It just occurred to me that I don't actually have a family or holiday category for my site. I guess that might say something... I'm not a big fan of the holidays, mostly because my family is a lot smaller than it used to be. We used to have at least 15 or so people stuffed into either my mom's house, my grandmother's, or my mom's now black sheep sister. Divorce and death have taken their toll, though, and now, admittedly, the holidays are a bit meloncholy for me. However, I did reengage myself a little bit this year with the camera, fully intending to blog the holidays in our family. I also learned that I'm a goofball and didn't figure out how to use the autofocus on my camera until after the photos were done. So, some of these didn't come out that great, but rest assured, the Christmas pics will be clear and crisp.
Nana and Puba... I try not to get her excited, because she'll pee on the floor... the dog, that is. Puba is actually much older than Nana. She's 98 in dog years, while Nana is a young 86. Nana is mom's mom. She's Sicilian. Both Nana and Puba have bounced down a flight of stairs in the last few years... Nana fell backwards down a flight of steps at my brother's old house in Chicago and wound up with a golf ball sized bump on her head. Puba fell down our basement steps the other day, apparently, and was completely unscathed. These old gals are unbreakable.
This is my dad checking out the neighbors behind us in the backyard. They're gutting their house, but instead of moving the furniture from room to room while they work, they just dumped it all in the backyard... totally uncovered. Its raining now, and there's a microwave out there for starters. Bizzare.
They got a new dining room set. I think it looks nice, but it turns out that small people don't fit in the chairs very well, because they're too big. My mom's cousin Denise couldn't reach the floor with her feet. So we only had eight people: Me, my parents, Nana, Mom's cousin Denise, Jackie (my great uncle's widow), her new boyfriend Jim the Pilot, and my brother Steve. Steve hates being photographed, but I did get him to take one with me at the end.
Mom making me a leftovers dish to take home. Dad doing the dishes. Puba foraging under the table for scraps. My strawberry tart.
And yes, Steve does exist. The funny thing is that Dad's cousin Danny once thought that we only had two brothers in our family... the guy knew us for 25 years and didn't know Steve even existed. That's why we used to call him The Phantom when I was younger... he was always off working or at the gym.
Best picture... My parent's wedding picture in a frame in the dining room:
They're married for 43 years now.
So my friend Brian just called me up. He works for Consulting Magazine and is helping to lead their web efforts. I've been trying to introduce him to this whole blogging phenomenon, and, short of reading my own, I'm not so sure he "got it" until today. He was doing some competitor analysis, which led him to ring me and ask, "Are you familiar with RSS?"
Brian went from being a good journalist to an even better salesperson. He knows his field very well, and he certainly helped me a ton by editing my Stanford essays. But, he's never been a cutting edge tech guy, and its very meaningful to me as a milestone that RSS has found its way into his vocabulary.
Bagel breakfast is on Brian tomorrow, since he'll be picking my brain about what this is all about. At the moment, I'm at DTUT writing the outline for the blog career book. This is all gaining traction very quickly.
This is really interesting, because if you combine the data from speeding tickets and accidents, the result is that politicians are the best drivers. They are one of the least likely professions to get in an accident, but one of the most likely to get a speeding ticket. Therefore, they're driving really fast, but avoiding crashes.
Jerry Colonna, who I had the good fortune to meet in person the other day, has a really great response to a frustrated entrepreneur in Texas, but there's one point I want to comment on...
"you MUST get connected. You know that business relies on people connecting with other people and that few great ideas are truly great enough to break through and emerge as successful companies without the founder/entrepreneur/CEO going out and pressing the flesh. So you don't have an MBA. So what? Go out and find a network you can join. If there's none in your area, start a chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) or Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO). Go to you nearest university and meet with the professors there."
It is important to be connected, but a lot of people's efforts to get connected are misguided or too forced. That's why, although I'm a huge proponent of networking, I'm always very cynical about the networking nights that Fordham tries to do with its Young Alumni. I tried to focus those efforts on a three month mentoring program, where you could build a relationship over time. To me, networks are what develops naturally out of being a productively functioning and active member of a number of circles. I never tried to develop a network, but I was always active in pursuing my interests and so my network grew out of that. If you're growing a network and you don't have one currently, I'd wonder what's going on that is leaving you out of what should naturally be your network given your course of business.
For example, I have an idea for an online information service related to college recruiting. That idea comes out of the student mentoring I've done, which connects me to many people in and around the career education world, and some recruiters as well. It was my participation in this network, because it was an interest of mine, that grew the idea. By talking to all these people, I found a need and came up with an idea to fill it. If you ideas are grown in a bubble, away from customers, peers, other entrepreneurs, its probably not a well tested or appropriate product for the market. If I wanted to shop this idea around a network, I have one already because it is a relevent network that helped grow the idea in the first place. If you join a network with the intention to see what you get out of it, people will see right through you.
Its a lot like dating. When you go out to a bar with the intention of hooking up, you're unlikely to build a long term relationship out of that. People are a bit guarded, because they know you're "on the prowl" and they're trying to play defense. Its a market that paralyzes its sellers because they're all afraid of getting duped. Its all too forced.
However, if you just pursue your interests on a regular basis, taking part in activities you enjoy, you will find yourself meeting people with shared interest and you've got a much higher chance of success. I met lots of great people at the Boathouse in a much more natural and informal way. I always wonder about people whose only outlet for finding new people is at a bar.
A lot of times, I find both people who understand this point and people who don't at professional gatherings. When I'm at ILPA, I talk to the people I like and the ones I find interesting, rather than anyone I feel like it might be fruitful for me to cozy up to. I think these personal connections are much stickier than those made by new entrants trying to "work the crowd."
So, not to say that Jerry's suggestions won't bear fruit, they're good suggestions. I just want to point out that networking--the building of really effective long term relationships--happens over time and it happens not because you go out and look for it. It is the coming together of like minded individuals taking part in activities for their own sake, not necessarily to get connected to other people. Just be careful not to cross that line between trying to connect and enjoy time with like minded individuals and trying to get something out of them.
They're building a 24 story hi-rise right down the street from me on 83rd and York. They leveled 4 or 5 walkups that were abandoned when I first moved in 2001 and now they're finally starting construction. I think these big cranes are wild. These are the ones that climb alongside the building as it goes up. It just looks so out of place at the end of this block before the building is visable. Check out the big hole in the ground for the foundation, though.