How to Succeed with New Year Resolutions

"There are two common mistakes that people tend to make when they start to make their New Year resolutions: They think about what they 'should' do, rather than what they really want to do. And worse, they think about what they should stop doing, rather than what they actually want to achieve. 'What should I do this year?' 'What should I stop doing?', 'What do other people suggest I should work on?'

"To be successful at any change, you need to really want it. Unless you take the time to think about what it is that you really want you (rather than what you should do or should stop doing), you will invariably end up making resolutions that you are not fully committed to.

"Without commitment, you aren't motivated. After the first setbacks or obstacles, you'll probably quit. So the first rule of New Year Resolutions is to only make resolutions that you can commit to – don't make them because it is 'the thing to do', or because someone has told you that you should...

"Eight Rules for New Year's Resolutions

"Our Eight Rules for New Year's Resolutions will help to set you up for success right from the start. Inevitably you will come up against challenges and road blocks along the way; however by planning ahead and following these rules, you'll be better placed to deal with these problems easily, rather than stumble and quit.

"Rule 1: Commit to Your Resolution...

Choose resolutions that you really want to achieve – and express them in a positive way.
Announce your resolution to everyone around you – they will help to hold you accountable.
Develop a ceremony to mark the beginning of your commitment – this makes it more "real" and special for you.
Don't leave your choice of resolution to the last minute - take time to think about your goals, and make sure that you are mentally committed to them...

"Rule 2: Be Realistic...

"Rule 3: Write It Down...

"Rule 4: Make a Plan

Start by envisioning where you want to be.
Then work back along your path to where you are today, writing down all of the milestones that you need to pass in between.
Decide what you will do to reach each of these milestones, at least at a high level. (You can plan in more detail as you reach that stage.)

"Rule 5: Be Flexible
Not everything will work out precisely the way you planned. If you are too rigid in your approach to making resolutions, the first minor obstacle can throw you off your course completely..."

Rule 6: Use a System of Reminders...

Rule 7: Track Your Progress...

Rule 8: Reward Yourself..."

From the Mind Tools newsletter


10 Steps to Buy a Business

This is the first of three articles in which I describe the processes involved in buying and selling a business. This post is from the Buyer's perspective. The second post and the third post focus on the Seller.

1. ASSEMBLE A TEAM. Buying a business can be a confusing and time-consuming process, particularly for the uninitiated. Before proceeding, a wise buyer assembles a team of experienced advisers familiar with the process. Team members ordinarily would include an accountant, tax adviser and attorney. Others could include a business valuation expert, environmental consultant and other professionals with particular expertise.

2. DETERMINE THE TYPE OF BUSINESS TO BUY. First, decide the general category of business. For example, service, manufacturing, internet, retail. Then consider the specific type of business, such as software developer, flower shop owner, shoe seller. Decide on the size of the business in terms of sales, profits, and the number of employees. Decide whether to seek a business that is profitable and stable or one that is losing money and in need of new management. The more profitable and stable a business, the more it will cost. If you plan to buy a business outside your area of expertise, you should make certain that key employees will stay on after the change in ownership or that similar expertise can be hired.

3. FIND A BUSINESS FOR SALE. Possible sources include business owners, business brokers, investment bankers, print advertising, trade sources and your attorney, accountant and other contacts in your network. Do not overlook any possibility in conducting your search. Business owners are often the best sources of industry information and may be willing to give free advice. Trade sources can be a viable source of information on businesses for sale. Key people within an industry, including suppliers, often know when businesses come up for sale or which owners might be willing to sell if the right offer were presented.

4. INVESTIGATE THE BUSINESS. Preliminary investigation may be conducted prior to making an offer or signing a letter of intent. More complete investigation is undertaken prior to the closing. The major areas to be investigated include the Seller’s financial statements; the status of pending or threatened litigation; business relationships with suppliers and customers; tax matters; the competitive situation; employee relations and benefits plan matters; status of trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets and other intellectual property; corporate, government and regulatory compliance; warranty and product liability issues; and potential environmental liabilities.

5. VALUE THE BUSINESS. Rules of thumb and valuation formulas are a starting point in determining the value of a business. The most useful of these may be the discounted cash flow method which is used to calculate the net present value of the future cash flows of a business based on certain assumptions. Remember that value is not the same as the price that is paid for a business. For many reasons, such as the relative bargaining positions of the parties and the skills of their negotiators, businesses are often purchased for more or less than their valuations. Nonetheless, having an accurate picture of the value of a business is essential in determining whether and how to proceed.

6. MAKE AN OFFER. This is ordinarily done by presenting the Seller with a letter of intent that serves to outline the agreement of the parties on fundamental issues and commits the parties to an exclusive period of negotiations. Price is the central bargaining issue in the transaction, but price cannot be understood without thinking about terms. Terms are often more important than price. It makes a big difference, for instance if a $10 million dollar offer is for stock or assets. The tax consequences for buyer and seller are significantly different depending on the choice. Better for the buyer because of a step up in basis, and worse for the Seller because of double taxation.

Similar considerations apply to liability issues and the timing and type of payments to be made. For instance, asset deals leave the seller exposed to liabilities that are not assumed by the buyer. Stock deals require the buyer to assume the liabilities of the business. Installment payments are worth less than the same amount paid at closing. Payment in stock of the buyer brings its own set of valuation issues.

7. NEGOTIATE DEFINITIVE DOCUMENTATION. The Purchase and Sale Agreement can be a complex document. The major bargaining issues include: price; structure; seller’s representations and warranties; the conduct of the parties pending the closing; and conditions to the closing. In a sense, the entire negotiation process involves the apportionment of liabilities between buyer and seller. This process often is crystallized in a hotly contested negotiation of the agreement’s indemnity provisions.

The parties must agree on who is to bear the risk of post-closing liabilities, both those that have been disclosed and those which are contingent or unknown. The seller wants to sleep at night. The buyer counters that the buyer is paying good money for a business that exists as the Seller has described. The buyer wants protection if the business turns out not to be as advertised. Resolution usually involves agreement on time limits for making claims and limits on the seller’s exposure for certain types of liabilities.

8. ARRANGE FINANCING. The buyer's sources of financing depend in part on the size of the business being purchased. The larger the business being acquired the more sources that are available. Not only does the willingness of a particular lender to participate in the transaction increase, the number of potential lenders increases. Banks, insurance companies, commercial finance companies and venture capital companies all may be interested in providing financing for a larger acquisition. Many smaller businesses are purchased with a significant portion of the purchase price financed by the seller. The buyer, however, usually is required to make a down payment and ensure that adequate working capital sources are available. If the funds needed for the down payment are not readily available, the buyer must look for financing from an outside source.

9. SATISFY CLOSING CONDITIONS. In addition to the buyer obtaining financing, there may be several other conditions to be met before the purchase is closed. Typical closing conditions include: satisfaction with the results of the due diligence investigation; receiving required opinions, approvals and consents; entry into ancillary contracts; and the absence of certain events such as threatening litigation. Typically, buyer and seller cooperate to satisfy the closing conditions in advance of an agreed upon closing date.

10. CLOSE THE TRANSACTION. When the closing date arrives, and all of the conditions to the closing have been met, save those that will be satisfied at the closing, the parties and their representatives ordinarily assemble and lay out the paperwork. In neat piles on tables are found bills of sale, required consents, officer’s certificates, opinions of counsel, and other transfer memorabilia. After dealing with the inevitable last minute snafus, documents are signed, wire transfers are completed and the business changes hands.


Startup Legal Docs

The Fort Worth Startup Blog provides the entrepreneurial community with access to a set of founder-friendly startup documents from theFunded.com. Please note that these documents are most useful as a starting point and will likely require modification and negotiation to fit particular circumstances.


Characteristics of Great Companies

Great companies:

1) are constantly innovating and delighting their customers/users with new products and services.

2) are built to last and be independent and sustainable. Great companies don't sell out.

3) make lots of money but leave even more money on the table for their users and partners.

4) don't look elsewhere for ideas. They develop their ideas internally and are copied by others.

5) infect their users/customers with their brand. They turn their users and customers into marketing/salesforces.

6) are led by entrepreneurs who own a meaningful piece of the business. As such, they make decisions based on long term business needs and objectives not short term goals.

7) have a global mindset. They treat every person in the world as a potential customer/user.

8) are attempting to change the world in addition to making money.

9) are not reliant on any one person to deliver their value proposition.

10) put the customer/user first above any other priority.

From this post by Fred Wilson


101 Tips from 50 Small Business Bloggers

This article from American Express OPEN Forum waxes rhapsodic with pithy quotes and comments from top business bloggers, like Seth Godin. Somehow, I was included as well. Enjoy.


New Family Leave Policy - Have Family? Please Leave

"Our health insurer, after receiving our most recent check for premiums, has asked us to expand our Family Leave program. If you have a family, please leave."

from a phony layoff memo, the latest by "Jeremy Blachman, the founder of the Anonymous Lawyer blog, author of a (very funny) novel of the same name, and a past contributor to the [WSJ] Law Blog (here, here), [who] gives his humorous take today on the past 18 months or so in the world of BigLaw."


Leadership Lessons for Hard Times

"During the current global recession, much attention has been devoted to the mistakes that sparked the financial and economic crisis, in hopes of not repeating them. Less has been given to what’s been done well amid the turmoil—to learn, for example, how best to lead a company through these tough times.

"To contribute to that understanding, ... [McKinsey] interviewed the leaders of 14 major companies... all seasoned CEOs or chairmen, asking them to reflect on what they felt they had learned... What emerges from the interviews is agreement on some broad principles that can help guide behavior in the executive suite and the boardroom, as well as interactions with employees, customers, and investors":

Confront reality
At board meetings, put strategy center stage
Be transparent with employees . . .
. . . and investors
Build and protect the culture
Keep faith with the future

Read more in this McKinsey Quarterly article.


Mind-Mapping Tools for College Students & Others

As a hardworking student, you have a lot to organize, including essays, exams, deadlines, and class schedules, not to mention your social and personal life – plus any part-time jobs you may have taken on. For help, see this list of mind-mapping tools that are designed to help you see your ideas more clearly, analyze and outline research papers, become more efficient when you study, and get inspired to be more creative in your work.

See also this post from 12manage for an explanation of mind-mapping.


The New Rules for Rock Stars

"Here are the new rules to make it in the [music] business:

"The future is DIY. Learn how to use affordable tools, but remember... software won't solve all of your problems... create awareness... don't underestimate the power of giving away your music for free...

"Fans are the new record label. The business now all depends on the relationship between an artist and their fans, most importantly the uber fans, the ones who buy all the merchandise, go to all the shows, and spread the word about their favorite bands.

"The key to staying in touch with your fans is through e-mail... Have a sign-up sheet at every show. Have your audience text their e-mails to a road manager's cell at the end of every show and promise to personally stay in touch... Build an online community by blasting out webcasts, photoshoots, interviews, and even live streaming concerts. Engage with fans in a meaningful way, nothing forced or fake...

"Build a management team to take care of the tools, marketing, and technology. If you're just starting out, enlist a college music lover to build your brand. Sign any deal as long as it's short-term if it's going to get you noticed. Otherwise you're not going to be on the radar.

"Start local, start tribal... Connect with similar bands doing similar music and go on tour with them. Build your own scene and work to break through together..."

Read more in this walletpop.com article from which the preceding was quoted.


Series AA Equity Financing Documents

"Y Combinator and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are happy to announce the Series AA Equity Financing Documents. Their goal is to make angel funding rounds for startups easier for both sides.

"These documents were originally created for YC-funded startups to use when raising angel rounds. They seem to have worked well in trial runs so far, so we're open-sourcing them.

While they may not be suitable for all situations, the goal was to make the terms fairly neutral. So while we would of course advise both parties using these documents to have their lawyers look at them, they provide a starting point that we hope can be used in many situations without too many modifications.

"Needless to say, neither YC nor WSGR [nor I] assumes any responsibility for any consequence of using these documents.

Series AA Termsheet
Series AA Stock Purchase Agreement
Series AA Board Consent
Series AA Stockholder Consent
Series AA Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation
Series AA Investors' Rights Agreement "

From this Y Combinator post: Series AA Equity Financing Documents


Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship for College Students

"Becoming an entrepreneur can be one of the most rewarding decisions of your life. Understanding how to separate yourself from the rest of the rat race and put yourself in control of your own life is incredibly empowering. By choosing this path, you are giving yourself the ability to control your own destiny rather than simply choosing to work for someone else...

"You will not and cannot be a “Jack of All Trades” as an entrepreneur – you will need to focus on what you do best and hire, contract and outsource others to do those things that are not your forte. However, that does not dismiss your responsibility to have a well-rounded education and familiarity with various core business topics. You need to be able to effectively and intelligently communicate on those topics if for no other purpose than to properly evaluate those that you hire. If you don’t have the most basic understanding of accounting, how can you possibly search for the proper qualifications for a crucial and strategic business account for your new endeavor?

"The point of this article [How To Become a Great Entrepreneur - Important skills and classes for successful entrepreneurs] is to illustrate that an entrepreneur, while a specialist, must still be very well rounded in his or her education in order be able to see all sides of the issues in front of them. Successful entrepreneurs are able to effectively wear multiple hats and shift from role to role as necessary. They surely won’t be an expert in everything, but they know enough to surround themselves with great talent and know how to evaluate that talent. By leveraging the efforts of others, they can boost their own performance as well as free themselves up to pursue other endeavors as well.

"While not all may be cut out for the entrepreneurial lifestyle, for those that are, it can be extremely rewarding and provide freedom and flexibility far beyond the cubicle walls of any corporate job. It will, however, take discipline and a great deal of self-control in order to keep yourself on the right track and focused on the target. You will have to shuffle between a lot of different skill sets and responsibilities and using your college education to create a strong foundation is clearly your best bet for long term success."


Bocce : Everything You Always Wanted to Know

My friend and classmate, Matt Flournoy and wife Joanne host the Annual Marietta Kiwanis Club Bocce Party at their home in Marietta, Georgia. Here are their rules and related instructional videos for all you bocce enthusiasts or curiousts out there.

Bocce Rules and Definitions/ Non Uniform Local Rules of Flournoy Bocce , and Bocce Instructional Videos by Joanne Flournoy (Joanne R. Flournoy) and Matt Flournoy (Matthew C. Flournoy) in Marietta Cobb County Georgia

Joanne Flournoy ( Joanne R. Flournoy)and Matt Flournoy ( Matthew C. Flournoy) have a lighted out door Bocce Ball Court in their back yard in Marietta Cobb County Georgia. The Bocce Court is 60 feet long and 12 feet wide. The surface is granite dust.

We recommend that you read the Bocce Rules and Definitions, and then watch the 21 short Bocce Instructional Videos linked below before you play. The 21 short Bocce Instructional videos average only 13 seconds in time. The total time of all 21 videos is only 265 seconds or 4.4 minutes.

21 Short Bocce Instructional Videos created by Joanne Flournoy ( Joanne R. Flournoy) and Matt Flournoy (Matthew C. Flournoy) on September 3, 2006 in Marietta Cobb County Georgia.
(Click on each to view):
1. Introduction to Bocce (18 seconds).
2. Bocce Court (11 seconds).
3. Bocce Balls (22 seconds).
4. Palino, the target ball (7 seconds).
5. Object of Bocce Ball (11 seconds).
6. Foot fault line (10 seconds).
7. Bowling the Palino (12 seconds).
8. Bowling the first Bocce Ball (9 seconds).
9. Bowling the second Bocce Ball (13 seconds).
10. In Team versus Out Team (17 seconds).
11. Bowling the third Bocce Ball (16 seconds).
12. Green Team is In and Red Team is Out (10 seconds).
13. Ok to hit the Palino with Bocce Balls (10 seconds).
14. Ok to hit Bocce Balls with other Bocce Balls (15 seconds).
15. Red Team is In and Green Team is Out (8 seconds).
16. One point frame scoring (20 seconds).
17. Two point frame scoring (13 seconds).
18. Three point frame scoring (9 seconds).
19. Four point frame scoring, the maximum points possible per frame (10 seconds).
20. Scoring after each frame (12 seconds).
21. Scoreboard, first team to score 11 points wins the Bocce game (12 seconds).


What I Wish I Knew When I Was Twenty

Stanford Technology Ventures Program's Executive Director Tina Seelig shares rich insights in creative thinking and the entrepreneurial mindset. Her talk, based on her 2009 book, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, cites numerous classroom successes of applied problem-solving and the lessons of failure. The Art of Teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Sample Board Meeting Minutes

This Brad Feld post provides a good template for a sample set of board meeting minutes following the wise lawyer's advice to keep it light, stating:

"I go to a lot of board meetings. As a result, I’ve reviewed a lot of board meeting minutes. In general, the philosophy among most VC-backed companies – promulgated by the law firms for these companies – is to keep the board minutes “light.” They should cover the substance of the meeting and have any specific votes, option grants, or board level issues documented, but they should not contain extensive details about the presentations giving in the board meeting.

"I regularly get asked for “sample board meeting minutes”, especially among newly funded companies that are just starting to have board meetings and might not have their outside counsel present at the meeting (although most outside counsel’s that are credible and used to working with early stage companies will attend board meetings at no charge – just ask as part of your initial interview process with the firm – it’s very useful to them to be there so they can stay up to speed on what is happening at the company.)"


Trade-marks guide updated | eLegal Canton

David Canton has updated and split into 2 his trade-marks guide. trade-marks-guide-part-1-registering-a-trade-mark summarizes what one should know before selecting and registering a trade-mark, and the advantages of registering. trade-marks-guide-part-2-after-registration summarizes how to properly use and care for a trade-mark after it is registered.

Source: Trade-marks guide updated.


Findlaw's Small Business Center

FindLaw's Small Business Center provides information and resources for small business owners, and help for entrepreneurs seeking to get a business idea off the ground. Here you can get information on choosing and forming the right legal structure for your business, legal tips on day-to-day business operations, an overview of employment law issues, and much more.

100 Awesome Blogs for Your Business Education

I am happy to report that my blog was included in this list of 100 Awesome Blogs for Your Business Education. Thanks to Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends for the link.


Pursue M&A Stages in Parallel

"Many companies diminish their effectiveness by managing M&A as a linear process. They treat each stage of a deal as if they were handing off the baton in a relay race, switching from the boardroom team, to the negotiating team, to the integration planning program leaders, to line management. This approach lengthens the time line of the acquisition, exposes the newly merged company to the impatience of the markets, and makes it harder to resolve issues early — so they surface later, causing additional delays and difficulties. The alternative is to pursue the stages of M&A in parallel (with substantial overlap and continuous referencing back and forth), managed by a single large team whose members communicate easily and regularly with one another and with the rest of the organization. This type of process places great demands on resources, time, and staff. But the results are worth the added effort." To better understand this approach, read more in this strategy + business article.


Twitter Guide Book

"Twitter is a social network used by millions of people, and thousands more are signing up every day to send short messages to groups of friends. But where's the user manual for Twitter? Where do new Twitter users go to learn about Tweeting, retweets, hashtags and customizing your Twitter profile? Where do you go if you want to know all about building a community on Twitter, or using Twitter for business? How can you find advanced tools for using Twitter on your phone or your desktop? To answer all these questions and more.." check out the Twitter Guide Book – How To, Tips and Instructions by Mashable

More on Risk Management

"First, remember that risk — the probability of an outcome significantly different from the expected — can produce both surprisingly good as well as surprisingly bad results. Be as ready to seize the wondrously good as you are to shield yourself and others from the horrendously bad.

"Second, in dealing with exposures to loss, put risk control before risk financing. It is always better to prevent losses, to minimize losses, or to make losses more predictable than it is to pay for potentially large and unforeseen losses. Good risk control makes more efficient use of a company's or a country's resources than does any kind of risk financing.

"Third, in managing risk in either gains or losses, be as self-sufficient as you can. Here, the "you" can be an individual, a household, an organization, public entity, a country, or even a continent. The more you are self-sufficient, the less you have to pay someone else to safeguard you from, or to indemnify you for, unexpected losses. Likewise, when unforeseen opportunities for gain arise, being self-sufficient enables you to keep more of the gains for yourself or for those you serve."

from I Will Write No More Forever. Thanks to Jim for the link.


Risk Management in a Nutshell

"'Risk Management' is the art and science of thinking about what could go wrong, and what should be done to mitigate those risks in a cost-effective manner.

"In order to identify risks and figure out how best to mitigate them, we first need a framework for classifying risks.

"All risks have two dimensions to them: likelihood of occurrence, and severity of the potential consequences. These two dimensions form four quadrants, which in turn suggest how we might attempt to mitigate those risks:

Read more in this VC Experts article.


Widow of Murdered Fly Sues

WASHINGTON -- The widow of the housefly murdered by Barack Obama during a recent CNBC television interview announced this morning that she would be filing a wrongful death suit against the President in federal district court. The plaintiff brief -- citing pain, suffering and loss of income -- seeks a formal apology and compensatory damages, including an unspecified quantity of shit.

"Bob was a wonderful husband and provider," said the widow, Mrs. Vivian Vvzzvzwwzzz, wiping tears from her compound eyes. "Even though he was always busy at the Rose Garden turd pile, he always flew home in time to tuck in our maggots."

Read more in this iowahawk post, found via this post from overlawyered.


Zombies are People Too

I borrowed from the local library and have been watching this Course on Understanding the Brain taught by Jeanette Norden. Doctor Norden is a wonderful lecturer and makes a fascinating and complex subject easier to understand.

Stephanie West Allen suggests perhaps a more fun and very novel way to learn about your brain:

What a sense of humor! Dr. Steven Schlozman, an expert on zombies, recently wrote a paper on the topic. The fake medical journal article, described in A Harvard Psychiatrist Explains Zombie Neurobiology (io9), is about:

the zombie plague, which he calls Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, or ANSD (the article has five authors: one living, three "deceased" and one "humanoid infected").

I posted a link to Dr. Schlozman's lecture on zombie brains because he teaches about our brains, too, and it's a fun way to learn. (The good doctor is funny.) Click for a summary of the zombie lecture. A shorter summary comes from sodahead in Zombies Real, Says Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. Steven Schlozman: How would you survive a zombie invasion?


Dr. Schlozman says zombies can only be fueled by rage. The amygdala then, is what powers zombies, just as in crocodiles. To this, Schlozman says "You can't really be mad at zombies, because that's like being mad at a crocodile."

...Watch the lecture. You will laugh and learn...


New Yorkers now at liberty to shoot wild fowl in their own state


This delightful headline is courtesy of the October 10, 1909 edition of the New York Tribune recently posted to Flickr by the Library of Congress. The image is part of the Chronicling America project. This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program and is well worth a visit.


Don't Call Me Crazy on the 4th of July

"In the early 1970s Bob Lansberry began protesting on the streets of Pittsburgh, wearing signs accusing specific government officials of withholding or censoring his mail and subliminally controlling his mind. His signs and fliers proclaiming messages such as WHY CAN'T LANSBERRY GET MAIL? and ARE YOU MIND CONTROLLED? became icons of downtown Pittsburgh life.

"Several times during the 1980s, Lansberry ran for public office. In 1984 his campaign carried Kennedy Township in the race for U.S. House, And garnered over 30,000 votes in his bid for clerk of courts, though ultimately losing both races.

"During the approximately 30 years that he spent protesting on the street, seeking proof that the government was controlling his mind through a radio receiver in his dental filling, Lansberry wrote frequent letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation requesting the contents of any files that were kept on him. Several years prior to his death he received over 400 pages of documents from the FBI detailing their interest in his life beginning in 1975, shortly after he took to the streets."

This interesting short film, "Don't Call Me Crazy on the 4th of July," points out that when Lansberry put on those signs and went before the public, he was asking us a question, "Who is crazier, the guy who believes people are controlling him and fights back, or the people who believe they are free, and still do what they're told to do."


Iconic Depression Era Photographs Released

The Library of Congress has created a remarkable set, FSA/OWI Favorites, which includes the “Migrant Mother,” by Dorothea Lange, the original film negative of which is housed at the Library of Congress. The Library preserves Lange’s original, and makes the digitized photo freely available. “Migrant Mother” is part of a landmark photo documentary project based in the U.S. Resettlement Administration, the Farm Security Administration (FSA), and later the Office of War Information (OWI). The most active years were 1935-1943, and the collection was transferred to the Library of Congress in 1944.

The Library of Congress’ newest set features 10 of the most frequently requested photos plus staff picks to introduce you to the vast archive of about 170,000 negatives and 107,000 prints of life in America during the Great Depression and World War II. Do not miss a visit to the FSA/OWI Collection in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) at LOC to explore more of these amazing photos by gifted photographers who worked with 35mm and large format sheet film. Please go to the Library of Congress’ blog post for much more information and insight.

If you have never seen these, don’t pass up a moment to experience them.

Reprinting this Flickr Blog post


Soften Your Heart at the Tenement Museum

No need to close your eyes and imagine what it might have been like for immigrants in turn-of-the-20th-century America to struggle mightily for a piece of the promise of the American dream. Visit the Tenement Museum and see it and feel it for yourself, as I did on Tuesday.

It's not that you leave your imagination at the door. Rather, your wonderings take wing in context as you meet the ghosts of past inhabitants of 97 Orchard Street on New York City's lower east side.

On our tour, you stand crowded in dark, tiny tenement rooms once called home by a German-Jewish family who survived the Panic of 1873 and an Italian Catholic brood who outlasted the Great Depression. You are crowded shoulder to shoulder with other curious historians, many of them, descendants of the very immigrants whose lives we touch, standing there. With words and answers and pictures and questions and breathing in the dense history, you are transported to a teeming time, a dreaming time, the same American dream that drew my ancestors and that continues to draw 'em in even as we speak. Great stuff. Check it out if you have a chance.

For more see Tenement Museum Flickr Photostream and Tenement Museum Blog.


Change Management Toolbook

"Are you personally ready for change? Is your team in serious need of new ways to work together? How can your organization deal with a change project which lacks focus or direction? Do you want to know why change is inevitable but hard to achieve? Do you want to surf on the waves of change? You will find some of the answers to your questions in the new Change Management Toolbook website.

"The Change Management Toolbook is a collection of more than 120 tools, methods and strategies which you can apply during different stages of personal, team and organizational development, in training, facilitation and consulting. It is divided into three principle sections: Self, Team and Larger System.

Change Management starts and ends with individuals. As the system theory says, you cannot really predict how a person reacts to a certain stimulus. So, if you want to introduce change into a system, you will most likely need to think about what skills, behaviours and belief systems the members of the system will need to be part of the change effort.

At the heart of modern organizations are teams that share the responsibility and the resources for getting things done. Most projects are too complex to be implemented by one person, most services need different specialists and support staff to be delivered, and most products are the result of the work of a larger resources team or supply chain. We know that teams can either perform at their peak, or can be terribly inefficient.

"Larger Systems
Change processes are mostly initiated by either individuals or small teams, but the focus of change is one which goes beyond that small unit. It is directed towards the entire organization, or towards other organizations. A change project might be related to a community, a region or an entire society (and, yes: to the world as a whole)."


50 Common Interview Questions

Bhuvana Sundaramoorthy shares a great list of typical questions you are likely to be asked in your next job interview together with suggestions on how to answer them. This is an excellent list also for those conducting such interviews. Notably absent from the list is the cliche question "What is your greatest weakness?" although it is noted in the comments that interviewers who ask this question do not know what they are doing.

Leadership in a Nutshell

Gill Corkindale shares this summary of what it takes to be a good leader:

1. Be aware. Understand yourself and your context. Know your own strengths, limitations, and development needs. If you don't have time to build your skills, bring people into your team who will complement you. Be aware of the organization and the people you are leading. If you have moved from a start-up to an established organization, for example, the people and the rules of engagement will be very different.

2. Have a plan. Know where you are going. One great definition of leadership is to have followers. If you cannot create a sense of the future, no one can follow you.

3. Build relationships. Give more of yourself. A leader has to get things done through others, so people skills are critical. Take time to get to know your peers, bosses, and subordinates. Talk less, listen more, and remember the details of what people say. Investing time to understand the roles, ideas, and personalities of those around you will yield a strong network, corporate allies, motivated staff, and personal goodwill.

4. Deliver. Get things done. Whatever your line of business, you need to show the results of your leadership. So whether it's a better product, an improved service, a higher profit or share price, make sure you deliver.

5. Have integrity. Get your values right. Your values define who you are and why others should work for you. The important point here is that values should be lived, not written down or occasionally talked about. Show by your own example that honesty, truth, transparency, respect, and sustainability matter.


25 Random Things About Me

1. I’ve been a pauper, a poet, a paper boy, car wash attendant, commercial bakery worker, cemetery grass cutter, book warehouseman, hod carrier, construction laborer, television delivery man, jet refueler, lavatory cleaner, ditch digger, law clerk, attorney, actor and professor

2. After a deep spiritual experience, I spent a frosty warm night in a yak-hair tent called the Hotel California at the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet.

3. I was recruited to play football at Princeton University. Otherwise, I may not have considered applying to and attending Old Nassau. What a lucky break.

4. During law school, I was in a garage band we called Permanently Band, playing for friends and ourselves original songs that I wrote in a burst of creativity that I have not experienced since.

5. Lately, I am more concerned with spiritual growth, awareness, seeking and searching than with anything else.

6. In her youth, I appeared onstage with my darling daughter, Deirdre, in three community theater productions – To Kill a Mockingbird, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Impossible Years.

7. I was tricked into auditioning for a role without knowing it in To Kill a Mockingbird when the director asked me to fill in during a rehearsal for a missing player. He then informed me that the missing player had left the production and asked if I would take over the role of Mr. Cunningham.

8. This led to a wonderful moment in the play when Scout (Deirdre) recognizes Mr. Cunningham (me) in the lynch mob and defuses a tense situation. The way we staged it, I took a couple of threatening steps toward Deirdre before dropping to my knees in front of her to speak my lines. What a wondrous memory.

9. Come to think of it, I have a lot of enduring pictures of Deirdre in my mind. One is of her playing mob or beehive soccer when she was a tyke. She was apart from the swarm twirling her pigtails and I was screaming from the sidelines, “Go after the ball!”

10. I am a third cousin of Tampa Bay Rays manager, Joe Maddon.

11. When I was growing up I knew my grandparents as “Grandma and Grandpa from Hazleton” and “Grandma and Grandpa Next Door”

12. When I was little, I read every Nancy Drew mystery I could lay my hands on.

13. My favorite author, though, was Edgar Allen Poe. What a combination.

14. I once drove the 120 miles from Princeton NJ to Scranton PA all the way without ever coming to a complete stop. The clutch in my yellow VW bug was shot and made a horrendous grinding noise if the car had to be started from a complete stop.

15. I know all the two letter state postal abbreviations by heart from years working in the book warehouse and shipping operation that my father ran as general manager.

16. We put our Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving and just took it down and put it away this week (2nd week of February). I love decorating the tree. When I open the boxes containing the ornaments, I think and say, “Hello, old friends.”

17. I have a bunch of buddies from playing pickup basketball who, for many years, I only knew by their nicknames – Sluggo, Gumby, Goober, Buzzy, Dog.

18. Despite spending most of my life now in Western Pennsylvania, I have never visited the Andy Warhol Museum, the National Aviary, or the Regional History Museum.

19. Growing up, I was a New York Yankees and New York Giants fan. Now I root for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

20. I am a fan of classic country music, even though I grew up strictly listening to rock and roll. Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline and the rest touch my soul.

21. On the Friday before Christmas, I pulled out my axe and sang Christmas carols for the “pirohi ladies” at St. Mary’s Church in Ambridge PA while I waited for my three dozen.

22. I represented the creator of one of the first internet search engines in connection with the Initial Public Offering of the company commercializing his invention.

23. I am partially blind in one eye.

24. I am part of a loving family.

25. I am on a journey of discovery.


Weasels & Other Super Bowl Ad Critters

In this essay, Jeffrey Schrank gives a list of the techniques advertisers employ to make claims for their products. I have reprinted selections from the article and used Super Bowl ads that I believe illustrate the concepts Professor Schrank stresses:

"The 'claim' is the verbal or print part of an ad that makes some claim of superiority for the product being advertised... some are honest statements about a truly superior product, but most fit into the category of neither bold lies nor helpful consumer information. They balance on the narrow line between truth and falsehood by a careful choice of words.

"The reason so many ad claims fall into this category of pseudo-information is that they are applied to parity products, products in which all or most of the brands available are nearly identical. Since no one superior product exists, advertising is used to create the illusion of superiority. The largest advertising budgets are devoted to parity products such as gasoline, cigarettes, beer and soft drinks, soaps, and various headache and cold remedies...

"The first rule of parity involves the Alice in Wonderlandish use of the words "better" and "best." In parity claims, "better" means "best" and "best" means "equal to."
When the "king" in this Castrol commercial states that nothing beats Castrol Edge brand motor oil in wear protection, he is not claiming Castrol is the best motor oil or that it is better than any other, even though it seems so. Note that this commercial also demonstrates a scientific claim as explained in number 8 below. And how much more vague can you get (see number 6 below) than the tag line "It's more than just oil; it's liquid engineering."

Regarding the scientific claim that Castrol Edge provides 8x better wear protection than Mobil 1 5w 30, a rocket scientist might have trouble figuring out what this actually means.

If you are able to navigate skillfully, the Castrol website contains an explanation of the test results on which the claim is based. As I understand it, the industry standard test is designed to determine whether an oil meets some minimum level of "oilness". The touted differences are measured in microns.

Many questions are not answered, such as "Are apples and apples being compared? Do other tests show different results? How does this test relate to conditions an ordinary consumer encounters in using the oil? How do the prices of the two oils compare?"

One can go on and on. The point is that the "scientific" claim creates the impression of superiority without actually stating so clearly and unequivocally.

"To create the necessary illusion of superiority, advertisers usually resort to one or more of the following ten basic techniques. Each is common and easy to identify.

A weasel word is a modifier that practically negates the claim that follows...Words or claims that appear substantial upon first look but disintegrate into hollow meaninglessness on analysis are weasels. Commonly used weasel words include 'helps' (the champion weasel); 'like' (used in a comparative sense);...'virtually';...'can be';...'up to';...'fights';...'fortified';...'enriched';...'strengthened'...

[e.g]...'Helps control dandruff symptoms with regular use.' The weasels include 'helps control,' and possibly even 'symptoms' and 'regular use.' The claim is not 'stops dandruff....

'Leaves dishes virtually spotless.' We have seen so many ad claims that we have learned to tune out weasels. You are supposed to think spotless,' rather than 'virtually' spotless...
"Help" is on the way:

The unfinished claim is one in which the ad claims the product is better, or has more of something, but does not finish the comparison...[e.g]'Magnavox gives you more.' More what?...'You can be sure if it's Westinghouse.' Sure of what?
What's G?:

This kind of claim states that there is nothing else quite like the product being advertised...The uniqueness claim is supposed to be interpreted by readers as a claim to superiority...[e.g]'There's no other mascara like it.'...
Other beers drink like a guy smashing into a tree:

'Water is wet' claims say something about the product that is true for any brand in that product category, (for example, 'Schrank's water is really wet.') The claim is usually a statement of fact, but not a real advantage over the competition... [e.g.]'Great Lash greatly increases the diameter of every lash.'..."SKIN smells differently on everyone.' As do many perfumes.
Dogs make better pets than big wild animals:

This is the kind of claim to which the careful reader will react by saying "So What?" A claim is made which is true but which gives no real advantage to the product. This is similar to the "water is wet" claim except that it claims an advantage which is not shared by most of the other brands in the product category...

[e.g.]...'Campbell's gives you tasty pieces of chicken and not one but two chicken stocks.' Does the presence of two stocks improve the taste? 'Strong enough for a man but made for a woman.' This deodorant claim says only that the product is aimed at the female market.
The first diet cola for men:

The vague claim is simply not clear. This category often overlaps with others. The key to the vague claim is the use of words that are colorful but meaningless, as well as the use of subjective and emotional opinions that defy verification. Most contain weasels...

"[e.g.]'Lips have never looked so luscious.' Can you imagine trying to either prove or disprove such a claim?...'Its deep rich lather makes hair feel good again.'...
Lots of candidates here - Virtually all of the Bud light commercials "only beer with just the right taste" "difference is drinkability" "Bud light is easy to drink" "Bud light has an easy drinking taste" and this one - More intelligent electricity?:

A celebrity or authority appears in an ad to lend his or her stellar qualities to the product. Sometimes the people will actually claim to use the product, but very often they don't...

This kind of ad uses some sort of scientific proof or experiment, very specific numbers, or an impressive sounding mystery ingredient...[e.g]'Special Morning--33% more nutrition.' Also an unfinished claim...

This kind of claim butters up the consumer by some form of flattery...[e.g]'We think a cigar smoker is someone special.'...'If what you do is right for you, no matter what others do, then RC Cola is right for you.'...'You've come a long way, baby.'
"For drivers who want to get the most:

This technique demands a response from the audience. A question is asked and the viewer or listener is supposed to answer in such a way as to affirm the product's goodness...[e.g]'Shouldn't your family be drinking Hawaiian Punch?'..."
Isn't it time?:


Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong

"Every Communist must grasp the truth, 'Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.'

“Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.”

“In waking a tiger, use a long stick.”

"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."

"Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment. ... If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself.... If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience."

"The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie. In this respect, the question of which will win out, socialism or capitalism, is still not really settled… It will take a fairly long period of time to decide the issue in the ideological struggle between socialism and capitalism in our country."

"We should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports."

"Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."

"Our army has always had two policies. First, we must be ruthless to our enemies, we must overpower and annihilate them. Second, we must be kind to our own, to the people, to our comrades and to our superiors and subordinates, and unite with them."

"We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun."

"Our principles of operation are:

'(1) Attack dispersed, isolated enemy forces first; attack concentrated, strong enemy forces later…

'(4) In every battle, concentrate an absolutely superior force (two, three, four and sometimes even five or six times the enemy's strength), encircle the enemy forces completely, strive to wipe them out thoroughly and do not let any escape from the net. In special circumstances, use the method of dealing the enemy crushing blows, that is, concentrate all our strength to make a frontal attack and an attack on one or both of his flanks, with the aim of wiping out one part and routing another so that our army can swiftly move its troops to smash other enemy forces….

'(5) Fight no battle unprepared, fight no battle you are not sure of winning; make every effort to be well prepared for each battle, make every effort to ensure victory in the given set of conditions as between the enemy and ourselves.

'(6) Give full play to our style of fighting - courage in battle, no fear of sacrifice, no fear of fatigue, and continuous fighting (that is, fighting successive battles in a short time without rest).

'(7) Strive to wipe out the enemy when he is on the move…

'(9) Replenish our strength with all the arms and most of the personnel captured from the enemy. Our army's main sources of manpower and materiel are at the front.

'(10) Make good use of the intervals between campaigns to rest, train and consolidate our troops. Periods of rest, training and consolidation should not in general be very long, and the enemy should so far as possible be permitted no breathing space…"


Jump in my Oscars Pool

You are invited to my free fun Frog Soda The Oscars - 81st Annual Academy Awards Pool: Anthony's Oscar Pool.

- go to the league page, http://www.frogsoda.com/awards_ceremony.php?Action=viewleague&lid=1014&aid=21

- if clicking on the link doesn't work, copy and paste it into your browser

- if you are a Frog Soda member, click "log in", if not click "Sign Up"

- Once you have created an account and are signed in, click "Join League"

- This is a private league, you will need the password to join: oscar


Why Rumors Spread

"Rumors have a way of slipping under our mental defenses before we think to question them. The best ones sidestep common sense entirely...Most of us don't like to think of ourselves as gullible. But we're especially likely to accept as true—and do our best to spread—tales that have several specific characteristics that take aim at our best defenses...

"1: Successful rumors needle our anxieties and emotions...Fear breeds rumor. The more collective anxiety a group has, the more inclined it will be to start up the rumor mill...we pass rumors around primarily as a means of deciphering scary, uncertain situations. Exchanging information, even if it's ludicrously false, relieves our unease by giving us a sense that we at least know what's happening...

"2: Rumors stick if they're somewhat surprising but still fit with our existing biases....If you already think liberals are waging a war on religion, you'll be more likely to buy 2008's (untrue) rumor that the new dollar coins omit the customary "In God We Trust." (It's printed along the side.)...Even when presented with evidence refuting a rumor, we often stick to our biases...

"3: Easily swayed people are more important than influential people in passing on a rumor...."It's your willingness to pass things along that matters"... Kids will believe almost anything (another long-lived schoolyard rumor claimed the "Mikey likes it" Life cereal kid died after a mixture of soda and Pop Rocks made his stomach explode), and thus rumors run rampant in schools. But the same is true of gullible adults: They're the ones who really fuel rumors...

"4: The more you hear a rumor, the more you'll buy it—even if you're hearing that it's false....

"5: Rumors reflect the zeitgeist...Rumors have the greatest chance of multiplying when the topic is something people are already pondering...

"6: Sticky rumors are simple and concrete....Examine your stockpile of offbeat conventional wisdom...We only use 10 percent of our brains. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space. People swallow eight spiders a year in their sleep. These tidbits are all simple and specific, with a vivid detail that sticks in the mind. They're also false. But they illustrate the point that tangible, easily graspable tales have an excellent chance of catching on...

"7: Rumors that last are difficult to disprove....Why do people still believe there's a giant prehistoric reptile prowling Loch Ness, even though innumerable hours of investigation have produced zero proof of such a creature? Well, it's a pretty big lake: How can we be sure she's not in there? It's tough to disprove the idea definitively...

"8: We are eager to believe bad things about people we envy.... Once someone hits a certain level of celebrity and adulation, it seems, the mill starts to churn automatically—and the more beautiful and successful the star, the more depraved the rumors. Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite. Cher (or Janet Jackson) had a rib removed so she'd look skinnier. Catherine the Great died trying to make love to a horse..."

Some of these read like a manual for marketers.

Read more in this Psychology Today article.


A Story of Strength, Triumph and Oats

Defense wins championships, but the offenses stepped up when it counted in last night's Super Bowl. When Fitzgerald scored the go-ahead touchdown, I was drained, deflated, yet hopeful.

Somehow, the Steelers have become a team that can mount a charge from behind in the final minutes of a game and win. All the same, I was sweating, "Is this one for Warner? Can the Steelers do it again?"

Mom couldn't take it. Dad said she had to go upstairs and stop watching the game after Fitz scored. I know exactly how she felt. It was a bit too exciting, a little too heart wrenching.

But how 'bout that Ben Roethlisberger? Mr. Clutch. And Santonio Holmes becoming a man right before your eyes on the big stage.

And how about that James Harrison? If that six pick was not the best play in Super Bowl history, I don't know what was. I was exhausted and exhilarated after he scored. What a game.


Reverend Lowery Wows Me

Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights icon and a pastor known to speak his mind to power, opened his inauguration benediction with the first words of what is called the Negro National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears...

Lowery implored God to help Americans make "choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance."

He updated the famous passages from Isaiah, suggesting humanity "beat tanks into tractors." He called for a time, quoting Micah 4:4, when every man shall sit beneath his vine and fig tree and live in peace and unafraid, Amos 5:24 , "let justice will roll down like waters."

Rev. Lowery ended his benediction with a rhyme familiar to black churchgoers:

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around..."

There was laughter from the enormous crowd. The 87-year-old civil rights pioneer continued:

"When yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

The crowd thundered, "Amen!"


I Have a Dream Today

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

"I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

"I have a dream today!

"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of 'interposition' and 'nullification -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

"I have a dream today!

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; 'and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.'

"This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

"And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

'My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!'

"And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

"And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

"But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

'Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'

From the "I have a dream" speech delivered by Martin Luther King forty five years ago today. For the complete text, audio recording and accompanying video, visit American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - I Have a Dream

It's Polamalu


How to Run a Meeting Like Google

This article from BusinessWeek offers the following cure for the ubiquitous, unproductive meetings, drawing on lessons learned from Marissa Mayer, Google's vice-president of search products.

"Mayer holds an average of 70 meetings a week and serves as the last stop before engineers and project managers get the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Google's co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Eight teams consisting of directors, managers, and engineers—all at various stages of product development—answer to Mayer.

"In a shop like Google (GOOG), much of the work takes place in meetings, and her goal is to make sure teams have a firm mandate, strategic direction, and actionable information, while making participants feel motivated and respected. Mayer's six keys to running successful meetings follow:

1. Set a firm agenda...

2. Assign a note-taker...
Google executives are big believers in capturing an official set of notes, so inaccuracies and inconsistencies can be caught immediately.Those who missed the meetings receive a copy of the notes...

3. Carve out micro-meetings.
Mayer sets aside large blocks of time that she slices into smaller, self-contained gatherings on a particular subject or project...That means if she has an employee with an issue that comes up Tuesday, he or she can schedule a 10-minute micro-meeting during Mayer's large time block, instead of waiting for her next 30-minute opening, which might not be available for two weeks.

4. Hold office hours...

5. Discourage politics, use data...

Designs are chosen based on merit and evidence, not personal relationships. Mayer discourages using the phrase 'I like' in design meetings, such as 'I like the way the screen looks.' Instead, she encourages such comments as 'The experimentation on the site shows that his design performed 10% better.' This works for Google, because it builds a culture driven by customer feedback data, not the internal politics that pervade so many of today's corporations.

6. Stick to the clock...

"Please keep in mind that these meeting techniques work well for Google. They may or may not be appropriate for your place of business. But these six keys should give you some new ideas about how to transform your meetings from a waste of time to time well spent."

Updated Steelers Polka Fight Song

Time to take a shot at updating the Steelers polka fight song (sung to the tune of the Pennsylvania polka):

Da-Da-Da-Da-Ta-Da - Charge!

We're from the town with that great football team,
We cheer the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coach Mike and all his friends are all on the field.
Go out and get them Steelers.

Big Ben, Fast Willie, Santonio, Hines,
We love you Pittsburgh Steelers.
It's been many years in coming,
just keep that Steelers machinery humming

Defense, Defense, make them scramble, intercept that ball.
Defense, Defense, keeps the Steelers always best of all!
Po-La-Ma-Lu, do your thing against the other team,
You start from year to year, we're so glad you play here,
Now join with me, and sing the Steelers cheer-er-ER!

We're from the town with that great football team,
We cheer the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Winning's a habit, not only a dream,
Go out and get them Steelers!

Farrior and Harrison are here for the show,
and so is Big Ben's Army,
It's been many years in coming,
just keep that Steelers machinery humming.

Offense, Offense, take that football whole way up the field!
Offense, Offense, let's score and score and never ever yield!
Parker, Mewelde, can you believe we have a running game?

The Steelers are so great, and so hard to overrate,
Good things, will come, to those who work and wait.


For more, see Steeler Songs


Personal SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is a powerful technique for identifying Strengths and Weaknesses, and for examining the Opportunities and Threats you face. Used in a personal context, it helps you develop your career in a way that takes best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.

What makes SWOT particularly powerful is that with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you are well placed to take advantage of. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that would otherwise catch you unawares.

To carry out a SWOT Analysis, check out this
mindtools.com site

The Land of Hatchy Milatchy

There's a wonderful place that you really should see called the Land of Hatchy Milatchy. These are the opening lines to an infectious theme song whirling in a childhood memory.

According to CoalSpeak: a Dictionary of the Coal Region, Hatchy Milatchy was a popular children's show on WNEP-TV (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) in the 1960's and 70's. Hosted by Miss Judy (real name: Lois Burns). The theme song was a popular song sung by Rosemary Clooney. Miss Judy lipsync'd to Rosemary Clooney at the beginning of each show. Another host was the fez-wearing Uncle Ted, a grey-haired man with beard and handlebar mustache. A video of Miss Judy lipsyncing away can be viewed here.

Hatchy Milatchy is the inspiration for Fundle Bundle, a fictional television show featured in in episode 2.24 of the The Office, "Take Your Daughter to Work Day".

As a child, both Michael Scott and Chet Montgomery were on the show, which was hosted by a Ms. Trudy. The clips in "The Office" show a puppet cat interviewing children about their hopes and future dreams.

Here are the lyrics in all their glory:

There's a wonderful place that you really should see
Called the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
All boys and girls love this place yes siree
Called the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Peppermint candy and ice cream is free
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Soda pop fountains are under each tree
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Everyone rides on a-merry-go-round
All made of sugar and spice
Lollipops grow right out of the ground
The moon's made of strawberry ice
If you should run and you trip and you fall
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
The ground's made of rubber you bounce like a ball
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy

Oh you-play the whole day and you don't go to bed
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Mommies and Daddies are put there instead
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Hundreds of bunnies lay Easter eggs
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Ride on a pony with candy strip legs
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy
Each day is always a big holiday
Birthdays and parties galore
Dollies and bicycles given away
Whenever you walk in a store
When I return then I never will leave
The Land of Hatchy Milatchy
If you want to go all you do is believe
In the Land of Hatchy Milatchy.