09 August 2022



I’m currently reading a great book recommended to me by the legendary Garry Wall of Sparknet called “Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys” by Joe Coulombe and Patty Civalleri. While the book is a bit outdated, there are still some great business lessons to be learned and I highly recommend the read. I found the following quote about hairballs by Trader Joe’s founder Joe Coulombe to be very impactful:


“My point is that a businessperson who complains about problems doesn’t understand where his bread is coming from. So by hairballs I don’t mean those fundamental issues such as demand, supply, competition, labor, capital, etc., which create the matrix of a business. By hairballs, I mean those wholly unnecessary thorns that come unexpectedly. Their greatest danger is that they consume management stamina that is needed to deal with the Matrix Issues.”


Now here’s my take on an updated version of Coulombe’s quote:


I’m fascinated by everything space and have been closely following the James Webb Space Telescope, which was recently hit by six micrometeorites. The earth is struck by about 17 meteors a day, and fortunately, thanks to our atmosphere, the vast majority of them do no harm because they burn up in our atmosphere. Effectively, the atmosphere is protecting us without our even knowing about it. Virtually every day as leaders we are pelted with unexpected issues, just like those meteors striking the earth out of nowhere. It’s our job to solve these problems so no harm is done to the staff, clients and business that depend on us. We sometimes lose sight of this responsibility and get caught up complaining and looking at the past through rose-colored glasses. Great leaders act as the atmosphere to the company, clients and employees they serve. The James Webb is no worse for the wear and is operating perfectly fine after being struck, and we must do the same.


Dave “Chachi” Denes


President, Benztown

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