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How To Nail An Interview April 17, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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How To Nail An Interview

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Twitter impact with Amazon April 14, 2009

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Sharing commentary I found about this topic. Probably seen other post about this. The viral based speed to communicate with the SM tool set is very powerful.

Does #AmazonFAIL actually matter? April 14, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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Does #AmazonFAIL actually matter?

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Going Green and Speed Limits April 8, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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A quick rumination on using windmills to reduce our carbon footprint.  To be clear, I’m all for it. Renewable alternative sources fo energy are wonderful and I hope they create lots of new jobs going forward.  In fact, I saw an article about fixing the grid that referred to this as a new ARPA-net as ‘ARPA-e’ for energy. Hmmm.

Back to windmills. The weather recently was a typical early Spring day. Rain – lots of it and windy.  In fact, very windy. Sustained gust over 35 mph. So, it made me think – while the wind drives the windmill, do they have a maximum speed ?  Of course, the faster they spin, they more energy they create. But, it is a mechanical device after all – gears and shafts, joints and such. Do windmills have a brake of some sort to limit the speed? Just curious.

Madness from March is over April 7, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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The title game for the NCAA Men’s Championship played out as expected last night. The more talented, athletic team won last night and that clearly was UNC. They took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes and executed their plays consistently. It was a rout mid-way through the 1st half. Not good for TV ratings as you want a close game to watch. Also, not so good for the underdog.  Read the game summary from espn here.

The sub plot of David vs. Goliath was talked up a lot by the media. The underdog Mich. St, playing in nearby Detroit was the sympathetic people’s champion. A win by Mich. St. would be a win for everyone in Michigan. A feel good story and a sign that our nation is on the road to recovery. Baloney. While Mich. St. had a good run, they were outclassed by a more talented opponent. The media under talked the game between these teams earlier in the season. Same team won last night and the 1st game was also a blow out.

We always pull for the underdog and want to see them triumph despite having the odds against. them. Did not happen last night. The better team won. The madness from this years’ tournament is now over. A team that was ranked #1, had players committed to and focused on winning the title achieved their goal. Congratulations to UNC as the winner, they earned their championship.

In sports, when we root for the underdog, do we feel let down when the better team wins? If you are unbiased, the tendency is to root for the non-favored team. Is that part of our national character? Do we identify more with the potential loser vs. the winner? We put up money on David to overcome Goliath.  When David wins, we win also. Not only with the winnings but also get a sense of accomplishment, beating the odds, a indirect can-do feeling. It is cathartic;  a Walter Mitty scenario with no impact to us in the real world.

In business, we want the sure thing. The risk and down side with the underdog solution is not favored. You would not risk your career/reputation on a Walter Mitty based-fantasy that requires an all-success, stars aligned, fingers crossed, and, this time I mean it, business proposal, would you? If you did, how did that work out? Are you still in business?

The predictable, known quantity is preferred for the obvious reasons.  Described in the Black Swan book, we don’t plan for the unexpected happening very often.  The impact of the unlikely, improbable event is not something we tend to spend time on.   That is a type of madness we don’t want to use as a business model. Unless, you can see the opportunity and manage risks better than your competition.  If you become proficient at that, I might even put you in my bracket next year when the madness begins again next March.

Until then, I’ll be watching the Yankees as tThe season for the great American past time just started yesterday. Not on a good note either as their newest highly paid pitcher looked awful. Did not have his ‘stuff’ from the beginning. More on baseball with my Walter Mitty escapes as the season goes on.

Art, Life and Imitation April 6, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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You now the old saw that  “Life imitates art” and its’  Zen opposite of “Art imitates life”.  Whichever one you subscribe to I think is relative to your context and the times you live in. In a given situation at any point in time, you may answer one way. In another setting, your answer will change to the opposite. We all have had situations where each  is valid. It is a symbiotic relationship where each changes the other.

Art certainly borrows from life for inspiration. Artists use life as source material to convey new perspectives, commentary, raise awareness.  Successful art invokes a response. Doesn’t matter good or bad – the fact that it connected with you somehow is the point. And, if it is something you have seen in your experience, it then can be personal.

Life is also then influenced by art. Our response can become powerful impressions that change behavior and attitudes of what we believe in.  We also use art as a medium for escape from our daily existence. A song lyric whose implication concerns me goes  “Reruns all become our history“. I hope that is not true. Rose-colored hindsight can buy into that perspective but I don’t believe it is accurate.

I believe in the correlation that in good times when the economy is growing, people are employed and there is relative  peace and harmony, the TV shows that are popular are grim, highly dramatic and hard hitting about how our lives can be better. We can take bad news and can reflect on how to make things better. When times are tough, like now and in the 60s, the shows we watch are fictional and very unrealistic. I hope in times, they are not our history.  Are you willing to defend how ‘American Idol’ was an accurate reflection of our life in the early part of this century?

What I do find interesting is somewhat of a repeat (intentional  pun) of what I saw in the 60s. The shows in Prime Time then were very much distanced from reality as they offered an escape form the problems of the day. The 60s were a time of great change in civil rights, war,  anti-establishment angst. The current show Mad Men takes place just as all that churn starts. Prime time fare included F-Troop, I dream of Jeanie, Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Petticoat Junction, Star Trek, Mayberry RFD and the beats goes  on. Not very reflective of the times.  Fast forward to todays’  line-up. Current prime time shows also offer an escape from the troubles in our daily lives with shows such as Lost, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and  Survivor.

What is sad and very disturbing is the reaction people have today. People who are stressed out are turning to violence against innocent strangers and then committing suicide.  We need our leaders to act on the root causes – not provide sound bites on gun control. We need programs and services that sustain a sense of community and support as corporations ‘right-size’ themselves. I fervently hope  it long in coming when we  see a sit-com of an average family losing their job, getting evicted in the down-ward spiral toward being homeless.

I watched many of those escapist shows in the 60s and I watch a few of those mentioned today.  I do like the escape at times. But, I also am grounded in the reality of the day and am ready to make a difference. I want my life to impact art. How we react and resolve the problems we face today will be seen in our art of tomorrow. It will be on display in galleries, museums and can be seen on TV and the movies.  I’ll be watching to see how accurate they captured our times.  I may even find some I like.

New ways we stay connected April 3, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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Media communications is going through major changes as everyone knows. While content is king and always was, it is the mechanisms that are rapidly changing. A major growth area  for the digerati is the Social Media tools.  I know – obvious. But while those who are connected see it and use it more nad more, there are those who use the same old, same old to stay current, be caught up on news & events.

Nothing like a real example to illustrate the point. Today, there is a hostage situation in Binghamton, NY, a medium sized town in upstate NY where I went to college. A tragic situation where many lives are changed forever. I don’t know any details, need to catch up on that myself.

The Twitterverse is a buzz with posts and comments, observations about the situation.  The power of free speech in full view – editorials, notes about coverage,  positive thoughts and prayers and lots of other topics included. This change in consuming is my point here. How this story evolves – initial details, background, updates from those on site – how it impacts them directly. Fascinating history unfolding in front of us.  I have a tweet about it and a link on delicious – see the links via the widget. Also, check the twitscoop chart for this topic and

The behavior change is the tweets introducing a topic. From there, you refer to other media sources including web sites to find out more based on interest. Traditional media will provide analyis and reporting of course. We have seen several recent instances of tweets breaking news stories – plane crash in the Hudson and another in Amsterdam. I think we will come to expect Twitter to routinely inform us of major events as they occur. The speed to communicate is so powerful – we are collecting the data points to illustrate this and learn collectively how this new way helps us stay connected.

Chapter close and new beginning April 1, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in career.
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Some random thoughts as I go through a new phase.

While it is April Fool’s today,  my mood is more on the somber side. I like the  humor, surprise and reaction involved with practical jokes.  But, today I have a different topic to focus on.

I bid Adieu to many colleagues at work today. All were  sad, a few even cried. I didn’t realize I had that kind of impact on people outside my family. But then, we are always our own harshest critics.  I am definitely respected as a good, honest person and I will definitely be missed at my last job. Both by those who explicitly said so and also by those who silently acknowledge my efforts and contributions. For those I talked to directly, I passed out business cards so I can stay in contact (or, they with me) as our paths diverge from this point forward.

So that chapter closes. On to a new start – wide open with possibilities. Again having to answer the proverbial “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer is ‘It Depends’.

For the blue sky vista option, I could do anything – start a consulting business, partner with another entrepreneur.  I could teach – transfer my knowledge and skills to others.  Both involve ‘getting out’ more and that would be a good thing. Brain surgery, base jumping or skydiving instructor is not on part of the vista.

By getting out, I mean interacting more so than in the past.  I’m socially capable and acceptable. It’s just that most of my recent work is cyclical – meet to collect/exchange ideas, use think/soak time to define proposals and then reconvene. Then repeat as needed until fini. That’s OK – with some small scale travel (e.g. – local) for variation.

Other options  are still in process. Staying positive and moving forward in this new phase. The default includes – do things of interest that make a difference and pay well. I’ve heard the saw about Project Management – optimize on any two from good, fast and cheap. Can’t do all three.  I think I can optimize on these 3 – interest, difference and compensation. It is a new possible beginning.     How this begins is in my control and that is exciting – looking forward to meeting those who will begin this chapter with me.