I have had the pleasure of knowing Mike Hall since the early 1970s. Mike grew up in Ithaca, graduated from Cornell in 1968 and joined the US Air Force becoming a fighter pilot. Mike rose to the rank of Major General and led the "Boys from Syracuse" Air Force Reserve unit. He's been the Director of the Tompkins International Airport since 2014. During recent weeks, Mike has been one of our community's leaders in providing valuable insights in how best to deal with this crisis. Mike has been providing the airport staff with some of his thoughts on leadership and the opportunities going forward.
Let’s start with Air Force Values:
  • Integrity first
  • Service before Self
  • Excellence in all we do

  • No one is perfect.  But when we aspire to selfless values, we are more successful.  
  • We empower and we accomplish.
  • Mission, Unit and that order.

If you go into business to make money, you will be disappointed. 


Kick Start the New Year by setting SMART Goals

Many people are not able to articulate what they really want in life in clear and concise language. Oddly enough, people are generally pretty good at articulating what they don’t want. So it’s no wonder that a large percentage of the population go through life getting what they don’t want and don’t fully realize their goals and desires. You get what you focus on!

A good place to start when setting 'SMART Goals' is to sit down and make a list of all the things you DON’T want or are really unhappy about. For example, I don’t want a mortgage, I don’t want to work until I’m 65, I don’t want to be overweight, I don’t want to be a smoker.


Wanted - Smart Humans

If you canvas what is being covered by the media and statements made by technology vendors, you might come away with the notion that we’re all just years—or even months—away from being able to have our own personal artificial intelligence (AI) assistants, and businesses will be able to enjoy off-the-shelf AIs that they can train to perform various complex functions.

It is seductive to imagine downloading open source AI software like Google’s Tensorflow or Microsoft’s CNTK and training it to perform trend analysis on sales over the last 2 years to identify your best customers. Or, use it to pore over customer service interactions and online forums to understand customer satisfaction.

The reality is that AI is still heavily-reliant upon smart, willing and trained humans in order for AI to behave in a manner that we would expect. Humans are needed to scope the problems, identify relevant examples and verify the results. Without humans as a guide, current AI is no more capable than a computer without software.


Daylight Saving Time Trivia

  • Benjamin Franklin first suggested the idea of DST on a visit to France in April 1784, as a way to save candles. 
  • Germany was the first country to enact Daylight Saving Time on April 30, 1916 with Great Britain following in May 1916. Today, about 70 countries around the world observe it although not all on the same day. 
  • DST was used as part of an effort during World War I to conserve fuel. In theory, using daylight more efficiently saves fuel and energy because it reduces the nation's need for artificial light. 

  • In an effort to conserve resources, U.S. Congress placed the country on Daylight Saving Time for seven months starting March 1918. The law was repealed but then reinstated during World War II. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, American farmers did not lobby for daylight saving to have more time to work in the fields; in fact, the agriculture industry was deeply opposed to the time switch. The sun, not the clock, dictated farmers' schedules. Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren't ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules.


Shakespeare, Ethics & Common Sense

Editors's note:  With all the recent goings on in Albany regarding the Speaker of the Assembly being indicted, and all the machinations from other elected officials on his resignation; some of us are left wondering out loud whether basic ethics in politics and business have been completely lost. We found this short article referencing ethics and what William Shakespeare might have thought:

Expert Author Patricia J Moser

If Shakespeare was alive today, he would already have penned a tragedy reflecting the lack of ethics as continuously reflected in procurement activities world-wide.

"To take or not to take -- that is the question. If I get discovered, I might suffer slings and arrows, however I might have amassed an outrageous fortune. There may be a sea of troubles it may cause, yet I can always (with lawyers) oppose and thereby end them!"

I have often had people come to me and ask how to proceed when a decision "path" is somewhat grey. I always ask them "How do you think this would play as a headline in a newspaper?" I always see a shocked look and they say, "Well, that would be taken out of context!"

The reality is no one asks for guidance on a potential ethical issue, unless their gut is already saying this shouldn't be done.

Yes, there are always two sides to every story, and the one that results in the best headlines usually wins; and this doesn't always mean it's the absolute truth, but perception is the reality.

To paraphrase Dr. Phil -- "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!"


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