Secure Base In the Office and Gym

As I've posted before, I'm a big fan of IMD Professor George Kohlrieser's advocacy of secure base leadership. Quick summary: as children we gain confidence to take risks (like learning to walk) because we have secure bases (like Mom) to pick us up if we fail (like falling down). We carry this pattern with us into our adult lives and Dr. Kohlrieser's contention is that leaders lead more effectively when they act as secure bases for others. In his book, Care to Dare, he argues that this supportive culture/environment is crucial for employees to have the confidence to stretch themselves and take risks - to play to win vs. playing not to lose.

This morning in the gym I was struck by an extremely apt illustration of this exact principle in action. Usually I work out without a spotter (a workout worst practice, by the way) because my main training partner is more than a thousand miles away in Florida. Also I'm never sure exactly how effective skinny Rice kids would be at spotting! This morning, however, there was a big Rice rugby player in the gym who looked like he could handle my weight so I asked him for a spot on bench press.

Anyone who knows my strength training philosophy knows that my metric of success is how much muscle fiber I am able to stimulate. When training without a spotter I am not able to stimulate as much muscle fiber as possible because I lift conservatively, not wanting to fail and drop the bar on my chest! With this spotter behind me I had the confidence to go all out this morning and I took my bench press routine to absolute, complete failure by working with more weight (strict form, of course) and doing more reps. When I finished a rep and was already tired, I still took the risk of doing another rep because I knew the spotter would save me if I failed. The result was that I was actually able to do several more reps! It was such a good workout that now I can barely move my arms.

Because of my spotter I was able to stretch myself and now my gains (with adequate recovery) will be much greater. This is exactly what secure base leadership is all about! I'm thrilled that Dr. Kohlrieser is bringing his top-ranked High Performance Leadership program (much of which centers on the secure base) to the US this year. I wonder how many of our country's private and public leaders playing not to lose instead of playing to win!


ABB Houston 5k Race Report

This morning I set a new 5k PR in the ABB Houston 5k!

I haven't run a race since early last summer but I resolved this year that I would integrate more races into my ongoing workout routine. Instead of training for 5k and 10k races and then running just a couple of them, each time tapering and preparing the week beforehand, this year I'm going to use races AS my 5k and 10k workouts.

This morning was the first of the five or six 5ks I intend to run this year. I'm lighter and I believe my fitness level has improved since my 5k PR around this time last year. However, since I hadn't prepared or tapered for this race, I set pretty conservative goals.

In my 2 5K races last year I set pace goals ~4:12/km and exceeded them early in the race but faded in the stretch. It was important to me in this race to run a consistent pace so I set 4:16 as my goal. With a fast start (1:55 first 500m), 4 km @ 4:16/km, and a fast finish (1:37 for 400m followed by a 17s final 100m sprint), this would make for a 20:54 race - well off my 20:31 PR but, again, the goal was consistency. At a temperature of 70+F and humidity around 100%, the weather certainly wouldn't help!

The first 500m breezed by in 1:47. I was 5 seconds ahead of my goal and feeling fine at a heart rate of 169 BPM. I was feeling so fine, in fact, that I really had to rein it in for the next km, which I still finished in 4:08, putting me 13 seconds ahead of my goal and with a heart rate of 174 BPM. The next three km really settled into pace: 4:12 (178 BPM), 4:14 (180 BPM), and 4:11 (182 BPM). Heading into my "endgame" I was 24 seconds ahead of my goal, which was on target (barely) for a PR.

I picked it up for the next 400m, which took us around a couple of turns. I finished this segment in 1:31 (187 BPM) so was now 30 seconds ahead of my goal. There were several people who had passed me earlier in the race in sight as I rounded the final turn and I could feel someone behind me pressing as I kicked it into gear. One by one I passed all the people between me and the finish line - but the guy behind me overtook me and pulled a few feet ahead. In the final 20m or so I managed to find another gear (189 BPM) and re-overtake him, barely beating him out at the finish. I wonder how much more slowly I would have gone if I hadn't had to fend off his challenge . . . as my football coach used to say, "Competition breeds excellence!"

My final result was 20:21, a new PR by 10 seconds! I finished #44 overall out of 3,183 runners (99th percentile), #41 out of 1,357 male runners (97th percentile), and #9 out of 180 men in the 30-34 age class (95th percentile). I'm very pleased with the results and now I'll try to improve by gradually lowering my goal pace each time. 4:14 was my slowest km in this race so my goal for the next race will be for all kms to come in at 4:13 or faster.


James Bond Songs

Some of my previous James Bond rankings have stirred up a bit of debate and this one is likely to as well: my ranking of James Bond theme songs! As with my other rankings there are broadly three categories: great songs that are still memorable and good today, songs that aren't so great/memorable but are at least coherent with what makes a Bond song a Bond song to me, and then songs that are just straight up bad.

1. James Bond Theme (Monty Norman / John Barry) - There are few more enduring and recognizable riffs than the James Bond theme. Originally the title piece for Dr. No and From Russia With Love, it then took more of a thematic role in subsequent films while individualized songs played during the title sequence.
2. Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey) - the most iconic Bond theme song of all time, this one also set the precedent for a title sequence that features moving female outlines - a hallmark of almost every Bond movie to come.
3. Skyfall (Adele) - My #1 and #2 were the first Bond songs but my #3 is the most recent. I just love the sound of it - classic Bond style in a modern voice.
4. For Your Eyes Only (Sheena Easton) - So representative of the 80s Bond.
5. Nobody Does It Better (Carly Simon) - This one went along with The Spy Who Loved Me and was the first not to share the same name as the film.
6. Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey) - Bassey's second Bond song was almost as good/recognizable as her first.
7. Die Another Day (Madonna) - The title song was one of the only good things about this Bond movie.
8. The Man With The Golden Gun (Lulu) - Like Goldfinger on steroids, this song goes even further over the top - but loses points for originality.
9. All Time High (Rita Coolidge) - I don't love this song (Octopussy) but it gets points for being enduringly recognizable.
10. You Only Live Twice (Nancy Sinatra) - Not a great song per se but one that definitely fits the Bond theme.
11. Thunderball (Tom Jones) - Tom Jones being Tom Jones, which makes for a good theme song style.
12. A View To A Kill (Duran Duran) - I imagine that this song was actually awesome in the mid 80s but its style isn't terribly timeless for me.
13. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (John Barry) - I'm not sure why they moved away from vocal theme songs to this purely orchestral piece - possibly to provide a clearer break from the Sean Connery era. That would certainly explain why they went running back to the vocal style (and even re-used Goldfinger's Shirley Bassey) when they brought Connery back for Diamonds Are Forever.
14. Tomorrow Never Dies (Sheryl Crow) - I love Sheryl Crow and stylistically this is right on but somehow it just doesn't work for me. Her voice sounds weak in the high parts.
15. The World Is Not Enough (Garbage) - This was forgettable enough that I had to refresh my memory about how it sounded on YouTube.
16. Moonraker (Shirley Bassey) - Bassey's third and final Bond song is just kind of slow and blah.
17. Goldeneye (Tina Turner) - They used a Tina Turner Bond song about 10 years too late.
18. Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney & Wings) - I know many people will disagree with this but I really loathe just about everything that came out of Paul McCartney after the Beatles - including this song. Now the Guns N Roses version is another story . . .
19. The Living Daylights (A-ha) - Again, this might have fit better in the mid 80s when it came out but today it's just not very good.
20. You Know My Name (Chris Cornell) - Casino Royale's theme song is one of the only underwhelming aspects of an otherwise great film.
21. Another Way To Die (Alicia Keys) - Don't feel bad if you don't remember the Quantum of Solace theme song; you're probably just repressing your memory of it because it isn't very good.
22. License To Kill (Gladys Knight) - If Tina Turner was 10 years too late, Gladys Knight was 20. This song is terrible; they should have just covered Midnight Train to Georgia instead!
23. Never Say Never Again (Lani Hall) - I've been harsh on some of the other 80s songs as having been good but not having endured. Never Say Never Again doesn't have that problem because it was horrible from the very beginning!


James Bond Cars

Today's ranking: James Bond's best cars:

1. Aston Martin DB5 - this beautiful silver sports car was featured in multiple movies (Goldfinger, Thunderball, Skyfall) and cameo'ed in a few more. The original spy car, it had machine guns, rocket launchers, smoke screen, tire slashers, and a rear bullet shield. This was the Batmobile of Bond cars!
2. Lotus Esprit S1 - (The Spy Who Loved Me) this bad boy could not only transform into a submarine, it had [sub]surface-to-air missles to boot.
3. Aston Martin V12 Vanquish - (Die Another Day) any car that can turn invisible wins major points in my book.
4. Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante - (The Living Daylights) this Aston Martin "winterized" the the DB5's features by adding side outriggers, deployable tire spikes, lasers, and rocket propulsion.
5. AMC Matador coupe - (The Man With The Golden Gun) this was Scaramanga's car, not Bond's, but it still wins major points for transforming into a plane.
6. Moon Buggy - (Diamonds Are Forever) no special gadgets here, but come on, it's a lunar rover!
7. Aston Martin DBS - (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)  no gadgets, just a beautiful car.
8. Aston Martin DBS V12 - (Casino Royale) no gadgets (other than some defibrillator equipment), just a beautiful car.
9. Aston Martin DBS V12 - (Quantum of Solace) same as the one in Casino Royale but a little darker.
10. Lotus Esprit Turbo - (For Your Eyes Only) not much action from this one, but still a pretty cool car.
11. BMW Z8 - (The World Is Not Enough) only got to fire one shot before being cut in half by an helicopter-mounted buzz saw.
12. Toyota 2000GT - (You Only Live Twice) quite a departure from the classy European cars throughout the rest of the Bond films.
13. BMW 750iL - (Tomorrow Never Dies) typical weapons but with the added ability to drive the car via smart phone. Lost points for being an ugly boat of a car.
14. Bentley Mark IV - (From Russia With Love) this car didn't have anything special about it except that Bentley never actually made a "Mark IV" model.
15. BMW Z3 - (Goldeneye) in one of the more flagrant instances of product placement during this Bond era, this car served no purpose whatsoever and had less than two minutes of screen time.
16. Mercedes 250SE - (Octopussy) after the tires were blown, Bond mounted this car onto railroad tracks and drove it that way.
17. Chevrolet Impala - (Live And Let Die) nothing special.
18. Ford LTD - (A View To A Kill) nothing special.
19. Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible - (Dr. No) nothing special.


James Bond Henchmen

Often James Bond movies have more compelling henchmen than the villains themselves - and then sometimes the henchman are totally lame. Following is my ranking:

1. Oddjob (Goldfinger): incredibly strong and with a razor-sharp projectile hat!
2. Jaws (Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me): incredibly strong and with razor-sharp metal teeth!
3. Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye): Former model who uses sex as a weapon? Yes please!
4. Messieurs Kidd and Wint (Diamonds Are Forever): Most people hate these guys but I find their attempts to be sinister to be hilariously entertaining.
5. Tee Hee (Live And Let Die): incredibly strong and with a metal claw for a hand!
6. May Day (A View To A Kill): Grace Jones - enough said.
7. Irma Bunt (On Her Majesty's Secret Service): the inspiration for Frau Farbissina of Austin Powers infamy.
8. Rosa Klebb (From Russia With Love): a little old lady is much scarier with a poison dagger in her shoe!
9. Nick Nack (The Man With The Golden Gun): funny little man who proves deadly behind the controls of Scaramanga's Fun House.
10. Fatima Blush (Never Say Never Again): a henchwoman so attractive that you really don't want to see her eliminated!
11. Necros (The Living Daylights): we have now crossed the line from compelling henchmen to forgettable ones.
12. Renard (The World Is Not Enough): Elektra King's lover who can't feel pain - yawn.
13. Miranda Frost (Die Another Day): MI6 double agent and accomplished fencer.
14. Mischka & Grischka (Octopussy): knife-throwing circus twins? We have now crossed the line from the forgettable henchmen to the downright lame.
15. Hans (You Only Live Twice): a tall, strong blonde guy with nothing special about him.
16. Erich Kriegler (For Your Eyes Only): a tall, strong blonde guy - at least this one is a competitive biathlete.
17. Vargas (Thunderball): a tall, strong blonde guy with nothing special about him.
18. Mr. Stamper (Tomorrow Never Dies): a tall, strong blonde guy with nothing special about him.
19. Milton Krest (License To Kill): his sharks are more interesting than he is.
20. Elvis (Quantum of Solace): as if the main villain in this film weren't weird looking enough, this Quentin Tarantino look-a-like henchman takes it to another level!
21. Alex Dimitrios (Casino Royale): who?
22. Professor Dent (Dr. No): remember him? I didn't think so.
23. Skyfall didn't really have any henchmen - lame!


Bond Girls

In celebration of Alabama's decisive national championship win and as a nod in particular to the commentators gushing over the winning QB's girlfriend, today's James Bond film ranking is of the Bond girls!

1. Casino Royale: Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and Solange Dimitrios (Caterina Murino)
2. Goldfinger: Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) and Jill Masterson (Margaret Nolan, who stood in for the title sequences, not Shirley Eaton who acted in the film)
3. Diamonds Are Forever: Tiffany Case (Jill St John) and Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood)
4. The Man With the Golden Gun: Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) and Saida (Carmen du Sautoy)
5. Die Another Day: Jinx (Halle Berry) and Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike)
6. Moonraker: Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), Corinne Dufour (Corinne Cléry) and Dolly (Blanche Ravalec)
7. Live And Let Die: Solitaire (Jane Seymour) and Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry)
8. For Your Eyes Only: Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) and Lisl von Schlaf (Cassandra Harris)
9. The World Is Not Enough: Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) and Maria Giulietta da Vinci (Maria Grazia Cucinotta)
10. The Spy Who Loved Me: Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) and Naomi (Caroline Munro)
11. The Living Daylights: Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo) and Rubavitch (Virginia Hey)
12. Dr. No: Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) and Freelance (Marguerite LeWars)
13. Never Say Never Again: Domino Petachi (Kim Basinger) and Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera)
14. From Russia With Love: Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) and Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson)
15. Octopussy: Octopussy (Maud Adams) and Magda (Kristina Wayborn)
16. Skyfall: Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe)
17. Goldeneye: Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) and Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen)
18. A View To A Kill: Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) and Pola Ivanova (Fiona Fullerton)
19. You Only Live Twice: Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama) and Helga Brandt (Karin Dor)
20. Thunderball: Domino Derval (Claudine Auger) and Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi)
21. Tomorrow Never Dies: Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) and Paris Carver (Teri Hatcher)
22. License To Kill: Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) and Lupe Lamora (Talisa Soto)
23. Quantum of Solace: Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) and Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton)
24. On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg)


James Bond Villains

After yesterday's nod to the CES with my post on the best James Bond gadgets, today's post is a nod to the evil Seattle Seahawks, who knocked my beloved Washington Redskins out of the NFL playoffs. Accordingly, today's Bond ranking is for the best James Bond film villains!

1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld - with five official appearances (From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and Diamonds Are Forever) plus another implied appearance (For Your Eyes Only), this guy clearly takes the cake. Plus he's the archetype for Dr. Evil.
2. Auric Goldfinger - Audacious name, audacious behaviors, and audacious one-liners! "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"
3. Dr. No - although I don't love this movie, Julius No did set the tone for the series as the original sophisticated genius villain.
4. Raoul Silva - Javier Bardem's Skyfall villain was oh so creepy from his very first minute of screentime.
5. Francisco Scaramanga - The Man With the Golden Gun, played by young Saruman! (OK, Christopher Lee)
6. Karl Stromberg - This acquatic Scandinavian was the best of the "infinitely wealthy man who essentially wants to destroy the world as we know it" villains.
7. Tan-Sun Moon / Gustav Graves - Die Another Day was a terrible movie but the Gustav Graves incarnation of the film's villain certainly had charisma.
8. Le Chiffre - There really wasn't much to this guy: no under-volcano lair, no super powers . . . just a desperate need for cash and a willingness to do anything to get it. It's a testament to how well made Casino Royale was that his character was so compelling.
9. Hugo Drax - Another ultrawealthy genius - not nearly as interesting a character as in the novel version of Moonraker, though.
10. Donald Grant - the anti-Bond in From Russia With Love - again, the novel develops his backstory much more richly.
11. Alec Trevelyan / Janus - 006 turning coat against England in Goldeneye? Well that's payback 220 years too late for Benedict Arnold! At least he is portrayed by Boromir / Ned Stark.
12. Maximillian Largo - The villain in Never Say Never Again sure looked a lot like Phil Collins.
13. Max Zorin - I expected more from an ultrawealthy Christopher Walken villain, but he wasn't helped much by the poor script of A View To A Kill.
14. Emilio Largo - The Thunderball villain (AKA #2) loses out to his remake from Never Say Never Again because of the p a i n f u l l y slow underwater fight scenes.
15. Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big - When the Live And Let Die villain removes his mask, it's one of the most underwhelming "reveals" in movie history.
16. Dominic Greene - Quantum of Solace had very little good about - including a lame villain with weird, bulging eyes.
17. Elliot Carver - Jonathan Pryce is capable of a better performance than what we saw in this "mad media mogul" but he certainly wasn't helped by the script of Tomorrow Never Dies.
18. Franz Sanchez - A South American drug lord killing someone and exacting a vendetta in License to Kill? Yawn, just like 100 other 80s movies / TV shows.
19. Aristotle Kristatos - For Your Eyes Only's villain had nothing remarkable about him other than that he tried to play himself off as a good guy at first.
20. Kamal Khan - When your heroine is named Octopussy, you really need a more interesting counterpoint than this unmemorable villain.
21. Georgi Koskov / Brad Whittaker - The Living Daylights had not one but two lame general villains.
22. Elektra King - Sophie Marceau as the victim-becomes-persecutor villain of The World Is Not Enough was really forgettable. They should have just stuck with Maria Grazia Cucinotta from the opening scene/boat chase!


James Bond Gadgets

In the wake of the Washington Redskins playoff loss (but at least the Houston Texans won!) I will console myself with my list of favorites James Bond movies in terms of the gadgets employed - both by Bond and his adversaries. I have a separate list just for cars but I have still included cars in this list when they included cool gadgets too. I've also given credit to movies for some gadgets that are demonstrated by Q but never actually used in practice - just because they're cool!

1. Thunderball: Aston Martin DB5 (upgraded even from the Goldfinger version), homing pill, re-breather, Bell rocket belt, underwater jet pack, hydrofoil with separable cocoon, electrocution chair
2. The Spy Who Loved Me: Jaws's teeth, Lotus Esprit S1 (with submarine mode!), micro film reader, ski pole gun, telex watch (Seiko), stun gas cigarette, sharp tea tray, in-boat monorail, portable water craft, Atlantis
3. Goldfinger: Aston Martin DB5 (The original spy car! Machine guns, missiles, smoke screen . . . if you ever played Spy Hunter in the 80s, it was basically based on this car - only not as gorgeous.), homing shoe, Oddjob's razor hat
4. A View To A Kill: Polarizing sunglasses, mini-camera ring, Zorin ID system (state of the art for the time!), UV reader checkbook, bug detector shaver, locksmith credit card, snooper robot, dirigible trailer mini-airship, multifunction cane, razor butterflies
5. Moonraker: Jaws's teeth, wrist dart gun, safe cracker, detonator watch (Seiko), weapons coffin, mini-camera, laser gun, exploding bola, amphibious gondola hovercraft, poison pen, perfume flamethrower
6. The Living Daylights: Pipeline cab, multipurpose keychain, mini-binoculars, ghetto blaster, swallowing sofa, Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante (Another badass spy car, this one proved its worth during an epic chase on a frozen lake!) , milk bottle bombs, Whitaker's war room
7. Live And Let Die: Watch (Rolex) with electromagnet and buzz saw, brush communicator, exploding pellet gun, Felix lighter, flute communicator, voodoo figures that shoot poison darts, revolving booth, Tee Hee's claw
8. From Russia With Love: Special briefcase, tape recorder camera, garrote watch (These all seem very tame by comparison but they were the original gadgets, laying the foundation for more and more creative efforts in subsequent movies.)
9. Octopussy: Finder watch (Seiko), trick dice, self-replacing wall poster, acid pen, TV watch, yo-yo circular saw, climbing rope, crocodile boat
10. Diamonds Are Forever: Pocket snap trap, fake fingerprints, electromagnetic RPM controller ring, grappling suspenders, voice changer, trick elevator, water sphere
11. You Only Live Twice: Mini-rocket cigarette, safe cracker, Little Nellie, volcano base, bridge trap door,
12. Die Another Day: Glass-breaking ring, loaded surfboard, detonator/laser watch (Omega), re-breather, virtual combat simulator, Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (with cloaking device, naturally)
13. The World Is Not Enough: Exploding gun, Q's boat (Yes! Bond always gets cool cars; it was about time for another mode of tricked out transportation!), parachute snowmobiles, grappling watch (Omega), lock pick credit card, detonator glasses, x-ray glasses, Zorb ski jacket, flamethrower/gun bagpipe, helicopter-mounted buzz saw
14. Goldeneye: Grappling belt, grenade pen, laser/explosive watch (Omega), laser grappling gun, digital binoculars, x-ray scanner tea tray, phone booth trap, cast missile, door decoder, ejecter office chair
15. Tomorrow Never Dies: Smart phone, detonator watch (Omega), exploding lighter, spike fan, rickshaw defense, dragon flamethrower, lock pick earrings
16. For Your Eyes Only: SS St Georges, communicator watch (Seiko), identigraph, grappling suspenders, Lotus Esprit Turbo, RC helicopter with pilot assassination feature
17. The Man With The Golden Gun: The golden gun, gold bullets, fake nipple, solex agitator, AMC Matador, Scaramanga's Fun Palace
18. Never Say Never Again: Pen gun, laser watch (Rolex), motion-sensing cigarette case bomb
19. License To Kill: Dentonite toothpaste with cigarette detonator, camera rifle, laser camera, exploding alarm clock, radio broom, manta ray disguise
20. Casino Royale: Aston Martin DBS V12 glove compartment, smart phone, biofeedback implant, explosive keychain
21. On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Radioactive lint, safe cracker, mini-camera
22. Skyfall: Palm reader gun, Aston Martin DB5 (Great throwback but it doesn't really use its gadgets much.)
23. Quantum Of Solace: Smart phone, eavesdropping earpiece
24. Dr. No: Self destructor bag


Favorite James Bond Actors

Day 2 of my Bond Blogging Binge! Today I'm focusing on the six actors who have played James Bond in the "official" Eon films. Each one has brought something different to the role - for better or worse!

1. Sean Connery: the original and far and away the best. Connery's Bond interpretation brought a delicate balance between soft and hard, between serious and funny. As a former Mr. Universe he also had a convincing Bond fitness level (by 1960s standards) compared to some of the other pasty Brits. What makes Connery unassailable as the top Bond, though, is the ultimate confidence, poise, and je ne sais quoi he added to the character. Ian Fleming was so compelled by Connery's performance that he began adapting the novel Bond to Connery in the later books. Connery solidified his command over other Bonds with not one but two reprises, first after the George Lazenby debacle and then again 20 years later in the non-Eon Never Say Never Again.

2. Daniel Craig: the icy Bond. Craig's interpretation is much more on the hard side of Bond: gritty, physical, and - for the first time in the film series - fallible. The reboot has not only modernized Bond but humanized him as well. Craig hasn't been helped by great scripts/plots in two out of his three movies so far but he's still been up to the task of carrying the film by himself. A great physical actor who can still pull off a midnight blue dinner jacket with aplomb, Craig is the real deal.

3. Pierce Brosnan: the suave Bond. If Craig is all hard, Brosnan is all soft. The definition of debonair, Brosnan wore the Bond mantle well, especially in Goldeneye. His subsequent three movies became such blatant vehicles for product placement that it distracted from his performance a bit, but he hung in there, adding the little touches that really resonate with me like straightening his tie while taking a boat on a high-speed chase. Brosnan loses points for being unable to convince me that he would ever win a fist fight.

4. Roger Moore: the slapstick Bond. Moore had a significant challenge in reinventing Bond after Connery had so firmly entrenched his interpretation. He created a much more light-hearted Bond: still brimming with confidence but never short of a zany one-liner. Despite occasional flashes of brilliance (e.g. The Spy Who Loved Me), I didn't like this version of Bond as it lost all the gravitas of the role. And, as with Brosnan, Moore never impressed me physically.

5. Timothy Dalton: the brooding Bond. If Moore was all funny, Dalton was all serious. He only had two movies but they were both heavy and dark. While this is well in line with some aspects of the Bond from Fleming's novels, I didn't love it - and I didn't love his butt chin either.

6. George Lazenby: the non-Bond. After re-watching On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Lazenby's only movie, I don't think he was actually that bad per se and he may have had potential if he had continued in the role. But he didn't. So I judge him based on that one movie and I judge him severely.

The story of the Bond actors has been one of pendulum shifts: from Connery the original to Lazenby the new guy desperately back to Connery for one more film to save face to light hearted Moore all the way back to ultra dark Dalton when it was time for a change to soft Brosnan and then all the way back to hard Craig. At the end of the day, Connery created the delicate balance of all of those factors for the best Bond.


James Bond Films

In preparation for last November's new James Bond film, Skyfall, Katie and I watched all of the previous James Bond films in chronological order. Throughout the process I took detailed notes on everything from the wines Bond drank to the women he loved to the title songs that began each movie. Over the next several days I'll release my rankings of the movies for each of the several categories I tracked.

We'll start off the most obvious: my ranking of the films themselves! Some of these are biased by sentiment but here are my picks from best to worst:

1. Goldfinger
2. The Spy Who Loved Me
3. Casino Royale
4. Diamonds Are Forever
5. From Russia With Love
6. Never Say Never Again
7. Goldeneye
8. For Your Eyes Only
9. Thunderball
10. The Living Daylights
11. Skyfall
12. Live And Let Die
13. Tomorrow Never Dies
14. You Only Live Twice
15. Moonraker
16. Dr. No
17. Octopussy
18. A View To A Kill
19. The Man With The Golden Gun
20. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
21. The World Is Not Enough
22. Quantum of Solace
23. Die Another Day
24. License to Kill


Entrepreneurship for Value Creation

This morning I read a blog post about "the problem with Silicon Valley."

The author contends that the pace of innovation in the Valley is amazing but that it is often somewhat insulated from solving problems that "matter." Clearly much debate can be had about what "matters" but the topic resonates with me. Two years ago I even presented at the Academy Of Management my own quest to use entrepreneurship for meaningful value creation.

Reading this article motivated me to post it in the facebook group for Houston entrepreneurs with the following exhortation:

Something to think about, people. As we develop Houston's entrepreneurial community, let's focus our energies and efforts on solving real problems rather than just stuff we think would be sexy/cool. This is one reason I came to Houston to launch my current venture; Houston has real industry and here - and I'll argue that Houston's biggest industries are some of the most impactful ones in the world: energy, healthcare, aerospace, nano/petro/chemical... What's "Made In Houston" runs the world - so let's embrace that and leverage it to foster a unique community for truly value creating, transformational startups. My wish/goal for 2013 - happy venturing everyone!