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Who Needs Common Sense?
Issue: Vol. 50, No. 3, March 2010
In reviewing our editorials over the past year, it seems that none has gotten more response than the modest rant against what is usually called "common sense." Judging from some of the emails we've received, you'd think that we kicked their dogs or advocated a change to the metric system. With that in mind, I've decided to double down and revisit the topic... by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

One Show At Last…
Issue: Vol. 50, No. 3, March 2010
After 20 years of everyone agreeing that the U.S. music and amusement industry had "too many shows." At last … after 20 years of well-intentioned talks between a long series of negotiating teams from the AMOA and the AMMA. At last … after 20 years of association boards that could not, or would not, agree on management, money or scheduling. At last … after 20 years of painful compromises and tentative proposals that never quite jelled into signed contracts... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Continuous Improvement
Issue: Vol. 50, No. 2, February 2010
One of the most revealing questions you can ask any operator is,"What's the most important thing that you have done lately to improve your business?" Over the years, this question has yielded some fascinating answers. Here are just a few of the better ones we've heard... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

When The Pressure Is On, Choking Is Not An Option
Issue: Vol. 50, No. 2, February 2010
A writer of popular nonfiction books recently gave an interview in which he described the difference between "panic" and "choking." Panic, he explained, was the amateur's response to being in over his head without the proper tools or skill set. Conversely, choking is the professional's temporary inability to access his or her expertise. Presented with both panic and choking, I think that choking is a far more interesting phenomenon... by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

The Things We Can Change
Issue: Vol. 50, No.1, January 2010
While looking over 10 years’ worth of headlines for this issue’s "Decade in Review" report, I was reminded of the famous "Serenity Prayer," recently proved to have been originally authored in 1937 by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The prayer begins: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. The music and amusements industry is bedeviled with many situations that it cannot change... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Feed The Rat
Issue: Vol. 50, No.1, January 2010
The name Julian Vincent “Mo” Anthoine isn’t widely known today, but during the 1970s and ‘80s he was one of the best mountain climbers. When asked about his drive for adventure, he quipped that he had to “feed the rat.” That was his way of describing his hunger for challenges and adventure that pushed him to ever more challenging mountains and rock faces. The description stuck. What does this have to do with bulk vending? by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

Mottos Are Not Enough When It Comes To Best Business Practices
Issue: Vol. 49, No.12, December 2009
Businesspeople, particularly owners of small businesses, are in a state of constant combat. They are fighting not only against competitors or regulations, but very often with themselves. The internal conflict is not a simple one: it’s a constant struggle between what they know versus what they believe. Though some folks have taken to using “know” and “believe” interchangeably, it is not a fine distinction. Confusing the two can... by Henry Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

Good News For Neighborhood Bars
Issue: Vol. 49, No.12, December 2009
Ever since Louis Glass first installed the very first nickel-in-the-slot music machine in San Francisco’s Palais Royale Saloon exactly 120 years ago, taverns have been the most important locations for street operators. But the bar market has been under a ferocious assault for the past 25 years. First came wave after wave... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Big Lessons From Small ‘Apps’
Issue: Vol. 49, No.11, November 2009
The amusements industry has survived the "Great Recession." The shrinking of the Gross Domestic Product is over, according to an Oct. 29 announcement from the U.S. Commerce Department. The economy actually grew 3.5% during the third quarter of 2009. However, unemployment will probably top 10% by mid-2010, economists admitted. So, for the next year at least, location traffic will probably remain light and the national cashbox will probably remain "less than overflowing." But the coin-op trade is populated by tough... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Efficiently Managing Change Is An Essential Business Strategy
Issue: Vol. 49, No.11, November 2009
If we believe the conventional wisdom surrounding bulk vending, then we’re apt to accept that not much changes in the industry. Gumball and capsule machines are simply a sleepy little hamlet of nickel-and-dime commerce. Of course, nothing could be more inaccurate. The past decade has seen unprecedented changes in the industry. Machines may still look more or less the same, but... by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

Are Small Vendors Up To Playing A Leading Role?
Issue: Vol. 49, No.10, October 2009
To quote the playwright, actor and songwriter, producer and director Noel Coward, "People are wrong when they say opera is not what it used to be. It is what it used to be. That is what's wrong with it." The same could be said for bulk vending, and not just because I enjoy the odd pairing of bulk vending with the elegance and genius of Coward... by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

Shifting Landscape
Issue: Vol. 49, No.10, October 2009
It was hardly a shock when the Amusement and Music Operators Association announced that it would merge its International Expo with the American Amusement Machine Association's Amusement Showcase International. For one thing, it's nearly impossible to keep a secret in this small industry, and insiders had known since at least August that this move was coming... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Capitalism Viewed From The Sidewalk
Issue: Vol. 49, No.9, September 2009
Here's a novel idea that you won't hear in corporate boardrooms or business schools: The most basic principles of business success can be found in the smallest of enterprises. In bulk vending terms, whether an operator has 50 or 5,000 locations, he's dealing with the same issues. Similarly, a small business is a microcosm of the large multinational... by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

The Gambling Dilemma
Issue: Vol. 49, No.9, September 2009
The U.S. amusements industry has always had a complicated relationship with gambling. For most of the mid-20th century, America's puritanical anti-gambling attitudes forced the amusements industry to proclaim loud and long that, "We are not about gambling; we are about innocent fun." From New York to California, that argument helped legalize everything from free pinball replays to cranes, merchandisers and redemption games... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Cheap Or Free Investments Every Operator Can Make
Issue: Vol. 49, No.8, August 2009
For years I've been hearing the phrase "invest in your business." Mostly it's used to sell stuff. All kinds of stuff. Some of those investments are things small businessmen actually need: new equipment, technology upgrades and fuel-efficient vehicles. But some stuff touted as a "business investment" is entirely useless in business... by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

To Merge Or Not To Merge?
Issue: Vol. 49, No.8, August 2009
This month the members of the International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry will be considering the issue of whether to keep their association going as a small, independent organization, or to merge it with the much larger International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Ironically, proponents and opponents of the merger point to a single overriding factor: IAAPA's enormous size... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

Demography And Destiny In The 21st Century
Issue: Vol. 49, No.6, June 2009
As a very smart man once said: "My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there." It's a cute saying, but it ultimately rings true. Equally true is the fact that the future is pretty much upon us in bulk vending. That is to say, a significant percent of this industry's customers was born in the 21st century...by Hank Schlesinger
Author: Hank Schlesinger

The Timeless Operator
Issue: Vol. 49, No.6, June 2009
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the jukebox, and of history's first music operator. Back in 1889, San Francisco saloon owner Louis Glass invented a music playback contraption that he called Nickel in the Slot. In the process, he also launched the amusement machine industry... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

The Great Digital Debate
Issue: Vol. 49, No.5, May 2009
Power House Vending recently announced a nationwide rental program featuring privately branded jukeboxes that run on the Ecast network. The principals say their goal is not to undermine the operator, but rather to use the tools available to digital jukeboxes in a new way. Are they right? by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

EDITORIAL: How To Deliver Bad News
Issue: Vol. 49, No.4, April 2009
Even the most successful, experienced businesspeople often find one particular task daunting: delivering bad news. A veteran operator wrote to suggest that we provide an article on "the art of delivering bad news”... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

EDITORIAL: Information Deficit Disorder
Issue: Vol. 49, No.3, March 2009
It is an extremely odd fact that despite the flood of media, news and commentary that pummels Americans every day, we remain a dreadfully uninformed population. The amusement machine industry also suffers from Information Deficit Disorder... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

EDITORIAL: The Confidence Game
Issue: Vol. 49, No.2, February 2009
"Our economy is not a con game; it is a confidence game." So says Paul Volker, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve under presidents Carter and Reagan. Today, Volker chairs Barack Obama’s newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board. His description of the economy as a "confidence game" carries special lessons for an industry that is built on games (and music)... by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

EDITORIAL: The Vanishing Quarter
Issue: Vol. 49, No.1, January 2009
Five real-life stories cast an interesting light on the future of coin purchases in the U.S. First story: I recently spoke to a young man who described a summer job working the counter at a mom-and-pop burger joint. One lesson he learned, he said, was that "men don’t carry change"...
by Marcus Webb
Author: Marcus Webb

EDITORIAL: Winter Is Coming
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 12, December 2008

The current economy reminds me of the story about a guy who moves to upstate Alaska…in July. Everybody warns him about the climate, but he figures he can handle it. When September arrives, temperatures drop to 10 degrees below zero. The guy is standing at a bus stop, all bundled up, shivering uncontrollably, teeth chattering...By Marcus Webb


Author: Marcus Webb

EDITORIAL: Business As (Un)usual
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 11, November 2008

“In times like these, it’s good to remember there have always been times like these.” That clever quip is irrelevant today. We have never seen times like these. As former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan testified to Congress in late October, we’re experiencing a “once-in-a-century” credit meltdown… By Marcus Webb


Author: Marcus Webb

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