Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I tend to get much of my inspiration through reading.  It is fast, always available and easy.  I sometimes find a book resonates well with me but when I go back later, I wonder why I thought it was so good.  And sometimes I think is abook is bad but when I re-read it a year later, I love it.  I think different books speak to us based on the stage and current challenges we face. 

Beverly Schwartz wrote a book called Rippling - How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World.

Social media has changed the way most of us do things in a huge way in the past 10 years.  For me, I prefer to use Linkedin to keep contacts.  Clearly, I blog.  And Tweet.  I read blogs.  I get more information from a wider variety of places.  All because of social media.

I have been thinking about Twitter as a social media.  A lot of Twitter is an amplification of news.  Good stories get Tweeted and re-Tweeted.  And for that matter, Twitter is even a good filtering of information.  If a Twitter person that I follow directs me to an article, I will read it (or at least look at it).  Interestingly, the actual source of that media can be fairly small (like a blog) so the big media names have to constantly fight to have high quality articles that are worth reading.

In a sense, social media improves the quality of media because of this phenomenon.  But I digress...

Rippling talks about how ideas and innovations "ripples" through the world as a result of social media.  The title refers to Social as doing good and providing positive change.  It is not a blook about how to create the next Facebook.  Social media gives us power to do social good.

Rippling presents a model with 5 ways social entrepreneurs change social systems.  These model can explain how deep and lasting change can occur.

It is a series of stories of real people who have made a difference in the world together with how they did it.

Rippling talks that "Dreams can defy reality" when there is Purpose, Passion, Pattern (Pattern refers to methods that others can copy) and Participation (of course nothing happens unless people follow).

Quotes "How many things have you not done in this life due to fear of embarrassment or insecurity?"  Might that be limiting our possibilities.

At my stage in life, I struggle with trying to make a real impact on the world.  Rippling inspires me to think and plan that more.  And as with most things - actions win so just do it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just Some Stuff

Josh (my grandson) continues to thrive (need to start with the truly important stuff first)
Great press for one of the Canrock investee companies HonestlyNow in Blogher.


Canrock was awarded a $4.5M funding from NY state to invest in start up businesses.   Now begins the work of finding (actually, that part is fairly easy), nurturing and helping them grow.


While other people might think the weather is bad here (it is raining), the gardens desperately needed the rain.  A friend knows I am an avid gardener (despite bad allergies and needing to be careful to prevent back injury) so asked "what grows well here".  Of course my answer is "weeds".

I made another small garden this weekend.  Moved lots of dirt.  And have most things planted (radish, peas, spinach, beans, parsnips, beets, lettuce, pumpkin, squash).  Now will have to see if I jumped the gun and planted too early or if I am a genius and can actually get 2 crops and lots of early vegetables.


Canrock made a new investment in Soletron (more later on that)


AboutOne launched their new version.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership

Well the parsley is doing awesome. Italian parsley (the closest one) grows like a weed. I am eating a cup or more per day. Raw - just nibbling on it.

What I learned about parsley:

1 - Chewing it raw is a natural way to treat gum disease.

2 - Parsley naturally eliminates bad breath.

3 - A cup of Parsley contains 21% of the daily iron needed and 100% of the vitamin C (if you believe RDA suggestions are right)

4 - I need to eat 100 cups per day just to get enough calories to maintain my weight. (and I suspect even that would barely make a dint on my crop)

5 - It is one way to stop smoking.

And no, I do not have any of these problems but I do have a bumper parsley crop. Asparagus is also doing well.

And I am way behind on my book reviews so a short one:

Gary Burnison wrote The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership.

Burnison is an impressive guy. CEO of Korn Ferry. It seems logical he would know a thing or two about leadership not just because he runs his own company but as a recruiter, he would have seen hundreds of leaders. And he already a published best seller ("No Fear of Failure")

I liked the simple one word chapter titles. 12 Absolutes - 12 chapters one for each.

The 12 absolutes are:

1 - Lead - This seemed like too simple of a place to start but the chapter is quite good. I got hooked by the subhead "Anchor yourself in Humility". I see a lack of humility in leadership and I think this does not serve us. Leader need to move above the me to the we.

2 - Purpose - This is the true enabler of any company.

3 - Strategy - In the end, it is all about execution.

4 - People - Clearly key to everything. I always had the theory that a leaders' job was to hire average people and help them grow to be above average (by empowering, training, coaching, mentoring and giving them the tools to do the job well)

5 - Measure - I find this easy on the "hard stuff" like sales, profits, delivery standards etc but always struggle trying to measure the "soft" like culture. I also find too often, measures are short term where the organization really needs long term.

6 - Empower - I am a big believer in this. No business can scale without empowering people - not just delegating but trusting them to make the right choices to help a company thrive.

7 - Reward - obvious. If the company does well, the people should do well.

8 - Anticipate - "It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan" Elanor Roosevelt.

9 - Navigate - the unexpected will happen.

10 - Communicate - key to all leadership.

11 - Listen - I would have put this before communicate.

12 - Learn - I love learning and always wanted any company I am involved in to be a constant learning company.

Some quotes:

"Leadership is the eighth wonder of the world - easy to intellectualize, but elusive to actualize"

"Leading is less about analytics and strategy and much more about making a difference in the lives of others."

"Leaders are mirrors of the organization"

"Leadership is Grace, Dignity and Restraint."

"Shared Purpose Creates Shared Urgency"

It is a good book.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Limit Computer Usage for Good Time Management

Intuitively, I know limiting computer usage is good for time management. I have even read about this often in my reading on time management. Some time management systems suggest only doing email at specific intervals.

Thursday I had a network glitch so had no computer for the first few hours. I was amazed at how organized my office is. I plowed through a pile of paper that needed dealing with. I got organized. I feel good for it.

So why don't I limit my computer use? Part of me prides myself in being crisp - fast to respond. Part of me likes to be "caught up" and having emails unread does not seem caught up. Part of me prides myself on handling volume.

But this short involuntary experiment has proven that limiting computer usage can actually be great time management.

So yesterday, again, I did not log in for half a day. Again - high productivity.


I have been enjoying gardening. Moving lots of dirt and mulch but now my back is sore. Perhaps I need to read about preventing back injuries.

Not even many weeds yet.

The weather is so crazy that I have planted lots of things like beets, beans, peas, spinach etc. Going to try to see if I can get 2 crops in a year. Normally, I would not plant for at least another month.

I am already enjoying sorrel, parsley, chives and asparagus. Nothing seems healthier to me than eating my own organic produce within minutes of harvest.