December 9, 2013

I Am The Master Of My Fate --- R.I.P. Nelson Mandela

While incarcerated at Robben Island and Pollsmoor prisons for 27 years, Nelson Mandela was known to recite Invictus (Latin for "unconquered"), a poem written by William Ernest Henley, to the other prisoners. In our world, filled with so many challenges and unknowns, this is an empowering message. "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul" is something I absolutely believe. Or, as my long-time friend Scott Friedman is known to say, "The best way to predict the future, is to create it."

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

December 6, 2013

How's Your Elevator Speech?

I've had many opportunities to hone my "Elevator Speech." Networking events, leads groups and Rotary Clubs are great places to hone that speech. Unfortunately, I've never really succeeded at this effort.

But today I really saw, up close and personal, why this is so essential to the success of any entrepreneur. I witnessed someone giving his Elevator Speech and watched as he hit his sixth or seventh sentence and the eyes of his listener glazed over. It was truly remarkable and I'm so glad I witnessed this event.

Now, if only I can do it better the next time.

December 2, 2013

It's Not As Easy As You Think

Some people are still amazed I actually charge money to manage Facebook and Twitter pages for individuals and businesses. They think it is such an easy task that takes no time at all. Maybe this quote from Abraham Lincoln helps explain:

I'm sorry I could not have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time.

Not long after Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in under three minutes and in just 10 sentences (272 words) he wrote a long letter to a friend and included this apology.

Lincoln knew then what I try to explain to prospects all the time. It's much harder than you think it is to write a really great 140 character tweet that includes a link!

November 12, 2013

Pets And Dying With Dignity

I've had this theory for awhile. When it comes to death (and pretty much everything else), I think we treat our pets better than we're permitted to treat ourselves or our loved ones.

When our pet's quality of life diminishes we put them down, allowing them to die with dignity and suffer as little as possible.

When a loved one's quality of life diminishes we put them in "Assisted Living" and let them suffer until their systems fail and they die, often having no quality of life for many many years.

Though we live in a nation filled with many freedoms I appreciate, choosing to die with dignity isn't one of them.

Seems like there's something wrong with this picture. I suppose I can hope to come back in my next life as a dog.

September 21, 2013

Best Friends

Spending an hour on an airplane going through email seems so productive. Love it! I've been saving up all week for this hour.

So I'm off to Vegas for three days with friends I've had since about third grade. The five of us went all through school together. We all went to different colleges and then, eventually, ended up back in Denver.

Just about every month we all get together for lunch and every couple years we go on a trip together. This is one of those trips. We'll have some great fun! Seeing Elton John tonight and then who knows.

Thinking about how lucky I am to have these boyz in my life.

Thinking how lucky I am to have had these friends for so many years.

Thinking how lucky I am to have this support system in place and to offer my support when it's need.

Thinking about the truly special relationships we have with each other even though we are all in very different places in our lives.

I'm a very lucky man.

July 10, 2013

There's Just Something About That Mountain Air

I've been in Breckenridge since July 3rd. Spending time with friends from California was spectacular! Four days of fishing wasn't too shabby either. The fact that I can work anywhere I get cell phone service is a nice perk. Now it's time to pack up and head down the hill, back to the same-old, same-old.

July 4, 2013

When Was The Last Time You Read This?

I think it's important to remember why it is we are celebrating the 4th of July. Rarely do we step back from our busy lives and think about how fortunate we are to live in this great country country. All we really have to do is look at what's happening at various places around the world to be thankful for what we have here. By no means is the United State a utopia. I believe though, there is no better place to live.

May 26, 2013

A Killer Gets A Reprieve

In 1993 Nathan Dunlap killed four employees and wounded another at a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant where he once worked. After trial, a jury of his peers sentenced him to death, in the State of Colorado where voters have voted twice in favor of the death penalty. As you might expect, Dunlap appealed the verdict and for 11 years did everything he could to have the verdict and sentence overturned. Last year he exhausted his last appeal and the death sentence was scheduled to be carried out this August.

Last week, Governor John Hickenlooper disregarded the judge's verdict, the decision of a jury of Dunlap's peers and the voters of the State of Colorado. In a sign of complete weakness and a total lack of character and leadership, Governor Hickenlooper disregarded the oath he took to uphold Colorado's Constitution and delayed Nathan Dunlap's execution "indefinitely." Instead, he called for a conversation about the death penalty in Colorado. Another conversation.

May 8, 2013

Brandon Graduates From College!

Tomorrow, my son Brandon graduates from the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business with an Accounting degree. Unless he goes on to graduate school, this is our last graduation and a tremendous accomplishment for Brandon.

March 30, 2013

Is It Just A Matter Of Perception?

I heard this story yesterday. The person telling me the story (Let's call her Karen) heads a team of people at a large company. The team consists of different groups of people with different skill sets. One of the groups was made up of 4 people and this week one of those people left and another gave two weeks notice.

This news was devastating. So horrible that Karen had to take personal time off from work to clear her head. All she could think of was her team was self-destructing and she wasn't going to be able to replace the two people she lost. "Oh woe is me."

So, I'm thinking this could be a situation where a change of perception might help. What if Karen put aside the "Oh woe is me" thinking and accepted reality. One person left to do some travelling and you knew about it for weeks. The other person got a great new job. This kind of stuff happens. It happens all the time and if you're going to be a leader then you need to deal with this kind of stuff and stuff that is even worse.

What if Karen changed her perspective. What if she rejoiced in her "misery" and started to look at the situation differently. Maybe this is a test of her leadership skills. Maybe it's a test of her ability to make solid decisions under pressure. Maybe Karen could look at this as a challenge. Maybe it could be looked at as an opportunity to prove herself to her superiors and colleagues. Maybe, with a change of perception Karen can make lemonade out of these lemons she was handed this week. Maybe not.

What do you think?

March 16, 2013

Economic Gardening - Ever Heard Of It?

Next week I will attend a retreat to get the training required to become a Certified Economic Gardener.

Based upon the core belief that only entrepreneurs create jobs and drive economies, Economic Gardening takes an entrepreneurial approach to regional prosperity. Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, it helps existing companies within a community grow larger. In contrast to traditional business assistance, economic gardening focuses on strategic growth challenges, such as developing new markets, refining business models and gaining access to competitive intelligence. Economic gardening specialists help CEOs identify which issues are hindering their growth and then leverage sophisticated tools to deliver insights and information that CEOs can apply immediately.

I've been working for the past two weeks to prepare for the training while getting more excited about the program every day. I hope to get certified and eventually place on a team that is helping second stage companies grow and succeed. I'm guessing I'll be writing more about this in the future.

February 19, 2013

Social Media: The Formula For Success?

Some think there is a Formula for social media success.

They assume if they mimic the activity of a major brand, success is just moments away. Like with many other things, people are looking for the simple answer that will provide the huge boost they are looking for.

Can they make a viral video, develop the next "Greatest Ever" tablet, post flawless post several times a week and write exceptional blog content. And then there are those who believe that if their company joins a social network they will build trust and credibility with their customers, leading to better relationships.

Few are asking the important question:

"What does all this look like to my customers?" Few ask their customers if the relationship with their brand is a good one. Businesses are still forgetting how important it is to define success. What does success look like? How will success be tracked and reported on?

My position: There is no formula for social media success. Every strategy is different and must be based on the audience you seek to reach, their expectations, your expectations and the well-defined goals and metrics you've established for your business.

February 13, 2013

How Did We Let It Get Away From Us?

Page 2 of today's Denver Post contained these news blurbs:

Man with gun arrested; woman hurt, dog dead. Man shoots dog. Woman hurts hand. Both are arrested.

Possible witness sought in case of missing boy. Dylan Redwine was last seen November 19, 2012 in the Vallecito area. Dylan's 14th birthday was last week.

High school teacher faces child-sex charges. A Douglas County High School teacher was arrested and being held on $50,000 bond. He was charged with sexual exploitation of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

What has happened to the world. These were just a few local headlines. It's gotten away from us. We've lost control. I just can't even imagine how some of these people do the things they do, or even think them up in the first place.

We used to live in the greatest country in the world. Last night, President Obama gave the State of the Union Address. He said, "We have cleared away the rubble of crisis and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger."


January 19, 2013

College Hockey Referees

WCHA Men's College Hockey referees should have to wear their name on their jersey just like the players do.

Not only are these guys terrible referees, they are cowards. If they weren't cowards, they'd wear their names on their jerseys just like the players do.

If we could see their names on their back we could personalize our screaming at them. We could direct group cheers at them. We could "Boo" them personally instead of as a group.

I say, "Stand up like a man and take what's coming to you! Wear your name on your jersey!"

In the alternative, I'd be in favor of these guys getting better at their jobs.

January 9, 2013

The Energizer Bunny Got Me

Yesterday I met with a friend of mine who I hope will soon be a client of mine. He is starting a new business and has an incredibly exciting and novel idea. He said he's done his research and no one else is doing what he's doing for his target audience.

The more he talked the more excited I got. I asked a million questions, most of which he had already thought through. Some, which were in my area of expertise, he had not.

It was that rush of adrenaline that surprised me. It was the excitement of being with someone who had come up with a really novel idea. Probably not an idea that's going going to change the world - or even the industry he seeks to serve  - but a really novel idea. And it was exciting. It got my juices flowing, the wheels spinning.

I enjoy being around creative people, the kind of people who have ideas and aren't afraid to take some risks to make their ideas into reality. This ideas was a couple years in the making. But he say it through and made it happen. I have a lot of respect for that.

I hope I can channel the excitement I felt yesterday into a winning proposal. But even if I don't, it was an energizing experience.

Do you know what I'm talking about? Every had an experience like this. Have you every been on either side of this experience?

January 4, 2013

FTC Closes Google Antitrust Case: Law protects competition not competitors

Google got let off the hook once again.

19 months of taxpayer dollars down the drain.

I realize the FTC has to pursue these actions for show, but this is getting ridiculous.

Next time they should just spare us the expense and give us the end result up front because we all know how it's going to end anyway. I realize this may put some politicians in a bind and all those people doing all that lobbying out of work. But so what? We could use that money to build highways or for education.

January 2, 2013

I'm Still Teetering On The Edge Of The "Fiscal Cliff"

Word is that Congress has come to an agreement of sorts and we have avoided falling off the "Fiscal Cliff."

So why I am still feeling uneasy?

Did you see this Tweet last night by @SteveCase?

"You can't cut your way out of it or raise taxes your way out of it, you need to grow your way out of it #fiscalcliff"

January 1, 2013

New Year, New Direction?

It's a new year. New years are always filled with hope. This year is no different. I have all kinds of ideas for a new kind of experience here on "The BAFSignal" but please notice the "?" in the headline above. I'm a realist (Thus, The Beacon of Reason!). I'm also very busy trying to make my business succeed. So, we'll just have to see what happens. Keep in mind I'm writing for The Fried Side, Social Media Today, and, on occasion, my Time Management blog. So, it's not like I'm just sitting around twiddling my thumbs here.

That being said we'll just have to see if I can pull this off. Stay tuned.
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