Archives for July 2009

10 Words

This post started on Twitter – with a simple question.  “What is your favorite word?”.  Read more about it here. Go ahead and read it – it will open in a new window, and I’ll wait.

Back already?  Did you really read that?  OK, no harm no foul.  I’ll wait.  Trusting you to do the right thing here!

OK, assuming you actually did read that the second time, this post may make sense.  If you tried to fake it twice, no problem.  Go read it.  I’ll wait (again).

OK, so you read it!  Great!

Here are my ten favorite words, and why.

1) Helpful – From being a parent to being a boss – helpful is a very powerful word.  Nothing makes me feel better than just being helpful.  Nothing gives my life more meaning.  Really.  It’s fun being helpful – and rewarding!

2) Disruptive – I know this looks like a weird one, but it is actually a great word, and an even better tool that every business should employ.  No company is ever perfect.  Disruptive forces cause people to re-think things.  To question “norms”.  And eventually to re-invent themselves.  Hopefully for the better.

3) Emotion – Because without emotion, nothing has meaning.

4) Compassion – Because all of us should be able to put ourselves in others shoes – to look at that homeless person and think, “if”.  If I had made different decisions, that could have been me.  With different friends, that could have been me. In different circumstances, that could have been me.  Tomorrow, that could be me.

5) Timing – Because many things depend on it.  Including conception 🙂

6) Hope – Every day can be a better day.  For me, for you, for the planet.

7) Trust – I no longer deal with people I can’t trust, even if it costs me money, or love.  I am richer in the end through this decision.

8) Sharing – This encompases a lot – generousity, gratefulness, success.  All things that are better shared – like a hot tub.

9) Friendly – I was recently in Palo Alto, CA.  I walked down the streets during the day, and at night.  Giving everyone I met a cheery “Hello!”.  Some were surprised, and cautious.  Some thought I was a nutcase.  Most smiled back, and some I even started a conversation with.

10) Content – This is something you can only develop within your mind.  Neither job, or car, spouse or savings can make one content.  To be content, you must like who YOU are.

Now, I am certainly not arguing that I have achieved all of these things – but they are what I aspire to 🙂

How about you?  Do your own post, and link back.  And if you tweet it, use the #10words hashtag.  (But if you read the linked post you already knew that!).

Just clarifying a little something

I’ve written several posts on this blog about SeaWorld, San Antonio.  I love SeaWorld.  I love that I have friends there.  I love that they share new events with me.

I have NEVER taken a dime from SeaWorld (and they have never offered me a dime!), or anyone else, for any post on this blog.  My thoughts are my thoughts.  Sure – if SeaWorld shows me something cool, I will probably write about it.  This is NOT any different than what Robert Scoble does, what Techcrunch does, or what any other news blog does.

Why is this coming up?

A recent article in Forbes mentions SeaWorld in conjunction with a pretty negative post about Izea, AKA PayPerPost.

A long-time reader saw that article – and asked me, rather bluntly, if I had taken blogola.

I absolutely have NOT.  I have sold a few ads over the years (maybe totaling $500) based on content I had already written and published, but I have NEVER written a post in trade for anything.  Not even a free beer.  I write what I want to write – nothing more, and nothing less.  NONE of those posts that paid me ad revenue were in any way related to SeaWorld.

It is also true that I *did* sign up for PayPerPost, back in the day.  Back when they were being raked over the coals for being unethical.  I didn’t want to take the word of someone else – I wanted to see how it “worked”.  So yes, I signed up on PayPerPost.  I have NEVER received a dime from them, or submitted ANY content to them.

I find it distressing that SeaWorld is even named in the same post with PayPerPost/Izea/Ted Murphy.  I am also distressed that this has caused my own motives/ethics to be questioned.  I don’t know what is going on in Orlando, Florida, but I am very confident in the SeaWorld San Antonio team, and how they handled the invitations for me to attend events.  They never asked for ANYTHING in return from me.  And I have been to large events, like launching a new roller coaster, to small events, that were more about their vision for the future, etc.  I might have eaten a free taco, but those of you that know me know that I am not an eater – so free food cannot bribe me.

SeaWorld San Antonio is my friend, and I have made many friends there.  My daughter has a season pass that was PAID for (by my ex).

So no.  There was absolutely zero quid pro quo in any of my posts about SeaWorld San Antonio.  Nothing more than friendships.  Like many of my posts, I do talk about cool things friends are doing/have done.

I don’t know the details of this, beyond the article I reference above.

I just know MY SeaWorld here in San Antonio.  And the PR team I have dealt with.  And they have treated me with nothing but respect.  Had they offered to pay me to post, I would have been offended, and they would have lost a customer, and an advocate.  And probably a friend.

Instead they DID respect my morals as a blogger (and as a person) and offered me nothing in exchange for my attendance other than the ability to attend.  To me, that was payment enough.  Friends launched something – and I wanted to be among the first to play with it.  In this case, it was an idea, or a roller coaster.

In most cases, it is a website.

But to me, the same criteria applies – I have to be interested in it, and I need an emotional investment in it.  In the case of SeaWorld San Antonio it was a combination of both.  Loved the new coaster I got to ride, and am emotionally attached to some of the staff.  They are friends.

And friends don’t need to pay me for a post.  Friends know me well enough not to offend me by offering.  Friends know I will write about them when they do something that interests me.


Things You Should Be Jealous Of

Paul pushed me into this with his comment on my post from yesterday.  So Blame Him.

  1. I usually only need 3 hours of sleep a night.  That makes it easy for me to work a lot of hours in one day – because I love working.  When I love my work.
  2. I don’t eat much – one meal a day, at most.  Some days I just don’t eat.  I weigh 138 pounds.  I weighed 145 pounds when I joined the Navy – 30 years ago.  I have a metabolism from hell.
  3. I am a single parent – father.  Got custody of my kids when they were 10 and 12. They are now 18 and 20.  I haven’t fucked them up.
  4. I know who I am, and what I want.  Sure, I question myself at times, but basically I am happy being me.
  5. I get to teach, and this is extremely meaningful to me.
  6. If I can’t make a difference, I can’t work for you.  I need to be an “impact player” – or I take my ball and go home.  It is just how I roll.  In my current role, I am making a difference.
  7. I am divorced, and get along with my ex.  We have keys to each others homes.  We are friends.  We live close together, raise our kids together, and work as a parental unit.  No matter our personal history with each other. I got the best of both worlds.  My kids, and a mother involved in their lives.
  8. I work at home, whenever I want to – which is most of the time.  It is where I do my best work for customers, so my employer allows it.
  9. I live in San Antonio, TX, which is a place I have moved BACK to nearly a dozen times.  I will move again – from my current large home – but NOT from San Antonio.  I am here to stay.  This time.
  10. I have a very few employees – but they are really amazing employees, and I appreciate them every day.  They make me look good, feel good, and act better.  What more could you ask of employees?
  11. Finally – I am at a point in my life that I know what I want.  I know what I need.  And I work for a company that puts up with me sometimes being a bit crazy 🙂  They trust me.  And I trust them.  And THAT is something I have looked for for a long time.

So, Paul – I hope this satisfies you.  It was fun writing, because limiting it to 11 items was tough.


Things I am Jealous of

  1. People that can nap, yet still sleep at night.
  2. People that are always confident.
  3. Cities that have stoplights timed.
  4. People that have been in love for decades.
  5. People that can garden.
  6. Fiber to the home.
  7. The energy and inquisitiveness of Youth
  8. Anyone with a computer newer than mine.
  9. People that are organized.
  10. People that are satisfied.
  11. (BONUS) People that can spell well.

Are you Trouble? Should you be? Can you afford to be?

I am the biggest pain in the ass employee on the planet.  I know this to be true.  It has pretty much always been true.  But it is perhaps most true now.  I am getting older, and I am pretty set in my ways.

I know what I want.  I want to amaze customers.  I know I need support, and when internal systems fail me, I bitch.  LOUDLY.

I know customers depend on me, and the promises I make.  I get pissed if we miss a promise. And I bitch.  LOUDLY.

I am trouble.  I do NOT apologize for it.

I know some of my leadership wonders just WTF they were thinking by hiring me.  But I take care of customers.  So I generally make them happy.  Making people happy is what I love more than anything.

I am trouble.  I don’t accept ANYTHING because that is “the way we do it” and the “norm” generally annoys me.  I don’t care “how we have always done it”.  I don’t want to hear about “rules” if they slow me down.  I want a superhighway – I want nothing in my way.  I want no stoplights.  I just want to help people do what they are best at doing.  Building a website, managing a server, etc.  Doesn’t matter, as long as we make it easy.

I am trouble.  I know this.  I warned my employer before they hired me.  I’m not trying to hide the fact.  I am actually proud of it.

I won’t settle.  I demand a lot.  From my employer, my coworkers; my customers, even.

I also bust my ass 🙂

So before you become Trouble, make sure your are worth the trouble.  Am I?  Every day is telling.  Every challenge is telling. Some days I am more trouble than I am worth, I am sure.  But most days – most days I kick ass and help customers.  Most days, I am worth the trouble.

So far, my employer is standing up pretty damned well, and standing behind me.

So if you are going to be Trouble. make sure you know what value you add.  And make sure you and your employer have some level of agreement.

But if you ever get the chance to be trouble, and get away with it – you can do some amazing things!

If you work really, really hard.

Really hard.

Otherwise trouble will get you fired.