Sunday, May 31, 2009

Work re-defined...

Took a break the other day around 2.30pm and decided to go for a run. (My day is so much better when I exercise before 4pm).

While out in the park, I saw one of my neighbors. She's retired.

She looked at me and said, "What? Not working today?"

This mental model of "work" as someplace you go and do during defined hours...a relic of the industrial era. In the conceptual/information era  "Work" is something you do according to defined goals and is "place-shifted" and "time-shifted."

There are a lot of ramifications for that, I am sure.

What do you think they are?

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Food Shortages and the Downfall of Civilization...

Some days, it's tough to not being pessimistic about the long-range future of civilization.

Today's contributor? A fascinating article in Scientific American called "Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?"

The author brings together a number issues, including climate change, population growth, lowering marginal food crop yields (including diversion to ethanol) and reduced water tables to forecast a pretty bleak future..unless dramatic action is taken soon.

Like a Hollywood exec who says, "oh, that scripts is like Bambi meets Rambo" or whatever, it seems like this is the same plot with different actors as the current movie we're in (the economy.)

Whether it is "death by a thousand cuts" or preferring "Chronic to Acute Pain," we as a society (and this extends to companies and individuals as well), are just not very good at saying, "ok, let's make some big sacrifices now so that we are in really good shape tomorrow."

Obviously, this isn't always the case, but it just feels like when we have a ton of evidence that, in some respect, we're headed off a cliff (mortgage mess), that we tend to end up in a situation where we drive off the cliff and then fix the problem (as opposed to just stopping beforehand.)

In the grand scheme of things, historically, the stakes may not have been so high, but in a global interconnected, inter-dependent world, the stakes are high... Climate change, a nuclear/rogue Iran, food shortages, water.

The thing is...I don't have an answer, so I'm just venting here.

(One fact in the article I found interesting was how some countries are leasing land in other countries to protect their food supply, so it's not hard to see a scenario where states that are failing or poor simply sell off land to rich states....say Sudan selling part of its country to China...literally changing the concept of nation-states.)

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Father-Daughter Only Tea Party…

Father Daughter Tea Party Art ProjectA few weeks ago, Tonka and I were up early and I realized how infrequent the two of us have 1:1 quality time. 

Gianni obviously requires the most attention and Paco, being younger than Tonka, relatively needs more.

I said to her that we should do something “together, just the two of us.” 

So, we hatched (and completed) a plan for a “Father-Daughter Only” Tea Party with Tonka, 5 of her friends, and their dads.

We served macaroni and cheese with carrots for lunch.

Then we went around the table and each father said something he appreciated about his daughter and vice versa.

That was followed by a joint art project where the father drew a picture of himself and the daughter drew one of herself. 067

And we wrapped up with some cookies.

The next day, I was about to hang up the picture in the basement “art gallery,” and I paused to admire it. More cherish it than admire it, actually.

It was less the quality of the art work than what it represented (in fact, I hadn’t seen the addition of the stickers since they came after my design was done.)

In Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (which I think was an underlying driver for this entire experiment), the author says that girls “just like to spend time with their fathers,” not even doing any particular activity.

I can’t speak for the other attendees, but I know that Tonka felt closer to me last night…she basically said as much, which was great.



Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day in Arlington…

To give the kids some context as to why they didn’t have school on Monday, I took them to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery (1)

I found myself getting teary-eyed and choked up as I explained the purpose of a national, military cemetery. I don’t know of any personal friends or family who are buried there, so the discussion was much larger than that.

It was about the idea of America and why, sometimes, people have to fight and die for a cause in which they-and others-believe.

I discovered that in my day to day, it’s so easy for me to think about what is wrong or what needs to be fixed here. Or what I wish were different that sometimes, it’s easy to take for granted the innumerable blessings that we as Americans have.

I remember the first time I felt gratitude for being American (in Berlin at age 14) and how my friend, Mike, a Russian immigrant, brings his family to DC each year for the same reason…so I hoped that today’s outing would have a similar impact on the team (who performed admirably, I might add).

We walked around the cemetery for about an hour, saw the eternal flame at JFK’s tomb, and, of course, had plenty of snacks.Arlington National Cemetery (2)

I was proud of the questions they asked and their desire to have the names on the graves read to them, so the experience could be personalized.

There were a lot of people walking around and I was glad to be a part of this group on this day.




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Sunday, May 24, 2009

That Thing You Do...

Call me a loser, but I didn't know this was a true story until they had the bios at the end.
That Thing You Do! is a tribute to the music of the early '60s and is a cute, funny, and engaging story about a band called "The Wonders," which were, interestingly enough, 'one-hit wonders."

Tom Hanks was in it (and apparently wrote/directed it as well), and the movie spotlights a unique moment in American history (and musical history too, I suppose).

Another great random appearance via Netflix.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Newspapers and Protectionism...

Image representing Jeff Jarvis as depicted in ...Image by
via CrunchBase
It's no secret by now that Newspapers are under full frontal assault.

One of the best analysts of this trend is Jeff Jarvis. Here he explains why protecting them-as they are-is a terrible idea.

It is.

I wish the government would stay out of protecting a few people whose jobs are going away anyway and instead focus their energies on helping develop the industries of the future.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Proving once again...

That the Internet makes things that were previously impossible...possible.

Check out the comment on my post about the Story of Epstein. Too bizarre.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food @ Google

Had the privilege of visiting the Google offices in NYC last week. Not only is it huge (the length between two avenues) and do they have scooters for rolling yourself around, they have a policy that:

"No Google employee can sit more than 150 feet from food."

So, they have no fewer than 8 kitchens (though kitchen is kind of an understatement), packed with all types of snacks, drinks, etc. It's crazy.
And colorful.

I'm glad I don't work there...I'd put on 30 pounds easily.

Of course, my company has that same rule, I suppose, since I sit underneath the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Year 2 is all about..

I mentioned a few posts ago that I just finished Year 1 of my consulting practice (sorry, no link, I am writing this on a train.)

That's all well good, but as I round the turn into Year 2, I thought about what the Strategic Focus should be.

Year 1 was: Prove the Business Model...would someone actually pay for what I had to offer? Check.

Year 2: Invest in Marketing. Look, the company name and my motto is "Never Stop Marketing," and I hold by Peter Drucker's belief that the only two responsibilities of the enterprise are Innovation and Marketing.

I believe that the concept of Community Driven Marketing (CDM) is itself an innovation. In fact, it's now patent-pending (again, no link to USPTO due to train). It's gotten some attention (thank you Guy Kawasaki and NY Times), so the focus is on marketing.

Here's what's involved:
develop logo and overhaul look and feel of website (thanks to my intern)
get my Blook published (think of it as a 'Greatest Hits' of posts from my Igniting the Revolution blog). I've got a good title, which I'll share in a future post (I have an editor working on this)
Improve the website/blog visitor experience (we will be launching the Disqus commenting system, for one to improve interaction (i have a tech guy working on this) and remove some of the dumb glitches
drive the CDM message farther and wider via more speaking engagements (I have 1...and am open to more, commission-based rep whose job is to find and secure paid speaking engagements)

There's NO way that the business could have evolved to even this small, but notable, point, without the tremendous support of the FOJ community. I love how people keep pushing me on all points and suggesting improvements, both large and small. It's like having a team of 300. Thank you.

Year 3, by the way, will be focused on Innovation. Go back and challenge the assumptions. Don't believe my own BS.

Obviously you need to do both...all the time...very well, but if I have to give a theme for the year, that's how I'm looking at it.

Onwards and upwards...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Is this enough intensity and persistence?

My intern is back for more beatings at the hand of the community. He’s offering up two new treatments of the Never Stop Marketing corporate logo.

We want to convey intensity and persistence. (For the newcomers, here’s round 1 and the backstory)

Vote below or leave a comment.



Entrepreneurship...An inspiring video...

An inspiring video. HT to Charles Martin.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Lessons We Teach Our Kids...

I was in New York last week and while exiting the subway, I saw a father point his kid to go under the turnstile, avoiding paying the fare.

I wondered...since little things make big impressions on our kids, what will the kid takeaway from this experience? How will it shape his view of the world?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Options Market for Babysitters...

There's a 10 year old girl in my neighborhood whom I occasionally call in as a "Father's Helper."

This upcoming Sunday, Tonka and I are hosting a "Father-Daughter" only Tea Party (post to follow, of course.)

Paco will be out, but the real question is: what to do with Gianni (15 months)?

If she's napping, no problem.

If she isn't, I can't devote my attention to the Tea Party, which was conceived as a special event for Tonka and me.

So, I called up my "Father's Helper" and explained the situation.

As one who makes a living selling time, I didn't want to call her at 12.40pm and say "oh, Gianni is sleeping, so I don't need you." That didn't strike me as fair, particularly since she would have foregone (potentially) other activities.

So, we negotiated an "option" for her time. I paid 50 cents for the right to call her and have her come over at 1pm. If I don't need her, the money is hers.

A whole new market has been created.

Using Twitter to Drive Your Global Micro-Brand (Webinar)

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I am hosting a webinar on May 19th on how I use Twitter.

The webinar will show how I use Twitter as a tool in support of my efforts to build a global microbrand as the “go-to guy” for Community Driven Marketing.

Hopefully, you’ll walk away with some ideas of how to leverage it for your own brand.

All friends of Never Stop Marketing and Igniting The Revolution are welcome to attend.  (Details below, click here to add to your calendar).

Now, there are some really bad ways to use Twitter and there are plenty of good ways to use it, I just have my way. It’s not right for everyone.

The CDM-based global microbrand, in my mind, at least, rests upon a mastery of 3 fields and, specifically, the intersection among them.


These are:

  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Community

Conveniently, these are my passions, but that’s the subject of a different post.

What I Do With Twitter
To that end, I do 4 things with Twitter.

The first 2 are around the types of people I choose to follow

  1. individuals whose expertise significantly improves my understanding and/or critical thinking of one or more of these areas (remember, I consider the person to be the channel today)
  2. individuals with whom I have or want to have a close personal relationship

The third thing is to look for “like-minded individuals” who seem to share a passion for Community Driven Marketing.

Lastly, I share out information that (I hope) is of high value to my network and reinforces the underlying perception of the global microbrand I am building and fosters connections.

The Filters…

Like anyone, I have only 24 hours in a day and I have a “real” job, so first off, I religiously filter the number of people I follow.

Three criteria come into play here.

  1. What is the ratio of people you follow to the number or people who follow you?
  2. What does it cost me (in terms of time) to follow you? See
  3. What is your signal/noise ratio in Tweets?

It’s not that everyone isn’t important or I don’t like some people…it’s that I am very focused on how to use Twitter to its maximum effectiveness.

And how do I know if I am delivering value?

Well, I look at the metrics of Signal/Noise and Generosity, as measured by Twitalyzer to see how I am doing..


In the Webinar

I will review some of these strategies, the tactics I use to support these strategies, and the tools and processes used to drive them.

We’ll have Q&A and real-time chat.


Here are the details:
(click here to add to your calendar)

Tues, May 19th at 10.02 AM
Phone: 1-866-500-6738 id: 8382216
You will need to install Microsoft Live Meeting

Then, you can join the meeting here:

We will also have live chat:




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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting out of the echo chamber...

Oil on canvas.Image via Wikipedia
On a day to day basis, you know the things that I think about.

Suicide prevention is not one of them.

It's not that I don't think it's important, it's just that it's not top of mind.

A few weeks ago, blogreader/friend Aaron reached out to me and asked if I'd like to participate in a blue-ribbon workshop sponsored by a number of orgs on how to use social media to help further the cause of suicide prevention.

I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, it is certainly a worthwhile discussion, on the flip side, it's kind of outside of my "wheelhouse" and I wasn't sure that it would benefit the business (and right now, pro-bono time is limited...sorry, I'm a start-up.)

I thought I would have something to add and Aaron also suggested (rightly) that it would be a good networking event.

Sure, during the introductions I encouraged those Tweeters in the group to agree on a hashtag...and then during lunch, I gave an impromptu lesson on Twitter for the audience, but the real value?

Getting outside of my comfort zone.

Meeting a whole range of folks who aren't digerati, aren't marketers, aren't business folks, but who have a serious problem and are looking for serious answers on how to use something that I'm familiar with to save some of the 33,000 people who die each year because of suicide.

I heard a heart-wrenching stories from Debbie Johnston, whose 15 year old son took his own life as a result of "bully-cide."  She's leading the charge for a new law in Florida, called Jeff's law to untie the hands of school officials to intervene earlier and faster through her organization, Thursday's Child.

I think it's really important to step away from your natural community when you can to meet with others who don't live and breathe the same air that you opens horizons and helps you challenge some assumptions.

Thank you, Aaron for endorsing me to be a member of this workgroup and to all of the folks who used the #spsum tag. Made for an even more interesting day.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leash the Damn Dog Store...

Sign near Conneaut Harbor (in Conneaut, Ohio)Image via Wikipedia
Some good feedback on the store and the products.

Updated.  Take a look, buy a shirt, and let me know.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Lawn Service as Recession Indicator?

A Striped LawnImage via Wikipedia
This certainly may be an effort on my part to justify how long I let my grass grow between mowing times (which I do myself), but it seems to me that, in my neighborhood at least, there are more lawns with longer grass than in the past.

I wonder if, in people's efforts they have either cut back entirely on lawn service or cut back to a less frequent schedule?

Sure, the grass may be longer and the yard may not look as nice, but that could be a recession trade-off that people are willing to make.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some Serious Bike Skillz....

Just watch the video...whoa

Friday, May 08, 2009

1 year down...

Well, it looks like I made it. One year post-Microsoft on my own.

Scary, exciting, fun...and scandalous (I am sleeping with my boss' wife, after all.)

Some momentum, but not willing to rest on my laurels. Thank you ALL very much for your support. Keep on pushing me.

And, in related news, the Community Driven Marketing process is now officially "patent-pending."

Note to newcomers: I am the boss, so my boss's wife would be my wife.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Seeing it for the last time...

As a parent, it's easy to know when you are seeing something for the first time.

First steps, first tooth, etc.

It's not always easy to know when you may be seeing something for the last time.

The kids go to a nursery school that is 2 blocks away. When the weather is nice, we walk.  Every so often, they like to "race" each other on the sidewalks on opposite sides of the street. (Can't imagine where that competitive gene came from.)

The other day, they wanted to do that.

As I watched them run, I took a "mental snapshot."

With 6 weeks left of school and the Tonka going to a different location next year, I realized that this might be the last time that I EVER see them do this.

(I don't take them every day, sometimes the weather doesn't allow for walking, sometimes they don't feel like doing it.)

Got me choked up...and gets me choked up now.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Now, this is organized…

Met up with a friend, David Schoenberger, the founder of Better Indeed. He’s got a very neat new board game called “Family Matters” which is designed to help bring families closer together. It’s a neat concept and the game looks very fun (haven’t played it yet).

Anyway, he is one organized dude…take a look at this notebook where he not only tracks his “to do” list, but he programmatically works fun into his day.

No joke.

He’s serious about fun…and neatness.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Painted Veil…

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Image by Kman999 via Flickr

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1000 times, I just love how I put movies on my Netflix queue, forget about them, and then…they show up, I’m surprised..and enjoy the movie.

This time around, I saw “The Painted Veil,” starring Edward Norton (whose talents I am truly beginning to appreciate and admire). Based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, the story takes place in early 20th century China and brings together big ideas (Chinese Nationalism, healthcare epidemiology) and smaller ones (the love found/lost/found again between a man and a woman).

The cinematography was fantastic and whereas some movies are predictable in their ending, I didn’t find this one to be the case.

The ultimate redemption and the path that takes the main characters there made for a fulfilling and invigorating film experience.


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Monday, May 04, 2009

Nanny Taxes...To Pay or Not to Pay?

A few weeks ago, while struggling and feeling frustrated with the whole process of preparing tax return info for our nanny, I put out a status update on Facebook:

looking for people who pay their Nanny as W-2, want to comapre  wages/benefits...come on, I can't be the ONLY one ;-)

Well, it turns out I'm not the only one, which was nice to see. I didn't feel like a complete idiot.

But, what was interesting were some of the perspectives that arose (on both sides) as to why one should or shouldn't pay the taxes.

You can read some (couldn't get everything in the screen shot) of the comments written on the status itself here in the graphic, but also received more than one email on the other side of the equation. Here's one of them:


I'm actually quite shocked that all of those people actually pay taxes to their nanny. I would have wagered that out of your 8000 friends, the 50 or so that had nannies, my guess would have be 5%.

I would never actually say it in public but I was nodding, yes Jeremy you are the only one that pays nanny taxes. Maybe its the number of illegals around or that my wife doesn't work so we have a very part time nanny but it never occured to me to do it on a legit basis.

Maybe its because I will never run for office but my nanny, housekeeper, gardener....Straight Cash, homey!
 Open to comments and your thoughts on this one...

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Let Your Kids Paint the Walls...

You may recall Randy Paush, the Carnegie Mellon professor who died of Pancreatic Cancer. His book, "The Last Lecture" was featured  on this bl063og...and on Oprah. The video was a You Tube sensation. I reviewed the book and its impact on me, here.

One of the images from the book that stuck out in my mind was when he showed his childhood bedroom and shared that one of the best things his parents did for him to foster his creativity was allow him to draw on the walls of his room.

Well, 2 weeks ago, I decided that it was time to repaint the wall of our kitchen. It was covered with food stains from 3 years worth of kids throwing food off their booster seats.

First, I let Paco and Tonka paint the wall white. Then, at the suggestion of their aunt, I let them make their imprint on it. Tonka put her handprints and, needless to say, Paco wanted his feet there.
The last lecture





Image by nimboo via Flickr
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Overcoming Life's Disappointments...

The NFO recommended that I read Harold Kushner's book, "Overcoming Life's Disappointments." She's got an uncanny ability to identify how to gently "course correct" me when I am slightly off balanced.

The book is about many things, but uses Moses as the model for the way in which we need to recognize that the stuff that happens to us, as my cousin LAE says, 'everyone has their shit,' is not about us.  It happens to all of us, so get over it.

But, he's not crass or rude about it. He's sensitive about it in the sense that in our individual suffering we have the ability to connect with others who have similar experiences and that enriches all of us.

He also challenges us to come to terms with the fact that as we hit mid-life, we have to recognize that many of the dreams of our youth were simply unrealistic or not destined to happen.  And, that's ok, but how you react is critical.

He talks about this in the realm of marriage as well. Everyone thinks that they will "live happily ever after," like in a Fairy Tale or as my ex-cousin Marla once said to me, "no one gets married thinkiing they will get divorced." Sometimes, obviiously that doesn't happen.

But there was one line in that section which really stuck out for me. He quoted Freud saying,
"in every marriage, there are 4 people. The woman, the man she thought she was marrying, the man, and the woman he thought he was marrying."
 Kushner speaks well to me. I really enjoyed and learned a lot from "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and :"Living a Life That Matters," (which the NFO also recommended.)

Towards the end, he talks about commitment. We achieve a degree of enlightenment in our ability to live up to the commitments we have made to others.

A powerful concept indeed.

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