Month: April 2011

Arts, Crafts and My Office Supplies

I adore my son, and love his creativity. It does, however, grate on me (somewhat) the toll this takes on my office supplies. I can’t find a single, unbent paper clip right now. Yesterday it was all the letter-sized paper gone, GONE from the printer. A few weeks back: every staple in the house (2 boxes!) had been consumed in some mad-scientist/artist scheme.

That goes with the pounds of paper scraps littering the floor. And the piles, PILES of various half-done crafts (that I recycle at my peril). ’Tis the perilous life a modern father.

Relationship Management

Just read on Chris Brogan’s site a serious critique of Amazon’s Cloud Service. Reminded me of an insight I had while researching web presence for a Fortune 500 company. Every company at that scale has a web presence and reputation/status. That extends pretty far down the pipeline, too. Most every company has some presence on the web (I’m sure there are a few that the web is completely ignorant of, but I expect that to be challenging to find).

Consider how many people use the web for research. Whether prospective new hires, students or activists, people will find all kinds of information about your institution on the web. Therefore, community management/social media management is critical for a company. At least one person should be scouring the web looking for opportunities to discuss the company, it’s products/services, and address issues. This must be fully transparent, however. Dialog needs to include both the positive and negative. Oh, and yes there are vile trolls out there. They exist whether you engage or not. Ignoring them let’s them control your company’s web image. Also, there are valid and useful critiques.

Activists of many issues have the ability to look at a company quite deeply. Transparency exists, whether you want it to or not. It’s not really that easy to track down in depth information, but it is possible. So, no matter what company you are and how tightly you try to control information, there is a great deal of “stuff” out there about you. Controlling the message has become impossible. The best thing you can do is engage forthrightly. And, of course, make sure your company is operating in an ethical and morally sustainable way.

Seriously, a negative critique is an opportunity to engage. If done well, it can build a fan. If not, it provides an opportunity to damage your reputation and relationship. Building and maintaining positive relationships requires active, and proactive engagement. There must be dialog (2 way discussion). Yes, really, the company must LISTEN. PR & Marketing need to be about managing relationships and less about “making the sale”. There needs to be a genuine desire for relationship. BS is easily detected and mass communicated.

Just be open, clear and ethical. Accept the “message” is out of your control, but that you can influence perception. If that influence is propaganda, it will be easily sniffed out and blown to pieces. Open, true two-way discussion works. The corporate mind just needs to stop being so afraid.

Are All Questions "Good"

I’ve long found the statement “that’s a good question” to be obnoxious. As I tend to think questions through, trying to answer them on my own, I find the statement redundant. However, I’m rethinking that annoyance. There are bad questions. Asking questions that whose answer is evident are a particular bane of mine.

A good question has some basic pieces: thoughtfulness, insightfulness, and (if its particularly good) the answerer learns something. Good questions show that you’ve paid attention and have considered things.

A bad question is one based in intellectual laziness. Asking questions to avoid thinking, researching, etc, is obnoxious. So, think before you ask.


Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination view ii

Today was round 2 at the Pacific Science Center’s Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. I had my eight-year-old and one of his best friends, which added a nice balance to my experience. I, perhaps, have over studied SW. Done the comparisons to Jung, read many of the side stories, and a number of the manuals. I have an extended knowledge of the Universe. Perhaps I could have used that time and energy towards something that would’ve cured cancer or netted me a couple of million, but I digress.

The boys bring a new perspective to SW. The prequels have always existed to them. The dialogs I had after Phantom Menace would be absurd to then. “Palpatine really becomes the Emperor? They don’t make him seem menacing at all.” as an example.

I enjoyed the models and the supporting video about production. And the way they connected this to real science was pretty cool; things like space-craft and robotics. I think the boys liked the gift shop best, sadly.

It was a nice way to spend a spring break day. Especially considering our spate of cold wet weather. Spent it with hundreds (thousands?) of other families, though. Overstimulation central!

Resumes and Such

Currently, my job search is focused on agencies. What’s amusing to me is how antithetical to all the resume prevailing wisdom agency resumes need to be. You don’t want to be TOO focused. Quite to the contrary, they should be broad. That resume gets sent around for various positions, often without any prompting from you. A sufficiently broad focused resume gives their recruiter the ability to send your resume out to a variety of firms. Just my thoughts…I don’t intend to bill myself as a resume expert!

Thoughts on April Fools Day

A friend of mine ruminated on Facebook whether it was appropriate to celebrate the “lies” of April 1. My first worry was that she, and her chums in the negative (I was the lone dissenting voice), were in dire danger of becoming humorless drones. But then I wondered, as I often do, the deeper points of what she was writing. Is April Fools’ Day really, REALLY about celebrating deception and lies? Well, for me at least, no. Actually, the beauty of April Fools is creativity. There’s an elegance and sophistication behind the truly artful prank. Therein lies the fun. A well done AF prank is about more than how many people are deceived. Also, I add “points” for the level of outrageousness to the assertion, or the depth of the deception. With that is the effort and skill behind any supporting work for the prank; whether Photoshop, a video, what-have-you. Important, for me at least, is the absence of malice. A good prank should not be about hurting or humiliating anyone.

Ultimately, what I value most is creativity and wit. The best April Fools pranks are just that; a celebration of clever minds and the creation of great material.