Showing posts with label People. Show all posts
Showing posts with label People. Show all posts

May 28, 2019

Robots In Rockville


Had some fun driving around this cool little Robot in Rockville Town Center.

I like to try out the latest gadgets. 

It's funny people's reactions when they see these. 

They're still not quite sure what to make of these. 

Robots on the street.

Drones overhead.

Submersibles in the water.

Soon they will all be autonomous, ubiquitous, and essential.

And people will be the side attraction. ;-)

(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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May 23, 2019

Alligator Govie

So this was a little surprising. 

In the courtyard (next to the cafeteria) at work, there is a nice seating area open during the Spring/Summer seasons. 

Pretty trees, flowers, and a pond. 

In the pond, next to the water lilies, there was a what?

Alligator.  

Not a full alligator.

But someone put an alligator's head in to make things interesting. 

It's nice at work when people are normal and have a sense of humor. 

An Alligator Govie that's what it is. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 12, 2018

Getting To Know You

So we recently took on a new function at work.

With that came a new group of employees.

Today, we had a wonderful breakfast as a meet and greet for everyone to get to know each other.

There was a tremendous spread of food laid out everything from bagels and smear, granola and yogurt, free fruit and vegetable salad, donut and muffins, and more.

There was enough food to feed a small army.

Aside from the group joining us, we had people come from other departments that support the process they are involved in--so folks from finance, legal, and even the front office.

The new lead assigned for the group that came over even gave out envelopes to thank their new team and 2 big boxes of gourmet coffee for them to share.

How nice this all was done and the investment that was made to bring the new team on board was really amazing to me.

I saw all the goodwill that was being built up from this event and the niceties put into it to recognize the people and make everyone comfortable together as a team.

I learned that an investment upfront like this in people and function can have tremendous benefits downstream in building a team and performing services that everyone can be proud of who is apart of this.

Invest not only in things, but also most importantly in people and relationships! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 21, 2018

@Wiener Museum Of Decorative Arts























(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 22, 2017

It's About The People

The older (not that old) that I get, the more I realize that life and success is all about the people. 

Whether it's our families, friends, and colleagues--it's how we treat people and the relationships we form that count--and that enable us to achieve success together!

Many people just count their money instead of counting their blessings of hearts and souls. 

But while we certainly need a certain amount of $$$ to live, we really need ❤ to thrive. 

Today, before the Thanksgiving holiday, I just took a little time to walk around and talk with people here, thank them for their good work and friendships, and wish them a good holiday. 

It was such a little thing, but honestly I felt so good doing it. 

I am thankful for so many things this year, including all the wonderful people in my life who do so much to make my life joyous and fulfilling, but I am also grateful to G-d for continuing to open my eyes to what and who(s) that really count. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 2, 2016

Blessing Each Other

Today in synagogue, we did not have any Kohanim (members of the priestly class) to do the ritual blessing of the people. 

So Rabbi Haim Ovadia did something really creative and beautiful.

He had each of us turn to our neighbor and put our hands over each other's heads and recite the blessing from the Torah:

"May G-d bless and guide you.
May G-d shine his countenance on you and be gracious to you.
May G-d turn his countenance toward you and grant you peace."

The gesture of brotherhood and caring for each other was very, very nice, and I got to meet someone new in synagogue today.

People need people...and we need G-d. 

Somehow it makes everything better. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 8, 2015

The Robotization Of Society

First, it's people--just us, living and loving. 

Then, we welcome robots into our society for automation, industrialization, and services--they are here to help us.

Finally, it's just the robots--we, the people, are obsolete, replaced, maybe even completely gone!

Think about it. ;-)

(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 13, 2015

How Many Issues Do You Have?

I saw someone with this funny iPhone case in Starbucks.

It says, "More Issues Than Vogue."

So I was curious how many issues of Vogue have there been...

And I learned that they have published this fashion, beauty, and culture magazine since 1892--more than 120 years!

And in the Vogue archive, they claim to have "more than 400,000 pages in full color."

I suppose even some of the biggest nuts out there rarely have more "issues" (and pages)...although maybe many would certainly come close. 

But Vogue wins! ;-)
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December 10, 2014

People That We Meet Each Day

This piece of art sort of reminded me of the Sesame Street song "People In Your Neighborhood."

So, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day.

We meet and interact with all types of people...funny and nice to mean and scary. 

Sometimes, you can see it on their faces--or especially in their eyes--who they are and what are their intentions. 

Other times, looks can be grossly deceiving, and we really have no clue who or what we are dealing with--psychopath or good samaritan.

Lately, as I meet or pass people, I see them on two distinct levels:

One is the physcial body they are in...their outward manifestation...the shell or outer casing that houses "them."

Two is the soul or G-dly spirit on the inside...the real them...the part that lived before and will live on even after the outside body is long gone. 

Our bodies are just housings for our souls...some people have physical disabilities, almost like a car that has broken parts over time...but what is inside perceives the greater reality and in a sense is both facilitated through and limited by our bodies--whether whole or broken. 

Sometimes, I feel like I am just looking right through the person and am really seeing their inner essence soul. 

Looks are just outside...inside is the real people we meet each day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 26, 2014

Confronting The New



As the kids are starting a new school year, I thought these welcome messages in chalk on the sidewalk were interesting and hopeful. 

Everyone needs support when they are starting at a new place or doing something they haven't done before. 

Doing something new means opportunity for a fresh beginning and the chance to learn and grow, but it also presents changes and challenges. 

The messages the kids drew help to confront these head on asking the other students:

- What is exciting to them and playing up the positives of the new experience.

- Encouraging people to make new friends to help make the adjustment. 

- Offer emotional support with "Free Hugs" and camaraderie.

At times, we all end up in new situations and places.

We may be looking for discovery, adventure, or a chance to do something different or perhaps change our fortunes.

At other times, we may just get thrown into something and may not even be certain exactly how we got there. 

But either way, it definitely helps when we reach out to others and realize that while we are individuals, we are not alone as we go through it. 

People need each other...some more, some less...but no man is an island. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 20, 2014

Winning Respect Of The People

Please see my new article here in Public CIO Magazine on how we can learn from the technology industry to improve our nation's government. 

"We can solve technological problems beyond our forefathers' wildest dreams, but we're challenged to break political gridlock. compromise, make difficult decisions, and forge a balanced, reasoned path forward."

Hope you enjoy!

Andy

(Source Photo: the talented Michelle Blumenthal)
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April 14, 2014

NYC at Passover

I love this picture of NYC. 

My daughter, Michelle, took this photo while visiting there for Passover. 

The skyscrapers, taxis, people -- all the hustle and bustle. 

New York, NY - it's a helluva town. ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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December 23, 2013

People Of All Colors

Not sure why I like this, but I do. 

What comes to mind, is "the crazier, the better!"

And this is pretty nuts:

- The people have no clothes (but in a modest type of way). 

- The men are covering their privates (with handbags), but why not the women? 

- They people are sort of gray, yet have different colored ink blots over their feet, hands, eyes, mouth, and hair--almost like they are stymied or perhaps, the opposite, free to be whatever they want. 

- They are similar, but yet all different, like us. 

- Why these different colors--we don't know; it is muted, but it is ALIVE. 

It's crazy and it's people--you never know who or what exactly you are dealing with--but we are all G-d's creations. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2013

I Like To Be Clean!

This was funny but in a gross type of way. 

Bathroom doorknobs are notorious for being germy. 

In this case, there was a little bit of tissue paper that someone left on the knob--I know ick!

Apparently someone got fed up with the grossness of this, so they put up a sign--it says:

"I have been here for two weeks. Can you clean me?  It like to be clean!"

But that's not all. 

A day later, the note was gone, but that little piece of grossness was still there. 

Howie Mandel, please help us! ;-)
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October 18, 2013

Mr. Universe of Leadership

A colleague at work told me about a book called Compelling People by Neffinger and Kohut.

The thesis of the book is that the most effective and powerful leaders balance projecting strength and warmth.


If you just show strength, then you would potentially be seen as dictatorial, a micromanager, unapproachable, all work and no personality, and maybe even a tyrant.


And if you just project warmth, then you would likely be seen as wimpy, emotional but not intellectual/skilled, managing by friendship and not professionally, and not focused on results. 


That's why combining and projecting a healthy balance of strength and warmth is effective in leading towards mission results, but also in being a "mensch" and caring for the people you work with. 


You can't have sustained strong performance without a happy workforce.


And you can't have a happy workforce without strength to achieve meaningful work performance.


In funny, but in a sense Arnold Schwarzenegger is a good example of someone who combines the two. 


On one hand, he represents the big and strong "Mr. Universe," and was able to play in numerous action movies, such as Terminator, Predator, Conan The Barbarian, and more.


At the same time, Schwarzenegger always had a warm, softer side and stared in comedies like Kindergarten Cop, Twins (as the intellectual twin of street-wise Danny Devito), and Junior (where he undergoes a male pregnancy!).


While no one is good at everything and it can be hard to effectively balance strength and warmth, leaders that master this can become the real Mr. Universe for their organizations and people. ;-)


(Source Photo: Left from Andy Blumenthal and Right from here with attribution to Eva Rinaldi)

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September 24, 2013

Me and George

So one of the advantages to working in Washington, D.C. is that I get to meet lots of new and interesting people. 

Never thought though that I'd actually get to meet George Washington.

Well, he was certainly quite the character!

Anyway, three cheers for GW--it was a true honor. ;-)
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June 22, 2013

Hiring and Marrying Great People--Is It Random or Predictable?


The Atlantic (21 June 2013) has a startling article about hiring at Google--"It's a complete random mess."

With all the Google information genius and the brainteasers they test people with, all the rounds of interviews they put them through, they found "zero relationship" between how people scored in tens of thousands of interviews and how they performed in their jobs.

No only didn't the interviews predict good hires, but "colleges didn't matter, GPAs...didn't matter."

Only one guy who was the world's leading expert in something, and was hiring for a very specialized area seemed to be able to weed out the wheat from the chaff in interviews. 

"People are complicated, organizations are complicated, matching people with organizations is complicated."

This reminds me of what it's like to match people for intimate relationships...very, very difficult. Sort of like, men are complicated, women are complicated, and matching men and women is complicated.

Whether matching people to organizations or to each other, getting a good Shidduch is a big challenge and hard to predict the outcome. 

Perhaps that is why the average person goes through seven careers in a lifetime and "50% of all marriages in America end in divorce."

Making a good match with a company or a person is hard--because as I heard as a teenager, "you never know what the person is really like until you wake up with them in the morning"--morning breath, hair messed, bad dreams, pissy moods, and all. 

Similarly, with a company, until you work there and actually have to live the culture and deal with the people, policies, and politics, you won't really know what it's like just by asking around and reading up about them on Glassdoor.

Also, not only do you have imperfect information about the people and jobs when you try and match them up, but people change (organizations do to, but much more slowly--it's a bigger ship to turn around). 

Yes, while past performance are predictors of future performance--good skills and bad habits, they do stick around--at the same time, people do learn, grow, mature, and change--hopefully for the better. 

As the old Jewish saying goes, "with age, comes wisdom"--and hopefully, more mature and better ways of dealing and coping with challenging and complex people and situations. 

So what should you look for--whether in a new hire or a marriage mate? 

Start with a good heart and a good fit; look for a track record of success in life, a hunger to succeed personally and professionally, someone willing to learn and grow, and not be afraid to work hard, have some failures, and get back on their feet again--that's life. 

Say a prayer and don't be fooled by the superficial things or what people just say to get the job or the mate--look for what they do (action speaks louder than words) and remember, personal beauty is more than just skin deep. ;-)
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December 15, 2012

Walking In All Shoes

Thinking about life and death and the concept of reincarnation. 

While I have heard the belief of some that reincarnation is the ultimate justice machine--if you treat others well, you come back well off, while if you treat them badly, you come back in their situation. 

So the classic example, would be if you have the opportunity to give charity, and do so, genoreously, then you are rewarded in a next life with riches, but if you are miserly, then you come back poor--to learn the lessons of charitable giving. 

However, I wonder if this concept goes even much further.

Does our journey ultimately takes us not just to occupy some positions if life, but rather to every role and status, illustrative of all peoples--so that we learn from the eyes of everyone. 

The world  is round and the number of perspectives around it are as varied as the people, races, cultures, and nations they come from. 

As the saying goes, "don't judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes," perhaps we are indeed given the opportunity to walk in a large representative sample of those. 

When the see the world not from where we sit today in life, but from where others are perched, we can get a whole new perspective on issues and ideas--we can learn true empathy, caring, respect, and justice.

Almost like having G-d's vantage point, we can learn to see the world from a multi-cultural perspective, where each person, tribe, and nation is infinitely valuable--where each holds the key to a perspective and lesson that we must all learn before our journey comes to a conclusion. 

Live life and learn well--there is much to see, hear, and experience, and no one has all the answers or is all righteous--like a large mosaic, we all have a piece. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Fernando Stankuns)

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December 12, 2012

Lessons Learned on IT Customer Service and Team Building

In Public CIO Magazine (12 December 2012) Andy Blumenthal talks about lessons learned as an IT leader.

You've got to serve the mission, solve problems, take care of your customers, while at the time forming a cohesive, high performing team. 

Read here for the full article.

Hope you enjoy!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Dell Inc.)

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December 9, 2012

Pets, But Not People


I remember learning how the Nazi's in the Holocaust and WWII would take great care of their dogs, while at the same time exterminating Jews, Gypsies, gays, the disabled, as well as political opponents and prisoners of war. 

While I fully respect people who are pet owners and love their pets, it is odd how even today the love of animals and their treatment can be elevated above how we treat each other.Some recent articles about our pets that stood out:

- An article in the Wall Street Journal (2 December 2012) compares helicopter parents to now helicopter pet owners. One example given, from a pet-rescue site states: "All dogs must be constantly supervised in their yards for their safety...animals such as bats, bees, and snakes can gain access to yards" and threaten your dog. Another example provided was about a couple who wante dto adopt a dog, but had to complete an 50 question application. 

- Two days later, another article in the Wall Street Journal (4 December 2012) about people memorializing their pets by turning their ashes into diamonds. "Producing a one-carat diamond requires less than a cup of ashes or unpacked hair." And "some gems start at about $250, while pet diamonds cost about $1,400." No really!

In contrast, here were some recent articles about how we memorialize those who were gruesomely murdered and tortured by Nazis (may their name be obliterated):

- The Wall Street Journal (1 December 2012) presented an article on how "every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association (SMA) has [disgracefully] given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in space medicine" even though, "Dr. Strughold, a former scientist for the Third Reich, was listed as one of 13 'persons, firms, or organizations implicated' in some notorious Dachau concentration camp experiments." In particular, Dr. Strughold was implicated in the "infamous hypothermia, or 'cold experiments,' in which inmates were used, and typically died as subjects [brutally] exposed to freezing conditions" such as immersion in freezing water or in vacuum chambers that simulated altitudes of nearly 20,000 feet. Yes, the concentration camp prisoners exposed to these experiments at Dr. Strughold's own instuitute, included "children 11 to 13 old [who] were taken from a nearby psychiatric facility" and subjected to oxygen deprivation experiments," yet the SMA continues to use Dr. Strughold name as worthy of an annual award--yes, beyond belief and sick indeed. 

- Bloomberg BusinessWeek (6 December 2012) describes how in India, a clothing store in Ahmedabad is named Hitler with a swastika used as the dot over the "i" in Hitler, and Mein Kampf is a bestseller. Similarly, in 2006 a cafe opened in Mumbai called Hitler's cross and a pool hall named Hitler's Den opened in Nagpur. Last year, a comedy was released called Hero Hitler in Love and there is a hit soap opera called Hitler Didi (or "Big Sister Hitler"). While the article states the "Hitler's popularity in India is not a result of anti-Semitism" but rather that Hitler weakened the British in WWII, thereby freeing their country. Nevertheless, the hero treatment for Hitler stands out in stark contrast to his life as a notorious murder of millions.

So while many admirably love their pets and seek to treat them kindly and with care, there are those who still love for the likes of Hitler, the Nazis and the murder, cruelty, and chaos they inflicted on the world. 

What is commentary on and future of a world, when people love and respect their pets more than their fellow human beings? 

As the English Statesman, Edmund Burke, said, "The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Glenda Wiburn)

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