Monthly Archives: April 2009

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-30-09

AGREE: Anyone who expects politicians to operate with secrecy rather than transparency is suggesting something ridiculous, @nishachittal

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-29-09

AGREE: Cultural references are one of the strongest things you can bring to the table

DISAGREE: If you want people to know you, no matter what you write about or what your career is, you should be blogging at yourname.com, @monicaobrien

All of the blogs Monica mentions that are both popular and based off a name.com domain instead of a brand.com domain are from men (see comment). I think, because women change their names through marriage and divorce. While I have rebeccathorman.com forwarding to modite.com, I wouldn’t build my brand around it because I except my name to change when I get married .

Monica is already married so this is probably less of an issue for her, but I think you’ll notice that a lot of women-based blogs aren’t based on a name.com domain, and I’m guessing this is part of the reason. 

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-28-09

AGREE: Your current five year plan is obsolete the minute you walk into work today, @scotherrick

AGREE: It has never been easier for consumers to get the content they want without really paying attention to the corporate messages they don’t, @gregverdino

3 ways to turn weaknesses into strengths

“Um… I can’t think of the word.”

I am not the most articulate person in person. It’s something that I’ve had to work on. A lot.

Mostly, it has a lot to do with my personality type. What’s going through my head sounds quite coherent to me, but I tend to say things first and think second. That makes me stumble in the middle of sentences and prefer to put words to paper instead of lips.

I didn’t really know this was a problem until my last job. A position that was all about public speaking. Speaking. Out loud. All the time. But I did well and survived. Here’s how you too can turn your weaknesses into strengths:

1. Do it small and awkward first.
I practiced my first big speech in front of Ryan. Doing speeches is actually much more difficult in front of people you know. Ryan and I weren’t dating at the time and never really hung out, but I thought he was cute and I wore a cute dress in preparation.

And it was so ridiculously embarrassing.

I don’t know what possessed me to think I could speak publicly in front of the guy that I had liked since the moment we had met, but it was awful. I was sweating. I was hot. And then cold. And I couldn’t even look at him. I looked behind him. At the corner.

Lucky for me, it worked. It totally worked and I aced the speech a few days later.

Make yourself uncomfortable before you have to perform for real. Most bloggers I know had a blog before their current blog. Companies test imperfect products with small groups before a launch. Runners do three miles before ten. You’re not the exception. No magic fairy dust for you. Only awkward, pride-swallowing affairs that give you mad confidence and oh-so-valuable experience.

2. Appreciate that weaknesses are your best asset.
The second time Ryan and I ever met and hung out, we got into a huge argument outside of the bar. And then he walked me home and asked why I was so cute when I was so angry. (And no, I didn’t let him come up.)

It’s totally annoying to fight with someone you like, but when you realize that you fight because you care things get better. You see, weaknesses are inextricably linked to strengths. They are the manifestation of fear from the things you want the most. And we avoid things that are scary to us. Like success. And love. And hard work.

But really, it’s not scary to take the first step towards being promoted to bank manager, or writing a book, or learning to swim as an adult, because then you just take another step, and then another.

3. Stop buying into natural talent.
Ryan is constantly telling me, “Relationships take work.”

I huff and I puff and then I agree. Because really, what do I know. I didn’t grow up with an example of a good relationship. Ryan did. My father died when I was in second grade. His parents are still together. My examples were happy endings. His were real people, not characters in a movie.

Nobody is excelling without practice. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests it actually takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any area.

“The people at the very top don’t just work much harder than everyone else,” he reports. “They work much, much harder.”

And according to the 10,000 hour rule, I still have two or three years of serious relationship practice left before I get my happy ending. But even then, happy endings take constant vigilance because happiness is such an attention hog. Nobody ever tells you that, right? Like, usually when you reach your goals/success/nirvana the work is supposed to be over.

But since Tiger Woods isn’t taking a day off, neither can you (except maybe when it’s 83 degrees outside after a Winter in Wisconsin). The real meditation is in the constancy of habit.

Strong Side.

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-27-09

Catching up from last week…

AGREE: Today EVERYONE is an influencer, @missrogue

AGREE: When it comes to your success, you should be seeking out the smartest, most well connected people you can find, @angela_gmb

AGREE: I love when people talk about “grouping” in Tweetdeck. What they are really saying is let me follow everyone under the sun but ignore everyone except a small group that I interact with daily. Not an authentic way to use Twitter, @richrecruiter (see comments)

STILL DECIDING: The Millennials, as a generation, will NOT be deep thinkers, @dsohigian

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-15-09

AGREE: I see a sale to a company that didn’t understand how they could best use the product and the acknowledgment on the part of the founders that their baby was dying, @beermann

AGREE: Ask yourself this: If I’m not good enough now, when will I ever be?, @TransitionalTee

AGREE: If I read your blog, follow you on Twitter, am friends with you on Facebook, etc., after a while, I feel like I kind of just know you and it’s possible that I forget that, uh, you don’t know me AT ALL, @jer979

AGREE: The people who are shitting themselves in the comments and unsubscribing must be perfect themselves, as they only seem to want to read posts or advice from a perfect person, @philantrhopissd

STILL DECIDING: How can updating my Facebook status be more socially-responsible than sitting down to read the New York Times? But it WILL be this and more, @daveatkins

Will Gen Y ruin local community?

The recession has changed everything for Gen Y. While we continue to embrace idealism, meaningful change is much harder.

And while young people have the best intentions to be part of the communities we live in, we’re being challenged by a number of conflicting events that contribute to a lack of involvement in local community.

For starters, disillusionment towards faith and religion has forced the institution to turn its reign over to Facebook as chief community builder. And despite the fact that our social circles are shrinking and loneliness is increasing, we choose where we live, in part, by how easy it is for us to maintain our quasi-anonymity.

Our friends “move in the same circles we do and are exposed to the same information. To get new information we have to activate our weak ties,” Albert-Laszlo Barabasi explains in his book Linked (via Valeria Maltoni).

So all of our Facebook and Twitter friends (those weak ties) are actually “critical to the creative environment of a city” sociologist Richard Florida reports, “because they allow for rapid entry of new people and rapid absorption of new ideas.”

Life and community, my friends, just isn’t the same. And nowhere is this so obvious, in-your-face and damning than the current alarm of the real estate market.

Before the economy collapsed, young people were being locked out of the housing market by astronomical housing prices and by our predecessors, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, who grew even richer.

Now that the housing market has collapsed, it means more young people are content with not owning a home. But as the prevailing American sentiment goes, if you don’t own something, you don’t have a stake in the future of our country. Young people don’t buy that. Literally.

Ownership is an antiquated belief belonging to another generation. Gen Y abandons ownership. Instead, today’s young people subscribe to a culture of services and leasing.

We subscribe to services that allow our lives to be easier – Peapod, Mint, Netflix, Pandora, Alice, and ZipCar to name a few. More and more individuals do this in order to pay less, acquire more, and change whenever the desire hits.

“Owning a car used to be the key to freedom,” one millennial marketer argues. “But now younger generations are seeing car ownership as a liability that ties them down.”

And being tied down is the last thing the transient Gen Yer wants. “Owning a home also ties workers down,” NY Times columnist Paul Krugman reports. “Even in the best of times, the costs and hassle of selling one home and buying another — one estimate put the average cost of a house move at more than $60,000 — tend to make workers reluctant to go where the jobs are.”

That’s cool with Gen Y because we plan to move in a month or two for that tech job, relish inner-city downtown life, or can’t see the sense in purchasing a home when we’re going overseas in June to work at a NGO anyway.

“Houses simply do not fit in very well with the demands for flexibility, mobility and continuous innovation in the creative economy,” Florida reports. “They cost a lot and suck up a ton of capital.  They are energy sinks and most people and families don’t use or need all that space.  They’re environmental disasters.  There is a growing body of economics research which suggests home ownership is associated with lower rates of productivity, lower incomes, and higher rates of unemployment.”

Gen Y will certainly grow up at some point, make commitments, have a family and settle down – indeed, research shows that is our every intention. But we are doing so at a later age, and by then, it may be too late and the world too different for local community to thrive.

Changing quarters.

What do you think? Will the housing crisis and Gen Y’s attitude towards ownership change community forever? And if you don’t own a home and aren’t connected to any particular institution, will you have any reason to contribute to the local community? Does it matter?

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-13-09

AGREE: To get new information we have to activate our weak ties. The weak ties … obtain their information from different sources than our immediate friends, @ConversationAge

DISAGREE: Why would you build the framework of a social network into your site when many free (and already populated) options exist? (see comments), @StuartCFoster via @ConversationAge

AGREE: New career directions are tethered less to the dream of an immediate six-figure paycheck on Wall Street, @nytimes

Agree & Disagree Links for 04-10-09

Lots of good links to catch up on for the weekend.

AGREE: Just because everyone knows how to play baseball doesn’t mean you draft them to the major leauges, @garyvee

AGREE: Writing to your government is sexy, @mckinneyos 

DISAGREE: TV is probably one of the most powerful ways of getting that message out there, Chief Marketer

DISAGREE: There is only one way that we measure our own personal brands: through how we stack up to competitors, @monicaobrien

AGREE: I wonder if I don’t subconsciously sabotage myself, @20orsomething

AGREE: Domino’s slip up was just an unintended marketing expense, Chief Marketer

AGREE: It’s scary. And, it’s pathetic. Sometimes, NPOs act like doing business is a dirty word, @writerbabe

Share your posts and links with me.    

Building Character…

A weekly round-up of my other two blogs, modite / character blog (design, art and culture) and the Alice blog (quirky and practical advice for your life and home)…

If green is so good, why is it so confusing?

It’s swimsuit season.

Cold versus hot.

How to frame your artwork.

Backpacks are ugly. Except for this one.

I have a light a lot like this.

And I used to have dreams a lot like this.

This is how I feel.

Duty calls.

And I get by with a little help from my friends.

Find much more on Alice and modite /character. Thank you!

Commenting Policy

For most bloggers, a comment is like gold. Except when it’s a big steaming nugget of crap.

Here’s what’s not allowed:

1. Personal Attacks on Me or Other Commenters. For example:

Your article is sickening and feminist bastards like you should be shunned whenever possible.

You seem to be speaking out of your ass.

You’re such a fucking stupid bitch. I hope you catch pneumonia and die.

Nice, eh? Don’t post anything obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, illegal, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, humiliating, defamatory, libelous, invasive of someone else’s privacy, or objectionable. Be respectful of other people’s opinions and we can all get along.

2. Off-Topic Comments or Spam.
Keep your comment related to the subject matter of the post. If you want to talk about something else, email me.

I reserve the right to amend this policy at any time and it is in my sole discretion what content is offensive and whether I remove it. Why? It’s my blog. I know, life is unfair.

I get by with a little help from my friends

And by friends, I mean books. Okay, people too. My friend Grace Boyle featured my books in her fabulous inspiration series.