Sachs Report

Health Insurance and the Small Business
January 27, 2011

(Editor's Note: Ed Sachs has stepped away from writing the Sachs Report, but for the next couple of weeks, we're going to be running "best of" editions in this space; a new newsletter will be launching soon in its place. In this column, from last fall, Ed talks about employers and health insurance:)

As hard as it may be for many of you to believe, I have not yet reached the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare. A lot of that has to do with genetics and how youthful I still appear. After all, I was carded to buy an adult beverage as recently as 48 years ago.

The reason I bring this to your attention is that my family and I have just concluded the horrifying experience of finding health insurance coverage, at least until I am able to put my medical needs in the hands of the government. I now have even greater respect for the decision of my previous employer aggreeing to pay for my family's health coverage until just last month.

Best of the Sachs Report: Wherefore Art Thou Radio?
January 20, 2011

Editor's Note: Ed Sachs has stepped away from writing the Sachs Report, but for the next couple of weeks, we're going to be running "best of" editions in this space; a new newsletter will be launching soon in its place. In this column, from late last year, Ed looks at the future of car radios:

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, we were listening to Christmas music on Pandora through our DVD player and TV sound system. Wow, how times have changed!

Best of the Sachs Report: Hire a Veteran
January 13, 2011

Editor's Note: Ed Sachs has stepped away from writing the Sachs Report, but for the next couple of weeks, we're going to be running "best of" editions in this space; a new newsletter will be launching soon in its place. In this column, from last fall, Ed suggests a way to show appreciation for our veterans.

We just finished honoring our servicemen and women, current and past, alive and deceased, last week.  It is what we do annually in this country.  For one day we honor the men and women who decided to stand up for this country and place themselves in harm's way so that Americans and those who do not live in freedom may do so.

But one day is not enough. Honestly, there are not enough days in a lifetime to give them their due praise. I have yet to make a visit to Washington D.C. in which I haven't gone to the Vietnam Memorial and say hello to some of my fallen heroes.

But this is about more. This is about what you might be able to do. If you have any employment openings in your business today or in the future, you will do yourself and others in your company a great service by hiring  the men and women returning to civilian life after their service to their country.

A Farewell to Thursdays With Ed
January 6, 2011

Today is the last Sachs Report I’ll be submitting for sometime, perhaps forever.  I am researching a self-published collection of “The Best of The Sachs Report.” The problem here is that my wife believes there should be more than one report if we want more than three pages between front and rear cover, but I digress.

Kidding aside, I have managed my consulting business into a position where I must become aware of any conflicts of interest with that side of the business and the Sachs Report.  It was a difficult decision for me as I so enjoyed doing this along with the many new friends and enemies I was able to make along the way. I want to especially thank both of my readers for the fan club they started.

Wherefore Art Thou Radio?
December 22, 2010

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, we were listening to Christmas music on Pandora through our DVD player and TV sound system. Wow, how times have changed!

T'was not so long ago I lamented the CD mechanism in car stereo head units. (Why do we only use T'was in December? I love T'was, don't you?) As I said, you can stop worrying about the CD mechanism in new cars and aftermarket sales in five years, but do not leave out radio. To back up that strong suggestion, here are some interesting numbers from Edison Research that manufacturers should know.

For practical reasons, unless otherwise pointed out, the age group we refer to here are 12 to 24 year olds. In 2000, 29 percent of that demographic had a cell phone and now in 2010, it's up to 81 percent, with 40 percent of those being smartphones. Mostly they text (92 percent), search the Internet (51 percent), play games (50 percent) or use the device for social networking (45 percent). But important to note: 40 percent of this group use the device to listen to music.

Business in Wonderland
December 16, 2010

Shame on me for all the time it took to finally understand that those of us in the business world have been doing everything backwards. How silly of us all, really. Instead of thinking that government begin acting more like a business, we should have been running our businesses more like the government all along.

All of the Sachs Reports you have copied and saved need now be brought to the shredder and destroyed. You could, of course, simply send them over to Wikileaks and cut out the middleman. This would allow for open publication and more people could then identify how foolish I have been in my thinking these last few years. For my loyal readers who are already well aware of my foolishness, this might prove to be a bit redundant.

Dusting Off The Crystal Ball
December 9, 2010

As we near the end of another year I remain fascinated by the number of year-end articles that provide what they call their “crystal ball” peek into the future. Before I venture a look into what 2011 may have in store for all of us, I’d like to offer up a quick peek back at the predictions I made for 2010. Okay, so it’s not quite year-end but with Chanukah falling so early this year it has me all confused, so allow me a little latitude. Let’s see how I did.

Last year I led with my prediction that Meg Whitman would become California’s new governor and solve the state’s budget woes by putting California up for bid on eBay. Well, as all of you Nicky Diaz fans know, Meg did not become Governor.  So I lose a point there.  However, the opportunity still exists that California may indeed be placed on eBay for auction so I think I should get a half point there.

Next I took aim at the claims that the island of Tuvalu is sinking dangerously close to sea level and that the  research surrounding all that talk would be found to be mythical.  Today we have all the global warming wonks in Cancun trying to determine which research is actually believable and trusted.  I think this proves my prediction to be correct so here I am giving myself a full point.

All About the Customer
December 2, 2010

This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for the great Peter Drucker and his 1973 book, "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices." More specifically, I was referring to the wisdom of Mr. Drucker, who wrote what I think are the most important five words in that book: "The customer defines the business."

After Veterans Day, Another Way to Say Thanks
November 18, 2010

We just finished honoring our servicemen and women, current and past, alive and deceased, last week.  It is what we do annually in this country.  For one day we honor the men and women who decided to stand up for this country and place themselves in harm's way so that Americans and those who do not live in freedom may do so.

But one day is not enough. Honestly, there are not enough days in a lifetime to give them their due praise. I have yet to make a visit to Washington D.C. in which I haven't gone to the Vietnam Memorial and say hello to some of my fallen heroes.

But this is about more. This is about what you might be able to do. If you have any employment openings in your business today or in the future, you will do yourself and others in your company a great service by hiring  the men and women returning to civilian life after their service to their country.

The Future of the Car Audio Aftermarket
November 11, 2010

I was surprised after reading a recent article, "RIP CD-Based Car Radios by 2016", written by Amy Gilroy in CE Outlook, about the demise of CD players in new cars after 2015 or 2016. It was not the premise of the article itself that surprised me, but rather a quote from Andy Parsons of my former company Pioneer Electronics.

Parsons noted that there are more than 200 billion CDs currently in use and that number doesn't include DVDs. "We think that the huge installed base of disc-based packaged media will need aftermarket support for the foreseeable future, probably well beyond 2015. Successful [older] formats can persist for a surprisingly long time — you can still find a couple of in-dash cassette players in our lineup, for example," he explained in the piece.