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 }