Enough to be Dangerous

Years ago I landed a gig as a sales manager in an injection molding plant. At the time I had no experience in sales but was fluent in Japanese, and that was good enough for my American employer. Ha, little did they know.

Early on my boss gave me some advice that surprised me. He explained that there were three kinds of customers in the world:

1) Those very knowledgeable about our product

2) Those who know nothing about our product

3) Those who know enough to be dangerous

He said the customers in the first two categories should be my focus, but that I must avoid like the plague the “enough-to-be-dangerous” crowd. These customers, he assured me, “will second-guess you, disregard your advice then blame you when things go wrong.”

I remember being mystified that a business model would advocate rejecting any kind of viable work. Now twenty years later in a different industry with a totally different product, I find myself still following this advice.

Our company has a soft spot for the “very knowledgeable” client types because there’s nothing more satisfying and sustainable than working with elite organizations. On the flipside we’re happy to help any quality organization new to the Japanese market. All we ask for is an open mind and the will to improve.

The Myth About Linguistic Competence

An American once said to me with a straight face, that if she could just speak Japanese she’d be able to manage Japanese tour groups. I could only sigh and shake my head. A long time ago I thought this way too. And it got me in trouble.

The novice dealing with Japan doesn’t know that things are never what they appear to be. Without knowing the “reality” below the surface, it would be a monumental challenge for the most linguistically competent Japanese speaker just to get the group on the bus.

In concrete terms, to successfully “coordinate” in Japan you better know how to play the game behind the scenes, be a mind reader, and anticipate needs and fulfill them before anyone makes a fuss. You better stay on high alert for opportunities to assist people struggling, gently mine for information in casual conversations to identify potential conflict, and seek out opportunities to facilitate harmony. You better know how to quietly negotiate compromises. And you better be savvy enough not to believe the polite lies they tell you.

Nope, linguistic competence doesn’t assure good communication with the Japanese, or with any other culture for that matter.

If I could somehow wave a magic wand and make an American coordinator instantly fluent in Japanese, trouble would surely follow. For a couple reasons: first, the Japanese word for “coordinate” has no equivalent in English. The Japanese word is chosei and it literally means, “adjust”. The concept of chosei carries implications of harmony expressed through relationship building and subtle, behind-the-scenes negotiating so no one loses face.

This is a far cry from how Americans “coordinate”.

But here’s the real problem with relying on linguistic competence alone: just because you have the linguistic skill to say something in a foreign language doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to actually say it. What an American might express in a given situation is not necessarily what a Japanese would say. A comment that would make an American smile could easily offend a Japanese guest. Well-intended messages too often get swallowed up in the cross-cultural abyss, creating confusion and doubt rather than the desired result of building trust. This happens more than anyone realizes and it’s counterproductive.

Any cross-cultural coordinator worth her salt understands that values trump language every time.

Value Gaps

I mentioned above the hidden gaps in a simple word like “coordinate”. Just imagine if you dissect concepts like “motivate”, “educate” and “manage”. As each word passes through different sets of cultural filters in cross-cultural interactions, the gaps quietly add up.

Value gaps are even more significant. Let’s use a simple example. We’ll start with the premise that Japanese and American cultures both value “beauty”. Yet even though we share this universal value, Americans do not put the same emphasis on beauty as the Japanese do. Indeed our standards of beauty are different. Japanese want everything to be beautiful: decorative envelopes for cash payments; exquisite food presentation; elegantly wrapped gifts; visually pleasing business reports; and in extreme instances, even an aesthetically beautiful death. Americans just aren’t that into beauty.

What do aesthetics have to do with business? Go visit Big Island Candies and take note: BIC totally “gets” the Japanese value on aesthetics, and have put this knowledge to work in designing a product that Japanese customers love. (Of course it’s more than just aesthetics; BIC is the most sophisticated company I’ve seen in all the islands in terms of engaging and satisfying the Japanese market.)

Don’t misconstrue my point: a talented interpreter can be a godsend under the right conditions. But without cultural knowledge and a value-based strategy to bridge the gaps, the linguistic piece is meaningless. That’s when you send the interpreter home and save a few bucks.

But here’s the clincher: a great interpreter does not necessarily make a great coordinator. I know excellent interpreters who hate the thought of coordinating and would be really bad at it. Ask any Japanese interpreter: they’ll be the first to tell you that coordinating a Japanese group entails much more than swapping words. It’s not about language!

What Are Japanese Guests Thinking?

The folks at Big Island Candies know exactly what their Japanese guests want. Ditto for Sig Zane. (Another aesthetically sophisticated company doing well in this market.) But these are exceptional businesses.

Before moving to Hawaii I expected that local businesses would be much more sophisticated in dealing with the Japanese market. After all, I reasoned, they have a large population of Japanese Americans, and have been serving the market for decades, full blast since the mid 1980s. And yet most don’t seem to know what their Japanese visitors want. (I was disappointed to learn that Hawaii has very limited knowledge of this market but it’s translated into work so it’s all good.)

The biggest obstacle in getting feedback from Japanese customers is their tendency to clam up when service falls short of expectations. They’d much rather stew in their own juice, tell all their friends and family–everyone except the business that wronged them. Then they protest with their wallets by never returning. This is all invisible to the offending business, of course. And the delusional proprietor carries on believing everything is hunky-dory so there’s no motivation to improve. Ignorance is indeed bliss.

Dangerous Vendors

The only thing worse than a customer that knows enough to be dangerous is a vendor with the same problem. When dealing with this kind of vendor we exercise one of two options: develop the vendor until they are no longer dangerous, or, in the event the vendor doesn’t want to improve, “set them free”. This is our last resort, an option we exercise only when the educational approach is rejected, or when it doesn’t yield the desired result.

We currently have a cadre of quality vendors serving our Japanese client base. It took several years to weed out the riffraff –and it’s absolutely an ongoing process–but we’ve stabilized. “Positive feedback” comes in the form of repeat business.

Am I Nuts?

Just enough to be proud of it.

Drilling down to root cause, organizations that “know-enough-to-be-dangerous” lack humility. Humility is important to our business because it’s a useful indicator of two other key values: integrity and quality.

We won’t do business with organizations that lack integrity. Nor will we do business with organizations not committed to improving.

Quality service is impossible without quality communication. Quality communication is built on a foundation of common values, education, strategy and effective execution. Interpretation happens within the parameters of a broader communication context. If you believe an interpreter can transform you into an effective cross-cultural coordinator then good luck and sayonara: you know enough to be dangerous!

It may seem like bad business karma–perhaps even a bit snooty–to decline work from companies that fail to meet our criteria. Truth is we’re too busy to worry about it. Our time is better spent developing a quality client base, and nurturing suppliers humble enough to keep improving.

Would we turn down business in a recession? We feel blessed to have this option, but the answer is absolutely if the chemistry isn’t right. But I submit that because we spent the last decade developing top-shelf clients and vendors, we have the luxury of making these choices today.

Copyright © Tim Sullivan 2009


28 responses to “Enough to be Dangerous

  1. Aloha Tim! Insightful as always. Reminded me of a family trip to Brazil in 1999. We were invited by the Japanese owner of a sakery who also owned the first coffee plantation in Brazil. He was unfortunately ill when we visited but gave us the run of his coffee plantation mansion…it was very Portugese in looks but totally Japanese in “feel”. The Portugese staff were trained to serve in a Japanese style….and here we were an American family who had lived in Japan for 13 years…talk about lots of “where are we?” scenario’s!

    The owner then suggested a tour of various locations in Brazil for us and recommended working with a Japanese Brazilian tour agency. We followed his recommendation, visiting numerous locations which were very Brazilian yet always with Japanese Brazilians as guides…who knew how to related to Japanese even though we were Americans (but we were comfortable with the Japanese approach).

    For 100% Japanese customer satisfaction I think you do need coordinators who understand Japanese visitors totally. I think you can introduce some American venders who will be accepted (and excused at times for not knowing Japanese values) because they are “Americans” but in the end you need Japanese coordinators.

    On a side note, we got confirmation from our immigration attorney that E2 visa business acquisitions CAN be put in escrow to be released when the E2 visa is issued…takes away a BIG concern for Japanese business investors.

  2. If I could only learn to keep my mouth shut at times… I’d probably be much more successful in this world.

    I myself turned down an advertiser on a blog because I did not support what they were trying to push… despite the fact I could have made a little more nickle.

    If you do things you love… making money by doing it doesn’t matter as much to a person… nor the amount of money as long as your happy doing it.

    Glad your company is keeping busy and keep up the good work.

    P.S. –
    Grif was nice to meet you at the meet up.

  3. “A comment that would make an American smile could easily offend a Japanese guest.”

    Don’t tease. Toss your readers an example of such inter-cultural awkwardness..

    I still recall an Amtrak experience from a few years ago, where the announcement, just outside Chicago, implored us to be sure to keep the restroom clean as the train had to go all the way to the west coast. — can’t imagine such a thing on the shinkansen..I did smile but just in the awareness that the frontier wagon train mentality was still apparently in effect. That’s maybe more like humiliation than humility..

  4. Thank you for your website. You always have insightful things to say. Can you recommend a book or resource that can speak to more of the cultural differences you point out?

    And a more important question – do you have advice on how to go about implementing chosei (adjusting)? Where can I learn more about how that is done? To me it reads at face value at stakeholder management as the best project managers seem to manage stakeholders as an art form. Anything you can recommend to learn about chosei would be great. Thanks!

  5. Wow, thanks everyone for reading my ramblings and taking time to comment.

    Grif, as always thanks for commenting and sharing your stories. Happy to say you fall into that first “knows a lot about my product” category. Look forward to someday collaborating on a project together. (Good news about escrow, too.)

    Damon, thanks always for commenting. You definitely are a controversial guy, no argument here. But that’s who you are, and I’m guessing you’re proud of it. Hopefully we can work around that–just have to get you on the right track about building a sustainable community 😉

    Professor Darren, thanks for your constructive criticism. I thought about throwing an example out there but felt it would have sidetracked the flow of the piece. But it’s a valid criticism, and I was thinking about a good example. Actually Japanese often get insulted when Americans tell jokes, especially right after something goes wrong in a business interaction. Americans will often try to break the tension with humor when he/she should be apologizing. Concrete example: The airline loses a Japanese visitor’s luggage. Luggage is scheduled to be delivered to the hotel later in the evening. When the Japanese explain the situation to the bellboy, he says, “God I hate when that happens!” and chuckles at his own good-natured quip. The Japanese have no idea what he said; they just see him laughing. Processing it through their cultural filters, they interpret his message to mean, “I don’t care that you were inconvenienced.” Of course this is not the intended message but it doesn’t matter. Perception is the reality.

    Now the uninitiated might ask, why should the bellboy apologize?–it wasn’t his fault the luggage was lost. The answer is, it has nothing to do with fault: an apology in Japan is not an acknowledgment of guilt or responsibility; it’s merely words of empathy towards one’s guest–that you feel bad they were inconvenienced. The simple act of apologizing will make your Japanese client feel much better than telling a joke they don’t understand.

    Humor’s a tough sell across any cultural divide. While researching humor for my thesis in college I remember running across an article written by a Japanese comedian on cultural differences in telling jokes. He said that the Japanese don’t like to be surprised. And yet surprise is an important element in humor. Following this logic, he says the best thing to do in Japan is to give advance notice: “Tomorrow I’m going to tell a joke at 9:30 am, be ready!” If my feeble memory serves me correctly, in the same article the author gave a great example of the difficulty interpreters have translating jokes: an American executive had to give a speech in Japan. He met with his interpreter in advance to discuss the content of the speech. About halfway through the speech the American planned to tell a joke. The interpreter, a native-level speaker of English, thought the joke was funny but knew the non-English speaking audience wouldn’t get it. He advised the American to take the joke out, but his advice fell on deaf ears. Frustrated, the interpreter decided to take matters into his own hands: when the American told the joke during the speech, the interpreter turned to the audience and said (in Japanese of course), “The American told a joke. He thinks it’s funny. Please laugh!” And of course everyone laughed. The American speaker then turned to the interpreter and said, “See, I told you they’d get it!” (Nuff to be dangerous, nuff said!)

    I really miss riding the clean, beautiful trains in Japan…

    Joelle, welcome to the Intercultural Twilight Zone, thanks for checking in and commenting. I checked out your site. You’re obviously a pro in the project management field. Just curious, you reference Japanese words and concepts (ishiki, etc)–what’s your connection to Japan? And how did you find me?

    There are no books that I know of on how to do “chosei”. Everything I learned about chosei was hands-on. I worked for a Japanese boss years ago who I called the “chosei master” (btw, the word nemawashi is often used interchangeably with chosei). Since I was my boss’s interpreter at the time, I always made the rounds with him to hold small private meetings (2-3 people max). I kind of knew that we were “greasing the skids” for impending change but none of it registered consciously. After doing it together over and over I learned how to do it by osmosis. As luck would have it, my Japanese wife is the “Zen master” of chosei. Her effectiveness comes from her ability to connect with people on a human level, find out what’s really going on below the surface, and build trust by facilitating and brokering compromises. I’ve never seen anyone do it better.

    Chosei has its strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly I think “female culture” (for lack of a better term) intuitively understands chosei. Looking at general patterns and acknowledging that there are exceptions, overall I’ve found American females to be more effective coordinators than American men; I’ve also found American females to be more effective than male counterparts at coordinating projects involving Japanese and Americas. My theory is that, like Japanese culture, “female culture” also tends to put more value on relationships and harmony than their rational, bottom-line-oriented American male counterparts. Just a theory…

    As for recommended reading, did you check out my two decision making posts? If not, you might want to start here.

    Good books? The best I can come up with is Peter Drucker’s, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices. It is a classic. He discusses Japanese decision-making in great detail, including nemawashi, etc.

    To see how complex and difficult decision-making is in Japan, check out “Japan’s Longest Day“. It’s a historical account written by a team of Japanese historians on what happened at the highest levels of Japanese government in the last 24-hours before Japan surrendered in World War II. It is so well written/well-translated that it reads like a novel. (Couldn’t put it down.) What really struck me was that even though the Japanese Emperor, the man at the top of the Japanese hierarchy, clearly said he wanted to end the war, it very nearly didn’t happen. Why? Even the mighty Emperor can’t issue a top-down edict without chosei and nemawashi happening below him. (So it goes for Japanese companies: Japanese top brass can’t issue top-down edicts; chosei and nemawashi must occur for anything to get done.)

    Interestingly, I applied the chosei technique when I worked as a plant manager in an American company. It didn’t work well at first, but after I developed relationships with all the key players in the company, it really made my life much easier. The art of chosei is something I’ve internalized over the years and it’s helped me tremendously in driving continuous improvement in the workplace.

  6. Joelle Godfrey

    I started learning Japanese about a year ago and like everything I learn, I’ve been able to leverage it in other areas of my life.

    I didn’t read the Longest Day, but I saw the movie. I can still remember the scenes where chosei went on at all levels – from the foot soldiers to officers to the Secretary of War (with varying levels of success). Now that you point out what was going on, I may go get this movie from Netflix again.

    Thanks again for mentioning the books I will check them out.

    Joelle, I might be wrong, but I think “Japan’s Longest Day” and “The Longest Day” are two different stories. (Or maybe it was just a typo? 🙂 Of course the book is always better!

  7. Aloha Tim! Great comments and feedback.

    Maybe you could talk a little about the role of sarcasm in Japan?

    My principal for my ESL schools in Japan was a Cambridge educated Brit and used sarcasm all the time in both English and Japanese….quite a few stories I can share about when the use of sarcasm, even in Japanese, caused some major trauma…but would love to see your take.

    Your comment about how humor doesn’t translate well hit home. But it might be fun to develop an article about what Japanese find humorous versus what Americans find humorous.

  8. Grif, good point on sarcasm. Took me a while to figure out that the Japanese don’t get it. I remember a movie years ago called “Gung Ho”. It starred Michael Keaton, and was about a Japanese factory start-up in America. There’s a scene where they’re at a meeting, and one of the Japanese managers asks the Michael Keaton character a question. Don’t remember the question, but the answer was “yes”. But instead of saying yes, Keaton answers with a question, “Is a frog’s ass watertight?” The Japanese huddle to discuss his answer and after short discourse, respond: “We’ve discussed this issue, and have concluded that a frog’s ass is indeed watertight! But what does that have to do with the question?” (Or something like that…)

    On the other hand, some humor translates really well. Thankfully Grif and I are in a position to conduct cross-cultural humor experiments in our own homes. All we have to do is tell a joke to our Japanese wives then observe if the subjects laugh or not. (Of course failure to elicit a laugh will never be the fault of the joke-teller ;-)) Here’s an observation that just popped into my head: Samurai Wife thinks the mother-in-law on Everybody Loves Raymond is a scream, totally gets the character. Cultural explanation: in Japan the husband’s mother-in-law is notorious for being “difficult” and conniving.

    Speaking of experiments, here’s another joke Samurai Wife laughed at:

    An experiment to prove that dog is truly man’s best friend. Lock your dog and wife in the trunk of your car for an hour. Then open it. Which one’s glad to see you?

    Here’s one she didn’t get:

    Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl ‘Will you marry me?’ The girl said, ‘NO!’ And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and scotch and had money in the bank and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted..

    The End

    Thankfully, Samurai Wife is a tomboy and doesn’t hold these jokes against me.

    Regarding a piece on cross-cultural humor…let me think about it, might be fun. Contrary to popular myth, the Japanese have a great sense of humor. On a similar note, I’ve been thinking about translating a story or two from classical rakugo (comic storytelling) into English. Some stories work, others don’t. Think readers are interested in Japanese humor?

  9. Jeez Tim, when it comes to all-time zany cross-cultural humor, I just gotta relate the experience of my first.. act of coital delight with a Japanese gal:

    In the midst of some very blissful lovemaking — perhaps not unlike that of the Discovery Channel, my lovely companion stammers, in the midst of our passionate bumping: “I’m going!” (ikimasu!)

    And me, dumbass gaijin, most desirous of present company actually sticking around for a while at such a climactic juncture, I’m thinking, “Dunno. Seems an odd time to have to go, what with both of us ecstatically sweating and bumping.. but, er.. don’t want to cause an international incident, so I’ll just get your coat..”

    Well. Imagine my surprise when the woman looks me in the eyes and inquires, “Why did you stop?”

    — felt like I was in the lost Abbot and Costello episode, “Lou finally gets laid in Japan.. sort of”.

    Naturally it became clear to me that, in such an exotic land, more anthropological-linguistic studies were called for.. IF I WERE TO EVEN SURVIVE.. MYSTERIOUS NIPPON!

    (roll credits..)

  10. If you want to hear a Japanese Comic that I think is just hillarious and often uses his ethnicity in many of his jokes to break barriers between “Asian folks” and “Everyone else”, I recommend former Honolulu Resident now Californian Comedian: Paul Ogata


    He cracks me up… I think a lot of the stuff I learned about differences in Asian Cultures and other Cultures when I first moved to Hawaii was based on a lot of his comedy.

    I know he stereotypes a lot of things… but the way he does it… makes folks like me who know nothing about Asian cultures actually understand it a bit.

  11. Aloha Tim! Not sure if other readers are interested in an article about differences and perhaps similarities in Japanese humor and American humor, but I certainly am.

    And I think anyone who deals with Japanese will be also….it can help shed a bit of light on an often mysterious part of the Japanese psyche and perhaps improve American-Japanese relations while avoiding a few embarrasing situations!

  12. Hi Tim,

    Thanks again for your amazing insight. Your words of wisdom have challenged me to change my old way of thinking.

    Some of what you said strike me “the answer is absolutely if the chemistry isn’t right”. You have demonstrated me that we need values and a vision that sticks into time.

    It is … brilliant…

    Thank you so much,

  13. Andy,

    I’m trying to understand your obviously heartfelt sentiments. Yet, I have no idea what you mean.

    It is … obscure…


  14. Here I was, feeling all brilliant and amazingly insightful …then Professor Darren rains on my parade 😉

    Andy, Darren is our resident writing coach (to me, anyway). Methinks he wants you to expound specifically on why you feel the way you do about the piece so we can all agree (or disagree) with your sentiments. This makes for better discussion and a more interesting blog…right D?

  15. Heh.. good call Tim-sensei. Never having been showered in terms of “brilliant”, and just a tad disturbed to be alerted by email of a new comment, only to scratch my head, well, I just had to express my perplexity to the well-intentioned Andy.

    your agent provocateur,

  16. Hi Tim and Darren,

    Sorry about my confusing comment.

    I realized a few weeks ago that we, in general, have the tendancy to chase for customers, for friendship and everything else instead of having the patience of building healthy relationship based on our personal values and our vision.

    To read that Tim can turn down customers as well as suppliers in this “nuclear winter” environment because he has built a powerbase all over the years, is a wake up call and a path I need to follow from today.

    Therefore a … brilliant way of thinking.

    I hope it helped to clarify my previous comment.


  17. For me to read that Tim can turn down customers… tells me:

    1. I’m in the wrong business
    2. I need to grow up a bit
    3. I need to shut my mouth more and listen

  18. Learning is on-going, Kohai Damon. ; )

  19. Aloha Andy! Thank you for the explanation. Tim does write well doesn’t he? And his thoughts are very insightful. Perhaps brilliant neh Tim?

    Our education and society in general teaches us to always be focused on growth which leads to us developing business relationships which will eventually cause us grief and actually lead to a descrease in our business…forcing us to push even harder to catch up and take on even more questionable business relationships and…well you get the picture.

    I think Tim’s recommendation to focus on the 20% of the business relationships that will eventually produce 80% of the profits is spot on.

    Those 20% of the relationships will also be our most enjoyable and harmonious relationships.

    While developing business in Japan I ended up making a resolution not to do business with businesses in Manhattan and central LA.

    I was doing millions of dollars in business with businesses in those locations but they were a never ending source of stress….and in the end I said why deal with stress inducers?

    Cut them out of my life and my business actually grew because I now had more time to focus on the relationships which were a joy to deal with…which led to more business from these clients and their referrals.

    My suggestion is take a look at your business relationships, identify the 20% which generate 80% of the pleasure and focus on them.

    Elminate the other 80% of the relationships which usually are a source of 20% of the profits but 80% of the stress.

    Small is good for LQ (Life Quality; What is your LQ?)

  20. Thanks everyone for continuing the discussion. I think Andy nailed it. It’s about anchoring the business choices we make to a foundation of values. And I learned it all from the Japanese.

    But thanks for the kind words, anyway! 🙂 So happy to hear when my “insights” inspire reflection. As far as all the “brilliant” talk, gotta give the elite Japanese companies (and a wise old mentor named Stan) their props on this one: they taught me early in my career that quality products can only come from quality people. (Classic process-oriented thinking.) Quality assumes integrity. So logically, only do business with quality people with high integrity. Simple but brilliant. It’s a practice that has never failed to sustain us in tough times. Or maybe we’re just lucky?

    The Japanese elite companies are nothing if not practical. It’s not about altruism (although they do many altruistic things); it’s about making smart business choices, focusing on quality over quantity, not being greedy, and thinking long term.

  21. Hi Tim,

    I was having this discussion earlier tonight with a friend of mine who is a psychologist (we have a lot of scholars around in Oxford : ) ). We were talking about a friend of us, who is doing his work on psychopath. His discovery was there were much more psychopath around then we, we in general, think. Some get caught and some don’t or not until they have create tremendous havoc on people’s life like Bernard Madoff.

    We ended up agreeing that a lot of companies are on a rat race (e.g. working blindfoled to the economic environment and to the future) with leadership at the helm that we within the company barely know or understand. This combined with ill defined values in the company create an tremendous uncertain future that will lead to an almost certain failure for the business and everyone employed or involved in doing business with those failed companies.

    Dick Fuld, Bernard Madoff, Robert Rubin or Rick Wagoner are the few examples that came to me at the moment. For the companies, I think you know all of them…

    I think, and it is my personal point ot view, that no matter the size (smaller or bigger), it is the quality and the legacy you want to transmit to the future that counts. Look at Toyota. I remembered this marketing sentence from Toyota, years ago (in the 80’s when I was a kid) “My Toyota is fantastic”. Look at the size of Toyota today…

    I will use this personal example, hoping you will be able to relate with the corporate world.

    A few years ago, my mum was saying to me “When are you going to get settle with GF for me to have grand kids (a lot of grandkids in her mind)?” As I said to her: “Not yet…”

    My relationship with that lady broke up as it happens in life.

    A few years later, my mum asked me again “When are you going to settle with a GF?” To what I replied to her at this point “What do you care the most? That I setup with someone and make you lot of grand kids or first and foremost that I’m happy with the lady I have chosen?”

    As you can imagine, my mum went speechless.

    I agree with the quality rather than quantity but I would like to have both, keeping Quality within the framework of my values as my ulitmate priority.

    Hope my speech was entertaining and that you were able to relate my ramblings to the post.

    Cheers and good night everyone (23:30 GMT here),

    PS to Grif: I welcome anyone in my group. I like to forgive despite setback. You never know the next time, you can find a slugger in the midst of all the stress (relating to what you said Manhattan and LA).

    PS to Tim : Your post are Brilliant (nothing else to say but keep it humble ; ) )

  22. Hi Tim,

    After reading my ranting of almost 2 weeks ago, I can say for certain my ranting doesn’t add any value to the conversations.

    I can say a lot and make excuses but I’ll say I’m deeply sorry for bringing my Mess into this post, hoping what I wrote wasn’t offensive to you and your readers.

    It will teach me to write anything when under stress and halp asleep or awake.

    I guess this post “Enough to be dangerous” has taught me a good lesson. : )

    Sorry again, Tim and all the readers.


  23. Andy, I have no idea what you’re talking about and don’t understand why you’re apologizing. As far as I can tell you weren’t ranting, but even if you were that’s okay!

    Bottom line, you didn’t “bring your mess” into this post, and I appreciate you taking time to share your perspective.

    Maybe you were tired when you wrote this last post? 🙂

    And don’t be sorry!

    With warm aloha,


  24. Hi Tim,

    I was highly tired, and when I mean highly, I mean highly.

    I guess it must be the spotlight effect.


    Thanks for your reply. : D


  25. Aloha Andy,

    Thanks for pointing me to the spotlight effect:

    “The tendency to believe that other people are paying closer attention to one’s appearance and behavior than they really are.”

    Yet, in this case, let me assure you that we are all following your every movement. Telepathically.

    Nah. Just kidding. (I too often write tiredly high.) I might suggest Steely Dan Pretzel Logic which concludes quite rightly, “When the demon is at your door, in the morning he won’t be there no more. Any major dude will tell you.”

    Write on, my digital brother,


  26. Hi Darren.

    You made my day!

    Brillant! Ha ha.


  27. Plus I love this place. I was looking for Lean knowledge first place, along the way I found you guys, with the warmth and the humility, qualities too rare nowadays.

    Thank you again Darren and Tim and Everyone else, it feels good to be understood.


  28. Hey, I finally got around to writing on Japanese humor. Twas a long delay and hope I didn’t lose too many of ya. For those interested in cross-cultural humor, hope y’all will check out my two most recent posts 🙂 Aloha!

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