Sunday, October 2, 2022

This Nebula is not Nebulous


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A nebula is an enormous cloud of dust and gas occupying the space between stars and acting as nursery for new stars. Wow, "nursery for new stars" is pretty cool. 

This past week we had an Open House at Nebula NYC. It is a Night Club / Event Space in Midtown NYC. The cool thing about THIS space (I mean, we are talking about renting spaces in The Big Apple) is that Nebula creates an immersive experience. Transmedia, multimedia, omni-media events can be hosted at Nebula. And via today's cloud technology, these events become global real-time immersive experiences. 

It was our first time using BlueJeans by Verizon Studio, with a Steadicam. I figure there were around 250 people LIVE (LIVE) at Nebula, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. But, we could transmit LIVE to 250,000+ people, and we could Livestream to 25M+ around the world.

It really hit me hard this morning - how the world has changed over just the last five years. The "before times" with most events being LIVE and attending virtually was just an afterthought. And then, when the pandemic hit, we had ONLY virtual events - nothing in person at all. Zoom was already a verb before COVID, but during the worse of the pandemic, that was all we had. I still snicker when I think about how CEOs of companies would be interviewed on TV during the teeth of the pandemic, and the interviewer would say things like "well, all of you Zoom companies....." even if they were interviewing the CEO of Webex. And the CEOs of the Zoom competitors being interviewed would just roll their eyes....

So last Thursday, my afternoon consisted of the 5:20 PM bus to NYC - Nebula event - and the 8:30 PM bus back to BOONTON USA. I walked the floor(s) plural, met very interesting people, ate a ton of sushi, and I also ate a ton of sushi. I also reserved Nebula for our upcoming Holiday / Christmas party. Using a Steadicam at such an event was pretty amazing. We shall have the final edits of our Nebula Open House event live on early this week. 

But yesterday, we had another event - this time LIVE from good ol' BOONTON USA. From the Boonton Coffee Co. we recorded another Coffee in the Clouds video podcast interview. Once again using BlueJeans Studio and the Jabra Meet Anywhere kit, we had HDTV quality video, with Dolby audio. It was just two people (having coffee in the clouds) but we (could have) been transmitting LIVE (LIVE) to 20,000+ and we SHALL allow 20M+ to watch the Livestream or the archives of the video podcast interview. 

We have been hosting live and virtual events for years, and always hosted at cool places. MOMA, the Bronx Zoo, THE INTREPID to name just a few. But since we are all about  "the cloud" and the future of work, the future of education, Nebula - the nursery for new stars - really moves me. 

There is NOTHING like the energy of New York City. I feel very spoiled that I can drop what I am doing and leave BOONTON USA and be at 11 Times Square in less than an hour, using WiFi on the bus the entire trip. Give me my Lenovo laptop, my Jabra 85 headset and 5G and I'm good to go - anywhere. And I think this shall become the future of work, the future of education for all of us. 

We truly are living, learning, working, playing, teaching, training, coaching, mentoring in the global cloud economy. It might feel a little nebulous, but it's not. And hey - there is a support group for all of this - there is a support group for your personal cloud journey. and THRIVE in the clouds. 

My Limousine to NYC

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Flip a coin: heads you go, tails you go.

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I think it was Woody Allen who said "80 percent of success is showing up." And, leadership and talent Tom Peters blogged on it, way back in 2008. 

Two days ago, I attended an event in Newburg, NY. The drive door to door, Newburg is almost "exactly" 60 miles north of BOONTON USA. These days when driving, I calculate things not in miles, but how many chapters of an Audible book will it take to reach the destination. FYI, BOONTON USA to Newburg, NY is exactly three chapters of Dare to Lead on Audible.

FYI, I love, LoVe, LOVE Audible books. Sometimes I think that I take road trips just to have a good excuse to listen to a book. And business books on Audible is like attending a rolling University. Ah, but I digress. 

By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I was...... well I was bushed. It was a long day - heck - it was a long week. I promised to promote the event - that was easy. is very active in Hudson Valley, so promoting an event in Newburg is not a hard lift. Ah, but at some point during the week, I said that I would attend. Come Friday I heard my inner voice saying "Well Tom, did you actually PROMISE to attend? Or did you say you would TRY to attend? THINK!" I was looking for a good excuse to not go. I dare not ask my wife what she is cooking for, she can COOK!

I think that the biggest lesson (definitely in the top five) of my career is this: show up. Go. If you are tired, go. If you are busy, go. If you find yourself looking for excuses to not go - ignore that inner voice and show up. Always, always, always figure out a way to go. 

On Friday evening, I met David Lionheart. He was the artist capturing the event, capturing the presentation - in art. Being there (in the room) watching "art" come to life, right there in front of me, was pretty amazing. Over the next 90 minutes, I watched a blank canvas come alive. And then, I realized that the evening was captured forever, in the painting. Music, Art, Poetry, Dance. These were things that prior to Friday evening, would have never made their way into one of my Sunday blogs.

You can visit David's online gallery HERE.
You can watch David's TED talk HERE
You can check out David's Documentary: PTSD The Walking Wounded HERE 

The event started at 6:00 PM and ended at 7:30 PM. And I was going to hustle home, hopefully to walk the dog by 8:45 PM. At the end, David gifted EVERYONE with a free sample of his work. That made me pause. That made me stop, and thank him personally, and "fist bump" since his hands were covered in fresh paint. 

The title: "You just had to be there"

As I write this blog post, I think about Friday evening, sitting in a room that held less than 50 people, live. And how the technology of today could enable 50,000 to attend LIVE (BlueJeans, Zoom, Meta, etc.) and 5M+ could watch the archives or Livestream the event. I think about how a professional Steadicam operator like could transform that intimate event into a transmedia, multimedia omni-media experience. 

I met because she wrote a book, and we did a interview. I met David because I (physically) attended Phoebe's event in Newburg, NY. And now, I shall be interviewing David Lionheart via BlueJeans Studio, which will reach (literally) millions of people in HDTV video, and Dolby audio. Oh, and Zoom Events works pretty good, too.

I told David that I felt that his body of work, his story, would benefit our global community. I asked him for an interview, and he said yes. I am all about the cloud, and technology, and living, learning, working, playing, teaching, training, coaching, mentoring in the clouds. But for certain, everything now shall be hybrid. LIVE LIVE and then LIVE (virtually). 

Transmedia, multimedia, omni-media events are indeed the future of work, the future of education. 

But never underestimate the power - and the magic - of a good 'ol fashioned fist bump. It's hard to do a fist bump, unless you actually show up. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

In the Before Times

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I am pretty sure my favorite feature of Facebook is the "see your memories" feature. So, this morning Facebook reminded me that exactly three years ago today, I was spending the day in Tribeca New York City. Good times! Hey, I never met a microphone (or a camera) that I did not like.

And of course, Tribeca (originally written as TriBeCa) is the name for "Triangle Below Canal Street". And, the "triangle" (more accurately a quadrilateral) is bounded by Canal Street, West Street, Broadway, and Chambers Street. The neighborhood is home to the Tribeca Festival, which was created in response to the September 11 attacks, to reinvigorate the neighborhood and downtown after the destruction caused by terrorist attacks. But I digress.....

So, exactly three years ago was my last "major" LIVE (LIVE) event in NYC. 

A LIVE (LIVE) event, with amazing people and good food and grog. (Google: grog). Ah yes, the Before Times

Before Times is an informal term used to refer to the world as it was prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally used in discussions that contrast the lasting and far-reaching effects (especially negative effects) of the pandemic to the way things were before it. I guess some call it prepandemic but that is, well, without any humorous intent. 

Other than Zoom, I don't know who could have grown more during the pandemic than NYDLA. The "DL" stood for distance learning, which became DIGITAL learning, which today is just DIGITAL LIVING. And so, we shifted to 100% VIRTUAL. There was absolutely NOTHING LIVE (LIVE) period. We are just now (now) going back to LIVE (LIVE) anything. 

We are all too familiar: It was all 100% Zoom Events, Zoom School, Zoom Weddings, Zoom Shows, Zoom (fill in the blank). And, we grew from NYDLA servicing the 55M+ living in the "New York Megalopolis" to the North American Distance Learning Association (NADLA) servicing all of North America. You read that right: ALL of the 579M+ million people living, learning, working, playing, teaching, training, coaching, mentoring in North America. Also this: we are hiring. 

This past week we had FOUR simultaneous hybrid events: TriNet, BigCommerce, BlueJeans Studio launch, and two NADLA webinars. In the Before Times, we would have traveled, spent time and money on hotel rooms, and well yeah, there would have been good food (and grog) at the venue. 

I would say that this past week's TriNet People Force event was one of the best hybrid events I have ever experienced. Full disclosure: we are a TriNet partner, but that does not change my opinion of the LIVE hybrid event. There were hundreds of people LIVE in the room at The Theater at City Tech, Brooklyn New York. And then, thousands of people attending LIVE - but from their homes. And now (literally) millions can watch the archives of the three-day event. Get tactical advice on the most strategic, innovative ways to do business in today's global cloud economy. [ My favorite Coach K quote this week: "How do you not do this??? How do you not sign up??? ]

We had some NYDLA members attending LIVE (LIVE) in Brooklyn. But because I attended LIVE (not LIVE) from my home office I was able to enjoy all of the hybrid events - and - I was able to interact via Q&As, live polls, and in VIP break-out sessions. I even got one of the amazing TriNet keynote speakers to agree to do a video podcast with me (coming soon!). 

In the Before Times we were doing LIVE (LIVE) as the default. Now, today, via amazing tools like Zoom and BlueJeans - all events - all meetings shall be hybrid. Trust me, I love, LoVe, LOVE the energy and the excitement of The Big Apple. But today, travel is very expensive, and hotel rooms in my beloved NYC are, well hotel room prices these days are just nuts

And, today on this glorious Sunday morning, it hit me. If I attended the TriNet event LIVE (LIVE) in Brooklyn, I would NOT have been in the virtual VIP break-out rooms, and I would NOT have been able to meet or book my next VIP guest for a interview.  

So, NOT being there LIVE (LIVE) turned out to be a big win for me. Folks, don't monkey around. Make sure that you sign up for (and host your own) hybrid events. Oh, and don't be a chump - help save the chimps - and help to save our planet! 

Reduce your carbon footprint - Go hybrid! 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

184,080 Hours - Make Every Pomodoro Count

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I'm a big fan of David Allen's GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology. It is a personal productivity system developed by David and published in a book of the same name. GTD is described as a time management system where Allen states: "there is an inverse relationship between things on your mind and those things getting done". 

I love using cloud-based productivity tools. Things like Evernote and Basecamp and Zoom and Loom and...(the list would be long). We have a cute (I say it's cute) saying here: Before we book a (conference) room, send me Loom, and then we might Zoom. Only then do we pay for a room! 

I have learned early on that no one wants to attend meetings - but - they want the intended RESULTS of holding a meeting. It goes in the same basket as no one wants to be SOLD anything but they want to BUY. They want the results of the purchase, they want their problem solved, they want the transaction to advance the ball down the field, if you would. (Hey, it's Sunday - NFL football you know...). One more: no one wants to buy a drill - they are actually buying holes

I like to practice what is called the Pomodoro Technique. The technique was developed in the late 1980s by then university student Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo was struggling to focus on his studies and complete assignments. Feeling overwhelmed, he asked himself to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. Encouraged by the challenge, he found a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro Technique was born. The 25-minute deep work sprints are the core of the method, but a Pomodoro practice also includes three rules for getting the most out of each interval: 1) Break down complex projects. 2) Small tasks go together. 3) Once a Pomodoro is set, it must ring. The Pomodoro is an indivisible unit of time and cannot be broken, especially not to check incoming emails, team chats, or text messages. Any ideas, tasks, or requests that come up should be taken note of - to come back to later. 

With my staff, I tend to drive home points to the extreme. (Ah, yes - they love me...). A standard 40 hour work week would have 40 hours x 2 Pomodoro per hour = 80 POSSIBLE Pomodoro in the week. 

If there are 4.3 weeks in a month, 12 months in a year = 4,128 POSSIBLE WORK Pomodoros in a full year. So, barring weekends and overtime, we would have 4,128 Pomodoros over the course of an entire 365 day year to get it all done. 4,128 units of focused deep work. 4,128 Pomodoros to host (or NOT host) meetings, do research, write code, build websites, teach, train, coach, mentor - whatever needs to be done, we shall use up one (or several) of those precious and possible 4,128 Pomodoros. 

In a whim, I multiplied 4,128 by 79.05. This was the average US life expectancy in 2022. So, over the course of an average life, there are 326,318.4 POSSIBLE "work" Pomodoros. Assuming you will begin your working career from the day you are born - while still in diapers. Your mileage may vary. 

When you get right down to it, our entire "LIFE" is like one big Pomodoro calculator. We sleep, we eat, we work, we rest. We play, we love, we learn, we teach, we train, we coach, we mentor. We spend time at work, we spend time at home. Some like to calculate 8 + 8 + 8 for a 24 hour day (Work, Family, Sleep).

There is a neat little online time calculator There were 184,080 hours between September 11th 2001 and September 11th 2022. Times two, that comes out to be 368,160 TOTAL LIFE POMODOROS since 9/11. If you were born after 09/11/2001 and reading this today, these numbers are your numbers. 

Yes, life is like one big massive Pomodoro calculation. From the day we are born, until the day that we pass away, we are (all of us / any of us) the summation of those hours - our entire life is the summation of those LIFE Pomodoros. We eat, we sleep, we work, we play. We LIVE. 

Like I tell my staff: make every Pomodoro count. Never waste a single Pomodoro, you never know what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully my writing (and your reading) this September 11th 2022 blog post was a good use of one of our (mutual) LIFE Pomodoros. 

I also say: no one lives forever. But if we get lucky, if we work hard - if we FOCUS - we can build something of value that does. Teach Everything You Know. Pay It Forward. [ Going LIVE in 2023 ]

Monday, September 5, 2022

Hello, I'm Mr. Ed

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I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday, but I remember every single word of the Mr. Ed theme song from the early 60s!! I was born in 1960 so of course, growing up - I thought that all horses talked - just like Mr. Ed.

Yesterday, my wife and I spent some time on (new amazing website coming VERY soon.....). Our Beautiful Farm is a "Learning Journey" destination here in North New Jersey. Less than an hour West of NYC, it is an amazing example of virtual/hybrid/live learning. 

Here are some pics from our day at Our Beautiful Farm

Now, the day before yesterday (Saturday) I recorded a BlueJeans Studio broadcast LIVE from the Boonton Coffee Co. in BOONTON USA. It was a "Hollywood comes to BOONTON USA" theme - I won't steal our own thunder but the full HDTV high-definition video with Dolby audio will be LIVE on our website by tomorrow. If you liked the TV show "This Is Us" or HBO's "Westworld" you will enjoy this BlueJeans Studio interview. Did I mention that we recorded LIVE from the Boonton Coffee Co. in BOONTON USA?  

And now: I'm having a Sunday on a Monday. It's Labor Day today, so the world has slowed down a bit. Today is a great day to do nothing, right? The banks are closed, many folks are not working today. It's a good day to reflect and think about - stuff.

Stuff like how one of my first memories as a kid was a TV show about a talking horse. And how for (too many years) I thought that ALL horses actually talked - but only to special people. For many years, I just wanted to be a "special person, too" so that horses would talk to me. In the 60s we lived at 45 Bowden Road in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. I remember our Cedar Grove phone number too:  201 239 0213. Please don't call it. What was cool, was that our next door neighbor had a horse. His name was Buckshot. So, I could literally walk just a few dozen yards from our property - and talk to Buckshot. 

One day, Buckshot's owner saw me coming, and he hid in the barn. When I said "Hello, Buckshot!" he yelled out from inside the barn, from behind Buckshot: "Hello, Tommy! Hey - do you know my friend Mr. Ed?"

And THAT is when my need for therapy began....

TV from the 60s was special. Now, today, we have YouTube, and every make and model of Social Media. Just like years ago, if you wrote a book - that was a big deal. If you were a published author - that was a VERY big deal. Back in the 60s if you were on TV - THAT was a very big deal. As kids, my sister and I were on WPIX Channel 11 Officer Joe Bolton's show. That made us CELEBRITIES at school! Joe Bolton was an American radio and TV personality whose entire television career was associated with New York City's independent station WPIX Channel 11 from its first day of broadcasting in 1948 until his retirement in 1975. He hosted many of the station's children's shows such as The Clubhouse Gang and The Three Stooges Funhouse dressed in a policeman's uniform and introducing himself as "Officer Joe Bolton". 

OK, land the plane Tom........

Media. Mass media, omni-media, transmedia, social media - it has impacted my life, and probably your life from when you were a kid. TV changed the world, just as how now the Internet has changed the world (again). There is nothing like the smell of manure. Hey, I remember George Costanza from Seinfeld doing an entire bit about "Ma-nure" and how he talked about horse poo on a first date. Ah yes, the power of television. 

Technology and media are a part of our lives - shaping our lives - and we have not seen anything yet... Check out BlueJeans Studio for a peek at the future. Our future. 

Yeah, my childhood friend Buckshot was a visionary. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

You should write a book!

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Recently my wife and I attended a Celebration of Life ceremony for a good family friend. They became a good friend of the family because, at first, they were my wife's patient. 

For many (many) years, once a week - my wife the RN would drive to their home to deliver their life-saving IV medication. And due to the nature of the treatment, she would spend hours once a week, every week, at their home. Start the IV meds, wait three hours, remove the IV, drive home. For privacy issues (HIPPA Compliance?) I'll call him Frank. (...or is it Francine..???)

When I did the math, it was hundreds of three-hour visits. Once a week, every week. Over the course of seven or eight years. Because it took hours for the IV medication to be administered and monitored, the majority of the three hours was spent sitting, and talking. Talking, sharing, communicating, bonding, supporting. Once a week, for three hours, for years.

My wife could not (and would never) share any medical details with me (her husband) but she did share amazing stories about Frank, his wife, his family, his business, his children, his grandchildren. I met Frank only one time (in person) around two or three years ago. I drove my wife to one of her visits, when my wife's car was in the shop.

I was going to sit in the car with my laptop for a few hours - but I was invited to come inside - and saying no was not an option. During that one meeting - my only time with Frank - I was mesmerized. The home was beautiful, in an amazing neighborhood. This man was obviously very successful. There were pictures of family, friends, vacations, outings on every wall in the house. Today, I was the one (this time) to sit with Frank for three hours. To talk about, well, life. We talked about business and sports and family and politics and religion and....and......and..... three hours just flew by. Our three hours together felt like thirty minutes, at best. 

If I had to describe Frank, he was like the real-life version of George Bailey from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." As I type this, I am feeling pretty confident that you have seen the movie, and that you know the story of George Bailey. It's a safe bet. 

When we think of Christmas movies, it is hard to not think about "It's a Wonderful Life." Most Christmas movies have a similar pattern: something dire happens and only a Christmas miracle can save the day. 

In the case of It's a Wonderful Life, that miracle actually came many years AFTER the film's initial debut. When the movie was released it was such a flop that it ended up closing down the studio, and more or less ending Frank Capra's career. If you want to learn more about the amazing back-story of this now famous and classic movie, you can click here.

You may think of It's a Wonderful Life as a Christmas movie, but director Frank Capra never saw it that way. Though Capra suffered greatly for his art, It's a Wonderful Life eventually got the credit it was due, and Capra did too. In 1982 Frank Capra was awarded the American Film Institute's lifetime achievement award. 

At the ceremony, Capra said: "Don't follow trends. Start a trend! Don't compromise. Believe in yourself. Because only the daring should make films. And only the morally courageous are worthy of speaking to their fellow man for two hours in the dark." 

At the celebration of life ceremony for (our) Frank, the theme repeated itself. All those who stood and spoke about our Frank said basically the same thing: A life well lived. Our Frank, was indeed Frank Capra's real-life George Bailey. Our Frank touched so many lives, impacted so many lives. Man, someone should write a book about our Frank. 

Now as I sit and reflect, I think about the hundreds of people that I have interviewed over the years. I think about all of the authors that have "given birth to a book" and how so many of them have their own amazing life stories. I think how it truly is a miracle that ANY OF US have seen the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Ah, but we did see it, right? And for someone like me, I probably have now seen that movie at least a dozen times - and I'll be watching it again with the family this Christmas! 

It's a Wonderful Life is based on a novel of the same name by Phillip Van Doren Stern, written in 1938. When no publishers responded to the story, Stern instead printed it on Christmas cards, which he then sent to friends and family. One such card wound up in the letterbox of film producer David Hempstead, who showed it to movie star Cary Grant. Enamored with the story, Grant brought it to RKO movies, and it was eventually sold to Liberty Films for $10,000 and starred James Stewart as George Bailey. The same Liberty Films that had to close their doors and shut down, because the movie was such a terrible flop and financial disaster. 

Ah yes. Books. Books that become movies. Movies that flop. Movies that flop - are the same failed movies that eventually change the world. 

Hint: write that book. If you have a book inside of you, give it life. 

My first book comes out in 2023 -

It's a Wonderful Life - Trailer

Sunday, August 21, 2022

I'm not buying a snowmobile

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

So, we need a new roof. It's time. Actually, we are probably past due. And so, I typed in "Roofing Contractors" into my trusty Google machine to see what's up. Wow, I had no idea that half of the adult population of America are Roofing Contractors. In fact, I guess that when you buy a new pickup truck these days, it must come with Roofing Contractor School flyers in the glovebox. 

My story had a happy ending, as it relates to my roof adventure. Some people came out to the house. Some, just used Google Satellite pics to measure my roof and give me a quote - no need to come out to the house! (Ah, hard pass). I did meet a wonderful schoolteacher, who did not climb up on the roof, but she did take lots of pictures to send to her boss. A very lovely person, and her real job (teacher) is about to start - Labor Day is right around the corner. 

Funny thing: now Facebook thinks that I am a Roofing Contractor. Now, the Social Media Gods think that I should attend the National Convention of Roofing Contractors (RoofCON). Well, I do like John Maxwell. Not sure I would have "CON" in the name. And, it turns out that I am an excellent candidate to buy a Roof Maxx franchise for only $35,000. It's actually a very impressive product and a great company. But I don't do ladders. 

Remember that scene from the 2002 sci-fi movie "Minority Report," when a camera takes a retina scan of Tom Cruise's character and a billboard calls out to him, "John Anderton! You could use a Guinness right about now"?

I know for a fact that my Google Nest Mini speaker is spying on me. At this point, I'm just numb to it all. Google first filed a patent in 2008 to create advertisements based on environmental conditions present in the background of voice communications. You know, Google - the same guys who probably unleashed the first real controversy of the online privacy wars when they started sifting through our Gmail to serve us targeted ads. Now, we all use Gmail and we don't think about it anymore. Yeah, Google knows everything about my life - and don't even get me started about Facebook.

Repeat yourself much?

The next generation of digital marketers are focusing on solutions like interactive advertising or native advertising, but the standard bearer of the 21st century advertising technology will be the solutions or platform that does not treat the consumer like a child, the one that does not annoy them, the one that does not keep playing cheap tricks to get them to push a button. Ultimately, the best beer ad will be one that knows a consumer wants that beer before even they do, and it will know how to find them at precisely that perfect moment. 

Today, the Meta/Google universe thinks that I am a candidate for a Roofing franchise. Nope, just need a new roof. I have recently interviewed some AMAZING people in the mental health and holistic medicine space. And Meta/Google are now both very well aware of this. Yeah, Amazon knows everything too. Let the ads for Yoga, Reiki and Mental Health flow. 

[ My dude, 300+ person team? Have one of them fix the date on your damn Facebook ad you sent me...]

Next Generation marketing is just getting started. But just like anything in life, there will be those who get it right, and those who are basically children in a man's world. They are making rookie mistakes, and they are actually hurting their brand. If I Google "Mindfulness" don't invite me to an event in 2021 unless you also sell time machines. 

As a goof (and a test) I said out loud to my wife: "You know, the first thing I am going to do when we move to Florida is buy a snowmobile." 

Ah yes, Ski-Doo was listening. 

Good boy Ski-Doo, good boy.