American Leasing

Kit Menkin

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Menkin Makes #1 Mistake


When I get to my office in the morning, the first thing I check is my e-mail. It is like opening regular postal mail to me, except I can respond much more quickly.


During the day, when I am on hold on the telephone, I check my mail. Or if I want to contact somebody, I open my mail. My motivation is to send a message, and often I find a message that requires a reply. ISDN is too expensive to leave on all the time.

Before I leave for the day, I check my e-mail. It is that simple.

If you would like to join my e-mail circle, let me know at

I was surprised by the poll results that so many of the readers did not acknowledge using electronic mail.

Simple e-mail messages enabled Peter Eaton to stay in touch with his daughter when she was in the Peace Corp in South America. Realtor Nanette Weintraub send some pretty good jokes to her friends on the net. Bridget Tesik connects with a seller of equipment to correct an invoice to fund a lease faster. Jim DeChaine sends leasing information and a quotation to prospective customers.

E-mail is very easy to use. You don’t even need to be a good typist. All you do is press a button to connect, choose the address from your address book or type in the address. It’s even easier to respond. You just click on "reply", put in your response, then click "send."

Your Computer and modem speed are not important for messages. Pagers operate at 150 and 300 baud compared to 28,000 analog, 64,000 and 128,000 baud, the speed with an ISDN terminal. You don’t need speed for a simple message.

The internet was built in the 1950’s for use after an atomic bomb attack. 150 baud rate was all that was needed for this "ham radio". Modern technocracy has created this visual/audio network and is making it available to all, not just the educated and/or well-to-do. The age of the affordable 56,000 baud rate is here now. In addition, the relatively inexpensive high-speed CPU and hard drives allow graphics to not only load quickly, but makes dramatic inroads into "real time" video and sound. E-mail has never had it so good.

I find e-mail faster, easier, very convenient, and quite more affordable than a regular telephone call, even a fax. The internet connection is a local telephone call compared to a long distance for voice or fax. My internet connection is 3 cents a minute. My connection to the internet is a local call. Playing voice telephone tag is common, so there is not only a waste of time factor here, but perhaps three telephone connection charges plus the time. A fax may be only one call, but it might take two to three minutes, depending on the speed of the receiver and number of pages.

If I compose off line or send a group of messages, the time most likely will be less than a minute for all.

When San Francisco Chronicle Sports Columnist Glenn Dickey wrote about the proposed new 49er stadium and asked for response, I sent him my opinion by e-mail. When the New Yorker Book Reviewer panned the re-issue of J.D.Salinger’s "Hapworth 16, 1924", my e-mail told of my displeasure of the poor review.

Perhaps I might have composed a letter, addressed the envelope, and gone to this trouble. More than likely, I would not have spent the time. E-mail is easy and quick. I type in the address, the message and send. When I respond, I don’t type in the address. I just type my response and click "send."

More importantly, I stay in touch with my son and daughters, both personal and business friends, almost on a daily basis, at least, a weekly basis. We "talk" all the time. I also send group messages to friends.

E-mail has not replaced the voice telephone or talking face to face; however, it has improved communication on both a personal and business level for me.

You can find old friends or lost acquaintances with or or This is similar to a world wide telephone book where the computer opens to the listings you have requested.

The most important thing is how easy e-mail is to use. Some people keep their "channel" open all day from a cost of $9.50 a month to $19.95 per month for 24 hours a day. Some even have a microphone hooked up to actually talk. Some have video. While I have both, my routine is simpler.

If you would like to know more about connecting, I can recommend some services, such as AOL (still the best basic in my opinion and I am at for over five years) or or or www. I will fax you information. And if you don’t have a fax, call me anyhow at 800-727-3844 for more information. My line is always open to receive a call from you.

My lines are always open to receive a real live call from you.

Annual Poll Results



Annual Poll Results

93% give the local economy the best report in over twenty years, according to the American Leasing Annual Poll taken at the end of the year.

This is the highest rating since the annual poll began twenty years ago. Almost five thousand business people receive the newsletter, mostly small to medium sized businesses located in Santa Clara Valley.

There were over 425 large postcard responses, slightly down from previous years. The optimism was the highest ever.

93% said "okay," 7% said "troublesome," and for the first time, no one marked "really hurting me" in Silicon Valley.

The trend appears up-ward as 61% state "our prospects in California in 1997" are "better." 39% said "the same" and no one said "worse." This is the most optimism we have ever seen here.

Overall the year of 1996 was seen as 51% "good," 27% "excellent," and 18% "average." 4% reported it as "poor," also the lowest rating in this category in over twenty years.

The response from Santa Clara County was different compared to those outside the area where only 70% reported "okay", 23% as "trouble-some" and 7% as "really hurting me."

The counties outside Santa Clara also reported 1996 was 39% "good," 37% "average" and only 1% "excellent" and 1% "poor."

They also predicted for 1997 54% of the economy for them would be " the same," 41% "better" and 1 % "worse."

Each year the poll asks a different question as to what is happening in the business community. This year it centered around the Internet.

Only 10% of the respondents had e-mail. Many of them were American On Line subscribers, followed by Netcom and a host of other providers. Only 4.2% reported having a web site.

31% when asked if they were planning to have a "home page" said "no way." 59% said "in the near future" and only 1% "right away," meaning they were developing a web site.

Menkin Makes #1 Mistake

 Perhaps you may learn from my error. When you up-grade, it is not only the CPU, video card, network cards, and perhaps hard drive and motherboard, but who gets the up-grade first.

All our " lease production" computers are now Pentium 200 with 64mb ram, 4mb video cards. This includes "accounting," who were at the time using two DOS network programs designed for our industry (Summit today has a Windows network program).

We were installing Microsoft Office Pro 97 to individual stations. Our accountant Bianca Taylor had some work to do, so she asked to use Bridget Tesik’s Pentium 200, 64mb, 4mb video card computer.

Quickly I heard that the billing batch she did on Bridget’s computer took under ten minutes to complete. I was informed the billing job normally takes over 45 minutes on her Pentium 75, 32mb, 2mb video card computer.

Dzung Dvong, our information system manager, was next in my office to tell me I could get four times the work with a Pentium 200 up-grade, along with a 4mb video card, and some minor work. The hardware price then was $700. Theoretically, ten hours of work on the computer would equal the increased labor savings. Production would be increased four times plus.

"Hold it!" my mind thought. " What is really going on here? " This was too good to be true! Confidentially (no longer), my second negative thought was "Is improving the speed that important?"

Is spending $700 a smart thing to do? Is a faster computer what we really want? All my thoughts were negative. My immediate reaction was: "I don’t want to spend any money."

Then I though the reason I was in the leasing business was to help companies grow. The dollar amount varies, but the concept is still the same. It is the "use" of equipment, not ownership, that is most important.

Then I thought about my American Leasing concept to have the best equipment available with real work stations, not sharing printers, modems, having the latest, most efficient programs; not only being more productive, but helping staff to become more productive, to grow and for people here to look forward to coming to work here.

Things surely took less time than when we first started with 386DX 33 computers. I can remember the first Atari, then Apple, and then 286 Leading Edge.

Bianca does not spend eight hours a day on the computer; however, even is she spent only three hours a day, a faster computer will create an opportunity to create an additional twelve hours of less work for her.

Productivity matters, and in all departments, not just sales, credit, documentation, funding, but accounting, too. Speed is very important. It means higher productivity. We also went to a 100mb 3com ethernet connection.

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