Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Join the smoking club? Get some!

Just released, if you ever smoked a cigarette in Florida, regardless of whether or not you knew it was bad for you despite ALL of the information available, you can get a slice of $600M! Is it just me or is this litigious group getting a bit out of hand? One suit after another for cigarette smoking, french fries, trans fats, etc. Get a clue people!

What happened to the adage, "Too much of a good thing is bad?" or "Everything in moderation" as governors for our habits or ingestions? I'm tired of our society blaming others for their misfortune or better yet, their STUPIDITY! Mortgage bailouts, welfare, lawsuits for cigarette smoking, illegal immigrant allowances, ENOUGH already.

America has always been the land of opportunity and a place where its citizens can make a better life for themselves. We have turned into a socialist society where if you don't want to get off the couch or don't want to pay your mortgage, no problem, here's some cash. Start smoking because you somehow, with myriad pamphlets, commercials, studies etc. telling you how bad it is, lit one up, no problem, here's some cash. Eat French Fries every day because you somehow thought they were a vegetable, no problem, here's some cash. Cross into our country illegally and expect free health care without paying taxes, no problem, here's some amnesty.

It's time that we start to change our society back to what made us so successful in the first place, a capitalistic society. One where people work hard and save money. Where people are expected to take care of themselves and their families first before looking to the government.

We have been corrupted enough and I for one am sick of it. How about you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We need a hero!

I can't tell you how humdrum the world is sounding these days. Food prices at all time highs, oil / gas price spikes, recession, housing slumps, credit markets down, the Yankees are only .500, candidate verbal sparring, all of these things just make you want to look inwardly and find a happy place to hide in for a couple of years.

We need a hero dammit! And what do you know, a potential figure just landed in Maryland. He wears a costume, speaks multiple languages, holds sway over an army of followers, that's right folks. The Pope! Who cares if you're not Catholic or you think the dogma of the church is dated? Just because you're jaded from the touchy-feely priest scandals or collusion with the Germans in WWII or the fact that they have more money than most African countries, doesn't mean we should turn our back on our friend Benny.

He's here to help folks. Benny's going to unify us in more ways than one. Some of you will be unified in your piety. Others will be unified in your hatred of what he stands for. Regardless of what impact he has, he'll get you all focused on something other than the current noise in the news. The arrival of a Pope in America has a galvanizing effect on our populace and brings out the right type of conversations. It elicits thoughts about higher powers and belief systems (and no, I don't mean Google and Facebook).

So take a moment today and reflect on how the Pope can help you escape from the drudgery of current events. Let him be your hero for the next few days as he spreads his message around the US.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Boo MicroHoo

Alright already folks! Enough with the posturing and the dancing. Let's just end it. What do you all think about that? The folks at Google must be laughing behind closed doors while eating their catered lunches. This is making you both look like immature freshmen.

I understand that there is a mating ritual to these large deals and something like this is somewhat unprecedented in the software world but please! End the squabble already.

As a completely uninvolved outside observer, this is like watching two novices trying to bluff each other at a World Series of Poker entry tournament at a Native American casino.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Only so many new ideas?

I have to disagree with Jim Romanesko's comment today about the MyStarbucksIdea site. He said, "I think that's going to be one of their problems ... and something my readers have noticed: It's become redundant after three weeks. There are only so many good ideas." Jim, have you ever realized how definitive statements like these typically get thrown back in your face in the not too distant future?

Just because there is a lack of originality on this board, having the opportunity to interact with thousands of customers directly is a huge advantage/opportunity for Starbucks. Facebook, CNN, Google, Microsoft, Krispy Kreme, all of these entities were formed by a single idea that generated at a point in time. If we had just ignored all of these ideas because they weren't included in the first three weeks of a brainstorming session with ten thousand of your closest friends, where would we be?

I say, leave the board up and more often than not, a good, if not great, idea will surface periodically. If nothing else, customers who feel they have a voice with the companies they conduct commerce with have been shown to be far more loyal than not.

Let's give it more than 3 weeks before we label this valiant effort by the folks in Seattle as "redundant".

You can read more from Jim at his Starbucks Gossip blog.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Is this high school?

You can all remember back to high school when to that guy in high school who was so infatuated with some girl and he spent all day talking about her. He'd talk about how cool she was and how cute she was. Then he'd talk to his friends about her and find out what she liked and what kind of music she was into. He'd start to hang around her lunch table and get to know her friends and do nice things for her. Then he'd start to "be friends" with that girl and try to impress her with how cool he was.

She would think "Wow, this guy is really nice". What a great guy and he seems like a great friend! I never really knew him for what he is. He seems smart and intellectual, worldly and funny. I'm really glad that I listened to all of my friends and finally paid attention to him. I hope he asks me out....

Well, then the guy finally works up the nerve to ask her out, and she says, "let's just go for a movie and see what happens". The guy pulls out all the stops, not sparing a dime to try to impress her. He even buys a large popcorn and her own soda!

The date goes swimmingly and then.....one day goes by, and nothing happens. Then two days. A week. Neither one calls the other because they're afraid of what could happen. They pass in the hall and make awkward glances. People whisper, "What happened? They were so into each other!" And sooner or later, the flame dies and people move on.

Are you both still living in High School MicroHoo or are you just going to make it happen???

Friday, April 4, 2008

Best Speaker

I have to report back that I performed admirably last night during my "Enhance your speech with gestures" lesson at Toastmasters. So much so that I won Best Speaker. I can honestly say that getting involved with TM is one of the best personal investments I've ever made.

If you or someone you love has trouble presenting, speaking on the spot or just socializing, I can't recommend investigating a local club enough. Our local Loudoun Toastmasters crew is welcoming, very helpful with their constructive feedback and most importantly, a lot of fun.

Let me know if I can help out with recommendations or questions if you're interested in finding a local club.

See you all on Monday!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Nothing new today

I'm working on my fifth Toastmasters speech tonight. Wish me luck everyone! Halfway to my CTM.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Are you receding?

While the global economic focus is on the US and our impending downturn, I wanted to see how my scarce readers were doing individually? How is this "recession" impacting you? Are you spending less? Monitoring your accounts more regularly?

I personally don't pay too much attention to it right now as I can't control it. I have a good job, a solid economic footing and finally got rid of my gas-guzzling SUV. Overall, things are fairly status quo. I do know that there are a lot of folks not in that same situation and was curious how it was impacting them.

There are the standard ways to belt-tighten in this go-round of economic madness but this time the overriding factors do cause more concern than normal. For instance, gas is extremely pricey, the technology tax we each face is dear each month (cell phones, cable, etc.), the dollar should be called a peso and even rice is at an all time high. Where do you begin to cut in order to make up some ground?

Just curious.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BTW, Happy April Fool's Day.

No tired pranks here or malicious misinformation. Just good wishes and may you be loved enough for someone to want to prank you. :)

Is work really that hard?

I often run into situations where if a person had put just a little effort into solving a problem, it would've been fixed instead of languishing unsolved. Every day though I hear colleagues say, "I'm too busy to deal with that" or "I would if I had the time". What is so difficult with work anyway?

What do you find difficult about work? Why?

What have you done lately to think about fixing that problem?

Did you follow through on your suppositions?

I'm willing to bet that even though you may be a terrible organizer (like me), or a distracted info junkie (like me), you can still make a lot of stuff happen in a short amount of time and boost your personal productivity.