Tag Archives: inspirational

More Good Press For B Corps

6 Feb

This week’s theme has been about leadership, being bold, changing things up with new ideas.

Many of you know we are a Certified B Corporation.  This is sometimes something I think our company deserves more credit for being. But I understand why it flies under most people’s radar. it is a bit of a complicated philosophy.

Earlier this week, I wrote about a failure in leadership. I followed that post with a few posts about people making change.  Today, I share with you David Brooks’ NY Times op-ed piece on “How to Leave a Mark.”

Please, take a moment to read it.  Take a moment to discover more companies that are B Corps. If you can, support them.


Where are the Leaders?

2 Feb

Not sure who said this but it applies very well across the globe today. “Leadership involves remembering past mistakes, an analysis of today’s achievements, and a well-grounded imagination in visualizing the problems of the future.”

Whether divisiveness in Europe, the Middle East or here at home what is needed is leadership.  We seem to be very good at recalling the mistakes and trying to place blame. But our current world leaders have no skill in analysis of today nor any imagination for a better future.

You know where else we lack leadership in this world? People’s money and savings. Whether it is a poorly constructed 401(k) at work or Wall Street’s continual refusal to do what is right by the American public due to their out-sized need for egregious profits, the industry of financial advice lacks solid leadership.

The quasi-regulators at the SEC and FINRA would rather focus on making sure this blog is written in an ‘approved’ manner than catch crooks like Clay Stephens or Bernie Madoff before they destroy the finances of so many. Why are they focused on the wrong places, time and again?

Advisers in Sonoma County and all over the country continue to legally sell awful equity indexed annuities, garbage private or ‘alternative’ investments, stuff people into insurance policies they don’t need and worse.  All because the regulators in power refuse to stiffen their backs to heavy industry lobbying.

Individuals far and wide continue to bank at major Wall Street corporations, continue to invest on the advice of major Wall Street corporations and continue to get fleeced by both.  Why? Why do folks do things against their self-interest?

Out here, in our humble Santa Rosa outpost, we keep swinging at the windmills.  We keep urging people to take responsibility with their money.  To find a financial adviser who is independent of Wall Street, someone they can trust will put the client’s interests before the advisor’s.

So, I commend you reading this. Many of you are our clients.  You’ve placed your trust in a firm that respects and appreciates you rather than sees you as an easy mark, a dollar sign, a chump. You are ‘shopping locally’ when you engage our firm.  You are telling Wall Street you’ve had enough. You are telling your government there is a better way to regulate the securities world. Thank you!

Share this with your friends. See if they are fed up with the misdirection, the half-truths, and the obvious skullduggery of the big guys on Wall Street.  Let’s go have coffee with someone you know who might be tired of all this.  Let’s keep swinging at windmills and see how many we can take down!


How About That?

8 Aug

When I was a kid, I listened to baseball on the radio a lot!  But on Saturday, there was always a “Game of the Week” on tv! It was fun for me to watch this game with my dad.  The man calling the game was always Mel Allen.  Here is an example of Mel’s soothing voice.

One of his catch phrases was “How About That!?”

Was it a question? A statement? A little of both?

Why am I bringing up an old Yankee announcer? To make a very important point.  One of our favorite clients, Chuck, a rabid Yankee fan, gave me a “How About That!?” moment the other day.

He asked us if we could manage the assets for a friend of his who just inherited quite a lot of money. Over $1million.  How about that!

But instead of jumping right on it, I had a different approach. “How about the three of us go to lunch, my treat? I want your friend to know me before we jump into business right away.” Chuck appreciated the soft approach and he did mention he thought his buddy would, too.

Over the years, there has been a lot of things done by advisers that have given my profession a black eye.  So, I understand when a person might be reticent and unsure what to ask or do when trying to find a financial adviser that they can trust.

In the future, if one of your associates, friends, or family members might need the help of someone like me, instead of saying “Call Matt” maybe this ‘social’ approach might be best?  We can grab a cup of coffee or lunch, my treat, and get to know your friend socially a bit and they can determine if we’re the kind of folks they could trust with such an important aspect of their lives.

If we click socially, we can take them through our process later.  anyway, I thought I’d mention this story in case you knew of someone you had wanted to introduce to us but weren’t sure the best way to bring it up.  Have a great weekend!

Time Machine

4 Aug

Did you wonder if I’d ever write again?  The trip I took to Brazil in June really threw my writing routine for a loop. But for August, we start fresh again.  My plan is to stay on the writing tip consistently from here on out.

I’ll start easy!  How about a walk back through time? If you click on this link –


You can do just that!  Once you are at that website, you’ll notice a photo of US troop boats. This is April 5, 1944 in a little English village named Weymouth.  But the fun is in clicking and holding your mouse clicker and then sliding your mouse to the right.  The photo morphs into that same spot but how it looks today.

Scroll down and there are several more photos where you can play with the ‘time-machine’ and see how much things have changed but also how much they have remained the same.


Como Se Dice?

21 May

As I prepare for my two week visit to Brazil, I’ve been studying Brazilian Portuguese for 15-20 minutes each day.  Sarah is pretty tired of hearing me repeat “Onge fica o hotel?” Where is the hotel? But you know what, it is working? I have a bit of an aptitude for languages, to be sure. But I do feel this method I’m employing (Pimsleur Language Learning) is very effective. When I arrive in Fortaleza in three weeks, I’ll be able to make short conversation after only two months of study.


It proves a point made in this article from Forbes. That memorizing verbs and vocabulary are really not the most efficient means of learning a language.  Rosetta Stone figured this out years ago. So has Pimsleur, the software I’m using. If only they had told my old French profs at Sonoma State.  I’ll never forget Madame Fallandy hewing to old-fashioned teaching methods.  It seemed to me the only thing missing was for her to beat my knuckles with a ruler! She’d have loved that, I think.

But she beat my brains in to memorize the subjunctive tense and use it correctly.  20 years later, I still cannot effectively use that tense in French, or English, really.  But because of my many months of living in France, immersed in the language, I’m still quite fluent conversationally. Sure, I mismatch noun genders and verb tenses.  But the French understand me. “Je me debrouille” the French might say. I get along well in French.

And isn’t that the point of learning another language? To get along? To find understanding? So why do we focus on verb tenses and conjugations we’d only ever use 1% of the time?  It turns out, if you master about 200 words and sayings, you can pretty much make it through any language pretty well.  Because most languages lean heavily on the usage of a limited amount of words.

It is only in writing or reading that your other vocabulary and verbs come into play.  But think of your own day to day conversations.  More than 80% of what you say on a daily basis is a combination of questions and answers and thought words you use all the time.

Hope our Middle schools and High Schools will learn from this. It would help America in so many ways to be more open to Spanish and Mandarin.  In the long run, it will certainly be difficult for us to continue down this monolinguistic path.

Friday and I Don’t Feel Like Working!

25 Apr

According to this interesting post, I’ll have to “make like Spock and ignore my feelings.  They are getting in my way!”

Have a read of this article if you’re like me and are having trouble motivating to work when the weekend is just right around the corner!

Tropical Madness

6 Jan

Today’s post is all about a friend of mine, Marc De Faoite.

While I haven’t actually seen Marc in person since the spring of 2001, thankfully our friendship is deep enough to withstand not physically hanging out much.  Modern communications via Facebook and email have helped us stay in touch in spite of quite a geographic distance.

Marc's new book

Marc’s new book

When I last saw Marc, we were camping in the Pyrenees, debating all number of issues under the clear night skies of those amazing mountains.

We first met in Belgium back in 1995.  Working in a hotel together, we became fast friends. Marc grew up in Ireland. Soon though, it became clear we shared more in common than language. Surrounded by Flemish and Walloons, our common language of English helped foster what would later become one of my favorite friendships.

We spent the entire summer together harassing the entire female population of Belgium.  He also spent countless evenings disabusing me of my romantic notions of my Irish ancestry. In turn, I’d be extolling the amazing beauty of California and imploring him to understand that not all of America was what one saw in movies and on TV.

He helped me come to grips with a failing relationship in America and a budding new love affair in Europe. He showed me the ropes of working in Europe and taught me that my hard-driving American ways wouldn’t go over to well with my European superiors at the office.

He sampled chocolate chip cookies for the first time. I sampled imported goods he’d brought back from Malawi. We both explored cheap eats and amazing beers and wines. Most important of all, he awakened the inner writer in me. This is something for which I’ll always be grateful. Along the way, we drank, smoked and so thoroughly enjoyed that summer together as outsiders in a strange little country that when I invited him to California for the following summer, he jumped at the chance.

I hadn’t understood that would mean his French girlfriend, Deborah, would be along with him. But the three of us stuffed into a 600 square foot cottage in western Petaluma and made it work.

Marc showed me his work ethic as he cleared an overgrown patch of weeds and brambles one week while I was at work.  We turned it into a wonderfully serene patio in the shade. I showed him how to trap gophers. We grew tomatoes and veggies. Deborah took work with my dad’s gas station. Marc soon found work at a local deli.  For the most part, we had sent a second riotous summer together.  Toward the end, the tight space (and perhaps the attitude of his oh so French lady friend) got to us all. They left back for Europe and I got my tiny bit of space back!

In August of 1999, we had an amazing few weeks together in Zimbabwe. New stories and memories were formed by two strong-willed gents who liked to have things their way and weren’t afraid to let that be known. I’ll never forget the train, bus and car rides interrupted by river rafting down the Zambezi, picking up hitch hikers in the middle of no where and camping in the Chimanimani Mountains. All while Robert Mugabe announced plans to kick the whites off their farm land and the country literally fell apart all around us.

Seemingly, this man is a moving story storm. Wherever he goes, stories find him. That’s why I’m excited to read his first published book of short stories. I’ve read through a few, previous to publication.  And I’ve been reading his missives for nearly 20 years now. His writing is fantastic. If you’d ever like to read about what it is like to live in Malaysia, I’d not imagine you could find a better insight.

Congratulations, Marc!  I hope this is only the first of many books you’re to publish!


Finally – A Large Corporation Takes a Stand for People over Profit

12 Dec

We don’t often see major companies making moral stands these days.  Yes, there are the Costcos, Patagonias and B Corporations of the world.

But here is a story I found inspirational.  I’m no big fan of Coca Coal and am certainly upset with their role in this country’s growing obesity issues.  However, this story demonstrates they can see and act on what is right.  Kudos to you Coke.

blood sugar


Motivation for Your Monday

22 Jul

Need a Little Motivation Today?  Check out this video. Just under 19 minutes, it may give you some new ideas on how to get your butt in gear!


Kickstart your Monday with this Song!

17 Jun

Four minutes of talent to kick start your Monday. If this can’t make you smile, you’ve got heart problems. You might need to go get checked for a pulse! What a voice!

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