your life pounding a keyboard after making sure your medical insurance covers carpel tunnel syndrome.
What I have learned about business planning is that you should devote a lot of time and energy into creating them, and you should seek the help and council of others to get the best, most comprehensive input. Once my plan is completed, I take it and throw it in the waste basket because I must face reality, which will be considerably different than what the plan envisioned. What the plan provided was a feedback error signal for how the goal and means to achieve it have shifted.
Designs: The business plan states what you are trying to accomplish by creating detailed designs. In my experience, a design was usually a new instrumentation device that had a very specific purpose. It had several sub- systems, which must be created to arrive at a functional end item. For example, I designed recording instruments that would detect the electrical activity of the brain. This required amplifiers that were high-gain ultra-low noise with specific frequency response supported by special power supplies and cabling. Those sub-assemblies put together created the instrument that met the design specification.
Dreams can be called by several names such as bucket lists, wishes, prayers, aspirations, etc. The nature of dreams is that they reside in your mind and seldom, if ever, see reality. They help you pass idle hours in the day and put you to sleep at night. They span the full breadth of your existence as they weave in and out of your thoughts. They know no boundaries and demand no physical resources for their creation. They are most likely what make us human. I think most of us envision positive dreams about the future – what we would like to have happen rather than things we are afraid will happen. Those negative thoughts are our “fears.”
WAIT FOR IT . . . CHARLIE’S THOUGHTS ON 2022
Business Plan: This is cut and dried and set in solidifying cement, like the footprints and signatures in front of Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I want to see the movie script now called “Full Throttle” completed and promoted for sale to a movie producer. My contribution is three-fold: to fund the creation of the script, to help with technical content, and to collaborate on plot lines and scenes. The real work is being done by Mark Kudlow in Los Angeles. He has been at it for over a year. The creation of a movie script is far different than writing a book. What may take a paragraph to write about in a novel may only take a fleeting glance to communicate in a movie. Mark has to control the interest and emotions of the audience through the use of words and pictures. This take tremendous skill and great talent that only comes with years of successful experience.
Once the completed script is in the binder, it now transitions to the nefarious task of finding a buyer. This takes contacts, timing, and luck as there is no direct market path to a sale. It is intellectual property; therefore, you have to find someone or an entity that thinks they can make money by buying it and making a movie. I am not sure what part I will play in this process, but I have no doubt it will be interesting.
Assessment: I have full confidence that this will be a really good script that will result in a great, action-packed movie. Is there a market for it in an ultra-competitive business?
Prediction: 80% likely we will find a buyer.
Design: No doubt about this project! I will complete the design and construction of the “Bluebird,” the 1962 Pontiac Catalina restomod that I have written about throughout this year. As these words are unfolding on the page, the custom interior is being sewn and glued into the car. It will be done “soon,” a word without rigorous definition. The design goal is to have a brand new, high performance reliable car in a stunning older body. With a new, high performance LS3 engine, 6 speed automatic transmission, disk brake conversion, Auburn limited slip differential, total rebuilt suspension, bare metal paint prep, new glass, new custom interior with Cadillac power seats and a Kenwood nav/sound system, it should more than meet the design goal.
Assessment: Since the construction is nearly complete and no corners have been cut, the assessment concerns the attainment of the goal of new car performance and reliability. Is everything properly installed and tested? Will the parts function as designed?
Prediction: 90% it meets performance and reliability.
Dreams: When the Bluebird is finished, I want to find a good buddy and take off for a tour of the Northwest – maybe even drive to Alaska. I need a good, safe, long distance driver as well as someone who shares my interests in travel, conversation, and music. I have been in many parts of the world, including all 50 states, but I have never really explored the Northwest. I hope to find open roads, beautiful scenery and meet interesting people.
Assessment: I feel great, but I cannot deny what the calendar says. How to find a companion?
Prediction: 40% likely I will find a driving companion for the Northwest trip.
My one and only granddaughter is going to get married in Spain in September. I have been invited by her and my daughter to make a vacation out of attending the wedding. I may yet become a great-grandfather.
Assessment: If my bad back holds up and the bad bug is contained, I will make it there.
Prediction: 95% I will be attending the wedding – and making a vacation out of the trip – Olé!
So here is a bourbon and ginger toast to your happy plans, designs, dreams and New Year’s resolutions.
Prediction: 100% (Unless I run out of bourbon and ginger … )