Monday 27 August 2007

Funny Money

by Ronnie Apteker

We take our work seriously. But we don’t take ourselves seriously. We try to laugh when we can and we try to learn from our mistakes.

Someone sent this to me. It was too good to keep to myself. Learn, laugh and enjoy.

Here they are, the lessons of business:

Corporate Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. After a few seconds of arguing over which one should go and answer the doorbell, the wife gives up, quickly wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbour.

Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you 800 dollars to drop that towel that you have on." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob.

After a few seconds, Bob hands her 800 dollars and leaves. Confused, but excited about her good fortune, the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets back to the bathroom, her husband asks from the shower "Who was that?" "It was Bob the next door neighbour," she replies. "Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the 800 dollars he owes me?"


If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk in time with your stakeholders, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Corporate Lesson 2

A priest was driving along and saw a nun on the side of the road; he stopped and offered her a lift which she accepted. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to open and reveal a lovely leg.

The priest had a look and nearly had an accident.

After controlling the car, he stealthfully slid his hand up her leg. The nun looked at him and immediately said, "Father, remember psalm 129?" The priest was flustered and apologized profusely. He forced himself to remove his hand.

However, he was unable to remove his eyes from her leg.

Further on while changing gear, he let his hand slide up her leg again.
The nun once again said, "Father, remember psalm 129?" Once again the priest apologized. "Sorry sister but the flesh is weak."

Arriving at the convent, the nun got out gave him a meaningful glance and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to retrieve a bible and looked up psalm 129. It said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."


Always be well informed in your job, or you might miss a great opportunity!

Corporate Lesson 3

Usually the staff of the company plays football. The middle level managers are more interested in tennis. The top management usually has a preference for golf.


As you go up the corporate ladder, the balls reduce in size.

Corporate Lesson 4

A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof!
She's gone.

In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The Manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."


Always let your boss have the first say.

Corporate Lesson 5

An old man, a boy and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.
The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people who remarked, “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk”. They then decided they both would walk.

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people who shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and it fell into the river and drowned.


If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye.

Saturday 18 August 2007

I need to talk to you

by Ronnie Apteker

With all these communications devices and with all the amazing technology we have today we still don’t know how to communicate. Actually, we are becoming worse listeners by the day. It is not easy to listen to people. It requires real time. Really listening means giving someone your full attention. And how does one pay attention with the cellphone ringing, SMS’s flying in every direction, email downloading by the truckload, and more.

But this is actually a whole separate discussion, Today I want to talk about something more curious. Every other month I bump into someone I know, either in a restaurant, or on the street, or in a shopping mall, and just about every time the conversation goes like this “I have been wanting to talk to you about something important. A big opportunity.” Now this is confusing. If they wanted to talk to me why didn’t they call me? Did they plan on bumping into me like that? If something is important to you, and if you thought I could add value to your idea, then surely you would pick up the phone. Surely you would make contact. How can you take someone seriously when you run into in the toilet for a leek, and someone there tries to talk to you, especially when you are in a hurry? And then they look at you like there is something wrong. Just about week at our offices someone walks past me in the corridor and just starts going on about something. How do they expect me to listen when I am in a hurry? How do they expect me to take them seriously when they go on how urgent and important it is? Seriously, if someone really wanted to speak to you they would make an effort.

My film making work also invites a lot of callers. At least once a week someone mails me or phones me (I am easy to find – I am in the book) and wants to talk about their movie project. Now, I understand how excited they are, how passionate they are, but that does mean much. Many people are passionate and excited. What I want to know is how they are under pressure. I want to know how much substance they have. Strength of character is more important to me than the strength of a screenplay. And they pretty much always say the same thing “Can I come see you tomorrow?” When I ask them what about they go on and on and on. It is actually quite disempowering. I then ask them to send me a short one or two paragraph description that I can read and think about. If something capture’s my imagination then I probably will look into further. But, how can I take a guy seriously that starts swearing and ranting when I ask him to send me a summary to read. The other day someone went off at me, “What’s your problem? Are you important to see me?” They call me looking for my input or help and they go off at me like that.

Yes, we have not mastered the art of communications and yet we keep inventing new ways to communicate. This is the paradox of progress at play. You have to laugh!

Saturday 11 August 2007

You got to be lucky!

by Ronnie Apteker

I once heard a great entrepreneur tell me that making money is about 10% seichel and 90% mazel. Yes, this wise old Jewish man told me that making money is more about luck than anything else. In fact, he went on to say that those who use less seichel (brains) always tend to make more money. It really is so much about mazel (luck), and as I grow older I believe this more and more.

J. Paul Getty was once asked about his great success. He said that the secret is to wake up early, work hard, and find oil! One thing is for sure, the more you dig, the more you get closer to the oil. Luck favours the persistent. As Gary Player once said “The more I practice the luckier I get.”

Positive energy has a big influence on luck. People that are positive tend to think more rationally. They tend to see the bigger picture. The decisions they make are more insightful. And the end result is more victorious. Some may speak about karma or they may use that old saying “what goes around comes around”. One thing is for sure, people that smile a lot tend to be luckier. People who laugh and share tend to win more.

I believe that there is a way to change one’s luck. Yes, you have to work hard, and you have to take chances, but it is not all about being smart. You can be very smart and also be very unlucky. You have to want it. You have to have faith and you have to be totally committed. It needs to come from inside your soul. It needs to come from your heart. And it needs to be something you love. You can’t fake it.

I have been very lucky in my life. I do work non-stop and I do love what I do. It doesn’t always love me back, but I am driven and I never give up. But, I do always try treat everyone the same, with respect, with kindness, with grace. The more I do this the more things seem to fall into place. I think the best way to sum this all up is with another old saying: the best way to receive is to give.

If you want to be luckier start being kinder. Start giving more. Ok, one last quote for today. This is a wise expression that I only started to fully understand in the past few years. Read this one a few times. It carries an important message: "When I was young, I admired clever people. As I grew old I came to admire kind people." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

Sunday 5 August 2007

Is time all about money?

by Ronnie Apteker

This year has been such a blur. Just about everyone I speak to can’t believe how fast paced this year has been. Is this what the progress paradox is all about? I once heard a saying that said that some people spend time to save money while others spend money to save time.

I know this is stating the obvious, but time is the only thing we can’t get back. Money, on the other hand, comes and goes.

Here is a story someone sent me years ago. This is something we should all read every so often. Because we tend to forget what is important.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

"Daddy, may I ask you a question?"
"Yeah sure, what is it?"
"Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"
"That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?" the man said angrily.
"I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?" pleaded the little boy.

"If you must know, I make $20 an hour."
"Oh," the little boy replied, with his head down.
Looking up, he said, "Daddy, may please borrow $10?"

The father was furious, "If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work long hard hours everyday and don't have time for such childish behaviour."

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions.

How dare he ask such questions only to get some money? After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. May be there was something he really needed to buy with that $10, and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

"Are you asleep, son?" he asked.
"No Daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy.
"I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on your earlier," said the man.

"It's been a long day, and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's that $10 you asked for."

The little boy sat straight up, smiling, "Oh, thank you Daddy!" he yelled.

Then reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at his father.

"Why do you want more money if you already have some?" the father grumbled. "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do," the little boy replied.

"Daddy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you."

Share this story with someone you like - but even better, share $20 worth of time with someone you love. It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.