Sklar Technology Partners - June 2021

JUNE 2021

7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111


IS YOUR COMPANY CULTURE SLOWLY ERODING? The Dangerous Downside of the Permanent Work-From-Home Model

employees home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but honestly, I’m shocked by how many businesses have decided to have their staff continue working from home indefinitely. Twitter, Square, and Facebook have all jumped on this bandwagon even though the model has been proven to fail. Some CEOs, though, aren’t falling for the hype. One of them is JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, one of the most highly respected banking executives of all time. The Dangers of the Work From Home Model In a letter to his shareholders, Dimon wrote that the work-from-home model has “serious weaknesses,” and a big one is employee onboarding. I agree! It’s hard enough to train a new hire in person, let alone over Zoom. The odds of them clicking with and caring about the company drop like crazy. As Dimon puts it, “Over time, this drawback could dramatically undermine the character and culture you want to promote in your company.” Working from home long-term kills creativity, innovation, momentum, and opportunity. If your team doesn’t really know each other, how likely is it they’ll be able to collaborate well and come up with fresh ideas? In the office, people come up with ideas organically when they run into each other in the kitchen or walking down the hallway, but there’s no such thing as a spontaneous Zoom meeting. Nobody is going to serendipitously fire up a Zoom call and accidentally inspire their coworker.

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only business owner who remembers the aftermath of 2008. I don’t mean the recession — I know we haven’t forgotten that — but specifically the push by big tech companies to have their employees work from home. Remember IBM? In 2009, 40% of its employees across 173 countries worked from home. The company did it to save costs on real estate, and at first it sounded like a good idea. But then the program failed. Epically! IBM’s Big Mistake In 2017, IBM’s chief marketing officer called thousands of workers back into the office. Why? Well, as she put it, “really creative and inspiring locations” were a necessary part of IBM’s success. Reading between the lines, their company culture was falling apart and they were losing momentum. At the time, Quartz put out a great article on the topic. They interviewed John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University. He said something that stuck with me: “It turns out the value of innovation is so strong that it trumps any productivity gain. [Remote work] was a great strategy for the ’90s and the ’80s, but not for 2015.” So why on earth do so many businesses think it’s a great strategy for 2021? History Repeats Itself I think between 2017 and now, a lot of big tech companies forgot about what happened with IBM. Of course, we didn’t have a choice about sending

The Sklar Solution I think the full-time work-from-home model is unhealthy for employees, who could feel depressed and isolated, and for businesses. Plus, my team likes each other — we couldn’t wait to get back into the office, and that’s where we’ll stay! There are a few perks of the work-from-home model, though. There are fewer interruptions and people can be more productive. So I’ve decided a flexible, part-time work-from-home option is the best of both worlds.We are closing our office on Fridays and employees can work from home one other day. So they work together three days per week.We shuffled the three-day schedule so someone is always here. I come all four days and work from home on Fridays. We will do this through the summer and reevaluate after then. I don’t want our company culture to fall apart while I’m not looking, and I bet you don’t either. I’m 100% certain it won’t be long before Twitter, Facebook, and Square get over their IBM amnesia and come to the same conclusion. The truth is that when you build a business, you’re building a team with a common goal and vision. If the people on your team aren’t actually together , I’m not sure that’s possible. We’d all do well to remember that!



IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY Why Randy Is Investing With BlockFi Cryptocurrency is in an odd position. On one hand, it has never been hotter. There are thousands of digital coins in use right now, and the variety goes far beyond Bitcoin. But on the other hand, there are still rumors that it’s a bogus idea that should be ignored. In our view, falling for those rumors is a huge mistake! Not only is crypto here to stay, but now is also the perfect time for people like you to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of its returns. Crypto is in the middle of a bull market. The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase went public in April and its share price hit $429 on its first day, valuing the company at over $100 billion. Around the same time, Bitcoin valuations climbed above $63,000. Clearly, the concept has traction. If that’s not convincing enough, just look at how the largest tech companies are reacting to cryptocurrency. Facebook plans to launch its own digital currency, Libra, sometime this year. Cutting-edge companies like Tesla, Square, and MicroStrategy are also betting big on the future of digital currency and converting cash reserves to crypto. This is an exciting time in the investment world, and you don’t have to own a large company to take advantage of it. You can invest in cryptocurrency right now and immediately enjoy a high interest rate on your cash — much higher than you’ll find at most banks. The easiest way to do that is to use a platform like BlockFi (, which is basically a bank for cryptocurrency. When you buy in, you can convert your cash to crypto and earn up to 8.6% APY. You can also borrow cash and buy or sell crypto on the platform. Randy and his family are already investing with BlockFi, and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood, who predicted the rise of Tesla, says crypto could soon be a key part of the average portfolio. In her vision of the future, strong portfolios will be 60% equity, 20% bonds, and 20% crypto. Investing now will give you a head start. Tesla, PayPal, and Visa all accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, and it won’t be long before Sklar Technology Partners joins their ranks. We plan to stay on the cutting edge of digital innovation — and in 2021, that means embracing cryptocurrency! I’m not a financial advisor, and this is not financial advice. This article references an opinion and is for information purposes only. Just because I invest in something, like crypto, doesn’t mean you should. Always do your research, contact a licensed investment advisor if you have questions, and never invest with money you cannot afford to lose.

Why do we remember our best and worst experiences and forget pretty much everything else in between? Why are we most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel so incredibly alive when we plunge into the unknown? These are the moments that stick with us — the moments that define us. They’re an organic part of the human experience, and they can’t be purposely created. Or can they? In “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact,” brothers Chip and Dan Heath seek to answer these questions and ultimately discern why specific moments can define us. They also explore whether those moments can be purposely created. According to the Heath brothers’ research, positive moments share four characteristics: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. When you look for situations in which you can foster those characteristics, you can create moments that you and the people around you will remember for years to come. “The Power of Moments” is great for anyone looking to leave a lasting impact on their employees or work team. Rather than have your next meeting be about unity — and leave your team grumbling about how that information could have been sent in an email — create a meeting that has, in the words of the Heath brothers, “drama, meaning, and connection.” You can’t bring your team together for a defining moment by just talking about unity; they have to experience it. While the characteristics the Heath brothers describe may seem a little vague at times, rest assured that “The Power of Moments” will give you a fantastic playbook for creating moments that define your team and stick with them. Check it out today! According to ‘The Power of Moments’ by the Heath Brothers, Yes!

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you. Omma Santorini, a luxury hotel in Imerovigli, Santorini, is offering 15% off to visitors who book early in 2021. It’s unclear how long the deal will last, but it’s live as we write! Head to Booking-Offer to learn more. 3. Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda This resort getaway will give you the chance to see first-hand whether the Caribbean is as beautiful as it looks in the movies. From July 24–Oct. 16, the luxury travel company Turquoise Holidays is offering a seven-night stay at its Carlisle Bay resort (a beach-meets-rainforest location) for just under $3,000 per person including flights, transfers, and bed and breakfast accommodations in an Ocean Suite. According to Condé Nast Traveller, this is a more than $1,600-per-person discount. Visit, click “Special Offers,” and choose “Top Offers” from the menu to find out more. Bonus: If you’d prefer a staycation, check out to book a stay at the beautiful house in Lovingston that Randy renovated himself. It’s ideal for large groups of friends and family.

After more than a year of social distancing, almost everyone has the travel itch — but why pay full price when you can score an amazing discount? Resorts around the world can’t wait to have their guests back, and dozens of them are offering killer deals

on travel this summer. If you’re planning a last- minute vacation, don’t overlook these three spots discovered by Condé Nast Traveller. 1. Muravandhoo, The Maldives The Island of Muravandhoo sits in the middle of the bright-blue Indian Ocean. It’s home to high-end restaurants, gorgeous beaches, and dozens of resorts. One of them, Joali, is offering travelers an incredible deal on stays in 2021: 25% off its best flexible rate on a bed-and-breakfast vacation for two people who stay at least four nights, or 30% off for seven nights! The offer is valid through Dec. 20. To find out all of the details, visit

2. Santorini, Greece If you’ve ever wanted to eat Greek food in a whitewashed villa overlooking the Aegean Sea after a day of hiking and wine tasting, this is the destination for

Easy Tuna Poke Bowl Inspired by This protein-packed recipe is the perfect dinner for two on a hot summer night when you don’t want to turn on the oven.

Ingredients •

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1 scallion, finely chopped 1 cup rice, cooked and cooled

2 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil 2 tbsp orange juice

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1/4 cup avocado, cubed

4 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 tbsp sesame seeds

10 oz canned tuna, drained 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions 1. First, make the dressing. In a jar, add soy sauce, sesame oil, orange juice, and ginger. Secure the lid and shake until emulsified. 2. In a small bowl, empty the drained tuna and pour the dressing over top. Add the cilantro and scallions and stir until well coated. 3. Divide rice between two serving bowls. Top with the dressed tuna, avocado, tomatoes, and sesame seeds.

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7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 804-730-2628


Inside This Issue


Want to Save Your Company Culture? Go Back to the Office!


Understanding ‘The Power of Moments’

It’s Time to Get Serious About Cryptocurrency


3 Places to Vacation at a Discount This Summer

Easy Tuna Poke Bowl


Superfoods Are Not So New ...

Kale, Seaweed, and Other Not-So- New Superfoods

consumed in China, Korea, and Japan since before recorded history. If you know anything about recorded history in those regions, then you know that’s a long time! And kale, whose reputation precedes itself, has been cultivated since at least 2,000 B.C. in Greece, Asia Minor, and other parts of the Mediterranean. So, the next time you dig into your favorite health food, take a moment to Google what you are eating. You might be part of a long line of human beings who have turned to that food for sustenance over the millennia!

hippest healthy-eating Instagram feeds. Many of these foods hail from Africa or the Far East, so it’s understandable we don’t know them all — but there’s nothing really new about them. People in the Americas and the Old World have eaten quinoa for 3,000–5,000 years. Teff, which is technically a grass seed, was one of the first domesticated plants, emerging thousands of years ago in what is now Ethiopia. Alternate sources of protein and fiber show a similar trend. Seaweed — the perennial favorite of Twitter dieters everywhere — has been

There’s nothing so trendy as a new superfood or diet, and the “in vogue” ones change constantly. Older readers may remember the Atkins diets and other fads of the early 2000s, but younger ones may not even remember a time before the paleo diet was a thing — and it’s already almost a thing of the past. Many things we associate with these trends, though, are anything but new. We see this most clearly with the grains we turn to in the name of health. Westerners generally wouldn’t be familiar with quinoa, amaranth, teff, or kamut if it weren’t for their presence in the

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