Monday, June 30, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 60 - Safe Harbour

Patti and I are entrenching here in RI for the summer. Our summer place is in a great little neighborhood in Quonochontaug called Central Beach. Here is a YouTube video of what it looks like in the fall/winter:

I guesstimate that there are 60 houses in the community and believe me when I say it is a real community. This coming Friday will be the annual Fourth of July 4 mile road race and local resident parade. Traditions that have been going on for multiple generations now. It's a true slice of Americana. People live here from all over. We know of at least five other houses owned by California residents and who summer here. Each year on the first Saturday night before July 1 the community association throws a summer welcome party on the beach as the grand opening of the season. We usually aren't here in time for the event but this year we were so we attended. Everyone brings their own appetizer and lots of people bring their dinner and drinks and everyone hangs out and reacquaints themselves or meets others for the first time. It's a cocktail party with no shoes. For me it was 90 minutes of a very safe harbour as I explained to people that I was taking time off before I decided what to do next and I was being disciplined about how I was going about it. Unlike the west coast and SValley where you get the crooked head and raised eyebrow, here there are no questions asked and everyone takes it all on face value and finishes the sentence for you with..."and what better place to enjoy the time than here on the beach". If that's not a safe harbour then nothing else is. So, as we dig our feet down in the sand for the summer, I'm just like everyone else here...using the beach and the summer houses to get away from it all...slow down...let the mind wind down for a bit and.give the digits a rest from the keyboard...and do it all within our safe harbour of Central Beach.

Friday, June 27, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 59 - Manual Labor

Today was all about lifting, moving, pushing around, climbing stairs, leaning over, reaching up, squatting, bending, pulling was about moving into the new summer house in RI. While not mindless, it is not about the mind, this work is about the body. And guess what, we don't use the body as much regularly as we think we do otherwise there wouldn't be that feeling of exhaustion and tenderness at the end of the day. But, oh what a sleep after a day like today. That is is the good part huh? Today reminds me that we are to think more holistically about mind, body and spirit. Our body and being is a set of muscles and if we don't exercise them all then they atrophy and when called upon they don't respond to our liking and if they do we pay the price of pain later. A few years ago a doctor told me that I had to start thinking about upper body muscle tone. He said, while he as sure that when I was 80 I would be able to run through the airport to catch a plane with the best of the them, that unless I worked on my upper body strength, I would have to have someone help me lift my bag into the overhead compartment. That was a low voltage shock but one that has stuck with me. Today was also a good reminder that while the time at the computer and at the desk is productive and necessary that we all should be sure and balance that with time in the garden so that the bending, squatting and lifting muscles stay as firm as the mind that we work so hard at building up. A good dose of manual labor is also great for clearing the mind. As I was working my muscles today I found myself working out things in my head and praticing conversations with myself. Somewhere in unpacking and breaking down all those boxes I had a couple of interesting thoughts that helped move along the agenda in some areas of my life. So all in all, a good day of manual labor turns out to be a good day overall.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 58 - Highs and Lows

We redeyed into Boston this morning. We do this to not lose a day even though it just becomes more and more brutal on our bodies. With this enlongated break it didn't make much sense to do it, but with Louie flying under the seat with us, we thought it best for him to sleep the night through. He slept like a baby, or like a dog, whichever. We didn't sleep a wink. When we landed at Logan we weren't allowed to have Louie out of a crate or bag because they use canines for drug and bomb sniffing so I had to take him outside and sit on a bench while Patti waited for the bags. While I was sitting there at the departure level I noticed that the airport is a place of high and lows. When you travel on business you never take the time to notice what is going on around you. I was able to sit and watch the people dropping people off with tears in their eyes and watching people meet those who just came in with smiles and excitement. It's a place of the highest highs and the lowest lows. And then there are the business travelers who are there in between. No one to drop them off or meet them. Just like workers going to their job. No emotions just routine. With a little more observation the aiport can tell many great stories...stories of lost and found love, stories of excitement and stories of sorrow. It's the whole human nature story right in front of us while we depart and arrive. It's worth the watch next time you are waiting. There are many stories to see and you will see the highs and the lows of people.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 57- OOO

Tonight marks the beginning of two months of my "out of office" (OOO) time. Readying for being gone and moving your life to the other coast for two months is quite a task. Patti and I have been so looking forward to this time of respite that we have run ourselves ragged getting every detail worked out so the two months will be perfect. The new house is complete (minus some punch list items), the furniture has been chosen, bought and in the process of being delivered, our house sitter is all set and will take away all the stresses back home, enough things and stuff were shipped by FedEx that they should be able to redeem that last bad quarter, and Louie is ready for his first cross-country redeye airplane. We have poured everything into making sure that we can just transfer our life across the country and make it a very relaxing and sabbatical like time. When I put the OOO message on my email today, it felt good. Although it was ironic to call it out of office when what I wanted to say was out of the mainstream, out of the rat race, out of the grind, out of life....for just a bit. But Outlook doesn't give you that privilege so OOO it is...until mid-September. Look to hear from me from the other coast...soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 56- What Lasts?

Today I was at a Grammy Foundation Board meeting in LA. We met at the NARAS HQ in Santa Monica. This was the June meeting, the meeting where the new Board members come on and there is a rotation of officers and Directors whose terms have expired. Today saw the rotation of Steve Schnur out of the Chairman position. Steve has been a great Chairman proving himself once again in a different setting as a tenacious and graceful leader of others. What struck me this rotation was that when Steve took a few moments to reflect on his tenure and comment on the highlights of his term. During his talk I noticed that the weight of his talk was not on what had been accomplished but rather how the accomplishments had been achieved and even more so the recognition of the people who helped him get there and then be successful. I was very proud to be one the people called out by Steve, but that was not what struck me. What struck me (like the lightning bolt namesake of this blog) is that at the end of the matter if at the end of a project...the end of a tenure...the end of a career...the end of a is still all about the people that really matters and what lasts in the minds of others. No one finishes anything without a recognition of other people who have lifted them up, pulled them along, pushed them over the humps. It holds up everywhere...acknowledgements in a book, movie, song, etc. So, if this is a truth then why is that we wait for these "special" moments to make the recognition instead of making it a continuous process? I am encouraged when someone else says "thank you for the help" aren't you? However, we tend to let those moments drift by and try and bundle them all up until we feel like we have an armful load of logs before we start the fire. But, what is is that starts a fire? It's not the logs, it's the twigs and the branches that get the fire going so the log can take hold. Maybe we should think more that way. Let's not wait until the funeral to say thank you. Let's not wait until the awards ceremony to recognize the support of others. I'm not saying don't stop doing that too, as I felt pretty darn good after Steve's talk (it was the first thing I told Patti when I talked to her) but let's also as leaders step in and send the email note of recognition today, the handwritten note of appreciation and the public thank you in front of the person's peers, every chance we get. We need to do that because if for nothing else we know down deep inside that that is what really lasts. BTW, thank you Steve for the very, very, kind words. That meant a ton to me and won't be forgotten. They will be words that last!

Monday, June 23, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 55 - Wiped

This past weekend I gave the messages at our church; Cornerstone in San Francisco. Here is the link to the message if you are interested:

It takes me months to prepare and ready myself for when I do this. Unlike a business presentation where you know that most of the people are not that interested in what you have to say and they are probably there because their boss told them they have to attend, when someone goes to church they go for a reason whether it be to worship, learn, or search for some answers. So, because of this I take these moments very seriously. What I have found is that after four services (25 minutes or so of speaking at each) that spans Saturday night through three services on Sunday, that it's pretty hard to have much gas in the tank after that. So, this Monday, day 55 for me, was a recuperating day, which it is interesting that we don't give ourselves in the traditional work world. I think back on those crescendo days whether they be the all important Board Meeting, the day of investor/analyst sessions, the funding pitches, the week of delivering performance reviews (to which you always end up leaving the hard ones to the end so the last day is a killer), whatever the moment/day when you give it your all, what usually happens the next day? You feel wiped and you aren't really good for much at work or home. But, we tend to try and ignore this and push through and that doesn't do much help either. It's kind of like trying to read that difficult book before you go to bed...reading the same paragraph three times isn't all that productive. So, what we should do is just be honest and drop the machismo and call it like it is; take a breather, love a clear calendar day, recharge and just admit that we are just plain "wiped". I did today and Tuesday I was better for it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 54- Aches and Pains

So one of the ironies in all of this is that with all this "extra" time that I am supposed to be spending on mental, spiritual, relational and physical conditioning, the A.G.E. syndrome gets in the way. I am working out six days a week - that is running four days with the other two either being biking or swimming and circuit weight training interspersed within the six days and other activities. Sounds great huh? It is other than the dreaded syndrome is causing lots of aches and pains and what never hurt before hurts now. What was never tight in the morning now twinges as I get out of bed and what was no where the limits or boundaries of pain now are much more obvious than ever. I keep saying it can't be me. I have done research to support that with global warming that the intensity of gravity has increased, but I can't find any literature on this. But someone must be writing on it because I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning and certain areas of my body are sagging like they never did it has to be the gravity increasing, yes? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem all that fair that with all this time off that I could work out three or four hours a day, that the body just doesn't want to cooperate. Woody Allen does a very funny skit about how eveything should happen backwards. It's an interesting thought and when the aches and the pains show themselves to me, I become even a greater supporter of his idea.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 53 - Pocketed Hands

This will be a short post...I can't afford anything more than short and to the point. :) I want to let you know that the myth is true. When you aren't working and you have time on your hands you spend more money. And it happens no matter how hard you try not to. Patti pointed out to me today that I have spent a lot of money lately. I disputed it until she proved it. And the fact is that it is all being spent on what seems good for me...a new bike and wetsuit for the upcoming Triathlon, books for summer reading, the new scanner/fax/printer for the home office, summer clothes, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, gas for the car to get to all of these meetings, etc. Each when looked at individually don't look that big, but the theme is that when you have time on your hands the hands keep reaching for the wallet. So, it is true and something to watch. If you think you will save money when not working, it doesn't work that way. Idle minds, idle hands, idle credit card and pen. :) This is another reason I am looking forward to the time in Rhode Island. I can't spend money there, there is nothing to spend it on. I'm looking forward to pocketing these hands for a couple of months.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 52 - Muscle Memory

Yesterday was a 12 hour day. Of course it was a 12 hour was a 24 hour day in actuality, but for me it was a 12 hour day of meetings back to back, the first day like that for me in 51 days. And you know what, there was muscle memory. As I traditionally do, I look at my calender for the next day the night before so that before I go to sleep I have a good idea of what the next day will hold and I let my brain process on it for a night. As I looked at the calendar I saw back to back meetings starting at 7:30AM and me getting home around 8:00PM at night. I smiled and said to myself, "this looks familar". And in the morning, I bounded out of bed at 5:45AM, did my morning devotional time, ran, and then got on with it. At the end of the day, I was wiped, but I felt good about the day and the muscle memory that comes from the years of back to back days like this. It was just a reminder to me that some muscles don't atrophy as fast as others and that one can answer the bell when called.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 51 - Craned Neck Syndrome

Yesterday morning I had breakfast with a friend who is a senior executive for a well-known company. A woman I respect, admire and think very highly of. As we were talking about her and how things are going in her job, she described someone who she works with that I could identify with and in the course of the conversation I learned something about myself. The person she described is a person who came from a humble and modest childhood and who through perseverance, tenacity and some luck was able to break out his upbringing both geographically and socioeconomically. By all the standards he was raised with, he had "made it". And as he continued to succeed he never forgot his roots and his upbringing and would draw on this reservoir of experience for lessons in his current business challenges, etc. All that sounds good and in many ways it is a great strength. But as she talked more, she also described a side where this person led from a sense of insecurity and sometimes fear that all that he had achieved could be taken away from him in an instant. She said it was like sometimes he worried that he would be "found out" and that someone would realize that he didn't have the pedigree or blue-blood to be in the position he was in so he was always looking over his shoulder to see if someone was going to "find him out". On the surface, that looks irrational doesn't it? Well, for me the the example was relevant and I suspect there are more of out there who feel this way than we let on. As she spoke about this person, I saw myself in the story. There are many similarities in the background and I think at the core of this is when you are in a place where you have attained things in life that you feel "lucky and blessed" to have attained, there is always this sense that it could be ripped out from under you at the blink of an eye and with that comes an internal pressure and uncertainty. Some of that has to be a lack of self-confidence, but I don't think that is all of it. I see those older people who can remember the Great Depression. They think about money differently. The savings account they have is not safe. The food in the cupboard is not a sure thing. The roof over their house is only temporary. I always thought what I tough way to live. And, here I sit, being much the same with how I think. It is the blessing and the curse of having seen another side of life. A craned neck looking over your shoulder is a tough way to go through life. What those of us with that syndrome need is a good chiropractor who straightens us out and reminds us that we don't have to continue to prove ourselves to others to find our success. And we don't have to worry about the comparison mark of who we are being where we are from, our education, or where we began. Our success comes from looking straight ahead and running the race at our own pace and not looking left..right...or most importantly, not looking over our shoulders.

Monday, June 16, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 50 - Halfway Mark

Wow...50 days...already. I look back on the first 49 posts of this series of my blog and I wonder if there is really anything different on day 50 than there was on day one. I started this blog as a cathartic set of ramblings to help me through the transition and changes that one goes through when they go cold turkey out of work. As someone said to me the other day, "you workaholics need a 12 step program or a good detox period". Oh, so true. I seriously thought that by now I would be through the changes and would have a very clear picture of the future and that the last half of this blog series would focus on the readiness and the relaxation of preparing for the next chapter. Can't say that it turned out that way. At the halfway mark I am a lot better than I was, but still a little dazed and confused (not the worst way to be by the way but not natural for me). If I take a snapshot assessment of right now, today, I would say that I am much more grateful of the gift that time is than I thought I would be. Time to think is still elusive but time to dedicate on things I choose versus others is a beautiful thing and something that I do see as a precious and should not be taken for granted. Uneasiness about what the future holds remains a constant. The fear of losing relevance has subsided some but still lingers and rears its head every now and then. So, it's not all clear yet and maybe it is never supposed to be so, but I think what I know at the halfway mark is that the clarity does not come in the outcome, the clarity comes in the process of getting there. That is where the learning resides. That is where the introspection makes a difference. What will be noteworthy in the next 50 business days is that 40 or so of those will be spent with Patti and me in Rhode Island at our place there...that is when things slow down to a clam's pace...that is when the time for reading and writing takes place...that is where the answers may be hiding. We'll find out...together. On to the next 50!

Friday, June 13, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 49 - Tim Russert

Say it ain't so. The news of Tim Russert's passing sent shock wave through the country and through me. As I listened to the reports and saw the TV coverage (and the outpouring of others), I was struck by the once again lesson that we all need to remember, but so often forget until someone like Tim Russert is taken from life early and unexpectedly. That lesson is that life is fragile. I mean really fragile. Here today, gone tomorrow. Unless we don't know something, Tim didn't get up that morning and have a notion that today was the last day he would walk the earth. I suspect just the opposite. He got up, worked out in the morning, went to the office and looked at his day and jumped in like every other day full of life, vigor and excitement. And, then in a moment, with a collapse, he was gone. There was no chance for goodbyes, hugs, kisses, handing down of special memories or artifacts of his life. In sports we finish ties with a sudden death round or period. We should live every day as if we are in the sudden death round. That means different things for different people but if internalized we can live today differently and include that hug and kiss that could be the last. In my working career I never experienced someone dying of natural causes at the office while I was there although it had certainly happened many times within some of the companies I worked for. I can only imagine what the experience and long-lasting impact would be like to watch a colleague die at the office. If that wouldn't make you rethink life and your priorities, nothing would. That should be the nudge that the death of Tim Russert reminds us of. Life is short, our work is important but not the most important thing in life, and that each day is a fragile piece of crystal that we balance on our heads as we make our way through the day. We will miss you Tim, but thanks for the lessons that you taught us in your life and in your unexpected and way to0 premature departure from life.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 48 - Validation

Todd and I had lunch at the Peninsula Hotel's Roof Top cafe. We sat outside and talked about his job, me, life, friends and the other stuff that best friends from college talk about. What a juxtaposition with me there in my shorts and flip-flops and Todd in his very sharp business suit and tie. The power executive and the unemployed guy hanging out on a Thursday afternoon. It was quite fun and relaxing. As we were leaving the restaurant and I was walking him back to the lobby, I remembered that we should get his valet parking validated before he left. So we took the elevator back up the 5th floor and as we requested our validation we made a joke that it always feels good be validated. And it does feel good to be validated. We do that in lots of different ways. For me the feeling of validation can come from the positive word, the successful meeting, the applause after the presentation, the follow up request for more of my time. Today, the validation came not only from the parking stamp but also the follow on email from Todd that said nothing more than he really enjoys spending time together. And that not only validated the time and our conversation, it made my day. We don't take the time to validate each other enough do we? Just that one extra comment, word, note or call that says at its essence, "I like you and I like being with you" might be the greatest validation any of us can obtain. We guys, more than women, don't do it enough, but none of us do it enough. If the day was spent doing nothing else but building others up and making them feel better about themselves, it would be a day well spent. The next time someone asks, the answer should be. "yes, I do validate!".

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 47 - Presence Power

Today Patti and I were in LA for the Warren Beatty AFI Life Achievement Award. We flew down in the afternoon and then in the evening went to dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills. When you go to Spago you expect to get great food, tremendous service and a hip and welcoming atmosphere. As expected, it lived up to every bit of that and more. But what struck me, and I know it is common course for him but I still find it extraordinary, is that Wolfgang himself still comes out of the kitchen and goes table by table to meet, welcome and ask his customers how the food is for them. You know, he is Wolfgang Puck, not the new chef in the new restaurant who needs to come out of the kitchen to add personality to the restaurant and the food. This is Wolfgang Puck; the recognizable celebrity chef who long ago made his face a household image and his reputation one of top-shelf quality and consistency. He doesn't need to come out of the kitchen and do the walk-around. But, he does, consistently each night when he is in the restaurant. He really doesn't have to, but he does. And you know what? It works. Every head in the restaurant, from celebrity, to regular-goers, to the first timer stopped their meal and waited for him to come to their table. And when he did, it was a handshake, smile and request for feedback from each person at the table. While on the surface it doesn't seem so extraordinary that he does this, but think when it was the last time you ran into the CEO of a Hotel Chain or the President of the Bank, or the chef at most of the mediocre restaurants you might frequent. I've also never had the CEO of the Power company stop by as he/she was on the route with the meter reader. What Chef Puck knows is the power of presence and he uses it wisely. He manages his brand like we all should. His happens to be being there in the presence of his customers fearlessly looking for someone to complain if they need to do so. For the rest of us, we have our own presence power that comes with what we do. If we would all think about using our presence as a mainstay for our brand and reinforcing that presence with our customers, partners and employees, we could have that same magical effect that Wolfgang Puck has on others when he comes out of the kitchen and into the dining room. It's a great lesson to remember. Thanks Chef Puck.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 46 - Midday Beauty

We toil in our offices, we grab lunch from the cafeteria or vending machine and take it back it to our desks, we hunker down in closed conference rooms with presentations running all day and when we come home we hear, "what a beautiful day it was". We give a bewildered look and shrug our shoulders and say, "yeah, I guess it was...what I saw of it". The truth is we didn't have a clue if it was hot or cold outside on many a day. The weather was what it was on the way to work and the way home and not much more than that. I don't know if this is how it is for you, but for me, it was pretty much that way for most of my career. I would go weeks and months before I would step outside within the regular business hours. And to what detriment? At the time, it didn't seem like much, because what was a pretty day missed, especially in Northern California where every day is the same from April to November? But in reality, a missed beautiful day is a missed opportunity to enjoy a gift of life. I've taken now to being sure that I am outside as much as I can be these days and what I am finding is that the middle of the day is more often than not, just downright gorgeous. And with a run or a walk or just eating lunch outside and taking in the fresh air, there is a rejuvenation that takes place that makes the rest of the day go better and forecasts an optimistic look for tomorrow. The world looks sharper and more full in the middle of the day. Now that my eyes are open, I can't see ever going back to missing out on the midday beauty.

Monday, June 9, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 45 - Wind Down

The day has finally come. The end to the long list of unscheduled meetings and commitments is coming to an end. I can now look at my calendar and see open blocks of time. I had been looking out over the calendar horizon both anticipating and dreading the day. The anticipation was all about having the free time to work on reading, writing and giving back projects. The dread was the fear of moving into the realm of out of touch and irrelevant. As I gingerly step into this phase the same emotions are still with me. Today I was able to spend time on some chores that needed to be done around the house and I was able to not only get my run in but also get over to the gym for a workout...the first time that I can remember when I had the time to do two workouts in a day. That was great. What I need to continue to remember is that this time is really all about he wind down. It's not about the next thing...not just yet. As I head into a true wind down period (July and August) it remains to be seen if I can truly "enjoy" the time but I am trying my darndest to do so and remember that this is such a gift to have. Who would have thought I was such work-junkie?

Friday, June 6, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 44 - Investment Time

Today was the first true day that i was able to follow through on the commitment that I had made to Patti that we would take Fridays and make them "P&R Play Days". Every Friday up to now has been overtaken by something that got in the way. But today we were able to carve the day out for us. Not that we did anything special. Even though the day was spent running errands and shopping together, it was a good return on investment day nonetheless. Over the years I have talked about the deposits and withdrawals that we make in our relationships. More often than not our work can become a source of consistent withdrawals without a lot of opportunities for deposits. So, we end up doing all we can to find ways to deposit attention, time and energy into our relationships in a way that doesn't interfere with our work. For me, this became increasingly difficult and if there was a balance sheet to refer to, I couldn't make it balance. So, now I am trying to make up for those lost times by doubling down on the time and flipping the priorities around. It is a good endeavor and there is definitely a return on the investment. The sad part is that it has taken me this long to come to the realization that I should have built the investment/deposit time into the regular routine years ago because those missed opportunities can never be replaced or reenacted. If you are reading this and this strikes you at all, I would suggest that you look at next week's calendar and find two hours that you can call your significant other right now and say "hey if we could spend two hours together next (blank) at (blank) time what would you like to do?". I think you will find it a worthy investment.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 43 - Significant?

As you know, part of the journey for me is to understand if there is something "significant" I am supposed to do next with my working life. Today was an interesting set of things that I could throw in that bucket and mix around a bit. I met with a Solar Energy company about a Board seat, I spoke to a group of people at HP about Talent and the need for better HR professionals, and I met with a VC who told me how his job was changing to be more of a managing director like set of responsibilities and he wasn't sure he liked that or not. What made each of these feel "significant" was that each of these meetings were about change, the future and about improvement. Reflecting on each of them, I could see a significance in each. And when I boil them all down what I see is that when I am talking with others about how they can make their work like better, I find joy in that. When I can listen to their stories and see their passion in their work and I can add even a smidgen of assistance, I find that rewarding. The juxtaposition of the three today helped me see that there is significance in anything where you are helping others. How easy it is to overlook that simple concept.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 42 - Who Not What

I'm not sure why, but I can tell you that this week there has been a shift. My meetings with people have not been about "what" I have done or "what" I will do, but rather the meetings have focused more on "who" I am. How refreshing this has been and stimulating. I am finding that more and more people want to engage at that level and without an opening to do so, unfortunately will stay on the surface. this week, it feels like I am the portal of permission for people to be able to talk about who they are, what they believe in, and what is important to them in life outside of work. I have had more conversations about my faith in the last week than I have had in the last three years. And it is not because I am bringing it up. What this reinforces to me once again is that we want to interact at a much more human level than what we bring to the water cooler or the Board table. If there is this much pent up demand for these conversations then it also tells me that the companies that allow and encourage and provide forums for these types of dialogues will be the ones where work transcends the company and becomes instead a glue that brings and keeps people together. That is the work environment that will win and the one where I would want to be. There's a pretty cool organization out there called WorldBlu, run by Traci Fenton. It's worth checking out and looking at the companies that she works with. Those are the ones that you may want to think about tilting your dollars towards because those are the companies who do care about "who" you are, not just what you will get done today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 41 - History

More about today tomorrow, but I thought it worth stopping and marking that this day, my 41st day out was the same day that history was made with Barack Obama winning the Democratic Party nomination for the President of the United States. Whether or not you agree with him and his policies, we have done something extraordinary by electing an African American to be one of two people who will compete for the highest office of the land. In the scheme of history it was not that long ago that "we the people" did not include african americans and today I believe we can all be proud of our country, our government, our democracy for allowing that regardless of all of our woes and problems, it holds itself true that anyone who so desires has the opportunity to become the President of the United States. It is a great and wonderful country we live in.

Monday, June 2, 2008

100 Business Days Out: Day 40 - The Car Wash

Today I was driving by Ducky’s Car Wash in San Mateo. To my total surprise, Ducky’s was hauntingly empty. I had never seen this before. As I drove by and looked in to see how long the line was (which is a natural instinct for me whether I need my car washed or not) and didn’t see any cars, I thought it must be closed on Mondays. But then I saw that they were indeed drying some cars and well, I just couldn’t resist pulling in and taking advantage of the clear sailing. So, I did. And guess who was there? It wasn’t the weekend Dads with their sons taking their weekly male bonding “want to go to the carwash? “ trip. It wasn’t the young couples who are out doing their weekend errands of which getting the car washed is one, and it wasn’t the single guys with their expensive cars who jump in and help dry the car to be sure that the staff get to every spot. Nope, none of the above. Instead, it was the stay at home mom with the kids who are too young to be in school and two couples who were at least 30 years older than me. I was the only guy in there by myself and the only guy who was of working age. Beyond the different crowd, and the lack of crowd (including that the shoeshine stand was closed too…guess not enough shoes doing the week to justify him being there), what I realized was that the carwash actually has all of the answers for all of your questions. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before; it’s the true one-stop shop for self-help. Beyond having the greatest selection of greeting cards, there is the table of self-help books that cover every topic from how to talk to your kids about their poop, to how to raise a son, to how to strip furniture, fix a flat tire and lo and behold, right there in front of me, a book on how to retire. The book that answers all my questions, searching, ideas and consternation on how to spend your time when not working was right there, in paperback, staring right at me. What have I been doing wasting all this time blogging, the book has already been written and it’s available at the car wash. Of course it would be at the car wash…it’s where you would go to hang out when you have too much time on your hands. I should just stop writing right now and start quoting from the book. I really shouldn’t be so sarcastic as the book is quite thorough and thoughtful from what I could glean from the table of contents and a scan of the pages. But, since I don’t want to find all of the answers all at once I didn’t buy it. I figured that with all that good information and no lines during the week that I will certainly be back to the car wash soon (don’t they give you a discount if you come back within a week?) and if I still am searching for answers I might pick up the book and see if I can take a shortcut and read the car wash book on not working.