Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kudos to Mike Thomas and San Antonio Business Journal for helping publicize the San Antonio Beta Summit

I want to take this time to thank Mike Thomas at the San Antonio Business Journal for helping to publicize the San Antonio Innotech Beta Summit yesterday with his article. It's my hope that his article as well as publicity within other channels will bring out those small business startups to submit a nomination.

The incredible shrinking editorial news hole

If you work in traditional public relations trying to get your clients' articles or firms featured in publications, perhaps you are seeing what I call the "incredible shrinking news hole."  With advertising revenues dropping because of the economy and the change in reading habits, it's becoming harder for newspapers and magazines to generate more editorial space.  

I've read the articles in leading business publications, and I've seen the research on the change of reading habits, most notably with younger people.   Today, those in the under 30 age group are now reading their news online.  Even then, much of what they are reading are Twitter posts which link them to online content.

So, public relations professionals like me have to adapt to the times.   I have already seen the power of blogging when it came to helping present the Austin Innotech as a premier trade show for wireless phones, e-marketing and new tech platforms.   From working with bloggers in Austin, I recognized the change in reading habits and the impact of being featured in the right blogs.   By adding a focus on the right bloggers, attendance for the event increased by 30-percent at last year's Innotech.

Still, it's sometimes hard to convince old school executives how many people are reading an article about them online.  Thanks to the metric tools of Budurl, my clients at LiveOak 360 can help public relations professionals show the number of hits for an article that appears online.   If you haven't taken this statistical tracking tool for a test drive, then you're missing out on an application that clearly shows the data that old school marketing executives need to prove their case. 

With the combination of a changing economic landscape and media influencers, public relations professionals have to rapidly change their approach to media relations.  However, thanks to apps like BudUrl, we now have some powerful measurement tools available to us.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Will pockets of San Antonio technology band together?

I was in the northern part of Austantonio (Austin) for some meetings and to take part at the Austin High Tech Happy Hour .  During the course of my two hours attending this networking event, I met two former San Antonio residents.   Oscar, a friend of my client, Matt Genovese, the founder of Door64, had a late night respite at Katz's Deli on Sixth Street, where he asked me if the pockets of technology in San Antonio were coming together.

For years, our fair city has shown the makings of a world-class technology base, and if you look at the historical perspective, you would have seen some considerable innovation such as the first Army Air Corp flight at Kelly back in 1910 or the invention of the stent for heart surgery.

Yet, I will be the first to admit that our city is light years behind Austin in terms of holding networking events.  While we have two chambers who are starting to embrace technology, there is still a lot of work to be done.  The fact that I had to choose between three tech related events in Austin yesterday shows the scope of how Austin residents will come together over "high tea" and discuss partnerships and ideas.

Please note that I am not taking a negative view of what has happened with our tech endeavors, nor do I want to point out the shortcomings of some organizations .   However, I am sensing the start of some movement for cohesive efforts to build a broader and more dynamic tech base.  Here's hoping that the synergy that is starting to develop will really bring the many talented techies together.   We have a long road ahead of us, but we need to focus on the future and not on what hasn't happened.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

DCI is looking for input from clean technology firms in Texas

This morning, I am feeling a little like the San Antonio-Austin technical town crier or the cherubic guy from the HBO mini series "Rome" who is trying to get the word out about a new online forum for clean technology companies.

As a board member for the Digitial Convergence Initiative, it's my job to help promote and market our non-profit group's attempt to bring together technical resources. Josh Parker, a fellow board member, is collecting data to build an online model that would allow a business guy from San Antonio to find a "Ruby on Rails" programmer in Round Rock.

As Sloan Foster, the board president has said so often, "I much rather find the resource in Texas than have to go to California or other parts of the country to find them."  In just a few weeks, the DCI will officially announce the online platform that will help connect technology capabilities within the Lone Star Republic.  However, before doing so, we need to add some more data to test our algorithm.

So, if you know of good central sources that list clean technology companies that are using smart irrigation, smart grids, clean manufacturing or environmentally friendly technologies, please reach out to Josh at his email listed below. With this added data, Josh hopes to build the online tech processes that will go live within 45 to 60 days.

(Note: To help Josh's email box not get those lovely spams from the bots who travel through the blogosphere to harvest his real email, I kind of encrypted it. You can reach him at jparker (at) reversalfilms (dot) commm. Subtract the last two letters and you have his real email.)

Connecting in real time with one of my LinkedIn contacts

There's been a lot of talk about how some spammers are taking over LinkedIn to peddle their wares. And, I seen a lot of blogs and Twitter messages about how to screen out those folks who want to use this networking service to peddle financial services and the like.

However, meeting April de Leon-Galloway reaffirms my belief that adding people with similar interests can become rewarding. Yesterday, I met April at the San Antonio Innotech marketing meeting at the Norris Convention Center.

"So, you're Matt Scherer. When I heard that you were working as the public relations person for Innotech, I told your co-worker that I wanted to meet you in person!" she said.

Chuck Hester, a communications colleague, puts it into perspective in his latest post on his blog: "While I am fascinated by the number of connections I have developed over the last several years through LinkedIn, the ones that are the deepest, most meaningful seem to be the ones I’ve met in person."

I agree, Chuck. And, April, it was great to meet you in person.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Enlisted senior leadership needs a wakeup call after article detailing 18 deaths due to electrocution

I am not the type who shows a lot of outrage in this blog, but this morning when I read Scott Huddleston's article in today's Express News about the death of 18 people due to shoddy electrical and plumbing maintenance it made me pretty ticked off.
Here's why....
Huddleston's article details how PFC Eric Stults deals with the injuries to his arm and his groin.
"The reaction I get from people range from 'That's totally messed up' to a few choice words for KBR," Huddleston quoted Stults in today's article after he was electrically shocked in his shower.
I am a retired Air Force noncommissioned officer who knows that while the article blames KBR and their subcontract force for not fixing the problem, there's a bigger issue.  It's enlisted leadership.
In the military, there's a senior noncommissioned officer called a senior enlisted advisor or a command sergeant major.  When I first served in the Air Force at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, I had the pleasure of working and have the guideance of CMSgt. Floyd McDowell.   Had Chief McDowell been "in country," he would have told both his commander and his civil engineer that there was a problem in the shoddy work done with the showers.
With someone like Chief McDowell prodding them, the engineers would have fixed the problem internally or had taken actions to get the contract team replaced.
Yet, today there aren't a lot of senior noncoms like Chief McDowell, who I had the pleasure of working with from 1980 to 1982.   Most of them have become what the enlisted force refer to as the "E-9."   These were guys, who benefited from performance reports endorsed by their commanders who only saw a "Yes man" in a perfect uniform.
 I once got into trouble at Lackland AFB, Texas, my last duty assignment, for telling that senior enlisted advisor during his "Welcome to Lackland" briefing that billeting had assigned me to a room for smokers as I was looking for a home for a family.  With a son who was an asthmatic, you thought that the chief would have helped me get resolution.  Instead, my boss and I had to report to this senior ranking person for "showing him up" in public.
Huddleston's article details how Cheryl Harris, the mother of Army SSgt. Ryan Maseth is suing KBR for negligence.   However, Robert Gates, our Secretary of Defense, needs to takes to conduct an investigation into the matter.  Gates, by the way, asked for the resignation of Michael Wynne, the Secretary of the Air Force and Michael Mosely, the Air Force chief of staff, after a Air Force loaded nuclear weapons during a routine training run.
If an independent investigator can verify that the contractor didn't respond to four work orders to fix the showers that killed Sergeant Maseth, then the commander and the sergeant major for the battalion or brigade that oversee the care and welfare of his dormitory should be tried in a military courts martial.  
As a retired noncom, I can think of two or three charges under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice that fit the bill, especially "dereliction of duties."  If a military court can find that both Maseth's commander and unit sergeant major knew there was a problem with the showers, then it's time for Secretary Gates or someone on his staff to prefer charges.
Doing that will send a message to senior enlisted leadership that it's time to become more like a Chief McDowell than one of those guys who looks perfect in their uniform.   By conducting a full investigation not only into KBR's contract work but also looking at the role of the commander and sergeant major in this incident, our civilian military leadership can shake things up.
From reading Huddleston's article, it's time to make some fundamental changes in leadership management.  If you agree, then forward this blog to your Secretary Gates' office or to your Congressional leadership.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Are there really social media superstars out there?

There's been some discussion lately about what makes a Twitter "rock star" these days. There are guys with thousands of followers who might fit the bill. Perhaps, if you have five thousand or more followers that might qualify you as a Mick Jagger of the social media set.

Yet, there are some folks who are worth following. Here's three guys that every person should follow via Twitter or add to their reading list:

Chuck Hester: (Twitter handle: @chuckhester). Chuck is currently working on a book about LinkedIn that espouses that people "pay it forward" with others within their network. His blog gives social media novices like me the insight to master the changes in communications strategy.

Thom Singer: (Twitter handle: @thomsinger) Author of "Some Assembly Required," Thom's blog posts are truly insightful and worth the time to read.

David Meerman Scott: (Twitter handle: @dmscott) Author of the soon to be published "World Wide Rave," I am amazed that David has the time to respond to the three or four emails I have sent him in the past six months.

I am sure that there are others who are worth a follow.   If you know of such a person, please let me know. I want to discover them before they become the next social media "rock stars."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wondering how quickly our government will move to more open communications tools and strategies in today's changing world

One of my favorite cartoons, Zits, has a strip where a 15-year-old girl is texting the Social Security Administration to provide her with "a cuter social security number." When confronted by the strip's leading character that she can't do it, she replies that she's a "Fifteen year-old with entitlement!"


It's ironic that Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, the writer/artist, for this strip have captured a change in young people's attitudes towards communicating with the government. As President Obama has noted in many published reports that government, through the newly changed Freedom of Information Act as "perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent."

However, our government needs to make some significant changes in how it communicates with people. While President Obama has the "First Blackberry," there are some significant changes needed within communications infrastructure especially for government public affairs professionals.

For example, an Air Force public affairs office can't monitor Twitter or blogs because of their communications team's worries that viruses and other issues could disrupt a base's email system. However, there are ways to get around it, as well.

I posted a previous blog a week after the election about the need for public affairs people to embrace social media tools. After posting it for discussion on the Military Public Affairs group, I got a great answer from Paul Swiergosz, who works in public affairs at Fort Drum.

He wrote:

It will be a cold day in hell when the Army lifts their blanket restrictions for all PAOs. Armed with the argument that I had to monitor the social media to get a full feel for what was being reported/discussed as well as the OCPA memo authorizing me full access, I was rebuffed at every turn...

No problem - we spent $3000 a month to get a contract satellite Internet provider while deployed and we got access. Problem solved. Also got my forward thinking commander to resource a web site operated off a .com server ( ) so we could blog, chat and get around all the slow-poke restrictions of using the .mil system.

In time, others, not as enlightened as Paul Swiergosz, will embrace the use of social media tools within their government communications strategy. The problem is that people like the fictional 15-year-old in Zits are characterizations of our youth who expect government to move quickly.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guarding my email address has become a fulltime job

There are two things that tick me off: telemarketing phone calls and email from businesses that think I want to do business with them. I recently put out a news release via one of the major news distribution. The release got me two to three emails from qualified journalists, but the price of reaching them meant that my email address box was filled with scat from vendors selling everything that had a security or technology connection.

One wrote me that his product had been featured in national security publications, but I found that his firm had engaged the services of one of the wire distribution services. Naturally, major web sites like Yahoo picked the story up, and this guy was telling me that these major news organizations had endorsed their product. Truthfully, search engine news sites like Yahoo pick up every story from folks like Business Wire or Profnet.

I wrote this person back to tell him that I wasn't interested and that he could do a better job of reaching qualified customers. I got a terse answer saying that he would drop my name off his distribution list. However, this same yahoo also contacted me after another client engaged me to use my favorite news service.

I am writing this post as a grassroots campaign to declare an unofficial war on these email marketing bozos. If more of us would take a few minutes to either write an email message back to these firms instead of reporting it as spam, perhaps it would make my inbox not as filled with their crap.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Please Mr. President elect, don't give up your Blackberry!!

Should Barack Obama be forced to give up his Blackberry device? After listening to the experts speak on this topic on XM Radio's POTUS, I hope our 44th president doesn't pack it up after his inaguration tomorrow.  While I agree with the legal experts that everything that Mr. Obama textes on his phone is a matter of public record, I think that it's important that our president show to his electorate that he's reachable.  Granted, I doubt that he'll never send me his number or his email, but the symbology of it gives me confidence that Mr. Obama is listening to all of us.   Perhaps in time, Garry Trudeau will pick Obama's phone device as his comical icon like the waffle for Bill Clinton and the Roman helmet for George W. Bush.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What the SEC could learn from the NTSB

While most people don't see it at first, there's an interesting correlation between the Securities Exchange Commission and the National Transportation Safety Board with the way the two government organizations handle investigations after incidents.  

As a retired Air Force public affairs communications manage who has a lot of background in inspections and conducting training, here's what our new executive leadership could learn from the management style of both.

To me, it's amazing how everyone associated with Thursday's U.S. Airways accident have worked together to find the cause behind it.  To wit, I find the comments of Stephen Bradford, the president of the pilots association interesting when asked why his organization canceled a Monday morning interview by U.S. Airways Captain Chesley B. "Sully"  Sullenberger.

"If the NTSB perceives that we are in any way compromising the objectivity of the investigation by innocuously releasing information to the media, our status will be rescinded and we will be unable to help determine the causal factors leading up to this very positive and well-documented outcome," he said in an Associated Press interview.

Which brings the question:  What has the SEC done to investigate the financial crisis caused by the major brokers on Wall Street? And is there the level of cooperation between the financial markets and their government oversight groups?

Our air transportation is well regulated, and it has the consensus of everyone associated in the industry that protecting the safety of passengers comes first.  The NTSB isn't perfect, but its performance in the first phase of the U.S. Air investigation shows why most of us are confident that it's safe to fly in the first place.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Helping my sister embrace the use of social media tools

My sister who I lovingly call the "Camster" retired about a year ago from the FDIC  as a compliance examiner.  Now, she's helping banks in western Texas, New Mexico and Colorado with pre-audit consulting services.   I just helped her write a marketing letter to send to prospective customers, but now she wants a newsletter.

The problem with newsletters, to me, is that they get lost in the mail, so I am going to change her focus to blogging and social media.  As many of us in the blogosphere already have realized, a good blog can get loyal readers and followers.

So, my recommendation for my sister is:
1)  Set up a Linkedin  profile that tells people what you do for a living.   I'll share the profiles of clients like Brian Massey and Andy Meadows as solid examples of people who clearly communicate their expertise in their chosen fields.
2)  Get a Twitter  account and start following  people who comment on FDIC and bank regulations.
3)  Search the blogosphere to find those who are already blogging on the topic.
4)  Create a blog that connects other social media correspondents on this topic with her.
5)  Use Budurl .com as a way to track her responses.  It's one of the unique social media tools that will amaze her.

(Full disclosure:  I provide public relations to the management team for Budurl, but even so, it's one of the coolest tools for 2009.)

Cleaning off our shoes after stepping into dog scat

With two dogs, I know what it's like to step in a little dog scat. However, this recent blog post by Andy Sack is something that every business executive should read. As my friend, Thom Singer noted, there are a lot of people who are still concerned about the spread of fectal matter on their "shoes" or the metephoric balance sheet. Like Andy and Thom, I believe it's time to clean it off and move forward. Of course, some people like to ruminate about why they stepped in the stuff for the first place.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Greater chamber to sponsor Innotech Beta Summit

Through the San Antonio Innotech Beta Summit,   South Texas technology developers now have an opportunity to showcase their product.  With the help of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce's Technology Council, judges will narrow down a list of six finalists for the Beta Summit, set as part of the March 5 trade show.

Sean Lowery, the president of Prospera Events, the firm managing this event, said anyone who has a new or emerging technology should download the form available at this link and email it to Marcel Johnson at the Greater Chamber.   His email address is mjohnson (at) sachamber (dot)org or call him directly at 210-229-2148.


Spamming the globe with an unusual email

So, I am reading my email messages when I get this email from someone who met me at the Austin Innotech trade show.   To paraphrase my my favorite radio announcer, Casey Kasem, it read:

Allow me to the be the first person to welcome you to our family. I say that, because it's truly the way we feel. From your very first interaction with us, we want you to feel how valued and important you are. From the moment you choose our company to provide for your needs, you become like one of the family.

Now, here's the reason for blogging about it.  I am not his customer, and while I have clients who I come to become their "family," it took me a long time before both of us thought of us as "familia."

So, after writing a short, terse "what the heck" message to this person, I got an apology that said his Microsoft Outlook program had accidentally taken my email and wrote this email.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Adios Google. We're sorry to see you go.....

Is the news  that Google  has abandoned its Austin office today the end of the world for Texas' technology movement?  I wonder that after a day in Austin where I noted the following:

1)  One client was adding more marketing people and other staff;
2)  Another client was awaiting word on a major enterprise client to purchase a new version of its software;
3)  While another client got word that a major Texas community was considering its security software to protect its parks.

I know that there are certain economic conditions that are making things for some of us grim.  However, it's time for everyone in the Austanonio region to focus on the positive aspects of the business prospects ahead of us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finding a little "jelly" in San Antonio

Until today, I had never heard of a "jelly," but today I went to one at La Taza today.  While I think of jelly as the key ingredient to a good PBJ sandwich, it's an informal collection of folks who get together to work on their comuters, chat and work together.

There, I met Jennifer Navarette , the president of the San Antonio media club.  It was a great chance to share some thoughts and some concepts.  The "jelly" meets every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday.   It's a good chance to meet others who embrace the use of social media tools in San Antonio.

Helping a client to evangelize his message in the local media

Skip Reynolds, the president of H.L. Reynolds, was featured with a guest editorial in today's Express New s. As his publicist, I helped pitch and draft his editorial dealing with our fears about the economic woes. I kind of like the ending message to today's article:

In these unique economic times, those who proactively find ways to improve their management and communications skill sets will help their clients, their company and themselves to prosper. More importantly, those who pursue and update these skill sets in the months ahead will make themselves more indispensable to their bosses and clients than those who prefer to hide like a turtle in their “tried and true” ways of doing things. Just as times change, we, too, must stretch out of our comfort zone and make ourselves change and adapt to a new economy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Paying it forward with LinkedIn

One of the beautiful things about blogging, Twitter and LinkedIn, is the ability to watch books develop. David Meerman Scott, the uberblogger and author, is one person who capitalizes on social media channels to promote and develop his books. And so does my friend, Thom Singer, out of Austin.

Now, I just stumbled across Chuck Hester who is writing a book about "paying it forward" power networking on LinkedIn. Hester's blog calls for everyone to use their LinkedIn connection to help others advance. As Hester noted in his blog, if you have 10 minutes to help someone, "the blessing will come back to you!"

As someone who wants to build a network, I believe Hester has a point. A lot of us build connections, but do we ever do anything to help others with questions or issues. Most of us have "A what's in it for me?" attitude when it comes to using these Linkedin forums.

Hester's blog showed me that I needed to change my attitude about helping others. Here's hoping that this simple post will make others look at ways to use the power of LinkedIn to help others.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vikings have nuthin' on credit cards when it comes to pillaging small businesses

When you see those famous Viking commercials promoting the "What's in your wallet.....," they should add a shot of merchants like me getting pillaged. When I signed on to the service, my rep, a friend from church, didn't explain the difference between the types of cards. From a recent conversation with my service reps on the extra money charged in my monthly statement, it seems that if a client uses one of those cards that provides airline miles or other benefits that I, the service provider/merchant provider, pay an extra fee for those cards.
So, why does VISA and Mastercard make the merchants pay? It's pretty simple. They have everyone by the short hairs, and their sales reps don't explain the difference between the type of credit cards. Truthfully, the credit cards execs know that I wouldn't ask a client for his type of credit card.

So, here's a short primer on credit card terms. There are some cards that take the standard rate, but when you get into Class 2 or 3 credit cards, you get to pay for your client's vacation in Tahiti.   If you are smart, you'll ask your bank rep about them the next time your contract comes up for renewal.    And, as I have found out, you can also negotiate the cost down on these fees.
However, Visa and Mastercard have nothing on American Express. I got a bill for nearly $6 for processing services even if I didn't use their card. I am in the process of eliminating the Amex cards from my services.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How public affairs professionals can deal with attorneys

In the world of public relations, the local staff counsel or outside attorney is either a great colleague or an adversary. In the Air Force, the staff judge advocate was typically helpful, but there were times when public affairs professionals like me had to remind them that they should serve as a roadblock in the communications process.
Author/social media consultant David Meerman Scott pointed out in his blog today how attorneys are requiring the following legal message on the bottom of each press release:
NOTICE: This electronic mail transmission contains confidential information intended only for the person(s) named. Any use, distribution, copying or disclosure by any other person is strictly prohibited. If you received this transmission in error, please notify the sender by reply e-mail and then destroy the message. Opinions, conclusions, and other information in this message that do not relate to the official business of AGENCY X shall be understood to be neither given nor endorsed by AGENCY X. Before opening any attachments please check them for viruses and defects. When addressed to AGENCY X clients, any information contained in this e-mail is subject to the terms and conditions in the governing client contract.
Sadly, I think some attorneys actually believe that media types actually read and heed this message. More importantly, in times of crisis communication, the public relations professional gets sidetracked by the attorney.
Retired Brigadier General Harry J. Dalton once commented that PR professionals had to take the lead in this situations. I still remember the former director of Air Force public affairs and his speech on the court of law versus the court of public opinion.
"Too often public relations professionals allow their legal partners delay or make significant changes in the release. PR professionals have to remind their bosses that the court of public opinion is already in session when something bad happens, while the court of law could take years to reach a settlement."

The solution as Scott noted is that communications professionals need to work with their attorneys on plans involving how to communicate in times of crisis. Great legal minds can help the public relations professional understand the need to communicate in a certain way, but these attorneys also have to understand that their public relations counterpart understands how their message will mitigate damage and public opinion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ABD published article on difference between San Antonio and Texas

One of my local competitors likes to use his blog to promote his work.   So, think of this posting as my way of letting my friends and colleagues know about my recent article on the difference between San Antonio and Austin in the current issue of the Austin Business District Magazine.  

Monday, January 5, 2009

How blogging helps those in need cope with their child's sickness or ailments

When faced with a tragedy, most men want to withdraw within themselves.   For me, the illness and subsequent death of my oldest son, Andrew,  nearly 20 years caused  me to pull within myself.   In Hessisch Oldendorf AS, Germany, it was hard to tell people what I was feeling after hearing the news that my son had Trisome 18 and a short life span ahead of him.
Are hospital grief counselors discovering the merits of therapeutic blogging?  In an article in the San Antonio Express News, writer Debra Skoddack chronicles the life of Granton Bayless, a 14-month old baby with severe combined immunodeficiency or "bubble boy" disease.  Through blogging, Bayless' parents can update the family on his accomplishments or setbacks.

"You know, a doctor tells you that there is not enough oxygen in your son's body, you get hit with a ton of bricks," Daniel Bayless, Granton's father, said in the article.  "You man up, you swallow it up and then you have to call your parents, your grandparents and tell them and they get hit with a ton of bricks.  You try to be strong for everyone." 

Like Daniel Bayless, I tried to remain stoic through the ordeal of dealing with my son's illness, waiting for a relocation to the U.S. so that American military doctors could help care for him and a job as a public relations professional.   It wasn't until I got my orders that I was able to write about it in a "au revoir" piece as the editor of  the base newspaper and share the pain and tragedy of his illness.

The power of the blogosphere is that not only does it help influence people's decisions about things, but it allows those in pain to share their thoughts with friends and loved ones.  In Granton's blog, there have been over 350,000 visitors to the web site.  It has given hope to other parents who have similar pediatric illnesses.  And, it allows those who are family to stay updated and continue their prayers for the parents and their ailing child.

January Austin Business District showcases a great story and my ability to write....

Most of my clients know that I have a pretty good reputation as a media relations professional, yet few are aware of my writing ability.  This cover article in the January issue of the Austin Business District showcases my ability to professionally write an article on someone.   In a typical year, I probably write 20 to 30 manuscripts like this, but I have to say this article about "Brother Matt" Genovese is one of my favorites in recent memory.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An open letter to Barack Obama

Dear President elect Barrack Obama,

My local newspaper had an editorial cartoon of you awaiting the new year with fear and trepidation.   

So, please Mr. President elect, please try to be upbeat and as charismatic as I believed you to be when I pulled the voting lever for you.

More importantly, try to motivate those who work for the government.  As a retired Air Force guy, I know many government types embrace the status quo and are afraid to shake things up.  With a nearly trillion investment in businesses, now is the time to figure out a way to motivate the government sector to truly change the way they do business.   

Here, sir, the ultimate motivation is not to send executive leadership  to conferences but truly create metrics to evaluate performance.  And, for those who truly perform above the requirements of their job, another "employee of the quarter" plaque is not the way to recognize them.  Instead, it's time to give those who do the job monetary bonuses that reflect the level of work performed.

In closing, Mr. President elect, please motivate those who work for you and help those of us in the private sector believe that things will change under your watch.

A matter of perspective -- my New Year's resolution for 2009

I am starting the new year with the perspective that I should be thankful for what I have and now what I don't have.  It's hard in today's modern market not to want something new or better.  Commercials, pop-up ads, display ads all remind us of things we need from dinner to a new shirt.

So, my resolution is to simply turn off the marketing channel and focus on the basics of helping others more.  For me, it's hard to not always heed the messages from all of these channels.   But, my biggest resolution is to focus on the simpler things in life.