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Archive for May, 2011

The Little Crazy Things Can Make A Big Difference

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I’m going to begin by giving you two examples of what I’m talking about with the title post, in which 2 little crazy ideas led to something having a pretty big impact this past week.  Ready?

Story #1: A couple of years ago, a bunch of friends were talking before class, and thought – hey!  Wouldn’t it be cool to start a brand new law society around fashion, art and design?  Bam!  The Fashion, Art and Design (FAD) Law Society was started at IU Indy Law in Indianapolis.  From there, we’ve had a TON of fun, made some T-shirts, held some art and law lectures for the entire student body, helped inspire a fashion and the law CLE program at the school, got a brand new course never offered at the school before on art, museum and publishing law, and just last week, our new incoming president of FAD landed an internship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Booyah.

Story #2: I had a few peeps to thank for nominating me for an award, so I thought – hey!  Wouldn’t it be cool to send them a different kind of thank you, instead of a boring old card?  Bam! I thought instantly of giving them a copy of my latest book, and better yet, deliver some flowers that matched the cover of the book along to them WITH the book.  And got lots of thanks for sending them out, to which I shared back with the florist, Lilly Lane.  In return, they shared that a future bride actually saw the flowers that were being delivered from my book cover match and was inspired by those to have as her wedding flower colors!

Here’s my point (if you already didn’t get it).  Sometimes, it is the crazy little ideas that can turn into the really BIG things that make a difference.  To me, getting someone a job is one of the biggest, best things one can do for another.  In each case above, that happened.  You NEVER know when your crazy little idea can turn into something huge for someone else.

My inspirational challenge to you this week is to just try one little crazy idea you’ve had.  You never know the big places it could lead you, or someone else.

Chief Culture Officer

Friday, May 27th, 2011

I am writing this post on a plane, because it appears my theme from the universe for today appears to be that of – culture.

I am reading Gary Vanyerchucks book, The Thank You Economy on the plane, and it is awesome.  Even though he has a small typo on one of my former companies (P&G – it is Procter and Gamble, not Proctor), spelling faux pas aside, if you own a business, do social media for your employer, or CARE about the company you work for, you should be reading this book.

It is not really about social media. Instead, it is about one of the most important things of all in business – company culture.  Mr. V argues that every company should care about culture and their employees FIRST, then their customers, then breathing–in that order.  The science geek in me was satisfied by his real world case studies on social media use translating to business.  I will let you read to find out what those are on your own.

On my way to Italy, I was chatting with my travel pal, and she too was sharing about being a mentor to one of her new co’workers at work.  First off, sheś a science geek like me.  She gets paid to convey technical information.  But, she shared with me that sheś not focusing on technical knowledge.  Instead, sheś focusing on culture at her company and how the culture values are important to her newbie.

Hereś my bottom line (because this Italian keyboard is beginning to piss me off) — CARE about culture at your company.  Put your employees and co-workers first, then care about your customers, then breathing.  Mr. V is right.  The new economy demands it.  ENGAGE with your customers–good, bad or otherwise, and own your brand.  Because if you do not, your competitor will, and the only thing you and your employees will be eating in the future, is your competitorś dust.  English, Italian or any other keyboard involved.

$100K…to Drop Out of School: Would You?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Read an interesting article online today from NPR about one of the founders of PayPal giving out $100K to fellows if they DROP out of college and start a company.  Usually, I post these controversial articles on my facebook page just to watch my homies mix it up, and they did.

One said – dumb idea.  Because, when the fit hits the shan and the business fails (as most do) after a year or two, they still wouldn’t have a college degree.  Another friend said, why not?  In fact, he’s been discussing it with his kids already, who aren’t in college yet.  (BTW, the latter friend is an entrepreneur.)

I’m probably not good at answering that question on this particular day about law school, just because I had a final exam today.  But, if I had to go back in time to undergrad…?  I don’t know if I’d take the fellowship or not.  IF I could go back and finish my degree later, I would.  But a lot of professional degrees give you a fixed amount of time to complete a degree.

In fact, the best part about all of this is, that I’m studying peeps who are doing BOTH in my next book.  Most are professionals, who naturally attended a professional school.  THEN, after they’d been out in practice awhile decided to start their business.  So, in my opinion, I don’t think you have to choose.  In fact, I’m going to write about people who don’t, and toss that puppy out into the universe to show others that they in fact would NOT have to choose between a professional career AND an entrepreneurial career at the same time.

In my world, you don’t have to choose!  Booyah.

Bring Your A Game

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Had not one, but 2 conversations today about…bringing one’s A game.

What do I mean by that?

In the school context, it is cranking it up to do what you need to do in order to get the grades you need to get.  In one’s personal life, it is cranking it up to do what you need to do in order to get the life that you want to get.  They really aren’t that different from each other.  You get to control both, or at least how you act in both situations.

In order to bring your A game, however, you really have to figure out what is important to Y-O-U.  What is it that you really value, and what is it that you really want, and how far do you want to go to compromise?  From there, then and only then can you really set your course for what your own A game is, and what it looks like.  When it involves others and you can’t do it alone, you have to decide how much you want those around you to bring their A game too.

A-gamers usually find each other through the mess called life.  I have A game friends from pretty much every company I’ve ever worked for, and I still could pick up the phone and call them today if I needed to.  Who wants to work with losers who bring their C, D or F game all the time?  Admittedly, everyone has a bad day, and everyone needs to fail along the way before they really get awesome at something, but I know who I want to work with over time: A-gamers.  Bring it.

If you can’t find some in your life, seek them out.  The easiest way is to bring your own very best A game to your own work/life/school/whatever it is that you do.  You’ll suddenly discover that you’ll attract other A-gamers.  They’ll show up.  Why?  Because they see you’ve brought YOUR A game, and other A-gamers dig another great A-gamer.

Game on.

The US Healthcare Hot Mess: How To Stop the Hemmoraging

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I’m prepping to serve on one of the panels at the upcoming and inaugural conference on the L3C: from A to Z,  in Chicago, IL in early June (if you dig social business, BTW, you should consider attending.)  The panel I’m speaking on will be on the L3C from hypothetical to reality, and my talk will hone in on social causes and health care.

Health care in the US is a hot mess.  It’s breaking our bank account (yeah, I know, it was already broken), but it could be one of the major things to move the US to a large crash and burn in the not-so-distant future.  So lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought on the philosophical argument about the following: how much profit in health care is too much?

I look to people like Dr. Victoria Hale, a chemist who was called a “fool” for founding the very first not for profit pharmaceutical company in the U.S.  Now, she’s onto her second.  Yay for her.  But in an article I found online, she makes an interesting argument: it is not science and technology that are lagging in health care.  Instead, it is the business models that are lagging.

I think she’s right.  I think we really need to start asking the question about profitability when it comes to health care.  YES–health care professionals go to school and dedicate a lot of time and money to becoming health care professionals, granted.  But, what about the basic necessity of health care and providing a wider population basic care?  Women’s health is a perfect example, as even Indiana cut Planned Parenthood funding recently (and I’ll save that rant for another blog post.)  CMS is now looking into it.

This of course leads to another philosophical question: is health care a right, or a privilege?  I’m not talking about Botox and facelifts either – I’m talking about basic and PREVENTATIVE care to keep people healthy and away from expensive hospitals.  What do we value in this country, and what price tag are we willing to pay?

I think social benefit business models like the L3C can start solving some of these problems, at least from a legal perspective.  But, no business model will ever fix the philosophical questions.  We as a society need to figure that out.

Social Media Fatigue

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Psst…I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Here it is: I’m getting a little burned out on social media.  Are you?  I googled the term, and the wackiest, most complicated map of another’s social media popped up on this post.  Check it out.  NO WONDER I’m tired!  Trust me, I’ve never thought about mapping out my own social media use – I don’t have that kind of time or love of mind maps anyway.

Granted, we are all busy.  But to watch the flurry of activity not only around us in the first world, but also now online, is just mentally…overwhelming at times. As a natural introvert, I appreciate my alonetime anyway, and guard it pretty rabidly on the weekends.  But watching all this activity going on around me, even when I’m not directly involved in the first world…is…daunting.

Good news is that I’m traveling internationally soon, which means I need to shut off my smartphone, or pay one ginormous phone bill down the road.  Part of me is looking forward to getting off the grid a bit, because of the complex menagerie of social and first-world interactions.  I think that is the best remedy for now: get off the grid.  Go somewhere and leave the phone elsewhere…or shut it off.  A little downtime is good for the mind and the soul…

Don’t worry, I’ll post some good pics of my trip online…when I get back, and after my breaktime…off the grid. : )

The Future of Books, cont.

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

I’m a stalker of TED.  Found this video this week about the future of books with Al Gore’s new interactive ebook.  I dug.

I think the first time this idea of books enmeshed with videos was Harry Potter newspapers…but regardless, the idea or thought of being a part time writer/photographer/video producer in order to draft the “new” book is a super cool, super fun, and an intriguing one.  Not only do you have to know how to write, but you also need to know how to take great, relevant pictures and produce video–OR hook up with people who know how to do what you don’t.  It’s like the trifecta of communication!

Please hurry, Apple, Push Pop Press, and others, to create an easy platform for us hack writers to produce these new interactive books.  While I haven’t (as a reader or writer) been on board yet with straight up e-readers thus far, I definitely see the added value in creating an interactive book.  Do it.  And email me when the platform is done.  I’ll be ready to rock it!

Milton and the Red Stapler

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I feel so…violated.

Someone at work totally bogarted my black Swingline Stapler, right off my desk! #dislike!

Of course, if you’ve seen Office Space, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Hopefully my office isn’t moving to the basement soon.

Milton’s stapler fits nicely into something I’ve been working on all day, and will continue to work on this afternoon, around the change and evolution of my first profession, pharmacy.  A lot of us, often really, REALLY want to hold on to that red Swingline with all our might–at work, at school, at home.  Why?  Because it is a staple in our lives – LITERALLY.  We resist change, and we want things to stay the same, because that’s warm and fuzzy.

Alas, we all have to let the stapler go.

I’ve asked my admin to order a red Swingline this time…..and even though I probably shouldn’t get too attached to it, I will put a nastygram or two on it in order to keep it on my desk!

ps – Swingline agreed with me and retweeted that this bogarting is totally unacceptable!

The Parting of the Universe: It Can Be Creepy

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Just tweeted at one of my company handles about the power of the universe.

Two days ago, I officially wrote up what I call a “one-pager” about my next book.  On that one pager, it gives the explanation for why I want to study a certain group or population, what major questions I want to ask them, and most importantly (at least for this post): my timeline.

There is something very powerful to committing to something in writing, on paper.  It makes you accountable to the universe.  BUT–although it is a little scary to hold yourself accountable to the big U, it is creepy how the universe in turn will suddenly part ways (in a good way) to bring you exactly what you need when you put something in writing.  Case in point?  Today, I have about 1/4 of the next population for my next book set for interviews this summer.  Keep in mind – I wrote this idea up and committed to it on paper just 2 days ago!

If you dare, write down your big goals and put a date to them, on paper.  BUT–only do it if you really want it to come true…because my friends, the universe is serious.  The question then becomes: are you?

Cycle 11-12

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I always get excited when we begin a new academic cycle at work – and today is the day.  Sorry, Tyra, I’m stealing your word – but Cycle 11-12 of our academic year at Butler for one of the classes I teach is kicking off today on campus – yay!

Let’s keep it drekitude-free, bokay?  No, I don’t really have an Andre, or any of the super colorful characters of America’s Next Top Model, but the freshness of the music at the end of the show is repeating in my head right now.  A new beginning – and I always LOVE a good old fashioned, fresh start!

Start a new cycle if you’ve been feeling a little stale, maybe?  If you’re not in an academic environment, maybe you can start something new as a new project, a new job, or simply a new state of mind.  It helps keep things fun.

Cue the music! (But no models need to disappear on this series…)

And if this post made absolutely no sense to you?  Clearly, you’re not a Tyra fan….