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Being Me

scary murderer in the forest, blurred

Reflections – 2012

By | Being Me

I had the fortune of meeting Tony Stubblebine, founder of Lift, virtually in 2011 and in real life last fall. Tony writes an annual post reflecting on his year and after reading five or so of his reflection posts, I thought it was an amazing idea… so I’ve stolen it and made it my own below. Sidenote: I learned this year that reflecting daily really helps me work through issues in my head and focus on what is important to me. I’m hoping that reflecting on the year will help me remember where I’ve been to help me know where I’m going and why.

After experiencing it, I totally recommend this type of reflection:


Hit up the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and decided I super love “real” maple syrup

Hit the beach for Spring Break and played frisbee and dolphin taxi with the kids for three straight days of awesomeness

Built a trampoline in the backyard for Cyra’s birthday and spent hours jumping, laughing and getting wet with the kids this spring and summer

Toured Hanover College and downtown Madison, IN with Carrie’s teenage brother, when he stayed with us for two weeks over the summer

Partied with my sister, nephew and niece for a week during the Quantified Self Conference at Stanford.

Hung out with my mom during both Cyra and Cassius’ birthdays this year. Convinced her to speak at the Quantified Self Louisville Meetup I put together and worked with her on her presentation. One of the coolest experiences of the year, for sure.

Bought a big screen TV for the basement and am getting the kids hooked on video games. Lego Batman is Cassius’ favorite

Drove through a blizzard to spend Christmas in Minnesnowta with my mom, sister, niece, uncles and cousins


Planned six Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement meetings in two months culminating in a meeting with the Mayors of Louisville and Lexington just prior to the UofL vs. UK Final Four matchup

Decided to move into non-profit sector doing software dev project management and standing up a project management office

Consulted on the side under an LLC called OODATRON. Made enough money to completely set myself up with a new media studio and used that studio to:

– Consult with two, awesome psychologists on a web app concept

– Grow ChoreMonster’s beta userbase from 2,000 to 20,000 over the summer and decided to part ways amicably

Take second place at a local health hack-a-thon – idea lead to creation of Pillfolio app

– Design and not give up on Kantine, a half developed water drinking app

– Plan a successful, Quantified Self Louisville Meetup that got my mom written up in the Louisville Courier Journal

Well Being & Downtime

Sat by Carrie and watched the following shows:

– Game of Thrones Season 1

– Breaking Bad (Actually caught up and watched the past season on AMC in real time)

– Various Bones episodes

– Dexter Season 6

– Fringe Season 1

Purchased Fitbits and started being mindful of steps I take (working toward 10k a day) and the amount of sleep I get (working toward 6-7 hours per night)

Watched Batman – Dark Knight Rises in the theatre and loved it

Watched the Washington Nationals clinch their first playoff appearance in over 100 years, or whatever it was…

Started tracking the following, on a daily basis, and rating them on a 1-3 scale (FAP). Sharing results with my psychologist friend, Gareth and looking to increase the risks I take:

– Risks I Took

– Challenges I Faced

– Appreciations I Had

– Things That Made Me Proud

– How I Took Care of Myself

– Mood

Lost 15 pounds in 6 weeks on the Almased diet

Played a lot of Fallout 3, Skyrim and NBA 2k12 on the Xbox 360

Started a couple books but actually finished reading:

– The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

– Do More Faster by Brad Feld

– The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely


– Seattle, WA
– Sugarbush, IN
– Lexington, KY
– Frankfort, KY
– Pensacola, FL
– Huntsville, AL
– Madison, IN
– San Jose, CA
– Stanford, CA
– San Francisco, CA
– Washington, DC
– Austin, MN

As Luck Would Have It

By | Being Me

“I’d rather be lucky than good,” was what some contestant on an episode of Jeopardy said to Alex Trebek years ago. I immediately adopted it as an unofficial motto of sorts, and have stated it whenever fortune has smiled upon me…

Looking Back

It's Been Fun Humana

Image by Hallicious via Flickr

Two years ago is when a project manager position opened up within Humana’s Innovation Center. I was all over it, and got the job thanks to my mad interviewing skills and the recommendations of some good friends. But the lucky part happened when I was matrixed to Greg Matthews who had recently been tasked to get his head around social media for the company.

I thought that I had been hand selected by Greg, as the best fit for the job because I had started LouisvillePM, was a MySpace and Facebook veteran, and was really into the internet message board scene. But as Greg told the story to me later, it was the typical, corporate we need a warm body for the next project in the hopper and you just happened to be that warm body, thing going on…

I guess sometimes a guy CAN catch a break.

The past two years have been exciting, frustrating and totally worthwhile. The best part was hands down meeting and working with Mathias Kolehmainen to create the three-man Cougar Team that brought Humana: myTPSreport, Diabatron and Shopensteinr. It took the better part of a year to build the team, but there was really no reason that team should have existed in such a large company in the first place. And the fact that we built it, pioneered an agile development process, and made digital products that helped the business utilize the data behind social media is one of my favorite accomplishments.

I am grateful for the opportunity.

Looking Forward

Two weeks ago is when I accepted the Director, Clinical Platforms position at HealthCentral. Starting Monday, I get to lead the product and business development efforts for Mood 24/7, an SMS tool that allows users to rate how they feel daily on a scale of one to ten, via text message. I am fascinated by both the product’s simplicity and the enormity of its potential impact. I will be working for Ted Smith and with Dr. Adam Kaplin, and am very excited to be a part of the mission to eradicate suicides in America.

I anticipate that this journey, like the one before it, will be exciting, frustrating and totally worthwhile. I’m also planning for some hard work, because as Samuel Goldwyn said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

And I’d rather be lucky than good.

Stories Are Importante

By | Being Me
Reading Aloud to Children
Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

It turns out that the Easter Bunny happened to leave a bunch of Berenstain Bears Books at our house last weekend, a note was left with the books signed by the Easter Bunny, which is how I know that the Easter Bunny left them… plus another tip-off was that they showed up inside the house on Easter Sunday.

My daughter’s enthusiasm to have the parables read to her this past week reminded me how important stories are in our lives. Her enthusiasm also reminded me how much I used to enjoy reading Berenstain Bears books.

Listening Ain’t Easy

As much as I love telling my own stories, I equally enjoy listening to other people’s stories because I think that’s where the good stuff is at. If you want to find out how to do something, and what not to do while you’re doing it, then ask somebody who’s been there. Interrupt them with questions along the way to get the rich details that they may have just inadvertently glossed over.

Be an active listener and learn from people just like my daughter is learning from the Berenstain Bears… Then take over the world with your new found knowledge.

Disclaimer alert: Chris Brogan is having a contest to win a free book and this is my entry

On Diversions

By | Being Me

I’ve been really fired up about getting people fired up at work about mapping social networks lately. So much so, that I discovered that I was in need of a good old fashioned diversion during off minutes.

That diversion has come in the shape of a turntable that fits in my iPhone… Baby Scratch

That’s right, you just watched a dude do that with his iPhone. And that’s what I’ve been playing with every spare chance I can muster lately.

What diversions keep you excited with the real work that has to be done in your life?

No Experience Necessary

By | Being Me

Who do you listen to, when everybody is an expert?

“The reason I became a matchmaker is because I sucked at love” – Patti Stanger from Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker

As a cadet, there were plenty of kids at the gym who couldn’t lift any more than I could, talking about how to “get ripped quick.” I always enjoyed the irony in that. Not long after I graduated, I noticed I was driving a nicer car than the “financial advisers” who were eager to invest my money for me.

That’s when I stopped listening to most people’s point of view on important topics, like money, health, and relationships.

Listening is probably a prerequisite in life, even though some people get away with not listening for a living, but I don’t think that means that you have to pay attention to everybody. Rapidly separating the non-qualified points of view from the ones that matter may be one of the Top Five lessons I plan on bestowing upon my kids. Right up there with respecting the rules of a system before attempting to break or bend them…

There are a lot of important things going on in the world at any given moment. And there are a lot of important people here to tell you what you should think about them. But it’s important to verify an individual’s actual level of authority on the topic against their self proclaimed level of authority on said topic, before you consider listening to them. What are my credentials to make such a statement? See you’re doing it already, that’s good.

Keep it up.

15 Irrefutable Facts About Chris Brogan

By | Being Me
Me & Chris Brogan at SDF
Image by Hallicious via Flickr

It’s the one week anniversary, and I remember exactly where I was when I first became aware of Chris Brogan’s day rate… like it was yesterday. Calculating that number had a profound impact on one of my Facebook status updates and I even considered blogging about it.


It’s just a number, and it’s really none of our business anyway… I’ve hung out with and personally man-hugged Chris on more than one occasion. So I decided that I would write a post that allows us to focus on the reasons most people, including myself, think that Chris Brogan is a cool guy.

Just The Facts About Chris Brogan

1 Shortly after Al Gore read a Chris Brogan blog post, he invented the Internet
2 When Chris Brogan hits enter on his laptop the Internet turns on
3 Chris Brogan created the blogosphere by writing a post about it
4 Chris Brogan blog posts can be read by both the illiterate and the blind
5 The Googlebot is actually Chris Brogan

6 Chris Brogan doesn’t update status, the Internet automatically updates his status for him
7 One Chris Brogan tweet can power the state of Iowa for 17 hours with its awesomeness
8 When your iPhone drops a call it’s because Chris Brogan just asked a question on Twitter
9 Every time Chris Brogan is retweeted a dolphin swims under a rainbow
10 When Chris Brogan @replies you on Twitter you are momentarily immortal

11 Chris Brogan is able to render Flash videos on his iPhone just by touching it
12 Chris Brogan can pinch zoom himself from Boston to Los Angeles in 2.3 seconds
13 Chris Brogan’s transparency makes it impossible for him to use Chatroulette!
14 It was once thought that Amazon EC2 could contain Chris Brogan’s authenticity, it cannot
15 Superman paid Chris Brogan $22k for a full day session on becoming a Trust Agent

Special thanks to @sregular for brainstorming these with me.

Add Your Own

The comments are for you to add your own facts about Chris Brogan. But you can’t argue with the aforementioned facts, as they are irrefutable.

Creating a Vision

By | Being Me

Creating a vision when all is blurry around you...What does it mean to have a vision today? And is an organization’s vision just a bunch of buzz words strewn together to make an incoherent sentence sound intelligent?

I don’t think so.

What Are Words For?

Using words is a traditional way to kick off writing a vision statement. So is looking at other organizational vision statements. However, both of those ways take up a lot of time as people try to out thesaurusize one another, splitting hairs over words that mean roughly the same thing.

A better way to kick off vision-storming exists. That way is good old fashioned goal setting. What is it that the organization wants to accomplish, and where does that mean the organization has to go to accomplish it? This goal should be an idea that is easy to understand and share. After all, everybody needs to get behind it… not just the people who craft it.

While you’re performing this exercise, keep in mind that buzzwords kill great vision statements, because organizational visions don’t leverage anything. They don’t hyper anything. And they especially don’t synergize.

So the next time you get pulled into a room full of colleagues to draft out a vision for the future, do something totally different… Ask the room what it is that the organization wants to accomplish. And I’m not talking about making money or increasing shareholder value. That stuff is implied. What problem is the organization setting out to solve.

“To make the world’s information universally accessible and useful” – Google

Then when people spout off sound bite cliche’s, push the collective thinking in the room. Ask why? And then do it again… Really get to the bottom of the organizational goal and don’t let people off with easy expected answers. The problem that the organization is going to tackle in its vision needs to inspire everyone in the organization.

It’s important.

How To Market to 32 Year Old White Males

By | Being Me

Show a ten year old kid using the product like a pro with limited effort on YouTube.

This idea hit me when my Xbox 360’s DVD-ROM drive crapped out, and I turned to YouTube out of desperation. At that time, I had to decide to either open up the box to fix it or not for fear of damaging it irreparably. I had just received Rock Band II for Christmas, so you can imagine how big of a decision this was for me. Then I stumbled upon a video of a ten year old kid opening his Xbox 360 with very little difficulty, and I had an epiphany:

If this 10 year old kid can do something that I thought may be hard, then there is absolutely no reason why I could not do it…

Call it a sense of pride, but I refused to be one-upped by some kid out there in YouTube land. So I manned up, spent an entire Saturday afternoon tinkering, and in the end fixed my Xbox 360. After that experience, I have been thinking about this phenomenon for some time, and have come to the conclusion that it might be the way to go for companies trying to hawk their wares in an on-line environment.

How a 10 Year Old Got Me to Spend Money

Case in point, I have owned turntables since 1996. I made the switch from analog decks: Technics 1200 mkIIs to digital turntables: Technics sldz 1200s in 2004 and recently started looking at solutions that would allow me to play songs directly from my computer. Enter the Numark NS7 and the Vestax VCI 300. After researching on-line and refining my personal requirements for my inevitable purchase, I stumbled upon this video on YouTube:

And that’s when I knew that I absolutely had to have a VCI 300. Not only is Dj Stereo Kid rocking the funky beat, but he’s mixing songs without headphones on, while doing, what used to be, complex tasks with the tracks he is playing. And he’s making it look ridiculously easy. So, by my newfound mantra: if he can do it, then I can do it because he’s just a kid and I’m some bigshot 32 year old white dude with an overactive sense of myself.

Contest Idea

The next time I’m in charge of launching a consumer product, I plan to have a contest where the age limit to enter is ten years old. I’ll give away free product to a bunch of ten and under kids so they can demonstrate how easy it is to use… especially the advanced features. Then those videos will live on YouTube forever, as well as my company’s blog, because my real demographic will consist of individuals who are much older than ten, who have expendable income and look for product demonstrations by ten year old kids on YouTube to make purchasing decisions.

Don’t everybody run out to try this before I get a chance to, either. It’s my idea…

Are We Having Fun Yet?

By | Being Me

When was the last time you asked yourself that question? Chris Brogan shared this video on his blog, which was originally posted in 2006. It’s only five minutes, and it totally coincides with a few undertones on this site.

I think that it’s really important to understand who you are and where you are going… And what better time than a new decade to truly go for it? I also think that being yourself, having focus, and doing stuff are all necessary on our journeys toward self actualization, happiness, and fulfillment.

What are you doing to have fun in 2010?

Focus 2010

By | Being Me

No resolutions for me this year, because resolutions are for suckers. Instead, I re-explored my mantra on achieving inner-awesomeness and have chosen to focus 2010 on doing things.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and think that doing things is highly underrated on-line. It’s easy to get caught talking about what other people are doing, without putting time in to doing things ourselves. I know I’ve fallen into that trap a bit.

So I’m going to stop the madness on this blog.

After all, talking about other people doing things isn’t nearly as fulfilling as just doing them myself and then talking about what I did, or showing you what I did, or bragging about what I did… Speaking of bragging, I’m really proud of the Five Steps Toward Inner Awesomeness presentation I put together because it wasn’t easy finding sweet shots of action figures portraying the points of my slides, that weren’t copyrighted. In other words, as simple as it is, it took a long time. You can even check out the philosophical back story here on the official inner awesomeness page, if you’re interested.

What’s your focus for 2010.

Ignite Worldwide

By | Being Me
The general Ignite logo, which is usually adap...
Image via Wikipedia

MAKE magazine just announced that Ignite, the 5 minute presentation event, is going global this March. This is exciting to me because I participated in the inaugural 502 Ignite event earlier this year and had a great time.

My presentation was about my experience building a local community of project managers via LinkedIn and Ning, with the gist of it being how to get people to say: Thank You For Spamming Me. You can check it out here.

I tried to have a good time with it.

I also met Keith Ringer, CEO of MetroMojo, that night. Which was an extra bonus, as Keith is an awesome guy.

I really like the Ignite format, because it is a controlled five minutes at 30 seconds per slide. You have to say what you want to say and move on, or the slides will leave you in their dust. It’s great, and I encourage anybody thinking about it to do it.

March should be good times, for sure.

When On-Demand is Off Base

By | Being Me
Shepard Fairey does Dexter
Image by Joe Pemberton via Flickr

Most people will agree that On-Demand viewing is a great convenience. We all have busy lives. We’re all trying to be everything to everybody. So watching your favorite television shows when your schedule, and not the network’s, permits you to is gravy.

We’ve obviously all wanted on-demand since TV was invented and now that we have it our lives are better…

Or are they?


When everybody watches television at their own convenience, how are people supposed to talk about episodes, or finales even. Case in point, the one show that I follow is called Dexter. I only follow one, because I generally view TV watching as a monumental waste of time. I also get caught up easily in character story lines and end up feeling lame for wondering if Jackie is ever going to get back with Kelso, or whatever.

What ended up hooking me onto Dexter was the show’s underlying question: Is Dexter a good person who does bad things, or a bad person who does good things?

I know that the show is about a serial killer who happens to also be a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, and that may be off-putting. And I understand that the show’s morbid sense of humor doesn’t necessarily appeal to a wide audience. I’m ok with that, as I’ve never seemed to have a problem finding somebody with colorful tastes in television programming to match my own… until now.

Now I not only have to find somebody who’s into the show, and all its quirkiness, AND who is synced with me on their viewing schedules. What?

I admit that I generally on-demand it with Dexter because the writers love to cliff hang him at the end of most every episode. He always gets out of it, but it never looks like it can happen. Being a product of our on-demand culture, I must see the next episode immediately following the one I am watching to make sure that everything turns out all right.

I require closure.

Less Talk

But therein lies the problem. By gratifying my own curiosity around the next step in the show’s storyline, I end up alienating myself from any real conversation, speculation, or conjecture around what will happen next, with friends who also watch the show. That’s the good stuff, and I’m missing out on the good stuff.

I never realized the err of my ways, because there hasn’t been a finale like the one that occurred last night. In a word, whoa! No spoiler alerts, just whoa!

So I went into work today determined to find somebody who might have caught it, and there was nobody. My only two prospects were one season behind and six episodes behind respectively.


Parting Shots

So the next time you decide that you’ll just catch an episode on-demand, instead of when it goes live, make sure you think about everything you’re giving up in the process. It’s the social aspects around a television show that make it great. Talking to people about a show makes the experience of watching it great. We can’t lose lose sight of that, even if it is a lot more convenient.

And if you have never watched Dexter, I fully recommend it. I didn’t think it was possible, but Season Four topped them all. John Lithgow was brilliant throughout the season, as was Michael C. Hall of course. Definitely worth a look.

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