2/27/2008

Myron Cope: Rest in Peace

"Myron Cope, the screechy-voiced announcer whose colorful catch phrases and twirling Terrible Towel became symbols of the Pittsburgh Steelers during an unrivaled 35 seasons in the broadcast booth, has died. He was 79... Cope's tenure from 1970 to 2004 as the color analyst on the Steelers' radio network is the longest in NFL history for a broadcaster with a single team. Cope was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2005.

""His memorable voice and unique broadcasting style became synonymous with Steelers football," Steelers president Art Rooney II said Wednesday. 'They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery and no Pittsburgh broadcaster was impersonated more than Myron.'

Beyond Pittsburgh's three rivers, Cope is best known for the yellow cloth twirled by fans as a good-luck charm at Steelers games since the mid-1970s. The towel is arguably the best-known fan symbol of any major pro sports team, has raised millions of dollars for charity and is displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame...

"Cope and a rookie quarterback named Terry Bradshaw made their Steelers debuts on Sept. 20, 1970. Just as Pirates fans once did with longtime broadcaster Bob Prince, Steelers fans began tuning in to hear what wacky stunt or colorful phrase Cope would come up with next. With a voice beyond imitation -- a falsetto so shrill it could pierce even the din of a touchdown celebration -- Cope was a man of many words, some not in any dictionary..."

Quoted from this ESPN.com article (AP Photo/Keith B. Srakocic)

video

2/26/2008

Rosie the Riveter

"Rosie the Riveter is the female icon of World War II. She is the home-front equivalent of G.I. Joe. She represents any woman defense worker. And for many women, she's an example of a strong, competent foremother...the woman in the bandanna rolling up the sleeve on her raised bent arm...

"It seems that about 1942, an artist at Westinghouse named J. Howard Miller created "We Can Do It!," probably as part of his company's war work. The federal government encouraged industries to try to get more people to go to work. "We Can Do It!" initially had no connection with someone named Rosie.

"The next step in the Rosie myth was apparently the song 'Rosie The Riveter (2.6 MB mp3 file)' by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb, released in early 1943.

"Some of the lyrics go:

'All the day long,
Whether rain or shine,
She's a part of the assembly line.
She's making history,
Working for victory,
Rosie the Riveter.
Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage,
Sitting up there on the fuselage.
That little girl will do more than a male will do.'

"And skipping to the end:

'There's something true about,
Red, white, and blue about,
Rosie the Riveter.'

...The big changes that brought them into war work began in 1942. Men were going to war and industries were switching to war production. When in need, industries decided they were willing to hire women: after all, they wouldn't get drafted. At first, there was lots of reluctance on the parts of managers, husbands, male workers, and many women, too...

"To motivate them, between 1942 and 1944, there was what's been called an "intense courtship of women by employers and government." The U.S. Office of War Information produced a Magazine War Guide which gave publishers of magazines ideas, information, and slogans for their publications.

"This was a government-led effort to recruit women workers, to get women out of the home. Magazines were to write articles that appealed to the desire for glamor and good pay, but even more to patriotism. 'Women, you could hasten victory by working and save your man.' Rosie's appearance on the Memorial Day cover of the Saturday Evening Post implied that her work might help save soldiers' lives...

"The women themselves tell us some of the effects:

'My mother warned me when I took the job that I would never be the same. She said, 'You will never want to go back to being a housewife.' At that time I didn't think it would change a thing. But she was right, it definitely did. . . .'

'You came out to California, put on your pants, and took your lunch pail to a man's job. This was the beginning of women's feeling that they could do something more.'"

Quoted from the transcript of this video presentation from the Library of Congress.

And from the Library of Congress 1930s - 1940s color photo collection on Flickr come a selection of color photos that vividly capture "Rosie" at work.

2/25/2008

Hope for Strummers

I still strum my guitar after all these years, mostly Beatles tunes. I never learned to play lead. Judging by the gaping hole in his worn guitar on display during last night's performance of the Oscar winning song "Falling Slowly" Glen Hansard is a strummer too, from way back.



As noted in this MP3.com article:

"Once, the little indie musical that could, provided Oscar night's most memorable moments.

"The film's stars, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who portray aspiring artists whose musical partnership lights a spark within both of them, took home the prize for best original song for "Falling Slowly." The track beat out music from the film Enchanted, which was the favorite with three of the five nominations.

"Hansard, who is the frontman for the Irish band the Frames but also pairs with Irglova in a group called the Swell Season, seemed stunned by the win and urged other independent artists to dream.

"'This is amazing! Hansard said. 'What are we doing here? This is mad!' He told the crowd that the film was made in three weeks with two handycams and $100,000. He exhorted the audience to 'Make art! Make art!'

"As Irglova went to say her part, the orchestra cut in to indicate that their time was up, and they were ushered off the stage. But after a commercial break, Oscar host Jon Stewart brought Irglova back out on stage to finish her speech.

"'This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all independent musicians and artists who spend so much of their time struggling," Irglova said. "No matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible...this song was written was from a perspective of hope, and at the end of the day, hope connects us all.'"

2/20/2008

Just Do It

Message to me:
"Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.

"Whether we avoid something because it scares us or bores us, or because we think it will force a change we’re not ready for, putting it off only creates obstacles for us. On the other hand, facing the task at hand, no matter how onerous, creates flow in our lives and allows us to grow. The relief is palpable when we stand on the other side knowing that we did something even though it was hard or we didn't want to do it. On the other hand, when we cling to our comfort zone, never addressing the things we don’t want to face, we cut ourselves off from flow and growth.

"We all have at least one thing in our life that never seems to get done. Bringing that task to the top of the list and promising ourselves that we will do it as soon as possible is an act that could liberate a tremendous amount of energy in our lives. Whatever it is, we can allow ourselves to be fueled by the promise of the feelings of exhilaration and confidence that will be the natural result of doing it."

From DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit

2/19/2008

Who are You When No One is Looking?

"Any nuts-and-bolts leadership primer will explain that one of the key leadership competencies is holding others accountable...While this is an important dimension of leadership, it is easy to slip, when it comes to accountability for our own behavior...And as we all know, when there is a disparity between what you tell others to do and what you do yourself, people will believe your actions and not your words. The fallout of this scenario is an erosion of trust, one of the high prices we pay for lack of self-accountability...

"So what strategies can you adopt to be more...self-accountable...?

--Go through a formal 360 Leadership Assessment process or simply get hold of a leadership assessment form and use it to reflect on how others in your team would rate you on each dimension...

--At the end of each day, when you clear your desk before you head home, take a few short minutes to mentally go over your day. Think about significant conversations you held, meetings you attended, emails you sent and other actions you undertook.

Are you proud? Could you have done better? This will inspire you to plan your next day around your highest purpose. Getting into this habit of introspection will pay dividends in the long run.

--Decide to hold yourself accountable for developing other leaders. By mentoring a protégé to enhance their personal and professional growth, you strengthen your own leadership skills and reinforce your determination to be self-accountable as you become the model.

--When something goes wrong, look inwardly for solutions...When a mistake is made, do you ask: "Whose fault is it?" or do you say: "What can we learn from this?" or "What can I do to improve this situation?"...

--Write out your personal and professional goals with clear targets. Read them once a week. Are your day-to-day actions aligned with your values, your standards, your philosophy of leading?...If your answers to these questions are negative, what is causing this? What insights does this give you? Use this information as a means to spur you to action rather than guilt.

"Moliere, 17th century French dramatist, said: 'It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.' Is there anything that you are avoiding doing that needs to be done? For example, are you putting off a difficult conversation? Are you delaying any important decisions? Are you delegating away responsibilities that should stay in your court?

"Self-accountability, then, is staying true to ourselves despite difficult circumstances. It's doing the right thing even when we are tempted to bend a few rules for expediency's sake. Perhaps Deborah Lee put it best: "Self-accountability is who you are when no one is looking". It's also the best antidote to feeling victimized by circumstances and in so doing, frees up precious creative energy for us to accomplish what matters to us. Above all, it entails owning up to the consequences of our decisions and choices, because there is no choice without accountability."

Quotedfrom this article from mindtools.com by Bruna Martinuzzi that is worth reading in its entirety.

2/13/2008

What Investors Want

From Educators Corner come new podcasts well worth a listen:

Podcast: Angel Investing Revealed Ron Conway, Angel Investors LP Mike Maples Jr., Maples Investments 60 min. 13 sec. Experienced angel investors, Ron Conway, Founder of Angel Investors LP, and Mike Maples, Founder of Maples Investments, provide a rare look into the ins and outs of angel investing. Conway and Maples discuss how angel investors assess opportunities, provide assistance to entrepreneurs and transition start-ups to larger venture investments or exit. In addition, Conway and Maples provide advice to entrepreneurs about finding one's passion and developing that passion into new ventures, including insight into how much money to raise and how to manage that money after it is in the bank.

Podcast: How to Build a Successful Company Mitch Kapor, Foxmarks 55 min. 24 sec. Serial entrepreneur Mitch Kapor speaks about the fundamental principles of building successful companies by drawing on his experience as creator of Lotus 1-2-3, Chairman of Second Life, Founder of Foxmarks and a wealth of technical and social entrepreneurship knowledge. Kapor emphasizes the elements of company building that technology has changed, such as faster feedback cycles and lower barriers to entry, as well as the elements that remain the same, such as how to establish culture and trust. Kapor illuminates his observations with contemporary and historical examples that create a context-rich primer on building vibrant companies.

2/06/2008

So Want to Be Acquired by Google?

This article from Fenwick & West is written for the directors and executives of emerging technology companies (referred to as TechCos) who are considering selling their company to a larger, more sophisticated company (referred to as LargeCo).

TechCos are privately held companies that exploit something new (technology, products or niche markets), experience rapid change (growth, market, profitability or cash flow) and typically are short on infrastructure and capital resources. These TechCo characteristics create special issues when TechCo decides to be acquired by LargeCo.

The article summarizes TechCo’s key issues when it prepares for and negotiates a successful sale of its business to LargeCo. Before they begin acquisition negotiations, the article can help TechCo’s executives frame the issues of importance to them. During negotiations, it can be a useful resource to TechCo’s executives for evaluating and responding to LargeCo’s proposals.

The article is divided into five sections. The “Introduction” explains why companies merge or are acquired and what factors lead to successful and unsuccessful acquisitions. “Deciding To Be Acquired” explains why companies may decide it is preferable to be acquired instead of going public, and when TechCo should consider being acquired. “Key Deal Issues” outlines the key deal issues from both LargeCo’s and TechCo’s perspectives.

“Troubled Company M&A Issues” highlights employee retention issues when TechCo is valued at less than its liquidation preference as well as special issues when TechCo is near insolvency. “Implementing The Deal” outlines the mechanics necessary to close a typical acquisition. The article concludes with two appendices. Appendix A is a sample Letter of Intent for a merger, illustrating typical provisions requested by LargeCo. Appendix B is a sample Time and Responsibility Schedule for a merger being accomplished pursuant to a Form S-4 Registration Statement."

(the text of this post is based on a booklet form of the article available on the Fenwick and West website)

2/04/2008

My Favorite SuperBowl Ad

The screaming grasshopper rocks even though you can barely hear it.

Tyree-fic Catch of the Century

2/01/2008

the Fine Art of Schmoozing

This article by Bruce L. Katcher offers valuable tips for making the most of your networking meeting opportunities, including the following:

"Your professional network is one of your most valuable assets. Professional networking meetings are one of the best ways to continually revitalize and grow your network. But if you attend meetings without a clear strategy for maximizing their value, you may end up as a wall-flower, merely watching other people network and wondering why you gave up the time in the first place...

Here are seven ways to maximize the value of professional networking meetings.

1. Be Strategic about Which Meetings You Attend...Three types of professional networking groups offer different benefits:

Join a group that will enable you to keep abreast of the latest developments in your field.
Join a career networking group that will enable you to learn more about self-marketing, interviewing, and making a successful transition.
Join a group that will allow you to interact with prospective employers and clients.
2. Become Active...Once you become active, people in the association get to know who you are and what you do...Try to get involved in activities that will enable you to interact with others...Get to know the movers and shakers. Each association has a few key people who know everybody else and can make things happen.

3. Come to networking meetings with the mindset of, "how can I help others at the meeting," or "I would like to meet at least one person tonight who I can meet with one-on-one," or "I am really curious about what others at this meeting do for a living." There are many ways you can help others. You can provide introductions; recommend books or web sites; provide information about people, companies, or trends; or simply listen and offer emotional support.

4. Ask Questions...Simple open-ended questions are best such as, "Tell me what you do for a living," or "What challenges is your business facing these days?" This can be a great way to start and maintain meaningful conversations. Come to the meeting with an inquisitive attitude.

5. Come Early and Stay Late...

6. Follow-up Immediately...

7. Don’t Try to Sell...Selling at professional meetings is usually inappropriate. Instead, use the meeting as an opportunity to develop a relationship and schedule a meeting for a later date."

Much more on business networking is available at Networking Advice: The Riley Guide and this About.com webpage.