Monday, December 22, 2008

Big 3 Tax Credits

As a veteran business leader I am fully aware that changing economic conditions will have an impact on business operations, some good and some bad. In bad times you won’t see me in front of Congress asking for a bailout; like the majority of American business we here at Video Professor are on our own.

As a businessman, a taxpayer, and especially as a consumer I find myself thinking about what government might do to ensure the future of the American automobile industry. Since Henry Ford’s first Model “T” rolled off the revolutionary assembly line, the auto industry has been the cornerstone of our manufacturing sector and the foundation of our economy.

Americans make things. We’re good at it and the world knows this.

GM, Ford, and Chrysler are in a huge financial hole. They helped dig that hole but the major impact is the result of the housing crash. The Big 3 went from having some chance of success to having no chance at all. Of course, assistance from the government must be packaged with fundamental change in all areas of operation. And in the US auto industry there is plenty that needs fixing, in both areas of management and labor.

OK, let’s talk solutions. Now that the band-aid has been put on the big 3 here’s an idea. Why not offer a $10,000 tax credit to any US taxpayer who buys a GM, Ford, or Chrysler by April 15th, 2009? Also offer a zero interest loan and just watch the cars sell.

Right now, generating cash and reducing inventory are most critical to the success of the Big 3. But this can’t happen until the American people start buying cars again, now!

When the leaders of the Big 3 appeared before Congress, not one of them was asked, “How can we help you sell more cars?” It was a missed opportunity.

This bailout, loan, or whatever our government wants to call it, should include some taxpayer benefit. Simply put, the government offers a tax credit to American taxpayers who buy American made automobiles. Without stimulating the market, government is dreaming while asleep at the switch.

A tax credit ensures that all benefit – manufacturers and their employees, suppliers, dealers and their employees, and oh yes, the American taxpayers too. This will get the economic blood flowing again. The increase in sales will create a renewed revenue stream for the automakers, which in turn will reduce the amount of taxpayer money needed from the government. Taxpayers who buy cars benefit when they file their returns April 15th.

This is not rocket science. It’s common sense.

“Simply the best computer learning available – guaranteed.”

But you have to have an incentive for customers to visit showrooms. What’s wrong with a tax break for the folks who drive cars along Main Street, USA? So far, the only people not getting a break are the people paying for everyone else to get a break. That will break us all!

People aren’t buying Big 3 brands due to lack of quality. They make great cars and they can produce even better ones. One of my own cars is a Chevy Tahoe. It is a GREAT vehicle. The housing mess (don’t get me started on that) is the root cause of this particular “evil”. But when the warehouse is stuffed, there is no point in producing more inventories.

A tax credit to reduce inventory and generate cash flow is as good an idea as any I have heard. It’s a start. Why not try it?

The idea of government now getting involved in free enterprise is the last thing any of us should want. But the current situation is what it is. Tax credit for the folks, who one way or the other will pay for it all anyway, seems only fair.

The government keeps saying they want to help the taxpayers but they still haven’t done that as of yet. Wake up and step up Federal Government! Get the cars moving and get taxpayers the break you keep promising!


John W. Scherer
CEO & Founder
Video Professor, Inc.
12055 W. 2nd Place
Lakewood CO 80228
303-232-1244 Ext 386

Friday, December 12, 2008

Communication can’t be a generational thing.

  • the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated
  • the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs
  • something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted
    (Thanks to

How do you communicate? How much time do you spend on the phone vs. using e-mail? When was the last time you actually wrote a note by hand or actually met with someone in person? Does generation factor into how you communicate?

According to a report this year by Forrester®, “Generation Y sets the pace for technology adoption and digital, far exceeding any platform of traditional media consumed spending. In a survey of 45,315 North American online adults, people 21–-25 spend an average of 17.6 hours online per week, with 65% of that time for leisure purposes.”

Theirs is a life lived online. It’s all they’ve known. It’s a world not only of e-mails, instant messaging and texting, but posting on social web sites like Facebook® or using Twitter.

By contrast, Boomers learned how to read and write both by hand and on something called a typewriter. We also used something called “conversation.” Most, but not all of us, later evolved to electronic communication. Research shows a significant number of Boomers are well versed in computing. Those who aren’t are generally held back by economic or educational circumstances, or plain stubbornness.

So how does Generation Y communicate with the Boomer Generation and vice-versa? Communication between generations has always been a challenge. The divide is prevalent both inside and outside the work place. Sometimes it’s like we exist in parallel universes.

Being in the business of teaching people how to use computers for over 21 years there certainly is anecdotal evidence showing that both generations have room to improve, better yet, to compromise. The good news is today’s computer technology offers the best opportunity to bridge generational divides.

What good is it for someone from Gen Y to be a Twitter whiz, if they can’t work with a simple Excel® spreadsheet? Your Facebook page may rock, but what about your presentation to senior management on a project involving the merge of numerous documents, graphics and images, where you actually have to speak, live, in front of real people?

It goes both ways of course. Boomers belong on Facebook. There’s no reason that senior management can’t use Twitter to communicate short, concise thoughts and opinions.
Perhaps we can teach each other. These are uncertain times at best. We can all do better.
It all starts with communication. We’re happy to help.


John W. SchererJ

ohn is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Monday, December 08, 2008

Chatting it up in Hong Kong

I had the opportunity recently to e-mail back and forth with a graduate student in Hong Kong. She’s doing research for a paper on blogging, how it is a part of corporate communications, etc.

My blog is a weekly exercise on my part. It’s quite separate from our regular marketing here at Video Professor. It is an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas, often times dealing with technology, sports and politics as well.

Simply put, it’s a great way to express myself and I enjoy it.

Ever since we produced our first Video Professor Lesson on MS-DOS, I’ve tried never to take for granted the huge advances in computer technology since we opened our doors in 1987.

One advantage is how computers allow us to communicate, literally with the world, to share thoughts and opinions and even help a grad student in Hong Kong with an academic paper.

It’s one of the reasons we donate our lessons to non-profit groups who include computer literacy as part of their programs here at home and around the world. We recently donated lessons to a group for a school in Tanzania.

Those kids will not only be able to learn about the world around them, but share their world with us as well.

Communication is a good thing.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can e-mail him at

Monday, December 01, 2008

USA CTO: It’s about time

America is going to have a Chief Technology Officer. It’s all part of the soon to be Obama Administration.

Will it be a cabinet level position? Hard to say, but it deserves to be. It could also be an executive level appointee, akin to being the National Security Advisor.

A lot of names have been speculated for the job, I won’t do that here. There are plenty of good choices and it’s my hope whoever gets the job has real world technology and entrepreneurial experience.

This will be the first Presidential administration that truly acknowledges technology. It’s not surprising as the Obama campaign harnessed it very effectively, while Senator McCain admitted to being decidedly non-tech. It cost him dearly among a generation of voters who grew up with technology being part of their lives.

I’ve posted here before that the progress in computing technology the 21 years Video Professor has been in business never ceases to amaze me. We have computers on our desks, on our belts, in our pockets and purses and certainly at home. We shop, we bank, we invest, we do business, and we research and just have plain fun with computers.

We’ve taught over 10 million people to do all of the above.

The creation of a Chief Technology Officer is good news for consumers. It means Washington finally gets it. We hope this means that innovation and entrepreneurship will be encouraged, that regulatory roadblocks will be at least reduced, and that the way we use technology will empower us more than ever before.

Whatever comes along, we’ll do our best to help you master it.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at