Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Update on Gary Johnson Endorsement

 Ok, ok…proving that confirmation bias can be defeated, I am going to (partially) recant my endorsement of Johnson.

Bottom line:  If you are in a battleground/swing state, please vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you are not in a battleground/swing state, then you can (and should) vote for Johnson.

Last night was a trainwreck for Trump. It’s clear that he’s too dangerous and we may as well swallow the bitter Hillary pill.

My friends who have been all over me for this switch on my Vote for Gary post. Congratulations, you were right.

However, I hope you will understand that most people (at least those with whom I talk) don’t (and probably will never) see Hillary the way you do.

Yes, she is experienced, but she is the epitome of the career politician who has become so much a part of the system that she willfully corrupts and ignores it for her family’s own benefit.  They see her as corrupt and representative of everything that is wrong with politics (and they are right).

As my friend Gloria said today, “we need term limits.” And I think she’s right. It’s at the core of the career politician/absolute power corrupts list (granted, doesn't apply to Clinton, but you can see the connection, I am sure.)

Hillary is going to win because most people realize that she is a smaller risk, but that’s not a compliment.

The reason I think people should vote for Johnson in non-battleground states is because people need hope.

You used to not be able to talk about politics with anyone. Now you can talk about it with anyone. “Well, we can all agree that we hate them both.’

Johnson may or may not be the right person for Presidency. Some of his policies are questionable, but that’s not the point.

What we need is someone who hasn’t totally abused the system, has proven s/he can lead across partisan differences, is actually committed to serving, not just to himself (Trump) or her family’s enrichment (Clinton).

It's kind of why I want him in the debates. He's like someone who makes the Olympics but the announcers say "we're looking at him/her to dominate in 4 years, but today she's just happy to be here."

If enough people in those non-battleground states make that choice, many people will feel like they can endure 4 years of cronyism, scandal, and corruption.

Johnson represents the fact that many people don’t feel connected to either party because they have swung so far away from their core base.

In my opinion, Hillary should and will win, but the change that many of us want from the Government (which Trump and Sanders voice) can’t be delivered by the ultimate insider.

So, in summary: if you live in a battleground/swing state, you should vote for Hillary.

If you live anywhere else and you feel the anger that a lot of people seem to feel about these two candidates, vote for Johnson.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Parental Halftime?

I was talking to Myra Norton yesterday who has 2 kids under 4.

She asked about how my kids are doing and I said, "you know, they are in that stage where they are old enough that you don't have to watch them all the time and they generally can take care of themselves, but they still think I know what I am talking about.

I suppose, it's the halftime between the physical exhaustion of the early years and the mental/emotional exhaustion of the teenage years."


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

25 Years of Email

It was right around this time, 25 years ago that my friend, Josh Milner called me from MIT during our Freshman year of college.

He said, "Jer, you've got to try this email thing out."

He was the first person I ever emailed.

And it introduced me, at the perfect time, to a world that I knew would be exciting but had NO idea how it would radically change everything.

I remember, sophomore year, I took a Computer Science class (1 credit) called "Exploring the Internet" and most of my friends said, "WHY is a History major taking a CS class?"

I replied..."I just feel like there's something big with this Internet thing."

No joke, I actually said that.

Apparently, back in 1991 there were fewer than 1,000,000 people in the whole world who had email.

Thanks, Josh.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gradual and Seismic Shifts

Japan is an earthquake zone. Every now and then, you feel a tremor. Sometimes, obviously, they are huge.

Most of the time though (just in total minutes, for example), you don't feel anything. Yet, the earth is always moving.

It seems that our lives are like that. While we don't control the earth (and there are certainly elements to our lives that we don't control), there are areas we can, if we choose, control.

When you are pursuing a goal (diet, exercise, career, whatever), you are consciously pushing yourself to get better, do more, do different, etc.

Many days, most days, in fact, it's a tough slog. It feels never-ending.

Then, one day, when you don't necessarily expect it or plan for it, you have a personal earthquake moment.

The "ground" on which you stand as an individual is completely different from what it was before and you realize you will never be the person you were. Now you are the person you wanted to become.

It's a great feeling.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Team Finland sees Team Finland and learns Finnish

My kids' nicknames (one set at least) are Tikkanen, Jokinen, and Lakkanen. Collectively, they are known as "Team Finland" (how that happened).

We've had a field trip to the Finnish Embassy   and Lakkanen did her "country report" for school on Finland, complete with a picture of her with the President of Finland.

So, when we found out that Team Finland was
going to play Team USA at the Verizon Center as part of the warm-up for the World Cup of Hockey. We naturally had to go, provided they would wear their Team Finland hockey jerseys.

Which they did.

We figured we'd be happy no matter who won ;-)

As we walked around the arena, however, one thing happened that I didn't anticipate.

The crowd was 99% USA, of course, so whenever we saw someone else with a Finland jersey, that person would wave or nod at us. And, in some cases, they would say something to my kids...in Finnish.

Which they don't really speak.

They do know, however, that the way Finns refer to Finland is "Suomi," so when Jokinen heard someone say "_____ Suomi!" he turned to me and said, "I think that probably means "Go Finland!", I was particularly proud of him.

Unfortunately, Team Finland lost 3-2, but my Team Finland won.

Monday, September 12, 2016

What happens when there are no more gas stations?

I picked up carpool from soccer practice the other day and told the boys that I had to stop to get gas.

After I was finished, I got in the car with them and said, "you guys will probably never do this with  your kids."

"Why?" one of them asked.

"Well, cars will all be electric or autonomous. In fact, you may not even own a car and you'll just summon one when you need transportation."

Then I said. "I wonder what will happen to all of the real estate tied up in gas stations?"

And one of the boys said, "and what about all the mechanics and people who work at gas stations? That's a lot of jobs that will be lost."

We all let that sink in for a moment.

"Yes, it will be," I said.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Simple Recommendations for Staying Safe and Secure Online...

Yes, I know it's late 2016, but since a friend of mine recently got hacked and someone else got scammed by one of those "Microsoft" calls, I may as well share two pieces of advice.

First, use a Password Manager. I love LastPass. If you have multiple devices (and you do), the $12 per year option may be worth it.

This way, you can have crazy passwords that no one else can guess for every account AND not have to remember them.

Second...and absolutely critical is enable 2-factor authentication on every account where you can.

You can do this on Google, Dropbox, Evernote, and many more (including LastPass!).

I have it  on 16 accounts.

The benefit?

EVEN if someone does get your crazy password...they would also need your phone.

The BEST app for this is Authy.

You can have that on multiple devices and it's really reliable.

There are a ton of bad people out there who want to steal your info.  These 2 steps can't guarantee anything, but they are really easy and make a HUGE impact in increasing your security.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Recommended Read: The Originals

One of the things that we as a society (and the human race) really treasures and admires is innovation.

Many of us have ideas that could change the world, but few of us act on it.

The Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World by Adam Grant is about exactly this.

As opposed to other books on entrepreneurs and inventors, Grant doesn't focus on the usual suspects of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and the like.

Instead, he talks about the guy who helped bring down Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, the real force behind the women's suffrage movement (Lucy Stone), Carmen Medina (who helped move the CIA into the digital/sharing age), and more.

Then, he shares HOW they did it.

What were the tactics they used?


  • being a "tempered radical" in order to build alliances.
  • recognizing that you need both "power" and "status" to make change.
  • the requirement to create a "burning platform" for a sense of urgency
  • using a "trojan horse," where you don't tell people exactly what you are working on in the larger sense, you just tell them "hey, I need you to build widget x," so they will focus on getting it done.
  • renaming a movement from something threatening to something familiar, such as using the term "home protection ballot" instead of "women's suffrage" when trying to build an alliance of supporters
There's a lot more in here, but if you are looking for inspiration to make change (big or small) in your organization or your life, this is a good one.

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Immigration Debate..Justice for All?

In the wake of this week's debate on immigration, I am starting to wonder if there's a bit of a marketing job going on.

It feels like one side is saying that the other side is "anti-immigration."

But I wonder if the other side is really "anti-immigrant" overall OR are they "anti-ILLEGAL immigration?"

I read a Facebook post from someone earlier this week who wrote:

"My family and I came to America on tourist visas and overstayed. Like the vast majority of undocumented immigrants, we came because we loved the idea of America, we loved America's promise, we loved what America stood for: opportunity, fairness, justice. I did not recognize the America I know and love in what I heard tonight."

The comment struck me as very odd and potentially contradictory.

He wrote that he loves that America stands for fairness.  Yet it sounds like his family took advantage of the system and got things that others ,who couldn't do what they did, were not able to obtain. 

I didn't understand how that is fair.

It didn't seem like equal justice.

My sense (and I could be wrong) is that the notion of fairness described in the post is what is at the root of the immigration issue.

If America is a country of laws, justice, and fairness (in theory), why should people where one of the first activities was a violation of the law, somehow get an advantage over people who are following the rules, laws, and procedures and 'waiting in line' outside of the country?

Doesn't that seem unfair?

I'm all for immigration. I'm the grandchild of immigrants. It's what America was built on and it's what keeps the country fresh in many way.s

I'd like to do what we can to bring in a balance of people who can help make us better because of their skills and those who really need to be helped from bad situations. 

I'd like to do what we can to keep people who want to harm us out of the country.

And we have to be reasonable about the simple fact that there are people who are already here. Mass deportation isn't the answer.

Still, I'd like it to be consistent with our ideals of "justice for all."

Maybe I'm just naive and idealistic.

I just wonder if I'm in the majority or minority on this issue.

The 4 am Wake up Experiment

Inspired by my friend, Peter Shankman, who was quoted in this WSJ article about starting day at 4am, I decided to do a 1 week experiment.

Every day this week, I've gotten out of bed somwhere between 3.45am and 4.40am.

Around 6.45am, we have to wake up our kids and get the morning routine (the craziness doesn't seem to be isolated to our family, per this WSJ article), which gives me about 2 hours of total alone time.

What have I found?


I'm a believer.

I'm not saying this is my go-forward approach for life, but that first hour or so (when I sit down to write/work) is like a power hour of clairvoyance.

There are no distractions. No (or few) emails coming in. No texts, skypes, etc.  Instead, I have the mental energy and mental space to do creative work (like writing this blog post).  It's fresh and it's silent.

Around 5.50 or so, I'll begin the morning workout.

Once the kids leave at 7.40, I'll sit down for another 80 minutes or so (keep in mind, I don't have to commute anywhere regularly which is its own blessing) for another batch of activities, some work, some personal, including prayer and meditation.

By 9am, when things start to heat up, I'm rarin' to go AND I've already accomplished a lot of important (vs. urgent) things.

The flip side?

By 9pm, I'm pretty wiped out and I'm in bed by 9.45 or so, asleep by 10, roughly.  I can't go much earlier than that because we have to make sure that the kids are actually in bed and winding down.

So, I'm a bit under the 7 hours that I would like to get.

As a traditional night owl, this has been a big change, but eliminating the 10pm-12am (or later) slot where I would usually end up watching TV (junk food for the brain, mostly) or eating (junk food for the body) has been great.

Definitely some edges to work out, but a worthwhile experiment that has made a positive impact.

(Written at 4.40am, published at 5:08am) ;-)