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Archive for June, 2010

New Opportunity, Capitalizing on my Skills

I’m in conversations with someone about the possibility of being involved with a group of people to identify, assess, and execute Reverse Mergers.

In case you’re like me (as of yesterday), you may not understand what the heck a reverse merger is.  Basically it’s when a healthy, non-public company goes IPO by merging with an unhealthy “shell” company who’s already publicly traded. This enables the healthy company to raise capital through selling stock, quicker than if they were to use the traditional IPO route.  Here’s an explanation.

This opportunity capitalizes on my skills of assessing and executing complex corporate programs. I think I can bring a lot to this party.   I’m interested!

What Fathers Give

Recently, I heard someone say Fathers instill a sense of self-esteem in their children.

I think it is extraordinarily poignant observation and it works both on the positive and negative side of the spectrum.  I have seen a lot of adult suffering that is a result of “daddy issues” and I have also seen some heart-warmingly tender father/child relationships.

Positive self-esteem shows up in the world as a sense of being ‘comfortable’ as oneself, knowing that it is OK to lead and to follow, rejecting ideas and actions that won’t be beneficial long-term, having a healthy weight, and a healthy attitude towards sex.  It is a sense of self-worth and self-definition that gives a person the confidence to reject and steer clear of the negative undercurrent of humanity.

Negative self-esteem shows up in the world as constantly seeking affirmation (needing attention, needing to be liked), acting erratically toward authoritarian figures, being stuck short-term thinking, and struggling with weight and sexual dysfunction.  Questions emanating from deep-seated uncertainty about what do I deserve? and what can I expect from others? dominate thoughts and undercut the ability to do long-term goal-setting and imagine good things in the future.

Of course, those with poor father figures can, over time, work to correct the issues.  A methodical approach to self-reflection and growth can overcome an weak, absent, or an abusive father… but it can take years of work to lay a new foundation to a house that’s already inhabited.

You don’t need to be perfect in order to instill good self-esteem: you can be divorced, or have vices, troubles, or failures.  In fact, it’s probably better if you aren’t perfect: a big part of self-esteem is the ability to be able to move past your failures in life.  So if you have failures, be thoughtful and use these times as a teachable moment showing grace and good manners in the face of adversity.

Good fathers bestow positive self-esteem by being a good role models: living with integrity, being in harmony with themselves, accepting wins and losses, and engaging their sons and daughters in a way that is respectful and patient.

In anticipation of Fathers Day, I want to applaud my many friends who are good fathers and positive role models.  Keep up the good work.

Intuit’s websites down

Intuit’s customer-supporting websites failed.  Downtime so far? Over 24 hours.

Intuit: do you need some help?  I don’t know what the cause is for your website failures, but I’ll bet that the long-term solution to ensuring that this problem never happens again lies with re-invigorating your Application Migration program and getting all those programs quickly up and running in your new data center and investing in really robust DR along the way.

Pension Promises Sure to be Broken

Bloomberg post:

Ah yes, my fair city!

We had some very corrupt politicians a few years ago who voted themselves enormous pension benefits (that will actually pay them significantly MORE than they ever made while working) and they simultaneously underfunded the pension obligation bank accounts.  There was one feisty city attorney (Mike Aguirre)  who would have declared that ridiculous pension scheme unconstitutional, but he got smushed like a bug under the weight of all the people who had a vested interest in keeping the promises in place as long as possible.

It reminds me of a scene from Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand understood something very fundamental about the dark side of humanity. I have yet to determine if she was similarly prescient in her view that a form of virtuous selfishness will save the day.

San Diego has been flirting with the bankruptcy option for a long time, but every time it comes up the pillars of our community freak out on the local NPR station and at City Hall meetings and the recurring suggestion (non-resolution) seems to be to “order another audit review.”  I assume that they’re hoping that some rounding error will be identified and corrected which will result in billions of dollars being suddenly found. It’s all nonsense, of course: they are merely showboating and avoiding the difficult work of righting the situation.

In the meantime, we blithely stumble along in the sunshine.  We raise taxes on tourist-related services to get what we can from non-residents who have the audacity to want to share in our good climate.  And we hope for the best.  Sigh!

Whitman and Fiorina win: you go girls!

Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina won their primaries and will now go forth into the general election.  I love to see powerful women leaders.

Invest in a professional network as if your career depended upon it – because it does

In 2007, as the economy was just beginning to sputter, I took stock of my career. Just over 30, I had two Masters degrees, a resume that included the White House and several large technology companies. My personal network and leadership skills seemed impressive and my income had been going up every year. Yet, with all this, it was clear that breaking out of current income tier and moving into significant income ($200,000 was my goal) was simply not within my grasp.

So, I pondered. Should I just keep working hard and try to climb a corporate ladder somewhere? Get another professional certification? Go for my MBA?  It was during this period of reflection that someone suggested I investigate something called The Aji Network.

It turns out that The Aji Network offers a Business Professional’s Course; a 2-year study of business philosophy – kind of an alternative MBA program.  Graduates of that program can move into LEIP, which stands for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Power. Throughout the US, they host workshops. Plus, they’re just starting a web-based version of their methodology for professional reflection and growth called Aji Space, which also gets you access to the network of professionals who are Aji students.

As a result of my professional association with Aji, I’ve established a large number of new personal relationships with successful business leaders. I don’t just exchange business cards and rub shoulders with these folks. I am in regular conversations and study groups with Senior Executives of companies whose names you’d recognize (Fortune 50) and with some of the most talented and success-oriented entrepreneurs out there.  The members of Aji are all successful business people spanning a vast array of industries.

After five years of involvement, I am fully confident that I have the ability to design a career that suits me and will enable me to fulfill my ambitions. Since I established my own business along the way, I should mention that I’ve also been glad to have a network of smart, talented, and accomplished people to lean on for help and guidance as I find my entrepreneurial footing.

Today, I run my own successful technology consulting practice, advising corporations and venture capitalists on IT Risk Mitigation strategies. I have a strong professional identity befitting my role, professional accomplishments galore, and I am landing lucrative contracts from big-name clients.

Being a member of The Aji Network been a good decision for me, but you have to figure out what’s right for you. Regardless, my advice to everyone reading this is to invest in your career by being a part of powerful professional network.

Isn’t anyone ever happy?

Al and Tipper Gore are splitting after 40 years of marriage.

I’m sure that there are things we don’t know. Maybe they were miserable for a long time, maybe their marriage was just a well-orchestrated farce. I don’t want to spend time focusing on them specifically, per se. I’m just noticing the pattern of baby-boomers who bail out on long-term marriages late in life.

Does anyone think that they are going to find another great love in their mid 60′s? Perhaps. But lonliness is rampant in the world today. To me, ending a long marriage late in life tempts fate.

Can being single really be attractive to anyone at 62? (Trust me, no matter what your age is, the dating scene isn’t pretty.) The dating scene can be a ridiculous mating dance that challenges the confidence of even the most grounded of humans. In my mind, a main benefit of part of a long-term relationship the fact that you have shared your life. You have someone who knows where you’ve been. Ego melts away after all those years of cohabitation; and that can be a good thing if you celebrate and embrace that aspect of life.

Also… divorce is the single biggest destroyer of wealth of all time (Bear Stearns not withstanding!) I recognize that the Gore’s can afford to divorce, but it seems to me that the wealth they’ve accumulated could have helped the progeny of their family for many future generations. To whittle away at the fortune by forcing a partial liquidation of the estate now, rather than letting the interest compound over time seems massively self-centered to me. The Old European royalty had this one correct. They used to officially remain married (no matter what private agreements they came to) just to keep the estate in tact.  (New Royalty didn’t take that approach, and you can see what  Sara, Dutchess of York has been reduced to in her attempts to pay for the lifestyle associated with her position.) Seeing the money troubles of the modern British monarchs makes the concept of marriage ’till-death-do-you-part-the-estate’ seem quite practical to me!

I understand the need to officially divorce if you’re going to go off and start a new family.  Don’t want the kids to be bastards after all.  But late in life?  What’s the point?  Why not, especially late in life, just come to an agreement that doesn’t include the need to officially separate and divorce? That’s such a formal decision that leaves very little room for further moves (whether practical or emotional.) For example: suppose one of them has a heart attack? A divorced person probably wouldn’t go to the bedside of the ex, and even if they did, the ex wouldn’t legally be allowed to make medical decisions on their behalf.  Just when medical decisions become important, you’re cutting out an important emergency contact.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, I am dismayed that human happiness is so elusive to modern humans.  After reading books like Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, I am glad that we’re finally taking a more scientific approach to understanding how to create and sustain happiness (beyond pharmaceuticals!) I am still on my personal journey to foster more and more sustained happiness in my own life, but I don’t want to sound too Eat, Pray, Love about it.  Happiness is, to some extent, a personal journey and a personal decision, but love can not be experienced as a singularity.  I think love is more of a narrative of interaction between yourself and other humans as you create your shared future.

I hope the Gore’s can create happiness as they go through their relationship transformation. We all need a little love.



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