Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter Dee Twitter Dumb...140 Word Limit? Re-Posting Makes Me Numb...

I'm a recent fan of that zany little phenomenon the whole Twitter World is Twitting about...In 140 characters or less, of course...That's right; I'm a real, live, Twitter-er...and I love it.

There are a few observations I've made that may or may not be shared by others, but please keep in mind; I'm usually right.  I may ramble, but sooner or later, I'll make a valid point; I think.  (Yes, I do use semi-colons; that's what a real, live, author does; I think.)

OBSERVATION #1:  You will find a wealth of insightful information from intelligent people who present their thoughts, display a good sense of humor, then move on, without wasting our time about their nephew's birthday party, or how they're hobnobbing with the future Governor of Wherever.

OBSERVATION#2:  You are mandated by Twitter Law to state your case in 140 characters or less, per post.  Per post?  No problem, leading to...

OBSERVATION#3:  If you just can't keep your thoughts for the day down to 140 characters, simply re-post, until you've made your point, even if your "point" is "pointless".  It doesn't matter.  Babble away, guykawasaki; babble away.  At least change your profile picture every now and then, so we aren't forced to see that same stupid, silly grin on your annoying face, every single day!  Hell, I changed my picture, just to see if anyone would notice (I'm only smirking now; not grinning). 

OBSERVATION#4:  If you like somebody's comments, or if they like your's, by activating the cool "Following" feature (just a simple little click), you will gradually develop a terrific networking base, which over time, will  grow exponentially.  There are probably thousands of people who are mutual fans of thousands of other people, like my new buddy, Themelis_Cuiper.  He startled the shit out of me when he submitted his intention of following my words of wisdom, so naturally, I returned the favor; as did a few hundred other people the other day.  This guy knows what he's doing; for sure.

OBSERVATION#4:  When you are a newcomer, prepare yourself for a dose of reality.  You may think your posts are so superb, they should be immediately recognized for their genius by your peers; but think again.  Nobody will think you're anything special, so join the masses in that sea of anonimity for a while.  Hang in there; gradually develop a mutual following, and you'll achieve something or other.  Personally, I'm trying to market my book, so I can like, pay bills and stuff.

OBSERVATION#5:  There are a number of famous people who post their ramblings, and it's generally quite amusing.  Guys like Mark Cuban and Rob Cordroy usually put a smile on my face, lol or lmao.  Of course, some of these famous people are so self-absorbed, they actually believe anybody really cares about their upcoming fund raiser with Snoop Dog, or they just had a little chat with Obama about the lessons to be learned from relying on those stupid teleprompters to give speeches.  I had a little fun with Steve Case, the founder of something or other internet related, giving him a little dose of his own banal medicine, which I thought was kind of funny, paraphrasing something he'd posted; but Steve, it was only good natured kidding.

Now I'm going to email the administrative staff at Twitter with my thoughts on improving their little Exec Tweets format, which I'm sure they'll give careful consideration and review, and possibly implement within the next 36 to 48 months; or not.  But it's worth a shot; sooner or later they'll realize I'm usually right.

In wrapping up this first installment of Twitter Talk, here's my favorite quote of the day, from someone going by the moniker, "pblackshaw":  Who needs a PR firm when every Twitter user is like a PR firm on steroids?  How true, and now I'm a faithful follower of whatever this person has to say from now on.

Now go buy my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, a mad-cap romp through 26 years of dealing with Corporate America's dominant car rental force, Enterprise Rent-a-Car.  It's not only a "great read", it's a "must read"; but at your earliest convenience. 

That website, for further information:

For all you Exec Tweets, I'll be visiting with you tomorrow.  Right now, I've got to go do something very important, although I can't seem to recall what it shall be.  Oh well, life is so beautiful with me in it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Magic of Those Search Engines

I'm not sure how many people are reading my little blogs; probably not too many.  That's okay, because with the magic of the internet explorer, anything I post that mentions the title to my book, "Life Under the Corporate Microscope", will almost instantaneously, pop up in those incredible search engines, giving the book more exposure, resulting in fewer sales.

I was just kidding there to see if you were paying attention.  I meant to say "increased sales"; sorry about that, but that's just me being me.

Now, if you were me, would you post more blogs and other miscellaneous ramblings on the internet, or would you go bowling instead?  As much as I like to bowl (btw, I rolled a 290 the other day, in practice), I think posting on every site imaginable is the way to go; assuming I want to sell copies of my book.

Gosh, I almost forgot to mention the title again:  "Life Under the Corporate Microscope", written by me.
My name is Larry Underwood, and I'll be your blogger today.  Is there anything else I can do to increase my search engine effectiveness?  I think I'm doing it right at this particular moment.  Isn't technology great?

In case you're joining me for the first time, hi there; welcome aboard the Underwood Express.  Destination:
To my widely growing fan base (maybe in double digits by now), and of course, that thing known as the Search Engine.  A few months ago, I thought it was some sort of automotive device designed to monitor your fuel efficiency rating; or whatever.

Now I realize it's my key to the wonderful world of book sales.  Did I say book?  Yes, I strongly recommend you read a book called, "Life Under the Corporate Microscope"---my irreverent and mostly humorous, perspective of life with that Corporate American car rental giant, Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Hey, I worked there for 26 years, made a lot of money, got booted out (I think the money was the major issue), and eight years later, I've got that book flying off some sort of shelves.  But don't take my word for it.  Visit my website for further information:

Good bye for now.  It's time to go somewhere else on the internet and start babbling that wonderful title.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama, Corporate America and You: Teaming up to Fix the Economy!

I think we're starting to come back, as a nation---still ranked #1 in the world (according to the UPI poll and the Underwood Research poll), thanks in large part to our ability to make fun of ourselves no matter what happpens.  It's the American way.

Let's take for example, the recent events that make us laugh; and for the millions of people who can't afford health insurance, at least they've got the best free medicine available, that wonderful "lol"; even to the point of "lmao".  Don't you just love those cute little abbreviations?  They're so wonderfully hip, so 21st Century, and of course, so convenient.  Speed is critical, especially when you're trying to get an important message out to the world via the internet.  Who wants to waste time commenting on a humorous situation by typing "laugh out loud" or "laugh my ass off"?  I mean, "wtf"?

A few nights ago, when President Obama was eloquently giving some little speech, reading it from the teleprompter with such aplomb, it was almost spell-binding.  His closer:  "I'd like to thank myself...."

Oops.  Is it just me, or did anybody else think that our President had become "Ron Burgundy:  Anchorman"?   The best scene in the movie:  When Anchorman Ron, skillfully reading that litle teleprompter at the end of his newscast, signs off with this inspiring message:  "Go f*ck yourself, San Diego."  Of course, he didn't have a clue he had just said something that might be considered offensive to some San Diego viewers, because his job is to read, not think.

I'm already wondering if some practical joker will put Nixon's resignation speech on the teleprompter for President Obama to read during his next pep rally:  "Effective immediately, I'm gone, folks.  Bye!"

Still, our President remains relatively popular.  He's a good looking devil, with a great smile, and he has great style, if not substance, when delivering his lines...I mean "speeches". 

I'll be the first to admit on this particular forum, I've been getting sick of all the hype surrounding Obama for several weeks now; and I think nearly half of America shares that sentiment.  Even  the American Dental Association has revealed, "Four out of five dentists surveyed are already sick of Obama, but think his teeth and gums look healthy."  Not bad; not bad at all.  Btw, I'm thinking about running for President in 2012; fyi.  I think I'll be a Republican.

My campaign slogan will be:  "Vote for me.  I never lie and I'm always right."

In other news, I finally succumbed to the Twitter phenomenon.  I mean, wtf, I've got a book to market, folks!  ("Life Under the Corporate Microscope")  Since I'm a relatively new twitter-er...I was immediately drawn to their newly created "Exec Tweets", designed to be a forum for great business minds to get together and discuss any relevent business/marketing related topics.  My very first post, which I thought was sort of profound, whimsically paraphrasing FDR, went something like this:

"Corporate America has nothing to fear, except the culture of 'fear' Corporate America has created."

Now, if the other tweeters like your comments, they can "vote" for it, although I'm not sure what happens if they vote you into something you don't want to do.  I won't have to worry about that, because my pathetic little tweet would quickly disappear in the vast sea of other self-serving tweeters who, for some reason or another, decided posting something once wouldn't do the trick.  No, they had to post "Good sales happens when attitude is good" 47 times, hoping their little mass marketing campaign would fool the other tweeters into casting a vote for them.  Wtf?

It seemed so obviously ridiculous to me (again, I could be wrong), my next post read:  "Wouldn't it be nice if they had a 'one post' limit over here?"  I'm sure that one went over well with those corporate climbers and con-artists, trying to peddle their wares like some sleazy door to door salesman.  I think the gist of this soon to be extinct part of Tweeter is this is the executive's equivalent of Facebook, where many angst ridden teens tell their buddies about how high they got last night on that killer weed; or whatever.  Actually, if you get past that garbage, I kind of like Facebook; I've reconnected with good people I hadn't heard from in years, and of course, they're buying my book.  Lol.

A couple of nights ago, somebody posted something about Missouri making it to the elite 8 (I believe for the first time ever) in the NCAAP March madness mania, so I posted something to the effect, "with that great news, you've got my vote!"  So her running tally went from 10 to 11, thanks to her biggest fan.  Her immediate action the very next day was to put me in her "fan club" or whatever they call their social networking thing.  Immediately, my mind began racing.  If you suck up to enough people, they'll like you; they'll really  like you.

Then, I'll sell them my damned book.  Is this a great country or what?

Now, if Corporate America will start becoming more productive by eliminating the culture of fear that has taken over and replace that with a culture of innovation and free-sprited, fun-loving entreprenuerialsim, we might just make it through this current administration, stronger than ever...Well, at least stronger than we were at the end of the first quarter of 2009.

In closing, I'd simply like to thank myself for being...

Lol.  Seriously, you do need to visit my website:

In addition to thanking me, I'd also like to

Sunday, March 22, 2009


After hearing disturbing reports that my wonderful, inexpensive book, is being read by a large audience...and that's great...I find it hard to believe that the book is being shared by multiple users, almost to the point of absurdity. For example, one guy in Chicago got it from somebody else, who got it from somebody else, and now this guy in sending it to his buddy in Las Vegas!

All I can say is, the economic disaster must be worse than I imagined. Sure, I'm broke now, but come on...The shipping cost from Chi-town to Lost Wages has got to be almost the same as going to Amazon and just ordering it through them, and you'll probably get it quicker too!

In the meantime, realizing how tough times must be for people who can't even afford their very own copy of Life Under the Corporate Microscope, I've beefed up my personal marketing campaign by going on every web-site imaginable, and while posting a clever reply, casually mentioning..."Oh, by the way, if you want a really good book on the subject...."

Of course, whatever they're posting will be close enough to somehow link that topic to my masterpiece. One thing I've got going in my favor is the extreme level of disgust 99% of Americans have with Corporate America; and I had my dose of it for 26 years, with good old Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

Recently, I've posted brilliant messages in the local Phoenix Arizona News website, as well as the St Louis Post Dispatch website, and even in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post. Oh, and even some Management Issues site.

If it sounds like I'm going crazy, you'd be absolutely right. Must sell books...must sell books...

Got to go; my blog-nation awaits my shameless self promotion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Making Money is the Easy Part. Keeping it is the Difficult Part.

If you're a bright, enthusiastic, hard working individual, chances are you're very successful in your business career. Here's why: Very few people like that exist, giving you a decisive competitive advantage to not only succeed, but dominate.

According to my statistically unproven theories regarding the picture of American employment and unemployment, here's the breakdown:

*Lazy and incompetent, but somehow employed: 48.9%
*Mediocre but not quite as lazy, and employed: 40.7%
*Intelligent and able to work, but are too lazy: 1.6%
*Totally incompetent and not employed: 5.6%
*Competent and not lazy, but not employed: 2.4%
*Intelligent, driven to succeed and employed: .8%

If you're reading this, congratulations for being in the less than one percent of the population that falls into that category! That's why you've got the beautiful home, car, and wife (ex-wives, gold diggers). You know how you got there. You're smart, well organized, charming, and good-looking (probably).

You should consider running for President in 2012.

Of that small, .8% of the American working force, here's the statistically unproven earnings analysis, through March 18, 2009:

Earning less that $40,000 per year: 4.1% (has a passion for an endeavor that doesn't pay as much as it should, like teachers, stem cell analyists, bloggers, artists, writers)

Earning over $40,000 per year but less than $100,000 per year: 12.9% (middle managers in Corporate America who are more competent than the CEO, but the CEO knows it and will not let that person rise too far up the company ladder)

Earning over $100,000 per year but less than $250,000 per year: 67.5% (small business owners, higher level executives able to maintain a good reputation while not becoming a threat to the CEO)

Earning over $250,000 but less than $1 Billion per year: 15.4% (Smart enough to stay out of the company's radar screen for the time being, professional athletes, actors, musicians, drug dealers, or very good writers and artists)

Earning over than $1 Billion per year: .1% (Genius, or Forrest Gump)

Now let's assume that you're a successful business person and you make over a million bucks a year, and have been for quite some time. Most people who fall into this category are set for life. Their only concerns are choosing the right color for their next Mercedes, trying to get their children to understand they'll have to actually "work" for a living, instead of living off you, while weighing the pros and cons of staying married or staying with your current gold digger or otherwise hot, but annoying girl friend.

Of course, if you divorce your lovely wife, you'll be categorized as going through a mid-life crisis. The "mid-life crisis" for me was staying married to somebody who drove me crazy. That's a crisis, which I solved by getting the hell out of there. End of crisis.

My life has been a fun-filled roller coaster ride, growing up in a totally dysfunctional, financially challenged, but otherwise boring environment. In high school, my self-esteem was fairly low, so I never got laid, and my social life consisted of never drinking alcohol or never even smoking pot. These were the late '60s-early '70s. Everybody was getting laid and getting high. Not me.

I had to be the biggest dork in America, possibly the world. I remained a dork throughout my college years, although I got drunk on weekends and smoked weed every day. I never bought the stuff; in fact, I never even felt like the effect was much of anything, but as my friends were passing around that little joint, I'd take a hit and pass it on to the next pot head. Looking back on it, I suppose I should've at least offered to give somebody some money for whatever I used, but I never really wanted it to begin with, further enhancing my dork rating.

Upon graduating with a BA in Economics from a place called Rockford College in 1974, I promptly married the first girl who ever really had any interest in me. My rationale was simple: I've gradutated, I need to get a job, and I'd better marry this one because nobody else would ever consider me as an option. Obviously, I was totally clueless, thus spending the entire decade of my 20s never experiencing the joy of chasing women and possibly getting laid every now and then.

I started working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car (then known as "Executive Leasing" in St Louis)
as a management trainee working somewhere between 50-70 hours a week, but for some reason, the long hours didn't bother me at all. I suppose I felt it beat the hell out of having to go home to my wife. My starting pay was "peanuts" with no salt, either. It didn't matter since my life style was frugal and I never really seemed to buy anything or go anywhere, other than the bowling alley every now and then; or to see some crummy movie.

Eventually, I hit the big-time with Enterprise (luckily after my first divorce), hitting the "career jackpot", getting the highest commission percentage allowed by Enterprise law (15% of net profit) as I became the Vice-President/General Manager of the newly formed West Group. By this time, I had remarried to my next ex-wife-to-be, and within a few years, we had a couple of kids, and upgraded to a nicer home. As I made more money, I spent more, or simply pissed it away in bad investments. It didn't seem to matter; with each passing year, my income started getting so high, somebody once called me "rich". I suppose I was, but I didn't even notice.

After another upgrade to a nice mansion in Paradise Valley, Arizona, overlooking Barry Goldwater's pad and the Hormel estate, not to mention the rest of the Valley, my personal life began a phase of bickering with the wife, which lead to our separation. Finally, my peace of mind had been restored, and I'm sure she was just as happy as she could be as well because I never bothered to get divorced for several years, allowing her to buy whatever she wanted, including a wonderful boob-job, and do whatever she wanted. Life was great.

By this time, my annual income was well over a million bucks a year and always going higher with each passing year. My final year on the job, I almost made it to $4 million. The reason that became my "final year" was simply, the Enterprise corporate hierarchy had finally gotten tired of paying me all that money, plus I became a bad General Manager or something. Between you and me, I think it was the money thing.

My official retirement date was 010101, of course nine months and ten days before 9/11, and less than a year after the big bubble popped on the NASDAQ, where I had most of my money invested. I recall chortling practically every day in late '99 and early 2000 how much money I'd "made" in the stock market that day. One hundred thousand dollar "gains" were commonplace.

Even though my portfolio was going through a downward spiral, I never fretted. I was a long term investor and I assumed it would rebound, and start posting nice little annual gains in double digits, forever. In the meantime, I was still getting some nice "severence package" money from Enterprise, and the market seemed to be recovering after the 9/11 meltdown, so I remained financially secure.

Apparently, financial security is too boring for me, so I'd continue making high risk investments, although they seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. My favorite losers were a casino in Reno (quarter of a million down the drain), a restaurant in Las Vegas (only a hundred grand loser), some crazy recording venture called "World Song 2002" (another hundred grand that left my world), investing in some stupid web-site called "Alien Zoo" ($150,000 abducted by aliens), and another hundred grand pissed away on a company called T.S.I. (Technical Systems Integrated), but I simply referred to it as "Totally Shitty Investment".

As a side note, I'm sure there are many people in the world who have invested in those "limited liability corporations", or LLCs. Not me. I now refer to LLCs as "Losing Larry's Cash". Sure, I make fun of my stupidity because I'm easily amused, and also realistic. I could quite possibly be the world's worst investor, but there's much data to analyze, so that one would be hard to prove.

In the meantime, my seven year severence package with Enterprise has ended, so I'll have to do something productive again like get a job. For now, I'm busy marketing my book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, which is my irreverent perspective of life in Corporate America with that corporate giant, Enterprise Rent-a-Car. I think you'll enjoy it and I'd welcome you to check out my website for further information:

The next time I visit, I'll plan on giving you my spin on Corporate America, in general.

In the meantime, invest wisely and beware of those LLCs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Enterprise's Corporate Culture: Micro-Management

I spent 26 years with Enterprise (1974-2000), eventually becoming one of its highest paid, and probably, most irreverent executives. At the peak of my career, which happened to be my final year with Enterprise, I was raking in close to $4 million per year while overseeing one of the company's most profitable and fun-loving operations (the original West Group).

I retired after making it through the first year of the current millennium. By that time, the company that I loved had evolved into a humorless and micro-managing bureaucracy; not that there's anything wrong with that; but I clearly didn't fit into that type of environment, so it was time to go, with no regrets; except of course, I wouldn't be making so much money.

For the last four or five years of my career, I was constantly under the corporate microscope, and I was all too aware of that feeling. I knew it would only be a matter of time before something going on in the West Group, whether it be legitimate business issues, or personal issues aimed at attacking anything that seemed like a plausible flaw in my character, would be dissected so thoroughly, they'd have to find something wrong, real or imagined, sooner or later.

I recently published a book, Life Under the Corporate Microscope, giving my perspective of the people and events that shaped the company's destiny, as well as countless personal lives as well.

I had many fond memories of Enterprise, but as is the case with most huge corporations in America, a culture of "fear" has pervaded the ranks of the company's upper managment, from the micro-managing corporate drones, known as Corporate Vice Presidents, down to the General Managers and Regional Vice Presidents in the field.

This isn't the type of environment to breed success and keep employees happy and motivated. The result has been the highest employee turnover in company history over the past year or so, and I don't see any positive signs of things getting better any time soon.

These are the worst of times for Enterprise, but I feel the only way this company is going to get back on track, is changing this culture of fear and micro-managing. That change desperately needs to be initiated by the company's CEO, Andy Taylor. He needs to step up and truly lead this company out of the morass, because their current path is heading for certain failure.