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4 Things Bugging My Brain Right Now

July 23rd, 2014

I’m slacking on the writing here this week, because I’ve been writing elsewhere…sigh…you know the life of a hack writer…

Anyway, here are 4 things haunting me right now:

1. Zero Hour Contracts and the future of work. And the dark side of this.

2. This. Still. And how to build a tribe around it.  And how to get a one pager on it next.

3. Glaeser’s new work on happiness.  What’s odd about this chart is that the most creative and productive cities (at least in my mind) are some of the least happy places in the U.S.  Why?

4. The “How the World Sees Youtest a la Sally Hogshead.  I got “The Mastermind,” (although I was hoping for “The Rockstar,”) which I found 92%ish accurate.  Accurate: True: I’m methodical, intense and self-reliant.  Definitely a quiet, independent doer that doesn’t like to be micromanaged–and I like talking about my personal life about as much as going to the dentist.  (And in case you were wondering, I don’t like going to the dentist. But does anyone?)  The only thing I didn’t agree with was that my type isn’t as ‘experimental’ as other types…huh…???  That’s the missing 8%ish.

This is what’s cooking in the brain bits, inter alia.

The Romantic Stalker (AKA Lloyd Dobbler)…of Ideas

July 21st, 2014

This post is brought to you by 3 signals (and you know what I do with trifectas…I write about them!):

1. A quote, which I saw on the faceplace, “And the thing about romantics is, we never give up.” – Blood and Chocolate (whatever or whoever that is)

2. Watching the movie Say Anything this weekend (on Netflix)…again. I’m team Lloyd.

3. Procrastination on a 2,000 word 2-post story on the pros and cons of pharmacy residencies (which I will get to writing, after this post).

___

Back to 1.  Someone posted under the quote on Facebook: “That’s what we call a stalker.”

I replied, “If it includes ideas, I’ll accept that term.  I am a good idea stalker.”

The quote to me (and Lloyd Dobbler, in the romantic sense in Say Anything) are, in my mind at a global level, the romantics.  These are the people who really get things done.  Romantics in my mind are those who have passion.  They give a damn.  They care.  They care so much that they are willing to be labeled as slightly crazy, weird, or eccentric in order to make the world better.  Do better.  They try and leave the world just a little better than they found it.

So, I’m OK with the title romantic stalker today…as long as we’re talking about big ideas.  Just think of us as Lloyd, with the Malibu and the Boombox equating to the crazy cool ideas on how we can make the world a better place.  We’re out here trying to play that tune. Loudly.

That’s the thing about us romantic idea stalkers…we never give up.

I’ll be taking the Malibu and the boombox over to Microsoft Word now to write that residency article.  Before I go – I’ll ask you: what big idea(s) did you romantically stalk today?

Open, Closed or Embargoed: That is the Question

July 18th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 7.41.35 AMOne of my new pals over at the Cheeky Scientist reminded me of a little ‘experiment’ of my own I ran a couple of years ago now, which involves Slideshare and one of my books with two editions: Indianapolis: A Young Professional’s Guide–first edition, and second edition.

So, once I developed the second edition of the Indy Guide, it had about 50% more content and contained something I thought was way more valuable than even the info in the first edition: real interviews with real young professionals of Indy and thought leaders in the community.  When it reached publication time, I thought I’d try something: put the first edition online in its entirety, for free, at Slideshare.  It’s here.  Totally open and totally free.

What’s interesting is that it now has gone over 20,000 views, which is kind of cool.  Am I losing money on this?  Well, frankly, even if I am, I don’t really care, because I wrote the Indy guide with the intent to make the city better for young professionals.  I wrote it to get them connected to causes they care about.  I wrote it to get them to stay in the city, even if they’re not from here, but came to Indy for a job.  There’s a lot of best kept hidden secrets to Indianapolis that I wanted to share with newbies.

Now, is some other company bogarting my stuff online or making copies of the book that violate copyright?  Maybe. Probably.  But there’s nothing cooler than a bootleg edition of your own work.  While money is nice, a bootlegged book means two things to me, that people are finding it: 1. cool and 2. useful.  There is no higher compliment to this writer.

Recently, I decided to add at least a portion of all my books to Butler’s Creative Commons, based upon this little experiment as well.  So people with internet access can pretty much access at least a portion of all my books soon.

The happy ending here (despite the publishing industry being under disruption right now): experiment if you are writing multiple editions of your book.  Journals and books now are all about being open-access and open-sourced.  You can even embargo the coolest stuff and charge for access to fresh stuff first.  If you want to make money–great–maybe share a portion of the book with your readers.  But if you want to change the world: consider sharing all of it.

I’ll look forward to seeing YOUR bootlegged copies!

 

Is the ACA Key to Opening the Job Lock for Innovative Entrepreneurs?

July 17th, 2014

I took a day off to head to Louisville with my friend and founder of Historic Indianapolis yesterday.  I needed some good entrepreneurial girlpower juju, and the day definitely delivered.

Between the day meeting with amazing women behind for and non profit businesses – such as the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, (who like to Keep Louisville weird), New2Lou, and the amazing woman who runs 4 different businesses, one of which is Preservation Louisville (I was exhausted after I heard her talking about her jobs, and you know how I roll – this woman I met is BUSY!)

Between this amazing day of girlpower (I think of it as group therapy for the awesome), coupled with this article from NPR, I continue wonder–is the Affordable Care Act releasing the most creative and innovative intrapreneurial souls from day jobs in order to create a new, different entrepreneurial start up?

While, don’t get me wrong, the ACA has a LOT (A LOT–A TON) of problems associated with it, there may be one ray of sunshine out of this mess.  Maybe the super innovative, intrapreneurial people who have worked for big corporate America for so many years may finally be freed from the shackles of a day job to start their own businesses, as many people stay at big companies for healthcare benefits.

Also, I think the ACA actually bolsters states to support social entrepreneurial business models as well too.  The more types of business formations we can offer the creative, innovative souls in a state, the better.  This, coupled with healthcare being ultimately lifted off of the backs of corporate America (and put back ultimately on individuals, which, frankly is where it belongs) is important, because it frees people to start thinking outside of the box about their true callings in life.  They can actually spend some time thinking about what they really want to do, and don’t have to worry about where the healthcare coverage will come from when they need it.

Trust me, I’m not calling APA perfect.  (Have I been explicit about this?)  I hope so.  However, if we pay for our life insurance, car insurance, homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance, why can’t we buy our own affordable healthcare insurance too?  With that out of the picture with employers–that’s one huge benefit that could help budding entrepreneurs consider career paths now that they may never have considered before.  And that is exciting!

 

The 3 Flavors of Social Entrepreneurship

July 14th, 2014

1L3C Benefit Corps Flexible Purpose CorpAt my house, Neapolitan ice cream is always a hit. After all, why buy just one flavor of ice cream, when you can get a box of three totally different flavors? Sometimes I want strawberry, but sometimes I want chocolate.  (The others in the house may have the vanilla.)

I analogize this to social entrepreneurship – another place where I see value in different “flavors” of business–including non-profits, for-profits, and the most interesting to me–those in the middle, “social” business forms.

Social entrepreneurship business models are popping up around the U.S. (and for that matter, the world) which I think is a very positive thing.  Social entrepreneurs, however, if they use traditional business models (like LLCs or Corporations) can get into trouble when they put their mission of social good above profitability.  (Ironically, one can study what happened to Ben & Jerry’s when they sold out to Unilever for an example.  BTW…there’s a lot of ice cream in social entrepreneurship and this analogy which I’m digging…but I digress…)

Unfortunately, in a few states (eh hem, like Indiana), our state government does not currently offer social entrepreneurs any social business forms. And essentially, these social models allow entrepreneurs more flexibility of putting mission ahead of the pure profit motive in order to make money and the world a better place. And who doesn’t want that as an option?  There’s already a retail site where you can put mission of a company before buying products called Roozt.

Here are the big 3 flavors of social entrepreneurship business forms available in a variety of different states (but again, not currently available in Indiana):

3 Flavors of Social Entrepreneurship Business Forms*

1. The L3C: or Low Profit Limited Liability Company
2. The Flexible Purpose Corporation
3. The Benefit Corporation  

What are the differences between the 3?  Well, although I am a lawyer, there are lawyers out there who have already done an excellent job in articulating what each social entrepreneurship business form is all about.  Kyle Westaway did a great job on Youtube–his L3C video is here, benefit corp here, and flexible purpose corp here.  There’s also a good 1 page summary on all 3 types at this site by Berkeley.  The best site as I’ve said here before on the L3C is Americans for Community Development.

If your state, like Indiana, doesn’t have any of them – you might ponder, which one is the best?  Well, it depends.  Personally, like that box of Neapolitan ice cream as the consumer, I’d like to have access to all three as an entrepreneur.  Let me and my lawyer decide which form is best based upon my mission and goals.  After all, shouldn’t the state provide as many options as possible for its budding entrepreneurs to form and get to work?!?

I’ll take the 3-flavor box, please.  And dear Indiana legislature–if you’re reading this, the train has already left the station.  Let’s get these models ON THE BOOKS!

*Every state is different on what social entrepreneurship business forms they’ve put into law.  Check your state (usually at the Secretary of State) to see what, if any, your states have for social entrepreneurs.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

July 14th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 3.27.33 PMLadies, this post is just for you.  Particularly because we, as women, struggle more with the following than dudes.  I noodled on whether or not to post about this all weekend, but after my third sign, which is my usual indicator from the universe that I need to write about it–here it is (sign one being a recent incident in my own life, sign 2 an Oprah Instagram photo, sign 3 being this article I read in the NY Times).

Alright – let’s discuss sign one above.

There are not one, but two women in my network who were interested in a part-time gig that I recently was given the opportunity to be part of myself.  I’m NOT the hiring manager or decision maker for the gig, but I did get an offer to be part of the posse–after applying for it just like everyone else, sending my paperwork in, and going through all the other steps in the process.  The other two heard about it, then went about ‘applying’ for it (as the employer needs a stable of people for this particular gig) very differently.

The first, I had zero idea until later, was completely PO’d at me for her not getting the opportunity.  Honestly, I was kind of blind sided by her irritation, since again I had no idea she was mad at me, nor did I have anything to do with the hiring of people for this gig. I don’t recall her asking for help to get in front of the hiring manager, either. (And shame on me, I suppose, for assuming that she would talk to the hiring people if she was interested in it.)  But, despite her never directly asking me to help her, she instead decided to stew in her own juices for weeks about it, rather than just coming out and asking explicitly for me to help her.  (I suppose I should turn in that psychic friends’ network membership I’ve been sitting on for decades, but I still haven’t.)

The second had a very different approach.  She found out about the opportunity, then asked me about it.  Then, she sent me her resume, and then she asked me to do a 3-way introduction to the person in charge of the opportunity.  I was happy to do that.  After that, the friend picked up the ball and ran with it – she explained why she was interested in the opportunity, discussed how she was qualified, and even cc’d me on the post-intro email.

I still don’t really know if the first person in this scenario officially applied.  Instead, I heard all about how she is irritated by the entire situation (including, apparently, myself in her s-list).  The second person got a response from the hiring manager, although I don’t know whether or not she’s moved forward.

Here’s THE BOTTOM LINE:

  • I have no clue if Woman #1 is even in consideration at this point – she was too busy venting instead of trying to figure out how to fix the problem and get what she wanted.
  • Woman #2 ASKED for what she wanted from me. I didn’t have to GUESS with woman 2. I DID NOT have to READ HER MIND. Although I don’t know the final outcome yet, I do have a clue that she is in consideration for the post, unlike woman #1.

Ladies – we have to ask for what we want.  If we’re not clear, huffing, puffing, stewing and hating aren’t going to get you what you want instead.  ASK.  The worst the other person can do is say NO.  But I’ll be honest – I am not psychic.  Don’t assume I know–I can barely remember yesterday, let alone a conversation we had about you a year ago.  If you don’t ask, you won’t get, period.  And, there’s really only one person you can go to in order to figure out what you want–Y-O-U.

Now, whether or not you actually GET after ASKING is an entirely different blog post (or book, frankly), but at least when you ask, you are being explicit about what you want.

Even better – you JUST MIGHT GET IT!

Calling All Potential Planet STEM Ambassadors…

July 13th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 9.54.54 AMThis potato salad guy is KILLING me!

If he can raise $50K to make salad, what’s my excuse for not continuing the #STEMPrincess project and book series?  (Especially when people keep asking me when the next book is coming.) Nothing like guilt by crowdfunding humiliation!

So, step 1, after reading a most fantastic article on crowdfunding, I first need to find my Ambassadors to Planet STEM.  If you’d like to be an Ambassador, please consider filling out this form below, and you’ll be first in line for what’s going on with my NEXT crowdfunding campaign to continue The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM an entire book series – not just one book. (And I will NOT be selling or sharing your info with anyone beyond this project…promise.)

The Storage of Loss on the Information Superhighway

July 12th, 2014

I read this piece from The Atlantic this morning, which reminded of a few things of late in my own tiny life relative to loss in general, and how it relates to the digital age:

1. My friends with loss and grief of late.  I have two friends who lost 3 parents thus far this summer.  That madness has to stop, and their grief is palpable.  It also has nothing to do with social media, other than me attempting to stay connected to the friends I have who have lost recently who are also far away geographically.  One of my other mutual friends had a great idea – to send a video to our mutual friend with loss of late, and she was going to compile them from a group of people.  I got out my iPhone and filmed.  After all, a card only goes so far.

2. My lost friend from law school.  He just had another birthday. His Facebook page is still active, and people still posted on his birthday that they missed him. It was odd to get the birthday notification for him (thanks Facebook), since he’s been gone now for a while.

This also has me wondering – when do social media profiles end with those who have passed on? Are people naming online executors in their wills to manage and take down social media profiles and stuff online once someone is gone? Facebook has a memorialize process.  (Note to self: remind my exeuctor to NOT memorialize me on Facebook. Ugh.)  To have your digital imprints outlive you is…odd.  Odd may not be the correct word, but I’m still processing what word might be appropriate.  It feels like a bit of a digital tombstone, perhaps?

3. The even harder loss than death: shutting out someone still alive.  One at times needs to extract others from her life for various valid reasons.  I read this post over at NY Times as another example.  As a general example, I read somewhere recently that loves of one’s life are hardest to extract or sever in two places: early on in the relationship, and then after a bajillion years together.  In the middle, not as much.  This is why couples who have been together for 50 or 75 years end up passing on within hours or days of each other, allegedly.

The harder part may be the first type, where you had a great love, but lost big/had to say goodbye, and the other person is still alive.  That can lead to watching their wonderful lives via social media from a distance.  That could be even harder than the digital tombstone. I’m not sure.  At least when they’ve passed on, you know you’re never going to have to see new material…

Clearly, I don’t have a lot of answers here, just more questions.  Loss and grief are always a bit enigmatic, as everyone processes them differently.  But if anything, methinks I’ll update my will next time to have a social media executor/curator (OK, janitor), who will take care of erasing my digital footprints and cleaning up my internet mess when I move on to the next place.  I’m not mentally ready for a digital tombstone, nor would I want my friends to get my birthday notification (not that they get it now…).

The Sweet Success of Failure

July 11th, 2014

train to awesometown goes through suckville erin albertOnce upon a time, there was a girl who failed.

She failed at playing Music Box Dancer the first time she tried it (even though her parents incentivized her with 3 figures of cash if she played it right, eventually, which she never did). Her math scores were never really great in school, even though she managed to squeak into pre-algebra in middle school.

She was rejected by a journal the first time she tried to publish something.  She was pink slipped on her 29th birthday.  Her first marriage failed.  She didn’t pass the bar the first time she took it.  She, to this day, still cannot drive a manual transmission auto.

A real loser, right?

That loser happens to be me.

I’ve often stated that one of my best, if not the best teacher I’ve ever had in my life is my old friend, failure.  (Then, I get a raised eyebrow or two.) But it is really true.  Failure has been my best teacher. And, I often argue that if we aren’t failing enough, we aren’t growing enough.

This spring, we had a panel discussion about how to get our city (my city being Indianapolis) more innovative.  We discussed failure at the very end, and I still believe strongly that instead of covering up, hiding or pretending our failures don’t exist, that we instead embrace them, and better yet, share them with everyone so we can help each other not repeat the same mistakes, but move on to bigger and better failures so we can in turn grow even more.

I’m totally committed to discussing failure (and, let’s be honest, have a LOT of material to work with in this department, based upon my very own experiences).  So, yesterday, when Amy Stark and I discussed how to make #SMDames14 #Indy different (for those of you, ladies, who want to learn more about social media in the Midwest should attend November 20th), so we decided that our theme of the event will be “FAILURE.” Each of the 18 speakers will need to discuss a social media disaster they tried, what they each learned from their mistakes, and how to prevent it from happening to someone else–or freeing up more time to fail somewhere else…

To me, that is the most noble, highest form of learning.  Not only does it help reveal and share vulnerability on the teaching side (because, frankly, despite what your teachers say–they do NOT have all the answers), but it truly honors the idea of improvement by learning.  Growth. Development. I can think of no better way to learn, and no better way to teach.

That’s the success of failure.

 

What I’m Working on 3Q14

July 10th, 2014

I like this whole accountability thing by posting what I’m up to each quarter of 2014.  And, not to mention it is flying by like no one’s business.  So, better hop to it and share with you what I’m up to for 3Q14, so you can hold my proverbial feet to the fire! Ready?

1. #SMDames14 #Indy #FAIL – Yes, the Social Media Dames are heading back to Indy, back by popular demand, on November 20, 2014 (the Thursday before Turkey Day, just like last year).  This year, we’re cooking up a theme of “FAILURE” around the talks.  (Oh. Yeah. I could easily come up with 18 talks of my very own in that realm – with or without social media involved. Ugh!) BUT–my friends, we have to get the moose on the table and start talking failure; otherwise, how are we ever to learn from our mistakes?  (Here’s the little trailer…)

2. Development of a first for me – an open access journal – While I’ve written 7 adult books and one children’s book, the one thing I haven’t done is develop a peer reviewed journal from scratch.  Thanks to the Butler Innovation Fund, I now have the challenge of figuring out how to do this, in our creative commons resource at BU. It will be around #STEM #healthcare and #innovation, and it WILL be different than all the other journals out there, if it is the last thing that I do. Pray for me, people, on this one because I can’t really find that many peeps in my network who have been there, done that on this one…sigh…

3.  Barcelona and Bilbao planning – Sorry, sistah has to fly the coop this year.  I try to get away outside the US at least once per year, and this year’s trip is going to be epic!!!

4.  Column for Pharmacy Careers – Part of Pharmacy Times is an ePub called Pharmacy Careers – and I’m writing a column for them this coming academic year.  If you’re a pharmacist doing something weird or cool professionally, tell me, so I can get you in the cue. If you’re a pharmacist, read the column for some inspiration – I’m going to do my best to go as weird as possible on it.

5.  AACP Professional Affairs Committee – Geeking out on future of pharmacy stuff in DC this fall (although, I’m still not sure who put me up for this…but I’m sure it will be fun).

Of course there are other shenanigans, like:

…and all this could be up for grabs–because who knows what the future holds?  That’s my favorite thing about the future…the unknown…!