Monday, January 31, 2011

“Marry an American”. Is this serious career advice?

A LinkedIn group of which I was a member (until today), had a discussion post from a young man in Europe: a serious inquiry. What advice did other group members have for the pursuit of a career in the United States.

The first response came from someone who advised him to “marry an American”. I responded to this by writing “Tacky, tacky, tacky” and then went on to give the inquirer a serious answer.

The group’s moderator just came back to me with:

I was just looking over our Linked In group page to see how it was going, and I noticed a comment you had written on Mr. XYZ’s post. Thank you for giving lending him your advice, but I am worried about the comment you then directed toward Mr. “first commenter”. I’m sure you meant the “Tacky, tacky, tacky” in a playful manner, but that is not how it comes off and I must ask you to refrain from such type of comments. From the outside looking in, it would look as though we allow our group members to treat each other with disrespect and I cannot tolerate that. Please be mindful of how your messages can be interpreted moving forward. Thank you for all of your positive engagement otherwise in the group. We appreciate your input.


Goodbye, group!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chain Letters

Do you remember the chain letters from bygone decades? You’d receive a letter in the mail, were asked to make six copies and send those on to six friends, etc., etc., etc. Often the letters included money (I think this became a criminal offense – and a good thing, too!), or a poem or ‘blessing’ -- all fairly harmless and perhaps even somewhat amusing.

Ah, the days of innocence!

How quaint that now seems in comparison with the electronic chain letters we receive these days and which are sharper, more offensive, threatening even.

I received one of these missiles this week. From someone I know well, with a headline that was sure to lead to me opening it, which I did. There was no connection between the headline and the e-mail’s content. It did not threaten me directly, but it did give gruesome examples of death and disaster that had befallen others who had received this chain letter also and had failed to forward it to twenty people in their address books.

Are some of our friends now becoming terrorists?

I’ve advised the sender that she was out of line in sending me this e-mail, and I hope that is the end of that. No one should engage in this practice; certainly not serious, responsible business people. I had for many years regarded her as such – an image she destroyed with one keystroke.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Distant Wars in Distant Lands

One of my daughters and her husband went to a viewing last night and will be at a memorial service and burial today. My son-in-law’s half-sister’s other half-brother (it’s complicated, as American family ties often are), 23 years old, killed in Afghanistan. He stepped on something that exploded, lost both legs, one arm, and his life.

Do you know anyone who has died in Afghanistan? Or in Iraq? Or even someone who fought there or is still fighting there? “Served/serving” are, I guess, the preferred words. But war is about fighting. It’s brutal, it’s violent – it kills.

The Iraq war has so far cost more than 4,000 American soldiers their lives (and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis). It’s not the only unnecessary war the United States has engaged in, in recent decades (Vietnam was another), and there will no doubt be others in the future. This has indeed been, as Bob Woodward and others have named it, “Bush’s War”, a war of vengeance against a dictatorial ruler who had years earlier wanted to assassinate the other President Bush. The idea of going to war against a country whose ruler we do not like is not new, but it is idiotic. And the cost is immeasurable.

The Afghan war resulted from the September 11, 2001 terror attacks with hijacked airplanes. Going after “the masterminds” was understandable (the planner was caught and awaits adjudication of his crime; the puppet master remains at large), but did we have to invade an entire country? Was it up to us to rout an even more miserable government than the one we later toppled in Iraq? I guess that collectively we like Afghanistan’s current corrupt government better than the zealous Taliban who were in charge before and who, ironically, shared ideologies with the mujahideen we supported in the Soviet Union’s invasion and oppression of Afghanistan. Friend-Enemy role reversal is easy when loyalties shift.

So far, 1,457 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the ten years since the U.S. and its coalition partners invaded the country; the young man being buried today is one of them, and the country, like Iraq, lies in ruins.

And for what? And who are they, these young Americans, so full of pride and honor, so patriotic, so dedicated to preserving our freedoms, our way of life, and so eager to take democracy and opportunity to other lands? Distant lands, where distant wars are being fought. Who knows someone who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan? I don’t, but I feel an enormous sorrow for the young man in that coffin today, and his family, and the dreams that will never be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Do Entrepreneurs Need?

Yesterday, I got invited to yet another event with a motivational speaker and could not help but think that entrepreneurs do not need motivation and inspiration (they are born with it!), although a little coaching is often a good thing. What we need is practical stuff! What’s the best SEO strategy, how can we make our web sites more visitor-friendly, what’s the best way to find our perfect markets, is self-publishing a viable option, who is an expert on video production, does it make more sense to add an employee, engage the services of a VA or outsource certain tasks, should I use QuickBooks or hire a CPA . .?

As an entrepreneur, what is your most pressing issue?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Facebook Friends

I’ve made it to 200 – hurrah!

Facebook was not much of a focus for me until I went to the Social Media Integration conference last October (when I had 77 “friends”).

My 200th is Steve Nygren. Hi, Steve!

A year ago last November I was at an event at Serenbe and loved it. It’s too far to visit often, but I may just have to put it on my list for this year and perhaps write about it for my travel blog.

The entire community is splendid. What I liked best was the kitchen garden.

Being able to stop at Wilkerson Mill the same day would be an added incentive. Last time, I bought a Fanny’s Aster there and its presence in my garden was majestic last fall.

But, back to Facebook. I’ve now got 201 “friends” – one more added since I started writing this.