Category Archives: Life (and other baffling things)

Cybersecurity, content filtering, and Dad’s embarrassing moment

President Obama issued his much-anticipated cybersecurity executive order this month to slightly mixed reviews. It’s a hot topic, given the undeniable need to protect US critical infrastructure like electric grids, financial institutions, water supply systems, and air traffic control from cyber attacks. The executive order provides for the sharing of cyber threat information with companies that run those critical infrastructure networks.

Burger King Twitter Account  Hacked

Screen shot of hacked Burger King Twitter account

Cyber threats made the news last week on a less threatening level, comparatively, when Burger King’s and Jeep’s Twitter accounts were hacked. Hackers falsely proclaimed these companies had been sold to competitors and proceeded to tweet all sorts of unsavory comments. National security wasn’t at risk, but online reputation management was definitely top of mind in the marketing world.

In fact, those incidents provided enormous PR opportunities for the victims with an avalanche of free publicity and new social media followers. It’s theirs to capitalize on or miss, depending on how they play their response.

These stories from Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street remind us that each of us on Main Street need to be vigilant with our personal infrastructure as well.

And that reminds me of one of my most embarrassing moments as a Dad. Continue reading

Of Paul McCartney’s imagination, Marvel characters, and a shocking discovery

“Then it occurred to me you couldn’t be bad. Magneto was mad, Titanium too. And the Crimson Dynamo just couldn’t cut it no more….”

For over three decades I assumed Magneto, Titanium Man, and the Crimson Dynamo were figments of Paul McCartney’s imagination. After all, this was the same mind that gave us Rocky Raccoon, Eleanor Rigby, Billy Shears, Helen Wheels, and others.

Magneto and friends were featured in Venus and Mars, Paul’s 1975 follow-up to the astronomically successful Band on the Run album. (I actually have an original vinyl copy in my collection.) Being a deep cuts kind of guy, “Magneto and Titanium Man” has always been one of my favorite tracks. It really never occurred to me that these guys were anything other than a few more whimsical characters from the most prolific songwriter of the 20th century.

Fast forward a few decades Continue reading

How to survive unemployment with your sanity intact

There was a point in my career that I enjoyed a 5-month vacation between gigs. Well, “enjoyed” might be a stretch. OK, “vacation” isn’t the best description either.

You know the story. “There was a change in executive leadership in my company followed by a reorganization that resulted in several positions being eliminated in my department, mine included.” Thus I found myself looking for my next opportunity.

If this is you right now, you need to understand that it won’t last forever. After all, people get hired for new jobs every day. It may not seem that way while you’re in the middle of it, but trust me – if I can land in a good place (and I did), then so can you. Here are some of the things I learned along the way.

What do I do now? Continue reading

The letter I wish I’d sent a year ago

letter imageThis isn’t laced with deep regret about it being too late to say what I wanted to say. Our oldest child went off to college a year ago this weekend and I started writing this letter to her that next week. But I didn’t finish it until she was nearly done with her first semester and at that point it seemed a little late. This weekend as we prepare to move her back for sophomore year I decided it’s never too late. So this is the letter I wrote and wish I’d sent a year ago: Continue reading

Some of these people will not die of old age

As my high school graduation approached, I looked around at my classmates during a school assembly. I then turned to my best friend and observed, “You know, some of these people will not die of old age.”

It wasn’t some mystic revelation or prophecy. I wasn’t privy to secret information, just an understanding that things happen. Even to young people. Even people I knew.

It didn’t take long for the “prophecy” to be fulfilled. Continue reading

My wife is my hero

My wife is my hero. I always knew she would be a good mom but I had no idea just how great she’d be until I watched her for twenty years.

During our engagement she made it clear she would not work outside the home if we ever were blessed with children.  I really didn’t think that was realistic in an era where it seemed pretty necessary to have two incomes just to pay the bills. How would we afford the added costs of parenthood on my modest salary alone?  I knew she’d see the error of her thinking in good time.

A few years later when we were expecting our first child she reiterated.

“Now, remember what I said – I won’t be working when it gets close to time for the baby to come.”

“But you’re earning more than I am right now. There’s no way we can afford having our income drop by more than half now!”

I’m serious. We’ll just have to find a way.”

Adamant, she was. Quit her job, she did.  Continue reading

My name is Chip and I’m a Cheesehead

Lombardi StatueI wasn’t always a Cheesehead.  Make no mistake – I do love me some Packers and I’ve stayed faithful through good times and bad.

As I write, we’re mere hours away from the 2011 NFC Championship between the Green Bay Packers and their mortal enemy, the Chicago Bears.  We’ll be screaming at the TV in our Packers sweatshirts and hats while gobbling all sorts of cheese-based appetizers, and it will be good.

Until the mid 1990s, though, I was (head bowed in embarrassment) a Dallas Cowboys fan.  Thankfully, two things happened that brought me to repentance. Continue reading

That’s Enough!

I could hear the cries of my next door neighbor coming from her open kitchen window as I rounded the corner into my side yard.

“That’s enough!  That’s enough…..waaahhh!   Please!  THAT’S ENOUGH!!

Terry and I were about the same age – preschoolers at the time.  We’d known each other since our toddler days and we were constant playmates.

I’d heard those cries before so I knew what was happening.  Continue reading

Another Bite of Elephant, Please

 

 

 

 

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One bite at a time.

Earl Nightingale defined success as “the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” That’s to say, success isn’t a destination, it’s a voyage.  You don’t just attain success at the pinnacle of your career, the completion of a project, or even when you turn out the lights at bedtime.  Truth is, you actually achieve success every time you take another step toward your worthy ideal.  Be it your spiritual journey, your career path, or your personal relationships – as long as it’s worthy and you’re moving toward it – you ARE a success.

Think of your worthy ideal as an elephant.  If you just step back and look at the elephant in all of its gigant-normous splendor you might be tempted to run screaming in the other direction.  But now look at just one part of the elephant about the size of, say, a single serving of your favorite pasta.  You could eat that, right?

That’s why effective project managers break their projects down into bite-sized pieces that are easier to track – and accomplish.  They know to “chunk” the work into manageable tasks, prioritize them, and then get started on the first thing now!

My theme for this stream of consciousness is “Chip Away: to reduce or make progress on something incrementally.” Each time you take another bite of your elephant you’re chipping away at your goal.  Don’t worry about the whole elephant all at once.  Focus on the single serving in front of you now.  Once you’re done with that serving, then you can look at the next one.

Every day, I’m just chipping away at my goals.  Are you?