The best explanation of productivity ever from theLadders.com

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Watch this video, but pay attention to minute 3:54. You don’t get paid more, but you will have to talk faster for the same paycheck.

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — Marc Cenedella, chief executive officer of TheLadders.com, talks with Bloomberg’s Lori Rothman about the white-collar labor market and the U.S. unemployment rate. October’s employment report showed the country’s jobless rate soared to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent. TheLadders.com is an online job search service that focuses on positions paying $100,000 or more a year. (Source: Bloomberg)

I would have embedded the video, but Bloomberg doesn’t let you ;-(

Where do you see a story of humanity?

The video is a little over eight minutes long, but worth the viewing.

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine’s version of “America’s Got Talent.” She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and “sand painting” skills to interpret Germany’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII. You can see more of her work on her Facebook Fan page and on YouTube.

Where most people see sand, she sees a vibrant story of human history.

Tell stories. Find the pictures in the grains of sand between the light. If you can’t see them, look harder. They are there, in the faces of the people you see every day, in the mundane work you do between clocking in and clocking out, in the blades of grass growing from the cracks in the walkway, in the random links you see in a Twitterstream.

Don’t limit your view. And share your stories freely, even when people tell you they don’t care.

How I know anyone who predicts the future will be wrong

Here is my simple test to know that technologists who predict the future don’t really know crap.

Go to Netflix or Blockbuster and rent a futuristic movie made 20-30 years ago. Start counting how many video screens are all over the place. Now, notice the aspect ratio. They are either full-wall or larger versions of a 4:3. Nobody predicted the 16:9 screen.

Yet, everywhere we go now it’s HD 16:9. Airports, grocery stores, hotels (most). And sometimes the 16:9 isn’t used as intended. Meijer turns their video screens around so that they display vertically. The Detroit airport (DTW) shows CNN news on the left 4:3 portion and runs ads on the side with the remaining screen real estate.

So before you go off parroting the latest prognostication from some self-proclaimed expert on future technology, stop and think about what you know and compare that against what you have already seen. Contrary to popular opinion, Social Media is not going to take over the way we communicate, newspapers are not dead and neither is print. The past does not get stripped out of existence when new technologies arrive; it is integrated into them.

After all, we’re still making “documents” and putting them in “folders” on our “desktop” in our computers long after many predicted the death of paper.

And we’re still “dialing” cell phones.

Why you should have a Twitter account even if you never tweet

Forget everything you’ve ever been told about Twitter. Forget about what you think you know about joining the conversation, being authentic, getting folks to follow you, following people you find interesting, etc.

Forget about not doing self-promotion or even tweeting. You don’t have to do any of those things.

But, you do need a Twitter account.

Because I may want to acknowledge your work, like a really insightful blog post, photo or something else you said or did.

Twitter is not about gathering friends, followers or being followed. Twitter is about being nudged when someone wants to say “Hey, good job, man” in a very crowded, very noisy room.

Does that simple reason help, @sethgodin? No reply needed cause I know you saw this.

He’ll keep calling and calling and calling….

“He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What – I’LL GO. Shit.” – Cameron Frye, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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Seth Godin posted up a blog entry about businesses that begrudgingly do a “out of spec” service “just this once” and I think he gets things just a tiny bit askew.

Because everyone is a Ferris Bueller who believes that anything is customizable, that you can have your burger your way and not be expected to pay extra for it. Because Google has made everyone an expert in your business without knowing or caring about the real costs of what it takes to deliver goods and services to a market that increasingly expects custom service without additional cost. Because everyone is an expert at knowing what skills you have and how you should be applying them. (How are butchers and surgeons interchangeable? They both work with knives.)

Or, maybe because we are living in a world where there are increasingly fewer and fewer craftsmen and when a customer finally finds one, they find it less work to try and convince the provider to add this special service or do this one-time modification rather than find a new vendor who specializes in what they are asking.

Naw, I think customers are becoming a pack of Ferris Buellers who have never been told no, think the rules never apply to them and pride themselves on being able to convince everyone around them to do what they want, when they want, selfishly and without regard for the resentment it adds to the relationship.

As a customer, if you ask for something special and out of spec, be prepared to accept a no gracefully, pay the true costs of the “one time thing” or at least acknowledge you are getting something above and beyond and be grateful. By continuing to “call and call and call and..” you set up the business to relent and say “but just this once.”

But, it worked for Ferris and look how that movie ended. Cameron wrecked his dad’s car, but Ferris just got hugs and kisses from his parents, even though none of the devastation would have happened if Cameron had just stuck to his guns and said “no.” Ferris fans might argue that no good things would have happened either and they outweigh the bad, but Ferris never stuck around to clean up the messes his selfish indulgences created. Any parent who has been left to clean up a teenage car wreck knows what I’m talking.

Please, please, please, please.. just this once, I won’t ever ask for anything more, please, please….

Yeah, right. We don’t believe you. But, we still hope this time will be different and it will lead to more business, more respect, better rates, loyality or higher value, which is why we eventually relent.

Selfish bastard, you screwed me again, didn’t you?

An argument for pulling the plug

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The argument for pulling the plug on someone who is brain dead and on life support is very easy and can be made in two sentences. For now, though, humor me with a short theory on some health insurance stuff.

I think ultimately people buy health insurance in hopes of preventing their own death. Regardless of what kind of plan you have or how much money you throw at your health care, you will die and no insurance policy will prevent that. So let’s change the argument slightly and say that you may not have the right to unlimited health care to prevent your death, but you do have the right to receive health care with dignity, regardless of your economic clout.

Instead of shooting for plans that cover everything, let’s shoot for something in this country that enables the poorest among us to receive health care without shame and without begging for it as if it were a gift bestowed by the rich. Let’s not punish the worker who labored his entire life to build a future for his kids by bankrupting him in the golden years of his life. Let’s live up to the pledge we all made to each other when our founders wrote “all men are created equal” and each of us has an inalienable right to life.

A right to die in dignity does not include begging for simple health care.

Now, the argument for pulling the plug. If you love me, you will not allow me to live in a vegetative state where the only thing keeping me alive is a machine and an insurance policy that has not yet been maxed out. If you hate me or don’t care about me, pulling the plug should be really rather easy.

Easy argument.

Why banking pay bonuses piss people off, how spanking is a good thing, what just compensation really is in Eminent Domain and why the military is meeting their recruiting goals

There was just so much stuff today that made this puppy’s head spin. Amazing how the news media can be given all the facts and come to the wrong conclusion simply by assuming the story HAS to be more complicated than the simplest explanation.

Banking bonuses getting paid to incompetent employees
Jim Cramer came on Morning Joe this morning with an opinion on why banking employees should get their bonuses. Revenue is up, stock prices are up, etc, etc. — everything that indicates that these are stellar performers and deserve the compensation. But, here is the kicker: in the dip, when the lack of liquidity would have sunk you, me and any other small business, these guys reached out for the duct tape called the Federal Government and took the money to bridge. Had the TARP money not been there, they would have crashed and burned, like lots of other small business and families do when they run out of cash. They only deserve bonuses if they had been able to pull their banks out of the nosedive without TARP. By accepting TARP, they failed. Who cares if they are able to pay it back, without TARP they would not be alive to be successful.

Spanking and cognitive development
The WSJ wrote an article about spanking. Perhaps the years of spanking I got as a puppy destroyed my cognitive abilities, but it is hard to figure out what conclusions they are drawing and overall, what they are actually saying in the article. It was be a more interesting study to show the generational spanking trends and the results of what kind of people they grow up to be. Spanking has been on a rapid decline the past 40 or so years in favor of “explaining and reasoning” with kids and in that time, we have produced 1 1/2 generations of the most spoiled, entitled adults ever. I’m not saying there is a connection, but worth exploring. Also worth noting that the generations that were spanked went on to invent the Internet and other cool stuff.

Just compensation in Eminent Domain
The WSJ ran an article on a Brooklyn neighborhood being torn down to build a stadium. The usual suspects emerged and the argument that Kelo “settled” between “public good” and “public use” is still being stretched. Why is nobody examining “just compensation” beyond “fair market value?” Being paid $50,000 for a piece of run-down, blighted property in Brooklyn is not “just compensation” whereas getting a share of the tickets sales on a new NBA stadium or a portion of the sales receipts of the local Walmart that was erected on your former “blighted” home is. “Fair market value” does not equal “just compensation.”

If private developers are going to benefit financially as well for property acquired through eminent domain, fair compensation should include a portion of the profits from the development.

The military is meeting its recruitment goals in spite of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
True headline read by Robin Meade on CNN’s HLN this morning. WTH? It is the ECONOMY, stupid! The economy and job market is so bad that the people for whom the military is an option, the risk of deployment is miniscule compared to the risk of starvation and homelessness.

This mutt has my dream job

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Did you know that The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs has an official water Fowl Control Officer? Neither did I until I received their Bonanza newsletter today.

Meet Ruger. He is 5 years old as of Sept 17th and is the second Water Fowl Control Officer The Broadmoor has had. The first was Taffy. His job is to chase geese off the land and into the water as well as interacting with guests. What a life.

Does he have his own Twitter account? So far, not that I can tell, but he should!

Those damn socialists at the Englewood Water Department

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A water main starting leaking in front of my house. Last week, the City of Englewood sent a man out in a pickup truck who marked up the pavement with green and orange paint.

This morning, the Socialist Englewood Water Department sent an entire crew of water department surgeons out with spare parts, heavy equipment and trucks to repair the water main. They put up signs, tore open a neat (very neat!) square hole in the road, cut the old valve out, put the new valve in, flushed it all out, filled up the hole and left without much evidence that they were there. I have water which they assure me is safe. They even publish a water scorecard every year to prove it.

And nobody knocked on my door and nobody asked for a co-pay or a water insurance card.

Damn socialists. Next thing you know, they will want to be running health care.


Photo: One of the workers was drying his boots on top of his pickup. I had to grab that photo!

Woman’s Day Magazine?

Ok, not really sure how they found me or what value this blog can possibly give them, but since they sent me an email with a link to some pet products they wrote about, what could possibly go wrong with passing the info along? So, I pulled one of my favorite products from their list of stuff to feature here and viola!

Bowser Beer
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After a long day of chasing his tail, snoozing in the sun and pestering the cat, your dog deserves a break. Help him wind down with an ice-cold bottle of nonalcoholic Bowser Beer. The noncarbonated, made-in-the-USA brew is crafted with beef and chicken broths made from scratch, plus malt barley for a shiny coat, and glucosamine, which keeps joints healthy.

The rest of the stuff can be found here.

Apparently Woman’s Day and Elle Magazine are owned by the same folks. The only thing I can think of is my editor dropped E. Jean an email about a recent internship she offered to a homeless woman who was living in a WalMart parking lot and got her trailer towed. Long story. You can read it here.

How important is a human legacy

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I watch a lot of History Channel. It lends some perspective.

One of the series they are running is about the Knights Templar. All the legends aside, the one thing that was striking to me is how long some of the stone tablets with their histories and accounts survived, since the 1100’s or so.

The same goes for clay tablets, papyrus, parchment scrolls, sheepskin and even paper. We can read an original book that is thousands of years old.

Then, along comes the Internet and rushes to destroy all things analog. We race to plunk down an entire generation of knowledge into a collection of blogs that have no paper backups anywhere. In a few short years, all our books will be Kindle files. This is good, good, good yell the digital pundits and evangelists!

And sometime in the future, the power grid will go silent.

And we will have approximately 3-7 hours (depending on what Apple does with battery life in the next generation of MacBook) to print and archive an entire generation of knowledge or lose it forever. How many pages of your blog will you be able to save and pass along to the next generation?

Before we dance on the graves of newspapers and books, perhaps we should think a few minutes about what we are giving up and what our legacy of knowledge will be when we can no longer leave a series of links and bookmarks. What knowledge will be lost simply because we didn’t write it down or print it off.

Gotta go now. The flight attendant is motioning to me to shut off my computer. The guy next to me didn’t have to turn off his book. Doesn’t quite seem fair.