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

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

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

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

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.