Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bees Been Dying...Confirmation & Re-branding

Work History...
beekeeper beekeeping honey bees neonicotinoidMowing lawns and shoveling sidewalks as a kid was not all that uncommon for those who needed cash.  By the time I was 14 I was a beekeeper.  My mother had to drive me.  Hopefully I'll keep plugging away at this until someone has to drive me again.  It's been fifty years.  For the past 20 years mites have been a challenge, weakening colonies and introducing both chemical and more holistic approaches to manage insects living on insects.

Starting in 2008 I started to lose colonies mid-summer.  Historically that occurred it someone was spraying apple trees or ditch herbicides.  It was made clear by the bees that made it back to the colony and died en mass.  The more recent losses were different.  The colonies were simply absent of bees, dead or alive.  Virtually all corn in the US is genetically modified.  It's also a major source of protein for bee colonies.  It seemed that my losses coincided with adjacent corn fields.  More research indicated that a new class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, could be suspect.  Bounded to corn seed it was an effective deterrent to corn borers.  Unfortunately it was also effective on honey bees.  This past week the EPA released confirming research.

In junior high we had to do a 'vocational notebook' identifying three occupations that we might pursue.  I can only remember two of the three; fire protection engineer and beekeeper.  The instructor was not supportive of the beekeeper route.  As a kid it was unusual.  I did not make much money.  As a sixth generation adult it's a bit less unusual than it was, actually growing in popularity.  I still don't make much money.

Personal Brand...
A number of years ago I attended a BOMA convention.  At the Building Owners and Managers Association meeting all the men looked alike.  Haircuts, jackets, ties, shoes, etc., all fit a standard.  While it was probably before personal branding on the internet, they all had the standard look.

During my time with the outplacement company I attended a number of seminars and webinars on establishing your personal brand.  Hiring managers go to the internet to find out who you are.  Undoubtedly it gives a better impression of your interests, abilities and experience than the nicely done resume.  Some people go down the route of staying off social media or operating under a pseudonym name.  As an early Facebook and Twitter person I simply used my name.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Really, what did I have to hide.  

As LinkedIn emerged as the goto place for business networking it was logical to use your name.  Having written hundreds or thousands of Twitter or Facebook posts I'm working on broadening my LinkedIn brand, commenting on articles or other posts of interest and writing some of my own.  Knowing your way around 'properties,' 'categories', hashtags, etc., is helpful.

Right now there's far more personal stuff about me than there is professional.  That's the project for JAN & FEB.  JUN is the new employment goal date.

When hiring I always tried to learn something of the personal interests of my tech hires.  Musicians were a good choice in tech, except those of the angry heavy metal persuasion. 

If I saw this in a candidates social media footsteps I'd probably ask about it but I'm not sure exactly what I'd ask.  In my case I'm in the process of re-branding.  We'll see where this leads.  Sixth-decade re-imaging, re-branding, etc.

Personal Brand


Tuesday, January 12, 2016


management innovation 180 degrees artisan
180 Degrees
State of the Union Address...
What sort of divisive congress do we have if not all of the will stand with a call to eliminate cancer?

Other Things...
2015 was chaotic.  2016 has started poorly.  There are opportunities.  They're just harder when you're headed 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  Changing from 180 is much easier than 167.66 degrees.

The Holidays...
The previous post, December 26th, was crafted (liberal use of 'craft') on my birthday.  Generally I avoid that day.  This year my goal was a blog post on the year past and plans for the new year.  Several attempts with more than a few minutes at the keyboard led to nothing.

Writing is work.  You need to get up and work or stay up and work.  It's clear that the best time for me to write is between 9 and 12 PM.  Of course that's the same time I'd rather resort to a good book.  That would affirm that it's a good time for assimilation.  During my office and cubicle days I was most productive when it was quiet and absent of people.  Apparently I have no excuses not that I'm no longer chained to an office or cubicle or surrounded by people (usually checking Facebook on company time).

writing down the bones; natalie goldberg

Ms. Goldberg's text has been referenced before in this blog and remains a good reinforcement; sit down and write.  Write about sitting down and writing if you must.  As a photographer I know that searching, driving traveling about looking for the epic shot is a waste (most often).  If there is a propensity to write and the discipline to sit down (figuratively or literally) and write, something good will come out.

The last months have been filled with creative excuse.

Small Business..
We've been really busy.  It's taxing.  My goal every day is to get fired.  That's not working.  Lately I've been standing awkwardly close to customers hoping to draw complaints.  It's not working.  Small business is the backbone of America, the American Dream, the Heart of the Heartland.  Making some jing would be good.

Human Resource Department Bashing...
human resources
Businesses usually require annual performance reviews.  The intent is broad with the purpose of formally measuring our subordinates accountability and achievement.  The Human Resource departments tells us that, along with what we should pay people and who would be good employees.  With the exception of one former NHL person who ended up in a lead HR role I've found them all to be rather lame.

The forms for annual reviews were overwhelming.  Often these included semi-annual or quarterly updates, as well.  It's critical to monitor, measure, develop and direct your charges regularly, daily if possible.  We compliment our children, reinforce good behavior, celebrate accomplishments and correct errant acts daily.  Hopefully that works.  Imagine only doing an annual or quarterly update on your kids, or filling out a form.

The 'pain in the ass' label was from an article in Entrepreneur Magazine about a relatively new company that provides a manager and employee facing online application to simplify performance reviews, benefits, onboarding, offboarding, etc.  In my new entrepreneur mode I'm going to use this as soon as I have employees and have to do HR things that I don't want to do...and I'll likely never have an HR staff.

Leaders need charisma and vision and they need to be able to carry a room, sharing their vision, leaving everyone thinking "that's exciting...I want to be part of that" or "I was part of that."  Perhaps my experience has been narrow but I think HR groups miss that consistently.  True innovation results from moving away from norms rather than regressing to them.  HR people always seem norm-focused

My first consultant at the outplacement firm was the for Senior President of Human Resources for Honeywell.  He talked for 90 minutes straight and never asked a question the first time I met with him.  The monologue was all about how he laid off thousands of people including himself.  I complained to our HR person with whom I'd negotiated part of this service.  I'll have to check and see if has partnerships with the same outplacement service...anticipating offboarding employees in my new entrepreneurship which has not yet onboarded anyone.

David Bowie...
Innovation has been the big buzzword for a few years now.  Businesses are developing formal innovation programs (e.g. oxymoron).  Education institutions are developing formal curricula.  Bowie transformed himself artistically and personally repeatedly, without regret, every changing.  That's a good model.  Travel light in business.

Get Organized...

For $20 I think it's a no-brainer to get 2016 in order as the notice advertises.  Of course at that rate it's going to take another $2600 to get the first 6.5 decades in order.  Perhaps there's a discount if you have more than 50 years to deal with.

Everyone in my contacts (network?) on LinkedIn is younger and seem pleased and supportive that I'm not working as I did.  With one of them I referenced this phase as 'sixth-decade re-invention' which they thought was a good description and exciting.  Personally I just like hyphenated words.

This probably makes up for the 12/26/2015 failure.