Friday, October 31, 2008

Everyone's a Reporter Now...





It's not what's in the video that's so remarkable. It's what it represents.

I installed a new program on my cell phone from Qik.com. With it, I can shoot a video from my cell phone and have it uploaded...automatically...to my personal video channel www.qik.com/jer979

Everyone is a publisher. Everyone is a reporter.

It really is a different era. Even more important to remember that...no matter where you are...someone can put you, your behavior, or your family on the Internet.  


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indian #1, fritz scholder exhibit at mus. of american indian. very cool,


Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Strategic Thrusts for Kids...

My Grandson, Tyler (aka Indiana Jones) / Trick...Image by bill barber (away today) via FlickrMy parents have very diffent parenting styles.

When I left for college and thereafter, my mom would want to know how many shirts I had dropped off at the dry cleaners.

My dad would ask, "is your life generally headed in the right direction?"

I've settled on a "strategic thrust" vision for my kids and am using that to shape my actions and reactions in dealing with them.

For Tonka, the thrust is "helping the inner beauty shine through." She's got a gift for art and caring, but she needs confidence in showing it to others.

For Paco, it's "channel the energy." He has a ton, but he needs focus and direction.

What this framework has done for me is help me think (quickly) before I say or do something with them.
  • will this action help achieve the goal?
  • is it aligned with the thrust I have selected?
Just a parenting observation that has been helpful for me.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Trickle Down Economics....

The Income and Substitution effects of a wage ...Image via WikipediaImage via WikipediaI drove by a "Trabajadores" pick-up station today.  It was about 11am and there were about 20 men looking for work.

Now, I don't know much about the day-laborer industry, but my instincts say that if you aren't picked up by noon (in late October, especially), that it probably doesn't look good for that day's prospects.

I wondered about the people who hire day laborers-contractors, I suppose.

Now, I've spoken with a few contractors recently and all have told me that people are holding off on big purchases. Makes sense, of course.

So, the economic issues are "trickling down" to the unskilled labor market.

Which led me to the inverse question: if bad economic situations "trickle down" to the lowest economic denominator, wouldn't it be the case that a good economic situation would do the same?

Maybe I'm missing something, but if the wealthiest people are making more money, they are making home improvements (in this case), they are hiring contractors, who then hire day laborers, no?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Kids and Change...

A pacifierImage via WikipediaImage via WikipediaYou often hear people say that 'kids need stability' and that 'too much change' isn't a good thing for them.

I wonder about that.

Obviously, they need stability in terms of knowing that their parents/family love them and that they feel safe, but isn't life's only constant change?

Wouldn't we, as parents, be doing our kids a favor by forcing change on them to help prepare them for the massive changes they will face later in life?

And when I see how quickly kids can adapt to change, I start to suspect that maybe it is the parents' fear of change they are projecting on to kids that is at the heart of it.

This is on my mind because in the past month Paco (aka Maximus) has shown a ridiculous ability to adapt to change.
  1. over the course of about 6 nights, he completely quit his pacifier habit of 3 years
  2. in about 1 week, he's essentially become fully potty-trained
  3. started going full days to school
  4. has learned how to completely buckle (and unbuckle) his car seat
Yes, some of this is maturity, but some of it we said, "ok it's time to do this..." and he said, "uh, ok...DONE!"

And that was it.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

End of Innocence Moment...

We had some friends over for lunch the other day. They have 2 boys (2nd grade and kindergarten).

The kids were playing with our kids very nicely in the basement.

Today, I was asking Tonka about it.

She told me about the games they were playing. Then, she said that [names changed], "Michael tried to kiss his brother, Josh. Then, when Josh said, no, Michael gave Josh a wedgie!"

Tonka is 4.5 years old and she's talking about "wedgies."

Here we go....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pivotal Parental Moment…

An example of a social network diagram.
One of the humbling things about being a parent is that you never know what things will make an impression on your kids, for better or for worse.
Speaking at NYU the other night about social networking, I told an anecdote from my childhood.
"When I was 8 or 9, I was in the car with my mom and she said 'it's not what you know, it's who you know."
Of course, there's an element of 'what you know,' but I realized that part of my determination and commitment to 'networking' or better yet, 'relationship building' comes from that moment.



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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Malcolm X (Movie review)

Malcolm X holding an M1 Carbine and peering out of a window in 1964. The photo illustrated his intention to defend himself against the frequent death threats he was receiving.Image via WikipediaImage via WikipediaIt's been said before, but Denzel Washington is THE MAN.

He just did a superb job in this movie. It's worth seeing for that alone.

Back in high school, I had read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and remember having a certain impression. He was a radical, an extremist, a racist.

I thought the Spike Lee movie about Malcolm X  did a fair job of changing my impression.

It provided context without being overly biased. It enriched my understanding of the Black struggles of the '60's. I like how it explored some of the black on black issues and how those played a factor as well.

It's a two-disc set (and took me 3 nights to watch), but the story was engrossing and well worth it.


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Friday, October 24, 2008

Movie: Strangers on a Train

Alfred Hitchcock, head-and-shoulders portrait,...Image via WikipediaIf you like Alfred Hitchcock's works, then Strangers on a Train is a Must-see. It reminded me with some of its nuances of "Dial M for Murder." 

He's such a great storyteller and film-maker. And even though some of the shots would be considered 'cheesy' by today's standards, it's really a pleasure to watch a master at work and use the camer in the best way that he can.

It's a classic and deservedly so.

An interesting insight into the occasionally warped mind of humans.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

If you don't ask...

Nokia Arena from Gate 11, during a Maccabi Tel...Image via Wikipedia
22 years ago, I instructed the invitees to my Bar Mitzvah to not send me any gifts. 
Instead, I directed them to make a contribution to United States Committee for Sports in Israel (now Maccabi USA). I still have some of the thank you notes I received from the sports centre in Israel  (the money purchased 2 wheelchairs for disabled Israeli athletes).
So, I've been a casual supporter of the organization ever since. A little bit of money, but not a huge commitment.

Obviously, they have a special place in my heart.

Anyway, about 2 months ago, I get a mass email that reads, in part:

With the approach of our Annual Meeting on November 2nd, it is time to select individuals to serve as appointed members of our Board.  The Maccabi USA Nominating Committee has already recommended a slate of individuals to serve as elected members of the Board.
 
As President, I am compiling a list of people to serve in appointed positions for a term of two years.  We need your input and your suggestions.
Please take this opportunity to recommend individuals you feel would enjoy working with Maccabi USA.  If you are not currently a member of our Board, please feel free to recommend yourself.

So, I figure, 'what the heck?" and take a bit of a chutzpah approach (yes, I admit it) and respond.


Thank you for your offer to join the board. I am happy to accept!

Then, I go on to list my qualifications.

Well, wouldn't you know it, but I was offered (and accepted) a slot on the board of this very prestigious organization!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

The Value of Unsolicited Advice

The Scene Is Not for Sale album coverImage via WikipediaA potential client (Josh) reached out to me a few weeks ago and said, "I've got some feedback on your personal sales strategy."

Now, I'll say this...it wasn't all positive.

But, it did make me think. And I appreciated it...a lot.

That led to a conversation with my dad about how valuable or helpful it is (or isn't) to offer unsolicited advice.

Let's look at the person offering the advice. What's in it for him?

Let's also assume that the advice is actually for the better.

Some possibilities for the intent:
  • ego gratitifcation
  • selfless desire to help

And on the recipient side
  • the opportunity to get constructive feedback and improve 
Yes, it is annoying to get advice from people who are doing it to make themselves feel better, but assuming the advice actually would help you, you come out ahead, no?

In fact, you could argue that the unsolicited advice may actually be MORE valuable than solicited advice, since you are already invested in a decision-making process.

So, get out there and give some unsolicited advice. Make someone's day.

I won't ask for any feedback on this post ;-)


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wisdom of the Crowds...and your Marriage

Description unavailableImage by ( kema keur ) via FlickrA while back, I proposed the idea of the Marital Disagreement Index (MDI), so you know how well you stand vs. other couples in the number of arguments you have.

Well, Web 2.0 is coming to this concept.

With a hat tip to Josh Halpern, take a look at www.sidetaker.com

You and your spouse can input your version of the argument and let the world vote on it.

I bet the next iteration will have score-keeping, rankings, "best of" and maybe even an NCAA  bracket-style tournament.

Like submitting your argument to a "wisdom of the crowds" solution.




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Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama and the Future of Race Relations in America...

Let's say Obama does win.

I'm curious...what would his victory mean for the 'race' discussion in America?

A few possibilities come to mind:

1. "ok, now that an African-American has been elected President, it's clear that America isn't a racist country, so let's move on..."

2. 'this is a good first step and the 'glass ceiling' has been broken, but there is more work to be done.'

3. 'Now race will get the attention it deserves..."

I'm just throwing out ideas here. Just wondering how it will be interpreted.

On Comebacks and Staying With It...

Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays - June 3rd, ...Image by Adam Pieniazek via FlickrI got on the Nordic track last night at the top of the 7th inning and saw Tampa Bay go up on Boston, 7-0.

The announcers mentioned it and you saw it, "some fans are starting to head for the exits."

I thought back to a Redskins-Raiders game I went to in 1983.

The 'Skins were down 17 points with 6 minutes left. My brother and I were there with a high school kid to whom my parents had given the 3rd ticket and who was chaperoning us.

"This game is over," we said. "Let's leave..."

Joe Bardin, the chaperone, said, "let's just wait and see what happens. You never know."

Sure enough, the Redskins came back to win by one point.

So, last night, I thought, "anything's possible."

And sure enough, it was.

Ah, the beauty of sports.




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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guide to my Blogs for the FOJ’s…

Enough feedback has come in that I’ve recognized some market confusion. Probably my fault…

For the long-time FOJ’s (Friends of Jeremy) who are loyal readers of this blog, I just wanted to spell out the difference between the two blogs.

 

  1. This blog (aka http://jer979.blogspot.com) covers a wide-range of topics from parenting to books to movies/politics, random observations, and bigger “life” issues.
  2. The “Igniting The Revolution” blog (found at www.IgnitingTheRevolution.com) covers marketing, social networking, and building for-profit communities.  It’s a sales and educational vehicle for my consulting business.

The one page overview of my business can be found at www.jer979.com (you can click through to the “revolution” blog from there.)

You can Subscribe by Email (or RSS) to the (business-focused) Igniting the Revolution Blog if that interests you (or just as good, please forward the link on to someone whom you think might find it interesting).

Thanks for reading and for your support!

 

Any questions? ;-)

Milwaukee on my mind…

Location of Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wis...

Image via Wikipedia

Ever had one of those weeks where a term or concept (which is out of your usual frame of reference) makes itself known over and over again?

For me, it is Milwaukee.

Over 7 days, I found 6 references to it come up.

  1. I was introduced to Sue Marks, the CEO of Pinstripe Talent. She lives in Milwaukee.
  2. A few days later, I talked to Rob Hirschmann. His company is opening up an office in Milwaukee (and I introduced him to Sue).
  3. A potential business partner called and said, "we'd like to have you come to our client's strategic business meeting in..." ( you guessed it).
  4. I was talking with some friends about one of my favorite bloggers, Andy Sernovitz.
    One of them (Panina Licht) said, "did he go to high school in Milwaukee? (they were in the same class)
  5. In a conversation about politics, Jacob Licht said, "it really jumped the shark..." (bonus points if you get the Milwaukee reference before clicking on the link)
  6. Met a new guy who moved into my neighborhood, born and bred in....yep.

 
Made me think of that scene from Wayne's World with Alice Cooper after the concert. "Algonquin for 'the good land.'

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Seeing only what you want to see...

My friend, Debbie Weil, put out a tweet regarding the an Op-ed in the NY Times.



Notwithstanding the fact that she read all of the comments (an amazing accomplishment), my impression (and I haven't asked her about this), is that her interpretation is that this proves there is mass dissatisfaction with GOP.

Seth Godin offers up the idea that, as consumers, we look for stories that resonate with our worldview. We tell these stories to ourselves so we feel justified in our outlook.

We all do this, so this isn't a personal thing vis a vis Debbie, it's just that her tweet made me realize it.

Her worldview is that America would be better off with Obama. As a result, she looks for 'stories' that reinforce her worldview.

Seeing 743 comments on an Op-Ed in the NY Times that support her worldview only serves to reinforce it.

Which is what we all want, right?

None of us want to think we're wrong all of the time.

However, it could be that a few of her underlying assumptions are incorrect and she is ignoring them because it doesn't support her 'worldview.'

For example, she may be assuming that the NY Times reader base is actually a representative cross-sampling of America.

Once upon a time, this may have been true.

Instead, the NY Times just may be a liberal "echo chamber" where conservatives don't even bother to go anymore. It's not a place for debate. It's a rally.

If that's the case, then it's really not that surprising that everyone is anti-GOP, is it?

I just finished reading an excellent book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, which talks about the epochal changes that arise from the social tools available via the Internet.

He pointed to the Howard Dean 2004 campaign as an example of where people misinterpreted an event.

In 2004, Dean followers organized "meet-ups" early on during his campaign.  The number of 'meet-ups' was quite high. This led the "mainstream" press to interpret the event as a huge groundswell of support for Dean.
Howard Dean speaking at DNC eventImage via WikipediaImage via Wikipedia

Shirky, the author of Here Comes Everybody: , argued that what in fact was happening was that the social tools of the Internet (i.e. Meetup.com) just made it easier and cheaper for the natural supporters to find each other.

So, the number of events didn't actually reflect the number of supporters, it reflected the technological shift that occurred to make it easier for the really small base to find each other...that's what we all missed.

Now, I'm not saying that Debbie is wrong. She may be right, but she may also be misinterpreting the data based on

  1. her worldview (though we're all susceptible to this)
  2. technology (where it's easier -and feels better-to just pile on saying 'me too' than to argue the counter-point where you will only get shouted down by the crowd)
Of course, my 'worldview' is that people look for stories that support their worldview (and thus aren't objective), so perhaps I'm just telling myself a story of my own ;-)
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Drill, Baby, Drill..

Republican National Committee Chair Mike DuncanImage by NewsHour via FlickrThe refrain from St. Paul/ RNC convention has been haunting me recently. 

It's not that I think we shouldn't drill in Alaska. We probably should.  It's what the chant symbolizes.

And it's not a callous disregard for the environment.

It's the propensity for people to prefer short-term quick fixes to long-term strategic solutions.

Yes, if we drill, oil/gas prices will probably fall...which, honestly, is NOT what we want. At higher prices, entrepreneurs see the incentive to pursue alternative energy.

That's what we need.

When I hear "drill, baby, drill," I hear people who say 'let's just solve this problem for today...not for tomorrow."

That's not what we  need.

Got a forward from Josh with a Tom Friedman article that does a really good job of explaining it.
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Security vs.Volatility...

Banknotes from all around the World donated by...Image via WikipediaLet me start off by saying this is not a 'gloating' post of any kind. Like all of you, my portfolio has taken a big beating over the past few weeks.

But, something did dawn on me as I watched the number shrink.

Back in May when I left MSFT, the NFO's concerns around going the entrepreneurial route were around 'security.' (of a paycheck, at least).

Partly in response to that, I began to build up cash reserves since the nature of working for yourself is that you are more likely to have feast/famine periods. 

The responsible thing was to have cash on hand.

So, here's the ironic twist. In a move to address the perceived volatility of my new career, I started saving and not investing in 401k, etc.

Which means that, had I been employed in a full-time salaried position, we would have lost MORE because I wouldn't have had as much cash on hand (as I would have been investing all along)

Makes me think about security and volatility in a whole new way. What seems 'secure' or 'volatile' may not always be that way...
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Jewish Charities....

Typical junkmail.Image via WikipediaI know it is High Holiday season.

I know that people are more likely to give donations now than any other time of year.

So, yes, it is a good idea to send solicitations now. We're in a repenting sort of mood.

But, you know what is stupid?

Selling the names on your list to other charities.

Yes, times are tough...and for those who do work in Israel, a dollar doesn't go as far. That's for sure. But, you are cutting yourself off at the knees. Penny wise, pound foolish.

You see, you're not on the receiving end of 5, 10, 15 pieces of direct mail per day.  By selling my name to other charities (with whom I have NO relationship), you are just clogging up my mailbox, and losing the war for my attention.

And, everybody loses. Including you.

I don't even bother to read your well-crafted 5 page letter about whatever it is you do or who you help.

So, they all go in the trash, er, recycling.

Yours...along with the ones to whom you sold.

Instead, I figure out who respects me enough not to bombard me...and I give them my charitable donations.

We're entering an era where it is going to easier and easier for me to prevent your communications (of all types) from ever showing up if I don't want to hear from you.

So, you need to respect my wishes, build the relationship with me, and not contribute to spamming (yes, I know it's not kosher, but so are your stupid marketing practices) my mailbox.

IF you don't, you're going to get even less donations (from everybody) over the long haul.

Sincerely,

a Marketer who generally cares about your mission


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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'm done with political blogging and tweeting...

US Senator Barack Obama campaigning in New Ham...Image via WikipediaI'm tired of the snarkiness.

I saw one tweet during the debate tonight (I didn't watch it) that said,
"Four corners of the earth? Doesn't McCain know the earth is round?"
Tell me, does that really add to the debate?

Do you think that by highlighting for your network, that McCain uses a common phrase that we all use that he is somehow unworthy of office? Or stupid? Come on.

I've long preached that it's ok for people to share their opinions about politics on the 'social web' because I didn't think one would 'get punished' for their political views.

And that is still true...I think it is a sad day when someone says, "oh, you're a Republican, so I won't buy from you."
Senator John McCain of ArizonaImage via Wikipedia

But, HOW you choose to present your and your opinions DOES make a difference.

If you keep putting out updates/posts/tweets telling me "how stupid Sarah Palin is," I am going to start thinking that you are small-minded.

There are smart marketing minds out there for whom I've lost a lot of personal (even though I don't know them personally, of course) respect by the way they've presented their cases for their candidates (on both sides).

Seriously, I don't care that you want to vote for Obama. Great. You should. You should argue your case. But, do it on the merits. Don't make your point with little comments that are the hallmarks of 4th graders.

Leave that to the campaign manager and their "I approve this message" ads.

Their brands will be gone in 4 weeks. Yours will last forever.

As for me, I'm done for now. People get too emotional and the rational discussion is gone.

One day, we'll figure out how to have good political discussion online/virtually and I'll keep looking for the right tools to do it.
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sewage Pipes and Why I Love Blogging...

Secondary Sedimentation tank at a rural treatm...Image via WikipediaThe skeptics and naysayers often ask me "why do you put so much useless stuff on your blog? Who wants to read about your sewage problem?"

The answer is: I don't know.

But what I do know is that IF I write about it in an interesting way, then people will read about it, but the BEST part is when I get valuable input as a result.

"Why do you have to tell the world?"

I don't, but the thing is, I don't know what my network knows.

By putting information out there, the people who do know will tell me what I need to know. And this happens...A LOT. Which is why I keep doing it.

So, for the rest of you, here is Steve's note:
 We had a similar problem. You need to put copper sulfate crystals in the system every 6 months or so.  The crystals inhibit the growth of roots.  You can buy it at Home Depot or online, and you just flush a jar of the stuff down the basement toilet twice a year.   There also are some other stronger products that can kill off small roots before they grow.  We had a similar blockage years ago and the plumber recommended this treatment.  So far, so good. 
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Twitter won the VP debate...

I couldn't agree more with my friend David Almacy's assertion below.

here's the link cited above

Here's why...

I enjoyed watching the debate, but I really enjoyed listening to the 'tweets' put out by my friends and network regarding the debate.

Sure, there were some stupid comments out there, but most of the people were making fun and insightful remarks.

Between Twitter and Facebook Status Updates, it is like I was in a room with 50 people, sharing comments and observations. I attended a debate party and didn't even have to leave my living room.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Kids and Basements...

Playing in the basement with the tricycle_4Image by jer979 via FlickrFor the past few weeks, my two kids have come home from school, disappeared into the basement for 2 hours, and then re-emerged for dinner time.

What is it about basements that attract kids?

Growing up, my brothers and I also cherished the privacy of the basement.

Is it "out of sight" of parents? The feeling that you are 'under ground.'

For the psychologists out there, is there some part of our psyche (a la 'man cave') that cherishes relative seclusion?

The imaginary world they are building is fantastic. I am cherishing this part of parenting.

All because of a basement.
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Friday, October 03, 2008

Movie: Juno

Juno in Juno *--*Image by sick-sad little world. via FlickrWith so much hype, I was expecting to be disappointed by Juno.

I wasn't.

It exceeded it. Did a great job "telling a story" and had a number of good life lessons in there. Acting and soundtrack was superb.

Now, I get it.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

You Look Tired...

Bouquet de septembre...!!!Image by denis collette via FlickrHow do you respond when someone says "you look tired?"

Chuck asked me this. His take: it's a nice way of saying 'you don't look so good."

My take: people trying to express sympathy for the challenges of day to day life management.

Thoughts?