Archives For chicago

I arrived back from India just about a week ago, but then headed right to Chicago to visit a client there for the balance of the week.  But before leaving it was important to have more Chicago Pizza!  While I do find places around the country with pretty good NY style pizza, I yet to find a Chicago style pizza outside of the Chicago area…

Me - Ready to Eat Some Pizza!

Me – Ready to Eat Some Pizza!

It took about an hour to get seated – this is the downtown location, right in the center of the city.  But it was worth the wait…notice how thick these pizzas are (Second picture down).  This is not like the UNOs pizza you get in the franchise stores around the country…but then in the third picture you can see the construction of this pizza.  Unlike a good NY Pizza, this pizza has a thick layer of cheese on the bottom, with the toppings melted into the cheese.  Then there is a sauce, which is not at all like the pizza sauce I might find in Manhattan, on top of the cheese.  The sauce was saucier, sweeter, and had some tomato chunks in it – unlike most pizza sauce.  And unlike a NY pizza, the sauce is on top, not on the crust.

In this case I ordered meatballs and sausage.  Normally I would try the pizza without toppings first, just to make sure the pizza itself is good.  Once you know it’s good pizza, it’s okay to add toppings. But I can’t really imagine eating a Chicago pizza with this much cheese, without any toppings.  I think that’s why  this is called “Stuffed Pizza” rather than Sicilian Pizza – a thicker type of NY Pizza, or Pan Pizza – which you might find at Pizza Hut. Notice they do not call it deepdish pizza…it’s simply, stuffed pizza…

Stuffed Pizza

The crust on these pizzas is also interesting…it looks like NY pizza dough when they are making in the back…but it’s much thicker on the pie, and the taste is completely different.  That’s because they add a small amount of corn meal to the dough to give it more body.  You don’t really taste the cornmeal – but you do feel it.

My wife, who joined me for this adventure, says the salad dressing is also excellent – so it’s not just the pizza…I try not to eat bunny food when I am eating pizza.  Somehow it doesn’t make sense to fill up on other things when there’s a great pizza sitting in front of me.  One thing that is always somewhat disappointing – it’s hard to eat several slices of this stuff like I would in NY…it is really filling.  Figure on 1.5 slices unless you’re still in the teenage years.

So next time you’re in Chicago, give Giordano’s a try.  But call ahead to get your pizza started – it takes about 45 minutes to cook one of these things.

Notice the Construction

Notice the Construction

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pizzaAre you in a great position for 2013?  One of my reseller clients has aggressive growth plans for security in the mid west (Chicago and surrounding area).  Mid market focus, strong financials, and great benefits.  I had the opportunity to spend time with their sales team in January – very impressive.  Let me know if you’re interested or know anyone who might be….they are looking for both direct field sales and technical presales consultants with security experience.

© 2013, David Stelzl

Over the weekend I met with (SMB) business leaders in Chicago to discuss principles of running a successful company.  My topics included Hiring Principles of Successful Companies and a session on Time Management.  We also heard from experts from the World Trade Center on setting up international trade relationships, methods of reducing company healthcare costs, establishing systems for success, negotiating skills, and a lot more.

A few points from my talk on hiring:

1. One of the best firing decisions I have ever made – a system engineer who thought that his skill set was so important that he could repeatedly show up for work late without excuse.  He told me our company would fail if we fired him since our current projects required his skills.  I let him go, hired a guy with half the experienced, and within a few months that new hire passed him in ability and went on to generate more profit for our company than any other engineer on the team at that time.

2. One of the biggest hiring mistakes I have ever witnessed (not in my company – but a close work associate), ended with that newly hired financial officer essentially taking over the company, selling it, and cutting the original owner out of the deal.  This guy was clever, experienced, and a professional criminal.  I shared with the attendees how it happened, and how to avoid it – bottom line, make sure you know who is managing your money.

3. One of the best hiring decisions I have ever made involved a school teacher looking to enter the IT consulting world.  He came on at an entry level salary – but eager to learn and happy to have a salary that exceeded his teaching income.  Within a short period of time he proved himself capable of taking over our support center, recreated the entire system including terms and conditions, SLAs, and pricing, and oversaw the entire operation.  Very patient with troubled clients, and doing well today, still working in this industry!  Of course his earning potential multipled quickly.

Hiring and firing – it’s not always obvious what to do, but it pays to learn how to identify great potential.  It also pays to look beyond a person’s current skill set.

© 2012, David Stelzl