Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Defining Freedom

Today's thought:

Freedom: The least amount of external influence on my life.

Looking over my life so far, it's clear to me that I value freedom highly. I've walked away from jobs that looked like they'd box me in.

I love the independence I currently have. Even "lots more" money would be a tough choice, and probably not worth it. There's little I'd trade it for.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Management of Fear

It's sad how much we lose because of our fear of failure. So many opportunities vanish simply because we were too afraid to act.

How will we ever know the extent of our possibilities if we fear reaching our limits? I know, for myself, that most of my perceived limits are illusory. Yet it's uncomfortable to imagine stretching past them.

We must master our fears. If nothing else, transfer that to a fear of not trying, of the lost opportunity. That way our fears push us forward. Yet, I feel the ideal is centering ourselves upon love, passion. It's better to run towards success than away from terror. Fear exhausts; love's attraction energizes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Creativity

Creativity is, perhaps, the most wonderful gift one could have. Nothing's more unique, more rare than the ability to see things as they could be.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

North Korea, Sony, and Threats

I'm puzzled. Why is Sony deferring to the PDRK?  There's nothing dramatically new about this latest round of adolescent posturing. Of course, the North Koreans haven't taken responsibility. But, why?

Is it the threats of violence, which seem rather unexecutable at this point. Perhaps it's simple economics, with a significant lack of theatres willing to show it? Perhaps the other production companies lobbied hard enough, worried about getting caught in the crossfire, so to speak.

Perhaps it's the hacking. Looks like Sony had been hit hard. But, is it really so bad that they'll dump the whole $44 million movie production investment? It's looking that way. Of course, most of the coverage I've read has been focused on the hacking. When a global company is reduced to handwritten paper memos, the threat must be considered severe.

I'm disappointed that these self-styled Guardians of Peace won this round. Should give us all pause, though. This is a disturbing precedent that I don't want repeated.

Updated: just read this piece over at Slate, "The Sony Hackers Are Terrorists". Very powerful thoughts on what these attacks might mean going forward. I've thing's certain: cyber-security it's definitely the career of the future.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Trust and the Consumer

Some more thinking on trust:

Building trust, creating relationship is slow, laborious. Counterpoint:  it's erosion is fast, with frightening speed. Years to build and moments to ruin.

As an entrepreneur, one must be ever vigilant against this erosion of trust. The downward slope is far steeper than the assent. When your customer feels commodified, that they're ONLY a revenue stream for you, the connection will be destroyed.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Thought of the day: Trust

Celebrity had been, and it's really now, about many loving the beloved from afar. The new online economy, this new world, is about making the connection more intimate, more personal. Even with large audiences, the connections are one to one, or feel so.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

A haiku

This sums up my feelings about life right now. Seen lots of frustration, fear and anger today. I wonder how to move forward. That's often the bold challenge, seeking to move past animosity. 

Today's anger spent
I seek to make things better
Progressing forwards.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The value of Facebook

Lately, I've been considering all the changes Facebook has blasted out over the years. Particularly, I've been wondering about the Facebook pages I manage. In particular, the many changes to the way business pages interact with the general user concern me. I first noticed this with my personal page feed. Business page content gets filtered out, rarely appearing in feeds, even MY pages in MY feed. I'm also noticing a drop in engagement: comments, questions, dialog, et al. This video takes that concern and provides some flesh to its bones.


Now I wonder about Facebook's value to small businesses in any capacity. If content and connection gets buried, lost, or goes out to irrelevant audiences, there is no value. Well, little. Ok, well, lesser. The value of Facebook is still immense. Facebook is still a key piece to a social media strategy. It's THE place, with diverse demographics and a truly global reach. Or, as I like to say, it's the place with the eye-balls. So, there's still value in the gorilla that is Facebook, but it's role and impact have just changed.

Expect that, within this perpetually changing landscape, it's place and value will change yet again. And again...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ferguson

Violence doesn't heal.
Tis a short term thing,
Self-inflicted grief
Building upon agony.

Simmering wreckage,
Quite close to home.
New destruction layered
Upon the old.

Gargantuan pachyderm
Calmly sits,
Ignored.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Living in the Future

This morning, like many, upon waking I grabbed my trusty tablet and organized my day. Email reviewed, tasks considered, organized; yet I'm still warm in bed. What an amazing time!

I wonder:  Where do we go from here? Perhaps a Google Glass variant, the Google Contacts, where we do all the above without opening our eyes?

Is there a limit where we just won't go further? Perhaps a Google Implant will chill us? Or are such things, allowed to simmer a generation or two, eventually a natural notion?

Of such I wonder....

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Migraineur

So begins doom
Tendons within the neck
Pulled, slowly, growing
Into ferocity, mercy unknown.
Powerless, collapsing within.

Seeking, simply, to continue
To exist upon the other side.
Survival, sometimes, a worthy
Goal.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Celebrity and Personal Branding

Just read Tony Hawk's Media Empire Grows With Help From Complex over at Adage. They talk quite a bit about the brands that celebrities are building. This leaves me wondering when saturation happens, when we have so many celebrity brands that we can't see find anyone. We already have so much content, so much internet-based activity. Will we ever get to the point of "not being able to see the forest through the trees"?

My first thought is "no, we won't". We have tools for sifting through the massive forest of data. I guess the real challenge is how to differentiate yourself, fully connecting to an audience. The world of general is where the blizzard is. Specialization is where one can still be differentiated and engage deeply.

Lust vs Love

A simple thought: physical attraction may be felt towards those disliked, or even despised. Love is richer, deeper. Love seeks the happiness of its focus. Self sacrifice for the beloved: easy, actually pleasing, especially when successful. Generosity's birthplace is there.

No more glorious sound exists than the laughter of those we love.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Thoughts on the Start of the Week


  • Briefly looking back, I'm pleased that I got my inbox back under control. At the start of the day, I was well over 300 emails.
  • I highly recommend you start reading Project 562. Matika's a fantastic photographer, and this project explores the Native American experience. As a member of the Tulalip Tribes, her insights into last week's school shooting in Marysville are worth the read. 
  • As for my own writing, I've been pleased with the engagement I've received at my poetry blog: Asking, Exploring, Seeking. It's where I've been focusing more of that energy, though the busy-ness of this early autumn has impacted that work as well. I'm trying to get back to posting daily. 
  • I've been taking CIS 241, Web Development 1 at Edmonds Community College. Yeah, I know a fair amount about html, and a bit about CSS. I'm mostly self-taught, though, and have long wanted a deeper understanding. Getting up-to-speed with the changes wrought by html 5 have been really cool. 
There's the brief run-down of this week's highlights in review. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Living without regrets



A life with no regrets doesn't need to mean one with no mistakes. Really it means you're always looking forward, not obsessed with the past.

Our culture pushes a fear of failure, deeply. With that, achieving failure often triggers a deep identification AS a failure. It's an easy trap to get ensnared by. Watch for it!

It robs joy, and drains focus for the NOW. This builds a negativity mindset, one where all compliments are distrusted, all opportunities are dreaded. In this world, the only efforts wth making are ones with guaranteed outcomes. Which are few and weak.

The ultimate regret:  failing to finish a dream. Seek to prevent that. Keep your eyes forward; find dreams and embrace them. Then steel yourself to fight, fumble and stagger your way forward. It's helps to focus forward, towards the top of the hill we're climbing. Efficiency often is inelegant. Crossing the finishline is ultimately what matters, whether perfectly coiffed or dripping sweat.

Updated: I found this graphic that sums this up well. Enjoy!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Leadership and the next step forward from Karmagate

I'm a little behind in my reading, so just got to this GeekWire piece: Internal Memo: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sets new diversity plan after ‘humbling’ experience. I am very pleased to see Mr. Nadella grow as a leader after Karmagate. It's very easy, in this society, for a leader to hide behind PR until any particular kerfuffle blows over. And I was worried that's what would happen this time, too. I'm pleased to be wrong. His plans going forward match very well to my advice, which, I must say, also pleases me greatly.

It takes wisdom and humility to learn from criticism, and move FORWARD. This memo demonstrates something very unique, something very visionary. To risk, learn from failures and change, then adapt is critical to a vibrant culture. Microsoft might just be at the edge of something amazing. I'm eagerly watching.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Minecraft

My son requested I download Minecraft at some point in history; I'm not sure when. The months (years perhaps) of watching him engage the game impressed me. This game engages creativity in a deep and significant way, in ways no shooter one can. With his current creation, he's taking into account architectural details like work and room flow (currently building a bakery). Then when I mentioned to him about how Boeing camouflaged their Seattle plant during World War II (built a fake neighborhood above), he announced that he was building his own Boeing factory.

It delights me to see his brain working like this. And the standard gaming side-benefits (most noticeably better hand-eye coordination and dexterity) are nice, I love the creativity. His right brain is getting brilliantly stimulated. For that, I'm grateful.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Economic Cost

We don't see that what we pay directly influences how well others live. By driving to pay less, always less, we drive down the quality of life for others; this lust for advantage. Now I understand that we expect that the lowered costs come from the horded wealth of the exploiters. Yet, really, that cost is born by the most vulnerable.

Where is the sweet spot: customer maximizes their lives, seller theirs? It's truly impossible to know without transparency. Which won't be fully realized without trust.

Finding this place of trust, where we can believe, fully, that each party is seeking "win-win", this is the great challenge for humanity. To move past seeking advantage, from exploitation to relationship and respect. To seek out a world where we all grow, all benefit and no one is crushed by inequality. This is my dream, at least.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More thoughts on Karmagate

Just read "Karmagate: 3 former Microsoft women discuss Nadella and what should come next" and came away with one key idea. Mr. Nadella has an opportunity for boldness and vision. My respect for him would grow if he publicly acknowledged the painful ignorance of his "Karmagate" faux pas (which he somewhat has done) and aggressively seek to change the inequalities in the tech sector.

I have the deepest respect for those who not only acknowledge mistakes, but use them as leverage points to affect positive change. Nadella has an opportunity to go from good to great. I hope he takes it.

(*my first response is here)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Annoyance shouldn't equate to rage

We need to be able to experience annoyance about the descending into judgmental rage. Far too often, people burst into a rage at the mildest of provocations. The all too familiar "Road Rage" is, perhaps, the most common variation.

My perception: we have developed a lack of ability to process modern life's nuisances. Perhaps it's the speed, or expected speed of today's life. Anything that impacts our speeding at maximum perhaps frightens too much.

Finding that place of tranquility; tis a serious challenge. Not something we teach much. Our ability to collaborate gets compromised. And collaboration is our economic future. Socially corrosive, this is.

Is Elon Musk The Automotive Market's Steve Jobs?

I heard a great deal about Mr. Musk today, what with all the buzz about The Big D. A few thoughts really strike me:

  1. When was the last time that an automotive announcement created such buzz? 
  2. How many CEOs (in any industry) can say, publicly, that they're colonizing Mars and not be laughed off the internet?
Both of these got me thinking about Mr. Musk, the leader. Clearly, the greater world is invigorated by his style. He generates "buzz", and gets people talking. And audiences wait, eagerly, to eat up his words. 

Additionally, he inspires confidence, to the point that disbelief is suspended. Outlandish claims, dreams, aspirations are considered with a level of seriousness I've not seen since Mr. Jobs. And this delights me. People inspired, innovation held up as wonderful; these are great things for us, for our culture. Things that bring our gaze upwards, cause us to think bigger are critical. Birthing happiness within me. 



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Marketing and Business Expertise

Saw a flyer earlier today for a Business Planning Clinic which amused me. I support thoughtful business planning, however, this flyer failed to impress me. First, it presented me with a whole page of information, including such things as the presenter's marital status, but didn't have date, location or price. In other words, a marketing "fail". Really, none of the key "Ws" were communicated besides "who".

So, would I take business planning advice from someone who fails a basic flyer, their critical chance to get me engaged? Perhaps a rhetorical question, but I'll leave that analysis up to you.

Thoughts on " Trouble at the Koolaid Point "

This piece left by Kathy Sierra me disturbed. That Ms. Sierra went through this horror is unacceptable to civilized humanity. Yet, what's to be done? Can we reign in these trolls without losing the glorious free speech such venues as Twitter promote? I really don't know. This abuse is what will kill the Internet, of anything will. If the sociopaths win, we all lose, especially the sociopaths. Interesting conundrum.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Kaki King: Some Social Media Thoughts From A Fan

I discovered Ms. King several years ago. Today, for no obvious reason, I was in the mood for her percussive style. While listening on Reverbnation (her account's pretty neglected there, fyi) I found this embed code. So I, being me, needed to plug that in and see how it looks.



Just some thoughts, though, on her online presence (that is a key part of "what I do", after all).

  • Facebook seems to be her main touch-point with her fans.  The page looks great and current.
  • Twitter is pretty solid, much the same. No major points to bring up.
  • Instagram is not too shabby. It's not that powerful a media player yet, but solid enough to be a great touch-point with fans. A good blend of personal and work. 
  • Now, her website; that's an area I would invest some time. Very sparse, and not much touch for fans. Other than a few tour dates, and links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud, it's pretty vacant.
  • And, lastly, the aforementioned Soundcloud. Shows album covers, and has links to iTunes and Google Play, and back to her main site. And that's it. No music on the site at all. I think it would be wise to have something there, perhaps one song from each album. Some kind of sampler. Also, perhaps some more recent experiments. Just to keep engaged. The empty account, that is linked to by her main page, is pretty awkward.
Just some thoughts from someone who spends a lot of time working in this space, loves Kaki King's music, and would really love to see her grow as a professional artist. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leadership is easy?

Sometimes leadership is simple. All you need to do is take that terrifying, or painful, action that everyone KNOWS needs to be done, but are afraid to do. Simplicity does not equate to ease.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Christian, Indeed

Recently, one of my friends was given the following request: stay away from our church until he could be/act "more Christian". Gads, such statements frustrate me. Really, what is that supposed to mean? I expect this is about being more cheerful, dopey happy, carefree nonsense. Bleh! People of faith wrestle with pain, sadness, depression, anger and anguish. God meets us where we are, not in this fantasy la-la land.

Yeah, we're supposed to be battering the world with our hammers of righteousness, rubbing those wretched sinners noses in how revolting we sanctimonious babblers find them. Bah, I say; refusing that path as empty and vacuous, ultimately destructive. I stand with the broken, the sinner, the struggling, as best as I'm able, for that's me, too. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thoughts on James Foley

Hearing the horrific news about ISIS' murder of journalist James Foley gives me pause. What do these folks hope to accomplish? Do they really believe they instill terror in us? Perhaps they're deluded such. If so, they really are pitiful. No, our collective response is one of horror and repulsion. I don't know. Madness. 

Ultimately, it'll solely serve to deepen our focus, our resolve. Sadly, it will also serve as fuel for those who vilify all Muslims, painting the entire faith with the broadest of brushes. I guess, ultimately, it will serve to delude these thugs, this taste of power. They'll feel their power flutter behind the cowardly masks. And they will vanish, empty save for the horrors within their souls. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Future think

It's quite easy, in this age, to pooh-pooh the wisdom of time's past. To laugh at the myths, history's weak attempts at knowledge. Yet, we must be humble. We must wonder what elements of our "now" that the future will consider childishly superstitious. For there will be something, if not many things, perhaps nearly everything, will certainly seem foolish and naive.

My hope is that the future will see us as sincere, just naive, lacking understanding that they will take for granted. That our knowledge will grow exponentially, that we will put aside petty power and grasp the hope science offers. That humans will dance amongst the stars. As I stare up to the stars, I'm inspired. The potential is immense. May we expand beyond narrow self interest, embrace our potential, and soar

Don't use the Internet to deal with wakefulness

I woke about an hour ago; mostly feeling a warm, semi-wakefulness. Then I ruined it. Checked email, found something to post to my Not Just Seattle blog (just re-purposing a press-release, easy!). Noticed that this site got nearly 2000 views yesterday, and tried to figure out why. Then started reading old posts. And, here I am. Reminded, yet again, that the Internet is NOT the way to deal with early morning wakefulness.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More of my websites

I started a WordPress site some time ago in order to explore the platform. Recently, I relaunched it as my poetry site. I've heard so very much about focusing your sites. So, I'm trying to do something with that. Besides that one, I also have NotJustSeattle.com, where I focus on the local. Soon, I'm going to port my tech writing to its own site. This will also, then, be my professional/business presence. I'll move my portfolio there, too. Trying to find another name besides "Setzer Consulting". Feels too bidding. I'll try to have the URL for in to that.

So, please check out my other sites and stay tuned to see how things change.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Page One Google Ranking

I'm quite pleased we were able to pull off hitting page one of "Marysville WA Realtors" again. The market is highly competitive right now, so having high ranking is powerful.

Anyway, this was squeal-worthy to me.



T-Mobile: Agitator Extrordinaire

Reading this piece about John Legere and T-Mobile's marketing drove home several thoughts that have been lurking in my mind. First, creating a unique brand presence in a saturated/commodified market is very, very hard. How do we make these boring items sexy? Working in real estate, I've been struggling with that for some time. Having a flamboyant leader, one who doesn't shrink from the limelight nor controversy is critical.

How does one rise to front of mind in today's media landscape? Uniqueness is key. A certain eccentricity, and self-love of that, really helps. It also helps having gobs of cash to spend.

I think the next wireless sector winner will be a fierce competitor. T-Mobile matches that.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Being there

3:00 am, I receive a text, and slept through it. Logical, acceptable, and yet still painful. A friend hurting, and I wasn't able to be there. She worked her way through, so no guilt on that. No, it's deeper. 

I value my friends, my family. I value helping, to be present when needed. Thus, one of my core values failed. That is, and should be, painful. It's not about effectiveness, or any of that. 

I know that these sorts of things will happen again and again. Failures of theses elements should cause discomfort, and reflection. That's different than guilt. More akin to sadness. Which is fair to feel. 

I hope that feeling remains. Keeps me striving, pushing, growing. Another thing I value. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Daydreams

Thoughts, bird like
Drifting upon the air.

Pushing down, forcing
Themselves skyward.

The sky shan't notice.
Only I, upon the earth
Can.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dreaming Big - Living Beyond The Doable

I’ve been reading Gary Keller’s “One Thing”, which defines three types of goals: doable, stretch & possible. “Doable”, of course, is the low hanging fruit, the no/low risk path. “Stretch” pushes you, but you’re still within the view of “limits”; some more risk and more effort than “doable”. Then we have “possible”. Well, I don’t like Keller’s term, but we’ll go with it. Because “possible” really pushes our mind past what we view as possible. It’s not about what we think as possible, but pushing past our viewed limits and discovering the truly possible. I like “beyond possible”, but I think that would push people away from trying, as much as “impossible” would. 

Ah, the “impossible!” I don’t believe in impossibilities. Rather, possibilities limited by either vision or a lack of technological progress. In Michio Kaku’s “Physics of the Impossible”, he defines three types of impossibilities: class 1, 2 & 3. Class 1 are technologically impossible, but don’t violate physical laws. Conceiving of a world with them isn’t that hard. Class 2 exist at the very edge of our understanding. And Class 3 requires a different understanding of physical laws. All three have been pushed past over the course of history. So, with that, I believe that most, if not all statements of “impossible” really are statements of limited vision. 

So, with that, you’d think I’ve been living a life pushing past the impossible, setting all my goals in the “possible” realm. No. I’ve struggled pushing into "possible". Heck, “stretch" is emotionally challenging. Why? Fear, the fear of hitting my limits, I guess. The fear of disappointing those I care about? I'm not sure. The roots of this are years of limiting messages fed into me, myriad sources, manifest voices; probably all well meaning. Now, though I see it’s time to give up on the psychoanalysis and move. Work on believing in myself. It's the message I'm trying to pass along to those around me. Because I very deeply believe that this is the root of all innovation. And letting yourself be limited is the root of much human suffering.

I've limited myself so very much by focusing on “doable" dreams. That's the source of my internal dissatisfaction. I've limited myself, and I feel the edges of that box. I hate it. Deeply. Fighting my way past has been infernally challenging. Probably, the lack of awareness of what in shooting for, what I feel called for has been limiting. I hope by having it better defined, I may push past, finally. The battle continues.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The pursuit of balance

I seek balance, balance between career and family, spiritual and earthly. Balance, perhaps the zen of yin and yang.

Balance, though, is not a steady state, rather continuous action. Balancing, redistributing; because you can't have it all, only what you prioritize

Thus, knowing what's important is critical. Having goals, big overarching ones to guide you, to allow you focus.

With that, one of my traps: forgetting that I can shift, adjust to the changing reality. And that's the real goal, to grow, learn and adjust. Its OK for the goals to move. Actually, its critical. If we're growing, we're learning. That new knowledge will open up possibilities we never could consider before. The glorious future unimaginable. 

Monday, July 07, 2014

I seek connection

I've seen life's frivolousness, the extreme fickleness of fate. A randomness haunting life. This uncertainty drives many to fear. Me? Connection: my drive is to connect, deeply, richly. Not simply awareness of Facebook updates (or Facebook's kin). Rather to comment, engage, share: whether that's humor, insight or compassion. An actual presence, of which we both are aware. Friends and family: this matters most. If, at the end of our life, no one cares, or worse, our death generates a feeling of relief, a release from the miseries we've inflicted, has our life any value?

Friday, July 04, 2014

July Fourth Fun

This July Forth, one of the key things I'm doing: cleaning out my inboxes. I've been quite over-full with activity, and this was one area sacrificed.

Brings back to the front of mind a continuous quandary: information flow. I have a huge array of interests, thus have subscribed to a huge number of email lists. And, like today, most of what I'm doing is dumping those emails into the trash. Even the ones being saved to "read later". That's something happening less and less: "reading later". Slowly, I continue culling subscriptions. It's hard, really hard.

Iteratively, I'm defining/refining my interests. And weeding out what I won't read, or keep the most up-to-date with. This weeding has been the most painful. Even with knowing I can look things up instantly. Perhaps it's a legacy: I'd keep magazine subscriptions of stuff that I cared about to "read later". Though it might be weeks or even months later, having access to that knowledge was critical. Throwing them out meant losing ready access to that info. Now I am a simple Google search away. Just need to convince my brain.

I see these elements, struggling with the changes I've lived through. It seems, simply, that its mostly about becoming fully aware of the conflict. I view this process as psychic debugging.

Lastly, and don't worry. I'll still get out and enjoy US Independence Day. Cheers, all!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Taekwondo

For the past few years, taekwondo has been my main side activity. The only larger pieces of my life have been work and writing; perhaps it's tied with photography. So, I thought it good to share some of what I'm experiencing here.



Most delightful has been weightloss. I've managed to drop around 20 pounds since I started. This is more than the martial art, as I've worked hard to increase my fitness level, but it has been the central activity. And I've developed better balance and strength.

My whole family participates, so it's been particularly joyful. Plus all three of us have developed good friendships with our fellow students.

So, I leave you with a few things I'm most proud of. Above, you see my red-belt test results. And, below, is a video of my board breaks for the same test.


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Creativity: Stifling vs. Channeling

From the perspective of the creative, direction (channeling) and stifling look very similar. Ultimately, it's the end goal that determines the difference. Channeling is about helping the creation be the most effective, most powerful it can be. Stifling is about eliminating a threat, whether that threat is direct (ie: being offended) or indirect (ie: fear of your child's career because they're "wasting time" on the arts).

One challenge for the creative: finding the right mentors. As youth, our mentors and leaders are chosen for us. Think teachers, pastors, camp counselors...you get the picture. Generally, finding the right mentor to trust is act of pure luck. As we get older, and (hopefully) wiser and more aware, we are able to be more direct about choosing who we let into those positions of trust. But even as youth, it's often possible to determine the difference, and, thus, put the stifling actions off to the side.

On the other end, it's important for us leaders to direct, to channel, to help the creatives around us maximize their voice. Part of that is getting the right challenges in front of the right minds. Part of it is to relax our egos and hear the voices of the different. And, the biggest part, is to focus on that caring, compassionate core and focus on bringing the best out in everyone around us.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

TikTok, LunaTik & Social Business

This company has interested me, the Apple guy and iPhone user. One of their devices is, in my opinion, the most effective case ever created. Not cheap, but wickedly awesome.

I've really not noticed their backstory, though. Watching this video really impressed me with the ways they utilized social media and tools like Kickstarter to get this product created. It really spoke to me about the way business is evolving, and how the world could shake out.

Anyway, it's worth a few minutes of your time. Business is changing. Behold!


The Story of TikTok+LunaTik from LUNATIK on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thoughts on Wisdom

"We do not receive wisdom. We must discover it ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, and which no one can spare us. For our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world."
~Marcel Proust

Our role in life, as teachers, friends and parents is not to spare our youth this journey. Rather, grant them fearless hearts able to embrace the journey, trusting themselves to come through better. Also, accept that they will change, and that we will love that person equally.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rocket Day

My son and I exploring rocketry, then me messing around with iMovie.

Possibly the first of many: both launches and dollars spent.












Friday, June 20, 2014

Freedom from "mistakes"

My thought of the morning: I don't think I believe in mistakes. The hedging quality reflects the newness of this notion. It's reflects a rather radical shift in my mind.

There's sloppy execution, then there's discovery.  Sloppy execution isn't a mistake, it's a lack of care and diligence. Clearly, more effort/better focused effort would've overcome the obstacles.

Accepting a challenge which doesn't go as expected isn't a mistake, either. We learn deeply from those moments. Amazing, cosmos shifting events resulted from unintended consequences.

I mustn't let my fear of mistakes paralyze me. This ruins so much joy, limits life's delights. I've seen this, up close and personally. And desire the removal of such life denying scripts from my psyche. Walking that path, slowly but surely, reaching that destination.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Limits Of Web Solutions

Today, one of the main sites I work out of is struggling with a DDOS attack. Well, it's actually been the past few days. This site tracks my workflow, and houses my to-do list. Being locked out has moved from annoyance to inconvenience to problem to serious issue.

This has me wonder, though: is technology really ready for "prime time"? For those of us who have shifted our calendars, tracking systems, CRM to the web, what is at risk? A relatively simply action can create significant paralysis.

To be clear, I'm not ready to abandon all my tech solutions and grab paper and binders yet. But I am considering what I can do, analog or otherwise, to be better able to react to these nuisances. There is no guarantee that any website will remain in business tomorrow. There are technological snafus. How do I minimize the risks inherent with going all-in with tech/web solutions? I'll be meditating on that for the next few days. 

Writing Media and Future Think

Talking with a friend, I see my writing has shifted solidly digital. I tend to create on a device, mostly my tablet, or my phone, then computer. I'll go weeks without touching my notebook.

I love the ability to edit, and unedit. There is a zen-like impermanence to this medium.  Changing things feels powerful.

On occasion, I wonder what historical research will be like. Probably an archeological dig through our data, sifting through millions of photos, notes and stories, aggregating our lives.

Strange combination of fluidity, impermanence and ageless data shall flow together into a richer understanding of who we were, collectively and individually.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Some thoughts on leadership

In Steven Covey's "Seven Habits..." book, he relates a story of a consulting gig. After asking "what's the best way to motivate..." some one spat out "hand-grenades".  Apparently a bit of a debate broke out. I've wondered what would say during that, and think I have my answer. "That's effective if your goal is to build a subservient fiefdom. If you're trying to build a dynamic team of effective contributors, this will fail gloriously."

In today's economy, a company of meandering automatons who only act directly upon orders is a recipe for failure. This is a blind bureaucracy. Any need for independent thought or action induces a fear based paralysis. These are non-agile orgs that cannot react nimbly. Their only strength comes from sheer mass. Most of the entities which remind effective do so because they command immense resources, enabling them to catch up with innovators...eventually. Or they just acquire them.

Many managers feel empowering their teams is some fluffy, sentimental fad. Sadly, some systems allow them to flounder in their ineffectiveness. They remain blind to the costs they craft, and to the opportunities squandered. Thus is the path of fear and brutality.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Prime Music

In case you missed the announcement, Amazon has launched Prime Music. As you can guess, Amazon is the latest tech animal to enter the online music fray. I downloaded the iPhone app last night and have been streaming music at my desk at work today. For now, the music selection is pretty small for the streaming service. As a heavy Spotify user, Amazon is not going to displace my current habits. Prime looks to be supplementing/feeding their mp3 download service. That's not where I am, at this point. Key phrase: at this point.

I fully expect that Amazon is "in it to win". They're fierce competitors, and I expect that they'll push this service further. Probably, there will come a point that Spotify's $9/mo service will seem redundant to my Prime membership fee. Then it will be tough. I'm not keen on giving too much control over my life to one vendor. However, I value my cash. Yeah; tough. Or, perhaps, Spotify will be bought by one of the big players and this will become a non-issue. Always in motion, the future.

Social Media: Work vs Magic

Magic. I've seen this idea many times, item X will "save us", " make us rich ", "make critics vanish", what have you. Looking to some tool as a savior, the proverbial " magic bullet"; all our problems will vanish. Nearly daily I see emails promising "Pinterist will make you rich", along with myriad, similar titles. Magic sells, but never returns on that investment.

Social media won't make you rich, make critics vanish, nor any issue disappear. No blog post, tweet nor Google+ share will, either. It's way these efforts are called campaigns. Regular posts, with thoughtful content, over several channels, and with engagement, interacting; that's how an audience is built. Gaining fans, then nurturing those relationships, that's the gift of social media.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

MaydayPAC and Hope for Democracy

I am excited by this project: Mayday, creating a crowdsourced SuperPac to end all SuperPacs (SuperDuperPac?). I've long admired Larry's work, and also have been concerned by cash's influence in politics. For me, this has the potential to be a profound pivotal moment of the internet age and social media driven democracy. This coming Monday (June 16) at 8:00 pm EASTERN time, Mr. Lessig and Amanda Palmer will be hosting a video conversation that I expect will be very much worth your time. If I can at all make this work with my calendar, I will be online for this.

Update: Here's some recommended "pre-reading":  1) 2) 3)




My Writing's Evolution

Noticing my poetry's evolution. Once, my focus was flowing words, rich in descriptors, often verbose. Now, now I so often seek brevity. Driving to strip distraction, superfluous text, longing to grasp the core meaning, what lurks at the deepest recesses. Often I fail, but that hardly dissuades me. Much like Thoreau's failure to attain the rich independence alongside the pond, failure is no shame. To stretch, dream, depart from the norm and traditional, daring something new; the results never match the dream. Its always so much richer.

Grasping hold of dreams, daring to work them real, that's my newest focus. Seek out the new, the never-done daring deeds of the heart. To live fully engulfed within a creative vortex, fearlessly facing the winds, that is what I seek to build now.

My poetry is the focus of another site:

Http://questionsall.wordpress.com

I'll endeavor to post daily. Challenging, pushing myself forward, beyond the limits of fear.

Such is my dream.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Domain Extension - Welcome .Ninja!

As a martial artist, this speaks to me. But not in a real, usable way. It would be fun for a couple of types of sites. Anyway...behold, Dot Ninjia!




Monday, June 09, 2014

Girlhood & Culture

Why does our culture saddle girls with so much insecurity? Easier to manipulate and control, perhaps. I'm not buying the differential biology explanation for this. Looking at marketing directed at boys vs girls tells quite a bit of the story.

Yet I don't see a nefarious plot. Generations upon generations of behaviors feeding back upon each choice. These dream fed mindsets, layering upon each, acting from the depths, our mind's unaware. And here we are.

Slowly, as we bring each behavior into our awareness, we see the fallacies before us; leaving them in the dust of history. Wretched dreams of forgotten kings, dominations waving in the dusty, dry wind.

6/10 Update:

Came across this article that's correlated: "Tips: Raising Children to have Healthy Relationships with Food & Their Body." (~ Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld)

I shall work to keep from feeding this, destructive cycle for I adore the girls/women in my life.

Micropoetry

I'm glad I was able to contribute to this Twitter thread. I'll need to contribute more often.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Debbie Millman's Design Matters Podcast : Noah Brier

I've been following Ms. Millman for sometime and highly recommend her podcast: Design Matters. I'm quite deliberate about making time as soon as I see the update come through on my iPhone. This week she interviews Noah Brier. I remember messing around with his project Brand Tags some time back, though after the interview I see an deeper power to the site that I really hadn't considered before.

The most important takeaway: that we need to abandon the idea of controlling a brand's image and identity. We, as professionals, can clearly influence and effect perception, but "control"; no. He points out that, really, it's the fans, the public that really control, really own a brand. The interactions with customers, fans and critics all play a part in the identity. Reminds me of several discussions over the years where I say "we can't please everyone. We need to identify who our audience is, focus on them, accept that there will be some un-detractable critics, and move forward." Not everyone can become a superfan. The more popular a brand, or anything, becomes, the more critics rise. It's the way of things.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Thoughts About Stairs And Short-Shorts

On the ferry yesterday, my son and I were behind a young woman. While she walked up stairs, she was clearly uncomfortable in her very short-shorts. They were short enough that we could clearly see her lack of undergarments. Her discomfort manifested mainly by her continued pulling the edges of her shorts down. Ironically, that's what gathered my attention, this continuous motion.

I felt bad for her discomfort. And I wonder, as I'm want to do, how we found ourselves here. Why was she compelled to wear clothes that pushed her comfort levels? Was she trying to be more attractive? Was it an unconscious choice, or conscious only to see the challenges of this fashion (and resultant discomfort) too late?  

Of course, we live in as culture where women and girls are supposed to be sexy, but not too sexy. It's a strange and painful duality.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Life Is

Life is simply too short to sit back, to let the status quo grind along. I know justice can be broadened, that poverty can be challenged, that predation amongst my fellow humans can be resisted. Small, tiny acts build, flow together, creating a river of growth, of progress. We just must act! Each action, no matter how small, grows, collects, cumulating in the amazing. Do something, stand together, do something else; it's the path of progress.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pushing Through Lines

Cross lines, I might.
Upon the fracture of
Our mind and random dreams.
Upon this fracture could be
The redemption
Of life, liberty, then head
Into the the dream of soul's.
Joys embrace.

Against Fears

May someday our fears
Collapse against the bright truth 
Selfless love redeems.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Young People Today

One of my current frustrations: people groaning about youth. About them taking selfies, too self-centered, too intertwined with their families...I can make this list mammoth, if you so wish. I've had the privilege, though, of getting to know a number of teens and early twenty-somethings. And these are great people. I delight in spending time with them. Their energy and enthusiasm are just so damn wonderful. They have ambitions, dreams. They're deeply talented and CARE about their work.

The universe is in good hands with them. I'm happy.

[Updated to deal with autocorrect brutalities. For a professional writer, this was abysmal.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dreaming curves

Time to free my mind,
Drift languidly across the
Arc of dreams.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Perfectionism: Brutality?

Perfection: my ghost. 
Hard: compassion for myself. 
Hope: loving thyself.

Enough?

Never enough time.
Drifting between the fingers.
Dreams become starlight.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Song for the Worn

Weariness, driving my soul,
Compressing dreams into
The edge of oblivion.
Trust collapses inwards,
Longing lost against this
Background of loss, change's
Drifting malaise consumes
Secretly.

The sacredness of the collective

Together
Needing each other,
Concepts that challenge
Our current narrative
Of ruddy singletons
Who need no assistance.

Yet
Our need for each other:
Desperate. Alone, truly
Alone, we die. The greatest leader,
Without others accomplishes
Nothing.

Collectives
Thrive on interdependence,
When one thrives, so do all.
We tunnel into and through
Ourselves, escaping into each
Other.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Mothers, may the appreciation showered upon you today make up for the manifest times you're taken for granted. "Being taken for granted" means your children have the deepest sense of trust, of security in you, in your presence. Security; that stony foundation upon which life's brutalities break and fall. Thus we move forward, stronger from love, from faith in ourselves; knowing we can yet still do better. Fully believing we will get there.

Bits and Bytes, The Dance Digital

I'm exploring some new poetry ideas.  A newer style, based on thinking like a computer; like bits and bytes:  8 lines by 8 syllables. This is still kinda haiku-like, yet something new. I've worked on this all throughout the day. Tell me what you think.

Bits and bytes flowing freely hence
Through the megalith called the web
A dance, of sorts, runs globally
Lights flicker upon my dear screen.
Over this ever-watched image
My life becomes this dreamlike state
Dreams dance over my mind's canvas
Living for love's completing gaze.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Seeing Darren Hardy Speak Next Week

I'll see Mr. Hardy speak this Tuesday. Should be interesting. I've heard a bit about him, but haven't explored his ideas in depth. I'm curious how practical his ideas are, and what I will take away. Stay tuned...










Sunday, May 04, 2014

Your Future, And Mine

In the Center of my soul
Upon my mind's lens
I see your future, glorious
And wonderful.

I long to witness it, to savor
Your victories, comforting
Upon the inevitable setbacks.
And I expect to do so.

Yet, uncertain life can be,
Perhaps I'll be absent.
Then I'll take comfort knowing
I helped nudge you forward.

Annoyed with my iPhone

Currently, I'm annoyed as heck with my iPhone. The glorious Jesus phone started doing such things as calling random people, after my screen going black. Weird enough, I guess. My usual solution to such ails is a reboot. And, lo, there's an update to install. So, let's combine the two. Dear lord, no, no...never again will I make that combination. Stalled installations, resetting to factory defaults, then reinstalling from a backup (glad I'm a bit neurotic about my backups), all making for a delightful night and morning for me. And I'm still discovering weird tweaks: incomplete syncing of contacts the most recent.

Grrrrr.....

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Dreams Upon The Breeze

Midnight's dream floating
Gently across my mind's gaze.
Summer breeze, calming.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wheels and Boys

I was asked earlier today if I could craft a BMX haiku. So, here is my response. 

Wheels flowing downwards. 
A ramp awaits daredevils
BMX dreaming. 


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Living into the Next Level

Going to the "next level" only has value when YOU have defined success, when YOU know where you want to go. Otherwise, without goal/direction, your psyche knows the emptiness of your drive. At best, you'll feel empty, that your work is meaningless.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Clarity of the other

Sitting amongst the oppressed

Their discomfort diminishing.

Perhaps my apparent illiteracy

Grants them boldness?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hope for a broken world

Shows today about priest rapists, about brutality in Egypt, North Korea, about myriad acts of horror all over the globe. I'm left to wonder if humanity can be redeemed? Can we stop this cycle of evil? I'm laden with doubt.

Yet, within me, a kernel of hope. I see the words of journalists attempting to bring attention, to garner global pressure. There are the activists, often risking their lives, both in responding to the human need as well as to work against the monstrosity. Then there's the rising voice of public outrage, if for only a brief time. So much evil, so limited our ability to look. So easy to return our gaze to the pretty.

I, too, become worn by continual viewing of the worst humanity has to offer. Yet I hope, somehow, by continuing to care, the world might change, if ever so slightly. And perhaps, someday, humanity's tendency to brutalize each other will finally be put to rest.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The rebirth of the stylus

Years ago, I was quite facile with styli. I took meeting bits several times in my Palm, even with the cryptic survival script. As I evolved to Blackberry, then to iPhone, my utilization of styli vanished. Now, though, I see a renewed interest in these devices. There's become quite the secondary market growing. I've found, especially with tools like Swype, styli really enable a significantly greater efficiency. And this is fun for me.

I have one by Zagg, which is good, but small. Then I just got a NEBO one, with more heft. That seems to really help my accuracy. There are so many more, though. We'll see which, if any, rise to the top.

Tech Changing Life With Germs

"Back in the day", after a wave of nausea, or a fever, etc, you needed to loudly groan, whimper, or whatever you could muster for assistance. "Honey, please bring me a wet washcloth/towel/undertaker". With cell phones, you can now text your wife/spouse/mom "please bury my corpse to the left of the roses but not over the septic tank" without expending much energy at all. 

See, technology makes our lives better in so many ways. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thoughts on Blogger and Google+

As a long time Blogger user, I do worry a bit about how much longer Google will support this. The rise of Google+ drives that. The various features added lastly to + make it look like they compete, and we all know about "Houses Divided".

It seems that "+" gets all the developer energy, all the press. Blogger is way behind Word Press as far as features. So, probably, I'll do what so many others I know have done and port this over to WordPress.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Collaboration

Watching footage of WWII's end gives me pause. I grew up in a world which pooh-poohed the Nazis, yet forgetting we're looking through hindsight. It's so easy to denounce their sympathizers, as well as those who failed to act.  I expect, though, that many Dutch or French or Norse who went along with things simply thought they were doing the best they could. Were any of these folks punished? It's hard to feel sympathy for those who turned families over to the Gestapo who were then brutalized, but what about the restauranteur who befriended a German officer?  What about the German soldier who couldn't care less about National Socialism, but like so many in my family, thought he was serving his country?

Then I turn this personal. The person I am would never have been part of the gleeful followers. But that's only part off the equation. Knowing how things turn out, it's easy to say "I would resist". But, at that moment, in the madness that was Nazi Germany, or one the occupied countries, would I have had the bravery of a Bonhoeffer? Or would I have, politely, gone about my business, too afraid to speak? Perhaps simply hoping/waiting for the world to pivot back the other direction? I doubt I would've had the courage to speak out. Perhaps to quietly serve in the underground. From what I see, most of us suffer from risk aversion. Doing something that, not only puts our health and safety at risk, but our family's as all? Starts to become harder to imagine.

I look and think those who did quiet acts of resistance, hiding Jews in their basement, forgetting about the car full of resistance fighters you just saw, passing along news, radio parts... This list goes on. Maybe but as glorious add some, but critical, really. It was the critical mass of these acts, ultimately, that fully ends these conflicts.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why I love Twitter

Been thinking about the mighty Twitter. Why do I like it so much, yet others I know hate the platform? One key thought: chaos. For me, the beauty of Twitter is it's chaos. This manic, crazily shifting feed of information delights me. Yet I understand how this could be a hard style for others.

I specifically, deliberately follow smart and creative people without millions of followers. The people I follow will grab anything a celebrity would say (that's interesting) early enough for me to still be in the front of the thought curve. I value unique thinking over most anything else.

Twitter is more global. Maybe it's my follower curation, but my list does a great job of giving me a global view, more so than I'd ever see reading a US based news org.

If I need order, I have Google or Bing. And Facebook gives me a good look into the macro interests of our culture. Twitter trend to be where I see the cutting edge thinking, the leading stories. And I love that.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The #Math

It's not that I hate math,
Nor fail to comprehend.
Simply, math fails to delight
As flowing words do.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Evening quietude

Too early, no,
It's not morning
Until I've slept.
Sunlight collapsed into darkness
Hours back. Dawn comes soon
I guess. Light drifts in
Leisurely from points
Nearby, but sparse.

Words drift, too,
Flickered from bluish screens
Across my unweary eyes.
Slowly luring my mind
Free of thought, embracing
Dreams sweet embrace.
Silence lingers.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

This darkened evening

Rain flows, gently calming the night air. Dampness seeps deeply, my marrow aches. Light's brilliance rippled with moistened air, speckles distort those beams, glimmering gems, fluttering upon crisply chilled air.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thoughts upon this evening's stroll

My feet fall upon  pavement. The sound changes to a quiet thud when I leave pavement for grass, earth. My eyes move skyward, this sky lacks light. Save for the stars. Stars glow, brutal furnaces flickering gently, silently. They strangely beckon me, who can not reply. Upon this rock,  far from the center of anything, galaxy-wise, much less regarding the universe. Away, away they sit, gentle blue glowing spots upon the once blue sky. Watching me, calmly. Do they see this once boy, walking under the few remaining wisps of cloud, stretched thinly, not quite hiding the ancient eyes.

Orion's gaze the most familiar. Memories from boyhood, back upon the grass, eyes drinking deep those ever present dots. Staying upon the shapes my parents, their parents, all humanity that's ever been, they've all seen the same shapes. Though they, too, change, their slowness taxes the mind to consider. My life barely a suffer. Humanity's entire experience too recent to register.  Pale blue dreams across the winds of history.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Is Smartphone The Right Term Anymore?

I remember using the term "smartphone" long before the iPhone. Devices like the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and the Treo: these were the original "smartphones". However, these guys are a league separated from today's devices. As I consider it, the main difference seems to be accessing the web. Today's smartphones interact with the web as well as desktops, or closely so.

The modern devices easily seen mis-named in comparison. I wonder of a new name is justified? Well, who am I to decide? Plus, even if I were to craft the most brilliant name, would it get traction? Would it get adopted?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Changing the World Through Design

A couple of months back I stumbled upon the Design Matters podcast. I'd utilize my commute to explore new and interesting ideas, and this is one that resonated well. Then my FM transmitter (which was how I played my podcast through the Prius' radio [no aux jack in my Prius...a 2005...none...in 2005 <wish I could all-cap 2005 here>...] died. I fell behind while I made my way through the holidays lacking one (I've been told that my propensity to buy stuff I need makes me a hard gift-shopper-for during the holidays. I really do try to be amenable to generosity).

Currently, I've made my way back to November 2013 and have now discovered Dawn Hancock. Her blending of design, sustainability, social entrepreneurship just sings to me. One key thing driven home during my time at Starbucks: the power of these inter-related themes. This is transformative, and a key part of deep innovative thinking.

She was a TEDx Speaker in 2010 (Chicago). Here's the video. Enjoy!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Depression

Life slowly withers.
Weeks blur into months, years.
Endless, death barely avoided.

Exhaustion claims easily,
More than its due.
Dreams attract more than before
Slumber's taste sweeter, too.

Once I thought it's simply age.
A body grown weary by tasks.
Now I know, this beast consumes
Quietly, chewing my soul

Silently.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thoughts on PayPal President's Staff "Reaming"

After reading this piece, where the President of PayPal vents about HQ staff refusing to utilize the company's product and tools, I get David Marcus' point. There is a danger, though, with the confrontational leadership statement. Sounding whiny and entitled trends to disconnect you further from your audience, in this case, your employees. Scolding tones need to be used with caution and thoughtfulness.  Undermining your connection or weakening team trust is hard to repair.

Ultimately, it's really hard to gauge the effectiveness of one communication without seeing the larger context. Arm-chair quarterbacking is easier that doing the work.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Current Look At "Stand By Me"'s Setting

Wil Wheaton posted this video yesterday. This chap videos the locales where famous movie scenes were shot, then integrates the current footage into the movie. And he does it well. It's 15 minutes, and well worth your time.

As a fan of the film, and also having living along the Oregon coast (Astoria), this really hits home. The feeling is a blend of nostalgia, tinged with a little sadness at all the change. Anyway, watch this for yourself.





Stand by Me 1986 ( FILMING LOCATION ) from Herve Attia on Vimeo.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Cycling, Trials Riding, Danny MacAskill and the Power of YouTube

My son & I discovered Danny MacAskill via his film Way Back Home (on Netflix). As a long-time avid mountain biker, I have a particular respect for trials riders. The first rider who impressed the heck out of me was Hans Rey. Anyway, Danny's riding is urban-centric, which really gels with me.

Anyway, below is the YouTube bit that launched Danny. Give it a look. You won't be disappointed.


Where does coffee come from? A journey from bean to cup.

Ok, this infographic does an excellent job showing the "journey" of a coffee bean. It's well worth your time to give it a gander.



Where does coffee come from? A journey from bean to cup.






Brought to you by:BizBrain.org | Open in a New Window

Thursday, February 06, 2014

SCAA Event This April 24-27 In Seattle

The SCAA, Specialty Coffee Association of America has pretty cool conventions (for coffee geeks). I haven't been to one of these since I left Starbucks. However, I'm quite tempted to make my way down again. I love coffee and coffee sector. There is still the desire that someone else pay the registration fee, but oh well.

Anyway, here's a little video introducing the SCAA membership to Seattle.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Superbowl Parades And Other Joys

Shortly after the momentous win of Superbowl 48 by the Seahawks, I heard of the parade to held in their honor. My first thought: "well, that'll be a mad-house; no thanks". Probably helps in understanding my viewpoint that I'm hardly a sports-fan. I enjoy them from an entertainment perspective, but I'm hardly the uber-fan. Add to that, though, that I first heard expectations of 10s of thousands, then over a hundred thousand. Now we're hearing estimates of up-to 500 thousand. Traffic in the City is a mess. And I'm smugly patting myself on the back to be sitting, where it's warm (current temperature in Marysville is 25 degrees) in front of my computer. Seattle is a bit warmer (ha!).



What I love about this digital age: the ability to view such spectacle from anywhere on the globe. I will be streaming the thing while I keep working away (probably on KING5.com, but we'll see). If you're at the event, enjoy!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Excitement vs. Boredom: Personal Power & Effectiveness

"Adventure, excitement: a Jedi craves not these things". Wise word from Master Yoda. Have you ever wondered about the roots of this wisdom? Why is this wise?

Craving adventure to cure boredom is this problem, the weakness of personality. Making others responsible for your entertainment externalizes problem solving, makes it harder to solve issues, weakens your personal power.

Interest and excitement can easily be found through exploration, through learning. Boredom's cure is easy. Simply own the results, the process. Make it yours, embrace it deeply. That's the path to a fulfilling and rich life.

Today upon tomorrow, motion

The future comes
Incessant, plodding
With ungainly speed. 
One may hide from 
This relentless motion 
Or cower. 

The future arrives
Soon. 
Prepared 
Or 
no.  

Monday, February 03, 2014

Piano Guys Coming To Seattle

I first stumbled upon the Piano Guys with the video below. I find their work well done and fun. They clearly enjoy performing.

And, lo, I see that they're in town this week (Thursday the 6th) at the Paramont. However, the sticker shock along with the fact I'm already heading to Spam-a-lot this weekend will force this off my plate. However, if you're looking for something to do Thursday night, give them a whirl. I highly recommend them. And enjoy the song below.

Monday, January 27, 2014

OTIS Green Mountain College Design Build

I love innovative design. Besides the sustainability elements, I think it's quite ascetically pleasing. 



Exploring GMOs Deeper

I was recently engaged in an online debate about sexual shaming as a response to "disagreement", or a dislike for reporting. In the discussion, the focus, Amy Harmon with the NYTimes asked me to look at her GMO story with fresh eyes. And so I tired.

A bit of background is important at this point. I have years of experience on the "con" side of this issue. I've worked in environmental affairs, been involved with myriad environmental action groups; hell, I drive a Prius. And I've read over the years the stories about increased cancer risk, Monstanto's seed police, contaminated soils, and myriad other concerns. Yet I also recognize science evolves, that what we understand about any particular subject gathers more information, different analyses; that the scientific consensus may change. Plus, I'm willing to admit that I am often within an political echo-chamber, where truly hearing other voices can be rather difficult.

With that, I decided to read the article with as open a mind as I can muster. Ms. Harmon does a great job providing in-depth research that challenges my mindset. But, also, I see that this issue is a giant, freakin' muddle. I've spent a little time digging, exploring and counter-exploring. The main thing I've learned at this point: this is no easy project. I found this quote over at Nature perfect:

People are positively swimming in information about GM technologies. Much of it is wrong — on both sides of the debate. But a lot of this incorrect information is sophisticated, backed by legitimate-sounding research and written with certitude. (With GM crops, a good gauge of a statement’s fallacy is the conviction with which it is delivered.)
I found another writer looking to make sense of all of this, over with my friends at Grist,  Nathanael Johnson. He started a series on GMO foods, starting with "The genetically modified food debate: Where do we begin?" If you have an interest in this subject, I suggest you give the series a read.

I intend to continue my dive into this.  Feel free to follow my reading via my Delicious account. This will serve as something of a bibliography on the matter for me. As of right now, my brain is full. And, ultimately, I really want to do the subject justice.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thoughts on the Apple TV

My house has moved into the "unplugged" realm; we stream our content via the internet. Our main appliance is an Apple TV, which we love. Mainly, we prefers its navigation in comparison with our Xbox 360.

The one issue many folks might have is what I'll call release lag. It takes a few days/weeks (or more) for a show to make its way to Netflix or the iTunes store. For me, that's really not it an issue. However, it will be for some.

Apple has some work to do. Right now, navigating the main screen is tolerable, though a bit clunky. However, with each new app & service, it gets messier. Soon, it will become unwieldy. I want to see the ability to organize this "desktop". Folders will be critical. Plus, I want to have a "favorites/bookmarks" section. It would also be good to let me delete apps I don't want.

The range of content amazes and delights me. And the lack of commercials is glorious. And the ability to stream from my iPhone or Macbook further increases the range of content.

I'm convinced this is the future of content distribution. Well, the ala carte model, at least. There is a revolutionary idea out there, getting ready to shift things again. That's the exciting part.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tom Perkins, Income Inequality, And Engaging With The Public

I groaned when I saw this come through my Twitter feed:



Jumping straight to the Nazi/Hitler comparison's really streamlines the descent to trollish online discussion. No need to wade through all that high-falutin, intellectual discussion; jump straight to the trash talk! Weak rhetorical technique, I'm afraid. I won't bother with deconstructing the analogy Mr. Perkins presents, Tim Fernholz did a good job at that on Quartz. I do, however, want to explore the main point: the growing discontent at our income disparity.

Mr. Perkins statement brings to mind a misconception that's paralyzing the income inequality debate. "You're just jealous of our success", generally rattled off defensively. Now I've grown weary of this. It's simply knee-jerk defensive justification that serves no purpose. Simply, it's folks' like Mr. Perkins way to avoid dealing with the larger issue. And, of course, the role they play both in the causality of the situation and any solution.

There is a growing groundswell of discontent at the ever widening income disparity gap. From the Occupy Movement to efforts to raise the minimum wage, we're seeing a populist swelling of "dislike" for the current status quo. There are a number of articles on the subject of the income disparity between CEO and Average Worker pay, some stating it's as much as 400 times more.  But let's take a more conservative number, From Bloomberg, "Across the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of companies, the average multiple of CEO compensation to that of rank-and-file workers is 204...". What's more telling, though is that this is growing, "...up 20 percent since 2009". Economic growth is concentrating in the hands of a very few, while the work is done more broadly. That's the root of the discontent. And, with that, I don't feel there's a great demand for a Robin Hood-eque income reallocation. To take the campaign to raise the minimum wage as an example, the statement really is that more of the profit from that burger (or whatever minimum wage product is being produced) needs to go the cook, and less to the CEO (and other executives) of burger company X.


Personally, I have no issue with some income differential. And I imagine that most people in the US, at least, don't. However, there comes a point when the rewards of work and initiative are not shared justly that people rebel. It looks like people are feeling these rates are exploitive, and hence morally reprehensible. That's, ultimately, what needs to be addressed. Whining that progressives aren't being nice to you adds nothing the debate, and, actually, makes the 1% look crass and uncaring. Mr. Perkins' op-ed comes across as a temper-tantrum, which is sad. The larger, and more critical, debate will now be lost in the Twitter backlash. At least, for now.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Oh, Life's Cruel Ironies

One of the cruel ironies of life: when sick, the body mainly needs rest. Which I find nearly impossible, when sick, to get. Perhaps more real than other perceptions, like how traffic volumes directly correlate to how late you are, likelihood of a flat-tire to the dressiness of your clothes, those sorts of things. 

Part of dealing with the sick/sleep issue: medications. NyQuil and it's sibling medicines certainly help make life better, or at least tolerable. Of course, there comes a point that I start to worry that any other additive to my system will result in my blood becoming corrosive. 
Now, I do utilize some naturopathic techniques. Mostly steamy showers, netti pots and hot teas. Oh, and chicken pho!

I guess you could view this as another area technology has taken solid hold. Do we ever really consider the innovations that all these meds represent? That so many have only been part of western life for a few decades? Yet we do we think twice about them? It's as natural to me, at least, to grab pharmaceuticals when ailing as I can imagine.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Google+ and Social Media Movement

I've been spending more time on Google+ lately (here's the link to my Google+ page). Twitter has been my biggest site of late, with Facebook being a solid second. However, I'm beginning to see some solid value in the Google+ platform.

The main thing I like: larger posting sizes than Twitter. Twitter was designed around SMS limiting factors. The character limits don't, as a general rule, bother me. However, there are times I like the larger posts and Google+ seems to fit the bill better.

Also, especially when compared to Facebook, filtering content and controlling what you see, and who sees your posts, Google+ is clearly better. The interface is cleaner and more straightforward.

It also helps that Google has stated on multiple occasions that it is prioritizing Google+ posts and content. One does need to consider SEO value as well.

Lastly, and most important to me, Google+ is still pretty new. The feeds I see are still quite free of trollish behavior. It's a much more pleasant experience. Will that change if/when the platform takes off? That's my concern. But, for now, it's a fun world with interesting discussions delightfully free of troll-bait. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Being Female in the Digital Age and my Disappointment for Food Democracy Now

I was annoyed when I saw this hit my Twitter feed.

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The article references Food Democracy Now's response to an article written by the New York Time's Amy Harmon. That an organization that I support  pulled this crap really got to me.



We're used to this stuff from the Right, whether Rush Limbaugh railing against a 7th grade Chelsea Clinton not being sexy enough, or the blather about Nancy Pelosi unprettyness, ad nasuem. Yet, Pamela reminds us that both sides of the aisle are happy to partake. Then I remember seeing some of the pornographic representations of Sarah Palin during the "Drill Baby Drill" kerfuffle. Sadly, politics seems to bring out the ugliest in us all.

It disappoints me when the Left, in all our drive for equal access, the obliteration of privilege and the like undercut our own message with sexist drivel. For those of us who value reason and debate over petty slings, we need to respond accordingly. Food Democracy Now, I'm deeply disappointed in you. Whether that means anything to you, I don't know. My ability to take anything you say with seriousness has been compromised, knowing you'll resort to cheap harassment in the face of critique.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Contracts: Where Tech and Real Estate Could Actually Meet and Add Value

The past few years I've worked in real estate. One thing I've noticed: a general dis-trust, or at least dislike for many technological solutions. The slow adoption of e-Signatures are one that particularly get me. It's hysterical to me how many institutions refuse to accept them. Many of the government owned properties as well major banks amongst them. It's so much easier to forge a ink signature compared to electronic, that I really am not certain that's the reason for the refusal.

These institutions tend to have very rigid, and exacting, contract terms, what they want signed and all that. I've wondered for quite some time why they don't each build their own website for the offer and contract process. Electronic forms can be set to demand a signature/initial for each item, with prompts set up and refusing to advance in the process until completed. It seems so much cleaner to have folks go to a website and fill out the form with prompts than to email me information, I enter into a website, the site prompts negotiation points, email those to other party (redo until agreement reached), print a contract, email the contract, print it, review it, sign it, rescan it, email it back, then upload to some site. If nothing else, these multiple steps violate the basic principles of data normalization. Which, to me, is begging for trouble.

I expect that technology will make real impacts in this space soon. Now that e-signatures are part of our MLS, many real estate services provide that complimentary, the demand will clear and straightforward. Hopefully, the better security will become more obvious, too. And I see some great innovation opportunities (easy and simple idea: dialog box pops out to highlight a key contract term...just a simple, easy example). Slow but steady evolution will come, surely.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thoughts on the Kelly Thomas Verdict

This came across this on my Twitter feed this evening.



Hard hitting, painful as a father to see, to consider. To picture my son begging for his live at the hands of a merciless beating. It's a provocative image, eliciting a solid emotional response.

My intellect, as a general rule, questions emotion-based responses. Thus, I choose to search out details, and, perhaps, facts. Doing so, of course, simply adds muddle to this. Start with this, Whiting: Kelly Thomas verdict shocking, then understandable", adds a bit of color, and here's another piece with details "Two former officers found not guilty in death of Kelly Thomas"

I read through all of this, and am starting to feel confused and numb. Which side is right? Is this verdict really just? Unjust? Are these guys just doing their job?
A few details give me pause.

First and foremost, these officers beat Thomas for 10 minutes. Ten.

"Defense attorneys said Thomas suffered physically from drug abuse, and his exertions during the struggle were too much for him."That's countered by the county's pathologist's report stating Thomas cause of death was "from asphyxiation caused by injuries he received during the confrontation." Not heart failure or any other "failure". Being beaten savagely for nearly 10 minutes will kill the most physically fit of us. I find the defense's "expert testimony" to the contrary expected, and hollow. Sorry, but I'm sure if you pay out enough cash, you'll find someone with the right credentials to provide whatever argument you want. I feel the state's experts have the most valuable insight here. Not buying the defense's claims here.

Another was uttered by Ramos' attorney,John Barnett">, claiming "...they had no malice in their hearts." His client's own words counter this. The whole encounter started with Ramos "see these fists?....They're getting ready to ---- you up." No malice, indeed.

So, ultimately, I need to acknowledge I wasn't on the jury, didn't see what they saw and hear what they heard. Just or unjust, we need to keep that in mind. If this is a failure of "the system", then raging against some of the players is counter-productive (meaning the jurors, to be clear).

The defense, though, came up with one thought that should chill us. The defense said that "cops must protect themselves when they believe they are in danger, without fear of prosecution for handling the incident with force. "That fear costs livesJohn Barnett, an attorney for Ramos, told the Los Angeles Times. "Not because they fear the criminal, but because they fear the court.” Afraid of the court, or afraid of being held responsible for their actions? Sorry, but I think they should feel that fear, that they should have that concern in the back of their minds, "I can be held accountable for my actions".  And the argument that it costs lives specious.

Officers are granted great power, great authority and need to be held to a standard that warrants that trust. From what I've read this evening, it's hard for me to feel that these officers lived up to that standard. Mr. Thomas, for whatever his issues and failures, didn't commit a capital crime. I wonder if there is a way to prevent such terrible things from happening.