Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goodbye, July

I'm glad July is over. Not much more to say than that. Another ER visit, but also lots of fun. But also lots of sleepless nights. And breakthroughs with Ben. I just noticed that I was happy when June was over too. I need to work on that. I need to end August not being so glad the month is over.

The Big Elements

simplify - I've kept my part of the bedroom clean and have been thinking of other ways to simplify. I also employed simplify's cousin clarify in looking into my Social Media "Strategy" (interestingly enough, that netted me new followers on Twitter, friend requests on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn.) Kicked off Project Haven with Lori, an effort to determine what our bedroom should (and shouldn't) be.

diet and exercise - exercise- check. diet - brrrrrt and pbbbbbbt. You'd be disgusted with me. I'm disgusted with me. Only two really egregious days, but in the same week - that's bad. I'm bad.

work - as always, a constant state of flux. The story of my life.

family - we're still overdue to call Lori's dad and brothers, we spent time with Lori's mom, two different family events with my parents and one even with my brother and his family.

family present ideas - no new idea per se, but we've been talking about gifting, partially because I've been thinking about how I don't want stuff and we discovered that we're more interested in experiences. There is some stuff, but it's all too expensive.

Top 5 Posts This Month
My Favorite 5 Posts This Month
  • Faster, Cheaper, Easier (A Work-Related Post) -- July 18, 2013
    I like this one, possibly because I like the fake PowerPoint slide I created. But it was based on a real one I saw this month.
  • Change in Plans -- July 2, 2013
    How can I handle interruptions better?
  • Why Husbands are Frustrating (Life with #Autism) -- July 24, 2013
    I've been seeing lots of women frustrated on MyAutismTeam by their husbands and I started to write a note but it turned out to be too long and suddenly it was a blog post. A very popular blog post. (Hint: They're moving through the stages of grief more slowly and might be stuck.)
  • Time of Death -- July 12, 2013
    I came to a realization. I'm vague, but it's crystal clear to me.
  • Project Haven -- July 4, 2013
    Lori and I embark on a simplify project for our bedroom.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Gamestorming

Gamestorming by Dave Grey, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo

Gamestorming is a handbook for icebreaking, brainstorming and strategizing. It describes a process that begins with an "open," one or more "exploration" phases and then a "close."

With an "open" you set the stage, you define what is, you start getting the creative juices flowing.  "Exploration" does just that - dig into concepts, look at them in a new way, prioritize. And then in the "close" phase you try to bring it back home - synthesize learnings, create action items, make conclusions.

And then the book is filled with games to you can use. There are ones I've participated in before and ones I hadn't seen before. Some I want to try and some I'm not so excited about. There's also a section on questions you can ask to focus or reframe when you get stuck, ways to see patterns and construct or deconstruct ideas and even a section on sketching because they say it's crucial to your success in leading these games, to be comfortable sketching in front of a group. (Or at the very least, sketching in light pencil ahead of time and then going back over it with a thicker Sharpie in front of the participants.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

The subject is a lie (A Work-Related Post)

This is just disappointing. I work in Email Marketing so we talk about stuff like this all the time and it's the topic of the blogs and articles I regularly read.

Here's an email I recently received from Hootsuite.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Social Media "Strategy"

I've heard it said that "If you've got a Twitter account, you are an expert in Social Media." That phrase comes to mind every time someone gives me a Social Media endorsement on LinkedIn.

If I were to utter that aloud in the presence of my friends who work in social media, one of two things would happen.  For some, they'd get a pained look on their face, declare that to be untrue and then pull out their phones and tweet about the injustice, ignoring me for the duration of the conversation. The other half would choke back a laugh and then get a stern look on their face and shush me. I like my social media friends so I'd never say something like that to them. Goodness knows the kinds of things people say about me in my presence when they find out that one of my roles is overseeing a team who sends out emails all day long. (Though the one I remember the most was my first visit to a church after moving to California after college in the mid-90s. They were having a picnic that day so they invited me to stick around for that. They asked what I did and I said I was working for an internet startup. The pastor declared "The internet is all pornography." I didn't say much for the rest of the picnic and did not return to that church.)

Someone recently pointed out that on my Twitter bio I said that I was working in Email and Social Media. Of course, that's not exactly true. While I often quote the line "Email is the grandfather of Social Media and not the grandson of Direct Mail," where I work, email is stuck in sort of a middle, gray area. I adjusted my bio so as not to suggest an area of responsibility that did not exist.

But it's been making me think... do I have a strategy with all this stuff? I guess I do. Maybe? Depends on how generous you want to be with the word "strategy." It's not extremely cohesive, but it all combines to make up my online personality and my brand.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Week 17 (Final)

Sunday afternoon (final) - Sporadic today. But let's wrap this week up and see if I can do better next week. Good news, finished off two magazines. I will continue to chip away at these and not have so many in progress again at the same time. Still too many.

  • Completed this week: 210
  • Sunday: 11
  • Monday: 42
  • Tuesday: 41
  • Wednesday: 43
  • Thursday: 26
  • Friday: 10
  • Saturday: 13
  • Today: 33

Worth Repeating: Jennifer Healey


If cars could talk, accidents might be avoidable -- When we drive, we get into a glass bubble, lock the doors and press the accelerator, relying on our eyes to guide us -- even though we can only see the few cars ahead of and behind us. But what if cars could share data with each other about their position and velocity, and use predictive models to calculate the safest routes for everyone on the road? Jennifer Healey imagines a world without accidents. More on

Why I posted -- An interesting exploration of technological possibilities and implications.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mobilize Me

Dear Apple and @RunKeeper - why aren't your emails optimized for mobile?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Print Sift

Five Things I've recently read and figured were worth passing along:


I did not realize that CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy - the car manufacturer's required afe) was based on vehicles produced, not vehicles sold. So manufacturers will continue to make cars people don't want in order to meet the requirements. I think it ought to be based on cars sold. That would spur real change. (No link here, just a fact and a little bit of editorializing. Source: Fast Company, July/Aug. 2013)


A cool site I've added to Feedly: - guy holds up a still from a movie in the location where it was shot. Simple concept, great results. (Thank you Marci Robin c/o FC 7/13)


Why Cars Should Be More Smartphones - bring it. (Fast Company, July/Aug. 2013)


The Road to Resilience: How Unscientific Innovation Saved Marlin Steel - American manufacturing jobs saved by: relevant advertising reaching the right audience, a willingness to venture outside the core, an eye on the competitive landscape, a willingness to invest, improve and change - a great story about how an almost random call from Boeing to a maker of bagel baskets resulted in a transformation of a small U.S. factory. Great lessons in here. (Fast Company, July/Aug. 2013)


Paper Lantern Lit matches undiscovered writers with publishers to create mass-market hits - This is really interesting - they come up with the plot and then they find a suitable writer to write the story. But it's not ghostwriting, it's a way to help writers become authors. (Fast Company, Nov. 2012)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why Husbands are Frustrating (Life with #Autism)

I tried posting this on tonight, but of course it was way too long. So posting it here. Hope it's helpful.


One of the things I've observed on here (on MAT) is that the site is predominantly women and that there's a lot of (for lack of a better word) frustration with husbands. A friend with a newly diagnosed 2-year-old who describing her husband's response to me and it suddenly hit me: they are at different stages of grief. (And that turned into this really long post. I hope it's helpful.)

Drawing from Mars/Venus, us guys want to "fix it." We have a bias towards action. Give us a problem and we'll solve it.

Now, suddenly, we're faced with a problem we can't "solve." But this is what we do. On top of that, this is a loss. I don't know if Ben will ever talk, play sports (or video games) or outgrow diapers. While I love my son and who he is, I had a different thought in mind of what having a son would be like and all the stuff he and I would do.

So now, the one thing I'm good at - "fixing" is rendered useless, and I'm also mourning the loss of my child, in a way. Oh, and my wife is so busy taking care of our children that she doesn't have as much time and attention to lavish on me as I'd like, and maybe some of the things she did for our household aren't getting done anymore because she's worn out and tired. And so much money, so so so much money is going to co-pays for therapies and doctors and our portion of trips to the ER. And if that wasn't enough, no one's getting good sleep.

Without even thinking about it, you moms just suck-it-up and deal. It's an inherent part of who you are. Sink or swim - because if you don't, who will? You protect your cubs. Your whole world has changed. His has only partially changed which could even be more confusing.

So now you're left with a bewildered husband. The home is unpredictable, chaotic, loud and there's probably a neverending stack of stuff to be done. The children aren't always behaved and everything he knows about reward and punishment is thrown out the window by little people who interpret the world differently. His parents may have distanced themselves or may now be critical of you as parents. And we hear stories of what our friends with neurotypical children are experiencing and the competitive part of us has to keep quiet because life with an autistic child is something they won't understand.

The office, however, is predictable. You're respected, people do what you ask them to. It's quiet, it's orderly. There's a common goal in mind, there are rules, there are problems to solve, challenges to overcome.

Your husband is probably feeling out of place:

  • a little confused about what to do
  • working through the stages of grief
  • thinking "I didn't sign up for this" 
  • feeling unappreciated (whether it's legit or not - us guys can be fragile sometimes)
  • and facing an unfixable problem. 

They don't mean to be uninvolved or unsupportive, they're just overwhelmed.

It may be time to invest in your husband. This is a new role -- they've not trained for it, and they haven't done all the research you have, and they don't have all the experience you have.

But try to figure out where they are at. (Truthfully, as a mama bear that protects the family, he's yours to protect as well. Of course, he's going to internalize this, so all you see is reservation, anger, withdrawal.)

I'd start with a technique called "couch time" - this is a time right after they get home from work where you both sit on the couch and talk. The little ones can't interrupt because your focus is only on each other. 5-10 minutes tops. Allows him to integrate into the home life, gives him an outlet, shows your children that mommy and daddy are on the same page and that they are a team. (A great time to discuss things that you need to be on the same page about.)

If they're grieving, let them talk it through. They need to go from denial (where our parents get stuck), anger (why, God?), bargaining, depression (where guys get stuck) to acceptance (congrats moms, you're there. You moved quickly because the world wasn't going to wait for you. So that's probably also a source of frustration, whether you realize it or not - your husband's had an opportunity to progress more slowly and may not yet be caught up with you.)

Once they get to acceptance, they can roll up their sleeves and look for ways to be involved, especially if there *are* things that can be fixed. Speaking of...

Find some things to fix. I don't mean "take out the trash" or "repaint the deck" (no nagging) but "I have a problem _____ and I need your help." Just that simple. You haven't told them what to do, but you've given them a chance to be successful. And then celebrate the solution - show your appreciation and show how it fits into the context of the family. This could be an actual task, or it could be something that allows him to assert his leadership as the traditional head-of-household figure. (I'm not being sexist here - give your husband a chance to step up and lead and he will rise to the occasion. If it's been awhile, it may need to be in small steps where he can regain his confidence.)

And the attention thing - that's huge. Guys will feel that there's no time for them. When you first got married, you had all the time in the world for each other - you were each other's worlds. We tend to hang on to stuff for a long time, we don't like change - that's why we keep old clothes and old music.

And with some our kiddos, it's even difficult finding babysitters. Find someone who you can train to watch your children (they come over and practice putting the children to bed while you read a book in another room).

Or have a date while the children are at school, or encourage him to go in to work late -- one of you runs out to McDonalds and picks up breakfast and then you have breakfast in bed before the kids wake up. (Or forget the breakfast part.)

Your husband made a commitment to you when he got married and then made a commitment to your family when the children came along. Most husbands would be surprised (and possibly a little hurt) if they were to come on here and learn you were frustrated with them.

Most of the husbands want to do better, to be better, they just need your guidance.

Good luck - it's your turn to "fix" it.

Free Idea: Landline Text-Messaging

So I sent this to Comcast but I couldn't convince them to think about it. They got hung up on "text messaging" and missed the point completely. But the idea persists in my head, so I figured I ought to commit it to blog in case some other company wants it.

So here's the deal - free text-messaging. For landlines.

I would guess that a lot of people with landlines have cable or satellite. And cable and satellite boxes these days are just computers. And usually they're connected to the internet in some way often by companies offering triple or quadruple plays, or at least bundling with telecommunications partners.

So it seems like it would be very easy to deliver text messages to the box and allow messages to be sent from the box.

I once read that if Apple charged for songs the way AT&T charged for text messaging (data-wise), it would cost something like $90,000 for a song. It seems like telecommunications companies would love anything that expands the use of text-messaging, even if they offered it free, just to open up all those landlines to it and get people hooked on it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Not not bad

Feels like a double-negative.

In their defense there was a section above it that said something like "Always this stuff" but it was separated enough that they seemed to read separately.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Attention to Detail 3 (A Work-Related Post)

So for many days last week, this is what you saw when you entered our local Fred Meyer.  A sign promoting a "signing." For what?

From the inside, you can see who was going to be there for the signing. The first time I saw the sign on the way in, I forgot to look on the way out but wondered for days what was going on here.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 16 (Final)

Sunday, 5:30 pm (Final) - gonna close it out. That will allow me to start planning next week. So, I wasn't ruthless enough this week. Need to do repeating tasks less often and do even fewer non-repeating tasks. Also, a number of tasks got added this week that weren't originally on the plan. That's to be expected, that's life, right? Anything else completed tonight will count towards next week.

So in the end, 203 items completed.

Monday: 45
Tuesday: 46
Wednesday: 21
Thursday: 19
Friday: 29
Saturday: zero (some checked off on Sunday)
Sunday: 43

Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

So three things... first, at the time this blog post was written, the link to Amazon on the right was for the first five chapters free. It's the Kindle version, but there's a Kindle app for every known device and there's also a web version if yours is an unknown device. So go check out the first five chapters for free. Unless you haven't read book one yet, because you owe it to yourself to read that first. Lucky for you, here's a link to the get first five chapters of that for free in the Kindle version.

Shadow and Bone (my review) and Seige and Storm are the first two of the Grisha Trilogy. (What is a "Grisha"? Better to read the books than have me explain except to say that in this universe, some humans are endowed with special powers that ordinary humans aren't.) The only reason I'd say not to read these books would be if you were an impatient person - book three hasn't been released yet.

Oh, I and I said three things... the other thing is that I wanted to post part of the Acknowledgments: "The problem with acknowledgements is that they quickly devolve into long lists of names suitable for skimming. But many people are required to make a book happen, and they deserve recognition, so please bear with me. (If it gets boring, I recommend singing aloud. Get a friend to beatbox for you, I'll wait.) As a new author..."

Why start with the acknowledgements? While I suppose you can click on those links above to get the first five chapters free, I wanted to give you a quick taste of the author while still on the blog page and I figured no one would get mad at me posting a little bit from the acks.

But... what of the book itself? (I'll attempt to be spoiler-free, but if you're not familiar with the trilogy, you might want to go read book 1 instead of this review.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ok, riddle me this...

Ok, here's a weird one for the spammers... someone at BMW North America named Alexandria Castro just emailed me or has a virus on her computer. It's spamming everyone in her address book - or else she thinks my name is Lloyd. Using two email addresses I used only when communicating with Robert Larson Nissan in Puyallup (and possibly PGI Auto (

So... who got hacked? And how did my information make it to BMW? And why does she think my name is Lloyd?

Update: Nope, pretty sure it's PGI Auto because I just got an email from someone at Toyota (Japan). Same email.

Worth Repeating: Eric Sanderson


New York - Before the City: 400 years after Hudson found New York harbor, Eric Sanderson shares how he made a 3D map of Mannahatta's fascinating pre-city ecology of hills, rivers, wildlife -- accurate down to the block -- when Times Square was a wetland and you couldn't get delivery. More on

Why I'm Posting: This is fascinating. Moreso probably if you've ever lived in New York.

Friday, July 19, 2013

@Mashable - email to the rescue?

So I wonder if Mashable is going to be a casualty of Google killing off Reader. Several years ago I must have registered on because it's been at least a year since I stopped following Mashable in Google Reader.

And then out of nowhere earlier this week I started receiving daily emails from Mashable. And I quickly unsubscribed. No thank you.  I have to guess the email hasn't performed great for them - probably a high number of unsubscribes, some marked as spam and a lot of bounces.

On the plus side, the email was responsive and their website is also responsive. When I gave up on Mashable, it was mostly annoying slideshows that didn't work well on my iPad and way too many posts each day. Based on the title of their first email and the number of stories in each email, neither has changed. Too bad. Mashable had some good stuff.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faster, Cheaper, Easier (A Work-Related Post)

Ok - fire up PowerPoint. Load up the presentation you're currently working on. Do you have this slide?

Kill it, kill it now. We don't want to see it, it makes all of us dumber. And it makes you look bad when you try to paraphrase it so that you're not just reading off the slide. And then halfway through you realize that you're required to say "faster, easier and cheaper" and start stumbling.

But you know what? You've just put us on the defensive. Now we want you to prove it.

So don't tell us - show us. Get to the good slides. Or trash the slides and give us a relevant, live demo.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week 15 (Final)

Sunday evening -  37 done for the day. 257 for the week. Yep, too laid back this week. Need a stronger plan for next week.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Worth Repeating: Robert Gordon


The Death of Innovation, The End of Growth: The US economy has been expanding wildly for two centuries. Are we witnessing the end of growth? Economist Robert Gordon lays out 4 reasons US growth may be slowing, detailing factors like epidemic debt and growing inequality, which could move the US into a period of stasis we can't innovate our way out of. More (including a counter-prediction) on

Why I'm Posting: Scary prediction. And yet I've seen this in several smaller microcosms. I think the commenters are right when they point to the lack of grand ambition in favor of quick profits. Or of having to pay for and maintain legacy, draining away any opportunities for boldness and new ventures.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Control: @Waze vs @GoogleMaps & hi to @WSDOT (A Work-Related Post)

So in May, a bridge collapsed. As soon as I heard about it, I headed to Waze where it had already been removed from the map and Google Maps where the best I could do was submit a report.

Just got this email from Google Maps in response to an update I submitted in late May...

Time of Death

I made a decision about a month ago that I've been wrestling with. Sort of. The decision makes perfect sense to me, I'm happy with it, it's made my life easier and more enjoyable. It's manifested itself in some recent blog posts, sometimes in introspection, sometimes in content I've been able to turn around and make into productive work-related topics.

However, in making the decision, it means (all else holding steady) I'll be asked a question in early January. I've been dreading this because I've been unsure of how to answer without committing career suicide but I will probably have to answer.

I still don't exactly have the answer, but a superbly clear, beautiful thought came to mind this morning in the shower. It's not the what of the answer, but it's the why or the how. Of course, it's too negative to even dive into since I know people responsible for my current or future paychecks might read this. But now it gives me a foundation to work from as I figure out how to answer the question.

It also explains something I've been resisting but it's so clear now, it's brilliant and undeniable and acceptance will make my life again, easier, in some ways. I guess I had been in denial or bargaining prior, but now to think otherwise would be folly.

But I can't go into detail about it. I don't have enough evidence to determine if it's localized to my immediate surroundings or if it affects other workplaces as well. And my evidence, while being what it is, would seem negative were I to write about it. And I'm not interested in appearing negative on this topic. Because for me, it's absolutely freeing. It doesn't change much but it explains a lot.

On the other hand, the question may not be asked. That would also be a good thing because it would just confirm what I think I know.

I hate not being able to give specifics because this feels so amazing, so profound to me. But it's one of those truths I don't think my world is ready for so I'll mostly keep it bottled up because I can still act on what I think I know and test this new theory.

This is awesome. I'm overjoyed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


It seems like all my updates recently have been about Ben or about the new kitten. So here's one that includes both of them. But first, here's me with a beard. (Well, it's a reflection of a reflection or something which is why there's two iPhones and three hands in the shot.)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Huh... Steve was right. You can palooza anything. I'll admit, I had my doubts, but here's proof from Fred Meyer.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Attention to Detail 2 (A Work-Related Post)

Take a look at this sign. Sadly, this type of thing is uncommon. And sadly, we call it "Good enough" and move on. But it's not, is it?

And there's a couple of things we can consider here as possible causes:

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Week 14 (Final)

Sunday evening - Closed out the week with a lot done. I think I was too laid back in the approach this week. This next week is a pseudo-vacation so I will be doing some clean-up of my to-do list. I also need to re-think the approach of this email.

Saturday evening - We were nearly spontaneous today. I started by making pancakes for breakfast, then we went to a park and we have movie night. The second two were not on my list but that's fine. It was a nice day. Still got 30 items checked off. Need to crank tomorrow or this week was a failure from a getting-stuff-done perspective.

Friday evening - I only checked 20 things off on my to do list. But I played with blocks with Ben, I sat with Lori while we watched our children play in the back yard, I got a haircut, I got my car washed, I went on a wild goose chase in the pursuit of another big item and spent quite a bit of time with a new pet. It was a nice day.

Thursday evening - Happy Independence Day! Had a lot of people over, still got 30 things done today, that's cool. Some were big things, like fixing the broken support on the swingset.

Wednesday evening -  Slept better, but didn't get anything really done before work. After work, got into a bit of a groove and ended up getting 30 things done (yay). Now a long weekend and vacation. Woo. Getting to bed late because we had to watch some teenagers get totally busted for setting off fireworks. Not in this city, punks.

Tuesday evening - this was essentially a non-day. I literally took everything from tomorrow and moved it to Thursday and everything from today and moved it to tomorrow. Poor sleep last night led to sleeping in until the last minute this morning. An incident involving our son meant another night at the ER. We're back now and think things are probably fine, but nothing got done. At all.

Monday evening - stayed home today, Lori wasn't feeling well. Another really hot day. I did get quite a bit done, more than would be in a typical day. Surprising considering how much time I spent with the children. It'll slow down tomorrow. I've printed out a list. There's too many on it. Depends on whether I'm able to do any before work or not - pretty much depends on how much sleep I'm able to get tonight.

Review: The Teleportation Accident (Not Recommended)

Ok, so I just finished this book and I'd be a little hard-pressed to tell you what it's about. Ok, so there is a central character, Egon Loeser, a German, but in the end, after reading this, I feel like the loser. There are some other characters who come in and out of the book, including Adele Hitler (yes, her dad is Adolf) who he chases after, which leads him to Paris and Los Angeles, and yes, there's some amusing observations of Los Angeles that are great fun if you have the typical love-hate relationship with Los Angeles (maybe if I spent time in Berlin or Paris I'd appreciate those sections more.)

This is, yet again, a meandering book, another Entertainment Weekly recommendation, one they gave an A to. My tastes are obviously way, way different than theirs. It wasn't bad enough to abandon, but I still can't recommend it, between the laugh-out-loud funny points was lots of nothing happening. Lots.

Skip this book as it's quite disappointing. The title is a promise unfulfilled.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

This is not news, @nbcnews

I feel bad for the injured people and the families of those killed and I'm embarrassed for NBC News. (I was also not on this flight.)

Also sad - search for it on YouTube and you'll see video people shot as well as ads above and below it for Disney/Pixar's Planes. Might want to adjust your ads, Disney.

Worth Repeating: Arunachalam Muruganantham


How I Started a Sanitary Napkin Revolution: When he realized his wife had to choose between buying family meals and buying her monthly "supplies," Arunachalam Muruganantham vowed to help her solve the problem of the sanitary pad. His research got very very personal -- and led him to a powerful business model. More on

Why I'm Posting: He was struck with inspiration and he stuck with him. It cost him quite a bit personally but the world is better off as a result.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Feed Sift

Here's five interesting things I've come across lately in my blog feeds.


Burke Gilman Trail Concept - a glossy brochure from a design firm for an overhaul of the Burke Gilman trail on the UW campus. I love this kinda stuff. (PDF)


50 Small Things to Help Improve Your Customer Service - a slideshare of quick hits. And remember, it's all customer service because you are someone's customer or someone is your customer. I don't mean that in a jaded or negative way.


Even 5 over makes a difference - two cars, one traveling the speed limit, one going five miles faster - both collide with the same object at the same time in this video. A reminder to slow down.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Project Haven

When things seem out of control, I naturally try to find ways to regain control of some element of my life. But with limits on finances and food due to a semi-failing diet, buying a new TV (or even lots of bags of mulch) are out of the question, as is drowning my frustration in a container of ice cream. In the past, this attempt to reassert control has even manifested itself as unfriending binges on Facebook. But since I instituted decided to cap my friends list at precisely 200, that sort of self-inflicted damage is also off the table. There's also just diving back in to the To Do list and trying to get some satisfaction there. But this week I couldn't bring myself to even that.

So, what's left is serious decluttering. This is an area where chaos reigns supreme and try as we might, it's something we've never fully been able to get a handle on. We're a busy family with, arguably, too much stuff. And probably insufficient, inadequate or inappropriate storage options. 

After this latest round of feeling out-of-control (the heat, this week's trip to the ER, the subsequent trip to A&W), I was again feeling the need to do something. I'm just grateful I have grown past the age of wanting to throw a tantrum, whine, say bad words or break stuff. I don't want to call it maturity, but maybe plain or boring practicality of knowing that won't solve anything. Or perhaps just realizing that I'm just too tired.

Yesterday morning I woke up before work with time to do a bunch of chores before leaving for work, but I couldn't bring myself to do them. Instead, I found myself on looking up the word "sanctuary." I was looking up the word because that's what a bedroom should be, in some sense of the word, and due to clutter, I've always thought ours failed us in that regard. And let me tell you, there are some great synonyms, like: asylum, retreat, refuge, base, harbor, haven, hideaway, safety, shelter, nest, enclave, shelter, burrow, cave, snuggery, cozy, escape, stronghold, seclusion, solitude.

The Journey vs. The Destination

As a concrete-sequential, the idea of focusing on the journey rather than the destination has always bugged me.

As an impatient driver who allows himself to easily become bored, the idea of focusing on journey rather than the destination has always bugged me.

As the father of two children who don't travel well, the idea of, well, you know.

As someone who believes in God and Jesus and heaven, this is a confusing one.

"Eye on the prize" and all that, right?

An inbox is to be emptied, Feedly to be cleared out, TED Talks to be watched and deleted. Projects to be scoped, assigned and completed. It's always about done, done, done.

Destination, right?

So for whatever reason, that concept had been flitting around in my brain the last few weeks, annoying me anew each time it stopped for a moment and let me ponder it.

And then it finally struck me. Like so many pithy things, that idea is flawed. I guess I should avoid pithy things and either/or things.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

"Change in plans..."

In this post, I use the word "interruption" in its truest sense - something that causes a stop (potentially temporarily) to something else. This word can, at times, be loaded, but I do not intend that here.

I recently wrote about how someone gives me a glimpse and I'm off and running, mentally imagining when it ultimately becomes reality, impatient for it to just happen already. Good or bad, you tell me it will be and it will have already happened in the future. In some cases, then, dread until done. In other cases, impatience. Perhaps that's why I'm drawn to the idea of time travel, it opens those possibilities back up - and has the potential to correct past mistakes. Or at least what I think are mistakes.

Ironically I had to stop after the first paragraph and close the laptop lid because someone came and demanded my attention in person (this was written on Monday while staying home because Lori wasn't feeling well). Demanded, however, is the wrong word. They came into the room I was in to talk to me. It was the right thing to close the laptop and focus on them, easier so because I was writing this post. What I need to work on now is the face I apparently make when I'm interrupted.

I've tried to figure out why these types of interruptions are so difficult. I think there are three (the second closing of the laptop, here, was a little more difficult, but it was quicker and I worked harder at it. Of course, now the laptop itself may end up being a clue to those who encounter this situation) anyhow, I think there are three reasons this is a challenge.

Monday, July 01, 2013

#EEC13: Personalization: You Can Do This (A Work-Related Post)

The latest in my very-delayed updates from #EEC13. At this rate I'll be posting one of the last updates *from* #EEC14.


  • Phil Davis (Twitter, LinkedIn)
    CEO, Rapleaf
  • Erik Severinghaus (Twitter, LinkedIn)
    CEO, SimpleRelevance
  • John Kavaliauskas (LinkedIn)
    Senior Manager, Email & Data-Driven Marketing, TBC Corp
  • Amanda Stewart (LinkedIn)
    Senior Manager, Marketing, Entertainment Benefits Group

This panel was presented by RapLeaf (a poorly named data aggregator) and SimpleRelevance.

RapLeaf's ( selling point is real-time data across a number of demographic points for 80% of U.S. email addresses. Load up a file (or use their API) and get back additional data points for the email address and become a more informed marketer.

SimpleRelevance ( makes e-commerce relevancy predictions by using publicly available data for an email address combined with the exhibited behaviors of email addresses that show similar traits, again, all with the information people share publicly online.

Why Relevancy?

We have a responsibility to uphold the brand promise we made when they opted-in.

"Groupon was fun at first, but now it's all mani-pedi- it's not fun because it's not relevant." Or, to put it another way… You see this happen at a Superbowl Party: Guy goes up to Phil's wife and asks "Who are you hoping will win?" She says "I don't know who's playing and I don't really care all that much, I'm just here to enjoy the party." Guy starts talking teams and stats and after a few minutes, she's glancing over at Phil imploring him to help her opt-out of the conversation. Don't be like Guy.

Big Data or Big Headache?

Segment = assumption. Personalization is better. Don't confuse noise and signals.

Big data = non-structured unfiltered data like a twitter comment "I just test drove a Volvo" and translating that into "in market for car / values safety / has money / might be female"

Is that good enough? Can you use that to provide relevancy?

Forget "Big Data" and think "Small Data"