Episode #173: 2017 - Year in Review


2017 R.I.P.

  • Roger Moore
  • Adam West
  • Glenn Campbell
  • Fats Domino
  • Jim Nabors
  • Erin Moran (Joanie, Happy Days)
  • David Cassidy
  • Martin Landau
  • Mel Tillis
  • Tom Petty
  • Stephen Furst (Kent Dorfman in Animal House)
  • Hugh Hefner
  • Chuck Berry
  • Roger Ailes
  • Joseph Wapner (People’s Court)
  • Chuck Barris—The Gong Show
  • Don Rickles—check out his autobiography, Rickle’s Book: A Memoir
  • Jerry Lewis
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • John Anderson (7% of the vote in 1980 presidential election). As a Congressman, he proposed a Constitutional amendment to acknowledge “the law and authority of Jesus Christ.” It went nowhere.
  • Charles Manson, 83
  • Ron’s dog, Winston, December 22, 2017, R.I.P.

Follow-up to our show: Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays

From The Economist: “Have yourself a dismal Christmas,” December 23, 2017

Listen to the original show: Episode #22


Top 3 TSOE Shows

Favorite Shows, as ranked by our listeners

Special mention: Our #1 Ranked Show with guest was Episode #124: Interview with Gary and Jim Boomer.

Ron’s Favorites

Listener Email—HSD: High Satisfaction Day

Ed and Ron received this HSD email the day after Christmas. The author wishes to remain anonymous, but has given us permission to post. 

It's a bit long, but contains lots of great lessons for anyone who is still hesitant about no timesheets. Much gets written on the impact of technology and how it will change the billable hour model. Much less attention is given to the impact on smart people having to account for every six minutes of their day. I still believe talent is a big reason why timesheets have to go, not just technology.

You can't change a business model unless you also change what is measured--that's a historical fact. Here's the email:

Gentlemen – I hope you both had a wonderful Christmas.

I don’t normally give gifts personally, instead I subcontract that work out to my wife. However, I wanted to send something to the two of you that I know you will appreciate. (This may actually be re-gifting, since you directly played a part).

Effective Jan 1, 2018, our firm will cease tracking time for client work. Although the “6 minute daily diary” it is a tradition that spans the near-40 year history of our firm, it is no more.

Just a little background – for our area, we are a mid-sized firm. We provide audit, tax and accounting services, and also investment advisory services through a separate LLC. In the past couple years, we’ve had quite a bit of partner and employee turnover, health issues, and the slow-moving retirement of a still-active founder.


It’s been hard to focus on the working “on“ instead of “in” the business. However, I’ve known for a while that we could get to a place of killing the timesheet. Just thought it would take longer. But, last month, I attended QB Connect and sat in on a few of the sessions with Ron and others. On the way back home, I formulated my plan to move from 6 minutes to 15 minute increments for 2018, then end timesheets in 2019. However, once we started discussing the possibility, it became evident that prolonging the agony served no real purpose, other than to appear superficially cautious and thoughtful. (How, exactly, does one say “Honey, I will stay faithfully committed to you until Dec 31, 2018, then we are getting a divorce”???)

We have, for quite some time, been largely a “fixed price” firm, so the revenue piece was not the barrier. 90% of next years’ revenue is already destiny, as the “hourly rate” is not what it charged out. It really came down using it as a management piece. There was still the lingering feeling that timesheets were some indication of employee value. Your podcasts helped change our mindset, dispel that notion, and accelerate the change.

In the last couple weeks as I had conversations with my people, 2 things stood out to me. 

  • First, my audit manager, who I’ve worked with for over a dozen years, said “Oh, I’ve always wanted to work in a firm without timesheets”. I was actually worried that this change might make her feel uneasy, but in fact she clicked her heels and did the “no place like home” thing…To be fair, I never asked, but if that was unknown to me, how many partners in firms really know what is going on in the minds of their most experienced people?
  • Second, we have an intern that just graduated from college a couple weeks ago and is transitioning to full time. When I talked with her, I realized how little is taught in college about the actual business of a CPA firm. The whole “billable hour” concept is basically non-existent to her. She’s growing into a solid team member, strong values and good work ethic, and I don’t think that it’s overly dramatic to think that avoiding a year of documenting her worth 1/10th of an hour at a time may keep her in the profession. Being part of the value conversation will be something that will accelerate her growth here, or take with her if she decides not to stay with the firm. 

Our challenge, for the upcoming year, is to do the hard work of implementing options in pricing and perfecting our value conversations with clients that have been with us for 10, 20, 30 years. The tax law change is actually perfectly timed, and will help winnow out the clients that don’t really need us, and those that do. To that end, I placed an order on Amazon last night for a few copies of the TSOE book and “Implementing Value Pricing.”

As we head into a tax season: we are down one person from where we would like to be, Congress just went full Mad-Lib with tax code, technology is always solving the last problem but creating another one, and the “pay employees in bitcoin” gambit didn’t go well. Yep, I’ve got 99 problems, but timesheets ain’t one…..my only regret is that it has taken this long.

Thank you for the work you do!

Ask TSOE: Listener Question

Greg LaFollette, two-time guest on TSOE, asks the following: Inquiring minds want to know: Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin (Core)?

There’s a fantastic debate on the Tom Woods Show: Ep. 1064 The Debate Within Bitcoin: Jameson Lopp vs. Roger Ver on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

82 Reasons Why 2017 was an Amazing Year

Fantastic article: “2017 Was a Year of Amazing Advances for Humanity,” by Marian L. Tupy, December 26, 2017.


Ed's top five

  1. February 18: Smartphones to become pocket doctors after scientists discover camera flash and microphone can be used to diagnose illness.
  2. March 3: Terminal cancer patients go into complete remission after groundbreaking gene therapy.
  3. April 2: Plastic-eating fungus may solve garbage problem.
  4. September 12: U.S. middle-class incomes reached highest-ever level in 2016, Census Bureau says.
  5. December 7: Bumper crops boost global cereal supplies in 2017/18.

Biggest Loser and Winner

Ed says: Statisticians/pollsters (losers); and Donald Trump, both winner and loser.

Ron says biggest loser: Mainstream media, Hollywood, the NFL, and universities. Biggest winner: the administration, for achieving:

  • Corporate tax reform
  • Appointment of justices
  • Repeal of Obamacare mandate
  • ANWAR drilling
  • Keystone Pipeline approved
  • Regulations rollbacked
  • EPA regulations rollback
  • Net Neutrality ended
  • Education Title IX rescinded—sex assault cases, due process
  • Paris Accord withdrawal
  • DOW at 25,000

Ed Kless

Ed Kless joined Sage in July of 2003 and is currently the senior director of partner development and strategy. He develops and delivers curriculum for Sage business partners on the art and practice of small business consulting. Courses include: Sage Consulting Academy, Business Strategy and Customer Experience Workshops. Ed is the author of The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, a compendium of a few of the episodes of his VoiceAmerica talk-show The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy with Ron Baker, founder of the VeraSage Institute where Ed is also a senior fellow.