Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Serendipity…in Full Color

Along the road south during our vacation, the NFO and I were teaching the kids new vocabularyRainbow over Richmond, Winter 2011 Family Trip (1) words.

I don’t know why, but I some point, I introduced them to the word “serendipity.”

Later on in the trip, we had planned to go to Colonial Williamsburg, but the weather conspired against us.

As much of the activities there are outside, the predicted torrential rains convinced us that we should do something else.

Our kids are big fans of the Presidents, so we went to Ash Lawn-Highland, home of our 5th President, James Monroe. It was a solid tour (though the guide spoke at a pretty high level…didn’t really do a great job of customizing for his audience).Rainbow over Richmond, Winter 2011 Family Trip (2)

The way back to the Williamsburg area was brutal…you could barely see. So much so, that we just stopped at a mall to wait it out.

As we left the mall, however, we were greeted by a most beautiful site…a GIGANTIC rainbow.

As we drove further, we actually saw the other end of the rainbow and then, the whole thing…in all its glory.

There is a special prayer when you see a natural wonder like that…and we said it.Rainbow over Richmond, Winter 2011 Family Trip (3)

Then, I said to the kids, “this would be a moment of serendipity.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

iPads on Family Vacations…

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

One of the things that I couldn’t reconcile was whether or not it was ultimately a good thing or not to have our iPad playing videos in the back of the car during our family vacation.

On the one hand, it kept fighting and complaining to a minimum. On the other hand, it kept them from absorbing the countryside.

We didn’t go full on videos for the entire time, trying to balance it to involve conversation and quiet time, but I did think about it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1 Tip on How to Start a Conversation…

One trick I’ve picked up in trying to get people talking is to ask yourself “what kind of extreme situation would this person know about that only they would know?”

So, for example…I always ask taxi drivers

  • what’s the furthest anyone has ever asked you to drive?
  • what’s the strangest thing that has ever happened in the back of your cab? (not for the faint of heart)

and baristas…

  • what is the MOST number of shots of espresso anyone has ever ordered at one time? (so far, 23 is the record)

If you can ask these, you can usually get people talking….

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Animals on the bed…

Nadia arranges her stuffed animals at holiday inn, winter 2011 family vacationWhen you share a room with your kids for a few nights on a family vacation, you get to see some little things that you might otherwise miss…like how your 3 year old arranges her dolls and stuffed animals before she goes to bed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jamestown Settlement…

Of the 3 days on our winter vacation and the numerous places we visited, the NFO and I thoughtIMAG0286 that the one which gave our kids the best sense of history and stimulated their curiosity the most was the Jamestown Settlement museum.

While the 26 minute introductory movie was a bit over their heads, the outdoor portion (a Native American village, the Jamestown colony fort, and replicas of the ships) was a home run.

The kids LOVED playing on the ship, grinding the corn, removing the fur from the animals and all of the demonstrations.

Thanks to Uncle Walt (Disney, that is), they knew about Pocahontas, of course,Jamestown Settlement, Virginia, Winter 2011 (6) so they were primed, but this one was well worth the money and the time.

Definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No More Cautious Kindle Purchases…

I wrote about how I was afraid of making bad purchases on my Kindle.

No more.

They have a super smart and GREAT return policy. Full refund w/in 7 days.

If you like a book, you annotate it…then you want to keep it for reference.

Sure, it probably opens the door to abuse, but not enough that it’s worth it to irritate the honest customers.

Man, I love Amazon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Parenting and the Fear of Failure II

You may recall that one of the areas I was trying to work on with Tonka was to help her get over what I considered to be an unacceptably high fear of failure.

I got some good advice from blog readers and developed a hybrid model.

On our winter vacation, I used that approach to convince her to go down the “Tornado” slide (the steepest one) at the Great Wolf Lodge.

She did.

The whole way down, I just watched her face, particularly enjoying how it turned from fear to excitement as she realized it was fun and she was safe.

It felt good to give that to her.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Family Vacation and Bonding Time…Finally

We took the kids to southern Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Charlottesville) during the Winter Break and though we had taken them on trips before, this was the first we took where it wasn’t a HUGE ordeal.

Nadia is out of diapers. The kids are old enough to appreciate and interact with things and don’t need CONSTANT attention.

It’s work. A lot of it. Most of it falls on the NFO, but still, a different level.

Our first night took us to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. We had heard great things. We were optimistic.

Unfortunately, in the NFO’s mind and mine, it didn’t quite live up to expectations (no need to vent here). Still, the kids had a great time, but what was really special was the unexpected moments of bonding that occurred.

The two older ones could go on almost all the rides (it’s an indoor water park) and I found that while we were waiting in line, we had some nice chats about life, time optimization strategies, whatever was on our minds. We were just TOGETHER and that was great.

I found this to be the case in the morning and the evening as well.

Since we were all staying in the same room, the NFO and I went to bed earlier, but we had a chance to just relax/snuggle with the kids before they went to sleep and when they woke up…reading, watching videos on the iPad, whatever.

My friend, Jeff, says, “it’s not about Quality Time…It’s just about TIME.”

And he’s right.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One of Costco’s Youngest Fans…

English: Costco Wholesale Corporate Logo

Image via Wikipedia

The NFO goes EVERY single week to the Costco in Beltsville, MD. It is located on Maryland Route 1 about 1.5 miles down the road from IKEA.

Over the Winter break, we took the kids to southern Virginia and as we drove down I-95, Nadia (3.5) saw  another IKEA store and you know what she said?

“YEAH! We’re on the Costco street!!”

Monday, January 09, 2012

How I Plan to Never Stop Marketing This Year…A New Job

When I started Never Stop Marketing about 3.5 years ago my intention was to create a beautiful link between the type of marketer I wanted to be and the types of clients who would benefit from how I view the world.

With this blog, the eBooks (CDM, Dandelion Marketing, 10 Ways to Grow Your Fans ), my goal was to provide you, my faithful friends and readers (aka Community of Raving Fans!), with a front row seat as I've pursued this dream with you.

The consulting portion of NSM has been very very good to me. I'm thriving professionally, I'm making many new friends, I'm traveling the world, and I'm even putting plenty of food on my table.

Of the many new friends I've made, one of the more interesting (and persistent) is Ragy Thomas (via Sean O’Rourke).

Ragy is a successful entrepreneur and the second most insightful person I know when it comes to how society is being fundamentally altered as a result of the arrival of all of these social tools Winking smile.

His newest company, Sprinklr, is focused on helping large enterprises build meaningful, authentic, and REAL relationships with a community of customers and do it in a way that is manageable and scalable.

If this sounds familiar and similar to NSM, that's because it is.

When I talked to Ragy 3 months ago, he came straight out and said:

“I’ve seen your stuff and we need you to join us. We’ve raised some money, we’ve got some Fortune 500 clients and I want you on our team.”

My answer…”what are you talking about? I love what I am doing now. Not interested.”

He persisted…and, over time, I realized that this company represented a chance to take my skills and mission of changing marketing to a new level, so I accepted their offer to become the VP of Marketing, effective January 15th.

Yep, I know. I’m still coming to terms with it myself!

I’m excited. Scared, too. But definitely excited.

Ok, here we go.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Teaching Good Behavior Through Football…

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 01:  Charles Woodson ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

One thing we’ve been working on with Paco is how to be a good sport.

He’s VERY competitive (wonder where that comes from!) and when he loses, he doesn’t always respond so well.

Now, he loves football and it so happens that his favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, so I took a clip from one of their games where a defender, Charles Woodson, (who has himself won a Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl) acknowledges the great play of an opponent who beat him to score a touchdown.

The message was: if you give it your all and you still lose, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. And, if your opponent gives it his all and wins, you can respect that and not resent him or feel anger about it.

Here’s the clip

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Remington’s Moral Lapse…

Perhaps I harbor a naïve belief that companies can be a force for good. I hope that you can be socially responsible and profitable and avoid selling your soul.
Obviously, there are PLENTY of examples to the contrary, so that’s not news, but when you see something as egregious as potential compromises of morality when it relates to manufacturing and selling of guns…man, that just puts you to the test.
I watched this CNBC documentary called “Remington Under Fire” which alleges that the rifle manufacturer knew about a defect in its most popular model as early as 1948.
5 million guns sold later and there are numerous claims of accidental firings resulting in injury and death.
Just sad.