Sunday, May 19, 2024

Gotta get a good education!

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

Gotta get a good education! 

"The Big Bang Theory" is a popular American sitcom that aired from 2007 to 2019. The show primarily revolves around a group of friends who are scientists and their interactions with each other, blending humor with scientific and nerd culture references. "Young Sheldon" is a prequel to "The Big Bang Theory," focusing on the childhood of Sheldon Cooper, one of the main characters from the original series. It provides a deeper look into the early life of the brilliant but socially awkward Sheldon, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s in East Texas. 

Recurring Themes of Young Sheldon:

Family Dynamics: The show delves into the Cooper family interactions, highlighting the challenges and joys of raising a child genius alongside his siblings.

Education and Growth: Sheldon’s experiences in high school, his relationships with teachers and peers, and his academic achievements are central to the plot.

Social Challenges: The series often portrays Sheldon’s struggles with social norms, making friends, and understanding the behaviors of those around him.

Humor and Heart: While focusing on Sheldon’s unique perspective, the show balances humor with heartfelt moments, particularly in the context of family relationships.

Recurring Themes of TBBT:

Science and Nerd Culture: The show frequently references scientific theories, experiments, comic books, video games, and science fiction, making it popular among viewers with similar interests.

Friendship and Relationships: The dynamics among the main characters highlight the importance of friendship, personal growth, and romantic relationships.

Humor and Social Situations: Much of the comedy arises from the characters’ awkwardness in social situations, particularly Sheldon’s inability to understand social norms and Leonard’s efforts to maintain a normal relationship with Penny.

I understand that someone reading this Sunday Blog might not have seen either show. At all. I am hearing Sheldon Cooper's voice in my head right now, telling the statistical chances of that, in different regions of the world. But here is something that I thought of after watching the final episodes of Young Sheldon:

It was all about education. 

Did you pick up on how in TBBT everyone in the main cast was brilliant - less Penny? And, in Young Sheldon everyone was (not) brilliant - less Sheldon? 

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons): A theoretical physicist with an IQ of 187, Sheldon is highly intelligent but socially inept, with obsessive-compulsive tendencies and difficulty understanding social norms. His relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist, grows from a friendship into a romantic partnership, culminating in their marriage. Oh, and together they win the Nobel Prize. 

Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage): A highly intelligent and precocious child with a love for science and a lack of social skills. Sheldon’s journey involves navigating high school, dealing with bullies, making friends, and maintaining his unique perspective on life.

In both TBBT and Young Sheldon, the true "main" theme that linked the two shows together was - education. How a 9-year-old Young Sheldon who tested with an IQ of not just genius but SUPER genius - lived in the part of the country (East Texas) that could not properly support his educational needs. 

Truly everything about both TBBT and Young Sheldon revolved around how it would be such a tragedy to keep Sheldon from achieving his full potential. How from age 9 to 14 the journey of everyone in the family, and the local Texas community had a mission to get Sheldon to MIT. Or maybe Caltech? 

Everyone in the cast of both TBBT and Young Sheldon - even the other geniuses knew that Super Genius Sheldon with IQ of 187 simply MUST get a good education. The best education. 

And so, this revelation hits me maybe a little different than most. I run the DLA (Distance Learning Association) where at our core - we are all about delivering education to parts of the world that would normally miss out. We are all about delivering knowledge, technology and talent to every time zone in the world.

TBBT aired from 2007 to 2019. The sitcom ended before COVID-19 changed our world. The show ended before "Zoom" became a verb. I wonder how either show would have dealt with a 14 year old Super Genius being forced to take online classes at Caltech - from home - from East Texas. 

And with that, I can hear in my head Sheldon's Meemaw saying with love...

"Shelly, you gotta get a good education...."

True. And don't we all. Deserve a good education. The best education possible. No matter where we live. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

What is Mother's Day?

Me: Hey ChatGPT - What is Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is a holiday celebrated in many countries around the world, typically observed on the second Sunday of May. It's a day dedicated to honoring and appreciating mothers, mother figures, and maternal bonds. People often express their gratitude and love for their mothers by giving them cards, flowers, gifts, or spending quality time together. It's a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for all the love, care, and sacrifices that mothers make for their children and families.

Me: Ah, one more time?

Mother's Day is a special holiday celebrated in many countries around the world to honor and appreciate mothers and mother figures. It's a day to recognize the contributions and sacrifices mothers make for their families. Typically celebrated on the second Sunday in May in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and numerous others, Mother's Day is marked by various traditions, such as giving gifts, cards, flowers, or spending quality time with mothers to show gratitude and love for all they do. It's a wonderful opportunity for people to express their appreciation and affection for their mothers and the maternal figures in their lives.

Me: So what you are telling me is this: 

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, as well as the influence of mothers in society. It's a day dedicated to showing appreciation and love for mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and other maternal figures. In many countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, but the date may vary depending on the country. It's typically marked by giving gifts, cards, flowers, or spending quality time with mothers to show gratitude for their love, support, and sacrifices.

ChatGPT: Tommy - THAT IS FROM GOOGLE GEMINI!  Go to your room! 

This Sunday is my first Mother's Day as a Grandpa. So, I am reflecting on my Mom, my wife Dianne (mother of my two sons) and now, Emily, my daughter (Bobby's wife) and our amazing new grandson Theo. Emily's first Mother's Day. Wow. 

Mother's Day is celebrated to honor and appreciate the contributions and sacrifices that mothers make in their families and society at large. The celebration of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient times when festivals were held to honor mother goddesses. However, the modern concept of Mother's Day began in the early 20th century when Anna Jarvis campaigned for an official holiday to honor mothers in the United States.

The idea quickly gained popularity and spread to other countries. Today, Mother's Day serves as an opportunity for children and families to express their love, gratitude, and appreciation for their mothers and maternal figures. It's a day to recognize the important role that mothers play in nurturing and shaping the lives of their children and families.

Historically, spending on Mother's Day tends to fluctuate based on various factors such as economic conditions, cultural trends, and consumer behavior. In the United States, for example, spending on Mother's Day gifts, cards, dinners, and other activities typically amounts to billions of dollars annually.

Mothers make numerous sacrifices throughout their lives, often putting the needs and well-being of their children and families above their own. Some of the sacrifices mothers commonly make include:

Career Sacrifices: Many mothers put their careers on hold or make adjustments to their work schedules to prioritize their children's needs. This can involve taking breaks from work to raise children, choosing part-time or flexible work arrangements, or sacrificing career advancement opportunities to be more available for their families.

Personal Time: Mothers often sacrifice their personal time and leisure activities to care for their children and manage household responsibilities. This includes giving up hobbies, social outings, and alone time to ensure that their families are well taken care of.

Financial Sacrifices: Mothers may make financial sacrifices to provide for their children's needs and give them the best possible opportunities. This can involve budgeting carefully, cutting back on personal expenses, or prioritizing spending on children's education, extracurricular activities, and other necessities.

Emotional Sacrifices: Mothers frequently make emotional sacrifices for their children, putting aside their own feelings and needs to provide comfort, support, and guidance. This can involve offering unconditional love, patience, and understanding, even in challenging or difficult situations.

Sleep and Health: Mothers often sacrifice sleep and prioritize their children's well-being over their own need for rest. This can result in sleepless nights caring for infants or sick children, as well as neglecting their own health and self-care needs to ensure that their families are taken care of.

Personal Goals and Ambitions: Mothers may put their own goals, ambitions, and dreams on hold to focus on their children's needs and aspirations. This can involve postponing education, career advancements, or personal development goals to prioritize the needs of their families.

Physical Sacrifices: Pregnancy, childbirth, and the physical demands of caring for children can take a toll on mothers' bodies. Many mothers endure physical discomfort, pain, and exhaustion to bring their children into the world and care for them as they grow.

Overall, mothers make countless sacrifices every day out of love and devotion for their children and families, contributing to their growth, happiness, and well-being.

Every. Single. Day. 

But we give moms gifts and cards and dinners on the 2nd Sunday in May. One day out of 365 each year. So, it's all good. 

Feels balanced and fair, right? 

My Mom Bernice Capone

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Commence the Commencement!

It's Commencement Address season!

A commencement address is a speech given to graduating students at a commencement ceremony, typically at universities, colleges, high schools, or other educational institutions. It's usually delivered by a prominent figure such as a guest speaker, an alumnus, a faculty member, or even a celebrity. 

The purpose of a commencement address is to impart wisdom, advice, encouragement, and inspiration to the graduating class as they transition to the next phase of their lives. Speakers often reflect on their own experiences, offer insights into the challenges and opportunities ahead, and share words of wisdom to motivate graduates as they embark on their journey beyond academia. These speeches can cover a wide range of topics, including personal growth, career advice, societal issues, and the importance of lifelong learning and resilience.

Folks tend to confuse commencement with graduation. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated. Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. 

During the pandemic, there were many kids that missed out on having the normal, official commencement ceremony. Well, here we are in 2024, and (once again) there are many college campuses cancelling their commencement ceremonies not due to COVID, but because of conflict. Protests on college campuses have caused many to make the painful decision to cancel their commencement ceremony, citing safety concerns. 

Again, the purpose of a commencement address is to inspire and motivate the graduating students as they transition to the next phase of their lives, whether it be further education, entering the workforce, or pursuing other endeavors. These speeches often reflect on the achievements of the graduating class, offer advice for the future, and sometimes include personal anecdotes or words of wisdom.

Most of us know that commencement ceremonies are typically large gatherings where graduates, their families, faculty, and staff come together to celebrate academic achievements. And sadly, we know all know that in certain circumstances, such as during a pandemic or due to safety concerns, commencement ceremonies might be cancelled or altered. 

One common reason for cancellation is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, especially when there's a risk of a widespread outbreak. For instance, we all know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many commencement ceremonies were cancelled or shifted to virtual formats to minimize the risk of transmission. Other factors that might lead to cancellation include natural disasters, security concerns, budget constraints, or logistical issues. While cancelling commencement ceremonies can be disappointing for graduates and their families, it's often done out of an abundance of caution to prioritize public health and safety.

Where are you going with this Tom? 

Well, I get why you would cancel commencement ceremonies due to things like COVID-19. But I find it ironic that the thing that most college campuses need now - today - right now - is a keynote from a speaker who can share words of wisdom. When you need it the most - when you need someone who can speak with clarity, with purpose, with a clear and compelling vision for the future - we cancel the opportunity for that person to share their wisdom - for all of us. 

Protests on college campuses can stem from a variety of reasons, reflecting the diversity of issues and concerns within the student body and broader society. Here are some common reasons for protests on college campuses:

Social Justice Issues: Students often protest to raise awareness and advocate for social justice causes such as racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.

Tuition and Fees: High tuition fees and student debt can spark protests as students advocate for more affordable education and better financial aid options.

Campus Policies: Students may protest against specific policies or decisions made by the college administration, such as housing policies, campus safety measures, or academic regulations.

Diversity and Inclusion: Protests may occur in response to incidents of discrimination, racism, or lack of diversity on campus, as students demand greater inclusivity and representation.

Political Issues: Colleges are often centers for political activism, and students may organize protests around local, national, or international political issues such as elections, government policies, or international conflicts.

Labor Rights: Campus workers, including adjunct professors, custodial staff, and food service workers, may organize protests to demand fair wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Free Speech and Academic Freedom: Controversies related to free speech, censorship, or academic freedom can lead to protests as students defend their rights to express themselves and engage in open discourse.

Climate Change and Environmental Activism: Given the urgency of climate change, many students are engaged in protests and activism to push for stronger environmental policies and sustainability initiatives both on campus and beyond.

International Issues: Students may protest against human rights abuses, wars, or other injustices occurring in other parts of the world, demonstrating solidarity with affected communities and calling for action from their own governments.

Solidarity with Other Movements: Campus protests often intersect with broader social movements, with students showing solidarity with movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, or the global student-led climate strikes.

Overall, protests on college campuses serve as important platforms for students to voice their concerns, challenge injustices, and advocate for positive change within their communities and society at large. 

But it all needs to be PEACEFUL. Violence on college campuses during protests is a concerning issue that can have significant consequences for students, faculty, and the wider community. It's important to address this problem with a multi-faceted approach that involves both preventive measures and appropriate responses when incidents occur. 

Who would be YOUR pick for an amazing Commencement Address? 

An address for all of us...???

Sunday, April 21, 2024

LIVE! { at the time....}

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

I'm a big Demetri Martin fan. As with most things, some people will love a certain comedian, or hate them, or land somewhere on the spectrum of "huge fan" to "meh". 

I think back to all the comedians I have watched over the years - both LIVE (LIVE) and on HBO. Or NETFLIX. Going to Comedy Clubs was the thing to do in the 80s and 90s. I was a regular (sat in the front row... ready for abuse) at Rascals Comedy Club in New Jersey. 

Steve Martin was one of the first comedians to fill a stadium. Remember Andrew Dice Clay? 

Andrew Dice Clay is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He rose to prominence in the late 1980s with a brash, deliberately offensive persona known as "The Diceman". In 1990, he became the first stand-up comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden for two consecutive nights.

And then I thought about the Zoom Comedy Shows that we did during the pandemic. That's all we had was Zoom - it was a Zoom Show or nothing. Our "Coffee in the Clouds - with COMEDIANS" was a ton of fun. But the comedians would frequently comment how you really need a LIVE audience to make it work. You need the energy of the crowd, preferably in a small room with a low ceiling, to make the laughter fill the room. Zoom was cool - but not for comedy. 

And that brings me back to Demetri Martin LIVE! { at the time } special. What is "LIVE" anyway? We do trade shows LIVE but also allow folks to attend LIVE (virtually) when then cannot make the trip. Later this month is TriNet's National Small Business Summit in New York City - LIVE! Monday to Friday LIVE (April 29th - May 3rd) with a few hundred people in the room - and thousands of people attending one or all five days LIVE (from home). And if you cannot make any of it, the recordings (live at the time) will be on their website. 

And so... a career of a comedian usually goes like this: LIVE - small room. LIVE - bigger room. LIVE - STADIUM! LIVE (at the time) ala HBO or NETFLIX. LIVE (at the time) movie or TV show. Maybe they will write a book. And, then if their career lasts long enough, back to LIVE - small room. 

I thought about my career - sales. Face to Face selling (LIVE!) Telephone sales. Direct Mail, Social Media, Trade Shows, Events, Webinars, Email, SMS/TEXTS, what's next?  There are many ways, many paths to the goal. Very similar to a comedian - there are many paths to getting a laugh. Or a sale. 

With a comedian, getting an HBO or NETFLIX special - that is a very big deal. That is a "you made it" moment in the career of a comedian. Technology changed the way that comedians (or singers) grow their careers. I understand that as of this Sunday Blog, someone named Taylor Swift just launched a new album with 300M+ downloads in 24 hours. Huh, streaming media is a very good example of LIVE! ( at the time...). 

I remember when HBO first went live in 1972. I remember getting NETFLIX CDs in the mail, before they made the pivot to online. I remember going to the movies to see a Disney movie as a kid - it was a big deal on a Saturday afternoon. The movie had a start time - don't be late! 

A Yankee Game (LIVE!) at the stadium, or LIVE in your living room? Watching The Masters LIVE - AT the Masters or watching it via ???  Jerry Seinfeld LIVE at a Comedy Club in the 80s or SEINFELD on TV or Jerry Seinfeld (sold out) at Radio City Music Hall in NYC - or 2024: Jerry Seinfeld back to small Comedy Clubs (surprise!). Which would you pick? Do you want to see Jerry Seinfeld LIVE (LIVE) in NYC, or will you wait for the HBO special? Assuming of course you are "huge fan" and not a "meh". 

You, just read this LIVE! At the time... Just like I wrote it. 

Live. At the time. From good ol' BOONTON USA. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Who's laughing now?

  1. Laughter.
  2. A child laughing. 
  3. A four month old baby laughing. 
  4. A grandfather hearing their first grandchild laughing - for the first time. 
  5. A grandfather looking on as his son holds his first grandchild up to the sky. Both the son and grandchild are laughing. Three generations in one moment. And in that single moment in time - life is perfect for all three. 
Yeah, post number Five above lands the plane, right? 


I don't care where you are in the world, these words will resonate with you. Because in your mind's eye, you are seeing this. You might be mentally visualizing your own family, you might be seeing your own child or grandchild. You might be an uncle or an aunt, or a friend of the family. But the most amazing thing is that the scene that you see (in your mind's eye) is valid no matter where you live in the world. Africa, Asia, Europe, North America - anywhere. 

The laughter of a child, in the arms of their parent, with the grandparents looking on....

And this folks..... is marketing

This vivid imagery could be used for selling travel. Or healthcare. Or life insurance. Or real estate. Or even technology - allowing grandparents to experience the laughter of their first grandchild from thousands of miles away. 

Six Words - For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn. 

Long before the Internet, the above story tells the power of words - and imagery. 

The claim of Hemingway's authorship originates in an unsubstantiated anecdote about a wager among him and other writers. Hemingway is said to have claimed he could write a short story only six words short. In a 1991 letter to Canadian humorist John Robert Colombo, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke recounts: "He's [Hemingway] supposed to have won a $10 bet (no small sum in the '20s) from his fellow writers. They paid up without a word. ... Here it is. I still can't think of it without crying —  FOR SALE. BABY SHOES. NEVER WORN."

By 1921, the story was already being parodied: the July issue of Judge that year published a version that used a baby carriage instead of shoes; there, however, the narrator described contacting the seller to offer condolences, only to be told that the sale was due to the birth of twins rather than of a single child.

Ah! A positive spin! A happy ending....a twist in the plot! We need a bigger baby carriage! Twins!!!

Here is the point of today's Sunday Blog. We've heard that "A picture is worth a thousand words" but I am not sure that is really true. In today's world of high tech marketing, and AI generated visuals, and mass marketed media, it might be time to rethink this. Scroll to the top. Read posts one to five again. It builds, it builds with five being the most clear - the most vividthe most powerful

We FEEL the scene, we can see it in our own personal experience. In our own families, in our own lives. Three generations in one moment. We can all relate to that moment in time, right? That could be OUR family. That could 

We cannot be sure that Hemingway did (or did not) say the above quote. But here is mine: 

"Six words are worth a thousand pictures." 

Also this: I'm the grandfather in the story at the top. And yes, all is perfect in the world for me (and for my wife) on this Sunday Morning. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

A Roas is a Roas is a Roas

Everyone knows 'ROI' right? Hey, what's the ROI? We need better ROI!

ROI stands for "Return on Investment." It is a financial metric used to evaluate the profitability or efficiency of an investment relative to its cost. ROI is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the net profit (or gain) generated from the investment by the cost of the investment, and then multiplying the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.

The formula for calculating ROI is: (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100%

For example, if you invest $10,000 in a project and it generates $15,000 in revenue, with total costs (including the initial investment) amounting to $12,000, then the net profit would be $3,000 ($15,000 - $12,000). So, the ROI in this scenario would be 30%.

ROI is a critical metric in evaluating the performance of investments and comparing the efficiency of different investment opportunities. It helps businesses and investors assess whether the returns generated by an investment justify the costs incurred to make that investment.

Ah, but it was only recently, at 63 years old, that 'ROAS' came into my life. 

ROAS stands for "Return on Advertising Spend." It is a marketing metric that measures the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. ROAS helps businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns by comparing the revenue generated from those campaigns to the amount spent on them. 

ROAS is calculated by dividing the revenue generated from advertising by the advertising spend. For example, if a company spends $1,000 on advertising and generates $5,000 in revenue from that advertising, the ROAS would be 5 ($5,000 / $1,000).

A higher ROAS indicates that the advertising campaign is more effective at generating revenue, while a lower ROAS suggests that the campaign may not be delivering a positive return on investment. ROAS is commonly used in online advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, but it can also be applied to other forms of advertising. Like Trade Shows. 

TRADE SHOWS!!!!!  What is the ROAS for Trade Shows??? Ah, glad you asked. 

I have been attending Trade Shows and Events since the 80s. Ah yes, travel, hotel, food, cost of the event itself. Sometimes the cost of a booth at the show. Sometimes pre/post show marketing. I remember (around 30 years ago) attending CES and I gave out (literally) 50,000 GE Exchange promotional prepaid phone cards - that was a big thing back in the days of payphones. I am feeling old even saying payphones... Yep, GE was in the 'Long Distance Phone Business' back in the day. I am feeling old even saying 'Long Distance' but I digress. 

Last month the (now global) DLA did the Enterprise Connect event in Orlando and Adobe Summit event in Las Vegas - at the same time. We had 6,000+ attend EC'24 LIVE and 11,700+ in Vegas - again LIVE. We figure 10X that number attend some or all of the events virtually.   

This was the first time we used customer engagement and marketing automation software (properly, deeply) for LIVE events. There are many competitive tools in the marketplace, but last month we used Dotdigital. 

Dotdigital is a global provider of customer engagement and marketing automation software. The company offers a platform called Dotdigital Engagement Cloud, formerly known as Dotmailer. Dotdigital's platform enables businesses to create, manage, and analyze various digital marketing campaigns, including email marketing, SMS marketing, social media marketing, and more.

The Dotdigital Engagement Cloud platform provides features such as email campaign creation and customization, contact segmentation, marketing automation workflows, personalization, analytics and reporting, and integrations with other marketing and CRM tools. Turns out that Dotdigital is a major partner with Adobe, hence their booth at the Adobe Summit. 

Businesses use Dotdigital's platform to engage with their customers across different channels, deliver personalized experiences, drive customer acquisition and retention, and ultimately improve their marketing effectiveness and ROI.

Dotdigital serves a wide range of industries, including retail, e-commerce, travel and hospitality, financial services, and nonprofit organizations. The company's software is designed to help businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, enhance their digital marketing efforts and build stronger relationships with their customers.

AND SO... we loaded the 6,000+ LIVE attendees from Orlando and the 11,700+ LIVE attendees from Las Vegas into the Dotdigital 'transmogrifier' machine, and for the first time (in my career) we had an ROAS for LIVE trade shows. 

ROAS = (Amount gained from Trade Show / Amount Spent on Trade Show) x 100 

Our ROAS for these two events is tracking at 3600%.  In other words, we are getting $36 for every $1 spent via the Orlando and Vegas events. This...... is good. Like, very very good. 

I am not a CMO by profession, but I do own a calculator. And as a business owner, 3600% ROAS are HOF numbers for me. (Hall of Fame). And here is the "Inside Baseball" secret that most folks don't know about Trade Shows and ROAS.

It costs TIME and MONEY to attend an event LIVE. That's it. That's the big secret. 

Travel, food, the booth, add it all up. There were probably 150+ booths in Orlando and 300+ booths in Las Vegas. So THOSE companies spent $$$ for their 3 or 4 days at the venue. I saw some booths that had 10, 20 or more STAFF at their booths. That's 10 or 20 hotel rooms, 10 or 20 plane tickets, 10 or 20 UBER rides, etc.  It adds up fast.  AND SO.....

The people who PHYSICALLY attend an event - they TOO have their own little ROAS to worry about. Everyone who travels to a LIVE event has their own opportunity costs baked in. No one 'wants' to go to trade shows - they want the RESULTS of going to trade shows! They want the positive BUSINESS OUTCOMES of physically attending a trade show or physically attending an industry event - LIVE

We can now track the ROAS of the people who attended an event LIVE vs. someone who attended an event virtually. It's not even close. If someone goes to your website and downloads a PDF, hey that's great. If they attend one of your webinars, cool. 

But if some spends the 'time and treasure' to attend an event LIVE - they too are looking for a business outcome

Turns out that CFOs love, LoVe, LOVE things like ROI and ROAS.  And if you are a solopreneur, then YOU ARE the CFO. 

Full Disclosure: The DLA is now the North American Partner for Dotdigital. Why? Because I do indeed own a calculator. And MATH I understand. Advanced Calculus? Not so much. But math... yeah I got that nailed. 

If you want your own free trial account of the Dotdigital transmogrifier machine (tip of the hat to Calvin and Hobbes) just go to as I like sharing my toys. Hey, it's a member benefit! 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Messenger of Joy! (and hidden Easter Eggs)

In media, an Easter Egg is a message, image, or feature hidden in software, a video game, a film, or another — usually electronic — medium. The term used in this manner was coined around 1979 by Steve Wright, the then-Director of Software Development in the Atari Consumer Division, to describe a hidden message in the Atari video game Adventure, in reference to an Easter egg hunt.

You can Google Fr. John Catoir - Messenger of Joy! 

Here is one from 2017: God Really Loves You 

At one point in my life, I was "in formation" to become a Roman Catholic Deacon. Father John Catoir was my spiritual advisor. And, he became a mentor to me - and to my two sons.  When my youngest son Bobby wrote his college application essay way back in 2008 it was about his work with Father Catoir. 

Since my son Bobby made that public way back in 2008 (he sent applications to many colleges) I don't think I can get into trouble in 2024 for >>> reposting it here. { Proud Dad Alert } 

My friend Regina Brett wrote today (on Easter Sunday) about Joy. And it triggered me:

O send forth your light and your truth; Let these be my guide. Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. And I will come to the altar of God, the God of my joy. - Psalm 43

That last line always blows me away. A God of joy?

For years I had a bogeyman God that I picked up in first grade at Immaculate Conception School where the catechism book showed how black your soul turned when you sinned. The illustration looked like a lung tarred by smoking but was allegedly a soul darkened by sin. I was a goner at 6.

The God I grew up believing in sent unbaptized babies to Limbo, good folks to Purgatory and everyone else to Hell for all eternity. Heaven was reserved for saints, mystics and martyrs who had visions, performed miracles or lost body parts on their flight to heaven.

For years I tried to be good enough to earn God’s love. I always failed. It was confirmed every Sunday at Mass when we said, “O Lord, I am not worthy to receive you.”

I drank to wash away that shame until a friend in recovery invited me to get a new God. She said, “I wouldn't want to have coffee with your God.” Me either.

She told me to stop trying to clean myself up to become worthy of God’s love. “Go to God dirty and messy,” she said. “God is the soap.” What a relief. God loves me as is. You, too.

I found a user-friendly God at the Jesuit Retreat House in Parma in 1981. A Jesuit priest named Joe Zubricky lent me his God. At first, I mistook Joe for the gardener. He wore a flannel shirt and work pants, had a hunchback, a big hook nose.

Father Joe gave a talk about the God who loved him. He painted a picture of unconditional love, deep peace, unwavering mercy. A God who had carved our name on the palm of His hand. A God who would never forget us, never forsake us.

We sang a song that weekend inspired by the words from Isaiah 49:16: Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hand. I still sing it to myself:

I will never forget you my people,
I have carved you on the palm of My hand,
I will never forget you,
I will not leave you orphaned,
I will never forget my own

It’s like God has a tattoo with my name on it. Yours, too.

At that retreat house, I prayed in the chapel under the huge crucifix and invited Joe’s God to love me. When I looked up, I noticed the shadow of the cross. It reminded me of the other man on the cross, the man hanging next to Jesus who said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

That’s all he asked, Remember me. For that, he was promised, “This day you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise. The man didn't have to give an accounting for everything he’d done wrong all his life. He didn't have to flog himself or serve one day in Purgatory, Limbo or Hell.

Remember me. What a powerful prayer. Even if you don’t ask, God remembers you. Even if you forget to pray, God remembers you. Even if you can’t find God, God remembers you. God is always right where you are.

Before leaving the retreat house, I knelt down beside my little twin bed and wept. I prayed that once my car pulled down the driveway back toward home, God would still remember me. And God has. God always remembered me.

You, too.

~ Regina Brett 

On this Easter Sunday, Regina Brett made me think of Father John Catoir, the Messenger of Joy. And media. And being a messenger. And the power of the Internet, and Social Media. And now my brain is jumping to Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame, for "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility".

Media. Power. Responsibility.  I hope you will find the "hidden Easter Egg" in today's Easter Sunday blog. 

I never did become a Roman Catholic Deacon. At the time, my two sons were too young, and they needed me. My family needed me. So, after two years, I stopped my Roman Catholic Deacon formation, thinking that I would resume one day. 

The word deacon is derived from the Greek word diákonos (διάκονος), which is a standard ancient Greek word meaning "servant", "waiting-man", "minister", or "messenger". 

It's 2024 and I think it is time for me to become a Messenger again. Both of my sons are grown, married, and I'm a new Grandpa. Circle of Life and whatnot. 

We are (all of us) an Easter People.  Time to reboot Messenger of Joy. 

I think Father Catoir would approve. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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

John Denver wrote and recorded “Leaving on a Jet Plane” in 1966, when he was just 23 years old. 

Denver, then a relatively unknown 23 year old musician in the Los Angeles folk scene, wrote the song during a layover at Washington National Airport in 1966. In one of his BBC Radio specials, Denver said about the song:

"This is a very personal and very special song for me. It doesn’t conjure up Boeing 707s or 747s for me as much as it does the simple scenes of leaving. Bags packed and standing by the front door, taxi pulling up in the early morning hours, the sound of a door closing behind you, and the thought of leaving someone that you care for very much."

This week is Enterprise Connect. March 25-28, 2024. For over 30 years, Enterprise Connect has been the leading conference and exhibition for enterprise communications and collaboration in North America. Enterprise Connect brings corporate IT decision makers together with the industry's vendors, channel partners, analysts and consultants to focus on the issues central to enterprise communications and collaboration. Translation: it's a big deal. Looks like 5,500+ have registered to be LIVE in Orlando.

And this week is Adobe Summit 2024. March 26-28, 2024. Adobe Summit is an annual conference organized by Adobe Systems, a multinational software company known for its creative, marketing, and document management solutions. Adobe Summit typically focuses on digital marketing, advertising, e-commerce, customer experience management, and related topics. The event gathers industry professionals, marketing leaders, technologists, and digital enthusiasts to discuss emerging trends, share best practices, and learn about Adobe's latest technologies and innovations in the digital experience space. Adobe Summit often features keynote presentations, educational sessions, workshops, networking opportunities, and product demonstrations. It serves as a platform for attendees to gain insights, collaborate with peers, and explore strategies for driving digital transformation and business growth. Translation: it's a big deal. Looks like 6,000+ have registered to be LIVE in Las Vegas (sold out). Attendance for the Adobe Summit Online experience is unlimited - and free for everyone.

Because I am not Travis Kelce, I cannot borrow Taylor Swift's jet plane. So, TAC Sr. will go to Orlando, and TAC Jr. will go to Las Vegas. And, TAC Sr. will also attend Adobe Summit Online, for free, from Orlando. Done

But what really hit me this morning is how Online is free and unlimited, and attending LIVE is not free, attendance is limited and expensive (travel, hotel, event pass). Adobe Summit sold out fast - the conference rooms only hold so many people. Same goes for Enterprise Connect. The Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando has around 1,700 guest rooms, not 17,000. 

As I write this Sunday Blog I reflect on these two events. Adobe Summit is all about experience-led growth. Digital Experiences. They give you a template letter to send to your Boss, to convince them to pay for your trip to Las Vegas (LIVE): 

To: D. Bigboss

From: Bigboss N. Training 

Subject: Attending Adobe Summit LIVE in Las Vegas

Dear [insert supervisor’s name],

As our focus on delivering personal and meaningful experiences to customers continues to grow, I want to prepare myself as best as I can to create the future of experience-led growth for our business. I’m writing to ask your approval to attend Adobe Summit, the premier digital experience conference, in Las Vegas from March 26—28, 2024.

Adobe Summit is a conference designed for the leaders and creators behind the world’s best experiences. Summit offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and development, including exclusive skill-building sessions, trainings and credential exams, and networking events with experts and leaders in digital experience. 

Here are ways our company would benefit from my attendance:

• Insight into all things customer experience: I’ll gain valuable skills for keeping customers engaged and driving brand loyalty and growth. 

• Staying ahead of upcoming trends: During the keynotes, sessions, and customer success stories, I’ll find out what’s new and next from industry leaders who are creating breakthrough customer experiences. 

• Making the most of our Adobe investment — With more than 200 sessions and labs, I’ll learn time-saving techniques and best practices.

• Brainstorming with the best of the best — I’ll have the opportunity to connect directly with peers and leaders from the world’s top brands and collect ideas for our next great customer experiences.

• Exploring the full customer experience ecosystem — In the Community Pavilion, I’ll have opportunities to talk with Adobe partners about their newest products and services that support experience-driven companies and expand the capabilities of our current tech stack. 

After Summit, I’ll submit a post-conference report with key learnings and takeaways so I can share everything I absorbed at Summit with other members of the team and the larger organization.

You can learn more about Summit at

Me, - I am very spoiled. I run the Distance Learning Association, and we are all about "remote" and technology and virtual experiences. Digital Experiences. Adobe is all about digital experiences. Enterprise Connect is all about well, connecting the Enterprise (the people) via technology. The Titanium Sponsors at EC'24 are AWS, RingCentral, Webex and Zoom

The reason that I am very spoiled is that I live in North New Jersey, around 28 miles West of NYC - you know - the Center of the Known Universe. So, at the drop of a hat, I can be in THE BIG APPLE in less than an hour, and attend events at places like Javits Center with almost no planning. And certainly no airports are involved. If I wait long enough, sooner or later, THE WORLD comes to me, in NYC. Round trip on the bus, BOONTON USA < > Times Square, less than $20. And 5G and/or WiFi the entire time. 

But now, this week, money will be spent. Time will be invested in traveling to Orlando, and to Las Vegas. Because even with the best technology in the world - people still want to do business with people. Live. In person. Humans want to work with other humans, not robots. Not yet, anyway. People still want to meet people live, over adult beverages. 

My son Tommy will be hanging with Shaq. In Vegas. You cannot do that online. 

And now I have that John Denver song in my head like an earworm... and so do you. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Where to sit?

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

Hey ChatGPT: Where should I sit at the Snowflake Data for Breakfast in NYC?

Hey Tom! Sitting in the front row offers several advantages:

Better Engagement: When you're in the front row, you're closer to the action. This proximity can help you stay more engaged with the material being presented, whether it's a lecture, a performance, or a meeting.

Clearer View: Being in the front row ensures that you have an unobstructed view of the speaker or presenter. You won't have to strain your neck or squint to see what's happening, which can help reduce eyestrain and improve comprehension.

Reduced Distractions: Sitting in the front row can help minimize distractions from other attendees. You're less likely to be distracted by side conversations, movements, or other disruptions that may occur further back in the room.

Increased Interaction: Being close to the front makes it easier to interact with the speaker or presenter. You may feel more comfortable asking questions, participating in discussions, or seeking clarification on points that aren't clear.

Positive Impression: Sitting in the front row can convey a sense of attentiveness and eagerness to learn or engage with the topic at hand. This can be particularly important in professional or academic settings where perception matters.

Of course, whether sitting in the front row is the best option for you depends on your personal preferences and the specific context of the situation. However, it's worth considering the potential benefits of front-row seating when deciding where to position yourself.

I did. I always sit in the front row. Front row, center. Funny how that spot is usually available. Sometimes people sit in the last row, like any further back they would be outside. But I find it interesting that the front row, especially front row center usually goes begging. 

Not at a concert. Not at a Broadway Show, not at a sporting event. Courtside seats at an NBA game? What does THAT cost? No, those seats are the MOST expensive. Those seats are in high demand. But at a lecture, in a classroom setting, those front row center seats are probably without takers. Think about that. 

During the Q&A when they are passing the microphone around the room, it is interesting to notice who has a question. Who actually has something meaningful to ASK, vs. someone who just wants to hear themselves talk. It's pretty obvious.

Front row, center. Any closer, I'd be on stage. Ah, yes, Q&A, it's my turn with the microphone. 

"Hello, my name is Tom Capone, and I run the Distance Learning Association. This question is for Peter, and then - same question for the rest of the panel. Peter: I see on your slide that you majored in ENGLISH in college, and now you are a Data Scientist. How did that happen, and if everyone on the panel can briefly tell us your own personal journey to find you here - today - on the stage at the Snowflake Data Summit." 

You can see the body language of the folks on the stage change. You can see Peter's face light up as he told his story of English Major turned Business Analytics Information Technology (BAIT) expert. And then, each person on the dias told their own personal career story. 

Yes, the Data for Breakfast Summit, the event that was all about Big Data, Analytics, AI, Technology, quickly went back to being about people. Ah yes, people eat breakfast, robots do not. Right. 

I tend to be a visionary optimist. I like to think Luke Skywalker PLUS R2-D2. A team. That is the world I hope we have. 

Peter and the Robots. Sounds like a good name for a band. 

Oh, yeah, also this: Snowflake is now a value-added member benefit of the Distance Learning Association. You are welcome. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

That's not my job!

  If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. here - hey ChatGPT: what's a job?

ChatGPT: Hey A job is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment, typically as part of one's livelihood. It is often associated with specific tasks, responsibilities, and a set of duties performed within an organization or for an employer. Jobs can range from manual labor to highly specialized professions, and they can be full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract-based. The primary purpose of a job is to provide individuals with income and financial stability, as well as opportunities for personal and professional development.

Hey ChatGPT: come again?

ChatGPT: Ah,, please pay attention this time: A job typically refers to a specific task or set of tasks performed by an individual in exchange for monetary compensation or other benefits. It can also refer to a position within an organization or a profession that requires specific skills, knowledge, and responsibilities. Jobs vary widely across industries and sectors, ranging from manual labor to highly specialized roles in fields such as technology, healthcare, finance, education, and more. The concept of a job forms the backbone of most economies, as individuals engage in employment to earn a living and contribute to society.

Hey ChatGPT, I think I got it now: A "job" is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment or compensation. It typically involves specific tasks, responsibilities, and duties that contribute to the functioning of an organization or business. Jobs are often part of a larger career path and may require certain skills, qualifications, or experience. They can vary widely in nature, ranging from manual labor to professional roles in fields such as medicine, engineering, education, finance, and many others. Jobs provide individuals with a means to earn a living, support themselves and their families, and contribute to society. Do I have it right?

ChatGPT: did you Google that?  

Ah so, part of my "job" is to write a Sunday Blog. Like this one. And to post stuff on social media. Which is how you probably found this blog. And to interview people for video podcasts, and attend industry events. Like our interviews which reach (checks notes...) MILLIONS of people. Did I just sound like Dr. Evil? Well, now I did, right? 

I have been getting the ExecuNet email newsletter since 1988. It's good. In fact, it is very good. If someone is looking for a job, I highly recommend them. If you are looking for a job - as in getting a paycheck, then using services like ExecuNet should help you to reach your objective. Today, in 2024, there are many "job boards" out there, Indeed and LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter come to mind. Also in 2024, there are many sites like Freelancer, People Per Hour, Fiverr, etc. that service "the gig economy" or independent contractors. I predict that many people who are reading this blog today have active profiles on such platforms. Here we go again: Hey ChatGPT: what is Fiverr?

ChatGPT: Are you still here???? Geeze. Ok, Fiverr is an online marketplace that connects freelancers with clients who need various digital services. It was founded in 2010 and has since grown to become one of the largest platforms for freelancers, offering services in categories such as graphic design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, programming and tech, music and audio, business, and lifestyle. On Fiverr, freelancers, also known as sellers, create profiles and list the services they offer, along with their pricing and turnaround times. Clients, or buyers, can browse through these listings, communicate with sellers, and hire them to complete specific projects or tasks. The platform is known for its user-friendly interface, wide range of services, and global community of freelancers.

Land the plane Tom.... land the plane.......

OK. Here is my point. In 2024, I have no idea what a "job" really is. Every day, people all around the world will say "I just lost my job" or "I just got a new job" or "I really hate my job!" And, I'm not sure they really know what the true definition of job is - because I sure don't. And all around the world, people are afraid that AI is going to take their job. That they will "lose their job" to technology. 

I know what it is like to get a paycheck, I did that in the early 80's. And I know what it is like to be on the "eat what you kill plan" as an Entrepreneur. Over my career, I have charged $0 for my time, and I have charged $5 per minute. If you are looking for a job, if you have a job, if you hate your job - I think "Job #1" is to know what your definition of "job" really is. Because today, this morning, I hired ChatGPT to help me to write my Sunday Blog - for free. So this morning, today, we both got paid $0 per hour. Or did we??? 

Good job, ChatGPT. Good job. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Zoom me out to the ball game

  If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. hey ChatGPT: What is the population around the 30 Major League Baseball parks?

ChatGTP: I'm sorry, but I don't have access to real-time data, so I can't provide the exact populations around each of the 30 Major League Baseball parks. The populations around these parks would vary depending on their locations and the cities they're in. You can find the populations of the cities where the parks are located through various sources such as census data or official city statistics websites. OK, What are the 30 MLB ballparks?

ChatGPT: As of my last update in January 2022, there are 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums. Here they are:

1. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Los Angeles Angels)

2. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks)

3. Truist Park (Atlanta Braves)

4. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)

5. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)

6. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

7. Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox)

8. Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds)

9. Progressive Field (Cleveland Guardians)

10. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies)

11. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)

12. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros)

13. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

14. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Los Angeles Angels)

15. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers)

16. loanDepot Park (Miami Marlins)

17. American Family Field (Milwaukee Brewers)

18. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

19. Citi Field (New York Mets)

20. Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees)

21. Oakland Coliseum (Oakland Athletics)

22. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies)

23. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

24. Petco Park (San Diego Padres)

25. Oracle Park (San Francisco Giants)

26. T-Mobile Park (Seattle Mariners)

27. Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals)

28. Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays)

29. Globe Life Field (Texas Rangers)

30. Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays)

Please note that there might have been changes since then due to new stadium constructions, renovations, or changes in team locations. OK, last question: What would happen if the DLA (Distance Learning Association) hosted events for the six months of the MLB 2024 season at all 30 MLB ballparks. What if we invited (checks notes...) all of the 'ideal client persona' (filtered) businesses within easy commute of the 30 MLB ballparks, to VIP events, customer appreciate days, Lunch 'n Learns, Sunset Seminars, to learn about products, services, etc. Things like Cybersecurity Summits, UCaaS days, Ecommerce Mastery, Telemedicine....Cloud Computing... AI Mastery... anything...everything. And since the MLB is Powered By Zoom all such individual events can also reach hundreds of thousands of people. Over the entire season, we would reach MILLIONS of business decision makers, both LIVE and (live via Zoom). We could even have Baseball Hall of Fame players attend the events LIVE in the VIP suites or (live) via Zoom. What do you think?

ChatGPT: ..................calculating....................................................

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

{ ah, but first }