Enter your Email

    Powered by FeedBlitz

  • Subscribe with Bloglines
  • Subscribe with other RSS readers
  • Add this blog to my Technorati Favorites!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tsunami Anniversary

Evelyn Rodriguez is traveling through the Tsunami region in Southeast Asia for the next several weeks. She is blogging about her journey back. Her writing is wonderful. The area is struggling to recover but the spirit of the people will enable it do so someday, hopefully soon.

You may recall that she was there last year. On her vacation. Suddenly interrupted by the tsunami. She survived and wrote as she was able to find time and a connection.

I encourage you to visit her pages frequently while she is there this time. Follow the links she provides. The doors they open are amazing. Bazuki's photos, for example.

For more info on her preparations to return, you can visit TARA Trek.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Twas the blog before Christmas

'Twas the blog before Christmas, when all through the house
No blogger was stirring, no hand moved the mouse.
The postings were stacked by the tag cloud with care,
In hopes that more readers soon would be there;

The users were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of updates danced in their heads;
And me with my podcast, downloaded like that,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out from my laptop there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the portal I flew like a flash,
Tore open the reader and refreshed the cache.

The enclosure attached soon gave me to know
That new entries were here, more news I should know.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a raft of new updates, eight headlines so clear,

With a quick Wiki update, who could it be?
Our investor, of course, a leading VC.
More rapid than eagles his portfolio came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Blogspot! Now Feedster! now, Movable Type!
On, FeedBurner, FeedBlitz! (On Marketing Hype!)
To the top of the feed! To the top of them all!
Now blog away! blog away! blog away all!"

As valuations that before the wild bubble do fly,
When they meet with a fund, mount up to the sky,
So up to the top of the investments they flew,
With RSS data, and named it Web 2.

And then, with a twinkling, I read in my news
Each notable posting, contrary views.
As I drew back my hand, and was turning around,
Down to my trackback he came with a bound.

His comments were brief, what was ado?
Were adwords OK? Did users click through?
A bundle of mashups he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

Our AJAX - how it twinkled! Our tagging - how merry!
We socially networked to his brand new BlackBerry!
Our RSS valid, we were well syndicated,
We subscribed to the feeds that we loved (and we hated);

The stump of our web site held tight in our teeth,
The hyperbole encircled his head like a wreath;
We tagged Technorati, we blogged with the best,
On Feedster we surged and made the A-list.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And marked us on Frappr, and Flickr he searched.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
Updated his blog, up our OPML rose;

He sprang to his feed, gave his investments a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


With best wishes from FeedBlitz to everyone this holiday season!

(c) www.feedblitz.com 2005
Full reproduction permitted only with full attribution and links intact.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

How does an invention gain traction?

Saw David Rothacker's posting today and ended up commenting on it as follows:

Good question... how does an invention gain traction? It may be the best thing since sliced bread (as the saying goes) but who cares if no one uses it. Obviously, the inventor cares. The recipients of the benefits (from the inventions use) may not be aware so they don't care. And status quo rules yet again!

Quite a problem... and not entirely divorced from blogging.

Read David and add your own two cents!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

South Station - Advertising Showplace

Commuting into Boston on the commuter rail, I get to see South Station regularly. I have worked in different buildings in downtown Boston so my movement off the train along the platform and through the station has changed over the years.

I used to go all the way through the station to head toward the Post Office Square section.

Currently, my building is located very near South Station so I really don't have to enter the station hall proper. I can move directly from the platform to the sidewalk and I am on my way.

The hall is one of the grand open spaces inside a building in Boston. Probably one of the larger open spaces other than the TD North Garden.

The hall is decorated periodically with banners as one ad campaign or another takes the stage. Apple's iPod made a colorful splash there recently. Now there is a set of banners for Dewars.

Certainly, the color is attractive. It changes the look of the hall from time to time. Whether it is effective to spur the buying of iPods or Dewars is another story.

And there was one place I had not seen an ad until this week. Once or twice a month I take the Silver Line from South Station to South Boston. Returning to South Station, coming up the stairs, I was greeted by a giant Dewars ad. They had cleverly use the stair risers to plaster the ad. From the distance, it was all one. As you approached, the ad view changed and eventually as you took the stair, it changed as you got to see only what was left up the stair ahead of you.

Effective use of space for an ad placement.

Again, whether or not it is an effective ad is another story.

Have you seen ads laid out on the stair risers like this before?

Curious, if this is the first, or if this is old hat and I just happened to catch this one.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Mentor - Do you have one?

The Boston Globe "View from the Cube" essay yesterday written by Kristina Mahoney talks about the effect a mentor had on her life.
She has inspired me to pursue my true love - writing - while continuing to work at my regular job. By seeing how much she loves her own career, Aliki encouraged me to seek out my own passion. Writing makes me feel like I have a purpose. I am now working on a novel based on my grandmother's life in Greece and America.

Who inspires you?

Do you have a mentor?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Making sense of some of the news

The Boston Sunday Globe has an article on a new web site to enable kids and their families to swap toys that they no longer play with. Timely, especially with Christmas coming and new toys about to appear under the tree relegating the other toys to the back of the pile.

There also is a recap on wikipedia that recounts the recent issue around the erroneous posting of an article that connected the "legendary journalist John Seigenthaler" with both J F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy's assassinations. I recalled reading this in the news when it occurred. At the time, I had no idea who John Seigenthaler was. I still don't know much about him so I find it interesting that he is mentioned as a "legendary journalist". Hmm...

I don't follow how this is such a major issue. The wiki process did work. The article was found to be erroneous and corrected. Yes, it took sometime to do so (in this case about a month). But given the size of the wiki and the contents it holds, this is still pretty amazing.

There was also an article on how colleges are failing in the US. Derek Bok writes:
... organizations have become accustomed to this kind of competition. They have responded by becoming effective learning organizations -- that is, organizations that constantly assess their work to identify problems, look for new ways to overcome weaknesses, evaluate these innovations with care, and adopt the methods that work while discarding those that don't. Colleges urgently need to follow this example.
If colleges and the overall school system taught students to question data rather than accepting data as fact, we might be better off. We would look more skeptically at articles and consider the source, the credibility of the author, and the context of the facts presented. With a more open and questioning mind, we would be able create more web sites to enable solutions for simple problems (like toy swaps), and hesitate to accept something published as an absolute until it had been verified by a reputed source.

What do you think?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hō‘ike‘ike: Managing and Leading in 2005

Rosa Say has put together 28 contributions from the blogging community on "Managing and Leading in 2005".

Reading one a day to fully digest the thoughts presented would take you into the New Year of 2006.

Peruse them. Devour them.

Go for two or three a day.

Be patient. Enjoy the reflections.

PS - you will find one entry from me amongst this august company.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quick Summary on WiFi

In case you were wondering, this may help to answer some of your questions on WiFi.

Via InformationWeek:

10-Minute Guide To Wi-Fi Standards The different 802.11 and NIMO standards have different levels of throughput and security. Here's how you can make sense of the alphanumeric soup.

Security on your local access point is critical. I find many access points are completely open. Not a good situation. Someone could easily do some damage.

Make sure you turn on your security. You may also have an option not to broadcast the signal. This is a good thing to do. You can turn up the signal strength to allow for a greater range within your household but by not broadcasting it, no one else will find it easily.

Interesting Technology

Via Information Week:

Throwable, Baseball-Sized Camera Helps Police In Dangerous Situations
The EyeBall camera weighs less than a pound and is protected by a rugged rubber and polyurethane housing. That allows it to be thrown through windows or bounced off walls.

Does that change the job description for the candidate to be selected as the tosser? In addition to being a firearms and safety specialist, s/he also needs to be able to throw a baseball accurately under fire.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Business Lessons from the Metrowest Symphony

I have written previously on business lessons from the Patriots, the Red Sox and the Revolution. Three teams based here in New England whose exploits on the athletic fields can provide lessons on what to do to be successful in business. Yesterday's holiday concert performance by the Metrowest Symphony provides another source for lessons that can be easily applied to business.

The MSO's mission is to provide high quality program of established symphonic repertoire, enriched by contemporary works and other artistic endeavors for the enjoyment and education of its members and a wide spectrum of our greater community. This talented blend of professional and volunteer musicians is dedicated to engaging and entertaining the audience of today and educating and encouraging the audience of tomorrow.

For 25 years the MSO was known as the Greater Marlborough Symphony Orchestra (GMSO). Over the last several years, the Orchestra has started to draw an audience and orchestra members from the larger MetroWest area. In 2001, the organization decided to change the name to the MetroWest Symphony Orchestra. Marlborough continues to be homebase for the Orchestra as well as the center for our rehearsals and concerts.

As a lifelong observer of teams and performances, both in the working as well as athletic world, it is much easier to see where success comes from in athletics. The performance has a time or distance associated with it and the winner is ultimately determined, even if it goes down to a coin flip to determine offensive possession, or a penalty shoot-out. Music also benefits from the live performance. The audience hears that it either sounds good or not. That much said, can we learn from the Metrowest Symphony some things that can be applied to business? Yes, I think we can.

What is my connection to Metrowest?
Sometime in Feb/Mar, Carolyn's viola teacher received a call from Metrowest's conductor, Peter Cokkinias, who was looking to see if she knew of some viola musicians to add to the string section. She did and Carolyn joined with three others from Franklin High School (1 other viola, a cello, and a trombone) to venture to Marlboro on Tuesday evenings for rehearsal from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. They were welcomed by the group and eventually performed in the spring concert. After the concert, Peter called Carolyn's teacher to thank her for sending such wonderful musicians to them. That was a nice touch and according to the teacher, that had not happened to her before. The contact established by Peter with the initial call to solicit some help was followed through to provide the "thank you". Perfect protocol.

How do you know they like music?
Traveling to Marlboro, negotiating the car pool to do so, rehearsing for a couple of hours on a school night which means coordinating to do their home work before they go; all this, at least, for the four high schoolers. For the fund raising concert to open the 2005-2006 season in October, the kids had a real challenge. Friday night was dress rehearsal for 2.5 hours. Then 3 of the four took their SAT tests early that Saturday morning. A different mix but still 3 of the 4 played in the pep band at the half-time of the high school football home game that afternoon. Immediately as the halftime ended, the fourth (Carolyn) was ready with the car to help them drive directly to their dress rehearsal, where during one of their breaks, they managed to change from their pep band uniforms to the standard black concert attire, and then perform. A long day, a hectic day, but ultimately a wonderful performance.

The musicians are actively involved
During this fund raising performance, some members of the orchestra spoke to the audience to introduce each piece. They provided some background on the composer, the time it was set in, something important about the piece and some key elements to listen for during the performance. This technique, involving "regular" members of the company, to do the introduction was simple and effective. It provided some exposure to members that we, in the audience, would only see or hear with their instrument. It provided additional involvement by the company in the overall performance.

The symphony is one of the key places where a bad musician can not hide. It can be very obvious if the wrong note is placed at the wrong time. It is imperative that each member play their role properly. Each note has its place in the overall sound that the composer had in mind. The conductor becomes visible in coordinating the efforts of the whole group as they seek to recreate this sound.

To summarize the lessons:

1 - Good leadership

The conductor, Peter Cokkinias, and associate conductor, Walter M. Pavasaris, are both on the faculty at Berklee School of Music. Both are worthy musicians and from observing a few of the concerts, excellent leaders.

2 - Good people
The symphony is a rather diverse group of musicians that span several age and experience categories. The common item is that they all love to play.

3 - Common goal
Each season is planned, each concert has a theme, each rehearsal is structured to bring the group together in preparation for the next performance. The planning and execution is evident in their excellent sound.

4 - Fun
This is classical music but it is not all work. These folks clearly have some fun and the audience gets to be part of it!

You can turn to Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, or Tom Peters amongst the many business authors and they would agree on many of these points. Sometimes, it is easier to see a lesson that can be applied to business outside the normal world of business.

Yes, I hear some of you already saying that there is a business to the Metrowest Symphony. I agree but that will be the subject of another posting for another day.

What do you think?

Do you have another area that you can draw some business lessons from?


How? Yes, you.. we... us... them... how do we blog?

This started as a simple question that Frank posed and now will be a series of posts this week by some significant A listers.

Bottom line,
A list or long tail...
starting with a keyboard or a pen or a microphone...
no matter the technology for capturing or delivering...
in the beginning was the word...

Actually in the beginning,
the thought came before the word!
The thought begat the word,
the word begat the publication,
the publication begat the conversation

and the conversation goes on.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wreath & Snow

The wreath hung in the sunshine last week has now been decorated by the snow storm that flew through New England today. The first big one this season,

but not the last.


Snow today

I chose to work from home today. The snow has just started and is forecasted to deliver about 8-10 inches here before it tapers off later today. They have called off school in Franklin so the lucky teachers (yes, Dolores) and students (yes, Carolyn) get to linger in bed for a bit before doing what they feel like on a "free" day.

Rather than park at the train station, take the train to the office, and then have to shovel out later, I'll work from the home base. No meetings scheduled that I can't do via the phone.

But while I work, Dolores and Carolyn have a free day. The discussion at supper last night was that Carolyn and her friends were getting together for some fun in the snow, as it is the first real big storm this season. Good for them. They are seniors this year and will be heading out into the real world of college and work sometime soon. Enjoy this age/time while they can.

If I had a free day; other than shoveling, and playing in the snow myself, I'd probably spend some extra time reading or blogging.

What would you do on a "free" day?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Red Cross Fundraiser - Build a Calendar

I am reprinting an email I received from a good friend who has a fund raising effort for a good cause that you might be interested in participating in. If you would like to contact Doug directly, let me know and I'll send you his email address.

In the spirit of the upcoming Holiday Season and the New Year, the Danville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has elected to initiate a calendar fundraising program called "Vintage Red Cross Calendar Builder System". The Vintage Red Cross Calendar Builder is a fundraising process that allows a supporter to build his/her own completely personalized calendar on an interactive website. Images may be selected from a library of vintage Red Cross posters and photographs, a specific starting month may be picked, and particular dates may be added to each calendar. You can even enter special dates to be printed, like birthdays and anniversaries. The calendar is very professionally printed and bound, and mailed in less than 10 days. This system costs nothing to the Chapter to use and 50% of the calendar purchase price of $29.00 is provided to the Chapter to help reach fundraising goals that support disaster relief, blood services, and health and safety programs.

The website has been set up to be a fully interactive site just for the Danville Area Chapter. It enables supporters to build their personalized/customized calendars, sign up for our mailing list, or make an online donation directly to the Chapter. We're all familiar with the traditional calendar fundraising appeal and it's become somewhat stale and tired. Hopefully you will agree that this new and novel approach is fresh and powerful, an approach that gives donors the ability to personalize the calendar they receive as a thank you for their donation.

The Chapter's goal is to sell 100 calendars by December 31, 2005. If that goal is accomplished, the Chapter will raise $1,450. I believe that's quite feasible if you begin the process by each purchasing a calendar yourself and then electronically sharing this e-mail, with the attached link to our Chapter's website, with as many of your friends, extended family members, and acquaintances as possible.

The Danville Vintage Red Cross Calendar Builder System website address = http://Danville.VintageRedCross.org So, play around with it. Build some calendars. Have fun! Seeing the images and getting a calendar of your own is simple.

Just take these four steps:
1. Got to http://Danville.VintageRedCross.org
2. View the images and build your customized calendar.
3. Review your calendar and make sure everything's right.
4. Buy the calendar with your credit card and support the Danville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

And most importantly, share this e-mail with everyone you know. The Chapter has already purchased five calendars and they look extremely "sharp".

Feel free to contact me with any questions. And, thanks in advance for your support of this Red Cross fundraising campaign.


Douglas W. Bastian
Executive Director
Danville Area Chapter
American Red Cross
I did order some calendars and the process is easy to follow.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Game, Lesson

Via WinXP News, found this cool game. I caution you that it is probably guaranteed to account for some amount of mindless time that I won't be responsible for.

But look at the interface. Simple.

Where are the instructions? But you know what to do, and so you do it.

Why can't we do more of this with business applications?
Why do all the fun interfaces stay with the gamers?
Should we hire game developers for business applications?

What do you think?

Monday, December 05, 2005

HRO & Beethoven's Ninth

Yes, at the Sanders Theatre last Friday night to attend the performance by the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestre and Harvard Radcliffe Chorus. The program:
  • Beethoven - Fidelio Overture
  • Mendelssohn - Verleih uns Frieden
  • Haydn - Te Deum
  • Beethoven - Symphony No. 9
The Sanders Theatre is a wonderful place for a concert. Old wood creates a great atmosphere. We were on the benches in the balcony. The view was superb. Minor annoyance of getting up to let someone through. There was no way to pass while someone is sitting. But you only do this during the break anyway, hence a minor annoyance.

The music was truly memorable. I have heard a number of recordings of Beethoven's 9th, including that scene from Stanley Kubrick's The Clockwork Orange (which I now want to go back and see again) but I had not heard it performed live before.

Oh what a joy!

Oh, and my niece was playing violin as the co-associate concertmaster. Quite an honor! Way to go Meghan!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Robbie O'Connell in Concert

Caught Robbie O'Connell in concert at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse here in Franklin on Saturday night. One of the many songs he sang in this "Celtic Christmas" show was the following:

Christmas in the Trenches
words & music by John McCutcheon

Inspired by a back-stage conversation with an old woman in Birmingham, AL, this song tells a story that is not only true, but well-known throughout Europe. For some of the history behind the 1914 WWI Christmas Truce, click here.

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool,
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.
'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung,
Our families back in England were toasting us that day,
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, "Now listen up, me boys!" each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.
"He's singing bloody well, you know!" my partner says to me
Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war.

As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was "Stille Nacht," "Tis 'Silent Night'," says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky.
"There's someone coming towards us!" the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one lone figure coming from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright
As he bravely strode unarmed into the night.

Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell.
We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men.

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night
"Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"
'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone for evermore.

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same.

©1984 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wreath 2005

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Sunny breezy day here in Franklin, MA.

The wreath is now mounted front and center to welcome those who chance to come by the home base.

I have posted this here as well to help welcome those who come by via the internet.

Thank you for visiting!

And special thanks to Connie for the wreath!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Tom has the answer

The question is:
I have always wondered which attribute was more important to success in business: passion or compassion? I’ve gone back and forth on this one for years. But I’m finally done flip-flopping.
Read his posting for the answer.

While I do agree with his findings, I think it more interesting how it came about.

Where was he?
If you have not read it yet, go take a look.

He deviated from the normal routine.
He was in a different space.

The place and the opportunity created the insight!

When are you going to do something different to find the answer to your question?

Thanks for the opportunity Tom Asacker!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sanders Theatre

The Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra is performing on Friday night at Sanders Theatre. I have heard this concert hall mentioned many times on the radio but this will be my first visit.

I am looking forward to it.

The concert closes with Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

I'll let you know how it was.