Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why can’t non-doctors be “on call?” They can. Here’s how I plan to do it.

I recently was chatting with a family where the husband is a physician.
They were invited to a wedding in another city and the wife and one of the kids were going…but not the husband because he was scheduled to be “on call” that weekend.
I joked that it was just as well because he probably didn’t want to go anyway…and, well, I wasn’t too far off. In fact, I was spot on.
I started musing about how convenient the “on call” excuse is for doctors. The equivalent of the “get out of jail free” card for pretty much any social obligation.
It’s like that Larry David/Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where he uses the “death in the family” excuse…but with a lot less baggage or fall out.
But, wait a second…I work in an industry that is also 24/7, right?
I mean a client could have a social media crisis at pretty much any hour of the day and, if they do, they need us to support them, don’t you?
I’ve had nights doing exactly that until 2am.
So, in essence, many of my teammates at Sprinklr and I are also “on call.”
I don’t work in a 9-5 job. My day doesn’t end at any point. The whole premise of Sprinklr is that customers are connected and empowered and engage with large companies when and where they choose. These companies…and the companies like Sprinklr (oh wait, there aren’t any companies like Sprinklr! ;-)) need to be able to respond anytime and anywhere.

Yep, that’s it. I’m “on call” by default unless I’m specifically not.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fitbit, Smartphones, and an Integrated Work Environment

At Sprinklr, we don’t talk about “work/life balance.” Instead, we talk about “an integrated life.”

More than 60% of the company works from home and our CEO often says, “look we have all of these tools and technologies to make us efficient from various places, let’s use them.”

If you think about it, the very premise of Sprinklr is that the arrival of the connected and empowered customer changes everything…and this includes how we work.

How I Live the Integrated Lifestyle

I was a big runner but suffered a foot injury which prevented me from continuing that activity. Until that point, however, I would often send a note to the CEO (my boss) and my team saying “hey, going out for a run, I’ll be back in an hour.”  This was at 11am or 2pm or whenever.

When you’re an outcome and not an activity focused company, you can do this.

Similarly, I’d say, “I’m taking this call while driving carpool,” or “I’m about to go watch my son’s baseball game” or whatever.

Since my foot injury, I was walking on the treadmill, which was fine. I’d watch Netflix or TED talks. It was good, but not great.

Then, my wife got me a Fitbit and being the competitive guy that I am, I enjoyed tracking my progress against my friends and motivating them (and vice versa) to walk more.

So, I started looking for more opportunities to walk.

I’m always taking the stairs now. I’ll walk from the parking lot to the terminal instead of taking the shuttle.

But the real breakthrough came when I looked at all of the phone calls I was on during the day. 

I have a lot of the 20 minute “catch up/check in” variety where being in front of a computer isn’t required. Maybe some notes, a few emails, etc., but I discovered that I could take all of the calls I had to do like that and compress them in a 2 hour window on most days.

And during that 2 hour window, I walk outside of my house, across the street to a great regional park (full of trees and paths and gardens), with my phone and a headset and just walk and talk.


What happened was remarkable.

Not only am I more focused on the calls (I’m not distracted by the email or Skype on the computer in front of me) and able to address the issues more efficiently, but my blood is flowing and my brain is more alert.

So, I walk 7 or 8 miles while doing the conference calls that I have to do anyway, during which I normally would be standing or sitting in my office (and possibly eating).

Now, I’m out in nature, I’m getting exercise, I’m more focused on the person on the other end of the call…and I’m totally connected.

I’ve participated in (see our case study) presentations, Skype video calls, looked at Google docs, and more…all while walking.

Obviously, there are some times when I have to be in front of a machine (if I’m giving the presentation or have to do serious creative work), but by aligning my calls into a specified block of time, having my smartphone, and the motivator of the Fitbit, 

I’m able to integrate exercise w/work in an organic way and be more efficient.

A St. Louis

I’m the Godfather…in St. Louis

I was very fortunate during my time in Japan to have some great friends in Rabbi Carnie and Paulie Rose. 

After we all returned to the US, we kept in touch.

Thirteen years ago, after the birth of their 3rd child, they asked if the NFO and I would be the Godparents to their son.

Now, the concept of “Godparents” is not super common about members of the tribe, so I asked what he meant.

He explained that it was important to him that each of his kids would have a non-parent adult whom they knew their parents trusted, but were not their parents and of whom they could ask questions, seek advice, etc.

That did make a lot of sense to me, so I agreed…on one condition.

“What’s that?” Carnie asked.

“The kid has to call me ‘Godfather.’”

And he does.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Solo Mothering and the Role of Men

I'm sure it has been going on for a while in larger society, but I'm only noticing it now because it is happening among my age cohort.

In the past few months, I've had 3 female friends in their late 30s/early 40s who elected to have children on their own.

All of them wanted to become moms, had spent time unsuccessfully looking for the so-called "Mr. Right" (as the NFO knows full well, he doesn't exist), were successful professional women, and ultimately chose to embark upon the adventure solo.

Again, this is probably nothing new for many people who follow this issue closely, but it made me think about the long-term role (or even need) for men in the child-rearing process.

I'd like to think there's some value, but it's obvious that for women it's now a question of "if" in terms of whether she wants a man to be involved.

I wonder if the age at which women choose this route will get increasingly younger or are there other factors involved?

(For example, you would need to be established financially as an individual which might take longer).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why I call 1800 people per year to say Happy Birthday

Honored that my friend, Marty Isaac, who now runs HooplaHa offered to do this story.

So, if I've ever called you on your birthday, now you know why.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Is Runway Model my next career?

Today,  Sprinklr hosted an event at ASOS, the leading online fashion retailer in the UK. After the event, I had a chance to strut my stuff on the catwalk.

Next career?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why Father's Day Reinforces Gender Inequality

Stemming from a conversation I had with Jacob Licht...

While it is certainly nice that we have a culture that celebrates the contributions of Fathers (witness the recent spate of Super Bowl ads about dads), I think the movement seeking to address gender inequality issues should take aim at Father's Day.

The goal should either be the elimination or, more likely, the relegation of the day to a more minor status.

The problem with Father's Day is that it is put on the same level as Mother's Day. This implies that Mothers and Fathers should be equally revered and that the contribution of men and women are equal.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The contribution of women far exceeds that of men.

As Jacob pointed out (roughly paraphrasing):

The relative Return on Investment of the effort exerted by the woman or the man to earn the relevant title is complete disproportionate.

For a mother, while the end result is worth it, the process is full of sweat, pain, blood, and a ton of labor, literally.

For a father, however, it is a few minutes of work that he would gladly do again.

It's really not equal.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Ode to Mother-in-Law

Being that tomorrow is Mother's Day, I figured I'd give a shout out to my mother-in-law who, I think, is the best mother-in-law one could ask for.

I've met guys who have the stereotypical relationship with their mothers-in-law, e.g. they are criticized and second-guessed.

I don't have that at all. In fact, the opposite.

My MIL basically leaves me alone most of the time.

Then, when she comes to visit, she takes care of my kids-thereby relieving me of responsibility and saving me time. What's more, she brings me highly personalized gifts (usually books) that are always on target.

I definitely scored well in that department.

See what I mean? ;-)

Happy Mother's Day to my MIL.