Skip to content

Movember Madness – The Final

November 30, 2012
MoMadnessFinal

Welcome back to Movember Madness, if you missed the selection or the first rounds:

Part 1, The Selection
Part 2, The Elite Eight

If you have enjoyed the Movember Madness, please support the cause @ http://mobro.co/jeremylouden – every little bit helps.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ELITE 8

Welcome everyone to the final 3 rounds of MOVEMBER MADNESS. We are down to our last 8 participants, all true power houses of the mo.

#1 Rollie Fingers v. #2 Hulk Hogan

ROLLIEHULK

For sports, it is all about the stats, so we have to go to the stat sheet.When you are comparing 2 people of this magnitude you skip all of the small stuff.

Rollie: 3-peat World Champion, World Series MVP, AL MVP and Cy Young winner in 1981. Has had his mo since 1972 when he grew the “Snidely Whiplash” to win a $300 bonus from A’s owner Charles A. Finley and has been a dedicated mo wearer ever since.

Hulk: 12-time World Champion and arguably the greatest professional wrestler ever. [Quick aside, I hate in now that everything is “arguably”, can we just agree that everything is arguable at this point, there are people that don’t believe in evolution or global warming. So from this day forward is, by definition, anything is arguable. You may be wrong and a moron, but you can argue.]

#1 seed Rollie Fingers  prevails as the committee is unsure how much the Hulk mo was aided by PED’s during his career and were not happy when he went “Hollywood” and grew in the black beard.

#1 Burt Reynolds v. #3 Groucho Marx

BURTGROUCHO

newBurtThis was a very close battle as the committee was obviously having a hard time remembering Bandit, JJ McClure, and Stroker Ace due to the fresh impressions they had of the impostor with the Burt Reynolds mask that has been popping up for the past 8 years.

Right as time looked like it was going to expire and the overall #1 seed was going to be bounced from the tournament, an image was presented to the committee to wipe clean the impostor and remember the real Burt Reynolds.

images

Burt Wins.

#5 Ned Flanders v. #2 Ron Swanson

FLANDERSSWANSON

ron-swanson-pyramid-of-greatness-wallpaper-iphone960x640Listening to the deafening crowd, this was the battle that everyone came to see tonight. The Cinderella Ned Flanders against the upstart Ron Swanson.  Ron Swanson comes out strong and tries to put the contest away with his best move, the Pyramid of Greatness.

Just as it looked like an exhausted Flanders was going to offer his last “didly” of the madness, the action was interrupted by a mustached man running through the action.

homer1

This gave Flanders the time that he needed to rely on his years of experience, “He can’t win, he doesn’t have the longevity. A true mo has staying power.” As the committee began to be swung, this image was presented:

OffermanMoLess

A dazed Ron Swanson looked at the image in shock and Ned took the opportunity to seize the win.

#5 Bill Cutting v. #2 Rhett Butler

CUTTINGBUTLER

You know the one team that makes the Final 4 against huge odds only to get annihilated by the favorite who is clicking on all cylinders that day. Bill “The Butcher” Cutting went down with class, but he went down hard.

FINAL FOUR

#1 Rollie Fingers v. #1 Burt Reynolds

#5 Ned Flanders v. #2 Rhett Butler

To be honest, at this point, the committee is running on fumes. All of the easy jabs and jokes have been used up and we are past the good beer and into the stuff that is on the back of the shelf that was left there by someone who visited about 3 months ago.

To break it down simply and easy, the winner of the sports side never really had a chance once they got out of the regional to do anything against the stacked People region. Only Hogan had enough brand power to possibly battle with Burt Reynolds, but Fingers had no shot against the man that beat Albert Einstein, Ron Jeremy, and Groucho Marx to make it this far.

Similarly, while Ned Flanders run was unexpected and brought a lot of attention to the Madness, you could tell that he was happy just to make it to the final four. There’s a reason why actors only do TV until they can do Movies, Movies are just bigger and better.

Which brings us to the Championship:

burt2In this corner, born on February 11, 1936 and missing since 2005 (I kid), he has won many awards throughout his career including 5-time Favorite Motion Picture Actor from 1979 to 1984, 3-time Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer, 2 Golden Globes, and an Emmy.  He was THE #1 box-office star for 5 straight years from 1978-1982 and in 1989 was the Durex Man of the Year. Your dad wanted to be him and your mom wanted to …. love him, Heeeeeeee’s

“Bandit” Burton Milo “Burt” Reynolds, Jr.

250px-Clark_Gable_as_Rhett_Butler_in_Gone_With_the_Wind_trailerAs the primary character in the biggest movie of all-time (adjusted for gross), Rhett is the rogue and scalawag (ask Wikipedia) from the movie. Played by Clark Gable, who was I am sure was in some other great movies. At 6’1” and filmed in 1939, from somewhere in Georgia –

Rhett Butler

For the record, this is what having a 50% female committee will get you. Not that it is bad, it was very important to get a woman’s view on the acceptance of the mo since it is very hard to have a look good enough with the mo now a days to be accepted by the fairer sex.

To be honest, “Franky, I don’t give a damn” about Rhett Butler and if I had enough foresight I would have pushed someone that I could write better about. Luckily, without any sway from the judge, Burt won the championship with only 1 vote going to Butler.

So how did Burt win? The pencil-thin mo sported by Rhett would always have a hard time against a full mo like Burt sports. Plus, look at his intro, Burt Reynolds was the #1 box office star for 5 years and while Ia m a HUGE fan of the Bandit and Cannonball series of movies, I would venture to say that most of those movies are less than memorable.

The best part of Burt Reynolds winning is that we can finish this madness off in true Burt Reynolds style – role the outtakes.

MoMadnessFinal

Movember Madness #2 – Road to the Elite Eight

November 29, 2012
MoMadnessElite8

Image

For some reason, my Elite 8 post lost all text between last night and today…for donations: http://mobro.co/jeremylouden. Sorry for lack of clean up, had to post from  backup.

For Part 1: Movember Madness: The Selection

The kickoff for Movember Madness had to be scheduled for Thanksgiving. So on Thanksgiving, a group of Mo aficionados were gathered around a hot fire with plenty of fluids to keep them going through the long and difficult process of picking a winner. The 8 experts were split into 3 groups: Dudes (brothers Alex and Cameron, friend Charlie), Chicks (sisters Morgan and Natalie, wife Emily), and the Old Married Couple (parents Gary and Janet). I only served as mediator and representative for the contestants.

So as Bruce Buffer would say, after thanking his brother for his career, “It’s Time”…

Sports Region

#1 Rollie Fingers v. #8 Mike Ditka

The Hall of Fame pitcher, who has his number retired by 2 teams and has to be in the Mustache Hall of Fame, easily hammered the overmatched Ditka. Maybe if Buddy Ryan was there to help out, he could have had a chance.

#4 Larry Bird v. #5 Don Mattingly

The “Battle of Indiana”.  While it is widely known that the “Hick from French Lick” is an Indiana native, Donnie Baseball in native to Evansville, IN. While Mattingly often ran afoul with management for his ungroomed facial hair and mullet – he had no chance against “Basketball Jesus”.

#3 Goose Gossage v. #6 Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez came out pissed with the #6 seeding, “I was voted top sports mustache ever by the American Mustache Institute – check Wikipedia if you don’t believe me.” We believe you Keith, you win.

#2 Hulk Hogan v. #7 Dale Earnhardt Sr

Hulkamania Rules, always.

People

#1 Burt Reynolds v. #8 Albert Einstein

This contest was heatly contested as the judges had trouble separating Einstein from his mo. In the end, the Bandit won a close battler to make it to the 2nd round. Einstein was done in when pictures had to be presented that proved he had a mustache. People only remember the hair.

#4 Ron Jeremy v. #5 Charlie Chaplin

jordan_hitlerPorn mo beats Hitler mo every time. Would the Chaplin style taken off if not for Hitler, who was born only 4 days after Chaplin? No one could bring this style back, including Michael Jordan.

#3 Groucho Marx v. #6 Ghandi

Ghandi’s mo is too peaceful to stand up to Groucho’s trademark look. The judges felt really, really bad for not picking Ghandi though as it was mentioned many times.

#2 Salvadore Dali v. #7 Teddy Roosevelt

Dali has flowers on the tips of his mustaches. Flowers win.

TV

#1 Magnum v. #8 Yosemite Sam

Up to this point, the tournament had been pretty calm, but it is not called “Madness” without a reason. The madness started here where the gun-toting Looney Tune took out one of the tournament favorites. Magnum, and Selleck, just doesn’t have the staying power that the liberal media want you to believe.

#4 Gomez Addams v. #5 Ned Flanders

Flanders helped prove the staying power of the cartoon mo as he followed up Yosemite’s huge upset with a pounding to the Addams patriarch. Mario expresses his anger on not making the tournament.

#3 Walker v. #6 Gene Shalit

While Shalit has a very strong mo, the rest of his resume just is not strong enough. Walker wins.

#2 Ron Swanson v. #8 Geraldo Rivera

Ron Swanson beats Geraldo 12 votes to 0 as random people stop in to vote against Geraldo, because, yes, everyone hates him. His respectability is reportedly buried in Al Capone’s Vault.

Movies

#1 Ron Burgundy v. #8 The Stranger

Sam Elliott deserved a place somewhere in this tournament and should have been given a better seed than #8, but his Q score just isn’t high enough. Burgundy in landslide but at least Sam gets some attention for his long time greatness.

#4 Doc Holliday v. #5 Bill “The Butcher” Cutting

I must admit that I had to look up the character’s name from Gangs of New York represented by Daniel Day Lewis, but everyone remembered his mo and his hat. I was very sorry to see Holliday leave, but he ran up against his huckleberry. The Butcher was a daisy and moves on.

#3 Jules Winfield v. #6 Jack Sparrow

“Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you …” The BAMF ran up against a stacked deck with the judges being 50% female. Something about pirates in eye liner that really changes a woman.

#2 Rhett Butler v. #7 Vito Corleone

“Gone with the Wind” v. “Godfather” . . . Rhett dominates.

ROUND 2

#1 Rollie Fingers v. #4 Larry Bird

With the strong following that Bird has among several of the judges, the money line was showing a lot of movement heading into the contest. The respect for Fingers’ mo is too great for Bird who has since shaved off his mo to show his incredibly thin upper lip.

#6 Keith Hernandez v. #2 Hulk Hogan

hernWhen pulling pictures for the bracket, I ran across this one of Keith Hernandez smoking on the bench; and you thought that the heavy use of OPS and WAR was the biggest change in baseball. Heads would explode and ESPN would literally be carrying Skip Bayless out on a stretcher.

All that said, the 18-time World Champion’s mo held strong with the help of all of the vitamins and prayers.

#1 Burt Reynolds v. #4 Ron Jeremy

Fresh from a bit of a scare in the 1st round, Burt has no trouble with Ron.

#3 Groucho Marx v. Salvadore Dali

A little hint, if they mass produce a set of glasses with mustache, nose, and eyebrows based on your appearance over 30 years after your death, you are going to be a hard out. Marx moves on.

groucho

#8 Yosemite Sam v. #5 Ned Flanders

The best matchup that anyone could draw up . . get it “draw up” . . ? Flanders pure spirit helps win out against the Cinderella minded Yosemite.

#3 Walker v. #2 Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson is not scared of Chuck Norris. Ron Swanson wins and then orders all of the bacon, all of the bacon.

#1 Ron Burgundy v. #5 Bill Cutting

And…. Burgundy is the 2nd #1 seed to fall. 60% of the time, he wins every time. This was not one of the 60%. Stay Classy.

#6 Jack Sparrow v. #2 Rhett Butler

I must say, I was very worried about the pirate riding his way with the women on to later rounds. In what was probably lucky for the other Mo’s, Captain Jack went up against one of the only other entrants that had a strength with the women. Rhett Butler wins. Hard to argue with the star of a movie that has grossed over $390 million worldwide not adjusted for inflation.

YOUR ELITE EIGHT:

#1 Rollie Fingers v. #2 Hulk Hogan

#1 Burt Reynolds v. #3 Groucho Marx

#5 Ned Flanders v. #2 Ron Swanson

#5 Bill Cutting v. #2 Rhett Butler

Movember Madness

November 28, 2012

 

Image

Overview

With Movember coming to an end, it is time to put the best mo’s (or staches, if you prefer) to the test. Think March Madness but with furry lips and waxed tips. The hope is that this tournament will help finally put an end to the never ending fight over who has the greatest mo while bringing increased awareness to men’s health, particularly prostate cancer. If you enjoy it, please donate a few shillings here: http://mobro.co/jeremylouden.

Selection Sunday

Before the tournament could come to a start, some ground rules had to be created. First, it was decided that 64 mo’s would be entered into the tournament, broken down into 4 regions, and seeded 1-8 in each region. Each region was given a category that its entrants had to belong: sports figures, famous people, TV characters, and movie characters. I could go into great detail how some were put into one category, but I will touch on any questionable ones as we go through the match-ups.

Hours were then spent deciding the final 64 to go into the tournament. Images were compared, biographies were pored over, and trimming habits were closely examined. While some may argue that there were no true criteria for selection, an entry had to have had a defining career or moment that was epitomized, stimulated, or even made possible through the mo. Similar to so much else in life, there is no true definition of greatness, you just know it when you see it.

Before going into the selections, we would like to honor some of the bubble Mo’s to miss the cut. Mario of “Super Mario Bros.” fame lost out when the video game conference lost its automatic bid. Wooderson of “Dazed and Confused” was just “alright, alright, alright” and didn’t make the cut. It was also decided that our tournament had no place for evil dictators so Hitler and Saddam were shown the door. In the sports region, we had a very tough battle in which it was decided a play-in game was needed. Mike Ditka narrowed out Wade Boggs to earn the 64th and final position.

So without further ado, the selections by region and seeding order:

Sports:
1. Rollie Fingers
2. Hulk Hogan
3. Goose Gossage
4. Larry Bird
5. Don Mattingly
6. Keith Hernandez
7. Dale Earnhardt Sr.
8. Mike Ditka (def. Wade Boggs in play-in)

People and Personalities:
1. Burt Reynolds
2. Salvadore Dali
3. Groucho Marx
4. Ron Jeremy (*representing the Porn mo conference)
5. Charlie Chaplin
6. Ghandi
7. Teddy Roosevelt
8. Albert Einstein

Movie Characters
1. Ron Burgundy (Anchorman, *70’s mo conference)
2. Rhett Butler (Gone With The Wind)
3. Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction)
4. Doc Holliday (Tombstone, *Cowboy mo conference)
5. Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Gangs of New York)
6. Capt. Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Carribean, *Pirates mo conference)
7. Vito Corleone (Godfather)
8. The Stranger (The Big Lebowski)

TV Characters
1. Magnum PI (Magnum PI)
2. Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec)
3. Walker (Texas Ranger, *Police mo conference)
4. Gomez Addams (Addams Family)
5. Ned Flanders (Simpson)
6. Gene Shalit (The Today Show)
7. Geraldo Rivera (*Douchy News personality mo conference)
8. Yosemite Sam (Looney Tunes)

Some quick notes

  • Burt Reynolds made it as a person while Tom Selleck was put in as a TV Character for a couple of reasons. First, they were both seen as #1 seeds and needed to be put in different regions but more importantly, Tom Selleck is always Magnum, while everything Burt Reynolds ever did – he IS Burt Reynolds.
  • Several people were selected from some of the top Mo conferences and have been noted a champion (*) of that conference. These conferences have automatic bids considering their long line of commitment to the Mo.

Come back tomorrow for the first 2 rounds and Thursday for the final rounds.

Getting Kick Started

June 25, 2012
Our Kickstarter Project

Summary: My company, nimbleSoft, has been putting extra time in to launch a project on Kickstarter to fund the last stage of development for our code generation product, nimbleDeveloper. This post will provide some information about Kickstarter,  why we chose to launch a project on the site, and the process that we followed to get our project launched.

As I sat across from Dennis, feasting on burritos and chips, we discussed a software product that we had envisioned. It was an application that would use tag-based templates (think html) and combine them with data from a database to produce standardized programming code. We should start a company and do what we were good at, consulting, to finance what we wanted to become, a software company.

Fast forward 4 ½ years later, we are finally nearing the launch that project that that had initiated the creation of our company. We have been very busy with consulting, a good problem, and not dedicated the time and effort needed to truly complete the software in a more “timely” manner.

What is Kickstarter

To use their description, Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. The process is straightforward. A person, or company, has an idea for a new product and they apply to list their project on the site. For sake of clarity, I will call the person or company who created the project listing a venture. Kickstarter reviews the request and either accepts or rejects it. Once accepted the venture finalizes their project listing by adding video, a full description of the project, and setting rewards for the supportive pledges. Pledges are monetary donations that supporters give to help fund the project. In exchange for their support, the venture gives them unique rewards that increase in significance with higher pledge amounts.

When the venture sets up the project they set a target dollar amount that they are trying to raise for their project. If they receive enough in pledges to achieve their goal, the project is funded and money is paid to the venture through Amazon payments. If the project does not meet its goals, it is unsuccessful and no money changes hands. After receiving the funds, the venture then starts working on their project and delivers the promised rewards to the supporters.

Kickstarter makes money by taking a percentage of the pledge amounts. At the time of this post, 61,110 projects had been launched with ~44% of them being successfully funded leading to $221 million dollars in financing. There are currently almost 4,000 projects listed on the site.

Why we posted on Kickstarter

At first, I started researching the site because I thought the whole thing was pretty interesting and there were some really great projects listed. People were able to create wonderful products without having to go through the arduous process of trying to secure financing from a bank, venture investor, or friends and family. They simply posted their idea to the masses and see if it was accepted or not.

We then decided that we were going to post nimbleDeveloper, our code generation software to the site. While the possible influx of capital was definitely a factor leading to our listing, it was not the primary reason.  We will be able to see what the interest level is for our application, a true market analysis. If we are able to meet our goal, we will be able be confident that there is a market for our application when we launch it. When you are so close to a project, use it every day, and have been working on it for years, it can be very difficult to fairly judge your creation.

The capital that it raises will also allow us to dedicate resources to completing the first version of the application, which we have never been able to do. The consulting side of the business has always affected our progress on the product. We pride ourselves for the excellent service that we provide, but all of that service takes time and resources.

Equally beneficial, it will create a group of devoted customers, advocates, for our system that will help us continue to make the product better in the future. Unlike other products that you may see on the site, the launch of our product will hopefully be just the first version of a long line of improvements and added features. We are going to rely on these customers, the first adopters, to lead us to where the tool needs to go.

Creating a Kickstarter project

It sounds pretty simple. First get accepted, then create the video, description, and rewards, post the project, and sit back and watch. At first, I thought it would be equally simple. It wasn’t.

First, have you ever created a video that you are hoping thousands of people will watch? It is not easy. Bringing in professionals is not cheap and doing it yourself will probably look cheap. In the end, we decided looking cheap would be better than spending money on a video that was meant to raise funds to support our project. Speaking as one of the primary presenters in the video, there is a reason we work with computers. Lines were missed, technical issues occurred, and general issues presented themselves. At the end of the day of shooting we had an 8 minute video with 3 minutes of it having no sound.

After various cuts and edits, we finally had a video short enough that it would keep someone interested but still have enough content to get our message across. We also dubbed some sound to fill in for the technical issues that we had on 2 of the scenes. While the edits did nothing to make us look like more polished presenters, we did have a suitable video.

I would hate to go into detail on how much time and effort went into the video, but it was not a small amount. It gave me a whole new appreciation for actors and presenters.

Then we had to establish our rewards. Kickstarter has a few rules about the rewards that are pretty easy to follow. Basically, don’t offer anything that you can’t deliver. We went through and tried to set up rewards that people would want that fit every pledge level. It wasn’t too difficult, but a little challenging trying to decide what people may want and like. Luckily, there are thousands of successful projects to benchmark.

Now that the project was all set up, we started to look at how we would market our project. Our website, for lack of a more suitable term, sucked. We had never put much effort into it as we never really used it as a sales tool. On the consulting side, we rely heavily on word-of-mouth and face-to-face meetings. In addition, the site was very consulting focused and had nothing about software. Due to this, we built an entirely new site to be launched on the same day as the Kickstarter project was to go live.

Which leads me to now, an hour away from our project launch. Sleep deprived, I am getting ready to deploy a new website, launch the project on Kickstarter, and submit this post.

Ready for Launch

If you would like to check out our Kickstarter page, please follow this link. Pledge if it interests you, or you just want a sticker, t-shirt, or cookies. The project is set to run for just over 30 days. I plan on posting an update at the mid-way point and one at the end. Hopefully, these will have some pearls of wisdom that I can pass on to others that are interested in launching their own project.

Are you a silent movie actor?

March 14, 2012
11162359_det

Summary: When most people watch “The Artist” they will immediately be drawn to the style and the love story of the film. I immediately started drawing parallels between my own more colorful, very noisy world.

Warning: There may be spoilers in this article and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s viewing of the movie – so stop now and come back.

Side note: Within this post, I focus on technology, but you can easily make the same points about changes in sales, marketing, production, teaching, etc. All business and personal interactions are evolving, largely due to the availability and use of technology.

On the surface, The Artist is a movie about a man who falls from grace and only finds his way out of the gutter with the help of a woman and their love. This is a story that has been told numerous times in Hollywood and, to be honest, has no real need for a blog post written by me. However, when I watched the film, the themes of obsolescence,  technical evolution, and pride jumped out at me.

Obsolescence

We are all going to become obsolete some day. If not, people wouldn’t retire, or for that matter experience the ultimate in obsolescence, death. As an owner of a technical business with 10+ years of experience behind me, this is more visible in my every day life than most. With every wave of new technology, the “opportunity window” closes a little more. How many hot start-ups are started by people in their 40′s or later? I don’t want to sound like an ageist, because I am not, just a realist. Most people’s careers climb until they reach an apex and then slowly decline until retirement.

The Artist shows this brilliantly through the use of a silent movie star as their protagonist, one of the most obsolete professions I can think of. It also happens that silent films became obsolete, at least in the movie, rather quickly. When giant companies like Borders, Kodak, and Blockbuster can decline as suddenly as they have, it would be naive to think that this cannot happen on a personal level. Ask MySpace what they think of Facebook, or Blackberry how they are doing against Google and Apple.

Technical Evolution

The companies that I used as examples became obsolete because they weren’t able to adjust to changing technology and customer habits. It can easily be argued that they became too satisfied with their place in the world and did not place the right amount of importance on up-start competitors.  While this is true, it was also difficult to continue their core business while diversifying into new technology and new business models. If you go too far, you are abandoning your existing customers. Now relate this to yourself. 5 or 10 years ago, I had much more time to learn new technology. Now I am lucky to keep up to date in the technology that I do know. In addition to work, I have a great wife and 2 kids that I enjoy and need to spend my time with.

Going back to The Artist, the main character is shown a “talkie”, a movie with sound and speaking, and he blows it off. For reasons that we will touch on later, he ignored the technical evolution of movies. He was given an insider look on the future of his industry and he turned his back on it. Had he embraced it, his life would have been much better (though we wouldn’t have a great movie).

Facebook, Twitter, social marketing, the cloud, smart phones, tablets…how many new technologies have changed business in just the past 5 years? I run a software consulting business and I don’t own or operate a single server. My mail, files, and databases are all hosted through services in the cloud. This would have been a pipe dream when I graduated college. Your business, your life, is going to change every day and you can either face these changes and accept them or you can dismiss them as fads. When you do dismiss the next “tech fad”, think of the silent movie actor and what happened to him when he dismissed sound in movies.

Pride

The actor in the movie saw himself as more than an actor, he was “The Artist”. At least that is how he saw himself, everyone else saw him as nothing more than an actor in a dying industry. If he was more in touch with others’ perception of him, he would have been able to accept the shift away from his silent films. In his mind though, he was making art, and his films could not be lowered to the level of having people actually talk in them. Basically, he was very full of himself.

Is your opinion of yourself holding you back from accepting reality? Is your self portrait in line with how other people see you? There is one way to know for sure, ask them. Once you have your perceptions in line with reality, you will be able to acknowledge these shift and act on them.

<MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD>

In the end of “The Artist”, the actor finally realizes the err of his ways and swallows his pride. He accepts the help of his lover and finds a niche in which he still has appeal to the new generation of customers. It takes him nearly dying and losing everything that he has to reach this finale.

By learning the lessons symbolized in “The Artist”, you should be able to overcome the ever changing landscape of the world around you.

And you though that you were simply watching a novel film shot in black and white and largely silent.

Celebrate Your Conquests (and Your Defeats)

March 5, 2012
tags: ,
Celebrate

Summary: Too often people don’t recognize and celebrate key moments in their lives. Part of setting goals is tracking the completion of the goal, and taking a moment to reflect when it reaches its end.

This year, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl and were rewarded with a string of huge celebrations. In addition to the party that the organization gave them, there was a ticker tape parade and there will be a White House visit. The losers of the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots, also had a private party following the Super Bowl. While I would venture to say that this celebration was much more subdued that the Giants, they were raked over the coals by “the media” for celebrating a loss. I commend them. Reaching the pinnacle of your occupation and being one play away from winning the championship should be recognized. It is also a good time to reflect, as a team, on what they need to do the following year to get back to the same level – and hopefully succeed next time.

Personally, my company reached a milestone in its 4th year that I was able to celebrate with my employees. We ate our faces off, told stories, and had a generally good time. This celebration has also acted as a boost to the company and to me personally. It also made me regret that I have waited for 4 years to have any similar type of celebration. The occasion was devoted to reflecting on what we did right (and wrong) and the company received a benefit that more than covered the cost.

I know what you are thinking – glad I am wasting my time reading this “ground breaking” blog. Well . . I have also come to realize that you need to celebrate when you fail to reach your goals. Similar to the Patriots, a failure party will generally be a much more subdued occasion. However, it is the perfect occasion to reflect on what was done right and wrong during the attempt to complete the goal. Additionally, what is a better way of putting closure on a failure than to recognize the failure in grand fashion. I have even heard of a team holding a mock funeral for an application that was killed off by their company. While this may seem overboard, it shows the devotion that the team had in developing and supporting the system and the action allowed them to relieve some of the disappointment that they felt in hours of hard work being thrown out.

The examples of failures leading to great successes are everywhere. To quote Thomas Edison, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. None of these successes could have occurred if the people involved did not take the time to learn from the failure and  extract any worth that was left. It is impossible for this to occur if you just mark the failure up in the loss column and move on to the next goal.

The next time you fail, take the time to celebrate the failure and identify the lessons you will take from it. And for those of you who can’t stomach the idea of celebrating failure, just call it “drowning your sorrows”, serves the same purpose.

Note: Sorry for the long hiatus, January and February were amazingly busy. Good, but busy. I have a few posts that I have started but not completed so i should have some regulars out here in the coming weeks.

Audacity – Enemy of Apathy #1

December 12, 2011
audacity_resize

The definition of Audacity from dictionary.com
1. boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
2. effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness: His questioner’s audacity shocked the lecturer.

By glancing over the definition, it may not seem complementary to call someone audacious or to say someone “has” audacity. I am going to tell you exactly the opposite. To achieve and aspire in this world you need audacity. This idea has been communicated in subtler ways; “positive thinking brings positive actions”, “you have to believe to do”, and other derivatives of similar ideas. They don’t go far enough.

When you are trying to accomplish something significant, do you try to be great at it? Why do it if you are going to half ass it? I say great is not good enough, your goal, to borrow from gaping void, should be to be “totally fucking amazing”!

Amazing-ness does not come by simply having positive thought or believing in yourself. It doesn’t reach far enough. You need to have a level of self confidence that propels you through your doubts. “I think I can” is great for the “Little Engine” and it may get you started, but for amazing, you need to be thinking know that “I am going to accomplish my goal and nothing is going to stop me”.

I know Oprah believes in the Secret, but to accomplish what she has the Secret is like the first flight of steps on the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. She had to have a belief that grew into a boldness to become one of the most important people in television, and then equally amounts of that audacity to shut it down. I am not an Oprah fan, but looking at what she has accomplished, largely on her own terms, it is pretty inspiring, and awe-inspiring.

Enough about Oprah, For the rest of this post, I am going to use myself as an example. You should use yourself in relating to these concepts. Everyone has accomplished something amazing that started by first conquering your doubt and apathy. I am going to break down the definition of audacity from earlier in the post, boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.

Boldness or Daring.
When I started my company 4 years ago, I was leaving a very good job. I actually even liked my job well enough. House prices were starting to drop and we were at the beginning of recession. I also had a 2 year old son and my wife was 7 months pregnant with our second child. I think you can see why I often say that the hardest thing about starting my company was deciding to start it. Everything after that just flowed by performing a series of small actions. That initial decision was the most difficult one I ever made.

Looking back, I realize the amount of boldness that I held to think I could do any better than the current situation. I often wonder if I was in that same situation now, 4 years later, if I would make the same decision. It ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made, but it took “guts”, brass ones.

Confident or Arrogant
I have often been told that I was confident, arrogant, or even cocky. I think a lot of the time it was meant to be an insult, not a complement. Regardless, I have always taken it as a complement. I have always felt that one of my biggest assets was the confidence to try, even if it led to failure, just about anything. Confidence is not necessarily the feeling that you are going achieve, but rather lacking the fear of failure when you don’t succeed.

If you lack self confidence in something that you want to do, you need to start acting. I have a goal someday of writing a book. I don’t know why, I just want to. That is the primary reason I started writing this blog. I knew that I needed to practice writing on a regular basis to get better at it. What I didn’t realize was the amount of confidence that I lacked in my writing and how people around me would accept it. To be honest, I often feel like writing this blog requires a large amount of audacity. Who am I to dare think that I have anything worthwhile enough to write to interest anyone? I didn’t share a post on Facebook until after my 10th post and after my wife had already begin sharing it. I still have some doubt if my posts are any good, but I am slowly building that confidence that will hopefully grow into audacity (and a book). If I fail, who cares, I have found that I enjoy writing.

Disregard for Safety, Conventional Thought, or Restrictions
This is the most important part of the definition. Audacity is not simply being boldly confident (or daringly arrogant). It is using those emotions as power to enable you to overcome the restrictions that we put on ourselves, or put on us by others. For many people, it is very hard to start a company because most of us have been ingrained with the idealism of getting a good job. We go to college and follow the trodden path because that is the conventional method of “success”. You have to be insane, in a very good way, to break out of the shell that we all have around our actions and thoughts.

So be audacious. Do something that is not easy or expected. Go back to school. Quit your job. Have kids. Paint a masterpiece. Jump out of an airplane.

Be bold. Be confident. Defy convention.

%d bloggers like this: