New Article: How To Create Irish Entrepreneurs

Posted by Richard Moran.

I have written a new article for the New Tech Post titled “How To Create Irish Entrepreneurs – Do The Irish Lack The Entrepreneur’s Most Important Asset?”

You can read it here: New Tech Post

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Carry On

Posted by Richard Moran.

It’s a new low for the flying public.  For a frequent flyer who takes pride in knowing how to use the overhead space and never check a bag, it is the ultimate indignity.

Spirit Airlines has declared that come Aug. 1, Spirit will charge passengers on domestic and international flights $30 for each carry-on bag.  If you show up at the gate with a carry-on bag, you’ll pay even more: $45.

The charges apply only to bags placed in overhead bins. Personal items, such as purses, will incur no charge if they fit beneath the seat.   Well, thanks so much.  Whatever happened to the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights?  Wasn’t there a move to make airline travel better, not worse?

My real fear is that airlines seem to follow one another with their policies.  What one does, they all tend to do.  It is time to continue to fight back.  Rather, it’s time to roll back.  Many business analysts put airlines into the “utility” sector.  Some friends with sophisticated solar systems tell me their electric meters go backwards and the local utilities actually pay them!  (Since I still pay a huge electric bill, this data is not verified.)

The airlines seem to want to adjust our behavior and our wallets at every step of airline travel, why don’t we apply the same “turn the meter backwards” logic to the airlines?  I have a few ideas:

If we don’t use the bathroom during a flight, we should get a rebate because we wasted no precious blue fluid used in the lavatory.

–    By refusing to take a free soft drink when the cart comes around we should get a reduced fare. Enlisting those around us on the plane to just say no to that can of Bloody Mary mix could reap a bonus.

If we sit in the middle seat even when the aisle or window seat is available we get credits or discounts.  I know those aisle and window seats are precious so we won’t use them if we get a deal.

The less we weigh the lighter the airplane and the less fuel it will burn.  Therefore, ticket prices should be determined by one’s weight.  This could help our national problem with obesity as well.

Turning off the little air conditioner vent and the overhead light should save some energy so if we use neither air or light we should get a discount.

–    Regarding airline staff, if we arrive extra early for the flight which gives the luggage handlers extra time to handle and promise not to talk to flight attendants, thus wasting their precious time, we should get a discount too.

Cleaning up the plane as we disembark should be worth something and how about for those seated at the windows, if they clean all the greasy hair smudges off the windows, definitely a prize.

Best yet, why don’t we get rid of all overhead space?  The dance for that space while boarding causes stress, back aches and fist fights.  Maybe then, planes would leave on time and the airlines can’t blame the passengers for late departures.

These are just a few of the many ideas I have for Spirit Airlines and others as they continue to work us hard for pennies.

Spirit’s chief operating officer, Ken McKenzie, said in a statement that in addition to lowering fares, the fees will also reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve safety and will speed up the boarding and deplaning process. “Bring less; pay less,” he said. “It’s simple.”

My ideas are simple too.  Are you listening?


Spitting and Grinning

Posted by Richard Moran.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Big fancy wine tasting events in these parts can be intimidating. Even though I am a local, these people who come from all over the world to swirl and taste our produce seem like silent experts who can manage to look smart while they make small inhaling sounds while smacking their lips and shifting a squirrel cheek full of wine from one cheek to another.These are the people who can look in a room full of hundreds of bottles of wine in brown paper bags and say to themselves, “I feel certain that I can discern one wine from another in this huge lot. Let me take a lot of notes, do some spitting.” Actually, these are the wine people who would say they don’t spit, they expectorate.As if to intimidate me further, at the very fancy Premiere Napa Valley, I overheard one well-dressed woman say to her companion, “I gave up wine for Lent, does it count as a drink if I spit?” Her well-dressed friend gave her his blessings and responded that of course if spat, it wouldn’t count.That complex spitting exercise and its nuance hadn’t entered my mind. Now I was worried about my spitting. Is there a proper technique and etiquette? Do I need a coach?

The swirling I can do with the best of them. Some would say I can do the drinking with the pros, too. But the spitting out of the wine is where my skills betray me.I wonder, how does one spit while keeping the proper decorum at a fancy event? The first temptation is to spit back into the wine glass since it is always most convenient. No. Just the thought of that makes me want to never spit.Most real spitters I see carry around a paper cup which would come in handy if you chew tobacco also. There is something incongruous about drinking a $100 cabernet out of a $60 wine glass and spitting what you don’t want into a Dixie cup. Is there a market for expensive silver spitting cups?Some experts that I’ve noticed stick their head in the sink to spit. This reminds me of college more than it does of a fancy wine event so that option is not very appealing.And there is always that post-spit little drool. So it is always very important to have that napkin handy too. How can such an elegant and refined activity as wine tasting have such an accepted practice that involves spitting and drooling?What about if the event is outside? Is it OK to spit in the bushes? Will I kill the roses?White wine seems easier to spit for some unscientific reason. Maybe it just seems easier than red wine because if your spit goes sideways it won’t stain the clothes of anyone nearby. On many spitters I notice their clothes are speckled with wine spit droppings. The hard-core see this as a red badge of restraint.Wine drinkers could learn a lot from baseball players. Those guys can let loose a stream between their two front teeth that could land in a paper cup 10 feet away. Probably not acceptable at a fancy wine event but a few baseball players who liked wine could be stars at blind tastings.One easy solution to all these spitting dilemmas is to do the opposite — savor the wine as it goes down your throat and enjoy that part of the wine, too. When tasting a few hundred wines it may be difficult to get through the session standing up if there is no spitting, but I will leave that problem to the pros.As for me, OK, just one glass and I won’t spit.