27 August 2006

Lonely Skies Tonight

Planet, Not A Planet- Pluto's Last Day

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but was so distrought at the latest scientific newz. The Milky Way has lost a planet. Not misplaced, but displaced. Milky nearly added three planets. For the record, in the picture Pluto is left with its moons from left to right, Charon, Nix and Hydra.

14 August 2006

Drawn In Sand

The ceasefire has been declared. Lines have been drawn but nothing really has been accomplished. Nothing, except for a lot of destruction (good time to be a contractor) and death. Isreal succeeds in pushing back the Hessbelah further away from the border. It fails at getting back the two soldiers that were kidnapped, which is what instigated the whole conflict.

It is reported by media as being a war. I just cannot see how it totally qualifies as being one. Sure the conflict lasted a few weeks. Sure Isreal jammed Lebenon full of holes with its aireal bombardment. Sure the Hessies bombed back. Sure they play the media pipebag well to create a storm of propagandal influence to sway world opinion in their favor.

It all comes back to branding. Which lends strongly to perception. Not to mention the stand on the whole affair by the United States. More on this topic for sure... in the next post. Think about this event until the next post: how does this assault compare to the Iraq/Kuwait entanglement?

Riddle Me Not

Two sets of rules have made it to the Breaking Point blog. This may be the new gardening theme for me (probably not- as rules are made to be broken). The following comes from the uncovering of ESPN's John Sawatsky by Seth Godin.

You need to ask questions every time you interact with a consumer, a job applicant, a co-worker with a great idea or even someone sitting next to you during an interminable wait for the airplane.
I found John's seven rules in a search cache. Here's a summary of what doesn't work:
1. Asking a question with no query
Examples: "Your neighbors don't like you." "Some people think you killed your wife."
2. Double-barrelled questions
Like: "Is this your first business? How did you get started?" You're unlikely to get answers to both. One question at a time.
3. Overloading
Ask: short, simple questions. "What is it like to be accused of murder?"
4. Adding your own remarks
Again, this is not the time or place to say that you hate Chryslers... You're not being interviewed.
5. Trigger words
One famous example of this was when TV reporter John Stossell asked a pro wrestler about the "sport'' by volunteering this about the fighting: "I think it's fake." The pro wrestler hit him--twice. "Was that fake?" he demanded...
6. Hyperbole by the questioner
Overstatement typically causes the interview subject to counterbalance by understating...
7. Closed query (Yes or No question)
If the question begins with a verb, its most likely a closed question -- and will generate a one word answer.

Good starting point on John: American Journalism Review

Thank you Seth for the thoughts and digging this out of cache. You call this The Riddler, but I'd rather call it The Mystery. Sports writers today (especially broadcaster) seem to stick so close to their format of questioning that America could probably parrot word for word most of the questions that are asked to athletes with little to no trouble. When sportcasters do decide to step out and ask questions that are on the edge of the interviewing envelope it almost always seems to come off like a Bill Lambier flagorant flop or worse yet... a Shaq freethrow (a wasted opportunity to put down two easy points). Jim Grey comes to mind as a frequent offender of this with his tenacious knack for asking the tough question at the wrong time- not to mention asking the wrong question to begin with as if to stir the pot (a good idea) but with a strainer spoon and trying to make something out of the nothing that was really there. He is not alone. Credit to him for trying, but he would need more than these seven rules to help him.

Stay relevant. Know your timing (it is everything!)
Back to you Costas.

06 August 2006

Rules For Survival By Bob

While I put my 16 rules together in response to a business question, I've been told by others that they can be applied to almost any pursuit. Here are the 16 rules I try to live by:

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."

2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.

3. When you're ready to quit, you're closer than you think. There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."

5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."

6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what General George S. Patton said: "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you're doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you're doing as anyone else, provided that what you're doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems. You'll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you'll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: "You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others." There's also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: "A wise man keeps his own counsel."

15. Don't take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There's always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: "We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time."

A special word of thanks.I owe a special thanks to Brian Dunn. When I first wrote these rules down and was thinking about compiling them into a book — that book, like most books I suppose, has been half-done for a while ; — Brian read them and suggested a title. His suggestion was, "They Can't Eat You." I like Brian's suggestion for two reasons: 1. It reminds me of my Dad. I sure miss him; and 2. It's true. No matter how difficult things get, you're going to be OK. It's very important to realize that. Thanks, Brian.

Republishing my rules Should you care to include all or part of this article (or any article in my weblog for that matter) in one of your publications you have my permission to do so provided that you credit me for the material, mention where it was obtained and also my copyright. A suggested form might be "The above (or following) article (or rules for survival) is included with the permission of Bob Parsons (http://www.bobparsons.com) and is Copyright © 2004-2006 by Bob Parsons. All rights reserved."