Showing posts with label Talent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Talent. Show all posts

April 7, 2019

@Strathmore With Violin Virtuoso Zoltan Maga





Nice time today at Strathmore Concert Hall. 

Listened to beautiful music by Violin Virtuoso Zoltan Maga and The Budapest Gypsy Orchestra.

Zoltan was amazing and he played the violin with expertise that I have rarely seen in my life.

It was as of the violin literally came alive in his hands.

His son, Zoltan, Jr. also played wonderfully and seems to be a "chip off the old block."

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Zoltan and the orchestra play a pretty mean Hava Nagillah!

Also, the Hungarian Ambassador was there to welcome Zoltan. 

It was beautiful at the end when they told how Zoltan does many charity concerts and donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to needy orphan homes. 

I shook Zoltan's hand, but I could tell he was very protective of his magic hands.

Truly, he is a master and you can see the skill from Hashem in him--it was amazing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

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December 23, 2018

Most Amazing Sculpture



This is the most amazing sculpture that I have ever seen.

Let me explain why?

It looks like a bust of a woman with a fine fabric lace veil over hear head and face.

But believe it or not, the veil is part of the sculpture.

And her eyes are just shadows of it. 

In other words, there is no veil or eyes. 

The museum tour guide pulled out a flashlight and pointed it and her eyes and they were gone. 

How any artist can have such a divine gift to make something like this is really beyond me.

All I can do is stare in complete marvel at this sculpture of a veil covering this woman's face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 6, 2018

Jack Of All Trades

I saw this quote hanging on the wall. 

It's by science fiction writer, Robert Anson Heinlein.
"A human being should be able to:
  • Change a diaper
  • Plan an invasion
  • Butcher a hog
  • Conn [control] a ship
  • Design a building
  • Write a sonnet
  • Balance account
  • Build a wall
  • Set a bone
  • Comfort the dying
  • Take orders
  • Give orders
  • Cooperate
  • Act alone
  • Solve equations
  • Analyze a new problem
  • Pitch manure
  • Program a computer
  • Cook a tasty meal
  • Fight efficiently
  • Die Gallantly
Specialization is for insects."

It's sort of fascinating all the things that are expected of people to be able to do. 

And this is a short list--I'm sure you can think of many, many more things that people have to be able to do to survive, to live, to thrive. 

What complex and magnificent creations of G-d we are! 

Not only in terms of our physiology, but also in terms of our cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual capacities and desires. 

We are flesh and blood, but with a breath of life from the living G-d, and we are capable and can do so much. 

At the same time, we are imperfect, limited, fallible, and mortal. 

- Jack of all trades, and master of none. 

Expect the best, but plan for plenty of mistakes and disasters along the way. 

Live well, and return to the creator a better person. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 11, 2017

Magen David's Got Purim Talent 2017






































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June 14, 2016

The Continued Softening Of Microsoft

Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information). 

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper. 

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products--they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files--it's great for bread and butter tasks--nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser. 

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.  

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in. 

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon--but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 25, 2016

Stack Theory Doesn't Stack Up

Christopher Mims' article in the Wall Street Journal today on why big companies get disrupted by others doesn't make a lot of sense to me. 

He discusses the "Stack Fallacy" of Anshu Sharma a venture capitalist that it "is the mistaken belief that it is trivial to build the layers above yours."

Mims explains that the stack is like a "layer cake of technology"--where one layer is built on another.

Similar to the OSI technology model where there are architecture layers for physical, data, network, application and so on. 

Basically, Mims explains that tech companies can only invent at a single layer of technology (or below). 

But when companies try to invent up the stack, they fail.

Here's why...

Mims says that companies despite their size and resources can't innovate up the stack because they don't understand the users there. 

But this doesn't stack up to me. 

Companies can and do use their resources to study and understand what users want up the food chain and what they can't easily build, they can acquire. 

Apple successfully went from a iPod and iTunes music player and song store to producing a highly sophisticated and integrated iPhone and Apps store where music is just an afterthought.

Similarly, IBM went from being primarily a mainframe and desktop company to being a top-tier consulting firm with expertise in cloud, mobile, social, artificial intelligence, and analytics computing. 

But it isn't easy for a company to change. 

And to me, it's not because they can't understand what users want and need. 

Rather, it is because of something we've all heard of called specialization. 

Like human beings, even extraordinary ones, companies are specialized and good at what they are good at, but they aren't good at everything. 

A great example of this was when NBA superstar, Michael Jordan, tried to take his basketball talents and apply it to baseball...he was "bobbling easy flies and swatting at bad pitches" in the minor leagues. 

As even kindergarteners are taught that "Everyone is good at something, but no one is good at everything."

Companies have a specific culture, a specific niche, a specific specialization and expertise.

And to go beyond that is very, very difficult...as IBM learned, it requires nothing less than a transformation of epic proportions. 

So I think Mims is wrong that companies can't understand what users want in areas up the innovation stack, but rather it's a monumental change management challenge for companies that are specialized in one thing and not another. 

So welcome to the world of Apple after Steve Jobs and his iPhone and to the the recent 25% decline in their stock price with investors and customers anxiously waiting for the possible but not certain next move up the technology stack. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 22, 2015

Measured {Leadership + Management} + Staff = Success!

So I heard from a colleague this week an argument about:

Too much leadership dilutes good management. 

AND [similarly]

Too much management dilutes good leadership.

What is this a tug of war (without the showy skirts please!)?

Or 

Can you ever have too much of a good thing? 


Typically, leaders provide the vision and managers the execution.

I don't see how it is really possible to have one without the other and have anything useful at the end of the day.

A vision without delivered execution is just another big idea.

And

Execution without a meaningful vision is just chasing your tail.

Too much leadership with grandiose vision after vision overwhelms the ability to manage a successful execution.

Too much management of the devils-in-the-details and even the best leadership vision isn't going to see the light of day.

So the conclusion:

Great leaders need to set the goal posts high but doable and then get out of the way so that talented managers can make sure to get the job done and done right.

And don't forget that it's a diverse and skilled staff that actually does the heavy lifting and need to be respected and appreciated.

Tug of war over! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jamie McCaffrey)
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October 9, 2015

It Doesn't Get Better Than This



This video was composed and produced by one of my very talented colleagues, David Ausman (2015). 

I was really impressed by the skill and creativity of this music video as well as the vivid portrayal of a fantasy vacation to Havana, Cuba. 

He recorded it in his own voice and used Garageband and his digital piano to jazz it up. 

When I asked him how he got the idea for this, he said that his associates overhead and told him a friendly conversation they overhead that went like this:

"Bob: Bill! I haven't see you in ages. How have you been?

Bill: Bob, you old sob! How ya doing?

Bob: I'm doing great, especially since I'm no longer posted in [edited out].

Bill: I know, I know. So how are you liking it back home?

Bob: (pointing his finger at Bill) It doesn't get better than this!

Bill: (pointing back) Yeah, it doesn't get better than this!"

Now that he shared this funny story with me, I also can't stop thinking about some fantasy fun trip somewhere. 

And most important that when we appreciate everyone and everything we have in our lives then "It [truly] doesn't get better than this!" ;-)
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May 8, 2015

Wine Bottle Extraordinaire

I took this photo of one of the amazing wine bottles at an event last evening at Magen David Synagogue. 

Apparently, a very talented lady in there makes these special bottles. 

Unfortunately with the lighting, this picture does not near do them justice for how exquisite they looked. 

They were in different colors of lacing, with beautiful beads, hamsas, and other decorations, as well as pictures of our honored sages, and their names in hebrew over the photos. 

I asked facetiously one lady who was taking home a bottle whether she was going to drink it all that evening, and she pulled the bottle close to her and leaning in to me said, "This is going in my display case!"

And that truly is where these belong...they are amazing.

The wonderful lady that painstakingly makes these gave how many of them charitably so they could be auctioned for benefit of the synagogue. 

Aside from a wonderful soul, this person is very talented and should seriously start a business with these because they are awesome! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 10, 2015

Teats or Not

So I heard a new phrase from one of my colleagues recently...

He goes on about somebody (or something) being like "2 teats on a bull!"

I've always wanted to spend some serious time on a farm...but never really have had the opportunity to learn about that whole rural world, and I'm like what????

But I got it, and didn't really like it. 

Sort of a harsh way to call someone out as a useless piece of [you know what]!

I've heard kids joke about "man boobs" and I sure you can guess what those unflattering things are on a male.

Too often, we write people off without giving them a real chance!

While perhaps, there can be useless appendages through genetics or illness, there are no fundamentally useless people (although maybe some can be troubled, dejected, in a bad fit, etc.).

More often, there are unflattering comments from others who don't appreciate differences or see clearly what each person can "bring to the table."

Let's just say, if G-d created someone, there is reason and purpose to their lives, and we need to understand and appreciate them for their value. 

It may take (some) exploration, but everyone has strengths (as well as weaknesses--we're all human) and we can find what each person is good at, cultivate it, and leverage it for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Carol Von Canon)
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December 25, 2014

The Power Of One, Many, And G-d

I took this photo at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale. 

I like how they took the pictures of the professors, administrators, and students and wallpapered it outside on the facade of the building. 

It says, "I am the voice of innovative education and civic engagement for the 21st century."

It's a cool idea showing the individuals and the power they have to make a difference as well as the aggregate of the photos, as a group, displaying that we are somehow all in it together. 

We can't just rely on others, and we can't take it all on ourselves...progress is a shared responsibility. 

We do our part and contribute to the greater group--it takes a variety of talents to get things done, so we leverage everyones strengths for the good of the team. 

- Education is one part.  

- Experience is another.  

- Engagement is a third

And all these ingredients only come together with divine providence and the good fortune from the Almighty.

This last one is the secret sauce as they say. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2014

The Painter

I love this picture of this painter that I took in Florida. 

Each of the circles on the tree are part of his color palette. 

He is standing on a ladder leaning against the tree, and reaching for the red paint. 

It is so cool that the painter is part of the painting that he is making. 

The integration of the person with his creative work--he is one with it!

I can practically feel the love of this person for what they do.

And IMHO, they are very good at it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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