Category Archives: People

For a song…

This blog was inspired by work done by a group of us to assist in flood relief.  The project created the video “Carolyn and I” which to assist the fundraising effort.  You may want to follow this link after reading the blog, but I’ll leave that up to you.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog.  I can’t believe where the time has gone.  There are have been some challenges recently.  I’ve moved my home – I still run the company in Toronto, but we bought a beautiful house in Haliburton county – near Minden, Ontario.  I’m looking out at the loons on the lake as I write this.  Stunning view!

On a sadder note, my business partner and I split up in the past month.  Disagreements about how the business was to be run.  We had some conflicts, but I think the move to my new house really set things off.  We had one of our management meetings in a local cafe where we usually meet (no reason to not have pleasant surroundings for meetings).   It was at that meeting he said to me that he didn’t think I was committed to the business. Continue reading

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Several days after the end of the world…

I am told that the world ended on December 21st.  Not a minute too soon.

Not that anyone would miss it.  Not after this year!

Oh, yes, it started with great promise.  New Year’s Eve came with celebration, with hopes for a bright and wonderful future and of course, with the mandatory resolutions and promises for change.  By the next morning, New Year’s Day, throbbing heads and broken vows ushered in a year of faded hopes and broken dreams.  Three hundred and sixty-five crappy days to go.

It was a year where hopes were raised, only to be dashed again.

Arab Spring deteriorated into failed states and lost dreams.  We marvelled at the courage of the people in the streets.   We hoped for their liberation and the creation of authentic democracies.  We watched as the dreams faded.  We saw the new political order echo the words of the Who – “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

Not that things were any better on this side of the ocean.  The US election was a giant disappointment.  Was their ever a time when that nation truly needed to reinvent itself, to have a vigorous debate and contest of ideas?   This was truly an opportunity to unite a nation and meet the challenge of a difficult future.  Instead, it fizzled into schoolyard name calling where a divided nation electing the person they feared the least and even that by only a slim margin.  Deadlocked and leaderless, the once most powerful nation in the world marches lemming-like towards a fiscal cliff of their own making.

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Did Zuckerberg do it on purpose?

A post has been making the rounds on the internet titled, “It’s Becoming Clear That No One Actually Read Facebook’s IPO Prospectus Or Mark Zuckerberg’s Letter To Shareholders.

I had to admit that I was on the people who hadn’t read it.  Of course, why would I?  I wasn’t going to be buying any Facebook shares.

I didn’t need the  prospectus to know that the hype was not justified.  No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t find a rationale that supported the price.

Where do I start?

If you understand what is going on in the world of on-line advertising — if you did the slightest bit of homework — it would be obvious that it would have taken a small miracle for Facebook to deliver earnings that would justify the sale price.   The only people who were going to make money on this deal were the original shareholders and  those same people who gave you the mortgage backed securities debacle that nearly torpedoed the US economy.

Or even without understanding the industry, if you looked at the fundamentals alone — earnings versus share price — there was no possible support for the share price.

The only explanation I could find for the price?  P. T. Barnum once said,  “There’s one born every minute.”  I wasn’t going to be part of it.  So I paid no attention.

And frankly, I wrote off Zuckerberg.

That, as it turns out, was a mistake. Continue reading

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Buddha Gives Convocation Speech at Harvard

Harvard University’s MBA program made front page news today as Siddartha Gautama, also known as “the Buddha” addressed the graduating class of 2013.

“For many of you, ” Buddha said in his opening remarks, “this day represents a moment that you have anticipated and waited for — the success that you have craved for many years.  That, I would humbly submit, is where you have made a grave error. Continue reading

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Internet Addiction – Why You Need To Break the Cycle Before It’s Too Late

My name is Jim and I’m an internet addict.  There.   I said it.

That’s the first step in a 12 Step program.  Admitting you have a problem.  Which is great, except for one thing.  How do you admit you have a problem if you don’t really know you have a problem?

Until last week, I didn’t realize I had a problem.   Like most people,  I’ve joked about it.  I used to refer to my Blackberry as a “crackberry” in jest.  I’ve checked email far too frequently on my iPhone.   But if you would have said I had a problem, I would’ve merely laughed — pretended to have my hand shaking as I went through the withdrawal of not checking my phone.

I’m not laughing anymore.

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Dear Dad…Here’s what I’m not going to tell you

I’m about to call you to wish you a happy Father’s day.  I talked to you just a few days ago – it was your birthday – so I won’t have a lot to say on this call.  I will have a lot that I could say.  I probably won’t say all of the things that I’ve been thinking.

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140 Characters Of My Life That I’ll Never Get Back

I stopped following you today.  You probably didn’t notice.

Nothing personal.  It’s just life.

Why?   As I said — life.  An amazing thing happens when you get over-committed as I have in recent months.  You finally make real decisions on priorities.   When you have too much to do, you do what’s most important — what will cause you pain if it’s not done.   The metaphor I use is juggling.  You can juggle one ball, two and even, if you practice – three.  I guess it’s possible that if you really work at it, you could juggle four.   Maybe there is a Zen juggler who could do five things.   But ultimately, it doesn’t matter, each of us has a limit, no matter how much we want to focus, practice or will it to be different.

So if you can juggle four and life gives you five — guess what?  No matter what happens you are going to drop one.  So what do you do?  You pick.   How?  Well, like most people, I presume that you try not to drop the thing that is most likely to break.   You try to make the drop as painless as you can.

We all do this every day.  More and more we are like the juggler trying to take on more things that we can truly juggle.  And what do we do?    We drop something.   What do we drop?  The thing that will hurt us the least.

Unfortunately, that thing was – you.

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The Nobility of Digitial Community – A Different Look

Community.    It’s a word that we throw around a lot.  But what does it actually mean?   And why do we care?

Let’s start with the last question.   Why do we care?

In an age obsessed by the idea of community, I’m surprised to see that the idea is so poorly understood.  Yet community is one of the the most important words of our era.

One of our greatest desires is to participate in a community.  We need the interaction with others.  We crave the recognition of our friends, our families, our — communities.  In many traditions, the greatest punishment that can be meted out is banishment, ostricization – forced removal from our community.

Our attachment to community is primordial, a driving force, something we crave in at the most basic levels of our existence.

Some would claim that this craving for community is at the root of the force that we all call “social media”.  I would claim that we don’t really understand this –and if we did, our social media approach and behaviours would be vastly different.

Three events converged this week which pushed me to reexamine the ideas that I had about community and social media.  Continue reading

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The Mile High Club

I got your recent email.  The chirpy tone and bringing me up to date with what was happening made me feel strange.  Didn’t you know that we’ve broken up?   Didn’t you get the message?

When I stopped coming around, didn’t you ask why?

Now, how do I say it?  Let me try this.

Get lost.  Scram. Get out of my life.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

It’s sad that things have come to this.  We used to be so close.    I was your number one guy.   You remember the pet name you called me?  Elite.  I simply called you Air Canada but I did it with such affection.  Continue reading

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Will Read Your Blog For Food

There’s a guy who panhandles for change outside the 24 hour drug/convenience store in our neighbourhood.  His name is Al.  Al had been doing this for as long as I could remember – he was a fixture. Day in and day out, he’d stand by the front door holding an old paper coffee cup, bumming for change.  I first talked about Al in a series I did last year.  He appeared in the story entitled “Buddy Can You Spare a Tweet”  As improbable as it seemed, Al had started up a social media consultancy run from his Blackberry.

After that,  I hadn’t seen Al in a while.  Nobody had.  I had asked about him. Weeks went by.  No sign of Al.  Then tonight, I saw him again, in his old familiar spot.  He had his old familiar paper cup which he pushed out as people walked by.  But there was something new.  Now he had a sign.  When I stopped to talk to him I looked at it.  It read…

“Will Read Your Blog for Food” Continue reading

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