2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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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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Corporate Sanity Officer? Imagine That!

It was 8:30 on a Monday morning when I got in to work.  I was just back from my vacation.  My office was a shambles.  It had been torn apart. There was dust everywhere.  My whiteboard had been taken down and was leaning against a chair, the edge of which had rubbed out part of a work of inspired genius from a Friday “chalk talk” with our lead architect just before I left.   It was the perfect image of destruction.  Thank god I had taken my laptop with me.  My docking station was encased in a plastic cover, but that cover was full of dust.

In the middle of what once was my office was a stranger in a yellow hard hat staring at at the skeleton that was my wall,  with the aluminum studs exposed.   Another was on his knees, monkeying with the bottom of a stud that he appeared to be wiggling back and forth.

What the hell was going on here? 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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