Blog Soup 2011.11.21 Day Dreams of Days After Turkey and Leftovers

November 21, 2011

Blog Soup

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Blog Soup 2011.11.21 Dreams of Days After Turkey and Leftovers

Scary stuff is days-after turkey and the leftovers. Some have likened me to Homer Simpson and his big sandwich.

Must eat the leftovers! 

Will the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole hold out until the Turkey is finished? That’s ever the big question in my mind when I go to the fridge after the big day.

About Blog Soup

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 CookThe Idiots Guide to Triberr Tutorial

2. Yomar LopezHow Triberr Changes The Competitive Landscape

3. Neicole CrepeauFriday Fives: Tips For Using Triberr

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?

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

2011.11.21

Happy Thanksgiving!

George Winston, Thanksgiving Music

Featured

The blog posts that I commented on in this blog soup:

1. 5 Keys To Online Debate: It’s OK To Disagree by Daniel Newman

2. How to think creatively by Tony Schwartz

3. Create a Culture of Greatness by Jon Gordon

4. China: Photo Captures Plight of 58 Million ‘Left Behind Children’ by Oiwan Lam

5. Commit Yourself to the Process of Blogging Progress by Mattias Gronborg

6. 10 Ways to Improve Relationships with Kindness by Harleena Singh

7. How Fanta destroyed everything by Jens Berget

Blog Soup

My unabashed comments:

1. 5 Keys To Online Debate: It’s OK To Disagree by Daniel Newman

Daniel’s 5 Keys to better online debate:

1. Be Selective in your disagreements
2. Understand the context; get clarification
3. Don’t waste time bickering back and forth
4. Don’t count on closure or a clean win
5. Empathize as much as you can

My comment:

Daniel writes how he often disagrees with the things he reads on Twitter, Facebook, or blogs. Worse, he suggests, is the overwhelming number of indiscriminate agreements, compliments, and praise for stupidity, false insight, and lies.

As if those agreements, compliments, and praise do not reflect the stunning lack of intelligence of the commenters?!

Of course, they do! As John Garrett might add, there’s no better way to spot a stupid clown than in the comments.

Myself, I would like to see more honesty in the comments I’m reading across blog posts. Because there is a yawning lack of honesty going on. Or stupid clowning. Honesty, however, does not have to strikingly unkind, vicious, and disruptive – especially in the blog comments.

Myself, I do want to be encouraging, but I want to encourage others in good things, true things, and beautiful things. But I don’t always get the balance right when I contradict their suppositions. I know that and it concerns me considerably.

In the comments, Janet Callaway refers to Marcus Baker’s blog post, Would You Rather Be Right Or Happy?

Choose whether you would rather be “right” than happy. Choose whether you would be “right” than continue a relationship.

Is it that black and white, Janet?

I don’t know about that.

The one thing I’m sure about is that a relationship based on a dishonest kindness or indiscriminate encouragement is no relationship. Offline when a friend tells me bullshit, I may smile but I still call it bullshit.

Bruce Sallan writes:

Disagreement- when done with respect – usually creates the best dialogue and engagement.

And I have enjoyed disagreeing with Bruce about Occupy Wall Street. I understand, after all, that he has to tow the line that his listeners expect of him. And not just tow it but defend it to the teeth. But I know that he knows, I’m right. [grin]

Please don’t just agree to disagree and have nothing to say!

2. How to think creatively by Tony Schwartz

Writes Tony:

Ultimately, the highest creativity depends on making frequent waves — learning to engage the whole brain by moving flexibly and intentionally between the right and left hemisphere, activity and rest, effort and letting go. That’s also a pretty good prescription for how to live.

In the comments, Tony adds:

… intentionally cultivating more intuitive, metaphorical, big picture thinking will strengthen the capacity for creativity immeasurably.

My comment:

To have the capacity to move flexibly and intentionally between different modes of prehension would be a coup to count. I am not convinced, however, that it’s only about the brain. Furthermore, Schwartz fails to define the role of emotions and conscience in creativity. But as profoundly disappointing as the latter failure, I enjoyed Schwartz’s sally.

Tony Schwartz rushes, jumps, and leaps upon the challenge to describe creativity in a manner typical of a journalist. [big grin]

How many dragons have you tried to slay, today? Me? None, today. So Schwartz should get his Foursquare badge. Or something.

As Mark Foster observes in his comment, a better title for the blog post might be in order. I propose the following: Baby Steps to Doing Performance Art that Mimics an Understanding of Creativity.

Slightly unrelated to Tony’s focus, but more interesting to me is a comment by David:

The truth is that creativity makes almost everything better, more human and more meaningful… and more sensible…

Great societies are measured by their creative and cultural accomplishments. The rest, though empirical and pragmatic, is what we settle for in a so-called non-creative world… muscle-bound and hamstrung by these misunderstandings of what might have been.

3. Create a Culture of Greatness by Jon Gordon

Writes Jon Gordon:

To build a winning a team and a successful organization you must create a culture of greatness.

What I didn’t write:

The reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire are many and much debated. However, Rome’s fall to the Visigoths and Vandals is a lesson about greatness as a cultural force – a lesson for which few can stomach. Babylon’s fall teaches the same. And no one truly knows the wonder and awe of Babylon’s hanging gardens. The lesson is that greatness is not invincible; neither is it forever nor sure-footed upon troubled times. And, yes, Superman bows and crumbles before kryptonite.

Greatness may be spoken gently today in the hallowed halls of Apple, but I also remember Tom Peters, the guru’s guru of business consultants, remembering how he cringed at meetings where Steve Jobs roared like a lion – Job’s mouth dripping, foaming, and spewing insults and contempt for his people.

My chief concern, however, is not that greatness is unworthy of our hunger, ambition, and aspiration. For I am tempted by it, myself.

Greatness, triumphant greatness, is not a leisurely sport. It is the fighting and the kind of fighting that wins both the battles and the war. Greatness is neither in a four hour work week nor a forty hour work week, but many who have tasted even but a drop of glory will swear by the eighty four hour work week.

Writes the historian Edward Gibbon:

The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness.

Greatness, to be poignant, is 300 Spartans (and others) standing against hundreds of thousands of Persians, beset by all sides, and their families soon and inevitably to be raped and gutted – soon after they fall. They delay that horror to befall their loved ones by a day or two – if and only if they fight harder than anyone has ever fought before or after.

And they did.

4. China: Photo Captures Plight of 58 Million ‘Left Behind Children’ by Oiwan Lam

The photo shows a little girl cradling her baby brother in the classroom. The photo, Little brother wants to sleep ((弟弟要睡了), generated much online discussion in China last month as it reflects the long-standing social problem of children left behind in rural villages by their parents, the inhumanity of a culture dominated by authoritarian capitalism, and other things.

The Chinese government has attempted to block searches for the image to discourage further conversation and debate.

My comment:

While the rise of the Chinese Economy is of some abstract concern to the West, the West truly does not understand that the Chinese will to dominate global markets is driven by demons meaner and tougher than any fire we got in our belly. They may overcome us – sooner than later. This seems as inevitable (if divine intervention is withheld) as it would be forlorn.

In it’s decline, the Roman Empire did not produce many goods for export, they could not capitalize upon invention and innovation because there was no manner to protect intellectual properties, politics was owned by corruption, government was bankrupt, and the people – poor, proud, uninspired, and, arguably, unwilling to adapt to the challenges of the diminishing glory of Rome.

The much quoted philosopher and poet George Santayana had suggested that those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. Apparently, the same fate ambushes those who have read and comprehended history but not by their hearts.

5. Commit Yourself to the Process of Blogging Progress by Mattias Gronborg

Says Mattias:

Hang in there. It can take time to see results.

My comment:

Mattias brings up a good point about how it can take 6 months from the hiring of a sales rep to seeing them sell. He doesn’t mention that a brick and mortar business likely has visibility, already knows who it is selling to, how to sell what it sells.

If you are new to blogging, six months isn’t realistic. Because no one knows who you are (online), you may not know anything about your online market (customers), and you may not know how to sell whatever you are selling, online.

Unless you have money or budget to advance your project ($12,000 or much more/year depending on your ambitions, problem solving skills, and, hopefully, a few super powers), think three years. Three years?

Three years, that’s what I’m saying. Of course, you could get lucky. But if you feel that lucky, go buy a lottery ticket.

In the meantime, consider Aaron Biebert’s encouraging shout out:

The future you fight for is forward.

6. 10 Ways to Improve Relationships with Kindness by Harleena Singh

Writes Harleena:

You are genuinely kind when your uppermost priority is to support the highest good of everyone.

My comment:

J.R.R. Tolkien once described the debt of kindness to which he owed to his dear and faithful friend C.S. Lewis:

The unpayable debt that I owe him was sheer encouragement.

It has been said that true kindness is a fruit of the spiritual life. Without a doubt, the lack of spiritual life often reveals itself through a poverty of kindness. How then shall we be kind when we are unable to receive kindness into our spirit?

Kindness is not based on matters of fact, duty, instinct, or eros (attraction). It cannot be exchanged, traded for another thing, or purchased. And if you agree, when do you last remember visiting kindness upon another. In other words, when did you give without expectation of any return AND for the sake of the other’s highest good?

It can be easily said that the Creator is kind. The generosity of creation is indisputable. But you? Me?

Without the spiritual resources to supply us with true kindness, we have only our natural inclinations and devices to exercise something like kindness. In other words, courtesy.

Courtesy is not a bad thing, however. In fact, as much as we want for kindness, I would argue that we want even more for courtesy.

Courtesy, therefore, I suggest, is what we need to apply diligently in our relationships. Because courtesy does not demand of us the things that kindness requires. Namely, spiritual gifts which most of us are deeply lacking of. Myself included, of course.

The Sanskrit word, daksinya, describes a kindness and consideration that is expressed in a sophisticated and elegant manner. This sense of kindness, however, does not address one’s highest good. It merely addresses one’s immediate need, comfort, or convenience in the sense of a thoughtful hospitality or charming behavior.

In this light, Harleena provides me with excellent check list of courtesies to work on.

7. How Fanta destroyed everything by Jens Berget

Jens is guest posting at Bill Dorman’s place.

Saying sorry and being kind will get you word of mouth recommendations. That’s what Jen is saying.

What I didn’t say:

Jen tells about two different pizza places. One screwed up his family’s pizza and went the extra mile to make up for their error. The other place didn’t do much to improve an unfortunate mishap of Jen’s daughter spilling her Fanta.

When I first came to Romania, I used to flip out over the bad service – especially if I was paying top dollar for the service. And they didn’t care.

In restaurants, I’ve had waiters bring cold food, forget to bring food that was ordered, and bring me the wrong food. And if I didn’t like it, I could pay and leave. If I didn’t pay, the police or their friends would be called to teach me better manners.

That’s not the worst of it, I have had waiters not return with the change, managers not believe that I had payed the bill, and, yes, I have even exchanged blows with restaurant security guards.

To be honest, the gorillas wanted to use fists, but I decisively and violently used a chair to even the odds and subdue them.

Things are a little better since Romania joined the European Union. But Jens might still hate it here in Bucharest – especially if he went off the beaten path.

My insight has also grown. I no longer complain about bad service. If I try a new restaurant, the burden of discovery is mine.

I understand that there is no culture of customer loyalty here. It’s not like back in the Washington, DC area where I am recognized and warmly greeted by restaurant owners even if they haven’t seen me for three years. They know that when I am in town and available to dine at their place, I’ll visit them at least once per week. Because I’m loyal like that.

But I also have to mention that my favorite restaurant in Washington, D.C. closed after some 50 years of excellence. And I miss my Cote de Boef. Contrary to marketing speak, customer loyalty does not function in every circumstance – apparently not on a bump or downturn. Ah- the misuse of euphemism!

So even if I show loyalty to a restaurant in Bucharest, I’m the exception and that isn’t meaningful enough to change how they do things. Exceptions are not rules – that’s why they are called exceptions.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to go out of your way to win word of mouth recommendations. But like most business owners do, be discriminating in choosing to whom you apply your courtesies. No business can afford to be so liberal in their generosity and courtesy that they can make every customer experience an exceptional experience.

In my opinion, a pizza place making the best pizza they can make at the lowest possible price they can sell it… is what the bottom line of the pizza business is about. And, yeah, most pizza places don’t even get that right.

Feedback

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
21 November 2011
Bucharest, Romania

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

Advertisements

Blog Soup 2011.11.14 Do You Have Leadership Skills?

November 14, 2011

Blog Soup

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Blog Soup 2011.11.11 Do You Have Leadership Skills?

The next Blog Soup is planned for the next Monday. Things got crazy busy. Be safe and take good care of you.

About Blog Soup

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 CookThe Idiots Guide to Triberr Tutorial

2. Yomar LopezHow Triberr Changes The Competitive Landscape

3. Neicole CrepeauFriday Fives: Tips For Using Triberr

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?

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

2011.11.14

There is much to say about leadership. There is much need to think and speak about leadership. In the midst of the failure of leadership, we may be tempted to put up with false leadership, false journalism, lies, and what misfortunes that may befall us – especially the poor who are least able to bear untimely hardships and disasters.

I kindly remind you of the words of the poet, Dylan Thomas:

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Rage with love, service, and servant hearts.

Featured

The blog posts that I commented on in this Blog Soup:

1. Leadership Lessons from Joe Paterno and Penn State by Aaron Biebert

2. 12 Most Important Aspects of Having 100,000 Followers by Ted Coiné

3. A Short Treatise on Losing by Anthony Iannarino

4. Jay-Z’s ‘Occupy All Streets’ Shirt Vanishes from Rocawear Site Amid Controversy by Elva Ramirez

5. The Extremely Personal Post by Laurinda Shaver

6. Colin Powell: Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations Are ‘As American As Apple Pie’

7. Thoughts 4 Friday – Be Indispensable by Daniel Newman


Michael Jackson, Man In The Mirror

Blog Soup

My unabashed comments:

1. Leadership Lessons from Joe Paterno and Penn State by Aaron Biebert

Writes Aaron Biebert:

“Success with Honor” is Penn State’s motto. Now they have neither.

My comment:

Your post reminds me of some good advice. Thank you, Aaron.

Leadership is a gift given by those who follow.

That’s what General Mark Welsh, Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, says. General Welsh gave a speech about what leadership is about at the Air Force Academy. The video is here.

I mention General Welsh’s speech because he explains the why and how of leadership. Leadership is necessitated not simply by the objective or the how, it is also intimately about people and why. And you don’t need to be a genius to understand this. You just have to have a heart.

General Welsh speaks about leadership through stories and slides. He tells about the horror of killing and the fact that it has to be done. He tells us that the enemies that are killed by smart bombs are fathers, sons, and brothers too.

General Welsh tells us about the people who serve in the Air Force. About the people that made a difference. About the people that are making a difference.

Leaders are all about their credibility. Leaders look out for their people and they do what they say they are going to do – especially when it’s about taking care of their people. They look after the people that count on them. That doesn’t mean that leaders lie or cover up for this person or that as Aaron points out. Leaders have to keep their people on the up and up – that’s the kind of winning that counts most of all. If they can’t do that, they have no credibility.

Leaders pay attention to the details. General Welsh tells about a jet fighter pilot that died when he missed a zero point two of a second decision to pull up. Details matter.

Leaders know their people’s stories. You can’t look out for your people (and their families) if you don’t know their story.

General Welsh concludes:

Leadership is a gift. It’s given by those who follow. But you have to be worthy of it.

2. 12 Most Important Aspects of Having 100,000 Followers by Ted Coiné

Self-described business heretic and futurist gives 12 reasons he’s proud to boast about his 100k followers on Twitter.

1. He’s having fun.

2. He’s there for people.

3. He’s building an audience for his next book.

4. He’s being social.

5. He’s trying to do good things.

6. He appreciates his people.

7. He gets feedback.

8. He’s making friends.

9. He’s learning things.

10. He doesn’t need Klout to feel special.

11. His followers help him out.

12. He’s curating people.

My comment:

Let’s go for a big lagniappe!

13. Love, Serve, and Lead.

100k followers is a whole lot of people. As General Welsh explained, be worthy of the the gift of leadership!

3. A Short Treatise on Losing by Anthony Iannarino

It isn’t a failure to fight the good fight and to lose. It is a failure not to fight the good fight. It is a failure to do nothing in the midst of evil, terror, and great anguish. That’s what Anthony is saying.

My comment:

Leaders understand that it’s not winning a fight that counts, but fighting the good fight for all the right reasons that matter. Because a good fight doesn’t hold you down in doubt, fear, and despair. When you lose a good fight, you may have lost much more than just that fight, but you don’t have to lose the fight that is in you.

No German, for example, can savor the things done in service to Hitler and the Nazis. They can not enjoy the many German accomplishments in service to that dark cause. Because there can never be triumph when it is in service to evil.

The Germans stormed across Europe under the Nazi banner and made all of Europe tremble before them; they overcame tremendous force and people; they overcame impossible odds with technology, science, and discipline. And the German people must hang their heads in shame for a hundred years. Or more.

Likewise Penn State has been dishonored as Aaron Biebert points out in his blog post.

4. Jay-Z’s ‘Occupy All Streets’ Shirt Vanishes from Rocawear Site Amid Controversy by Elva Ramirez

When Business Insider asked Rocawear if any proceeds from Jay-Z’s Occupy All Streets shirt were going towards the movement, Rocawear issued a statement that Jay-Z’s t-shirt was not related significantly to the political movement. Accusations promptly followed that Jay-Z was trying to profit from the protest.

My comment:

The obvious irony is that Jay-Z’s apparent interest in cashing in on the Occupy movement represents the same kind of heartless capitalism, lack of humanitarian intent, and greed against which the Occupy movement protests.

The more obvious question to some is not if Jay-Z is selling out the people today, but if he was a wanna-be 1 percenter since the beginning?

Everybody hurts as Bruce Sallan reminds us in his blog post. Sometimes.

The 1 percenters hurt too. They cry. They anguish. They have fears too. It’s a shame that they often fail to identify with the pain, hopes, and disappointment experienced by the 99 percent. It’s not like they have to make a leap of faith about something outside their experience.

Jay-Z, like other hip hoppers and rock stars, received the mantle of leadership as a gift from their fans, but they often prove themselves to be false idols. They are not worthy of their celebrity as General Welsh would remind us.

They do not serve their people. They are out for themselves. And this is the problem of the 1 percent, be they bankers, politicians, or others who serve themselves at the expense of the world.

In Michael’s song, there’s a question for the 1 percent – a question that will eat away at their brains like worms feasting upon corpses. Michael’s question comes like the pained and whispered warning of the rich man in hell.

Who am I to be blind, pretending not to see their need?

5. The Extremely Personal Post by Laurinda Shaver

Writes Laurinda:

3 years ago I made the most difficult decision of my life. I decided to end my marriage of 7 years…

It went from a separation, to getting laid off, to my mom being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour, to her dying a year later, to my dad suddenly suffering from mobility issues.

She also had two young kids in tow.

3 years later, Laurinda can say, “I am the CEO of my life.”

My comment:

Laurinda’s blog post is a response to Janet’s Callaway;s blog post, How to be the CEO of your life.

Getting from there (surviving) to here (commanding) didn’t happen overnight, Laurinda tells us. Like Michael sings in his song, Man in the Mirror, Laurinda started with the woman in the mirror.

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways…

6. Colin Powell: Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations Are ‘As American As Apple Pie’

CNN’s Pier Morgen interviews former Secretary of State and retired four star general Colin Powell about the Occupy movement.

Says Powell:

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are as American as apple pie.

We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into how do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?

My comment:

Retired Four Star General Colin Powell is one of the few people from the political right that acknowledges a problem, the American-ness of protest, and the legitimacy of the Occupy movement. Regardless of whether or not you may agree with the man’s politics, the man’s leadership qualities stand up.

Compare Powell with Captain Margo Bennet of the University of California Berkeley Police Department who defended University Police officers caught on video for beating protesting students who were not showing violent resistance.

Captain Margo Bennet’s statement:

I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest.

I do not believe that I need to provide you with a historical description of the protests led by Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi to establish how impoverished is Bennet’s definition of nonviolent protest. But I will remind you of the intentions upon which America is founded:

That whenever any Form of Government [i.e., local, State, Federal or international] becomes destructive of these ends [read: the free exercise of certain unalienable rights), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (link)

Do note from the quotation that the Right to alter or abolish it belongs to the People – not government. Also that change shall be determined by the People and according to their prudence- not the government.

Just as Bull O’Conner was inadequate more than 50 years ago, Captain Margo Bennet should resign his post for the dishonor that he has brought to UC Berkeley. Obviously, Bennet’s gestapo mentality is inadequate to serve as a leader whose mission is to serve and protect people and, especially, to serve and protect the students of UC Berkeley.

Captain Margo Bennet is yet another false leader – unworthy of the gift which he has been given.

7. Thoughts 4 Friday – Be Indispensable by Daniel Newman

Asks Daniel of the employee:

What do you bring to the table that makes you indispensable?

My comment:

What people ask of a leader every day:

What do you bring to the table that makes you indispensable to your people?

Following Daniel’s line of thinking, four more questions come to mind:

1. Are you always looking for ways for your people to get the job done in a smarter and healthier way?
2. Do you take the initiative to identify and solve problems that stand as obstacle to your people making results happen?
3. Do you embrace learning about your people, how they do what they do, and why they do it the way they do it?
4. Are you willing to lead change? Or do you delegate that like a chump?

Like Michael sings it:

You gotta get it right, while you got the time
‘Cause when you close your heart
Then you close your mind.

Feedback

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
14 November 2011
Bucharest, Romania

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