Top of Mind (Q1 2017)

Each quarter, we will share three things that we are keeping Top of Mind

Here's our latest list:

1.)Airlines - times they are a changing

Airlines are officially back on the map.  With positive cash flow, actual earnings, and investment interest from many, even the Oracle himself Warren Buffett, it is a new day for airlines.  The business model is truly fascinating.  

No, we aren't going to discuss the United Airlines situation.  The media has that covered!  What is interesting is that literally the morning that story was released, I came across this article, detailing how one family took advantage of a difficult travel weekend and netted $11,000.  Yes, $11,000.  As capacity is at all time highs and PR nightmares can go viral in seconds, airline passengers will be increasingly able to monetize travel disruptions and inconveniences.

Also, this recent Bloomberg article further reveals a hidden gem lying within airlines financials - loyalty programs.  Millions of frequent fliers (myself included) pay painstakingly close attention to the credit cards they select and the associate airline and travel bonuses.  And the banks in turn pay millions to the airlines for these programs.   

Times have changed for airlines - and passengers and investors need to adapt along with them before they take off!

2.) A new approach to higher education

Several years ago, I became familiar with Adam Braun in his capacity as the founder of Pencils of Promise - a nonprofit organization building schools around the world.  Recently, I received an email newsletter from Adam's distribution list, announcing his new venture - MissionU.   MissionU is an organization set to disrupt a storied institution in the US - 4-year universities (and the associated student loans).  MissionU is a one year program, laser focused on a skill set needed in the market place, and paid for as a % of future earnings (free tot he student during the actual schooling period).  I found it highly intriguing and interesting - check it out and let me know what you think.  

3.) Chart your own course

Recently, a friend shared this article with me, discussing how certain successful people start and end their workdays.  I'm LOVE articles like these - finding myself intrigued by the tips and rushing to read what the "magic" strategies are and mentally awarding myself gold stars for those that I follow (get up and work out first thing - check; avoid screen time in advance of bed - check - you get the idea).  But I am not blind to the foolishness in this pursuit.  Because the fact of the matter is - routines and best practices are hugely dependent on the individual. What works for me may completely backfire for someone else - and vice versa.  

So now, when I read these articles, I gather tips and tricks and then experiment with my life.  As an example, I recently gave up social media for lent (40 days). I quickly discovered that I had become somewhat addicted - as identified in the early days by my reaching for my phone without even knowing I was doing it and quickly looking for something to scroll thru.  Yikes!  And by the end of the 40 days, I realized I was much happier without it and have adjusted my routine going forward as a result.  This is one small example but a good reminder that we control a major part of our life's experience and need to be sure your are maximizing it at all times.

We need to learn other's habits and tricks of the trade.  But we don't need to mimic them.  We can test, experiment, adjust, and use all that information to chart the best path forward for us.

Check back next quarter to find out what we're keeping Top of Mind