Blog Soup 2011.11.09 Online Community, Reputation, and Great Expectations

November 9, 2011

Blog Soup

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Blog Soup 2011.11.09. Online Community, Reputation, and Great Expectations

I intend to write pithy, poignant comments that may help you truly rediscover yourself through the blog posts of friends and strangers. In terms of your journey of self discovery, the destinations are not as important as is your own personal negotiation of the questions, answers, and confusions which you may discover by following a link, reading a blog post, poring over comments, and making a comment. On the other hand, this is our community and, yes, community is all about our commitment to the community, conversations, consensus, disagreement, participation, and, yes, to each other.

I will fail often in this endeavor, but I can, as Booker T. Washington said, keep on keeping on. Will you humor me?

I read a lot of blogs. Maybe, too many. I comment on a lot of blog posts. Maybe, too many. If you are a Triberrati, you do too.

A Triberrati is a blogger that stands out in the Triberr community. Triberr is a web app that connects bloggers and helps them to curate each other on Twitter. You can learn all about Triberr by reading any of the following posts about it.

1. Nicole Humphrey Cook, The Idiots Guide to Triberr Tutorial

2. Yomar LopezHow Triberr Changes The Competitive Landscape

3. Neicole CrepeauFriday Fives: Tips For Using Triberr

Gary Portnoy, Where everybody knows your name (Cheers theme song)


Writes C.S. Lewis in the Abolition of Man:

And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive,’ or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity.’ In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful


Blog posts that are commented on in this Blog Soup:

1. My 7 Links: The Rules by Katie

2. Taking Action to Improve the Hustle: One Thing at a Time by JK Allen

3. The Myth of Privacy Online by Ameena Falchetto

4. The immiseration of the digital creative class by Freddie deBoer

5. This Is Why I Disabled My Klout Account by Robert Dempsey

6. I was Caught on Comments! by Christian Hollingsworth

7. Real World Experience vs. School Education by Harrison Kratz

Klaus Nomi, Dido’s Lament

Blog Soup

Just some of the blogs that I recently commented on:

1. My 7 Links: The Rules by Katie

The Tripbase travel blog is “for passionate travelers across the globe – whether you’re an eternal nomad or a flash-packer – if you love to travel then this blog is for you.”

Things has <sic> been slow, so Katie came up with a cute idea to build a community around the Tripbase travel blog: My 7 Links.

My 7 Links attempts to “unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”

My comment:

I just learned about it at Eugene Farber’s blog, Reality Burst. But I was really surprised to hear that Paul Wolfe is doing it too. Now that I think of it, I had seen Paul Wolfe’s post, but it didn’t do anything for me at the time. Or maybe I was just put out because no one nominated me. [grin]

Ok, I’m not loveable. Interesting, memorable, and awe-inspiring at times. But not loveable. I get it. [cry]

The hook of My 7 Links is the opportunity for self-promotion without feeling dirty about it. Few have the nerve and fearsome disposition of Jack Steiner for community.

If you’ve been nominated by someone else for the 7 links, it would be careless and rude to not play along. Now you can resurrect some of your old content. And you have a blog post. And you threw a bone to some of your bloggers compatriots by recommending them. Good stuff! Clever. Phew! That was easy.

Suddenly, I’m writing this how Jack really wants to write it. And that’s scary! Because even Jack, the greatest dad blogger of them all, doesn’t go here! Perhaps, that’s why I’m unloveable. Because I can be an asshole despite all of my deep want to be a kind, humble, and inspirational no-lister.

Just a second…

My GF just messaged me that she loves me. I have five seconds to make the proper reply with a smiley face or Wold War 3 is on. And no one wants that!

Where were we?

Is the My 7 links thing going to build a community for the Tripbase Travel blog? Did Katie make an honest effort of it? Was it a meaningful tactic?

All three answers have nothing to do with what the bloggers participating in My 7 Links got out of it.

You can guess my answer.

And, yes, your answer is relevant to you. Because your answer and the insight that fuels your answer will determine whether or not you are capable of succeeding in business or your online strategy. Class dismissed.


I like Eugene Farber, Paul Wolfe, and Jack Steiner – if it wasn’t obvious. And I read their blogs every chance I get to do so.

2. Taking Action to Improve the Hustle: One Thing at a Time by JK Allen

JK was inspired by reading Rob White’s blog post, Atomic Action.

My comment:

Writes Rob White:

Michelangelo experienced Atomic Action while painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

I experience it when making chocolate chip cookies. I mix the batter, and shape the cookies, and toss them in the oven with a total feeling of completion with each action.

Rob White explains Atomic Action like this:

We are Whole Minded, and fresh and ready for the present moment when we let go of our failures and incompletions of the past. Atomic Action is a consequence of Whole Mindedness. Every level of the mind is focused on the action in the moment, and the result is incredible.


I’d like to point out that Michelangelo (whose work I can consider to be wonderful and inspiring) didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling alone. He had apprentices and servants to do most of the actual painting.

Where was I?

In his comment to Rob White’s blog post, JK concludes:

I don’t want my life to be based on past failures. I want my life to be based on unlimited successes. I’m willing to do what I have to do to make this my reality. I’ll begin with taking your advice seriously (the steps and the tips).

And JK is not alone. Brian Driggs, a Fortune 500 knowledge manager, for example, related to JK in his comment.

Rob even gets excited about JK’s comment:

WOW, you really added dimension to this post. I recommend that everyone read your comment and consider it part of the post. You offered another prime reason why so many folks fail to act with atomic energy; the reason is that they multi-task. You cannot be in the present, giving 100% of your energy to what you are doing, when you assign your mind several projects to attend at the same time. NICE. NICE. NICE. Thank you

Back to JK’s post.

In JK’s blog post, I read seven challenges to JK getting out of inaction. JK lists most of them himself. The last two are my observations.

1. JK keeps busy because he feels that busy has inherent and implicit value
2. JK feels that being extraordinary is about moving and making noise
3. The number of tasks that JK is engaged in relates to his understanding of how fast he is moving and how much noise he is making
4. The fear and disappointment of past failures pushes JK to apply even more madness
5. Priority, value, and patience are undeveloped and under-employed in JK’s game plan
6. JK is overwhelmed by his need to prove himself to himself amidst much present self-disappointment and failure in his now
7. JK needs to focus on accomplishing things that JK unquestionably recognizes as immediately meaningful and self-affirming

Do you face the same challenges to your reputation?

What I can write with full confidence is that JK’s self-honesty is a golden key to self understanding and, possibly, a beautiful life. And I think JK knows it too.

As John Sherry writes in his comment to JK, I second it:

Go for the burn, JK!

3. The Myth of Privacy Online by Ameena Falchetto

Writes Ameena:

There is no such thing as a FREE lunch. If you are not paying for a service or a product then YOU are the PRODUCT not the customer.

My comment:

I want to agree with Ameena. But to do so would be sinister and insensitive. Or, in C.S. Lewis’ words: without chest.

Klout’s use of information of people who are not subscribed to Klout or who do not want to be on Klout is an interesting problematic that will or won’t be settled in court (or outside the courtroom). If I had that kind of problem with Klout, I would try to resolve it as Robert Dempsey is trying to do. [grin] If that failed, I would sue them, lobby the state procsecutor, and write a few blog posts like this or this.

But there ain’t much to do after that. Not without community action.

Michelle Garrett gives good advice in her comment. And I love that Brian Driggs quotes Uncle Ben a la Spiderman:

With great power comes great responsibility.

4. The immiseration of the digital creative class by Freddie deBoer

Vast, life-altering consequences of the internet have been anticipated by online evangelists. It’s been going on since the 90s. And the same anticipation continues to fuel the great expectations of those just piling into the intertubes. But what is more interesting to Freddie is that the internet is a resentment machine – especially for “culturally savvy tastemakers who exert such disproportionate influence over online experience.”

Writes Freddie:

No achievement, no effort, no relationship can exist as an end in itself.

My comment:

Allow me to repeat Freddy’s revelation about what’s wrong with the internet and social media in general:

No achievement, no effort, no relationship can exist as an end in itself.

But even Freddy does not understand the importance of what he has written. Because he is unfortunately and mistakenly dedicated to his outdated Post Neo-Marxist nuptial vows. Just as Freddie is dedicated to an irrelevant, incoherent, and anachronistic metaphor about the Trans Am – a car that hasn’t been cool for at least 25 years.

There is no substitute for a Porsche, Freddie deBoer. Almost. The exception, of course, is a Ferrari.

I would deconstruct most of Freddy’s metaphors similarly and expose him for the Rip Van Winkle that he is (as are all Post Neo-Marxist Survivalists), but that would be merely good sport and blog soup is not a sporting event – though several of my friends wish it were and they denounce my positivity often, especially when they know I am capable of profound psychological insights that leave the victim raped of their intimate-most dignity.

I prefer to be a kinder and gentler critic.

The Budweiser Clydesdales honoring the loss of the people and towers of 9-11 is 10 years old, for example, and Freddy would not have mentioned it – if it had not brought unbid tears in his eye.

Or Freddy is a man without chest a la C.S. Lewis.

I love that commercial! It brought tears to my eyes. It makes me feel strongly.

Because I am an American. Because I am reminded that there is something about America which is worthy of my honor, admiration, and my highest hopes. And I appreciate the Budweiser people for strongly feeling the same way and sharing their strong feeling with me in solidarity.

Oh – did I mention that I am not a Budweiser customer. And Budweiser’s intention, I will argue, was to express their solidarity in sorrow, pride, and hope with their fellow Americans and not to loudly recommend their reputation. Disagreement on this point, of couse, is nothing less than fighting words. [grin]

Freddie deBoer is wrong in his presumption that the internet writ large is desperately invested in the idea that liking #ows, #occupyklout, farmville, or mafia wars, for example, says something of depth and importance about the liker. Freddie is again mistaken that likes, Googley plus one, Stumbles, etc. distinguish us from one another. In fact, these ridiculous disclaimers of identity are made to demonstrate similarity, common ground, and membership.

Everyone in social media, realizes that a “like” is nothing more than a ridiculous disclaimer. So much so that no one actually dedicates serious attention to exercising judgment when they do happen to like things, people, or even their friend’s comments. Were it as Freddie imagined, they would be a lot more poking, liking, etc. going on. And Freddie’s Klout score might actually begin to be meaningful.

Oh – Freddy doesn’t know about Klout yet. Or that, ding dong, the wicked witch is dead. Just give Freddy five years to figure what what the heck I’ve just written here.

Freddy isn’t all wrong, however.

Just as he is not completely right about anything in particular. Freddy’s failure of insight is a symptom of being an alienated outsider, his failure to contribute to an online community as a member and as a person, AND his self-enslavement to an academic, self-absorbed arrogance – a self-deception by which he himself attempts to distinguish himself from the unwashed users of the internet. This is a typical problematization (a la Foucault) of the Post Neo-Marxist Survivalist.

What Freddie deBoer is right about:

1. Criticism (rant) is rampant not as a means to solve problems, but as an art of self-expression. But the paradox is that the resistance to criticism, negativity, and strong feelings is equally rampant.

2. Pettiness is glamorized in aesthetic taste. Bit Rebels is a fine example for this criticism but even Freddie has no clue about Bit Rebels. And, again, the paradox: as wildly trafficked as Bit Rebels is, almost no one feels compelled to comment – despite the SEO opportunity of doing so.

Note: Yomar Lopez, Robert Dempsey, and … can explain SEO to you, Freddie.

3. Indiscriminate information consumption is neither creative, empowering, nor does it serve the winning, the succeeding, and the bagging of the bacon. The paradox of consumption is that people actually connect through comments, tweets, and chats about the silliest of things. Online communities are rising out of the shared experience of failure.

Freddie is unable to appreciate the paradoxes, however. Because he lacks the depth of the online experience that is shared by those for whom he has much contempt.

This has been an awfully long comment! Hasn’t it!? I know!

Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t write a separate blog post about Freddie deBoer, but it would be to my competitive disadvantage to reveal those kind of secrets about blog soup. [laughing]

I will admit, however, this comment was originally the first comment in today’s blog post and I moved it to the fourth spot just in case it’s length was so discouraging that you might give up and move on to somewhere else.

Anyway, the finish line to this comment is just a few paragraphs away.

At the start of my comment, I observed Freddy’s revelation about what’s wrong with the internet and social media in general:

No achievement, no effort, no relationship can exist as an end in itself.

If I was a profoundly cyncial man, I would have observed that Klout may have been the last nail in the coffin. Lucky for us, we yanked that nail out and tossed Klout back to the neck-deep shit pond in hell from which it was spawned. Even former champions of Klout are unsually quiet about Klout – some of whom I like despite their delusions of grandeur which they mistakenly hitched to the falling star called Klout.

Ville Kilkku’s photo with his Klout score is especially revealing about his former great expectations.

Klout has exploited our desperate need for a competitive pecking order, for the opportunity for pull ourselves up in that pecking order by our own bootstraps, and the opportunity to be loved, cherished, and honored for ourselves.

The tragedy which Freddy will not get is that true love, caring, and honor can not be gamed or won. They are the consequences of virtue – virtue a la Aristotle and Aquinas, for which Freddy also has contempt.

5. This Is Why I Disabled My Klout Account by Robert Dempsey

Robert Dempsey details the many problems of Klout as a concept and a service.

My comment:

Fed up with Klout? Robert provides links and instructions to quit Klout from Kat Caverly and Martijn Linnssen.

I really like how Robert boils down the abolition of humanity that fuels Klout. Hopefully, it is the undoing of Klout as Robert prays:

Mass is an outdated and dying notion. Quality and meaningful interactions is the future. If the Occupy Wall Street movement, Middle East rebellions against dictatorships, and protests around Europe have showed us anything, it’s that people want change, and are coming together to help make it happen. And there are people that are very much fighting against that change, be it with words or with force.

What that change will look like is anyone’s guess, but this much is clear – people do want change.

Klout is not change. Klout is more of the same – the same outdated and dying notion of mass.

ALSO, I loved what Jacqueline Zimowski (Founder of No Human Trafficking) wrote in her comment to Robert:

Never have I been so grateful to work with human slaves against human masters, instead of technological masters forging chains humans put on themselves.

Like Jacqueline, I too ponder something wicked this way coming in Klout. For I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s warning in The Abolition of Man:

For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please.

6. I was Caught on Comments! by Christian Hollingsworth

Years ago, Christian used to use sock puppets to beef up comments. This was before Gravatars. Some of those comments are still out there but the kicker is that Christian’s Gravatar now shows up across all the comments of his sock puppets.

My comment:

Love your confession, Christian! And this post is the best way to deal with it. If someone ever calls you out on it, you’ll just slap this link down like a gauntlet, wink, and say, it’s been covered.

What I didn’t write:

I’m guilty too, Christian. I voted for my own podcast which Betsy Cross nominated for Arment Dietrich’s Top 25 Social Media Wins and Gaffes You’ve Never Heard Of.

Please vote for me so I know that my vote wasn’t the only vote. [grin] Vote here!

But wait, there’s more!

Just after publishing today’s blog soup, I found myself in an unfortunate misunderstanding with John Falchetto. I tweeted out the usual mentions for blog soup, but this one pissed off John:

Blog Soup 2011.11.09 Community, Reputation, etc. Featured Blogger: @ameenafalchetto #sexy #intelligent #privacy

John responded:

@faryna Sexy? uh? Do you know @ameenafalchetto ? Do you think it’s appropriate?

I read Ameena’s blog. Personally, I think it’s appropriate for me to comment on her and her blog posts. It is in the public domain. But I was hoping to demonstrate my naive and friendly intention so I responded in a friendly manner:

@JohnFalchetto Intelligence is very sexy. [grin]

John lost his cool. OMG! He went for the ad hominem attack. He responded:

@faryna How old are you? I’m not grinning, tweeting that you find @AmeenaFalchetto sexy is insulting, learn the meaning of words in English

I’m pretty sure that I understood some American English [grin], but I did check Google. The top result for my search for the definition of sexy was this:

1. Arousing or tending to arouse sexual desire or interest

2. SLANG Highly appealing or interesting

I hoped to cool things down, but failed with my response:

@JohnFalchetto When was a compliment inappropriate? Email me your concern.

At moments like these 140 characters is completely inadequate! This sucked! For me! For the Falchettos!

John was only seeing through angry eyes, because he responded with contempt and more ad hominem attack:

@faryna Do you know @AmeenaFalchetto ? It’s not a compliment and it says a lot about the kind of person you are, buy a dictionary

A few more exchanges and I tried to close the tweet out with this:

@JohnFalchetto If it was a serious concern, a polite email would have gotten a prompt delete.

Obviously, I didn’t intend to provoke John or Ameena as it happened to be. But I have to say that John and Ameena responded to their concern about my tweet in an unprofessional and unsaavy manner for social media experts.

Going behind my back on Facebook and attempting to rustle up a lynch party without any interest of resolving the misunderstanding sucks more for the Falchettos. I am told that there will be blog posts. And that Betsy’s defense was deleted from the conversation.

Of course, yes, I sucked too. And my poor attempt to resolve the conflict in a mature manner was rejected. [sigh]

One positive that could result from this is that maybe Ameena will reconsider her unflinching position about Klout and online reputation. Because you can’t control what others say about you online – well-intended or otherwise.

This video is my light-hearted peace offering to the Falchettos:

7. Real World Experience vs. School Education by Harrison Kratz

This blog post is not about whether or not formal education is relevant. That’s what young Harrison Kratz says. But then he mixes his message like a flaming cocktail at a frat party.

Initially, Krantz writes this:

Education is not synonymous with the time spent in college.

My comment with amendments:

Obviously, Harrison Kratz is not qualified to redefine education. I do not recognize any authority in a reckless opinion that marginalizes value with a sophomoric quip. [grin]

But I can overlook the faux pas, because Harrison is a hipster, after all, and his enthusiasm for professional training is understandable.

Myself, I am one that appreciates both a classical liberal arts education and the various professional training and experience that is needed to do our various jobs well and professionally. In a forthcoming interview on Christian Hollingsworth’s blog, I speak much on the value of a classical, liberal arts education.

As someone who has been doing various professional things online for 15+ years, I can speak about how it’s been a steep learning curve the whole effing way. And it keeps going and going.

Oh – the things I learned serving customers, selling, solving problems, resolving conflict, doing the work, getting results, managing people and mentoring, and supporting client success! Wonderful things! Terrible things!

But oh so much more oh-la-la for the things you can learn from illuminated reading of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Carl Jung, and Jacques Maritain to name but a few! And for that you need great and inspiring professors.

I understand Gini’s reluctance not to hire anyone without a college degree. When it comes to design, I wouldn’t hire a designer without a college degree in art or design. The fundamentals of art and design are rarely learned outside of the classroom.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t hire anyone just out of business school for anything. Period. [laughing] I love Raj-PB’s comment about the MBA: “Its like teaching someone to fish in a desert.” But Raj scares me. Who is this SEO ninja? He’s not Ben Clemons or Josh Fuller, but his Disqus doubley points to Ben and Josh’s Profit Blog.

Regarding programmers, I want to see experience and problem-solving, a degree doesn’t guarantee anything about one’s ability to architect killer apps, kill bugs, and scale it up for thousands or millions of simultaneous users. The most competent software architect-programmer-technologist that I have ever met studied architecture.

Neicole Crepeau also makes a strong argument for talent and results. And her recent blog post, Social Does Not Equal Dialogue, reveals how insightful she is – without a college degree.

Byron Fernandez’s comment that “Degrees are a piece of paper” is uncouth coming out of Byron’s mouth – even if the French philosopher and activist Michel Foucault once said the same thing. It suggests several things which I will restrain myself from spelling out. [grin]

Let’s go deep.

Reading Foucault (himself a college professor) suggests to me that universities have the reputation to be places where students receive socially desirable modes of behavior and sociable forms of knowledge so that college graduates may serve the world’s demand for self-regulated citizens, multi-disciplined assets, creative problem-solvers, and servant leaders.

Writes C.S. Lewis:

A modern nation needs a very large class of genuinely educated people and it is the primary function of schools and universities to supply them. To lower standards or disguise inequalities is fatal.

That fact that Foucault handed out diplomas on Paris trains was merely a PR stunt. Like anyone of us, Foucault wanted to be loved, cherished, and honored.

Growing discontent with the grind (workplace), the unbearable 9 to 5, and the insecurity of temporary employment (under five years) which is evidenced by the mass migration to blogging and other online activities which anticipate self-employment, financial freedom, and self-development, however, strongly suggests that the workplace cannot replace the university and its social functions as described by Foucault.

Even the most rare and enlightened employers do not practice anything like a university culture. Business does not seek truth, goodness, or beauty beyond coincidence. Nor does it function to support citizenship, democracy, or human culture beyond coincidence. Duh!

Of course, it’s normal that an aspiring young professional such as Harrison wants to game the system for his own private and selfish reputation, skip college, and collect $200 as often as possible. Unfortunately, if we allow it as a general- as opposed to a rare exception, we will put democracy, freedom, and human civilization at risk.

I want to also mention that if college degrees were really just a pieces of paper, why does Mr. Fernandez include the tidbit about having a BA in PR on his Twitter profile? [big grin]

If you didn’t learn anything worthwhile in college, you wasted your time, the time of your colleagues, and the time of your professors. In other words, you are responsible for that effing fail. Just saying.

Nonetheless, I wish you all peace and prosperity – if and only if by good means and to good ends.


If you think that this blog post sucks, let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include a link to YOUR favorite blog post.

If you think this blog post rocks, tell me why it rocks in the comment. “Awesome,””Great post,” etc. works for me. Don’t forget to include a link to YOUR most recent blog post.

Stan Faryna
07 November 2011
Bucharest, Romania

P.S. Help me to do something beautiful! Click here.


An Untitled Novel About the Road of Hope: Chapter 1.6

April 26, 2011

Chapter 1.6.1

[ Chapter 1.1 is here. ]

Hope and despair will be mistaken for each other. But, in fact, despair is the opposite of hope. It is a vice that stirs men and women to terrible action. Murder. And not just sometimes. Because despair pleads with us to explore the empty promises of gluttony, greed and all the other deadly sins. By any and all means necessary.

Because the road of hope is longer than the legs of our pride, folly and wicked designs.

Some will mistake a road of despair for a road of hope because, for most of us, the roads wind together in our braided journey. The former is a violent and noisy road. It is a dark, angry and lonely road. That road of despair is paved with the unevenly worn and broken cobblestones of envy, jealousy and bitter disappointment.

The road of despair wearies the foot, cracks the heel, turns ankles, stubs the toe, and consumes our feet with dust and painful reminders.

– Dio Read the rest of this entry »

Twitter, Facebook, and other web apps as instruments of political and social change

March 14, 2011

The debate over the usefulness of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (and many other internet services) is being argued in regard to steering and consummating political and social change at ground zero. The sweeping change in hearts and minds across the Arab world have fueled these debates – especially the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, but also the events in Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen, and beyond.

No well informed opinion can deny that humanity’s struggle for freedom and dignity has received more attention now than ever before. The unfolding drama and embrace of change have never captured the imagination and hearts of so many of the world’s population as the recent unprecedented changes in the Arab world.

Never before have so many experienced true revolution directly by picture, video, text message and blog post. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (among other social media) made this possible. And let us not forget that it was the English language which was instrumental to the sharing of information, inspiration, insight, sympathy, anguish, hope, and, yes, outrage. Read the rest of this entry »

Mentoring, Harvard Business Review, and the Customer Community.

March 14, 2010

Below, Alan Parson Project, Eye in the Sky



Harvard Business Review and the Customer Community.

This morning, I was excited when I discovered that Harvard Business Review had launched an online customer community: HBR Answer Exchange. The URL is

The HBR Answer Exchange is described as follows: “The HBR Answer Exchange is a resource for business professionals in search of advice–or with advice to share. Ask a question, read answers selected by HBR editors, or share your experiences.”

I immediately signed up and logged in. And with great expectations! The concept is brilliant and I would like to imagine that the HBR Answer Exchange is going to be a highly active network. If it is managed well and the proper resources are put to it.

It will also need intelligent members willing to contribute, exchange ideas, share insights and interact with other (hopefully) intelligent members. This is, of course, stating the obvious.

Building a Customer Community: Wrong and Right Ways

Lists and bullet points are convenient. They can be useful tools to summarize so-called key points and help the reader to remember and organize information. The list in the HBR Editor’s comment to the HBR Editor’s question about Mentoring, for example, suggests interesting tools.

I appreciate HBR’s attempt to get the conversation and interaction going. It’s not easy to build a customer community where participation requires a higher level of contribution, consideration and insight than say Twitter or Facebook (F/B).

Myself, I believe quotations substituting for personal insight and interaction often present as commonplace, sterile, or impotent cliché – and nowhere is this more true than Twitter and F/B. Worse, cliche tends to make for good humor.

The HBR Editors might use quotes from HBR books in the questions they pose. Such quotations could provide guidance and a starting point from which community members might embark upon a well considered comment.

A more interesting approach to community building would be to get HBR’s writers to weigh in here. And, perhaps, let it be known that significant contribution here can lead to becoming a contributing writer to HBR.

To the question: How can I get the most from my mentor?

As one who was mentored and as one who has endeavored to mentor others, I have to say that the tools mentioned by HBR’s editors cannot substitute for the necessity of a true human relationship – a relationship that involves all sorts of wonderful fuzzies and, above all, perhaps the greatest of natural virtues… friendship.

C.S. Lewis illuminates the subject in his book, The Four Loves. (You can get the hardback from

Writes one top 500 Amazon reviewer (NotATameLion) of this book:

“C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves was not a book that I expected to reshape my thinking. I first picked it up while following the reading guide at the end of Lindskoog’s Mere Christian. I thought it would be a fun read during valentine’s season. One often is most vulnerable to the trap when one is not alert…

And so, once more, C.S. Lewis has changed my thought on a broad portion of life…”

And so, I am skeptical that mentoring can be institutionalized as an organizational strategy to be applied across the large organization- irregardless of vision and resources.  Mentoring depends completely upon the character, mind, and heart of actual persons. Mentoring can, however, be celebrated, encouraged and rewarded. Tools can and should be made available. But tools can only make such relationships more or less effective.

Perhaps, I am mistaken. Maybe Dale Carnegie will come back from the dead to write the uber book about Mentoring.

Until that happy day, I believe that coaching is more suited to organizational strategy. Coaching does not demand the vulnerability and personal investment which would be inappropriate to require of the employee- leader or otherwise.

Furthermore, large organizations are unprepared to make appropriate compensation for such private and personal risk. Nor would they be ready to insure their mentors against such risks and potential claims.

Harvard Business Review

I wish HBR every success in their endeavor to extend the value they already bring to their online community through their website, blog and tweets. The HBR Answer Exchange is an exciting aspiration. And I hope it shall flourish with wisdom and insight.

Make it so.

Stan Faryna
March 14, 2010

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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.


Copyright 1996 to 2009 by Stan Faryna.

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moby and me: Bucharest and Chestii

February 24, 2008

Five cent tour for Patsaks:

Find out what a self-proclaimed blog star (me) has to say to an actual rock star (moby). See the official video for Alice, a track from the soon to be released album, Last Night.

moby and me (eu si moby)

On february 20th, moby writes:

“… san francisco, as i’ve written about before, is such an odd place. it’s beautiful and progressive and affluent, but it also has more hookers and drug dealers per sq km. than any city in the western world…”

I reply:

Dude… you need to get out more.

It’s obvious to me that you spend too much time in the clubs- especially if you think every woman on the street is a hooker. Most likely, they all just look like hookers.

Anyway, can we call them, working girls, instead of hookers? It seems to me that as long as we remember that they are persons, there can be hope for the rehabilitation of their dignity and destiny as persons.

Somehow, we also need to rehabilitate your concept of the western world. It’s more than NYC and LA. Most see it going as far as the African and Asian continents. Of course, the Russians are very offended by this kind of NATO-oriented talk. Generally speaking, Russians are somehow also western- if in their own mean-spirited way.

If you don’t believe me, ask Dmitry Medvedev.

Since you don’t drive, I know that you sometimes get stuck in that feeling that the world begins and ends in NYC with a few frontier posts out there in the badlands (LA, SF, London, Paris, etc).

Have you been to Bucharest?

Bucharest is out there… on the edge of the Western world. You will even find a lot of people here that can speak English. A bit of advice – avoid the Romanian girls on, Yahoo Personals, High5, etc.
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