Sunday, October 31, 2021

In a Daze for 60 Days

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

If someone is in a daze, they are feeling confused and unable to think clearly, often because they have a shock or surprise. But a daze can also be from bewilderment, fatigue, etc.

Today is 10/31/2021 - Halloween 2021. Despite the pandemic, Halloween continues to be important to retailers as people find ways to celebrate. The National Retail Federation estimates that 65% of Americans will celebrate the holiday. Total spending on costumes, candy, decorations, and greeting cards will reach $10.14 billion. Average spending is expected to be $104.74 (up from $92.12 in 2020). Hand-out candy is expected to be higher this year, as are increases in home decorating and party giving. 

For the past many years, we have received no (none, zip, nada....) Trick-or-Treaters to our house. And yet, I spent at least $30 on Halloween candy this year - just to be safe. Ahem.

So, I will go from a sugar coma at around 8:30 pm EST tonight to a major Monday Morning LAUNCH into the 60 days of holiday business blitz here in the USA. 

Normally, November and December are the crazy busy times for any size business in the USA. The Black Friday sales will probably start - tomorrow. Here in NYC, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is thrilled to be welcoming back its most popular attractions for the winter. Oh, it opened for its 20th season - LAST FRIDAY - October 29, 2021. It will be open through Sunday, March 6th, 2022. 

Normally, all of the above would be true, and topical, and blog worthy - in normal times. Throw a pandemic on top, and you have 60 days of intense debate and business marketing strategy.

We are all going to be working from home. No, we are not. We are all going back to the office. No, we are not. We are all going to have an amazing Holiday Party this year in NYC. Perhaps. The supply chain issues caused by the pandemic are going to ruin the holidays. No, it is going to be fine. Two months ago, did you ever even hear the words Supply Chain? Also this: there is a HUGE difference between MADE IN AMERICA and ASSEMBLED IN AMERICA. If you can shop local, if you can buy things for the holidays that are in stock and ready to ship, fantastic. If you want something that is made with microchips, you might have to wait for delivery. 

Technically, the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the winter solstice, which occurs on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 10:59 A.M. EST. But according to Bank of America, it was last Friday. 

For me, personally, the next 60 days will be like training for the Olympics, with "my event" on January 3rd, 2022. That will be the first working MONDAY of the New Year. Starting tomorrow, 11/01/2021 the starter's pistol goes off for the end of year push. Business (of any size) will be pushing to "make their numbers" for the holiday season. Broadway Shows will hope to sell holiday tickets. Restaurants will hope to book parties. Airlines will hope that people will travel again - for both business and pleasure.

Starting tomorrow, everyone with a website or eCommerce store will try to get ready for the holiday rush. (Ah, you are already late). I DO KNOW that sales of headsets, laptops, cameras, and all things "remote" will be hot sellers. As we Build Back Better, the tools of "The Cloud Workers" will be in high demand. 

Back to Halloween. Will anyone come to OUR house tonight? According to Good Housekeeping, trick-or-treating usually begins across the U.S. around sunset. Our town does the "trunk-or-treat" at the  local school parking lot, but there are a few streets in our town that will get (literally) thousands of kids. 

How will my next 60 days go? Ask me in January. But my starter's pistol goes off at around 7:00 A.M. EST tomorrow, and it's a 60 day marathon. 

An amusing anecdote states that baseball great Yogi Berra was once asked whether he wished to have dinner at a highly-regarded NYC restaurant, and he replied with a remark combining wisdom with contradiction: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." And with that, ratings for this year's World Series are at an all-time low. But Halloween Candy Sales are at an all time high. During a pandemic. Weird, right? 

Why do things happen the way they do? Assuming this year will go down as one of the least-watched World Series ever, Major League Baseball now has to ask itself why. There is no real answer, and baseball can point to the overall ratings drop for the NBA finals, the Stanley Cup Final and other big sporting events that suffered similar declines in 2020 and 2021. 

I DO know that my (personal) next 60 days are going to be nuts. I also understand that TOMORROW there will be great sales on Halloween candy. 

Speaking of nuts, who does not love good 'ol Almond Joy? Remember, Almond Joy has nuts........... Mounds don't. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

It's not like it's carved in stone or anything...

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

This morning, I got my "daily" blog from Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Beth Fitzgerald - and several others. I think I get around a solid dozen daily blogs into my inbox, give or take a dozen. There was a connected theme to many of today's blogs, which prompted me to say out loud, over my shoulder: "OK Google.  What is the oldest recorded history?"

Our ancient human ancestors developed language around 35,000 BCE, which is when the world's oldest cave paintings were created.  "OK Google. What does BCE stand for?"

Half second later: "BCE stands for "before the common (or current) era". It is a secular version of BC (Before Christ). "

Thanks, Google. 

In 2016, a 5,000 year old Sumerian cuneiform tablet from the ancient city of Uruk (what is now Iraq) was revealed to be a payslip. The most interesting thing about this payslip is that it says that workers were sometimes paid with - beer. Compensating workers with alcohol wasn't a practice unique to the Sumerians, the Egyptians also paid workers with beer for working on the pyramids. While it might seem a little odd to our modern customs, paying workers with beer was sensible because it doubled as a food source because it was loaded with starches and nutrients. 

Bottom line: the span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script. That's all folks: five thousand years

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa. Wow. 2.4 million years. And we (humans) only started to "write stuff down" a few thousand years ago!

May 29, 1953. At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953 Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. 

"OK, Google. How many people of reached the summit of Mount Everest?" Around four thousand, as of 8:31 a.m. on 10/24/2021. 

Thanks, Google. 

A few years ago, I started doing an audio podcast. Because, well, everyone was doing it. "OK, Google. When did podcasting become popular?"  2004

So, blogging gave way to audio podcasting, which led to video podcasting. I just was told that we ( have just completed our 100th "NYDLAcast" video podcast interview with actors, authors, entrepreneurs, and overall very cool people. 

Since 1953, we went from reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the first time - to "trash and overcrowding" at the top of the world to becoming a real problem. Today, Everest is so overcrowded and full of trash that it has been called the "world's highest garbage dump." 

And so, because of ALL OF THIS...  I am now very optimistic. Yes. I am amazingly and shockingly optimistic for the future - our future. Recorded history is only a recent development. Folks, we only started to WRITE STUFF DOWN a few thousand years ago! Less than 5,000 years! 

Everything good (or bad) that we did to the planet (and to other people) only became HISTORY a few thousand years ago. If it was not "carved in stone" (or painted on a cave wall) it was not going to make it past the weekend. "OK, Google. When did the term "weekend" first come to be?"  1900's during the Industrial Revolution. 

From pollution and tons of trash left behind on Mount Everest, to the International Space Station, it all happened in the blink of an eye. Heck, electricity only started to become popular in 1882, when the USA started to generate electric power, to give the newly invented electric lightbulb its juice. 

Everything that we humans broke on the planet, we can fix. Everything that we consider to be "good" in the world, happened in only the past several thousand years. We went from carving stuff in stone, to having around, 6,542 satellites orbiting the earth as of January 1st, 2021. I did not know this number 40 seconds ago. Google just told me. In less than a second, Google spoke to me. SPOKE to me, like the way a living person would speak to me. Just pause and think about that for a few seconds. 

The "DL" in NYDLA went from Distance Learning to DIGITAL Learning to DIGITAL LIVING, thanks to the Internet. And, "The Internet" is less than 50 years old, in total. Now we have AI, and IoT and smartphones, and YouTube and TED Talks and listening to books on Audible. This blog (yeah, this one...) will reach millions of people this Sunday morning. Not for any other reason than this: it's on the Internet. Well, I have been writing a Sunday Blog for around ten years. Almost every Sunday. And I do have a following. 

Hey, I did not say my Sunday Blog was any good. I just said that millions of people will see it... I have no idea how many will actually READ it. 

Wow. In less than 5,000 years, we went from writing almost NOTHING down, to writing EVERYTHING down. No hammer and chisel required. Heck, no pen or paper required! 

Just....speak it out loud. 

How long before we just need to think it, and it is in the history books....???

Alan Watts ~ How To Enjoy Life

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Rommel, You Magnificent Bastard. I Read Your Book!

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

In the movie Patton, my favorite scene is when U.S. General George S. Patton has just spent weeks studying the writing of his German adversary Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and is crushing him in an epic tank battle in Tunisia. Patton, sensing victory as he peers onto the battlefield from his command post, growls, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book! 

Today, I feel myself wanting to send an email to Congressman Adam Schiff:  "Adam you magnificent bastard, I LISTENED to your new book!

If you polled one thousand people and asked them: paper books, eBooks, audio books - I am sure that you will get a nice spread. This is something that I guess you can Google and find out quickly. 

I am old enough to remember when "eBooks" first made their debut. There is a pretty good article about paper books vs. eBooks here. Some people really love holding a dead tree in their hands, others love using a Kindle. 

For me, I am now hooked on Audible. When I listen to a book - especially a book read by the author - I feel like I am in a lecture. I feel like the author is right there, in the room with me. Their voice inflections, their tone, their words seem to come alive to me.  

Another benefit of Audible is that once you buy the book via technology - you can get updates, edits, even new chapters - over the air. Recently, a book that I bought via Audible gave me an alert - that a NEW chapter was added to the book, due to recent world events. It's hard to do that via the dead tree version. 

I have watched audio podcasts become video podcasts. I have watched paper books become eBooks. I truly think that the future of books - even the future of the term "reading" is making a pivot. There is now a term called Bookiness. That's the term that Glenn Fleishman, a technology writer and longtime bookmaker, uses to describe the situation. It's how you feel when you are USING a book. You FEEL it. Ask yourself: do you READ a book, or USE a book? Ah so. 

Two thousand years after the codex and 500 after the Guttenberg press, the paper (dead tree) book persists. Why?

OK, joke time. Mother and Daughter are cooking a roast. The daughter asks: "Mom, I see that you always cut off the ends of the roast before you put the roast in the pan. Why?" Mom says: "You know, I don't know why. That is how MY mother always did it." So, they call Grandma on the phone. "Hey Mom, quick question: why did you always cut the ends of the roast before putting the roast in the pan, before putting the pan in the oven?" Grandma says: "Well, I never had a pan big enough, so I would cut off the ends, so it would fit in the pan."

Sometimes things don't change, because we don't ask why. 

Today's blog was ALMOST about paper business cards. Why are paper business cards still a thing? I mean, everyone has LinkedIn, everyone has a smart phone. Heck, why do we need to SCAN a paper business card with our smartphone, INTO our CRM or other tool?  And yet, we still have little mini dead tree billboards that we hand out, just so that someone can scan them, or find us on LinkedIn, and throw the little bits of dead trees into the trash. Or, they throw them into the trash, without scanning them... the horror!

On 11/8, VIP members of shall be attending the NYC book signing for Adam's new book. He will be signing the dead tree version of his AMAZING new book, probably several hundred times that evening. And, I am confident that the dead tree version of Adam's new book will be a best seller, many times over.  

Maybe Adam will sign my smartphone... since that is where I keep my Audible library. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

73° Mainly cloudy. High 73F. Winds light and variable. 8% chance of rain.

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

This Wednesday: 73° Mainly cloudy. High 73F. Winds light and variable. 8%  chance of rain. For the first time (in a very long time) I was worried about the weather. 

I was worried about the weather, because for the first time (in a very long time) we have a major event, outdoors. "Propelify is a wonderful celebration of the technology and innovation hat makes our cities and towns thrive, our bodies and minds healthier, our planet cleaner, and our community full of inclusion and opportunity. I'm excited to see so many startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators learning and connecting to propel their ideas into action." ~ Governor Phil Murphy | State of New Jersey.

The NYDLA (and now, NADLA) have supported the Propelify Innovation Festival every year, since 2016. Aaron Price is the founder and CEO of Propelify, built to empower those who propel their ideas into action. Aaron has served as the tech community expert for Governor Phil Murphy, The White House, NJ Economic Development Authority, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. 

At its peak year, there were 10,000 attendees from 43 states and 10 countries attending Propelify. 

Many years ago, I heard a quote that resonated with me so much, it became one of my guiding principles. Often attributed to Pablo Picasso, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." 

A serial entrepreneur, Aaron has founded several technology startups. He started his first commercial venture while still in High School, after he was awarded a patent for a weight lifting device. 

Innovation. Creativity. Passion. There is certainly something to be said to having a career, a job, a calling where you "get" to go to work, rather than "having" to go to work. Due to COVID-19 Propelify 2020 was virtual. Digital. Live, but not LIVE live. Propelify made the pivot to a live virtual event. And, it was one of the best events that I ever attended. I did not say it was the best virtual event that I ever attended. I said best EVENT, period. 

October 6th, In Person Festival. And, it looks like it is going to be PERFECT weather. In order to attend Propelify LIVE this year, you will need to have proof that you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. You can sign up here to get a free pass, and $1000+ of "swag" from our various vendors and sponsors. Even if you cannot make it down to Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken, New Jersey, sign up anyway. We will send you your swag. 

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Well done, Aaron Price. Well done.