My views on life, love , career and…well just about everything.

I Saw Your Blog……..

I Saw Your Blog……..

Dec 23, 2015

Those of us who regularly post to blogs understand what a frustrating experience blogging can often be. You try to produce relevant and engaging content. You strive to not be “salesy” or “self serving”. When you share your prose with say…coworkers , the response is often “ OK?” or “And this does what…?” The blank expression on the faces when you try to answer “ Why do you do this?”  fuels the little voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “NOBODY CARES!” . Then a miracle happens! Somebody you meet says. “ I read your blog. It was very interesting.”

Years ago when I started this , I said “This is really about me having an outlet for my creative side and I don’t really care if anybody else reads I or not.” If you go back to my first post, in 2007 , I actually said that. (or words to that effect) Five years later, I am still really doing this for me…….but it is nice when someone else reads what I have to say.

When I try to answer the why do you do this question, I reference my mother’s journalistic career. Mom worked at a small weekly newspaper before she married Dad and she is the one who infected me with the journalism bug. I wrote for the school papers in high school and college and at one point thought I wanted to be a writer. As my brother once said , “ You played football in school too , but you didn’t turn pro at that either.”

If someone you know writes one of these things, take a look at it and let them know you did. Oh and ….. if you happen to read this…drop me a note in the comments section.

Business Exchange Speaking Engagement

Business Exchange Speaking Engagement

Dec 23, 2015

It was my pleasure to speak at the Business Exchange Chapter of All About Referrals this past Thursday.

The main topic was “Four basic communications points to review to be sure you are ready for business in 2013″. During the brief question and answer session following , I fielded several very good questions from the members. Thanks to everyone for allowing me to speak. For more information on the Business Exchange , visit the website http://aar-bx.com/.

Welcome to my new pet peeve.

Welcome to my new pet peeve.

Dec 23, 2015

When I write , I try to deliver content that is useful and entertaining. I am also a business person who has a product to sell. All the “smart” marketing folks say that if you deliver useful content in your blog , it will help your business. The one thing you shouldn’t do is make your blog a sales pitch because people will get real tired of it REAL FAST.

Here is a new spin on that concept. When you comment on a post in someone else’s blog , DON’T MAKE IT A COMMERCIAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS! Especially if your comment has little or no connection to the post you are attaching it to. Here’s an example. I was reading a post on INC entitled 3 Big Ideas to Steal From Netflix . This was a great article about employee retention and talent acquisition. I scrolled down to the comments and here is what I saw:

O really? So, should we start with choosing a hosting service provider that doesn’t even spare NetFlix on Christmas Eve?
Source: NetFlix Service Outage on AWS (Amazon Web Services)
http://www.dincloud.com/blog/NetFlix-service-outage-on-AWS-Amazon-Web-Services
What the H*** is this nut bucket thinking? The only connection his comment had with the post was that it was about Netflix and its employee policies…NOT about where Netflix is hosted. OK this is obviously an entrepreneur who is passionate about his business. I also understand that when you are a hammer , everything looks like a nail but for pity’s sake , have a little sense.

The Law of Unintended Consequence

The Law of Unintended Consequence

Sep 11, 2012

The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.~Rob Norton

Once upon a time there was a company that ran some call centers. They decided to connect them together and share resources. This would also allow them to close a satellite call center. The installation of the point  to point circuits to facilitate this would take about four months. The cutoff of two of the three existing voice circuits was scheduled in thirty days. The layoff of people in the satellite call center was done in two weeks. The calls from the satellite center were shifted to the other regional center, increasing call volume by fifty percent. In a two weeks , that center had only one voice circuit……to handle one hundred fifty percent more calls. Savings to the company…. four thousand dollars a month. Amount of lost business due to angry customers getting busy signals for two months….PRICELESS!

How did this happen? Simple , the person in charge of the changes had no responsibility for customer service and didn’t work for OR CONSULT WITH the person that did. Their objective was to get the cost savings on the books before the end of the quarter. This was what their bonus was tied to.

The moral of the story…incentivize the behaviors you want and they will happen. BUT……always remember the law of unintended consequences.

OK Hackers and Scammers…I Give Up!

OK Hackers and Scammers…I Give Up!

Aug 12, 2012

I recently posted about my annoying Twitter hack. It was just that…annoying….but no real damage done. Now I have experienced a whole new level of irritation…with E Bay.

I have been buying and selling on E Bay for years. I have not only bought and sold the requisite tech stuff but I have even bought and sold cars and boats.

I bought my 23 foot Regal cruiser on E Bay five years ago from a dealer in Coral Gables, Florida. My family and friends have had many great outings and lots of fun on her. Eventually , the second happiest day in a boat owners life comes…the day you sell it! I pulled her out of the slip on Smith Lake more than a year ago thinking I might move the boat to Guntersville or maybe even back to Florida. Time and circumstance have conspired to cause it to sit right here and eventually I decided to sell it.  Since I bought it on E Bay , it made sense to sell her that way…right?

The first auction went to a guy in Tennessee who had to back out. OK…….stuff happens. The next go-round didn’t get the price I wanted…OK. On my third attempt I made the acquaintance of a lovely  gentleman who claimed to be working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. All I had to do , according to the fake email from PayPal that I got, to get the money that HAD NOT been deposited in my account was to send $1500 via Western Union to some bogus shipping company in Kuala Lampur and they would release the funds that weren’t actually in my account. I went through all the necessary fraud reporting procedures with E Bay and Pay Pal and relisted. Things were going well and the boat sold for what I wanted.

The buyer appeared to be a guy from a small town in Georgia near a couple of lakes…made sense. My first communication with my new buyer yielded a surly response demanding things that I was unable and not obligated to do like “test drives” and forgoing the deposit.

My business like response about terms and such stuff netted this reply-

“Sir,
Tnis is not the end of this situation. Crooks like u need to be brought to justice. I’m a police cnief and nave contacted the proper ajthorities.”

Obviously this is the work of a nine year old or another semi-literate hacker in some third world country working off a cell phone. I’m guessing the nine year old.

The net result is I have wasted two weeks, been irritated beyond belief and I have not sold the boat. Am I mad at E Bay? Maybe they could do more to keep out the scammers like my faux cruise ship guy…I don’t know what that would be. Maybe they could do more to keep nine year olds off??? Once again I am not sure how you filter out a determined internet savvy pre-teen with a smart phone.

Some people are hesitant to buy from E Bay because they are afraid of being taken advantage of. I personally have had thousands of transactions over the years and I honestly don’t remember having a bad experience as a buyer or as a seller….till now! I guess the old caveat “Let the buyer beware” gets reversed on E Bay…..”Let the SELLER beware!”

My Personal Hacking Experience

My Personal Hacking Experience

Aug 5, 2012

Although having your social media account hacked (happened to be Twitter for me) is not as devastating as  having your bank account compromised, it teaches a lesson that we should all heed.

When I originally set up my personal Twitter account in 2007, I was “trying it out” and really didn’t take it too seriously. That was the year that Twitter hit a million users. Since then , Twitter has exploded to 500 million users.

I set up my Twitter account with an easy password that I could remember. Five years later, that password has been compromised. I don’t use it much anymore and never used it on anything that I was really concerned about. Since I link a lot of social media together , the “nice” person from Brazil who hacked me also tried to get into my Facebook and some other stuff. I had changed those passwords to stronger ones mostly (I am ashamed to say) at the request of the services themselves. I hadn’t gotten around to Twitter yet (or rather they hadn’t gotten around to me yet)

So far the damage has been minimal.Up until yesterday, I had the pleasure of following 2000+ random people from Brazil (Sao Paulo to be precise) who mostly Tweet in Spanish and Portuguese about rap music. Being the big fan of rap music that I am and being so fluent in Portuguese……I  set out to unfollow these folks. Easier said than done but I managed to find something called Manage Flitter http://manageflitter.com that allows you to mass unfollow people. Great stuff! The Twitter shores are once again safe…..and Brazilian free. Manage Flitter has several built in filters that you can use, one is the “People Who Tweet in A Different Language” filter. Kind of makes me think that this has happened to someone else????

As annoying as this was, no real damage was done. Even if this person had done what I have heard has been done to others, and discussed my “well known” crack addiction or my sexual preferences (or lack of) publicly as me…(every one who “really” knows me is well aware of both those items)…it would still just be annoying. Going through the list of my “new best friends” was sort of entertaining. Along with the rappers and party people were several transsexuals and one real interesting account which is a resource for doctors who need information on the latest techniques for transgender surgery. I am still trying to decide if this was something designed to make me look bad or simply a reflection of my hackers personal tastes.

Who is to blame for my hacking experience? ME! I am a technology and social media consultant..I do this stuff for a living and I am supposed to know better. I screwed up…..Twitter isn’t to blame. Now my Brazilian hacker has some culpability obviously (God love him) but the responsibility for securing my accounts rests squarely on my pointy head. ARE YOU SECURE???? Unless you want to acquire a few thousand “new best friends” or are shopping for some transgender surgery…you had better take a hard look at the passwords and security settings of all your web based accounts. NOW!!