Newsletter – December, 2018

On My Mind
Here we go again . . . Another high-profile organization experienced a data breach – it was Marriott this time. Unfortunately, it is reasonable to assume that at least one organization each person deals with has experienced a data breach. I now just assume some of my personal information has been compromised and all I can do is cross my fingers. It will be interesting to see if U.S. lawmakers pass legislation similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union. There seems to be some momentum on the part of (1) technology companies to welcome some regulations and (2) citizens to demand more data privacy and safeguards. On another note, the funeral for former President George H. W. Bush was quite moving. I’ll always remember his call for a “kinder and gentler nation.” That request is still appropriate today.

Interesting Stories
Magnus Carlsen successfully defended his World Chess Champion title recently in London against Fabiano Caruana. The match consisted of twelve games and they all resulted in a draw forcing the players into a tie-breaker round of speed play. Carlsen—who has excelled at speed play in the past—easily defeated Caruana in the tie-breaker round to retain the title. Those not experienced at chess probably thought the match was uneventful and boring because there were twelve consecutive draws. However, there were numerous exciting moves during the initial twelve games including missed opportunities and minor blunders. Carlsen will defend his title again in 2020. Will Caruana get another chance? Only time will tell.

Company News
I attended the MinneFRAMA (Financial, Retail, and Marketing Analytics) Conference at the Science Museum of Minnesota on December 3, 2018. It was sponsored by MinneAnalytics. There were dozens of presentations and over 850 conference attendees. Anyone in the Twin Cities interested in analytics and big data should become a member of MinneAnalytics. Membership is free as are the outstanding conferences sponsored by MinneAnalytics. The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC events are the following: Strategic Improvement Green Belt will start January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt will start January 15, 2019; and Customer Experience Deep Dive will be held January 23, 2019. The brochures for these events are available on this website. The Winter/Spring schedule of public events will be available on January 2, 2019.

Intriguing Reads
There are two annual reports that I study in depth each year: The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report which contains the famous Letter to Shareholders by CEO Warren Buffet and the Toyota Annual Report. I particularly enjoyed the 2018 Toyota Annual Report because it describes the Toyota long-term strategy in great detail. If you want a glimpse into the future—according to Toyota—then check out the annual report. The next Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report should be available in April of 2019 just prior to the Annual Meeting held in Omaha, Nebraska.