Current Affairs

My Twitter Rules of the Road

I thought I'd share what guides me in my use of Twitter.  Don't expect this to be completely thought out, or even consistent.  How I use Twitter evolves with my use of it.

First: @amicusergoest That's my Twitter handle. Why? When I first started using Twitter, I mainly posted links to job openings, or retweeted posts from career advisers. It was the Great Recession, and I wanted to help people who were looking for work. I especially wanted to help people who were new to finding a job in the age of applicant tracking systems and social media.  So I reached back to high school Latin to come up with a handle.

Remember cogito ergo sum? "I think, therefore I am"? Thank you, Rene Descartes. I was going for, "I help, therefore I am." But I didn't quite get it right. Amicus ergo est is closer to "a friend, therefore he is." I can live with it.

Following

Where I first started with Twitter, it suggested a few people to follow. I started there, and went on to follow people involved in career and job search topics. From there, I followed people that followed me (more on that in a minute) and followed people that sounded interesting. As a result, I don't have a single Twitter "focus." I follow a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons.  Lately, I've been following conservatives, because I want to better understand that point of view.

I started following @realdonaldtrump because I wanted to respond to falsehoods he tweets. I don't expect to change anyone's point of view, but I do believe in getting the truth out.

I tend not to involve myself in what I call "culture wars."  For instance, I'm fine with athletes who want to take a knee during or before the playing of the National Anthem before a ball game. I'm also fine with people that believe taking a knee disrespects the flag. For me, these are two, equally valid, opinions.

Followers

An early rule of Twitter etiquette has been that you "follow back" when others follow you. I still apply the rule, but not all the time.

  • If you follow me, get me to follow you, then unfollow me, we're done. I'm looking at you, indie artists. Apparently there are tools that do this now, in the name of building an audience. I'm looking for engagement, not a follower count.
  • I used to ignore people that followed me; it seemed like too much work to acknowledge them. Now, I respond to each follower with a note. How can I be for engagement if I don't engage myself?
  • If you're a brand or company and you follow me, I probably won't follow you back. It's nothing personal. I might even like your brand or your company. I just don't want to engage with brands and companies. I make some exceptions, such as for wineries.
  • I used to follow people that claimed expertise in social media, but I've begun winnowing that part of my followers, and generally don't follow such people now. These folks tend to do a lot of promoting, which is a bit noisy for me.
  • If you follow me and offer to show me nude photos, you're blocked and reported.
  • If you follow me and I see that you constantly retweet some clickbait site, I'll ignore you or block you.
  • If you follow me and offer to get me thousands of Twitter (or Facebook or Instagram or...) followers, I'll report and block you.

I tweet to promote blog posts like this, but I don't go crazy with it. I still believe in the networking rule: give before you get. If you like most of what I tweet, that's great. If you don't, that's fine too. If I made you think, I'll take it.


276--Answering Jenny

I wrote a post in reaction to the election of Donald Trump (see it here) and cross-posted it to Facebook.  Generally that's where I get comments, especially since I am careful not to allow comments directly posted to my blog.  (After that unfortunate time someone posted links to Japanese porn sites.)

My friend, Jenny, responded with a lengthy response.  I thought it was worth capturing her comments here, and responding in turn.  So here goes.  Jenny's original post is in italics.

 

As our worldviews inform our interpretation of events in our culture, I understand why your observations expressed here bring you some measure of comfort. Even so, I think you miss the point – we’ll get there. Full disclosure: my worldview is that of a Bible-believing, fundamentalist (horrors!) Christian and a limited-government conservative. For those reasons, of course I could never have voted for Hillary Clinton, and of course (The “of course” in this sentence fully recognizes that I am but one of a very small group that held this conviction. I’m good with that, too.)  I could never have voted for Donald Trump. Also for those reasons, my interpretation of the election will be through that prism. I just want to acknowledge that up front, and while I will argue against your conclusions, I understand there are points I may be “missing” as well, because you and I see the political landscape very differently.

 I’m glad to engage in this discussion.  Conversing (arguing?) with people who hold different viewpoints is one way to make sure we’re seeing life from outside of our particular “bubble.”

I remember well the sinking feeling of watching Barack Obama win the presidency not once, but twice. I know that many on the left need that to be because of his pigmentation level, but that had nothing to do with it. The policies he advocated were not the policies I support. I also found those that had major influences in his life objectionable. That simple. So, I’m not gloating; I know how you feel. But, while I am more than a little skeptical of the president-elect, I am thankful for Republican control of the House and Senate, and very thankful that Hillary won’t be president.

So far, so good.  I didn’t mean to accuse you of being racist, if that’s how you took my comments.  For plenty of people, the election of Barack Obama was disappointing primarily because their candidate didn’t win, and their political ideology was no longer ascendant.  But I’m stuck on something Brian said to me.  We were talking about Washington and the relationship between Congress and the President.  I asked Brian why there was such animus toward Obama.  Was it just because he is Democratic? After all, there was a tremendous amount of that with Bill Clinton, but at least it seems like he was able to get things done.  In Obama’s term(s), it seemed that the only objective of Congressional Republicans was to block anything and everything Obama wanted to accomplish.  Brian’s answer to me was at once simple and shocking:  “Dad, it’s about racism.” 

Racism is a “card” is something I am reluctant to play as a first explanation for anything.  (My typical reaction to such a claim is, “bring me the statistics!”)  But the more I thought about it, the more I kept returning to that explanation.  I don’t have any statistics to share (violating my own dictum) but consider this: has any President been treated as poorly, with as much disrespect?  Yes, Congress flirted with impeaching Bill Clinton, but there at least was an act of impropriety on the President’s part to work from.  Plenty of Congresses (is that a word?) have worked to block or blunt the President's political agenda, but it seems there has historically been some level of cooperation.  But in the case of Obama and Congress, it seems to have been taken to a new level.  I believe Mitch McConnell was quoted early on as saying that the only congressional agenda was to block Obama from achieving anything.  This was something new.  Maybe it aligns with the emergence of the Tea Party.  Or maybe it aligns with race; I can't say.

I don’t know that you’ve missed this, but it is omitted in your blog: Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate. So terrible, in fact, that a moral reprobate won. My response: Ew! that he is in but, Yay! that she is not. Apart from the fact that she is a woman (which, I fail to see a valid argument in, and which I thought wasn’t such a “fact” anymore, right?), what did she offer that was worthy of the presidency? She presents as entitled, above-the-law, and beyond scrutiny because of her lady parts. And this coming from the side that demands that I accept that boy/girl parts are irrelevant to who a person is! You even make that case here, “We had the tears, especially from women who must have thought they were about to experience what black people felt eight years ago when Barack Obama was elected President--only to have that moment ripped from them.” Why? Why would her election bring me – as a woman – some sort of euphoric experience? This woman actually stood on the debate stage and attempted to argue the virtues of scissors to the skull of a mostly-born baby for the sake of Women’s Rights. You used to keep this part quite. And how was it “ripped” from us? There was an election and the ideas that have been rejected for the last 3 elections were rejected again. In spite of Obama’s re-election in 2012 (He is a charismatic figure; she is not.), the country has rejected his platform again – at least for now. I vote on character and policy, not on genitals. To suggest that women as a group lost something on that basis alone is actually pretty insulting (though, I’m not insulted and I know you didn’t mean that, but that is how it reads).

So there’s a lot going on here.  Let me take things in turn.  First, there is a narrative that Hillary didn’t give voters a reason to vote FOR her.  And I can agree with that.  In fact, I remember reading something that said the Clinton campaign was going to continue to focus on Trump, holding him and his actions (and utterances) out as the best reason to vote for Hillary—you don’t want THIS GUY do you??  That was a sound strategy, until it wasn’t.  Hillary didn’t have a “vote for me because” story, at least not one that was easy to digest.  That story is probably there, deep in some of her policy proposals, but if that’s where to find it, then it’s buried way too deep for the average voter to find.  Remember Reagan’s “are you better off then you were four years ago?” statement.  That’s the sort of litmus test voters respond to.  And, as it turned out, there was at least one group of voters who had a clear “no” answer to that question: displaced manufacturing workers.  These workers saw their middle class incomes gashed as work was shifted to China or (mostly) automated, and no one was there to help them adjust to changed economic circumstances.  Likewise, coal miners have seen their livelihoods ripped away with the decline of the coal mining industry.  While I attribute this to a permanent decline in global demand as (in turn) the US, India and China have moved away from coal and toward cleaner alternatives for electricity generation, the narrative for some has been that this has happened due to policy choices that could be reversed.  It didn’t help Hillary when she went on about killing off coal (one of those open-mic faux pas moments) but it doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

I didn’t see Hillary as a terrible candidate, for three reasons. 

  • Compared to Bernie Sanders (another populist) I felt that Clinton would actually be able to get something done with Congress if she were elected.  After all, the last Democrat to accomplish something as President was also named Clinton.  Bernie made people on the left feel good, but I never felt that he had the agenda or the political support to cause change to happen. 
  • I don't buy into the “crooked Hillary” narrative.  I hear the accusations but I don’t see the facts.  If you’re likening Hillary to the “Washington establishment” and saying that you didn’t want more of the same, I can appreciate that thought.  In fact, that is apparently what some segments of the voting populace felt.  (It is ironic how often candidates run for President on a platform of being an “outsider”.) 
  • I see Hillary as something of a “policy wonk” to use the Washington term.  I was looking forward to seeing her bring her ideas forward and trying to implement them.  Maybe she was too nerdy to connect with voters.

And I didn’t see Hillary as a good candidate just because she’s a woman.  I also didn’t mean to say that women did (or should have) vote/ed for her because she’s a woman.  I’m with you in thinking that talent, competence and fit for the job are the reasons that I want to matter when it comes to selecting the right person for the job.

You’ve argued that this is a last gasp of the defeated-but-not-going-down-without-a-fight white man, and I think that is where you miss the point the most. You view people as voting blocks, not as individuals, as evidenced by:

  • And I thought about the demographic shift happening in America, where white men are quickly on their way to becoming a minority population. (I exclude white women because they, like all women, are already a minority.)
  • It feels more like a last stand, like the last gasp of a group trying to hang onto something that is inexorably slipping from their grasp.
  • The tide is shifting, and railing against it isn't going to slow it down or alter it in any way.

First, correct me if I’m wrong, but I see an assumption in these statements and in the liberal platform generally that somehow being a white male is inherently wrong and something to be beaten into submission. That there is some virtue in being “a Somali woman...elected as a representative” or “a woman…elected as the first Latina Senator” ABOVE or SUPERIOR to that of being a white male that would have accomplished the same. But this argument never flows the other way from the left. So, while you claim to support minorities in positions of influence, you really don’t if they have the audacity to think outside of the allowable lines liberals have drawn for them based on their skin color. Look at the field of candidates offered this primary season on both sides and ask yourself where “diversity” was reflected most. I see people as individuals made in Imago Dei, all with their own stories to tell, their own life experiences, and their own dreams. This is why I am a conservative. I believe government should get out of the way and allow people to pursue those dreams, not put barriers up or actively try to destroy people who refuse to conform.

I’m not saying that there’s something inherently wrong in being a white male (or white, or male, or… anything.)  What I was trying to say is that the world I have experienced as a white male is not the same world experienced by black males I know, or black women, or white women.  It’s hard to expand on this without getting too general too fast.  I’ll just say that I see racism and sexism in our society, and these “ism’s” have benefited white men at the expense of others.  I don’t see the playing field as being level which is one reason why I’m in favor of efforts to help make it more level.

I’m not celebrating a Somali woman elected to office as being ipso facto (hey, you broke out the Latin first) better than a white man.  My point is that this is happening, and it's unusual enough to notice.  People other than white males are being elected to posts those non-white, non-males haven’t held in the past.  Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see a black baseball player.  But before 1947 it was a big deal.  Black men were segregated into their own units in the Army through World War II; now they’re not.  Women weren’t eligible for combat roles; now they are.  What I’m celebrating is the beginning of something not being a big deal anymore.  It’s a slightly less big deal that the US could have a black President, now that we've had one.  There are plenty of countries that have had women as heads of state; the US isn’t (yet) one of them.  Someday that will happen.  And when it does, it will be because that woman was the best person for the job.  And it will be a big deal.  After it happens for the 40th time… not such a big whoop.

Which brings me to…second (and finally!). The last 8 years have been characterized by major federal overreach and severely divisive rhetoric from the top. Americans have been hammered with accusations of racism, homophobia, and sexism NONSTOP. Christians have been targeted and financially destroyed for their faith – not for chasing down and burning homosexuals at the stake, but literally for not wanting to make pastry. NUNS were sued for not wanting to violate their faith and their conscience. Our rights that have defined us as Americans have been under relentless attack – the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the Tenth Amendments specifically. The enumerated powers of the federal government have been violated repeatedly. The Pen and the Phone were elevated, which doesn’t seem so exciting when the rabbit has the gun now, does it? We have been told we are bigots if we don’t want creepy dudes in the restrooms with our daughters. Our police forces have been targeted and demoralized – this one, particularly personal to me as the wife of a deputy shot in the line of duty (side note: you know what never comes up when we talk about the shooting and all we’ve had to go through since? The shooter’s skin color. After the initial, “oh really? He was black?” conversation, it’s never come up again.). Obamacare has skyrocketed insurance premiums, but we’re told it’s the “Affordable Care Act,” so we must accept that, in spite of what we see happening in our own finances. Industries have been targeted and told they were going to be regulated out of business. What you see as heartwarming demonstration, I see as vandalism and violence. I see an entire generation that simply can’t handle life. I think the left has done an enormous disservice to this generation by the coddling, the “safe-spaces,” the promotion that they should never have to hear a contrary opinion. Damage has been and is being done when these students have to face the real world without understanding how to lose; they can’t think critically. I could go on.

I can’t meaningfully respond to most of this, as it would require taking your examples one by one and reviewing the facts of each.  But I do want to speak to the item that I know strikes home: the discussions about police-involved shootings of minorities.  I'm not a (willing) participant in culture wars.  And the back-and-forth about whose lives matter is not really helpful to anyone.  Yes, there’s been plenty of over-reaction to police shootings of black men.  One cop shooting one black man doesn’t by itself constitute racism.  But there have been a lot of officer-involved shootings reported, and some of those cases are hard to explain outside of a racist context.

These are people’s livelihoods. These are people’s families. The left pushed the pendulum too far, and now we are seeing it swing back. I don’t see this as a last gasp at all. I see this as the people bringing a bigger bully to the fight to stand up to the bully we’ve been dealing with these last several years. I don’t like that part, just to be clear. A strong-man is not our answer. I believe the common ground you say you are ready to look for was already masterfully laid out in the Constitution – in Freedom. Hillary Clinton didn’t represent that, as I see it. I really want to believe that the people rejected her positions and voted against those (I do not see the authoritarianism represented in many of DTs words as the road to freedom, either, but my hope does not lie in government. Plus, my own blinders prevent me from seeing how anyone could have actually voted in support of him.). Still, I do not view these results as a last gasp of a dying breed, but as tired Americans who are thankful for the freedoms they have enjoyed not wanting to continue the erosion of those rights advocated by the left. I understand we see that differently, and that’s ok. That’s freedom.

And here we agree.  To the extent that what’s happened is the pendulum-swing of ideas and policies—too far this way, now back that way—I am OK with that.  That’s how progress occurs.  Pick your favorite example of something that happens now that didn’t use to happen… or the opposite. Trump didn't win by a landslide; in fact, he didn't win the popular vote.  But Republicans did gain overall in the election.  So that would support the pendulum-swinging-back idea.  But as always, it’s a mixed bag.  As one small example, California legalized marijuana but did not strike down the death penalty.

So we will see.  Thanks for being willing to challenge me and for sharing your point of view.  This kind of dialogue is good for weakening all of our bubbles.

*


276

Fair warning: I'm writing this quickly, as I want to get it out.  So there won't be the usual citations.  Just my opinion, which I think is accurate but hey.

OK, I know it's more than that now: 279 electoral college votes and likely to climb since Arizona will definitely go to Trump.  But that was the count when I woke up yesterday morning and checked CNN.  I had gone to bed the night before with Hillary Clinton trailing.  But there was still a sliver of hope, and I wasn't going to count on the media getting the election outcome right, after getting it wrong every step of the way up to now.

But as I woke and checked the results yesterday morning, Trump's victory was confirmed.  Yes, I was shocked. Yes, I was disappointed.  "There's no way the American people will elect this clown," I had repeatedly thought.  It turns out, that was just my optimism speaking.  They could, and they did.

I don't know what this means.  No one does, and if they tell you they do, they're full of shit.

As that reality settled in, there were the inevitable stages of grieving.  We had the tears, especially from women who must have thought they were about to experience what black people felt eight years ago when Barack Obama was elected President--only to have that moment ripped from them.  We had anger, though not of the "you stole the election" sort that we saw with George W. Bush's election.  We've had protests, such as the walkout at the high school in Berkeley yesterday (student activism among millennials, or whatever that generation is called, warms my heart).

And now we, and the rest of the world, ask, "what's next?"

Where to, America?

Will we descend into fascism as Bill Maher worried on his show last week? Will we see a rollback of the liberties recently won, such as gay marriage?  Will we send Hispanic immigrants away? Will we institute some sort of religion test for Muslim immigrants?

I'm an optimist; I can't help it, it's my nature. I have a hard time believing that the election of Donald Trump is going to initiate some sort of rollback to the 50's and 60's, to a time when white men were king of the hill and everyone else "knew their place."  Then again, I had a hard time believing that Trump could ever get elected, so take that for what you wish.

Two things resonated with me as we watched the election coverage and it appeared more and more likely that Mr. Trump was going to be our next President.  First, a commentator said that Trump's victory was not only a blow to the Democratic party, but to the Republican party as well.  After all, he ran against the "Republican establishment" as much as the Democratic one.  If that's the case, it's hard to see how Trump is going to accomplish anything.  We do have three branches of government, not one.  And it's Congress that has to pass legislation to advance whatever "really terrific" plan Trump has in mind.  So if he's alienated everyone, how's that going to happen?

And by the way, I'm not freaking out about a new Supreme Court justice.  Of course, I could be wrong about that; see my comments about unbridled optimism above.  But what I've seen over the years is that Supreme Court justices tend to go their own way, despite the best efforts of Congress to steer them toward a particular point of view.

The second and more important comment from election night was from Doris Kearns Goodwin, a favorite of US history geeks everywhere.  She had been asked if there was any other presidential election that had parallels with this one.  Her answer was that the current election reminded her not of another race, but another time:  the transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy, from a rural to an urban population.  This was maybe in the late 19th century.  Her comment was that in such a time of change and uncertainty, there was a lot of fear.  People wanted to return to the life, the culture, the ways that they had been so comfortable with for all this time.  I connected that with reports that Trump's base was not out-of-work factory workers, but reasonably wealthy white men.  And I thought about the demographic shift happening in America, where white men are quickly on their way to becoming a minority population.  (I exclude white women because they, like all women, are already a minority.)  Then I connected that with a story about how people in times like this that are drawn to authoritarian figures, as a source of comfort.

So maybe I'm way out on a limb here.  But I'm not seeing this election as the beginning of a return to a white-dominated era.  It feels more like a last stand, like the last gasp of a group trying to hang onto something that is inexorably slipping from their grasp.

Yes, we elected someone that seemingly no one thought would, or should, be President.  But before people starting running off declaring some kind of mandate, consider that three states legalized marijuana in this election cycle.  And a black and Indian woman was elected as a California senator.  And (from what Samantha Bee tells me) a Somali woman was elected as a representative and a woman was elected as the first Latina Senator.  The tide is shifting, and railing against it isn't going to slow it down or alter it in any way.

The morning after election day something unusual happened.  As I was walking Mona, a gardener called me over and asked me what I thought about the election.  His English wasn't that good, but I could tell he wanted someone to explain what happened.  Should he be worried? I told him, "you're not going anywhere."  He held his hands apart, explaining that there was a giant rift in this country that needed to be closed if we were going to move forward as a nation.

And I thought about a customer I've been working with, Oscar.  He runs a sign business in Southern California, and employs a couple dozen people.  He's a hard worker--I know, because I get messages from him at 6:45 AM.  Oscar seems to represent where America is headed.  Maybe that's scary or intimidating for some people; I can appreciate that.  I don't know what it means to share the stage with people from other countries and other backgrounds, but I'm willing to be a part of it.  I'm ready to search for common ground.  Mostly, I'm ready to move forward.


Farewell, Vin. And Thanks for All the Memories

If you're connected at all with the baseball world, you're probably aware that Vin Scully will soon be retiring as the broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I grew up as both a Dodger fan (thanks in part to the free tickets I got from the Herald Examiner for getting good grades in school) and as a Vin Scully fan.  My team loyalties shifted over the years as I moved away and as the team that I knew (Russel-Lopes-Garvey-Cey) moved on in their careers.  But  I never stopped loving to hear Vin Scully's broadcasts.

I didn't know how good I had it as an Angeleno at the time.  In baseball we had Vin Scully.  Dick Enberg ("Oh my!") broadcast the Ram games (in their first LA incarnation). Chick Hearn (too many quotes to list, but "mustard off the hot dog" comes first to mind) held forth with LA Laker games (with, at one point, an assistant named Pat Riley).  But as Dick Enberg became a national figure, and as I moved away and experienced other announcers, I realized how special it was to listen to this group.

I had thought I would put together a tribute to Vin, but others have done such a good job I'm going to just reference them here, with a couple of thoughts.

This piece from Jayson Stark at ESPN is very good.  And there's this video from MLB.  So just a couple of thoughts.  My favorite quote from the MLB video: "For many Angelenos he's the soundtrack of our lives."

  • Vin understood never to get in the way of the game.  His best example of this, and one of my clearest memories, was his call of the Henry Aaron home run to break the record then held by Babe Ruth.  Al Downing was pitching, and Vin made the call as Aaron smashed a pitch over the fence.  And then (as Jon Miller, who I am now blessed to hear) recalled in the ESPN piece, Vin said... nothing. Silence.  For several minutes.  Silence in radio is death, but in this case Vin hit it perfectly.  There was nothing to add and he just let us experience the moment.
  • Vin's voice and tempo was so melodious, it wrapped around you like a warm blanket.  He could create a sense of drama in just announcing the next batter.  I remember thinking that I could get up and get a beer from the fridge before he was finished announcing that "Willllbuh Starrrrgelll" was coming to the plate.
  • Vin didn't just announce the game; for many of us he was the game (though to this day, he insists that it's not about him).  As noted in the MLB video, fans would go to the ball game and still be listening to Vinnie on their transistor radios.  It was as if the game didn't happen until Vin described it.
  • Vin emphasized LA's position in any game, but we was no "homer."  For Vin, he transmitted his love of baseball through his narration.  You could hate LA, but you couldn't hate Vin.  Even after moving to Stanford, I would still try to tune in late evenings to LA radio stations to see if I could find Vin on the radio.
  • Last, Vin always made you feel like a welcome guest, whether this was your first or hundredth time listening to the broadcast.  He was like a favorite uncle, that you couldn't wait to visit.

Typical of Vin, he has announced that he will not stay on to announce any Dodger games past the end of the regular season.  He has said that he feels like he's already had his "farewell tour" and doesn't want to reprise it in the playoffs.  In typical fashion, he's concerned that he doesn't overshadow the players on the field.

So thank you Vin, for all the great times.  There are other very good announcers out there, but there will never be another one like you.  So I'll wait with a smile for one last "Hi everybody!"  And if I'm lucky, I'll get to hear his, "back, back, a-waaay back" home run call, kind of like this one.


Sales Managers on the Road: Tweeting through Toronto

I spent the better part of a week recently at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference; "WPC" in Microsoft-speak.  I thought I'd try summarizing the week by collecting up my tweets here.  Why? First, because I'm lazy.  Second, because, you know... social media and all that.  Plus, I feel a little sorry that Twitter is getting dumped on.  But mostly, I'm being lazy.  Or as they call it, "repurposing content."

This year's conference was held in Toronto, a city I visited many times during my days at BNR/Nortel, and during my time at SOMA Networks.  It's been about ten years since I was last in Toronto (ask me about the rooftop lounge at Hooters) so I was interested to see what was old and new.  

This probably happened the last time I flew to Toronto out of SFO:  I'm on a United Airlines flight, but it's operated by Air Canada.  Which means I've gone to the wrong terminal.  Grrr.

IMG_1120

Next stop:  the gate.  Since my days of holding duper premium elite gold extra-special status are long over, I'm waiting for my "zone" to board when I see a couple of passengers push forward to test whether the gate agents are checking which zone you're in.  Turns out, they are.

2016-07-26_17-32-04

On the plane now, ready to enter my usual sleep state that's brought on by flight attendant announcements.

2016-07-26_17-31-48

It turns out that this year's conference is sold out, for the first time ever.  That means I'm in Toronto with 15,999 of my closest friends.  And they all made hotel reservations before I did.  So I'm staying nowhere near downtown and all the events.  But, Toronto now has very nice subway service from the airport to downtown, so that will work.  And on my arrival at conference registration, there was this moose...

2016-07-26_17-30-43

Free, working, Wi-Fi on comfortable and quiet subway trains.  Take notice, CalTrain!

2016-07-26_17-30-23

I once had a goal, while working at Nortel, to stay in every Canadian Pacific hotel in the chain; they're all magnificent.  I stayed at the Royal York once, when Nortel had their big user association meeting in Toronto and when there was a big Marketing and Product Management pow-wow on what we needed to do next with Nortel's phone  system.  It was also at this time that Nortel announced quality problems in one part of the manufacturing business (the biggest part), which caused the stock to plummet in value.  I thought some of my colleagues, who had left most of their retirement savings in Nortel stock, were going to die right there outside the hotel.

2016-07-26_17-30-05

I remember riding in a taxi down to the Billy Bishop City of Toronto airport, on a flight to Ottawa (so much nicer than schlepping out to Pearson).  Once you got past the Skydome and the CN Tower, there wasn't much going on.  Now, that's completely different.  There's the Air Canada Center, the Rogers Convention Center and a ton of condo developments.

IMG_1127

2016-07-26_17-29-30

On to the conference.  Microsoft and GE announce a partnership focused on "Internet of Things."  I just liked this quote.

2016-07-26_17-29-10

The moose I expected.  A Blue Jay wouldn't have surprised me.  But... woodpeckers?

2016-07-26_17-28-16

How times change.  Three years ago, Dropbox was seen as "consumer" and Box was for the enterprise.  Now...

2016-07-26_17-27-46

CGNET was nominated for a Microsoft partner award.  We didn't win, but we're already doing work with the guys that did win.  And they have a Tesla as a company car.   That's pretty cool.

2016-07-26_17-27-20

I was looking for a place to grab a bite when I ended up meeting some new Microsoft partners at another event.

2016-07-26_17-27-00

More "keynote" tweets, including an announcement that Facebook has adopted Office 365.  I was just around the corner, you guys could have called me!

2016-07-26_17-26-20

Back to the convention hall.  On the way they're handing out...

2016-07-26_17-25-39

"Digital Transformation" was one of the buzzwords of the conference, but there's some truth behind it.  Businesses are moving to digital infrastructures, and those that can't support that movement are dying off.

2016-07-26_17-24-46

Time now for a happy hour out on Lake Ontario.

2016-07-26_17-23-49

Here's a nice picture of the Toronto skyline.

IMG_1134

I've already told the story of how I didn't realize the celebrity athletes were real.  Until I saw Bill Walton.  Trust me, I'm standing next to him.

2016-07-26_17-23-20

The next day I had to stay in my hotel room to finish a report.  I had TV on for the background noise.  Listening to the Canadian version of Guy Fieri and his shtick was...

2016-07-26_17-22-26

See, Microsoft's cloud platform is called Azure, so naturally...

2016-07-26_17-21-52

A nice quote from the Women in Technology session.

2016-07-26_17-13-21

Last party, lots of food options.  I chose...

2016-07-26_17-21-03

I couldn't leave until I'd listened to Gwen Stefani.

IMG_1145

And I leave you with some Canadian humor.

IMG_1146

 

 


The Yin and Yang of 2015

2015 was a year of yin and yang; probably every year is like that.  Mostly, this was a year that went by very quickly (where did the time go?) but also very slowly (during rush hour).

  Yin-Yang

  Yin-Yang

McCloud Thanksgiving

20151127_215132856_iOS

 

20151126_160054044_iOS

Family Christmas togetherness

Norovirus

Booming business

Freeway gridlock

Dozens of flights to BUR 20150706_153619145_iOS

Blown up workout schedule

20150709_000650166_iOS

  20150109_175458516_iOS   20150131_184640875_iOS

No-shave November

A grey beard

30 selfies

  20150214_042101713_iOS   20150217_040753059_iOS

Halloween at the Hollywood Bowl with Wendy, John, Holly and Kenny

Being lost in the town you grew up in

Watching Stanford football and texting with John Gless

Losing to… Northwestern??

  20150907_013457589_iOS

 20150907_013457589_iOS

The passing of friends

Weddings, anniversaries and babies

 
20150221_222712561_iOS
 20150221_222712561_iOS
Acts of terrorism The kindness of strangers
So much to share Time's up/pencils down

 


We Have All Been Here Before

Department of Obscure References

The media feed after the ISIS attacks in Paris had a familiar feel to me.  People seeking answers. People seeking revenge. People seeking solutions. People feeling like their story was being overlooked.

  • What about the massacre in Beirut? Mali? Kenya?
  • Ban the refugees!
  • It's all ___'s fault!
  • More wiretaps!
  • More drone strikes!
  • Bomb Raqqa!

And on and on.

I remember, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a similar dialogue.  It was mostly carried out via email then, but the flow was the same.  People were hurt. They were afraid. They needed to make sense of something that made no sense at all.  And I remember, as I read the back-and-forth, thinking that we needed to cut each other some slack.  Someone took the conversation too far down the patriotism road for your liking.  OK, you disagree, but have a little patience and understanding.  You don't have to agree to feel their pain.

I've spent a good part of the last few weeks in LA, where the media is obsessed with the shootings in San Bernardino.  Maybe this is because it's a hot story.  I think it's also because people are hurting.  How could this happen to us?

Overlay the silly season that is the run-up to Presidential primaries and you have a recipe for extreme "look at me" views as candidates vie for attention and media coverage.  These stories further stir the pot, as people debate the talking points on their merits, or debate whether the points have any merit at all.

Through all of this, I suggest attaching a human face to the group you want to address.  Think about your Muslim friend, your relative who works in government.  Think about families you see that are struggling to find a safe place to live.  Would you say the same things to their face?  Maybe that should be the test.