Month: August 2008

A bit more about Viagra

Not long ago I wrote about Senator McCain’s answer to a reporter’s question concerning insurance, Viagra, and birth control. Clearly, not the most pressing thing to be thinking about now that we’ve had a chance to hear Democrats during the convention, what’s to come now that Republicans have started theirs, and Senator McCain’s announcement of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I get it.  

But it just cracks me up. More, much more, to come on the other two topics, but for now I offer a video of that conversation and an article about it. You can find both here.


Beauty, expectations, and my daughter

Dove has an ad running now called, “Esteem Workshops.” You’ve probably seen it; a barrage of images flash across the screen in front of a young girl; models, tight bodies, bras, cheerleaders, etc. The camera then tightens in on her young, solemn face and copy fades into the screen reading, “Girls are under more pressure than ever.” The spot then introduces the dove self-esteem fund. It’s a project designed to help girls develop positive self-esteem and body image.

This weekend, as I sat on the couch, one leg stretched out to make sure my daughter (now just over one) didnt’ hurl herself off the pillows into the abyss, I saw this ad. I’d seen it before, but as I sat there with my daughter giggling away, pushing at my leg, and looking for an escape route, the spot took on more meaning than it had in the past.

Google reports each of us is exposed to roughly 3,000 ads each day. That’s 3,000 opportunities each day for my daughter to be wounded on a level much deeper than a bumped head or scraped knee. That just won’t do. If you have a daughter, or a niece, or are in some way part of a girl’s life, I encourage you to check it out. You can find the homepage here.

Need a starting point? Try the video below. This has been around a while, but it never fails to make me shake my head in wonder…

New title

As an FYI, this Blog is no longer named, “Working Title.” An imaginative title, I know, but after quite a bit of thought I think I’ve found the title I’ve been looking for. When I started this Blog about a month ago I had no idea what the focus would be. And, without that knowledge, choosing an appropriate title seemed impossible. Now, a handful of posts later, I still don’t. And that’s okay. But, as you can see above, I have decided on one that works for me: Stone and Sea.


LinkedIn, the Whopper, and an angry man in shiny black boots

When I went through Marine Corps Boot Camp (I still can’t help but capitalize it), in what sometimes seems another life altogether, my Drill Instructors had a rich supply of curses they would shout at of us. My platoon consisted of around 80 guys from all over the country and we all shared one thing when we started – we were terrified.

In thinking about it, I guess that’s not quite true. At first, the first five days or so, we were still the same guys that stepped off the bus, shuffled across the sidewalk, and put our feet on painted yellow footprints. We’d come from the airport, a trip that lasted somewhere around twenty minutes, and during those moments each of us spoke only in tight whispers – and that sparingly – but it wasn’t fear. More the kind of feeling you get when you step into a somber place you’re unfamiliar with. After we arrived at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) and filed off the bus each of us stood on those footprints, row after row, and formed our platoon for the first time. All this happened as a guy in a flat-brimmed “hat” threw curses, spittle flying this way and that, and yelled for us to hurry. But still, we weren’t afraid. It wasn’t quite denial. More like ignorance, I think. We just didn’t get it. But that’s another story altogether.

The point here is that about a week later, when we were terrified, one of our D.I.’s trademark shouts was calling us, “the Burger King Generation.” And while it wasn’t exactly elegant, I got what he was saying – we wanted it our way. Or, more fundamentally, each of came to the Marines with self at the center. It was all about us.

Which, finally, brings me to my true point: LinkedIn profiles.  First, if you don’t have a profile, you should probably think about it. If you do, I offer you this piece of wisdom (clearly, not mine): your profile is, in more ways than most of us can grasp, your public face. It’s your resume; online for everyone to see. Why on Earth wouldn’t you have it dialed-out to present “you” exactly as you would want contacts, potential employers, or even old friends to see? I ask this because, at present, my profile basically blows. Think of this post as a symbolic V-8 slap to myself. But, hopefully, all two readers of this blog might benefit from it, as well.

What does this have to do with Boot Camp, you ask? Just this – it’s not all about you, or me, or him. Your profile, while personal and about you, is also a social platform. If someone asks you for a recommendation, take the 15 minutes and write a good one. You’re helping them improve their public face, and who knows where that can take them? Take the time to make an introduction when you can. In other words, don’t be the guy that only reaches out when they’re looking for a new gig. Be engaged. Be thoughtful. Give as good as you get.


A Monday ritual

For me, Mondays just aren’t as tough as they used to be. The reasons vary, but I think the primary difference is having a job that, for the most part, I adore. I’m not saying I dance my way to the office, or blow through the doors whistling, but most Monday mornings I sit down in front of my computer relaxed and ready to get going. 

After general housekeeping – prioritizing the emails that seem to have multiplied over the weekend, answering the quick messages or urgent requests, and putting together a reasonable project list for the day – I take a few minutes to visit a very cool site.

Check it out here.

And so ends a love affair…

Not long ago, I wrote about an ever-increasing headache, thumping away in the back of my skull, courtesy of our country’s politicians. I mentioned the madness of today’s politics – the ridiculous, inexplicable abandonment of thought and reason in our political process. What I didn’t write about was the equally agonizing exposure to what has become standard for many of those who look to us for our support and our vote – petty, venomous, fear-based messages, washing over and through each of us, day after day, in every possible medium. 

And while that topic could fill volumes, it does bring me to another question: How do you reconcile those messages with a politician’s primary goal? In other words, if politicians campaign to become leaders, and most campaigns have only a cursory relationship with anything resembling decency, what kind of leadership do most of them demonstrate throughout the process? Are they the kind of leader we want?

So, when it’s clear a politician is also a leader, I find it absolutely tragic to lose them because they can’t keep their fly closed.

So long, John Edwards.

Presenters – Check your spelling

Earlier this week a few of us from my company went to a marketing summit in Houston that focused on Online marketing best practices and emerging trends. All of us were pretty jazzed about going because the topics seemed both relevant to our work and interesting (there were a few social media sessions I was particularly excited about). And, no shocker, it’s always nice to get away from the office for a day or two, right?

The night before the conference I was able to spend some time with an old friend on a fantastic patio for conversation and a decent Cabernet. It had been a few years since we’d seen one another and in the time that had passed each of us had seen quite a few changes – new careers, new children, and on. It was a blast catching up.

 Without a doubt, that was the best part of the trip. By far.   

It’s not that the conference was awful, it just wasn’t good. I think each of us came away with a thing or two we didn’t know before, but we all left feeling it could have been so much better, especially considering the variety of topics that were listed on the agenda.

For me, things went south about 8:45. The founder of the summit had been delivering the Keynote address for about 15 minutes or so when his slides became littered with typos, usage errors, and missing and/or duplicated words.

Are you kidding me?

No question, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes when it comes to that kind of thing, but really? In the Keynote? The third or fourth slide with blatant mistakes and I just sat there shaking my head, slightly puzzled. How was I supposed to take this seriously when the Keynote Speaker, the founder of the organization, didn’t seem to understand Spell Check?

His presentation definitely set the tone for the rest of the conference. Unfortunately, I doubt it was the tone he intended.