21 November 2009

Give me back my underwear!

M beat me to it by letting me know on Facebook that he had our laundry. So, we went to the bar to pick up our laundry.

The second place we rented in Key West had an old coin washing machine and dryer, which was often not working. We opted, for $2 a load more, to bring our laundry to someone else, at a well known laundromat that also houses a walk-up sandwich shop. B dropped it off in the morning and picked it up the same afternoon - clean, fresh laundry smell, and already folded. I was quite reluctant to have someone else do my laundry - it seemed so extravagant. I got over that.

The woman who washed everyone’s clothes had accidentally given ours to M. He had thrown it into the back of a friend’s car and forgotten about it, until he went to find something to wear. Luckily he 1) could read B’s handwriting on the bag, and 2) knew who’s laundry he had. He carried our three loads to Finnegan’s that night. I still demanded my underwear back, and the bag sat on a chair next to us for the evening - like our new fresh-smelling sober friend.

This is something I miss about Key West. No, not picking up my laundry at the bar. But, that we knew who had our laundry, and M knew who’s underwear he had. This has happened to other people too, and they always seem to know who has their clothes. And, even with all the underwear mix-ups, we all kept bringing our clothes back. It’s no real hassle when you know who has your clothes, or you know someone, who knows someone who has your clothes. No one is really bothered by it.

This is what I miss: that it is the kind of place you can track down your missing clothes at the local’s bar; that no one is so uptight to get angry that their clothes were given to someone else. And that you can get one of the best Cuban sandwiches on the island at the laundromat.

13 November 2009

How to Disintermediate High Leverage Tasks

What exactly is a message consultant? Or strategic interfacing? What the hell does marketing speak mean?

Do I need a guru to harness my authenticity? What about a holistic approach to my rapid cycle process improvement? Seriously, I’m not making this shit up.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. Good marketing brings ideas and people together. Brings a solution to people with a problem to solve. It does not create neologisms for the sake of… well, I’m not quite sure why. I suppose the need to puff one’s self up crosses all career barriers.

Marketing speak does not translate into anything. How are we going to use key enablers to leverage the new paradigm? Please lay out the steps - in clear concise language. Otherwise, we will not be any closer to getting our product to market.

Identify concrete problems, take out the bullshit, and solve them. Talk about what will and what will not work. Instead of disintermediating high leverage tasks, just say that you will take care of the important task yourself.

This is a funny video of Microsoft re-packaging the iPod. What makes something expressively human?!

04 November 2009

Networking Without the Ass-clowns

I hate networking events. I hate coming home at the end of an evening feeling dirty - not quite sure why, but convinced that I have somehow contributed to evil in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories - I’m fascinated by other people, their experiences, and ideas.

That is not, however, what I’ve experienced at networking events in the past. My views are no doubt colored by spending too much time at networking events with lawyers - many of whom are missing critical social skills. A legal networking event usually consists of tipsy jackasses trying hard to puff themselves up, rather than making a real connection with someone they might have something in common with. The goals are: to collect as many names and cards as possible, to make at least one person feel inferior, to tell an exaggerated tale of your latest win to as many people as possible, and to set up a lunch with a partner at a bigger and better firm than the one you’re currently at.

You can quickly spot the lawyer that has read books on how to build networking skills: she is shooting off rapid fire questions. Unfortunately, the next question is being fired before the listener even gets a chance to respond to the last question. This is her attempt at showing interest in the person she is talking to. All the time, though, her eyes are darting around the room looking for her next victim.

Most lawyers at these legal networking events don’t seem to understand that the best way to build a beneficial network is not to be manipulative, not to make shameful attempts at humor or wit, not to sell yourself as the master litigator - but to be nice. It’s as simple as that. And, you actually have to be interested in someone other than yourself - hard to pull off for far too many lawyers.

I dreaded my first beer industry event, I assumed that all networking was the same. It’s not. There are people out there interested in other people’s stories, rather than how he or she can be used for career advancement. People who want to create lasting relationships, rather than collect a card. It’s like meeting fellow travelers on the road: the conversation is almost always good, the primary goal is not career advancement, and you go to sleep looking forward to the next meeting.

The goal of creating a network should be to make friends, real friends. Friends with whom you can share your interests. Friends to whom you can reveal something significant about yourself, and who can reveal something significant about themselves to you. Meeting people with these goals doesn’t feel like a networking event, at least not what I associate with networking events.

The thrill that I may never again have to attend a networking event with puffed-up ass-clowns confirms my decisions over the past year to follow my version of Plan B.

01 November 2009

Fall or winter?

and, we're missing Fantasy Fest in Key West. I do love the snow though.
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