26.2.09

Day 154. The Ravelry One.

I like to knit. I'm a bit of a knitting geek. I've been knitting for a loooong time and have seen the little I knew of the knitting community grow from the stereotypical women knitting sweaters and afghans to a bunch of really cool women and men around the world coming up with amazing things. When the internet and social networking started to happen, I was naive enough to think that it would take a great while for this technology to impact the fiber arts world. Boy was I wrong!

Well a few years ago, Jessica, a newer knitter had been crabbing to Casey, her partner, long enough about how difficult it was to find yarns, patterns, advice, information when it came to a new knitting project. So, with the approach to a problem that I love - they decided to do something about it! They created Ravelry. It is the most amazing meshing of practical use and technology I may have ever seen. You can find community if you want that, you can find information on patterns and yarns, you can find a place to show off your projects, you can even find a place to get that elusive yarn or project book that you are just dying to have (or need to finish a vest for your husband for Oktoberfest - hypothetically of course! ;))

What I love most about the project that Jessica birthed in Ravelry is that it is truly for the users...the owners commit to this site always being free. They are always open to feedback and modifications that the users ask for. They have provided a jumping off place for people to continue to mold the tool into what they need, all while building an environment of consistency, respect and creativity. The proof is in the pudding - Ravelry users buy up merchandise like nobody's business; we all end up getting the pins that we can wear around advertising our Ravelry user ID; and most impressive, when Ravelry started a small fund raising drive, more donations really, the community raised enough money to pay off all the debt that starting up Ravelry had demanded. The users have spoken, and they love Ravelry. I think it is changing the way that we who knit, crochet or whatever approach our projects. And we have Jessica to thank.

Today, when I am beyond thrilled at how quickly I was able to get my hands on some yarn that has been discontinued for years just by putting out one little tiny forum post, I truly am reflecting on how thankful I am for Jessica, for Casey and for their project that is Ravelry.

25.2.09

Day 153. The Just Plain Cool One.

I shouldn't be surprised that if I write about someone, eventually, I will end up writing about their spouse. A while back I wrote about my friend, Anna.  If you remember that post, or take time to read it anew, you'll see that part of why we even met in the first place is because I went to high school with her husband, Brian. Today, Brian gets his very own, well deserved, mention!

I remember Brian to be a good person in high school, but what's more important is what a quality person he is today. He's already received the highly elusive "stamp of approval" from my husband, and for so many reasons, I am impressed by Brian every day. There are some of the more obvious things that Brian is doing with his life: he has supported Anna through her battle with breast cancer and become a strong advocate in the fight against the disease; he stands up for animals and their fair treatment and care; he'll drive all the way to DC and back in 2 days to see the inauguration; he'll grab you a beer when you are on the other side of the table from the bar. And then there are those things that happen on a more personal level...

In this last week, Brian has again showed how amazing he is. I will not be going into a lot of detail here about things because something happened that I consider to be personal and another thing, of which I am the beneficiary is something that I know many others are just as, if not more, worthy than I am. Suffice it to say, that with a lot going on, Brian was kind, generous, went waaaaaaaaaay above the call of duty, and did something really cool for me while also being supportive during something else that also demanded his attention.

Brian is the type of person I like writing about the most, because the most beautiful people are those we encounter in our every day lives who are doing truly amazing things, on any (or every!) scale. Brian makes an impact on a lot of people and is the epitome of what this blog is all about.

24.2.09

Day 152. The Delicious One.

A friend of mine turned me on to a very cool site, knowing that I love food, cooking and have a new found affection for Munich...the site is called "Delicious Days". (if you follow me on Facebook you've seen some of their posts already)

Delicious Days was started by Nicky, who, upon finding her partner Oliver, ended up living in Munich with him and now shares her experiences there, from a culinary point of view.

Obviously, this site has tremendous awesomeness in the recipes, dining and cultural experiences it shares, but here's why I really REALLY like it. Its the perspective...the photography is simply breathtaking. Not because its earth shattering or shocking perse but it looks at things in unique ways; it captures beauty from angles we may not usually see it. Also, the way in which the shared recipes approach food...each ingredient is thought about in unique ways and, trust me, these recipes are not simply "substitute butter instead of shortening" type creations. They are innovative, hunger inducing creations - even when they are new takes on a traditional Bavarian dish.

I think someone who can live their life in such a creative manner is obviously someone full of awesomeness. Whenever my reader picks up a new Delicious Days recipe I can get rather excited and have been known to stop on the way home to pick up provisions to try out the new creation...even after making a dish, I'll go back and read about the recipe later and absorb the gorgeous photos. This site truly envelops me and takes me into the entire experience of the blog and the recipe itself.

You know I love food - but this site elevates it to something special. Delicious Days has gotten quite a bit of press and recognition and I say, "well deserved!"

Danke Nicky - you rock.

23.2.09

Day 151. The Oscar Ones.

Again - an easy one...with a bittersweet ending. 

Many of us watched the Oscars last night, to be sure, and this had come to be, for me, one of those annoying habits where you do it, but you've kinda lost the reason why. Last night, 5 minutes in, I was already entertained by Hugh Jackman. I really enjoyed his opening number even though I had always been somewhat ambivalent about him in the past, but then, only 12 minutes in, I was hooked (yes, it was 12 minutes, I even looked at my watch because I was so shocked).

The first major award of the show each year is "Best Supporting Actress" and they started the build up and I was confused, why are they showing all the past nominees? What's up with them naming only 5? And then, well, then, I was blown away. 5 of the past years winners came out and gave kind, heartfelt tributes to EACH of the nominated actresses, one at a time. Each of the speakers did NOT read from a teleprompter, they looked directly at their selected nominee and said beautiful things about each as a person, and as an artist. The impact was obvious. Noone knew this was coming and the emotion could not be hidden from the nominees' faces as they were honored, publicly, with more than just a token mention of their name. It was beautiful, I was so moved I actually applauded when they were done - before they announced the winner! It was a full circle moment for me, to see people doing what I am trying to do here so much more eloquently, so much more publicly, and with the gift of seeing the impact of their words on their intended audience.

Granted, I will tell you, the Oscars people should be darn thankful that that particular award went first. This pattern was followed for all the major acting awards and some of the "speakers" forgot the words, had to obviously glance for a cue, and (gasp!) even Philip Seymour Hoffman's name was read incorrectly. But it was still beautiful, moving, inspiring, creative and meaningful.

Now here's the twist, I've been searching since 8 this morning for SOMEONE, anyone to give credit for this...do you know, irony of all ironies, you can't find a list of the production team ANYWHERE? People are talking about this new awards concept (love it or hate it) and noone is taking a split second to give credit to who came up with it. To be clear - the person who realized how important it was for someone, as an individual, to be recognized for their achievements is cloaked in anonymity still...and I hope that that person(s) is/are hearing all the kudos they are receiving. I will thank here, the named Producers of the telecast, because, obviously, as the bosses, they do deserve credit. [Further irony, you can't find them easily either! I had to go to Oscars.com, and then Oscars.org and THEN search within that site to find them...even though they have their own page, that page does not have its own link to navigate to!] 

So thank you, Bill Condon & Lawrence Mark. I think that the change you made in one show has impacted so many. I have a deep deep appreciation for artists and the work and sacrifice they put into their craft and to see the honor truly come to "its an honor just to be nominated" was amazing. To quote Kate Winslet, who you all know I adore, "...we all had something to take home, no matter what."

22.2.09

Week 26. Reflections.

So two things I want to discuss that have been on my mind this week...first, the easy one, even though its Week 26 some of the weeks haven't had a blog every day SO, we are not yet half way done...ah well! ;)

The other thing is this, and perhaps more in depth, and it reminds me of something my friend Soren might write about (although he's far more eloquent than I).

Here's the deal, its a scary time. I tend to be a "what will be, will be" type person but for the first time in a long time, I'm truly starting to feel anxiety about the state of the world. The economy stinks, there are wars, some people in your life may, or may not, be acting in a negative manner, all you hear about is crime, and a lot (not all!) of Washington DC seems to be working in a "business as usual"...congressmen debating stupid things, porkbarrelling legislation, blah blah blah. 

At first it was easy for me to say, "oh see? That's another reason why I'm doing this little project to keep myself (and hopefully others) upbeat during these trying times". While that's true, another line of thinking has started to gel for me in the past week...and I started to think about what happened in November. We elected a new President based on the principle of HOPE and on his slogan of "Yes We Can". Let's talk about that...to me, the most important word in that phrase is "WE". President Obama has planted an idea, but you can't expect a President, a parent, a friend, a boss, a spouse to fix everything by themselves. We can't sit and wait for just a "stimulus package" to ease the strain on our wallets; we can't hope for legislation or corporate CEOs to put stuff we want or enjoy on the airwaves or in TV shows; we can't take direction on how we should feel about things from a talking head on some news show; we can't expect any other person to make a change if we aren't part of it. 

So, to me, yes WE can...WE can start to expect things to be brighter, WE can start to be more positive, WE can hold leaders accountable if they aren't doing what WE want for our futures, WE can be nicer to each other every day, WE can say thank you, WE can believe in things getting fixed, heck, WE can fix things!  

Look, I'm not calling for a revolution here, I just feel like we may be getting to comfortable in our passivity in all levels of our lives - whether you run a company or sweep the sidewalks or can't talk to a friend about a problem. Wherever your life takes you, can you consider looking for the best that is there and looking for ways for it to get better? Educate yourself on what's going on, examine your attitude and see how you can make a difference. For me, its simply this little project for one measly year - trying to find the good in people. "Be the change you want to see in the world"...I say, YES WE CAN.

20.2.09

Day 150. The BMV One.

Ah the stereotype of the government worker...and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in particular. I would wager that most of us dread having to go deal with this part of our local state governments, and each have at least one story about how frustrating it was to renew a license, or get new plate or whatever.

Today, I had to jump through about 50 hoops to finalize the sale of my car that was totaled earlier this year. I do have to go into some of the mundane detail to tell this story... basically, I had to get something called a salvage title, sign it over to the person buying the car, and get that notarized. The twist is that my husband took the signed title to get it notarized, and the notary wrote his name instead of mine. This, in essence, invalidated the whole thing. So, today, the new owner of my car and I tried to "start all over". We ended up at the third destination we had to go to for titles and walked up to the counter, to Jody.

Jody was very positive, very kind, willing to work with us (the title being in my maiden name and I only have a fax of my marriage certificate) and put our whole situation at the top of her queue (there were faxes involved from numerous places and she kept checking the machine, keeping us posted...etc).

As I left the BMV today, I was just so thankful that Jody was the one we had the pleasure to work with, and reminded me that there's always someone who will prove a stereotype wrong. Further, Jody reminded me that there's always good people, sometimes you may have to look harder than others to find them, but they are out there....even at the Department of Motor Vehicles. :)

19.2.09

Day 149. The Looking Out One.

I've grappled with the idea of posting about someone twice, you all know this. But today, I am going to blog about someone again and I am not going to apologize for it because this person deserves it.

My friend Andrea, who lives here in Columbus, is one of the sweetest, most loyal people I know. Yesterday, a mutual friend of ours came upon some surprise bad news. Its the kind of news that hits you hard and, perhaps harder because its news created by someone who has no basis whatsoever for what they are doing and its just mean spirited and unfair. Andrea had to work all afternoon and evening so she called me right away to get over to our friend. Andrea even knew exactly how to handle letting the friend know I was coming (just in case she was already upset) and, advised, (correctly) to bring some wine ;). So I got my butt over there to care for our friend until Andrea could get there as well for support...it was my pleasure to do this and I am so thankful that both Andrea and I could support our friend through this time.

But here's the thing - let's be honest, part of friendship is the pleasure we get back from the relationships we have, there's a selfish part to being a friend that is totally valid. And that is what is so amazing about Andrea, yesterday her focus was 100% completely and selflessly on our friend. What SHE would need and who could get it to her. She rallied quite a few people to support our friend when she herself couldn't...as I was driving last night I just kept getting more and more in awe of what an amazing, awesome friend Andrea is. I have always been thankful to have her in my life and yesterday was another stunning example of the value of Andrea and that she is truly one of the most exceptional people, and friends, in the entire world - and I am NOT exaggerating.

18.2.09

Day 148. The LunaTick One.

I have a friend, Matt who is one of the smartest people I know. Why is this? Well, Matt is also one of the funniest people I know. I have long believed that humor is a mark of extreme intelligence and Matt proves it. If you think about it, to turn the every day into something that will bring a smile requires a rather quick brain that can process a ton of information quickly and bring the laughter. Matt does this and he's got that kind of "funny" that is the best kind - its wry, quick and always takes you where you need to go. I also appreciate that he's willing to put in effort to bring the funny - he'll bring up a long forgotten joke, search for a funny smiley, post these random, crazy stories or, he'll even write you a fantastic parody song for your birthday ;) .

If I ever need a laugh, I can go to my dear LunaTick, and know that he will give it to me. 

The say laughter is the best medicine, and Matt just proves it. Matt, I want you to know that you brighten my day, every day. And even though I still may send you to your corner every now and then...know that you make my life happier!

15.2.09

Week 25. Reflections.

Just a quick thought for this week...when I sit and reflect every so often about who shall be my next blog subject, those of you I've already talked about keep popping BACK into my mind. I like going back and reading the posts about each of you, (not because of how great my writing is..BELIEVE me!) but because it reminds me about how amazing each of you is.

For those of you who I have already blogged, just know that rather often you each keep reminded me how amazing you are...and if I could, sometimes I'd just write about each of you over and over! Sometimes I wish I would because, for each of you, please also know that whatever I have written does NOT do justice to your amazingness. 

14.2.09

Day 147. The Valentine One.

It's Valentine's Day, and trust me, I'm not usually the schmaltzy type. I find forced romance to be rediculous, but I do think the idea of refocusing on who you love is a beautiful thing. And so, because I can't help myself, today I'd like to thank Tom Higgenson, the lead singer of the group, "Plain White T's" for writing the song "1234". I randomly heard this song a few days ago and when I saw the video, maybe it was the mood I was in, but it struck me as one of the sweetest things I've seen in a long time. So, thus ends this entry - please spend 3:38 watching this video - be sure to read the WORDS...its what love can be about, in all its forms!

(and let's hope that now the radio doesn't play the heck out of this song, thus ruining it ;) )

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!




13.2.09

Day 146. The Leveraging One.

As I am sure we all do, I get lots of emails, Facebook invites, tweets promoting this cause or that one. Sometimes I disregard these just as a matter of practice. Other times, based on the time I research the link or the way I know the person sending the information, I will go ahead and accept/ click/ join. We all have our own rules for what and when we join things...there's something I recently joined that I wanted to share with you (based on my good friend Sanaz's recommendation).

Some friends of Sanaz's, Ross and Lori Shanken, have recently started "Better Human Race". The concept is simple - its a search engine that, based on traffic, raises money for a select group of charitable organizations. The project is still new but, what's really cool about it is the way that the Shanken's have really built a new way of thinking about philanthropy. The money is allocated based on your votes, the money is generated by the online activity you are probably doing anyway; the idea is to provide a charitable outlet to people who "want to do good" and are rather hooked in to the technorati circuit. "Better Human Race" is on Facebook, Twitter, and they are really looking at driving their "service" from a social media perspective.

As I watch some of the other philanthropies that I am closely connected to struggle to catch the "social media wave" I thought that not only the message, but the strategy of "Better Human Race" deserves recognition. As with any philanthropy, I encourage you to always do your own due diligence to decide if you wish to support them, but there is a whole community of people out there who are learning to communicate in new "social media" space that 'Better Human Race' is really focusing on to spread the word and that, in and of itself, deserves special recognition.

*Please note, as many of you know, I support a variety of charitable causes, I believe that giving of your own resources is a highly personal choice. I did not post this entry to debate the validity of "Better Human Race" but rather to share a cool concept and highlight some more "ordinary" people doing "extraordinary things in extraordinary ways". 

12.2.09

Day 145. The Ice Cream One.

Yesterday, because I was near their store, some friends and I treated ourselves to Jeni's Ice Cream. I consider Jeni's to be arguably the very best ice cream there is - and my family knows ice cream! We used to drive down to Cincinnati just for the original Graeters (which previously held the "best ice cream" title in my book) and my dad and I will only eat certain flavors at certain places with certain toppings. (we like our desserts...don't hate us!)

What I consider cool about Jeni (yes its a real person) is not just her product but how she has built her business. Jeni is a local central Ohio business that has grown while maintaining a family feel. When Jeni recently had her baby, the stores all celebrated it on their signage and in-store menus and there were even celebratory ice creams!  No matter which location you go to, the people are cool, friendly and good at their jobs. Also - Jeni gets that her product is her best marketing. She has all kinds of fantasmagorical flavors and you are always welcome to taste as many as you'd like until you find the one that makes your palate happy.

And let's discuss that ice cream shall we? I mean seriously - it is to your benefit to peruse her menu.  There are the old standards and then seasonal flavors. I have always admire the creativity that resides in a chef, but Jeni's is shockingly impressive (right now, you can get "Rose Petal with Marcona Almonds and White Chocolate Ice Cream" I mean c'mon people!!!). Who else can come up with ice cream that can contain goat cheese, or lingonberries, or sea salt and olive oil...and be delicious! If you had told me a few years ago that I would covet an ice cream cone with 1 scoop "salted caramel" and 1 scoop "queen city cayenne" I'd have told you that you were crazy. Now, I look forward to finding some amazing new flavor combinations. If you ever come to visit me, its most likely I will work in a visit to a Jeni's for you!

So to Jeni...you are an awesome boss, a tremendously creative chef, and an overall cool person. Thanks for the ice cream, thanks for everything.

11.2.09

Day 144. The Letter One.

Further proof keeps mounting that the more you look for really cool people the easier it is to find them. 

Many of you know how ardent a fan of football I am. Were I ever to write a post about Payton Manning, I would have guessed it would have related to his athletic ability. I thought he was a quality person before, but this proves it. [Although is this guy trying to steal my idea?!?!? LOL]

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the time to watch this video. It is approximately 3.5 minutes and well worth it. The message is shares is self evident: its just so easy to tell someone how much you appreciate them...and it can mean the world.

* Please note, that I would not be aware of this story at all if it weren't for "The Compelling One", Barbara who shared this story via Twitter.

10.2.09

Day 143. The Dancing One.

Tonight I was at a Blue Jackets game with Stephen and some good friends. We were up in the higher deck so we had a great view of the ice and the other fans around us. Towards the end of the game, as my eyes wandered I spotted two little kids at the game dancing whenever the music would come on. Whether it was the traditional organ muzak leading up to "LETS GO JACKETS" or a snippet of some hit (or not so hit) song these guys danced.

These kids were hilarious...one in particular was just letting the music move him. It made me smile. I love to dance, I love to just let the music move ya. I used to dance quite a bit and was even in a competitive dance team for ballet (until my teacher told me I looked like a dying swan but this is another story for another day). I think to dance is to be free. I think its hard not to be happy when you're dancing. 

I love the little kid dancing tonight - I hope he never stops. And I hope that we can all enjoy dancing every once and a while, and to quote one of my favorite gifts of all time "even when we stumble, we can make it part of the dance (sic)"

9.2.09

Day 142. The Open One.

Its funny how, when I wonder "who shall I write about today?" that the universe answers my question. While today's person will remain anonymous, her lesson to me was invaluable.

A friend of mine, who I have known only socially, and I were together today. Today, the usual small talk quickly became serious. The "how was your day?" from me got, again, a somewhat normal response of "I've had a really bad day". My friend continued to share with me some things that had devastated her today. Large or small, they were so important to her. As we talked through her worries, as her eyes welled with tears, I found myself overwhelmed with many things: I was honored that she trusted me with her real thoughts and emotions; I was respectful as I learned more about this person as she talked about why she was upset; I was in awe of her willingness to share more of herself and be truly open with someone that she had never had more than casual interactions with before.

Tonight - my heart is heavy as I hold her in my prayers and hope that tomorrow is better for her. I also am so appreciative of the immediacy she put into my life to remember to be open with people - as this is the way to true connections and friendship and relationships. Its only through sharing our real selves with others, warts and all, that we can first find those who will support us and also, sometimes, find ourselves.

There are many reasons we are all protective of who we are, and these are truly good reasons. We've all been burned. But to have the courage to carefully select some to be open with - well that is amazing, as is my friend. Please, even if you chose not to be as open as some, respect the gift of someone sharing themselves with you. 

To my friend, thank you for what you shared with me and for what you taught me tonight... 

8.2.09

Day 141. The Bossy One.

I've mentioned before that I have a degree in Leadership Studies. Sometimes I think this is a load of hooey, and sometimes I couldn't be more thankful for what I was taught (Regardless of whether or not I can put it into practice.)

The one thing I can say for certain is that successful leadership is equally dependent on the perspectives of not only what the leader does but also of that of the followers.

That being said, I will once again steal from one of my favorite shows, CBS Sunday morning. Today they did a tremendous story on Haruka Nishimatsu, the CEO of Japan Airlines (JAL). I have pasted the small excerpt of the story they did on him this morning, and I will keep checking in hopes of them posting the full video of this story.

Mr. Nishimatsu understands that he, as "the boss" he is no better than any employee and takes the successes, and more importantly, the failures of his company in the same way he asks his employees to take them. In the current state of the world economy, I can think of no better reflection of being part of a team and understanding how to build the corporate values that matter: loyalty, trust, and camaraderie.

Mr. Nishimatsu does all levels of work, takes salary cuts when his employees do, and wears suits that he buys from a discount department store. Just because he is a boss makes him no more or less immune to the same experiences, intelligence or emotions of his employees. I have been an "employee" and i have been a "boss", each is a side of the same coin. To remember to know that we are all working together, towards the same goal can make anyone act and think like a genius.

Here is the summary from CBS, and I encourage you to continue to check back on their web site (as I will be doing) in hopes that they post the full video)

ECONOMY CLASS: CEO of The People

When Detroits Big Three CEO's came to Congress begging for a bailout, they got a lecture for arriving in their private jets. There's a lot of resentment these days against executive compensation and all their perks. Does any CEO anywhere set a good example? Barry Petersen says maybe they could learn something from the boss of Japan Airlines. When Haruka Nishimatsu had to cut salaries at the world's 10th largest airline, he also cut his own, to just $90,000. He also takes the bus to work, did away with his private office, and even sorts out the newspapers for passengers on flights.

7.2.09

Day 140. The Seattle One.

We are rushing home from Vegas because something very special is happening this weekend...a good friend is coming to visit. Stephen and I have been blessed with many great great friends. Stephen has one of the strongest, most enviable network of friends from his college days and they have all turned out to be nothing less than VERY cool (some of them have already been mentioned here).

Well today, one of those friends, Doug, has come all the way from Seattle Washington to spend a few days with us. We are overjoyed! Living in Columbus Ohio doesn't exactly give us the perk of having an exciting destination to draw our friends for a visit. So, it has been great to see quite a few people who have come out to play but its always been coupled with a football game, visit with family, wedding, whatever...but, as we were going to pick up Doug today, Stephen said, out of the blue, "its so cool that he's coming out to visit for no other reason than to see us". Now this is not at all to diss any of our other friends...we ourselves have a list of people and places we wish we could be that never gets addressed or always gets put off; but that understanding made this visit by Doug even more special.

Doug and Stephen have been friends since their fraternity days in college. They had fallen out of a more regular communication until a friends wedding a few years ago brought us all back together. Now both men are married and we were blessed to have one of those times together where we all just clicked. That feeling of coming across a long lost friend, that feeling of understanding and community were instant.  Even though Doug lives in Seattle and we are in Ohio, we've been able to stay in touch and even visit out west one more time last year.  Now Doug and his beautiful wife have just had their first child, a daughter and yet, Doug still made the time and effort to come see us.

I've always treasured the gifts of friendship and time much more than anything tangible and Doug gave Stephen and I one of those great gifts with his visit. Thanks for coming out Doug...we heart you!

5.2.09

Day 139. The Energy One.

Today I had the opportunity to listen to a talk given by T. Boone Pickens. He is, in many ways, a stereotypical Texas oil man: appears to be politically conservative, tells lots of anecdotes, and can name drop all day long (he had lunch with W earlier this week), oh and he's rich - really rich - worth over $1 BILLION. He spent this morning disproving all the "baggage" that comes with this stereotype - at least for himself.

Now first, I will level with you all - I am not a "politics" kind of person. I am rather idealistic about what politics should be and it just makes me angry all that goes on within what has become a machine. I don't like the way that game is played these days, but during all the election time "noise, I did see a t.v. commercial by "Boone" about his plan to reduce our dependence of foreign oil by using American resources and alternate forms of power (his focus is wind). I was impressed at what seemed to be earnestness, logic, intelligence and the fact that this man was pushing an idea for public consumption and paying for all of his research, development and press by himself. You can find more information about his plan via his web site

I could go on for probably a bit longer about the nuances of how this man spoke today and some of his ideas and even about how he reminded so many of us as a kindly wonderful grandfather, but what I took away as most important was his way of thinking. He talked about people based on their thoughts and action. He supported Obama, he supported the idea of team, he talked about the value of the bailout plan if it gets paid back - and that the cap on CEO salaries (*cough cough* bank of America *Cough cough*). He supported the idea of innovation, creativity and working with the right people for the right reasons (his "answer" for what happened to GM is equally poignant, frustrating and frighteningly accurate). But all of his different opinions and strategies and philosophies always came back to one major tenant - know your own role and the power that comes with it, and then own it and be responsible with it - educate yourself, do whatever you need to do to be heard, ALWAYS self advocate.

Boone talked about so many of the challenges we are facing at many levels right now as a country and as a global community and, while not the whole answer, part of the problem is that we all became a bit slack. Have we done everything to hold our elected officials accountable? If you hold a stock do you really keep up to date with what you vote on each year at the shareholders meeting? Did you ever take advantage of a boss or employee? Did you ever feel taken advantage of and not speak up? Do you know what your children are learning and doing? Do you make sure you understand issues that you face fully and with a factual foundation? I must admit that I can not say I uphold these principles. But I would like to. 

So again - sometimes Mr. Pickens went a bit "Old Glory" on me today, but he has a sound mind and a tremendous outlook on life. He has reminded me to be accountable for all that I can be - and to make the decisions I make (all of them) in a responsible way. 

Oh - and, in my humble opinion, his energy plan is tremendously exciting. Check it out. 

* Mr. Pickens has authored several books, while I have not read them myself, I am adding them to my queue and based on what I heard today I would ask you to consider reading them as well.

** This is one entry where I would strongly urge you to follow the provided links. Agree or disagree, I guarantee you will find something interesting

3.2.09

Day 138. The Developing Ones.

I'm doubling up on this entry since tomorrow I am travelling and so, a cheat to get me through two days...

When I started working many many moons ago, computers were still just becoming part of the workplace landscape. I "grew up" professionally in the world of the SDLC (software developers life cycle) and spent far too much time writing requirements, managing "users" and "developers" and running endless test scripts and user acceptance testing. Point being, I spent a lot of time with building software - usually the amount of time spent managing expectations and instances of miscommunication was far greater than any number of hours spent writing the actual code. 

Part of my trip this week is to facilitate the launch of a major web based system that has been in development for years. There were two people who ran point on this initiative, Chris and Jon. As we get ready to launch and go through the last huge crunch of testing and bug management (which is always 90% of the work) I have constantly had the opportunity to talk with Chris and Jon and reflect on how amazing this development cycle has been. I honestly have never been involved in all my years with a development project that was so intimately focused on truly communicating with the end users. These two men have had their fingers on the pulse of their user community - countless hours were spent reviewing prototypes, testing beta releases and, here's the most important thing - REALLY REALLY listening to the feedback they got. Most everything that has been submitted as requested functionality has been delivered, in the way the users wanted it. The team was even able to deliver additional modules that were not part of the original scope of work.

I have always believed and fought for the principle that software, when used correctly, enables people to be better at their work - its still ultimately always about the people. I've preached this for years and never before have I seen it truly in practice - so, to Jon and Chris, I know your hard work will pay off. You have built a tool that will significantly impact the work lives of thousands of people. I salute you, your commitment to quality, your commitment to communication and most importantly, your commitment on not pleasing someone who made deadlines or just signed your paycheck, but on pleasing your USERS.

2.2.09

Day 137. The Compelling One.

Obviously I've been sucked into the Web 2.0 world. I've learned to revel in my geekdom...social network is not a bad word in my world - when done well, its the perfect way to learn about people, things and places that you might never have the opportunity to encounter otherwise (if you know my passion for "knowledge management" you get the appeal for me). Another thing I love is learning about something that's interesting to me...and there's a whole heck of a lot I still don't know (Kim, Andrea, you can stop laughing now). Point being, its my personality to find and devour the knowledge thats out there about Web 2.0 and how to harness it to improve life, business and relationships. I love finding those folks who knowingly or not put that information out there for us novices to consume.

A few months ago, at an "un-conference" called PodCamp Ohio, I met a woman, Barbara, whom I would never have met save for the fact that she was visiting with one of my Twitter faves, AnnOhio (there were large panties involved - but that's all I can say about that). I was immediately engaged by Barbara and her passion for new media, her knowledge and her ability to thoughtfully take in information, ponder it and turn it into a discussion (and she has a great smile and an even better laugh). My friend Jeremy and I ended up sitting with Barbara rather than attending one of the block of sessions and it will go down as one of the most important conversations for me in my new media journey. Barbara gave the low down and dirty on important tools to consider, ways to think about being in the Web 2.0 world, and some tips on some cool new things coming (or things that should be coming). The conversation was thought provoking, challenging, interesting and lingered in my mind for days. I was immediately struck at Barbara's ability to not only share and learn but also defend her position without apology or arrogance.

So, of course, I started following her on Twitter, and I continue to be impressed. She's out there really engaging in the conversation. If something comes up she always has a thoughtful question to pose back - a challenge to an accepted practice and ALWAYS an invitation to continue the conversation (sometimes stated, sometimes implied). 

Barbara has become one of my Web 2.0 gurus. I have immense respect for her and am always stopping to read what she tweets (even if its just about the road trip she's on). In hindsight, I am even more thankful for the brief time we spent together this past summer and I am thankful to know a woman who has a strong mind and the ability to use it to always find new ways to think about something and connect with others - all at the same time.

Barbara's got a wicked sense of humor too which totally sealed the deal for me! :)