October 19, 2017

Never Ever More Vulnerable

So we have never been more technology advanced. And at the same time, we have never been more vulnerable

As we all know, our cybersecurity have not kept near pace with our ever growing reliance on everything technology.

There is virtually nothing we do now-a-days that does not involve networks, chips, and bits and bytes. 

Energy
Transportation
Agriculture
Banking
Commerce
Health
Defense
Manufacturing
Telecommunications

If ANYTHING serious happens to cripple our technology base, we are toast!

From a crippling cyberattack that disables or hijacks our systems, steals or locks down our data, or creates massive chaotic misinformation flow to a EMP blast that simply fries all our electronic circuitry--we are at the mercy of our technology underpinnings. 

Don't think it cannot happen!

Whether it's Wannacry ransonware or the Equifax breach of our privacy data or the Kaspersky Labs hidden backdoor to our top secret files or North Korea threatening to hit us with an EMP--these are just a few of the recent cyber events of 2017!

Technology is both a blessing and a curse--we have more capability, more speed, more convenience, more cost-effectiveness than ever before, but also there is greater vulnerability to complete and utter death and destruction!

This is not just a risk that life could become more difficult or inconvenient--it is literally an existential threat, but who wants to think of it that way?

People, property, and our very society is at risk when our cybersecurity is not what it must be.

It's a race of defensive against offensive capability. 

And we can't just play defense, we had better actually win at this! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2017

Character Building Day

So I really like this...

A friend told me that when they have a really tough day, they call it:
"A Character Building Day!"

I thought that was pretty astute. 

When people are up against the wall...

And they feel like they practically have their hands and legs tied...

And the world is spinning around them out of control...

And others are throwing tomatoes, darts, arrows, and all types of other sh*t their way...

- We can either just close our eyes, feel powerless, get upset and depressed, and basically give up

OR

- We can see the tough times as challenges--however great--to build our character.

Every situation is a learning and growth opportunity. 

Don't give in--Get up and fight.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

Yes, many days are character building days--it doesn't always feel good--often it feels horrible--but we can approach it with the right attitude and help shape our character and soul for the better.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 17, 2017

It's Gazillions Baby!

So being a millionaire is no longer anything.

You're still considered sort of a poor schlub!

Even a billionaire is not such a big deal anymore. 

It takes at least $2 billion to make it unto the Forbes 400 Richest Americans List

Further, a recent episode of CNBC Filthy Rich Guide asks who will become the world's first trillionaire!

They say trillionaire as in a number with "4 commas"--never really thought of it that way.

...but it's definitely a big,(1) big,(2) big,(3) big,(4) big number.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon with $90 billion currently in the bank and growing fast is forecasted to be the one who will make it. 

So no longer are we betting on which mega corporation--Apple (with a current value of almost $830 billion)--will become the first trillion dollar company.

We are talking individuals with that much moolah too. 

So with the median net worth of Americans a measly $69 thousand dollars, it's no wonder that billionaires like Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank) calls more than one entreprenuer looking for an investment, a cockroach!

What's a shame is not only the complete social inequity and class system that we have and that continues to grow with those in McMansions and others homeless, but also that so many can't see that what's really important is not the beautiful pocketbook full of money, but the decent soul filled with good deeds! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 16, 2017

The Horrible C Word

Cancer is such an awful killer disease.

After heart disease, it is the #2 cause of death in the United States taking almost 592,000 lives a year or 22.5% of all deaths!

Usually, we don't even like to say the word and even tempt fate.

Instead we just refer to it as the horrible "C word."  

Today my daughter forwarded to me this poem written by a teenager with terminal cancer, and I thought this was worth sharing with you all...

SLOW DANCE
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, 
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die 
Cause you never had time 
To call and say,'Hi'

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last..

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 15, 2017

World Of Amazing Times and People


Took this video at the World of Montgomery Festival today. 

The dancers, singers, drummers, and costumes were all great.

The weather today an unseasonably warm 76 degrees and being out and about was fun. 

Plus it was an extra special treat to meet up with my pal Congressman Jamie Raskin. 



Thank you G-d for all the amazing times and good people. 

(Source Video and Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 14, 2017

We Broke The Weather

So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 

This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

He said to me:
"We broke the weather!"

And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming--maybe he is right.

This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 

Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 

This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!

And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.

All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren't enough to keep you up at night.

As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 

And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year--talk about a extinction level event!

As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 

Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 

If we don't correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 13, 2017

The Yom Kippur Diet Plan

So Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar is a 25-hour day of repentance, prayer, and fasting. 

This last Yom Kippur, someone mentioned to me that some people take the idea of fasting and apply it to dieting during the year by doing a 3-day fasting. 

Uh, that sounds pretty severe and maybe even a little dangerous. 

But it got me thinking that on Yom Kippur we fast for a day and then eat a meal, so why not do that daily for dieting. 

Just subsist on one main meal a day--basically limiting intake of food to a few hours in the evening. 

This made sense to me as a moderate way that I could stay focused and disciplined without any food for about 20 hours at a time, but still give myself something to look forward to with a proper, natural dinner--almost like a natural give and take that I believe I could live with (at least for a good while). 

I thought let me give this a try!

And I did. 

First without drinking or eating. 

Then I rethought this after a few days and getting parched, and said just drink zero-calorie drinks, but no food or caloric intake during the day until the meal at the end of the day. 

And I've been doing this now since Yom Kippur 2 weeks ago. 

I have actually lost almost 10 pounds in that time and feel great. 

It hasn't been hard--except for one day when the synagogue had a mega Bar Mitzvah kiddish/luncheon and I sat there and didn't have a thing!

But otherwise, I go to work and all my activities, including working out--sometimes twice a day--and without any food.

It seems to be working. 

While previously, I stayed completely off any carbs, and still gained weight--now, I allow myself to eat everything (kosher) at dinner and am losing!

I wonder if I am on to something with this new "Yom Kippur Diet."

I pray to Hashem that I've discovered something good and healthy here and am committed to seeing it through. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 12, 2017

Reconquest of the Soviet Union

Okay, when I saw this map of the Soviet Union pre-1991 breakup, I got it!

Russia lost 14 Former Soviet Union (FSU) states after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Belarus
  4. Estonia
  5. Georgia
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgystan
  8. Latvia
  9. Lithuania
  10. Moldovia
  11. Tajikistan
  12. Turkenistan
  13. Ukraine
  14. Uzbekistan

Could you imagine the United States or the European Union losing something like that?

Think of California and Texas and more seceding and making their own independent states. 

What would that do to the power and capability of this country?

Hence, when Russia goes into FSUs like Georgia and Ukraine (in red)--does a land grab like with Crimea and Abkhazia and South Ossetia--and threatens others, in their Soviet minds, they are just reclaiming what is/was theres.

Now listen, I am not justifying their aggression and hostile actions, but I am realizing/recognizing how explosive a situation this may end up being--especially since Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (in blue) changed sides and are now part of NATO!

Russia--even without the 14 FSUs--is the largest country in the world by territory with over 17 million square miles--that is almost the size of the United States and Canada or and China combined!

Russia may not have the economy of the United States but they are a formidable foe that we least not forget also has the largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world. 

Russia has a history of creating a large world dominating union and their military forays into the FSUs, support of hostile regimes like Syria and in Iran, sizable war games in Belarus, continuing to militarize the Arctic, interfering in our election, stealing our secrets via Kaspersky Lab software is likely just a shadow of what is yet to come. 

So if you think North Korea and Iran are problems...  ;-)

(Source Map: here with attribution to Map Collection)
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October 11, 2017

Amazon + Teva = A Marriage Made In Heaven


Amazon has upended so many industries--and you can basically buy almost anything there.

And yes, what you can't buy today, you will be able to buy tomorrow. 

What started as books and DVDs is now virtually synonymous with e-Commerce itself!
Next up for Amazon is pharmaceuticals!

Some people may think that Whole Foods gives Amazon the footprint it needs to sell these and dominate.

But what people aren't considering is that Amazon can sell the pharmaceuticals online.

Amazon can do what other online drug distributors can't.

Why?

Because Amazon has the most unbelievable distribution network in the world. 

Currently, people can order drugs through the mail, but these tend to be for regular reoccurring prescriptions that have lead time. 

However, Amazon can outdo these mail order pharma companies, because they can get you the drugs you need when and where you need it. 

- You don't feel well and can't make it to CVS, Amazon will deliver to your door. 

- Need same-day delivery, no problem. 

- Plus do all your shopping together in one fell timesaving swoop. 

My prediction: 
Amazon the low cost, efficient online seller of everything to everywhere is going to partner with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the #1 world leader in low cost generic drugs.

Teva already produces 120 billion tablets and capsules every year, operates in 80 countries, and currently fills 1 in 6 generic prescriptions in the U.S. 
Together, Amazon and Teva can make beautiful music, that is medicine + money!

Who needs CVS when pharmaceuticals perhaps soon can be gotten at Whole Foods or at your Trusty Amazon.com.  

One more time, I see some radical disruption--and this time it will bring you cheaper and more convenient drugs--make a l'chaim to your health. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

(Endnote: I am a big fan + investor in Teva, and of course, all opinions here are my own.)
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October 10, 2017

Feeling A Little Relative Deprivation

So this was a little funny-sad. 

We were taking a walk.

And we passed these two houses side by side. 

One, this tall stately-looking all brick manicured corner house.

The other, this cozy and sort of beat up little white siding house. 

The juxtaposition of these two as neighbors couldn't have been funnier. 

Sort of like strong and determined Rocky and the nebbish that couldn't. 

Listen, there isn't anything objectively wrong with the little older white house.

Taken by itself, it may actually be a nice place to live--as I said, it's sort of charming (even while the other is commanding)! 

But when you put it against the big new brick fellow, it's just a story of relative deprivation ready to be intensely felt. 

Both have a roof over their heads...and both in the same nice neighborhood. 

Yet neighbor and neighbor--but for no reason, one ends up feeling probably a little shitty--that's putting it in comparison, of course.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 9, 2017

@Bethesda Trolley Trail


You can walk for miles...



It's quiet and green in a suburban setting.


Who's that dummy?



Lovers come out here too.


Some graffiti tells you there is still the big city of Washington, D.C. nearby.


A little surveillance---the "I's" have it!


ADT security plus some colorful wind adornments in front of the houses. 


Park is good, but only until sunset. 


Watch out, "old people" crossing (saw a deer too).


The whole trail runs between Rockville and Bethesda--see the French International School, The National Institute of Health, Suburban Hospital, houses, shopping, parks, and more. 


Try not to get too lost in the fun of it all.  ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 8, 2017

@DC Design House For National Children's Hospital




















This wealthy couple built this amazing mansion in Potomac, Maryland.

But sadly before they could enjoy it, the wife developed a terminal illness. 

The husband allowed the house to showcased in a design talent competition with the various rooms decorated by all different interior designers.

...And the house to be shown for charity for National Children's Health System. 

Here are some photos from this wonderful fundraising event. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2017

Where Does Organized Religion Go Wrong

So I am definitely someone who is spiritual and tries to be faithful to G-d.

I believe, He is my creator and sustainer and that we are here to learn and grow our soul before it goes back to Hashem. 

Yet often, like so many others now-a-days, I find organized religion to be a turn-off. 

Why?

1) There is a consistency and sincerity problem.

To some people, I believe it's partially the rote and robotic nature of some of the practices--where we just do it, because we are told to do it, and we do it over and over and time after time, again--even when we don't feel it in the moment, and even if we do other things that are not so right in other areas of our lives.  

In contrast perhaps, there can be more spontaneous and genuine feelings and actions, in the moment and every moment--that come from the heart and the soul of the person and directly to G-d--and they are consistent whether we are in a religious setting to how we treat others and how we act in business. 

In other words, we just don't follow the rules, but we live them fully and integrated with ourselves and all situations we find ourselves in. 

2)  There is a money and power problem.

In some religious environments, all people are not created equal or treated equal. Instead, the say, the attention, and the honor goes to the powerful and the rich, who are courted for their donations and their votes to the institution and the spiritual leader. Who gets talked up? Who is given the honors at the religious rituals, at the events and the dinners, and with their communal "peers"? 

In other cases, it's not just money and power that talks, but who is outwardly the "most religious" and presumably walks the walk.  If you but "seem" more religious than the next guy, then you are elevated and exalted in the religious community.  

Instead, what happened to welcoming and caring for everyone--to everyone being children of G-d--to each person having a soul and their personal life challenges. Why can't we treat everyone as religiously worthwhile and give everyone a chance to learn and grow in their own way from their starting point and to their destination?  

Religion should be the one place that isn't a competition with others. 

Religion is ultimately between man and G-d!

And only G-d knows what is inside man's heart and in his soul--and what his actions really are all the time and what they truly mean in context and in essence

I welcome G-d in my life, because I:

- Have faith in Him and that ultimately He has a master plan and that everything is for the good 
- Love Him for giving me the chance to learn and grow my soul to be better
- Fear Him for when I do something wrong in my life and need a course correction 

I wish for a time and transformation when religion would not just be based on outward manifestations but on being sincere and consistent in people's lives, and where people would no longer be superficially judged and (mis)treated because they are themselves and on their G-d given paths. 

If only we could religiously love, rather than endlessly judge, each other, oh what a heartfelt and inspiring religion that would be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 6, 2017

People, Process, and Technology Lifecycles

The table describes the alignment of the various people, process, and technology lifecycles commonly used in Information Technology to the CIO Support Services Framework (CSSF).

The CIO Support Services Framework describes the six key functional roles of the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO)--it includes:

1) Enterprise Architecture (Architect)
2) Capital Planning and Investment Control (Invest)
3) Project Management Office (Execute)
4) CyberSecurity (Secure)
5) Business Performance Management (Measure)
6) IT Service (and Customer Relationship) Management (Service)

All these OCIO Functions align to the lifecycles for process improvement (Process), project management (People), and systems development (Technology).

- The Deming Life Cycle describes the steps of total quality management and continuous process improvement (Kaizen) in the organization.

- The Project Management Life Cycle describes the phases of managing (IT) projects.

- The Systems Development Life Cycle describes the stages for developing, operating and maintaining application systems.

Note: I aligned cybersecurity primarily with doing processes, executing projects, and designing/developing/implementing systems.  However, cybersecurity really runs through all phases of the lifecycles!

My hope is that this alignment of people, process, and technology life cycles with the roles/functions of the OCIO will help bridge the disciplines and make it easier for people to understand the underlying commonalities between them and how to leverage the phases of each with the others, so that we get more success for our organizations! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 5, 2017

Facebook Is Dead!

So folks, here is my absolutely contrarian prediction. 
Facebook Is Dead!
Who in their right mind would say something like that?

Facebook has 2 billions users! 

Well I am one of those users.

But even though I use it. 

I recognize that it is essentially useless and a waste of time. 

Yes, there are cute videos and messages and photos on there. 

But basically if you're honest, it's mostly a lot of garbage and time sink!

Twitter has a newsfeed purpose. 

Instagram has a photo sharing purpose. 

LinkedIn has a professional networking purpose. 

But Facebook is a glorious made-up fad!

I believe that people are getting tired of the:

- Meaningless, mind-numbing posts of what they had for breakfast today (and every other fart, literally). 

- Phony self-branding veneer as if everything is always perfect in their lives (look I'm on another vacation skydiving!)

- Virtual relationships rather than genuine friendships and real connections (I'm fiends with over 3,000 people!)

- The millions of empty slogans, political statements, and impersonal wishes to everyone for every occasion (have a really happy birthday!)

Frankly, I think that people are reaching the point of realization where they want more from the time they spend online.

- More depth of feelings

- More substance of thought

- More reality than superficiality. 

Yes, we all need some downtime too to mellow and just laugh a little, but I am fairly certain that the time people are putting into Facebook is not really meeting their true social networking needs. 

In the end, we will find out that Facebook is the epitome of the greatest fool theory--where everyone dumps their shit from the day, hoping that there is some greater fool who will superficially lopping it all up. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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Reading Your Emails

So you know you typically get a message when you log on your computer at work that there is "no expectation of privacy."

Meaning...you're on the corporate network and so remember that you can be monitored. 

Well we all read that warning and sort of know it by heart.

But do you really think that someone is watching you.

Well be assured that they are!

Talking to one of my colleagues and friends recently and this is what happened.

He had to fire one of his senior guys. 

And I asked him why?

He said:
"Because he was dead wood."

I asked what he meant as this was a senior person in the organization that was being let go.

So he said:
"Well I read the last few days of his emails on his account and he was doing absolutely nothing!"

And I was like hmm, that's amazing that you actually go into his account and read his stuff.

Yeah, I know it's not really his employees--the guy is at work--but still it's his email account that he uses, seriously.

So it's not just some corporate spooks sitting in the bowls of the building in a darkened security operations center behind a lot of cool looking screens monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.

It's your management too that can logon and see and read your stuff, whenever.

So this guy that was fired wasn't just dead wood, he was actually dead meat. 

"Smile you're on camera" in more ways then one.

So if you decide to write some juicy emails today or save some salacious files on "your" computer or on the network, the expectation surely is that they are being read--you can take that to your privacy bank. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 3, 2017

Manage The Crisis and Don't Exploit It

So I heard an interesting thought on crisis management:
"Never let a good crisis go to waste!"

Isn't that frequently how politicians and lobbyists use the crisis, rather than deal with it. 

In certain cases, some have even been known to actually create the crisis for their ends!

Whether it's some politicians calling for strict gun control when there is a mass shooting (perhaps infringing on other reasonable 2nd amendment rights) or it's right to life advocates demanding an end to funding for planned parenthood when some bad people are caught selling fetal body parts and so on and so on.

Maybe these things are the right thing to do--in which case, a very bad event can end up being an impetus for much needed change and thus, can facilitate in transforming society and from that perspective, be a good thing!

But is the change really and necessarily the right thing to do...or is the crisis de jure just an excuse to get what some people wanted all  along.

- Use (exploit) the crisis.

- Maximize the momentum from the crisis.

- Leverage the emotions from the crisis.

- Promptly turn the tables on the issue.

- Leave all compromise and negotiation aside, and seize the moment.

The lesson here is not to just react, because a sudden and impulsive decision may end up being an overreaction and cause negative unintended consequences down the road.

The pendulum tends to shift and swing widely in both directions--neither extreme is good.

Instead well thought policy, use of common sense, maintaining reasonableness, looking at all sides, and a general middle of the road approach usually yields the best results for the most people.

Crisis management should be just that--managing the crisis; the policy should be fully reasoned both before and after. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 2, 2017

From North Korean ICBMs to the Las Vegas Mass Shooter

What do North Korean ICBMs and the Las Vegas mass shooter have in common?

They both target the masses for the maximum fatality count.

North Korea was shown targeting a nuclear attack on major U.S. cities--including San Diego, Austin, Washington DC, and the islands of Hawaii. 

The Las Vegas shooter last night targeted a concert crowded with fans to let loose his automatic rifle killing at least 59 and wounding 527 in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

How about the Boston Marathon bomber that killed three and wounded 260 at the crowded finish line?  

We are living in dangerous, dangerous times. 

And being in a crowd can seriously get you killed. 

Honestly, does it take a genius or a madman to target a large gathering to inflict great pain on the enemy?

Honestly, who hasn't wondered why we don't target the terrorists groups and rogue terror nation states--whether Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda or Axis of Evil Iran and North Korea--when their militants are violently rallying, burning the American flag, chanting death to the USA, and boldly and defiantly raising their assault rifles high into the air. 

Why do we prefer to go after onesies-twosies in a virtual never ending battle to try and stop the terrorists of the day before they hit our cities and people again, when instead we can take out the evil bunch in more or less one fell swoop and send a no nonsense deterrent message. 

Are we too moralistic to do it to them before they do it to us and we have hundreds of thousands or millions of dead?

I'm not suggesting hitting innocent civilians, but how about an armed, military parade with tanks and missiles or a bunch of crazed terrorists just building up their gumption to do their next dirty massacre against masses of innocent men, women, and children.

The bad guys aren't asking any questions before they hit the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or London or Paris or Tokyo or Jerusalem with guns, knives, bombs, vehicular attacks or even attempted WMD--maybe we shouldn't ask too many questions before we invoke "fire and fury" on their evil ranks and protect our own once and for all. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to JTF News)
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October 1, 2017

The Games People Play

The title sounds ominous, but I mean it differently.

People like to play games--the type you have fun at.  

We learn to play when we are kids. 

We get the attention of our parents and friends--and we have fun just being together, acting silly or even competing with each other. 

Whether it's over a game of Life, Monopoly, Risk, or Connect Four, or even these days going online with a game of Minecraft or Crush.

Sports is another type of game--great to play and others like to watch and cheer for their favorite teams or athletes. 

This week at work, someone said to come to his meeting because:
"...everyone would have fun."

Have you ever heard that at work--a fun meeting or for that matter anything being fun in an office setting?

The guy is a genius--people actually showed up in droves at the meeting. 

They had to choose between various meetings going on at that time--and low and behold, people chose this one that was going to be fun!

In the meeting, there was a big bowl of candy and chocolate in the center of the conference table.

And the mood was relaxed as we got down to some business. 

While we did the business, people felt free to be a little silly and laugh with each other too.

The tone had been set for some fun.

The person who hosted the meeting explained that he wanted people to have a good time coming to the meeting (and to work).

He called it "gamification."

The idea is why not make things into a type of game and have some fun with it instead of everything being so stuck up and nasty all the time. 

Listen, it was still a meeting and work had to get done, but it was nice to see a different lighter perspective put on it. 

People want to enjoy what they do--whether it's time with their family, friends, or why not even their work.

If we can make more things in life into a game of sorts and put "fun" into the equation of what we do--people smile, laugh, and let down their guards a little. 

Why shouldn't adult play games and have fun too? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 29, 2017

Party With Cookies Like It's The End Of The Fiscal Year

It's funny, today the last business day of the fiscal year...

That means that this time of year is a lot of stress on a lot of people.

So what do they do?

Well, while a lot of people are reaching for the do-re-mi ($$$) to earn and to spend before the books close, others are reaching for the plain old (cookie) dough. 

This week for example, there was a big cookie party!

So much stress, so little time.

That seems to translate into cookie days, and carbohydrate weeks. 

This isn't just the end of the fiscal year, but a potentially fatty, dangerous time too. 

The timing is also weird because of the juxtaposition to Yom Kippur tomorrow which is a fasting day with NO food or water for 25 hours.

Better eat some more cookies now (or not). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2017

No Smokestacks Here

So I heard something good about human capital that I wanted to share:

It goes like this:
"There are no smokestacks here, only people!"

We can't treat "human capital" in our organizations the way we treat industrial/capital assets in our factories. 

The industrial revolution--along with the sweatshops and smokestacks--have been overtaken by the service and information age.

G-d has blessed us with an abundance of wonderful material things that can now be largely produced by automation and robotization--letting us focus more than ever on developing our people, nurturing their ideas, and realizing their innovations. 

In our organizations, the human assembly line has given way to thinkers and innovators.

Sure, we have to build things and sustain ourselves, but the people behind the things are what counts and not just the things themselves. 

We've grown from heartless slave labor and sweatshops to emotionally intelligent, compassionate, and thriving humans beings in the workspace--or so we strive for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2017

A Mountain Of Data

So I heard this interesting perspective on information and data analytics...

Basically, it comes down to this: 
"Most organizations are data rich, but information/insight poor."

Or put another way:
"Data is collected, but not used."

Hence we don't know what we don't know and we end up making bad decisions based on poor information. 

Just imagine if we could actually make sense of all the data points, connect them, visualize them, and get good information from them.

How much better than a pile of rocks is that? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2017

Cyclops Looking Eye

What's the fascination with the mythical cyclops and the single eye in the center of the forehead?

If the eye represents seeing and knowing then aren't we better off with two or even a dozen eyes to see with?

See more, know more, do more.

How about eyes in the back of the head?

Or all around the head in a cool circle--like a majestic crown of sight all around you.

Seeing is miraculous.

The beauty of the world--people, nature, and the stars above. 

Seeing is function.

Being able to navigate, get around, and do things with relative ease. 

Seeing is safety.

Sensing path from obstacle and friend from foe. 

It's frightening to think of not having vision--what a challenge!

One old lady is possibly legally blind, but still serves as a notary public--how does she do that?

Eyes themselves are beautiful--brown and blue and hazel, and soft and deep and mesmerizing. 

Looking into someone's eyes, have you ever seen their soul. 

Show me thy ways oh L-rd and let me learn and grow in the world you've created for us--seeing the material and spiritual world we're enveloped in. 

I see the beauty, necessity, and lessons you have for me. 

However many eyes, seeing is believing in it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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