Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I am an Island has an article discussing Top 10 Web fads, and #6 is Friendster. The idea behind Friendster is you link to friends, and they link to their friends, and those people link to their friends, and so on, and so on. Next thing you know, you're only Six Degrees away from Kevin Bacon

Well, there are a bunch of similar psuedo-businesses with the same concept of Friendster. One of these is LinkedIn; a version for professionals who want to expand their network online. One of the catches with LinkIn is that you have to be invited to join, which means you would always have some connections.

Well, Joe was talking about LinkedIn the other day and I thought I signed up for it years ago, but didn't do anything about it. Last night I took a few moments and decided to see if my memory was correct. I entered my email address, guessed at my password, and was let into the sanctum of LinkedIn, an invitation only service.

What I found out is that I had zero ( 0 ) connections. In a universe of people I was apparently linked to no one. It's like they were telling me to "Go Away. You're just not good enough for the rest of us."

This morning I told Joe the story and we had a good laugh. Then Joy came in and she had a good laugh. Next thing you know, they're looking up the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel's "I am an Island."

Based on that, Joy took the time to compose a couple new verses, just for me. Here it is:
A summer’s day
In a bright and cheery July;
I am alone,
Gazing from my browser to the internet around me
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of blank screen.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship, linkedin causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Just so you know, I'm going to build up my network a bit on LinkedIn. [The island was lonely. :) ] Drop me a note if you want to be included in my journey towards the mainland.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Crash, doing it again

Some of the regular readers remember me back when my name was Crash. Today, that's just what happened.

I was leaving work for lunch, trying to fit in a couple errands along with some quick bite to eat, when I had a fender-bender. I thought the person in the car ahead of me was pulling out into the street from the parking lot exit. I had almost come to a stop when I noticed she was turning into the street. I therefore took my foot off the brake and was looking left for oncoming traffic.

Apparently, she decided to wait and in making that decision came to a stop. Since I was expecting something else, I turned my head in time to stab the brake and think, "Damn, I'll never stop in ..." CRASH

It really was not a big deal. I was very worried about the person in the other car. Her name is Bethany, she was very polite and apologetic. Best of all, she was not hurt in any way.

After confirming she was okay and pulling the bumper panel of her car away from the rear tire I gave her my insurance info. I called the insurance company, she called the insurance company, they had someone call both us back, and it looks like everything is going to be just fine. Allstate is going to have her car inspected and repaired. My car has a scuff mark on the bumper, but is fine in all other respects (as far as I can determine). And it's possible our rates won't even go up. (I can dream, can't I?)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Power versus a To-Do list

You know, it's cool having a real business. I've played at business so many times and in so many ways it was a bit depressing. I've said, "I've formed a company." My company has been able make a little money, even after paying expenses, salary, and taxes. But the truth of the matter is, it takes more than a couple words and a website to make a real company. It's not about the initial effort, it's about continued effort. When Tony and I formed Lone Star Games it finally got serious for me. And I love it.

My love for businesses comes from a few places. The first place is probably my love for a stage. Not the theatre, but I have always been comfortable in front of a crowd, and leaders get more attention than followers.

The second place is probably my long-term interest in power / leadership / management. I know the order of that may put some of you off, but this was how I was introduced to the concepts. In high school I read The Prince by Machiavelli. Then The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I found them interesting and I wondered what I would do with power. Then I studied leadership, and taught it. Then I went into management.

The third place is my desire to solve puzzles. Not that I care about games, but I like to solve problems; it gives my overactive and underutilized mind something to do. And whether it is because of the above or just chance, I happen to like solving business problems.

Now, I'm not claiming to be good in management, leadership, or power. I've had plenty of successes and more than most by many counts, but I've also learned what the truly successful do. And a few success is not in the same league as the successful.

Additionally, I've mellowed. Along with learning the difference between the desire for power and weilding it, leading and managing, motivating and exasperating, stellar performance and just getting by, I've also learned, and largely come to accept that as good (or lucky) as I am and as much as I want to exceed, I'm not great.

But I'm still fascinated by business, the processes that make them successful, and filled with the desire to achieve. And I've learned good systems are the way to take mediocre to outstanding. Combine that with hard work and a little luck, and you've got yourself something to be proud of.

Now that I have a going concern my nights are not filled with a wonder of what I would do anymore. I still want to hear about other people's business problems, because I like to think of solutions, but I don't need that to fill my time. With Lone Star I have plenty of issues to figure out for myself. And I need to do them right now.

For example, here are some of the issues on my plate. They are in no particular order, other than I need to get answers to them all with hours or days, and the item with the longest term still needs to have some action within the next two weeks.

  • hire another employee
  • make payroll
  • finalize product pricing
  • develop grand opening plan
  • market to APL and LPR
  • review schedule
  • write HR procedures
  • review register procedures
  • follow-up on procedures for deposits
  • re-write employee handbook
  • approve business flier
  • print stickers w/logo for shopping bags
  • develop sales script
  • learn new poker chip trick
  • select next mall to open location
  • order more product
  • negotiate shipping rates
  • update website
  • figure out online retail store
  • apply for rights to use CLC images
  • find local table manufacture
  • list Grand Opening procedures
  • borrow copy of standard lease for mall
  • and the list goes on...

Mark Cuban was right when he said, "You only have to be right once." And I'm glad to have traded in my early dreams of power for today's to-do list.