Friday, October 30, 2009

Register as a Bone Marrow Donor…

imageA few years back, my friend, Tamir was diagnosed with Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. Say that five times fast.

I don’t understand the disease and, frankly, it’s not a priority for me to do that.

What is a priority is that Tamir would get better and that this was a cause that is important, so when he asked for a donation, I figured, why not? Just $18, you know. No biggie, but enough to say that I cared.

He wrote me a nice note and then made a plea that the NFO and I register to be bone marrow donors.

And that is what I am asking you to do as well.

In order to register, all you have to do is go to register as a donor.

They will then send you a kit with a cheek swab, which is like a long ear bud. You swab your cheek, put the swab into a small container, and send it back to and you're done. You've registered. If you're ever identified as a potential donor for someone, you will be contacted and asked whether you are willing to donate. If you do, the patients' insurance will cover your costs, and you can typically have the blood work done at your local hospital or the closest one that has an aperesis machine that does the centrifuge.

It’s NOT a BIG DEAL. Here’s why:

The problem is that not many people are registering because they believe that it's complicated to register, and because they're scared of the pain involved in donating bone marrow - ie. being drilled a few times in the hips, back, etc. to get to the stem cells in our bone marrow. While this system is still used in about 10% of cases (still under anasthesia), the other 90% now use a much easier system for the donor.

This takes approximately 4 hours, and the donor is done, and has just potentially saved someone's life. Imagine what that must feel like - to be able to save someone's life like that - what a Mitzvah!

So, just do it: go to and click donate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Swine Flu, Scarcity, and the Decline of Civilization

I took Paco and Nadia to get an H1N1 vaccine today at a local high school. The whole thing was a phenomenal (and scary) study in group, mass psychology.

The clinic was to open at 4pm but knowing that Obama had raised the stakes by declaring swine flu to be a “national emergency,” I suspected that the experience would be vastly different than when I went a few weeks ago.

I knew there would be a line and, fortunately, brought the double stroller and a boatload of snacks. I thought I’d be #100 or so.

Well, by the time I got there at 3.15, the line was out the door and around and down the block. At least 500 people were there.

Rumor had it there were only 1000 vaccines available (unconfirmed), but seeing the line, those who were arriving then had a hurried way about them.

You could just tell the thought process was “I need to get to this line because that guy in front of me could get the last one.”

There was a tension for that.

Once we got in line, another problem arose…one that attacked people’s sense of fairness.

Periodically, you would see individuals or families walking their way toward the front of the line. Some were talking on their cell phones, looking for people up in front.

The question then arose: is line jumping appropriate?

I was genuinely concerned that a fight might break out. The police were out in force (helicopter included), but soon, there were some verbal confrontations between those waitingimage in line and those who were walking on by.

One guy responded, “my friend is up there.”

I have to admit, I was bothered by this. Really bothered by this…as were many others around me.

Not only did it attack my sense of fairness (why should you get to go in front of me when I was here first?), but I think there is a larger ethical issue.

If there are only 1000 vaccines available, why does the fact that you know someone at the front of the line mean that you may get a vaccine and I (or in this case, my kids) won’t?

So, in a situation of scarcity, what is the most equitable way to distribute a potentially life-saving resource?

  • First come, first serve?
  • If I go out at 10am, can I hold a spot for my kids? What about my friends?
  • Does it matter that I can work from home/remotely/using wi-fi/cell phones?
  • What if I hire someone to go out at 10am and hold my place in line?

I honestly believe that had the police not been there, the order of the line would have broken down and things could have gotten REALLY ugly.

The medical screeners were up at the front of the line, so you would have waited more than hour to potentially discover that you were not eligible (it was only people 2-24, for example…among other things) and you could see the look of frustration on people who found out they weren’t eligible.

Well, after 2 hours of waiting (and Paco and Nadia were GREAT), we finally made it.

Still, I think the behavior that I saw today made me nervous…You can see how, when things get rough, people have the potential to turn away from civilized behavior and on to each other.


Here’s the video on the way in…


Here’s the line…

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quilts…not just for your bed

My friend Lisa Chipetine is a quilter and one of the leaders of the Studio Art Quilters Association. As a VERY generous thank you gift for a presentation to her group, she sent me the quilt below (after it was on display in an exhibit).

Definitely art that makes you think!

Lisa’s contact info is below, if you’d like to reach her.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blogging in a Nutshelll…

Big thanks to my cuz, Shelby for sending this one to me. So true ;-)

It reads

Blogging: Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.IMG_0001

Monday, October 26, 2009

A networking testimonial…

from my brother on how he got his new job.
Jeremy's networking strategies have paid off for me.

My wife, Rebecca, secured an assistant rabbinical position in New Brunswick, NJ around the middle of April.  I needed a job: "Tap into your contact's network, don't expect them to serve you directly," Jeremy told me.  He was right.
Jeremy, himself, kicked the ball first. 
He suggested that I speak to Harry Glazer, Communications Coordinator of the Rutgers Library. I called Harry from my cell phone during a break from work at a school in Brooklyn.  He was warm and encouraging and pointed me to, among others, Richard Lee, part-time lecturer at Rutgers and Communications Director of the Hall Institute, who has connections in the policy community in New Jersey.
Rich was similarly encouraging and passed me along to Lynne Strickland, an attorney and Executive Director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  Lynne mentioned Dr. Steve Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and a nationally-renowned expert on early childhood education.
I moved to New Brunswick in mid-June and managed to meet Dr. Barnett in late July, on a Monday afternoon.   We chatted about education, health care, economics, etc. 
By Friday, center co-director Dr. Ellen Frede, the developer of New Jersey's groundbreaking public preschool programming, offered me a research position at the center. 
I started in August.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Unprepared Jewish Generation…

President of Iran @ Columbia University.

Image via Wikipedia

A few years ago, my friend, Rabbi Josh Feigelson and I were discussing the historical anomaly that our generation of Jews entered.

Never before in Jewish history, we surmised, had a generation come of age where political equality was a given, so many of our peers were so well-educated (in a formal/secular sense) and where a huge percentage of our co-religionists were economically affluent.

Since we had essentially “been born” into this era, this was our reality and what makes experiences like outright anti-Semitism on a plane in Atlanta so shocking to the system.

Of course, 20-30 years before we were born, many Ivy League institutions had Jewish quotas. Now, many of them have classes that are 20-30 percent Jewish.

In some respects, this is great.

In other respects, I think it may be the source of a potential problem in the future.

That problem is that we live in a bubble that is divorced from the reality going on in the rest of the world.

And that reality is growing, virulent, and dangerous anti-Semitism.

Whether it is the Halimi case in France, Mahmoud Abbas’ ongoing refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist, denial of Jewish claims to the  Temple Mount, and the appeasement of the Muslims Student Union at Cal Irvine by the President of the University after a number of incidents (here’s one), (and I’ve left out doozies like Ahmadinejad, Chavez, etc.), in most places around the world we are seeing a big uptick, one that, I think we haven’t seen in a LONG time.

And I don’t think most Jews (at least those who still care/identify after assimilation is taken into account) are really ready for it.

To say that this relative security and prosperity among Gen X/Gen Y Jews has made us “soft,” may be a stretch, but at the least, we’re definitely not “in shape.”

What’s more, as the generation of Holocaust survivors dies out (my kids, for example, will only know them through videos), those who would deny it will be emboldened.

I don’t know what to do about it, but I am concerned.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

A sad moment from the past...

For the FOJ's who have been around for a while, you will remember my previous girlfriend, Becca.

Just got a piece of very sad news...her mother died 1 month after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Here's the obituary.

She was really a special woman and VERY generous to me always.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sneeze…Nice to meet you, too!

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Image via Wikipedia

Next time you are at a gathering, turn yourself into a public health anthropologist. It’s fascinating.

Case in point…

The other day, I was at an event where the hostess had a number of volunteers helping her prepare the food and drink spread.

As the rest of the crowd networked and mingled, I watched the preparation taking place.

I lost count of the number of times after which one of the women (and they were all women helping her) touched a mouth, nose, or eyes and then touched the food.

I know it wasn’t intentional, it was unconscious, but they were doing it. Then, they were touching doorknobs and trashcans and all kinds of other places where viruses might lurk.

Soon after, I turned my attention to the crowd and would follow the same interactions.

One person would sneeze and then, without wiping his hands, would shake the hand of another person, who would promptly go off and shake the hand of yet another person, who then touched his nose.

Over and over again this happened.

I’m not trying to turn us into a nation of Howard Hugheses or anything like that, I’m just keenly aware now (having had my H1N1 vaccine and my plane chat with Susanne) of how these behaviors could have traumatic consequences.

And now (shout out to my aunt for this one), here is a video of Sec’y of Health, Kathleen Sebelius lecturing NBC correspondent, Chuck Todd on how to sneeze.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So, what do you think of the new site?

Friends of Never Stop Marketing….

The new look and feel for the website is now up for testing:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: testing the functionality and any technical issues, the look and feel is pretty much set, so those comments, while appreciated, will receive lower priority.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Health Insurance…Personal Edition

Since leaving Microsoft (which had absolutely RIDONKULOUS benefits), we’ve had to move to an individual family plan.

We went the high deductible HSA route.

This past September, on the annual renewal of our policy with Care First, we were subject to the “review and rate increases that occur every year.”

For the EXACT same policy our rates went up 26% per month.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cartoons for the Troops…

The United Service Organizations

Image via Wikipedia

Went back to visit the NFO’s cousin the other day at Bethesda Naval Medical Center and met members of the National Cartoonists Society who were volunteering their time and talents to show how they support our troops.

The woman from the USO said it best “we’ll take anybody,” so if you want to show the troops that you care, just give ‘em a call. Even 1 minute of your time makes a difference.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Redskins made my daughter cry...Not cool

Going through a divorce, as I am with my formerly beloved Washington Redskins, is a painful experience.

It's impossible to shut the feelings down completely, but you feel angry and betrayed.

You may even want revenge.

For the first time in my life, I found myself this past Sunday actually rooting for the other team to win.  Perhaps like a loved one who is an alcoholic, you realize that the only way that they can right themselves is for them to hit "rock bottom."

So, playing against a team without a victory for the 6th week in a row (an NFL record) and one that had only one two out of its previous 30 games (Kansas City), I reckoned that a loss would possibly helpl the incompetent and inept leadership recognize that they "needed help."

Note: I am talking purely from a football perspective since somehow they have increased the value of the team from a financial perspective.

On Saturday night,Paco, Tonka, and I were discussing our plans for Sunday and thanks to my "eat in the den only if we are watching football rule," they are now big fans.

I explained that the Redskins were playing the Chiefs and the kids were asking who I wanted to win.

"I don't know," I said. "I really don't know."

At which point, Tonka literally started cyring (not sobs, but definitely tears) and said, "It's not fun rooting for the Redksins....they ALWAYS LOSE!!"

I've said for a few years that I don't care for which team my kids root, but I want them to appreciate the game of football...we're on our way...and that being a Redskins fan was too difficult. Now, they were causing my little girl to cry. That was the last straw.

I'm in a phase in life where I tend to look at the historical era into which I was born and analyze it so that I don't just assume "this is the way it is and has always been."

If you are between 30 and 40 and grew up in the DC area (as a fan of the Redskins), your formative/adolescent years took place at the moment in history where the team was at is absolute zenith.  

Four Super Bowls (3 championships) in 10 years, a contender pretty much every year, and dominating teams. Clearly, the glory days.

And, this happened when you were old enough to be aware/conscious of what happened, but young enough that you didn't have the real responsibilites of life (and thus could devote a lot of time to cultivating this passion.)

So, it's particularly tough to rip out this core part of my developmental DNA. You can play with my emotions, but once you start making my daughter cry?

My grandfather, Poppy, introduced me to the game and helped grow my love for Redskins and I thought once or twice  that "it's a good thing he's dead b/c this would have killed him. (He would have appreciated this joke, trust me...and it is a joke!),

Like the stock market and great empires, what goes up must come down and now, the Redskins are like the rest of Washington, a city of bailouts (great article here, btw).

And the kids of Washington have grown up and come of age during the past 10 years, culminating in this most recent ignominy?

They are crying themselves to sleep now...and won't be in the stands in the future.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Google Does The Strangest Things…

Remember back when I became the corporate sponsor for Miss Black Nevada?

Well, today I got a call from the new Miss Black Nevada.

She had googled the previous winner and found my company first. So, she called me to get the contact info for last year’s winner.

Who knew?

Google did, I suppose.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Football with your son…

The NFL Green Bay Packers in the shotgun forma...
Image via Wikipedia
One of the quintessential images of fatherhood is throwing a football (or a baseball, I suppose) around with your son.
Over the last few weeks, Paco’s skills as a receiver (he needs a LOT of work as a passer) have really blossomed.
The other day, in fact, we had a series of 15 throws in a row that he caught from me at a distance of over 8 feet.
We were really “playing catch.”
Just crazy to think that one of “those moments” have arrived.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting H1N1’d

Following my chat with Susanne on the plane, you can bet I was one of the first people at the health center to get vaccinated for H1N1.

And, I have to say, for one who is somewhat skeptical of government's ability to execute effectively, this was a fine example of solid organization and planning.

Some good comments from our screener about the virus and the planning.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

A “Luggable” PC…

Somehow, I missed this when it first came out, but my friend Cathy loves her.

A 10lb laptop that is more of a suitcase than anything else. Just crazy. Check out the video.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Windows 7 Review….

Microsoft Windows

Image via Wikipedia

As you may know, Microsoft is releasing its next version of the OS “officially” on October 22nd.

I’ve been using it out now for over a month and I have to say…I am very impressed.

Vista, let’s admit it, wasn’t the best, so there was a lot to bounce back from.

First off, the thing installs super quick (relative to past installations.) No more of these 3 hour ordeals. On my dual-core 64-bit machine, it was done in about 15 minutes and the single core 2GB RAM Asus Netbook took maybe 20. And there were no hangups or blue screens of death, etc.

The OS is just smarter, the driver issues that we had when we moved to Vista are nowhere near the same.   The interface is great (I’m sure Mac users will say something that “MS stole it,” but hey….)

And it’s just not as bloated. Faster, speedier. Smarter networking for the home as well.

A couple of new User Interface things to which you will need to adjust, but those don’t bother me, I cherish the thrill.

Even stodgy Walt Mossberg at the WSJ like this and calls it a “toss up” with Windows 7, see Mossberg on Windows 7 vs OS X - "A Toss Up" (


Hope springs eternal in Redmond.

It’s fun to count them out, but not always the smartest bet.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brainwaves and Guided Meditation…

DSC_0054_2George Pierson loves talking about brainwaves.
He will tell you about Alpha, Beta, Theta, and Delta waves and what each one does.

What’s more, he will tell you how each type of wave represents a different part of your consciousness and how, if they are in harmony with each other, you have many opportunities in front of you.

At first, you think, “this sounds a bit kooky,” but as he likens the delta and theta waves to the nutrients that sit below the soil and the need to till in order to fertilize the topsoil and allow growth to occur, you slowly become less skeptical.

Then, intrigued.

Then, you decide, “what the heck, I will give it a try.”DSC_0057_2

He hooks you up to a machine and leads you though a process which he calls “guided meditation.”

At first, your mind is racing and your inner dialogue is strong.

Then, suddenly, you don’t even realize when it happens, you are in a completely deep space

And he has the computer  reading to prove it.

The combination of spirituality and technology is what got me.
George mapped the patterns of my brainwaves as he asked me different questions and asked me to visualize the answers. When the wordDSC_0058_2 “financial security,” popped into my head, the waves on the machine reflected what I already knew. This is a stressor for me.

His process is about using the science of how your brain reacts to help identify areas which can be "tilled.”

Afterwards, I felt about 5 pounds lighter and definitely better off for it.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Visit to Bethesda Naval Medical Center

As some of you saw on Facebook, the NFO’s cousin was shot in the face in Afghanistan and has been at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center for a few weeks.

I went to visit him and he was doing remarkably well. He’s still a bit swollen, has a tube for feeding and breathing and has a LONG road ahead of him for his recovery. (Aharon ben Sara for those who wish to say a blessing).

Still, he’s in good spirits and you can tell he’s a fighter (he is in Marine Corps Special Forces.)

When we arrived, the nurses were prepping him, so we were in a waiting room and I had a chance to meet with another soldier, Garth, whose femur was take a look!-0066shattered in a firefight in Afghanistan.

Talk about attitude and energy, this guy had it in spades and was willing to be interviewed for the blog. Sorry about the ambient background noise, but you should be able to hear him in spite of it.

The most amazing thing? He says he wants to go back!

And yes, those are pins in his leg.

I asked him about the experience of being shot…what was it like?

He said it wasn’t even the pain so much as the shock and disorientation that he remembered.

Anyway, I’ll tell you one thing…the place is humbling. You really appreciate the sacrifice these soldiers have made (whether you agree with the war or not).

And I’ll tell you another thing…all those cards that kids make that say “we support our troops!”…they go a long way to making the atmosphere loving and caring and light, so encourage your kids to keep doing it.

Bleeding Billboards…

Saw this on Dan Pink’s blog. Pretty intense.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama, Nobel, and Awarding What?

My brother called me and told me that Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I thought he was joking.

My feelings about Obama’s policies are no secret, so I am not looking for people who share my feelings to weigh in here.

I’m looking for the pro-Obama camp to share their thoughts.

Here’s why I am riled up.

Assumption: the award is given based on the accomplishments of the recipient, not the hope/expected/desired accomplishments.

As one person noted in this CNN article, the nominations were due only 10 days after Obama took office, so he hadn’t really racked up much of anything at that point.

Convince me I’m wrong because right now it feels like the whole award has been cheapened.

(Coming after Yassir Arafat got it, that’s saying something…at least Arafat signed a piece of paper saying he would pursue peace. Even if he didn’t mean it, he did do something…sign the paper.)

Of course, if the award is based on hope, I can potentially convince clients to pay higher fees, since we have a lot of hope that our efforts will get huge results for them.

A Redskins Divorce…

Redskins logo 1982

Image via Wikipedia

The other day, I blogged on my “work” blog about my growing disillusionment with the owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, and the way the team has performed.

I called it “when you kill your raving fans.”

What that experience has done for me is opened the door to a deeper introspection into my relationship with the team.

I love the game of football, but now, as I think about my lack of passion for the team because of its mismanagement, I come face to face with the reality (which I, like many, have swept under the rug) that the name is truly offensive to Native Americans.

In no other area of life would we tolerate something as overt as this. And in the Nations Capital, no less.

Like most break-ups, it will be painful, there will be moments of nostalgia, and it won’t be easy, but I think the time has come.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Business, Spirituality, and God....

SukkahImage via Wikipedia
Thanks to the intersection of great weather, wi-fi, and cell phones, I set up my office for the first two days of this week in our Sukkah as part of the holiday of Sukkot.

For 7 hours straight, I sat in the mandated temporary dwelling and lived between 2 worlds.

Sitting in there, I was reminded of the journey that the Israelites took through the desert for 40 years and of Biblical times.

And, simultaneously, I was immersed in the cutting-edge of digital culture. Fully connected, facebooking, emailing, blogging, twittering, skyping, etc.

Such a fascinating dichotomy.

And a spiritual experience at the same time.

I think it was probably the 2 most spiritual days of my business career...two words that don't usually go together, I know, but the setting gave me inspiration, gave me focus, and gave me a deeper appreciation of purpose. Plus, it reminded me that no matter how many blog posts I wrote, any success I achieve is due to God (and my wife, who is kind of like God, I guess...wait, is that heretical? Oh, you know what I mean :-).

Seriously, it was a powerful moment of intersection of these two components of my life.

Our Sukkah sits in our front yard and not only did I work there, but I had a chance to greet visitors (our mailman and our cleaning lady, for example) as they walked in to the house.

Had a chance to chat with them, to share with them the story of why I was sitting in this booth, surrounded by gadgets.

Just a great, memorable day that brought me closer to God...and, just as important, was a huge boon for my productivity!

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

An Unexpected Happiness Project…

I decided a while ago that I would only work with clients whose products or services in which I really believed.

If I couldn’t be intrinsically passionate about some aspect of the project, I wouldn’t do it. Besides, if I truly believe in it, I feel comfortable asking others to spend their hard earned money on whatever it is.

After talking to Gretchen Rubin almost a year ago, I knew that there was something special about her vision (and judging by her FB fan page, I’m not alone).

Gretchen is an amazing woman. She clerked for Sandra Day O’Connor, went to Yale Law School, and was chief adviser to a former FCC chairman. You got it, she’s not that bright ;-)

At some point, however, she decided that her life’s calling was to be a writer.

She is the author of Power Money Fame Sex: A User's Guide, Forty Ways to Look at JFK and the bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill.

Next up, and coming to a bookstore near you in the December timeframe, is The The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun (go ahead and pre-order it :-) .

Her blog is a daily dose of inspiration as well.


Gretchen asked me to just help her figure out a few things.

Obviously, she wants to sell books (and there’s nothing wrong with that since it enables her to do what she loves and help other people), but what makes Gretchen special is her sincere, genuine desire to, as she says, “start a movement,” where people are focused on improving their own Happiness through tangible, concrete actions.

In particular, she was looking for

  1. some different ways to connect with her (ever-growing) community of fans and readers in ways that would help them.
  2. advice on how to harness the new tools of the internet

One of the things on which we collaborate is supporting and nurturing the close to 40 groups (around the world!) which have sprung up based on the information she’s shared in her Happiness Project Toolbox.

So, when a group started in the DC area, I will admit, I was first motivated to go in the interest of “client service.”

I was already a believer in the idea, of course, but the first two meetings have fueled my passion for her mission.

Dani, our group leader, is tremendous. Her blog is quite inspiring as well, and she goes to great lengths to make the meetings valuable.

The centerpiece of our discussion is where each of us makes a public resolution of what we will change (in a concrete, measurable way) over the next month.

clip_image002Then, we each live with the fact that we have to face the rest of our group members the following month to announce success or failure.

Mine was around diet/nutrition and let me tell  you, I had the faces of the women in my group when I was thinking about deviating from my plan.

Did I make 100%? No, but I did A LOT better than I could have because I had a support group, a great leader, and a framework from Gretchen.

I just found it very cool and, really a blessing, to be in this position.


Advising a Telemarketer…

Maybe I am on a mentoring kick now, I don’t know, but I got a call from the Johns Hopkins Annual Fund the other night asking for a donation.

I’m at the point now where I routinely tell people, “I don’t make commitments over the phone, put something in the mail” (and I’m particularly irate at Jewish charities that buy lists and telephone spam me-yes, I get the irony of that word).

So, I was on my guard when I got the call from JHU.

Now, the thing is, I worked at the Annual Fund for 3 years in college and, frankly, I learned as much (or more) about sales and marketing doing that as anything I did in college.

When the guy started, I could tell he was a rookie. (It’s the beginning of the school year and the newbies are tossed on the phone to make calls, while upperclassmen become supervisors.)

I had a pretty successful career there, so I stopped the guy mid-track.

“Ok, I’ll donate, so let’s get that out of the way. I can tell you have energy, which is good, but what I think you need is the confidence to deviate from the script. It’s about relationships, listening to people, connecting with them.”

He relaxed.

We had a great chat. He felt inspired.

“You know, the other night, I was told by my boss to ‘stick to the script.’”

“You tell them, ‘judge me on the results, not on the process,’ and just be yourself. I can tell you will be fine.”

Then, we just talked for a while. Turns out we’re both History majors.

He said that after he tells people he goes to Hopkins and ‘no, I am not going to be a doctor,’ he is often asked ‘what are you going to do with History?”

“You’re going to be able to piece together disparate segments of information and create a meaningful narrative that explains the larger context so others can understand it.”

He was profuse in his thanks.

I wonder if there is a point in your life when you start saying, “hey, it’s my turn to ‘pay it forward’ in the way that others have helped me?’

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Win-Win of Mentoring…

Just finished up the first meeting of the Never Stop Marketing Mentoring program.

Right now, there is 1 participant, though 2 others have indicated an interest.

This isn’t an internship and actually calling it a “program” is a stretch, since it is very much a perpetual beta, being built as we go.

What I think Jojoe recognizes is what Seth Godin advocated…there is value to Free Work.

The “final exam” will be a project that is of direct benefit to my company. I’m not apologetic about that.

When he passes it (and he will), then I can comfortably certify him to my network that this is a NSM-trained and trusted marketer.

It’s going to be a while before we get there. We have books to read (“The Cluetrain Manifesto”, “The Essential Drucker”, and more). He will be taking a StrengthsFinder profile exam (here’s mine).

He will be judged relentlessly on his execution and his efforts to be Remarkable.

It’s going to be tough, but when all is said and done, I am confident that it will be worth it for him.

Back when I was mentioned in the NY Times about helping folks looking for jobs, it never occurred to me that this was another angle where I might be able to be of assistance.

But it is.

For you, as well.

There are dedicated, savvy, smart people in your network. Heck, they may already be Raving Fans of yours.

By giving them a “stretch project,” (after you’ve invested the time to help prepare them for succeed, of course), you not only will benefit yourself, you will help them immeasurably and possibly create a Fan for life at the same time.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It’s the bank’s fault…not mine.

While traveling in New Jersey a few weeks back, I flipped on the CBS morning news show during the exercise routine and saw a segment on how some people were responding to the news that they were being foreclosed upon.

What do they do?

They literally rip out EVERYTHING in the house and sell it., leaving only an empty shell.

But that wasn’t the worst part for me.

One woman, about 55 years of age, was defending her decision to sell things (hinges from doors, light switches, etc.) by saying,

“It’s not my fault. The bank gave me a loan they shouldn’t have.”


Sometimes when I yell downstairs to Paco and say “time to come up for dinner!", he will run up and slip on something, hurting his knee.

Then, he’ll say, “YOU made me do that!” as if my request that he come upstairs was responsible for his slipping and bumping his leg.

So, when someone says, “well, I took out a loan, promised I would make the payments, but now that I find that I can’t afford the payments, so it is someone else’s fault,” that’s going a bit too far for me.

Thank God, I’ve never been foreclosed on. I’m sure it’s an emotionally draining experience and far from unpleasant. I can possibly understand that one might react by saying, “I’ll sell everything to get back at them,” not because it is right (it’s not), but because sometimes we do things when we are angry that we wouldn’t otherwise do.

But, to say that  you’re not the one responsible for putting yourself in that predicament? Ridiculous. Or, as my brother Asher would say, “Ridonkulous!”

Easy way to share your contact info…

Neat little tool called which allows you to create a more “social media” friendly vCard.

You can embed in a blog or as a link in your email signature.

HT: Catherine Read

Friday, October 02, 2009

To Fly…through the years

s_toFly1_LG[1]The signature movie at the National Air and Space Museum is called “To Fly.”

It’s been there for at least 25 years (maybe more).

So, it was kind of a surreal experience when I took Paco and Tonka to go watch it on the huge IMAX screen.

I really felt the passage of time with that one.

However, I feel like I spent more of the movie watching their reactions than watching the movie.

But, when I did watch the movie, I realized how much and how fast the world has changed in those 25 years.

For example, they made a BIG deal about how international jet travel is bringing people closer than ever…and I’m thinking about how I had a Skype call w/Israel that morning…for free and how unfazed these kids are when they talk on a cell phone in a car….they take it for granted.

The movie is still inspirational and awe-inspiring in its scope, but it’s fascinating to think how many of the specifics they cite as “cutting-edge” technology now seem so commonplace.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

More than a mantra. A philosophy.

Marketing is not a "sometime" thing or a "when we need it" thing.

It's an "all the time" thing.

The reality is that you can never stop marketing.

That's our mantra.

If you share this belief, welcome to the NSM movement! ;-)

in reference to: Never Stop Marketing (view on Google Sidewiki)

When plane chats are good…

they can be great.

You’ve read the story of the unfortunate “Of course you do, you’re a Jew!” in Atlanta.

And, that was balanced out by my invigorating conversation with Susanne about Swine Flu and other things.

Well, Susanne was kind enough to send me a copy of her book Who Do I Become When I Am No Longer Me?  and I will tell you this….I am richer for it.

The book is a collection of true stories from her work as a medical professional, helping people learn to live again after a massive change brought on by debilitating disease, accident, etc.


Perfect for this time of year (in the Jewish calendar, at least) when self-reflection is paramount.

When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I remember my reaction was “why not me?”

We tend to think that these things only happen to “other people,” but they can (and we know full well, do) happen to us.

What happens then?

If you are a dancer and you can’t move your legs…who do you become?

If you are a social networker and you can’t talk or type, then what?

A foodie who can’t cut vegetables anymore?

You get my drift.

Stepping back to think about those things helps you appreciate the moments you have, because, it’s cliche, but things change in an instant.

See? Plane chats are great things.