Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From the Bookshelf: The Death of Sigmund Freud

With all the plane hours I've recently logged, I had the chance to finish reading The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism by Mark Edmundson. Partly a look at Freud's last two years of life, partly a look at his theories of power and their contextual applications, it was a great read.

One of my favorite history teachers made a point to teach us through storytelling, rather than the recitation of facts and dates. This book takes that tact, outlining Freud's last days in a conversational, but still accurate way.

What makes this book particularly interesting is the way the author handles the historical context. In telling Freud's story, Edmundson also takes on Hitler's rise to power in Germany, his take over of Austria and the fuhrer's subsequent acts of war. In his psychoanalytical works, Freud explains what people get out of tyrannical dictators -- a replacement to the guilt-inducing superego.

Edmundson goes on to apply Freud's theories on power, dictatorships and mobs to present day geopolitical situation. In other words, without going into great detail, he applies psychoanalysis, to terrorism and fundamentalist religious sects in the United States, Middle East and elsewhere.

Piggybacking on Freud, Edmundson makes the case for continual reevaluation of divinity, connections and self. Being self-aware and aware of the forces of the subconscious results in inner tension, the ego constantly battling the superego and the id to create balance.

It's worth a read if you:
a) have an interest in psychology,
b) like history (particularly WW2 era), or
c) need food for thought.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yogi Under Fire

The practice of yoga is all about rewiring the fight or flight response we have in challenging moments. Through breath and mindfulness, you begin to change the situations you're in, or at least how you're choosing to perceive them.

That's all well and good for those challenging moments. But what about prolonged situations? How does the aspiring yogi handle long periods of challenging, anxiety-provoking times?

Since Thanksgiving, my family has been managing a fairly consistent challenge. With stress levels already pretty high, I came home for the holidays prepared to give support and broker some sense of calm. A challenging situation from afar; I jumped head first into the fire.

Returning to the question at hand, how do you deal with ongoing stress? Here's what I've been working with in the wild, wild west:
  • Create space (for you) -- I've had to work pretty hard to find time away from all the madness of the drama at hand. But I've really needed the time and space to have the energy I need to be supportive to anyone else. It's been challenging for a few reasons: logistically, I'm without a car; emotionally, it can be hard to leave someone when they're hurting (even if you don't have anything left to give them).
  • Perspective -- Although the situation here is admittedly pretty bad, I know it won't always be. It's been really helpful to remember that. I believe things will be better for everyone involved, eventually.
  • Parse & Prioritize -- While perspective tends to feel like a future-looking worldview, the immediate issues still need to be resolved. Break down the big problems into smaller more manageable pieces; then order them according to importance and linear progressions (this has to happen before that, etc.). If you want to move out of your place, you probably want to find a new place before you pack all your stuff up.
  • Talk -- Human beings are uniquely social--we need to communicate. It's healing to speak to friends, family, partners and even professionals (therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.) about what's on our minds. Also, how we feel about any given situation gets molded and refined by our contact with others. Pain, regardless of the cause, has an illness narrative.
  • Find the Good -- Some people would call this perspective, but I think it's different. When you make the conscious choice to be happy, meditating on the good things -- especially at challenging times -- helps keep you there. This situation doesn't make me happy, but I am (sometimes with a little help) able to find some positive things that have come out of it.

I have a few more days here in the thick of it, so I'm open to suggestions. I'll keep you posted. :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PSA: The Kindness of Truth

Recently, someone I care about hurt someone else I care about. I'll keep the details for that novel I'll write someday. But I at the center of all this hurt was the intention to do no harm and a whole lot of lies to spare a person pain.

In reflecting on the situation and what led up to it, I'll just say this as a public service announcement to all you regular people out there trying to do the right thing:

Honesty is the best policy for a reason. It can seem kinder to keep hurtful things to yourself, but remember: trust betrayed is the worst kind of hurt. Beyond the immediate feeling of betrayal, you damage the person's ability to trust you again, to trust others and to his / her judgment. It's three or four times the pain you would have caused by simply being honest.

Yes, truth is the kinder route. But if that's not enough of a reason to be honest, consider the obvious: it's a whole lot easier to remember the truth than the little lies that build up.

Be kind; tell the truth.

You can find the "Honesty Jar" image in protactinium's flickr stream.

Friday, December 4, 2009

PSA: Crosswalk Safety

When it's raining out, it's probably not a good idea to walk in front of moving traffic in the hopes that they'll stop for you.

When it's raining out. Visibility is bad. Ask yourself, can this driver see me? Can the driver even see the crosswalk?

When it's raining out. It takes longer for a vehicle stop. Stepping into a crosswalk twenty feet in front of a car that's moving at 30 miles an hour isn't smart regardless of how you do the math.

Whether or not it's raining, it's probably not a good idea to just decide you're going to walk in front of a moving vehicle a) if you haven't made eye contact with the driver b) if the crosswalk isn't marked or c) driving conditions are less than ideal.

You're life is probably more important than being right. But I suppose that's something you have to ask yourself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Episodes of a Soap Opera and PSAs

I've struggled with format for this blog for a long time. I am so many things - a social media practitioner, a consultant, a daughter, a yogi, etc. - it's hard to really capture all of that in a way that is meaningful to someone who would be interested in tales from the yoga or my thoughts on social media, but maybe not both.

So to structure my thoughts around some of these things, I'm introducing two different features to this blog: episodes and PSAs.

Episodes is more of a concept for telling random stories. We like to think of life as a timeline, but often times it's specific conversations or timing around a series of events that stands out as meaningful. That is what episodes is for.

PSAs - public service announcements - are typically ad spots that are run pro bono for a cause (think ACS or Red Cross). At Sandying, PSAs will be snarky, ranting commentary for the betterment of others. Basically for amusement, I'll be telling folks how to not be tools (or D-Bags) in everyday life.

I'll still be writing about social media, marketing, and other such topics. However, I will likely be moving that sort of content to the Media Awaken blog in the coming weeks -- I'm still trying to decide whether I should cross post everything here (so that this blog remains a central place for my content). If you have any suggestions on that, please share! I'm not sure what makes the most sense.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: Today's Gratitude

Horay for turkey!

I'm thankful for graciously prepared meals.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Daily Gratitude, A Twofer

Yesterday, I was grateful for community. Yesterday, it was my yoga community. Everyone came together to look out for someone, cover for and guard the reputation of someone. Community brings safety. Community also encourages growth and learning. The communities that I'm party to encourage the sharing of ideas, innovation and creation. In my communities, the social media scene, the yoga and alternative healing community, I've found nurturing and unique knowledge.

Today, I'm grateful for reruns. Something to put my mind to when I'm pushing off tedium.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's Gratitude: Follow Through

There's a saying about under promising and over delivering. We've all been disappointed by people not keeping their word or meeting our expectations.

Today, I'm grateful for follow through. It's wonderful, and unfortunately unexpected these days.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gratitude Day 5: Smarties

Friday night, I spent my evening at a Starbucks with a colleague I respect (@johncass) discussing social media and culture. Over piping cups of chocolate infused beverages, we shared our thoughts on the changes in society technology has afforded us, on the sub-cultures that have emerged in new social technologies and more. The whole conversation had me buzzing with ideas throughout and after. I was super charged to get a ton of stuff done when I got home too--although that may have had something to do with the caffeine quatity in my chocolate infused beverage.

Because of that conversation, and the many like it that I've had over the years with my mentors in archaeology, social media and elsewhere along the path I've wandered, I'm thankful for the smarties today. I'm grateful for those people around me that make me think, wonder and question. Thanks!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 4 Gratitude Challenge: Music

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret:

I sing in my car. Loudly. No matter where I'm driving, I give a performance to the passersby.

So for today, I'm grateful for music. Music allows you to connect to your emotions, to others. Music is a way to heal from past hurts and feel communicative when it's hard to be heard.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gratitude Challenge Day 3: Time

I woke up today in a bad mood. I didn't feel rested. My personal life felt that way it gets every now and then when I'm outside of the flow of things. And I was running late to an event.

But I had time. I'm grateful for that. To put it in a cliche, time heals all wounds. To put it another way, time provides space from hurt and frustration.

I'm up now and it's been a couple hours... The frustration of my morning is now gone and my day is on the up and up. Time works wonders.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 2 of Daily Gratitude: Morning Coffee

Maybe this makes me an addict, but I'm grateful for that part of my morning routine that simultaneously helps me wake and prep for the day, and puts off headaches (definitely an addict).

Coming soon to a Sandying post near you, "Kicking the Coffee Addiction." It is probably time to give it up again, but I'm grateful for the simplicity of the routine. Every morning, I get up, turn the coffee maker on and do the dishes while I'm waiting for my cup of joe. Doing the dishes that are left over from the previous day, or from my roommates since I went to sleep, is my time. It's almost meditative. Because there's no real thinking involved, I can clear my head by concentrating on the physical task at hand, and maybe begin to clear my day.

Do you have something like that? Something you do every day that allows you to clear your head and refocus on and plan for the bigger tasks? Oh, right. There is yoga. :-) ...We'll have to call this my caffiene asana.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Challenge: Daily Gratitude

My pal Abby Thompson got started on the Thanksgiving Gratitude Challenge last week. Although I may be coming late to the party, I'll be posting one thing I'm grateful for a day until the big turkey day. Of course, I encourage you to find gratitude too! It's uplifting to focus on the positives, to dwell on the good stuff.


For today, I'm grateful for all the listeners in my life. I love to to talk. This I know about myself. I don't know that I could ever show enough appreciation for the people in my life who actually take the time to listen, hear me out and maybe just maybe understand!

Thanks for listening!

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Break Up Mix

Over the summer, to cope with the end of my last relationship, I put together a break up mix. I didn't burn it to a CD or record a mix tape; it lives on my computer as an iTunes album. Carefully crafted to acknowledge hurt and disappointment and then also incorporate a more positive outlook, I was hesitant about turning the mix into a Pandora station. But since I've had a few requests for it, I'm posting the break up mix here on Sandying.

1) Landslide, Smashing Pumpkins
2) Foundations, Kate Nash
3) Stay, Lisa Loeb
4) Nothing Better, The Postal Service
5) Blackbird, The Beatles
6) New Soul, Yael Naim
7) Irreplaceble, Beyonce
8) Don't Forget About Us, Mariah Carey
9) Standing Still, Jewel
10) Shake It Off, Mariah Carey

There were a few more songs on this list initially that I pulled off as I refined the mix because they started to get on my nerves or I thought they interrupted the flow. When I Grow Up by Garbage and A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton are two that fell off the list that you may still appreciate.

If there are particular break up songs you've found to be helpful in the healing / coping process, please share them in the comments!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From the Bookshelf: Men are from Mars

A friend of mine recommended I read this book, and lo and behold, I found it on the coffee table that very day. I like to think that I'm open to self help books and whatnot. But I know better. I learned during yoga teacher training--while reading books like Ask and It Is Given and You Can Heal Your Life--that I'm quite a skeptic. In yoga, skepticism is just another word for resistance, which keeps us from reaching our true potential.

With that background, Men Are from Mars has been a fascinating read. It's simultaneously freeing and incredibly irritating to think that in order to understand each other we must first accept that we don't understand each other. I suppose you can use that premise of understanding anywhere, but I've always found it particularly frustrating with male / female interactions. I've often found myself asking, "why can't we just communicate about these differences?"

Apparently, we humans make a lot of assumptions. Martians understand Martian, Venusians understand Venusian. We expect to communicate in our local dialect with our mate, but they use and understand their language differently. Interpersonal communication is forever complicated by the fact that when a woman says a phrase and when a man says that same phrase, the two could mean very different things. What fun!?!

I've always been an advocate for a high level of interpersonal communication with a significant other. For women, this heighten communication makes for a heightened feeling of intimacy; according to Grey, this intimacy makes men question their personal abilities and power. We communicate differently; we love differently. Now, I find myself wondering, how do you support someone if you can't relate to their needs?

Indeed, Men are from Mars. I'm about half way through the book, so I guess I'll have to keep reading to find the answer to my question.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Cause Bandwagon

If you're seeing pink ribbons at every corner and you're not sure why, October is breast cancer awareness month. If you didn't know it's October, I don't know what to tell you about that.

Breast cancer and I have history. Not a personal history, but family history. I was named after my grandmother; she died of breast cancer while I was still growing in my mom's tummy. This history is why I've done my fair share of relays and walks to raise money for a cure.

Noting that it's a personal issue for me and many others, I have to say that fighting breast cancer has become one of the most widely recognized charitable causes ever. Aside from the RED campaign to fight AIDs in Africa, I can't think of a more marketed charitable cause. Pink is the new black. Pink is in. Unless you're wearing a pink polo with a popped collar, that's out.

But seriously. As a marketer, I feel compelled to ask how effective is it to hop on the breast cancer bandwagon? With the exception of Yoplait and Avon, if your company is linked to the fight against breast cancer in some way, I'm not going to know about it or remember it. I'm not saying that supporting breast cancer is a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination--of course, I'm in favor of eradicating all forms of cancer. But in terms of supporting your brand, in terms of differentiating your brand, there are other ways to do cause marketing.

With international organizations, like CancerHelpUK, noting that there are over 200 different types cancers, it's tempting to suggest just picking another one. However, you could do better for your brand by choosing a charitable cause or organization that is in someway related to your business. For example, a publishing company could partner with a literacy organization to improve the reading level nationwide.

While choosing a cause that meshes with the nature of your business is important for cause marketing, I imagine the pink cause bandwagon is good for sales. How many people out there own pink shirts (or shirts with a pink ribbon) specifically in support of the breast cancer cause? Pink teddy bears? Pink-ribboned water bottles? Pink anything as a sign of solidarity with the cause?

Pictures by Flickr user Musiclver05: http://www.flickr.com/photos/musiclver05/

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Easy Fast and New Year's Milestones

If you were observing the Yom Kippur fast yesterday, I hope you had an easy one. Fasting is no one's favorite thing, but for one day we give up food (among other things) and ask for forgiveness.

New year's celebrations in any faith or calendar system serve as an opportunity to take stock and prioritize anew. Spiritually, it's a chance for a fresh start and a clean slate. Practically, it's a time to look around a make changes based on what's working and what isn't.

We do it at year's end, we do it at birthdays, month or week's end too. We collect our thoughts and create a new strategy for next time, whatever the duration of time is.

What has the empty plate given you the opportunity to see?

Fasting is a way of taking you out of your most structured routine, to free up time to examine how you treat others, what you want to be doing, etc. I spent yesterday journaling, bringing closure to the events of last year and reorienting myself for the coming one. I also dedicated some time to putting my actual beliefs to paper (screen, really).

When was the last time you actually wrote down exactly what you believe?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Wedding in Big Sky

As I discovered in May, Montana is a beautiful place.

The Winding Road

Canadian Flag Over Missoula Mall

Read the Bumper Sticker Over the Bar

It says, "I'm hung like Einstein, And smart as a horse."

That's comically unfortunate.

The Bridal Party

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Wild Wild West: Pictures from Seattle

Every time I travel west, I wonder why I left this place. Although I'm from the suburbs of Portland, not Seattle, it's the same vibe and it feels like home.

Growing artichokes
Only in Seattle, would you find artichokes being grown as decorative plants in a person's front yard.

Graffiti at TUBS
Art is certainly subjective, but this building's graffiti is delightfully colorful.

Apparently, there are three kickball leagues in Seattle. Here Ball Deep (yes, you read that correctly) is leading the Monster Squad, just barely.

Sunset Over a Lake
I've seen some beautiful sunsets in my day. But this one makes me want accidentally miss my flight home.

Don't worry Boston, I'll be back soon. I promise.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Upcoming Travels: Seattle, Montana & NYC

Sometimes you need to pack you bags and hightail it outta town; other times, you have these things planned for sometime. Thanks to some serendipitous pull of the universe, I find myself with a lot of pre-planned travel at a time when I could really use a get the heck out of dodge vacation.

As most of you know, I am an expatriot Oregonian. So I couldn't be happier to be launching my travels next week in the Pacific Northwest. My first port of call? Seattle--although I was looking forward to the soothing rain of this city, it's supposed to get up to 105 degrees. From there I make my way to a very small town in Montana for my pal Angie's wedding. I'm looking forward to the wide open spaces, mountain backdrop and the ease of conversation of the country...

I get back to Boston on the 11th of August and leave for NYC two days later. My client PigSpigot.com is throwing a launch party on August 14th and I'd love to rally the folks from the Boston to NY Australia Day trip of 2008 for the party--@paullyoung @sarahwurrey, can it be done?

Here are the important dates:
  • Seattle: July 29-31
  • Montana: July 31-August 11
  • Boston: August 11-13
  • NYC: August 13-17
  • PigSpigot Launch Party: Friday, August 14 (client)

After August, who knows?!? But I'd love to see you while I'm traveling!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gratitude: A Meditation for Now (and Later)

Gratitude is one of those words that comes up in yoga. Depending on how you're feeling towards the spiritual / emotional side of things, gratitude could be what the teacher is talking about while you're holding an awkward pose or it could be a meditation you seek to live by.

Sometimes when I'm feeling a little cynical, I think to myself, "gratitude pose--I'm grateful I can even get into it today." (See photo on right from yogajournal.com.)

When I'm teaching parsvottanasana (gratitude pose), I like to remind the class to be grateful for something external but also something inward-facing. For some reason, self gratitude is often perceived as a lack of humility, as a negative. It can be challenging to retrain ourselves to think, "well gosh, thank you for looking out for me today." Despite all of our external responsibilities, our first priority should always be providing for ourselves (or we can't be as useful to the external world)!

It's a beautiful idea, all this gratitude. But it's easy to forget to be grateful for yourself and others that really are always there should you need them. Right now, I'm incredibly thankful for all my friends.

This post is an incredibly round about way of saying thank you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Internet Has a Spine?

I've been hearing the words Internet backbone a lot these days. And it's a phrase that does nothing for me, save conjure an image of Atlas holding the globe on his shoulders. However, I've learned that much like Atlas, backbone is what holds up the interwebs for us to play on.

With all the recent talk of cloud computing, we think less and less about the physical infrastructure that makes the world as we know it work. Wireless connections support this idea that we don't really need to be tied down to anything. And yet, we're always using backbone somehow.

Internet Backbone is the physical connections between various networks--large corporate, military and educational ones-- that allow information to flow between them.

Logically, it makes sense. The interwebs have to touch, have to be connected. But it is a little mind-boggling to think that we're so locked in, so bound together, even as the networks themselves are like ever expanding stars in the universe. Atlas still holds us up.

Procrastinating Relationships

Have you ever had something uncomfortable to say that you kept putting off in the hopes that the issue would resolve itself or that you'd come to terms with it in some other way?

It's not a pleasant place to be. It's like cleaning house--you forget to pick up a few things here and there and suddenly the whole place needs a deep cleaning. Relationships are the same way. You can't procrastinate. Once you've let things build up, it can spiral out of control. And no one wants to be stuck with the all the dishes, laundry and scrubbing the bathrooms at the same time.

Whether it's contract negotiations or highly an emotional issue, putting it off never helps.

For better or worse, relationships require at least two people--so what do you do if the other player doesn't contribute? Knowing that the issue needs resolving, how many times can you follow up, ask to talk, etc. without being a nag?

Something I'm thinking about on this Monday morning, because as much as we talk about procrastinating our work. It's procrasting relationships that'll really come back to bite you in the butt.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Idiotic Vandalism: Bathroom Marketing

Normally in a bathroom stall, you’ll find sad attempts at art, proclamations of love and other scribbles. You often find yourself wondering, don’t these people have better things to do than sit in the bathroom and draw or write random quotes on the walls? Do you know anyone who packs a sharpie with them on the way to the powder room just in case inspiration strikes them? I don’t.

I just saw this in the bathroom at Espresso Royale at BU. I suppose I could point out that societally this marks a shift from phones to blogs as the primary mode of bathroom to outside world discourse (think “for a good time call”). Where before we saw bathroom vandalism as a likely form of harassment, now we find shameless self-promotion. As if the movement towards straight advertisements in the bathroom wasn’t enough evidence of a society over saturated--now even the scribbles in the corner are trying to sell us something.

However, what’s truly idiotic about this attempt at vandalism is the fact that it’s so easy to track back to its creator. When you quote Shakespeare or rock lyrics, or when you write someone else’s number on the wall, maybe someone could speculate, but no one would ever know for sure who it was. Unless you’ve got a truly avid fan—which I highly doubt either of these two bloggers has—it’s pretty clear who vandalized the bathroom.

Then again, it’s ERC. Who would report it?

Friday, July 10, 2009

An Open Note on Auto-Following: Spammers Please Read

Way back in 2007, when Twitter was new and everybody knew everybody, following people when they followed you was standard practice. It was considered polite and decent. In fact, if you didn't auto-follow back, it appeared as though you weren't on your game, weren't paying close enough attention to your community.

Well, Twitter is a whole new world now, and it's pretty easy to be overwhelmed by the signal to noise ratio of even your friends. I stopped auto-following when I stopped being able to actually keep up with all my followers (the way you would try to keep up with friends on Facebook, the phone or any other platform). In some cases, that means I'm missing out on real people I could be getting to know. In other cases, like the "followers" that prompted this post, I'm not missing out on anything.

Here's the deal: In the past month, maybe a little longer, I've noticed about half a dozen, maybe more, of the same twitters "adding" me as a follower. Why is this annoying you ask? Because they've added me repeatedly, multiple times in a short span of time. I've received enough duplicative notifications since June that it's time to call out some people.

Here are a few quick ways of gauging if someone is a spammer:
  1. They are following a boatload of people and are being followed by substantially fewer.
  2. They have more followers than they have updates.
  3. They have the words guru or god in conjunction with marketing or SEO in their handle.
  4. They request to follow you multiple times, but you have no idea who they are.

To illustrate that last point, it's time to call a few people out. Below you'll find a few recent irritations, people who have followed me multiple times in the last few weeks with the vital stats called out.

  • has followed me 2x sine June 21
  • As of today, this one has ever tweeted.
  • has followed me 3x since July 2
  • Last I checked, this guy has never tweeted.
  • has followed me 3x since June 15
  • With under 300 updates, this guy has over 3000 followers.
  • If I had prizes for the biggest fail, this would be the winner.
  • She has followed me 5x since June 18, and the 5th time was this morning
  • With just over 100 updates, this one has 1200 followers.

If I haven't followed you back--and you're a real person--please say hello with an @skalik and I'll be sure to check out what you're up to. Spammers please stop clogging up my inbox. I'm not going to follow you back unless I'm genuinely interested in what you have to say; I'm not going to support your numbers simply because you've annoyed me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stepping It Up a Notch

I'm sure you've all noticed that I've been quiet these passed few months. On this blog, and on twitter, I've been a little more removed.

As much as I'd like to say that I'm comfortable with a tell all, leave no stone unturned approach for this blog, let's face it: that's not me. I'm a little to introspective to share the juicy bits of my career and personal life, and maybe a little too honest about both of those things to stay out of trouble... So instead, I think it's time I come to terms with the fact that I'm a tell some kind of girl.

You've seen this post in various forms over the past few months. I've talked about struggling to find my voice, changes in focus, conflict (indirectly of course), new goals, etc. Well, I'm a little bit of a lot of things, and my new plan for this blog is to share a little bit of me--the things I find interesting, random stuff I've been thinking about... everything from social media to yoga to current events.

Whatever direction that ends up taking me, I'm stepping it up a notch so I can figure it out!
As always, feedback is welcome. :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Changing the World, One Client at a Time

I got into PR in college because I believed it was the field that had the ability to make change. More than journalism, more than finance, communication changes perception. Yesterday, I wrote about being drawn to writing, how it's inspiring to learn, teach and share ideas. For all these reasons, I believe it is public relations and communications more broadly that promote true shifts of the mind.

Consequently, and despite the ease with which we burn out or become jaded, we communicators must remember that we have the ability to make or break the companies or organizations that we work with.

Working with startups, I see the potential next generation of technologies. It's a blessing and a curse--while the excitement runs high, so does the significance of the work. A single, well strategized media placement can make the difference between a VC signing on the dotted line or needing to find a new job, client, etc.

Technology changes the world everyday. But what if no one had ever heard of the major players we're now familiar with? What if Gates had never been conscripted to create DOS? Would we do without our iPhones?

Communication can make or break a new technology. That's one way to change the world.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Biographical Inspiration

I flew through Reagan National Airport today and my airline offered its guests free copies of a number of publications. I thumbed through Politico, the Wall Street Journal and pub I haven't looked at since I worked with a mobile technology company, Business Traveler.

The last time I had read through the bios of the reporters and freelance writers affiliated with this publication, I had one goal in mind. Sell, sell, sell the product I was repping in the hopes that they would feature it somehow.

This time, when I read through the bios, I got a sense for people that loved their work. I was uplifted and inspired to read about the business traveler turned travel writer, the freelancer who wanted to be a foreign correspondent for the NY Times at the age of seven.

Why do we write?

Clearly for the writers at Business Traveler the answer is simple--they enjoy doing it. People write to learn, to teach, to share ideas. Communicating is human nature. We get pleasure and validation from being understood.

But what I really took from reading these bios is that we should all walk towards those activities that make us happy--whether we've been pursing them since childhood or following a meandering path towards them since joining the professional ranks.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Redefining Yourself by Lists

At somewhat regular intervals, I find myself looking around at my day to day activities wondering, "What the heck am I doing?" Goals and priorities change, the minutia circumvent real issues, and it's time to do some real soul searching.

Last summer at PodCamp, I was in that exact situation, somewhat frustrated by what could best be described as a poorly played expectations game.  I had started something brand, sparkley new, and thought it would be the best-est thing ever--and oh, what a let down.  Anyway, I was in that "what now" funk and a friend of mine, Zach Braiker (@quiverandquill), told me to make lists, lists of lists.   Make a list of your priorities and passions, another one for everything you want to do before you die.  When all is said and done, you know yourself a little better.  

It's about that time again, so I'm starting here and now with a list of the lists I want to make. 

A List of Lists 
(in no particular order)
  1. All my priorities
  2. Stuff I enjoy doing
  3. Stuff I don't enjoy doing 
  4. Daily activities
  5. Places to visit
  6. People I want to see more of
  7. People I want to see less of
  8. Recipes I want to learn
  9. Five year goals
  10. Companies or organizations I admire or want to be affiliated with...

This is one of those posts I will be adding to continually and referring back to as I work my way through this process.  Feel free to share your thoughts and stories as well!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Montana Trip: The Better Late than Never Wrap Up

Montana isn't called big sky country for nothing. It's a beautifully open land, with snow topped mountains just over yonder.  

People out there in the Inland Pacific Northwest are different; people are different out west in general.  Time moves slower, or at least the people do.  And it's not considered a bad thing, or a generalized lack of urgency.  There's no need to rush, because people do believe that the pieces will in time fit together, when they're supposed to, in time. 

I finished reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance out west.  And surrounded entirely by raw, natural beauty, I debated quality of both form and function.  I was reminded that being polite should never be confused with putting on a smiley face.  True courtesy requires kindness that can't be faked.  

Raw and honest.  Beyond School of Knowledge snobbery and well past the perfectly manicured lawns, there are still people living with their environment to get by.  

Without breaking into a rousing chorus of the Dixie Chicks song Wide Open Spaces, there are nice lessons we can bring back east.  First, not everything is a fire drill--better solutions often materialize for people who allow time for ideas to brew.  Second, true kindness is actually easier than being polite--you don't need to fake it.  Third, and final for now, beauty is everywhere, raw and honest. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bummed about Blogging

I just wrote a whole post on my iPhone only to have it disappear when I got to a data network or wifi connection. Ugh!

The moral of the story is that blogging from your phone is limited and a post on iPhone blogging apps is in order.

Alas, that is for another time--once I have rewritten my previous post!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fear Leaves You Uninspired

I've been talking to a number of people lately experiencing the recession... I suppose that's a euphemism for saying that a lot of the people I'm close with are finding themselves hard up in this economy.  

In these conversations, my peers want to share their stories, their feelings, but something stops them.  There's this sense that others don't want to hear about battered finances and unemployment checks--that others would look at them differently, like they somehow deserved to be laid off or it's their fault for not saving.  Blame the victim.

Mostly, we're expecting our parents' generation to collectively hop out from behind a bookshelf and yell we told you so.  

So we keep quiet instead--saying nothing about our fears in public. Because money and fear are taboo.

And none of this is helping.  People are terrified that they won't be able to make rent and are too afraid to talk about it.  

I think it's time to break this silence.  

Say something people! :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where does the time go?

What would your life be like without a weekend?  Well, I now know.  You just don't have any time.  

I'm training to be a yoga instructor.  And my classes are 12 hours each Saturday and Sunday until it's done.  I have three more weekends left, then I'll have more time for writing, reading, watching TV and thinking too.  

I've got lots of updates and thoughts to share though--I've got a running list.  So as soon as there's more time, I'll crank through.  

In the meanwhile, how's it going out there?  I hear Spring is almost here.  :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

For Valentine's Day

Working on a few serious posts, but this froo froo, greeting card holiday is an opportunity for something a little more lighthearted. :-)

Yes, it's Valentine's Day. And I've read a few comical, interesting or otherwise entertaining pieces on the holiday.

First, Steve Smith's lead into his most recent installment of Mobile Insider had me laughing out loud (while driving and reading it on my iPhone). In "Love -- And Cheating -- Are In the Air" he writes about text messaging stats and their romantic, well, cheating ways... But just read the lead:

'What are we doing this weekend, Hunnneee?'

The tone of the question already ensures I am doomed. I don't know who the hell is
responsible for letting Valentine's Day fall on a Saturday this year. Whoever you are, there are a few million of us guys ready to meet you in a dark alley, you dumbass. Dinner and chocolates just got upgraded to an entire day of romantic expectations. Way to raise the bar!

Ouch! Well, Steve, I challenge you to a phonesaber duel. You on behalf of men, me on behalf of women--long, romantic V-Day getaway weekend FTW!!! Ok. Enough.

In other news, science has found a way to make Valentine's Day relevant, or at least the AP and UPI have dug up some science that allows them to report about kissing coincidentally on February 14th. UPI's piece announces that "first kisses tell a lot" about a person and the type of relationship you'll have. AP reporter Richard Schmid tells us that "Kisses unleash chemicals that ease stress levels"--now, there's a reason to make out under the stars if I ever heard one.

I wonder if the AP story cancels out the BBC News report from yesterday, "Is sexual desire entering a recession?" For the sake of the holiday, I hope not. But the article shows two sides of this--1) sex is inexpensive fun and 2) relationships are taxing (those already tapped with recession related financial and emotional issues).

Oh, I'm back to serious again. So it's probably time to call it quits.

As a parting thought--even if it is a consumerism generated holiday, why not consume a little love and happiness?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Vacation of Sorts: Vegas to P-Town

Viva Las Vegas! 

I had never been to Vegas before.  With all the "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" nonsense, I really wasn't sure what to expect.  But I went for a surprise birthday party in January and wanted to share!  

We kept mostly to old town, which I've taken to calling Disney Land for adults because it's what you get when you take the happiest place and add sex, gambling and drinking.  But on the last night, we took a drive down the strip so I could see what everyone is always talking about.  

I took a few pictures of the watershow at the Bellagio and all the pretty signs.   It was a nice conclusion to playtime. 

Going Home Again: Exploits in P-Town
Every single time I fly into PDX, I'm struck by the natural beauty of the area.  I grew up there, you'd think I wouldn't notice it anymore.  But I always do.  

This time I took a couple of pictures over the wing of the plane on the way in. Not the best quality, but you can still see the mountains, sorta.  

It really is special place. 

Beautiful and Yummy
Special place indeed--it's not just because of beauty though, but because of a way of thinking.  The next time you find yourself in Portland, Oregon, visit Voodoo donuts. 

Look at the entertaining and unique donuts below (warning: PG13)!  


Finally, sunset in P-town!