Social Media Gone Sooo Wrong

You just can’t make up this stuff.

SecretCNET, a trusted tech web site, is reporting today about a new app for sex accessible through Facebook (with “friends”) and another for professional folks through LinkedIn.  They’re called “Bang With Friends” and “Bang With Professionals.”  And “Bang” means exactly what you think it does.


I’m not sure who’s going to take the first step to signing up but it’s got trouble written all over it.  I don’t think this is what the two social media sites had in mind when they first invited people to connect.

I’m sure that neither Facebook nor LinkedIn are enthusiastic participants in these ventures; they’re just vehicles for people contacting each other.  But I’d think that they would have some standards.

I think that the LinkedIn version must still be in the “soft” stage because it doesn’t show up on their search option.  The Bang with Friends exists, however, on Facebook and has a large number of “likes.”  Most of the posts are in languages other than English.

HEY!  I was just doing some research, OK?  I wasn’t going too far.

It’s bad enough that there’s a referral service for the air charters offering a Mile High Club option.

Now we’ve got, uh, I think I should just stop now.


My apologies to those who may be offended by this post.  It was just too crazy to ignore.


4 Rules of CEO Survival with Boards

Politics are everywhere.  There are office politics, industry politics, association politics, and if you work for a Board of Directors, Board politics.

Walking on Egg Shells

Walking on Egg Shells

My career included working for a Board of Directors for over 22 years, in charge of a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO).  Since our funding was also tied to an industry (tourism and hospitality) as well as being sanctioned and collected by local government in the form of lodging taxes, I learned very quickly about the many types of politics.

I learned 4 rules that can help you survive in situations fraught with politics.  Some of them are practices you can do or avoid doing.  With the others, you just have to be aware that they exist:

1.  If “they” want something bad enough including your butt, they’ll find a way to get it.
“They” in this case consists of anyone to whom you or your organization report.  Perceptions and opinions can change almost instantly and you need to be on your guard because, as the person in charge, you’re the most vulnerable.  Look at any athletic team:  When the win/loss record goes south, they fire the coach, not the players.

2.  Friends come and friends go but enemies accumulate.
It’s amazing how true this item can seem.  If you’re breaking new ground, making things happen, or “boldly going where no one has gone before,” you’re going to make a few enemies.  Keep track of them and always try to convert them to friends.  Lacking that, do what you can to neutralize their influence.

3.  Any project worth doing and worth doing well is going to tick someone off.
This is related to #2.  Not everyone is going to like every idea or project you undertake.  Ask yourself:  “Who’s going to oppose this?”  Then, include them.  Listen to them.  You may wind up agreeing or just agreeing to disagree.  But you won’t have ambushed them.

4.  It’s not your money; it’s not your organization.
This is the one that kills more of us than any other.  After awhile it’s easy to begin resenting that the Board ultimately controls policy.  After all, they only show up once a month for a meeting.  Hey, you’re there all the time, right?  Who are they to tell you what to do?

Bye, baby.  Your successor will pick up the pieces because you forgot that you don’t own the place.  You run it and you serve at the Board’s discretion.  That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a toady.  You can serve and still keep your self-respect.  It’s called “professionalism.”

Frequently when you’re dealing in political or Board situations, the best gift you can have (or cultivate) is a finely-tuned inner radar:  That sense that tells you when, as Obi-Wan Kenobi put it, “there’s a disturbance in the force.”  Frequently, when friends of mine got fired unexpectedly, there were signals somewhere that they either missed or ignored.

I enjoyed working for my Board.  They were open-minded and loyal to the organization, and they were nice people to boot.  But I always adhered to these rules.  Consequently, I had a great career working with them.  Additionally, I was able to leave on my own timing, at my own choice, and everyone still liked each other.


Challenge, Change, and Charles (Darwin)

Our lives are constantly buffeted by the winds of change.  Charted on a graph, that rate of change has accelerated to the point that the upward axis never seems to level off.  But every person can embrace the embrace the challenge of change by observing and learning from change in nature, at its most basic level, and the implications and inspirations those changes can have for us.

600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, straddling the equator, is the island archipelago of the Galapagos.  This island chain is famous because of one of its visitors, British scientist Charles Darwin who developed his theory of evolution and adaptability after visiting the Galapagos and reflecting on what he observed there.

Several years ago, my wife and I had a chance to visit the Galapagos Islands with some college students.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that everyone should consider making because of the fascinating creatures you can observe there, many of them just inches away.

I saw at least 3 examples of how these animals evolved, adapted over the years to deal with an environment that is frequently harsh.

Darwin's Finches

Darwin’s Finches

First is the bird that was one of Charles Darwin’s main inspirations for his theory of how creatures can evolve:  The Galapagos finch.  The finches on different islands have different beaks, some pointed, some parrot-shaped, some coned, some shorter depending on their source of foods.

What We Can Learn:  Find a new approach.


Marine Iguana

Marine Iguana

Next is the marine iguana.  Prior to observation in the Galapagos, iguanas were thought to be exclusively land-based but some iguanas in the archipelago learned to use marine algae as a source of food, finding it on rocks or swimming into the ocean to find it there.  And the marine iguana’s feet have evolved to the point where they hold fast to rocks so when a wave recedes, the lizard is still there munching contentedly.

What We Can Learn:  Sometime you go with the flow and sometimes you just hang on.

Saddleback Tortoise

Saddleback Tortoise

Finally, there is the giant tortoise.  On some of the islands, the tortoise’s traditional food was unavailable either due to its disappearance or lower branches having been eaten by other animals.  The saddleback adapted by its shell growing a peak and being able to extend its neck to reach higher branches and leaves.

What We Can Learn:  Stick your neck out.

Charles Darwin is frequently misquoted as positing that “only the strong survive” when his theory proved that adaptability is paramount.  If we observe he constantly-changing  landscape of life and then assess what changes we need to make in our lives and skills, we can effectively deal with change and challenge.


Why You Should Consider Writing Morning Pages

Every morning (OK, almost every morning), I sit down and write 3 handwritten pages. No keyboard use here.  It’s an idea that originated with artist/author Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way.  She recommends it as a potential cure for writer’s or artist’s block, that condition of inspirational constipation where it seems like nothing wants to come out.  Yeah, I know that’s gross but it’s true!

Actually, I’ve found it beneficial (and therapeutic) as a daily exercise, as great for working and stretching the mind as cardiovascular activity is for physical fitness.

Pen & Ink

Pen & Ink

There are at least 4 reasons you should start doing this:

    1. It clears your head and gets out the little things that are taking up “psychic RAM” as David Allen defines it.
    2. It’s powerful:  You are forced to come up with ideas even if it’s just griping and whining because you have to keep the pen moving.  Eventually, you’ll write something you can use.
    3. It’s therapeutic.  You can describe your fears, prejudices, aspirations, fantasies, and just plain weird things that you’d never share with anyone.
    4. It’s slow and low tech.  Since you’re using a pen and not a keyboard, your mind can’t race ahead too quickly.  You’re temporarily disconnected and that’s always good.

Julia describes the experience in this video.

Possibly my strangest post on these pages was an explication of the nursery rhyme “Jack & Jill.”  For some reason, I wrote down, “Jack & Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”  Then, it was off on a series of strange speculations about what was behind their ill-fated climb.

  • Was there a drought that required their fetching water from the hill?
  • Was this regular chore in a rural area where they had no running water?
  • Were they older than normally depicted and the hill a trysting place?
  • Was Jack’s “breaking his crown” referring to a skull fracture or was he perhaps royalty and damaged his diadem?

I think you get the idea.

But, in reviewing pages like these months later, I’ve found presentation inspirations, phrases, and other ideas that have been of great use for both work and personal life.

It’s free-form, free-association, free-thinking romp through the gray matter writing down any thought that pops in to my cranium.

I prefer using a fountain pen.  It hearkens back to a simpler time and is like painting words on a page.  I also use a particular type of paper from Levenger that has room on the left side for reminders, side thoughts, or space I can use to quickly label a longer entry for later retrieval.

It’s been a regular part of my morning for almost 2 years and I get a little uncomfortable if I skip it for more than a day, somewhat like the tension you feel when you haven’t worked out (assuming you engage in regular physical exercise).

Try it and tell me what you think.

Gun Control: A Modest Proposal

Amidst the storm of controversy over gun control, I offer the following solution which, to me at least, seems simple and easy to understand as well as being logical (thought admittedly my logic has been questioned before). It’s based on two premises:

Human Target

Human Target

    1. Firearms created for personal use as protection or sport such as hunting should be untouched by any legislation and allowed as they are now.  This would include revolving pistols and most rifles.
    2. Firearms designed for the military and law enforcement should be confined to those bodies and made illegal for use by individuals.  This would, of course, include all automatic and assault weapons.

The logic for this idea stems from the fact that automatic weapons were created with one purpose:  To spray bullets, to fire many rounds at a time at human targets.  They were designed to make it possible for one person to kill several others or kill one person without having to aim carefully.  They were meant to be used by authorized military and law enforcement personnel and that’s where they should stay.

In situations where people like you and I wish to play with weapons like these, state government could sanction firing ranges to own and rent automatic weapons on-property.

I can hear the boos and disdain now.  I know that there will be many who will cry “slippery slope,” “nanny state,” and “constitutional rights.”  Regarding the latter, the founding fathers designed the constitution to be modified (amended) as time changed circumstances.  With standing armies and reserves, we have no more need of local militia to fight wars which is the stated initial premise of the second amendment.

Firearms are a part of the American culture since the earliest days of the pioneers.  Parents and grandparents have enjoyed teaching youngsters how to hunt and to handle weapons safely.  It’s an American tradition.  This tradition will not be infringed upon by the elimination of automatic weapons that, once again, are designed only to kill people quickly.

Gun control legislation isn’t the only answer to the violent tendencies of some people but it must be part of the answer.  We must also mandate increased funding for mental health, particularly for diagnosis and treatment of individuals with impaired abilities to deal with life.

And arming teachers?  Putting more weapons into classrooms and public gatherings?  Please.  We don’t want teachers to have to make decisions that could end the life of another person or to be haunted by its aftermath.  The trauma and psychological impact that emotionally wound our warriors and police officers should be enough to scare us away from that idea.

Let’s do this the real American way:  Thinking of potential solutions to problems and bringing them forward in an atmosphere of wanting the best answer for the most people.

Elevator Blues

This is sung to the tune of any good blues song you may remember:

Well I woke up this mornin’
And I didn’t know what to think.
The economy’s goin’ up and down,
Like an elevator on the blink.
The forecasts were both bright and gloomy
Like big scuffs on brand new shoes
Feels like there just ain’t no escapin’
From those Elevator Blues.

Up and Down

Up and Down

Now we’ve all had to learn new words
Like “fiscal cliff” and “default.”
And “debt ceiling” and “derivatives”
‘Til you just want to holler “Halt!”
Some businesses get propped with cash
While others have to lose
Man, I can’t stand how it hurts
To have these Elevator Blues

It seems folks don’t know who to trust
And who might let them down.
The government, big business,
And them brokers are all renown
At tellin’ all us one thing
But it ain’t their fault when we lose
Feels like there’s no escapin’
From those Elevator Blues.

I just wish that there was somethin’
I could count on for awhile
‘Cause “new normal” means “no normal”
And each step feels like a mile
But you just can’t give up hopin’
And you play to win, not lose
So you’ve got to keep on shakin’ off
Those Elevator Blues.

There’s a thrill ride at the Disney theme parks called the “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.” The premise of this ride is a ride on an elevator in a haunted hotel that quickly goes out of control. After going up several stories, the elevator stops, then drops. Then it goes up a short distance and down a longer one. Of course, the ride up is slow and the drop down is quick and unexpected, and everyone on the car is in the dark. That’s been the story of how our government has handled America’s economic situation.

What have you done to make the situation any better?

  • Taken steps to make sure your financial stability is in order?
  • Worked with a financial advisor, someone who knows about managing money?
  • Written letters and/or emails to your congressional delegation asking the to work together, to stop shaking fingers and start shaking hands?
  • Do you vote in every election? Elected representatives rarely pay much attention to non-voters.

Admittedly, there’s not much we can do to make America’s situation better by ourselves but we must do what we can.

‘Cause you just can’t give up hopin’
And you play to win, not lose
So you’ve got to keep on shakin’ off
Those Elevator Blues.