What you see is what you get…


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich


Or is it? Authentic people are “as plain as day.” The notion qualifies great athletes (Tiger woods), politicians (Honest Abe), those of character and verve (Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Elizabeth Cady-Stanton), and many more. Yet, “all that glitters is not gold (the BL Madoff IS, the lure of lotteries, first loves, etc.). “What is seen is seldom what it appears to be” (69 percent of all employees don’t work out over time, hidden problems with the purchase of housing and cars, etc.)

Genius may be defined as the precise management of intuition and information. It generally describes those that influence models of achievement in extraordinary ways—those that by their personal productivity (Henry Ford), intelligence (Einstein), perseverance (Edison), and sensitivity (Mother Theresa), benefit others. They see beyond the moment (JFK—NASA), the functional use of ordinary things (Craig Newmark–Craigslist), the expansive opportunity in simple expression (Steve Jobs–calligraphy, unique design), mass manufactured electric cars (Elon Musk’s Tesla), the inspiration in a common ethic (Billy Graham), etc. Each chose Chess over Checkers, anticipating moves that change the character and meaning of ordinary things.


Personal assessments … of most things, are flawed at best,
and for reasons that define the human condition and
defy objective reality—the drive to certainty in all things.


It is said that opportunity and solutions are often hidden in plain sight. Consider the cell phone. Endowed of convenient communications and simple functions in its seminal guise, many joined to satisfy the desire to “be in touch” at all times in a package smaller than most wallets of the day. But what was Apple Computer thinking when it introduced the iPhone into a crowded market of device manufacturers—unique design, unusual functionality, radical form factor, and a touch screen bereft of buttons (but one)? Was it only these, when even freshmen marketing students all know that features-based business models fail the moment a competitor adds the feature to a broader platform. The exceptional practical value of LAN technology quickly devalued the segment’s nobility soon after Microsoft built LANs into its ubiquitous Windows OS platform.

Wisdom suggests that we see beyond what we are looking at, listen to what’s not being said, reach beyond our reality, ready ourselves for the unexpected, and search for the extraordinary. Science refers to this persistent urge in some as intuition, or the adaptive unconcious1 at work; a sixth sense that confirms our analog condition and practice. Data models reveal the experience in it. We pause with caution over most things, dress to the image of ourselves, walk a straight line, bend to avoid breaking, and so on. In the end, we are conservative by nature, despite the inveigling of the hegemonic 4th estate that means to capture us by its insatiable appetite for mindshare.

When we pause to consider things; get “in-touch” with our feelings, good things happen to most. They are moved to greater understanding, perception, critical analysis, emotional and spiritual risings, productive energy, and acceptance. We pine over the disappointing behavior in others, and equally painful outcomes, but until we can defend another’s position, though different from our own, we are not likely to see anything but that difference.

As “the two Steves’” walked to the stage of Ricky’s Hyatt House in mid-’76 to present their latest computer to the Peninsula Marketing Association, a powerful influencer of the day, one thing waas clear. Though both were eager to talk about their latest accomplishment, it was Mr. Jobs who revealed the seminal personality that would drive their venture from that day forward. The Apple Computer achieved notoriety—all things “computer” were a fascination as this nascent industry gave birth to a revolution—but was relegated to “the computer for the rest of us” after Microsoft and IBM teamed up to capture the OS market that drove hardware sales. No love lost between visionaries Gates and Jobs over this, until they looked beyond the moment. Gates would later lend Apple $150 mil to help it through a thin time, and Jobs would later allow the native porting of the Windows OS on Apple Computers. Though personal growth and maturity carved the competitors; [sic], combatants, into “coopetitive” pillars of the new industry, it was not until after the millennium that their fortunes would switch. The introduction of the iPod and later the iPhone far outpaced the sales of PC’s. Perhaps, a student of General MacArthur’s2 war game strategies, Job’s had revenge in mind; not coincidentally, looking ahead to when his genius for design and user convenience (the ever-present hip cricket) reached a form factor many times the integration of the PC and more powerful by generational leaps. Apple’s iPhone is the most functional, design smart, and popular “computer” the world has ever known. One can’t help but wonder if he (Jobs) saw a vision of the very same over the 30+ years it took to meet up with it. This may be the time to take up Chess.


Frank Rich is founder and CEO of Encore Príst International, an organizational development company that helps individuals
and organizations reach their full potential through the practice of effective business fundamentals. You may reach him at, or by phone at 866/858-4EPI.

January 17, 2020 |

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