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Archive for June, 2009

Is free really good?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

This piece by Malcolm G. appeared in the New Yorker recently on Priced to Sell, and I find it timely.  As I continue to struggle with a couple of business ideas I’m working on, I find it interesting to see this article analyze the differences between free and charging for something (be it goods, ideas, or whatever).

I keep thinking about youtube.  All the free entertainment there…but what is the value? Kittens inspired by kittens is a perfect example around the struggle of free.

At least we can all have a little chuckle while pondering really deep thoughts…

Snap, Crackle…Pop?

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Parents of “Pop”, a 2+ year old in Sweden, are trying an interesting social experiment.  They won’t tell anyone what the gender of “Pop” is.  Of course, there is much speculation as to whether or not the child will be scarred–emotionally or psychologically damaged over time.

I actually think it is a pretty cool idea,  simply because Pop currently has no limits.  Pop can wear a dress, or pants, or throw a fit, cry, or play with any toy without any worries about whether or not it is the ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ toy. Why should kids have to continue the stereotypes in this day and age?  if Pop wants to play with a Hot Wheel vs. a Barbie doll (or vice versa), ROCK IT OUT, I say!

The last thing a child should ever have to wear are stereotypical limits.  Granted, kids need things like manners, respect for adults, and to learn how to be kind and well-behaved, which last time I checked really didn’t have gender restrictions when learning.  But kids also need to know and be encouraged that anything is possible in this life – with some imagination, hard work, and time.  Right now, Pop can’t be told that s/he has limits based solely upon historical gender stereotypes.  Pop can be a future president, CEO, house parent, or whatever s/he can imagine!  Again…pretty cool.

My prediction?  That Pop will rock!

One Weird Week

Friday, June 26th, 2009

This week has been strange.  We’ve lost Ed, Farrah, and the King of Pop…three American icons.  Also, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal on MSL work (relative to my first book), and strangest of all–I was asked a law question that I think I actually answered correctly. (Don’t worry, it was just from a colleague – wouldn’t want to be practicing anything without a license!)

It goes to show that time is one thing we all just don’t have enough of…whether you are Michael Jackson, a Charlie’s Angel, or giving away $10M, the end result is the same, because we all have limited time on this earth.  The interesting question is–what are you going to do with your finite amount of time? Better yet, how can we max that time out to its fullest?  What are YOU going to be the American Icon of? What will be YOUR legacy?  (And don’t worry, I don’t have the answer to this one either, yet.  But it is fun to ponder!!!)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Specialized Law…for the Future

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Amen on increased specialization in law.  Just like medicine, there is no way that everyone can be an expert at everything!

The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Conspiracy

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

My good people: I challenge each and every one of us to join in the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Conspiracy!

Pretel…what is that?

Simple (and a lesson I learned from Pamela Slim’s new book, Escape from Cubicle Nation): take peanut butter (your awesome friend #1) and chocolate (your awesome friend #2) and CONNECT THEM!  My friend Jennifer is BIG into the Reese’s PBC Conspiracy.  She literally introduces me (I’ll be chocolate) to other peanut buttery peeps and does a fantastic job linking good people to each other.

Granted, it takes more than one person to be in a conspiracy, but that implores you even more to link up your good friends.  Maybe you have a friend from college and a friend from work that share a common enjoyment of…poetry.  Or, maybe you have a younger career/startup person fresh out of college who is an online wizard who needs a career mentor, and you have a great, sage, career person who needs to know more about Twitter.  WHATEVER BE THE CASE, get in the game and mix up that PB with the chocolate, because we all know each is great by itself, but even better when combined.

Yummy!

Either/Or (past) v. Both/And (future)

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I just hit the section of Alan Webber’s new book, Rules of Thumb which made me think of an earlier family conversation today.  (Alan, by the way, is the cofounder of Fast Company.)  I reached the either/or past and both/and future tale in the book (which I’ll try not to give away here), which reminded me of my brother and I trying to explain to my mom the differences between different types of social media…Facebook and LinkedIn in particular.

My brother has a ton of friends on Facebook.  He’s not on LinkedIn.  On the other hand, I tend to focus on professional connections on LinkedIn, and am (barely) on Facebook.  What I stated out loud to mom but never really articulated in my own mind prior was that, to me, Facebook is all about the past.  I tend to connect with people from my past on it.  On the other side, LinkedIn to me is all about the future.  It focuses on what could be.  My brother retorted that LinkedIn to him was merely a site for people to look for their next job. (Of course, in classic Albert fashion, we agreed to disagree.)

While trying not to give too much away, in Webber’s book, he argues that in the past, things seemed to be a little more cut and dried.  Tastes great v. Less Filling.  Good guy v. Bad guy.  Now and moving forward, we tend to need both, at least in terms of successful companies.  We need a low cost, efficient AND high quality car.  It’s no longer an either or, it is now both+.  Furthermore, this passage reminded me of another book, The Opposable Mind, in that to hold 2 opposing ideas in one’s head at the same time is what makes someone a great leader.  (Oh, and BTW, the ability to hold 2 opposing ideas in the head is a great skill I’ve been trying to work on in law school too.)

I suppose if my past is in Facebook and the future is in LinkedIn, so be it. The answer appears to be to keep both for now, AND if I’m on Twitter, YouTube and a couple of other places, that’s also cool.

Tastes great AND less filling!

The Train to Awesometown goes thru Suckville

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I found this crazy little audio clip from Merlin Mann at a conference where he was a speaker.  Before today, never heard of him.  And, although his language is a little over the top, I have to totally agree with him on the point that when creating ANYTHING for the first time, we have to be OK with sucking when we start something new.  We have to embrace the mediocrity, rather than procrastinating, doing something last minute, or just ignoring the creation because we have “so many other things to do”.

How many times have you said to yourself, “Oh, if I only had XYZ, I could get this done” or “If I only did more XYZ, this could have been awesome.”?  I run in to SO MANY people who say they want to write a book, but have all these excuses and more.  DUDE:  JUST DO IT!  Just WRITE/PAINT/CREATE!  Just by starting, we can get over all those annoying voices in our heads that tell us we can’t.

Listen to Merlin*…and dig in.  Start.  Embrace the tour of Suckville.  Otherwise, you’ll never get to Awesometown!

*Caution: explicit language included in the audio clip
The Sound of Young America

Is it time to rethink post grad ed?

Friday, June 19th, 2009

By no means am I declaring myself an expert on education, or even any specific type of education, but after reading this article in Businessweek recently, I’m continuing to wonder: is there a better way to pursue post graduate education?

The “traditional” model of many post graduate educational programs is to quit your day job (or just go straight from undergrad) right into a full time post graduate program, and be a “full-time” student for 2+ years (be it an MBA program, law program, or MD or PhD program).  Many seek the idea of real world employment AFTER their post grad ed is completed.  However, in the current economic climate, and for that matter any economic climate moving forward, I think this isn’t the best approach.  Here’s why.

1.  Many undergrads at graduation are already drowning in a sea of debt in a lot of cases.  To continue to pile it on while not working in a full time job just perpetuates that notion.

2.  In all of my post graduate educational experiences, I really thought that working full time gave me an education (in the school of hard knocks) along with a part time PGE program in the school of wherever simultaneously ENHANCED my educational experiences.  Example:  in my MBA program, I worked on projects in the pharmaceutical industry (my day job at the time).  In my PharmD program, I actually had the chance to blend a real day job need (a med info project) along with a med info rotation.  My employer won on that one (more work responsibility at the same level of benefits) and so did I by doing a project that actually worked and was valuable in the real world.  Even in my law training, I learned about vague terms on a case involving book publishing WHILE simultaneously in the real world I was considering a book publishing contract.  For me, I have to see what my education looks like in the real world in terms of application; otherwise, it is just a nebulous, hypothetical ball of chaos in my head.

3.  Some may argue studying something ‘full time’ might be a ‘better’ education.  I think that’s a line of BS.  In all classes I teach, I make it a core responsibility for myself as the coordinator of a class to always bring in people in the real world who are doing the work.  The best ideas don’t necessarily come from academics – they come from people who HAVE to solve the problems out in the REAL world.

While some full time programs continue to force the mystique of full time education, the smarter universities involved in post grad ed already know that simultaneous training in their institution part time on top of a full time school of hard knocks education is the way to go.  By all means, if you want to pursue your dream and the only way to do it is full time, knock yourself out.  However, if you have the option, consider enriching your education (and decreasing your debt load) by working and educating yourself at the same time.  Your experience and your bank account will be better off in the end.

Montana meets MySpace

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

All I can say about this article is: I’m glad I live in Indiana!

So, does the right to privacy include online social media passwords…?

My New Favorite Thing!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

ANYTHING that makes my administrative life easier is a wonderful, amazing, spectacular thing.  Here’s my latest most awesomest discovery:  www.doodle.com.  (And thanks to my awesome friend, Julie, for getting me connected to it!)

If you have to schedule a meeting with a bunch of people (and who doesn’t these days), this free app is a Godsend.  Just plug in dates, email the link to your posse, and they all pick the dates good for them.  No more countless emails…YAY!

Whoever invented doodle – thanks…you ROCK! : )