Kevin Nealon – Happy Gilmore

I still have this memorized from Happy Gilmore, when Kevin Nealon provides some sage advice:

Yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.


Starting this page as a reference for our upcoming cross country trip.

Bunny Bear Cross Country 2009 = #bbcc09

Bunny = me — (@robotchampion)

Bear = amy — (@sengseng)

Fuzzles = @fuzzles

custom gmap of trip

date: may 24 — (countdown timer)


  • lookout mountain, GA – hang gliding
  • memphis, TN – heartbreak hotel
  • Great Sand Dunes, CO
  • mesa verde
  • zion/moab national park
  • vegas

Raging into the Future

this started as a update to my resume, but quickly descended into writers fever:

My Own Personal Mission Statement
Back to Basics

With the goal of finding oneself I seek to expand beyond my thoughts. As if the walls surrounding me could provide safety and contentment, which they do. Money, security, and expertise are all that some dream of in their career. To me they are at once dreamy and stifling. I hunger for challenge and novelty. For the advancement of life through major changes and big events.

In my current state I have a great job with a great career in a great field. I am making a difference on a national and sometimes world stage. I have a retirement plan that pays me 20% of my salary. I have a large salary. I have a sense of job security and growth through modern innovative programs.

At a time in my life when I had no career, no money, and desperately sought direction. Washington DC provided me with that. It gave me something more to. Comfort in myself. Time to be. A chance to enjoy the benefits of a charmed life. I have enjoyed my charmed life, but at the same time realized that it’s not for me.

I need the charm but also realize that it is something I can easily attain. No more do I feel the insecurity of worth or achievement. Instead I feel the drive and need to explore myself and how I fit in the world around me. I feel a chance before me to go beyond the simply great. I feel a chance to explore the depths of genius and brilliance. And in the words of the composer Lukas Foss “I want to go all the way”.

Life changes.
Hearts grow.
Minds crave.
Growth and change comes with every passing moment and as I recognize my moment I feel the intense desire to burst forward into the future.

The Perfect Strategy

The more I think about this country the more I realize that we are in the midst of a Perfect Storm. It is as if something new and disastrous happens every day. The current gust of the storm is AIG and it’s bonus payments.

But, has anyone actually looked into the bonuses? Listened to CEO of AIG Edward Liddy’s testimony about them? Heard Geithner’s response?

I read about Thomas Freidman saying we are an Immature Democracy and Ian Bremmer saying that this focus on the bonuses is a Luxury We Can’t Afford. It seems that neither of them have.

It’s as if this is a zero sum game. Do they not understand how people work. Yeah, Geithner and the president have to focus on AIG, but do they really think that is taking away from fixing this country. Do both of them just not fix things until this blows over…seriously that is ridiculous. And, Congress, by all means they should be focusing on this. Someone failed, money is lost, they need to be our nitpickers. If they are playing politics it is because that is the way the Constitution designed our system. Let them have their hearings and tell AIG and Wall Street: we are annoying and we are watching.

The real story behind the bonuses, can be quickly summarized: Liddy sent out a company memo asking for them to be given back, many already have. Geithner said that whatever they don’t get back they will make the company pay back. In the business of money, its simple, and these folks are keeping it simple with the eye on the prize.

Which has led me to wonder why are folks so focused on Wall Street or the individual moves of one bank? Is this not a game of chess like Mark Drapeau says?

It is all bullsh$t. Sorry, for saying that but all of these high minded folks are wrong. There are people actually suffering. Not wall street bankers who lost their 100k salary. But people in Michigan, California, and our children. All of these people are going through tough times.

And no, it’s not becuase of ‘bad mortgages’ or ‘banks’.  Anyone who says that is the cause of this recession is just plain ignorant or wearing horse blinders. This is a perfect storm. We have several massive, country supporting industries going under. They are not going under because banks failed them. No, they failed in their business.

GM, Chrysler, Ford they are just not making cars people will buy. Then there is textiles, electronics, and any other number of manufacturing companies that have been outsourced or out-competed in Mexico, China, Vietnam. Farmers and the farming industry is making money but not for the average person, the average farmer (what used to be the bedrock of our nation) is broke and dying.

Seriously, get out of your McMansions and go visit the rustbelt, midwest, and inner cities…you think they are worried about their 401k’s?

Then take a step back and think a chess-like four moves ahead. Are we really going to be shocked when banks get start leveraging themselves up to pre-recession levels. Are we going to be shocked when they again hand out bad loans. Believe me, it is inevitable.

Then you could say this is a crisis of leadership, regulation, and bad bets, but it is also a crisis of credit. Our economy is moving almost entirely into the credit world. New consumers, long deprived are going to live through credit. They are going to jump at the chance to have the American Dream, a home. They are going to buy everything they want and believe in minimum payments.

Oh, wait, that already happened.

These consumers are still there. The need for them to have credit is still there. The mathematical models will always find ways to give them credit. And they deserve it. Get used to these bad credit lenders, they are not going anywhere.

Ok, now so I’ve touched on the fact that this perfect storm includes financial failure, industrial depression, and a new credit/service economy. Their is much more going wrong in this country and its perfect storm (2 wars!). But, their is hope and frankly it angers me that not one of these pundits sees it.

So, let me call it out. Because, even though I am a huge Obama fan, I can also see that he is playing out the perfect strategy. Take a look:

  1. Come into office in Jan and lay it all on the table. Describe the problems and how long it is going to take.
  2. Wait.
  3. Markets drop to lowest levels, worst news yet comes out, everyone faces the reality (which was not happening under Bush).
  4. Wait
  5. Change the game. First begin building trust. Obama has a trillion to spend and his first move is to announce that he will save your job and your mortgage.
  6. Wait
  7. Fix the financial system: Bernanke/Geithner both at the same time announce several plans designed to get credit going (lowest interest rates ever) buy up toxic assets (take over banks who have them), and then offer government backed loans (TALF).
  8. Obama slips out of town and as Emily from Slate Political Gabfest puts it: shows America that its okay to have fun despite all these problems.
  9. Wait

Anyone who understand the psychology and politics of this country understands what is going on. Obama knows that credit relies on trust. He knows that our entire economy can ride on sentiment. You have to have both trust and hope. What he is doing is perfect to get that back for our country.

Then, simultaneously, he is rebuilding the economy any way he can. Stimulus, green technology, cap and trade, education. He is getting railed for taking on too much when really he is pushing hard for new growth in our economic sectors.

Don’t take my word for it, either. Do some research and you will find that the deeper the rabbit hole the smarter the strategy.

We are in the midst of a Perfect Storm and if you can see through the rain there is a Perfect Strategy being executed in step by patient step.


South by Southwest is a furious frenzy of frenetic and frantic freaks of the future (i.e internet geeks).

The festival is so large it will consume u alive. It took me three days just to get it down. But it’s also an institution, a somewhat passé one at that. Nearly everyone u meet flashes u a gang sign telling u how many times they’ve been here. And, they do it with a combo of pride/ego/I’ve seen it all.

As a SWirgin I could care less. There is so much pure unbridled joy, pureness, and passion it’s catchy. With a little luck u can find the future in NUI (natural user interface). A whole lot of passion with @garyvee, @kathysierra, and the ‘be awesome’ meme. Or, some sustainability, art, film, and creativity.

On the other hand, I was pretty fulfilled to hear some talk of boredom with ‘social media’. You know that rush to do something cause it’s cool, like the need to hang out with the cool kids in high school.

For every tool I pick-up I actually use it, and not to be the first to use or to add their widget. But, to get some family videos online or to get closer to long lost friends. Sometimes the utility of these true innovations get lost in the ‘first adopter’ crowd.

Andy Warhol definitely had no idea that our fifteen minutes of fame would come through getting a hundred twttr followers.

Ok, nuff of my diatribe now on to my favorites of the conf and I’m out:

– universal design – great panel led by James Craig of apple who effortlessly unwinds a story of how desgining for those with disabilities is leading to true the breakthroughs of tomorrow.

– GPS – big money. Google is getting involved, phone makers are in, chips are super cheap. Think location based ads, friend awareness, parents tracking kids, basically everything around us will have a little blinking GPS beacon.

– Facebook connect/design – what is with Facebook and SXSW? Making up for last year maybe, but they did rawk this one. Their new homepage look pushes them forward into new markets and fbook connect simultaneously supports those new markets.

– Friends – these events are 10x better with friends (@sengseng, @immunity) and growing that circle is choice.

– Twttr trends, oauth – twttr rocks the body that rocks the party. Being ubiqitous and building on that through a slick new trends interface (including hash tags as links). Then announcing, quietly, OAuth to solve all those pesky password problems…dominators.

– Online identity – building one, safeguarding it, monetizing it.

– Amdrew Mager, Andy Carvin – my heroes of the conference, foe their solid performances, quality content, and real personalities.

– Security/protection/finance/privacy

– Freefury – free in the 21st century means we are the ultimate customer. We pay through time, not through good coupon deals. Our ADD allows us to be fickle and companies will do whatever to keep us coming back (every fickle day). Why? B/c they want ad dollars, a large user base to run promos against, and enough peeps to support a ‘premium service’.

– Females – chix rock, but have inferiority complexes in tech. Watch out men because girls will soon take your place, the old boy network is going the way of be dodo (thankfully!)

– Millions of iPhones – good gosh, Apple in the house. Was SXSW ready for 3/4 of the populace to needs two wifi connections (lappy, phone). Apparently not and neither was AT&T as their 3G laggdom brought everything to a screeching halt.

– Big money – what recession, the tech sector doesn’t care. Attendance was down a little, but the money was still free flowing. Every major and minor player is throwing an open bar party with food and shwag galore. Does anyone else agree with me that tech is carrying many cities during this recession?

Finally, a concise line that hits home:

Unstructured careers driven by passion

P.S. This is a walkblog, my first too, wrote it while walking to @wholefoods.


SXSW Interactive Warmup

There seems to be a few events each year that go a bit overboard. One where no matter where you are in the social media swim you hear about it. Right now we are building up to that with SXSW in Austin, TX.

This mega conference has been building up lots of steam as each year passes. From the music to the movies to the internet, it can interest nearly everyone. It is long too, as It starts on March 13 on a Friday afternoon and doesn’t end until 10 days later on March 22.

For my part, I am going for personal an work. Since both of are in the internet business, I can’t wait to launch into the conference frenzy. I must say that conferences by internet and social media geeks is like no other I have been to. There are so many back channels, methods of communication, product releases, start-ups, and money being tossed around it can make you lose all sense of normalcy.

This being my third go round at internet/social media revelry, I am determined to take it easy. I’m gonna attend some choice sessions, talk to some fun folk, and then soak in the learning. In the past, it is just go-go-go. This year I want to take it back a notch. Not sure if this is possible.

Especially as SXSW Interactive where there over 180 sessions…during the day! Not to mention all of the other events throughout the evening and night. This is going to be sensory overload and especially since this is my first SXSW, making me a SWirgin. I think I have a few cards up my sleeve to help me out here.

First, I have been pre-thinking about what I want to learn. Most of my top themes relate to web design and new tools. Although, some relate to mobility, best practices in production, and a few “hot new things”. Having this list in mind should help me to sift through the multitude.

Second, the echo chamber is in full effect. Not that I’m saying its a bad thing, in fact I value the echo chamber. Just not when I’m flying so far to learn. In Austin, I am looking to learn and so I will skip all the also-ran, heard it all before presentations (marketing in new media, how to establish your brand, just what is new media).

Third, hey if you hang around long enough you can figure out who the cool kids are. In this case, I’m talking about the  brilliant, always engaging, knock your socks off folks. Check out my short list below for some of them.

Fourth, and final, I am a pro. I am really. I am rolling in with an MacBook Air, an iPhone tweaked for the conference, light weight backpack with necessary dongles and such, and finally a smart mentality. The mobility of the MBA and iPhone is essential for tight spaces, long days, and maximum efficiency. The smart mentality means skipping the bad food, stupid handouts, and even worse middle-of-the-hall sales pitch. It is essential to leave yourself enough energy for the night-time in your new city and avoiding the death by vendor attack.

That’s it, time to get some rest before my early flight, but first here are some hot tips:


SXSW Interactice – list of sessions

SXSW Scheduling tool

Alltop SXSW news

Recommended Sessions

Change v2 – Lawrence Lessig

Obama has awoken a once in a century passion for reform. What will it take to make it work? What would “work” mean?

Using GPS & Location to Enhance Social Networking – Panel (twttr, brightkite, garmin…)

First there were social networks, and then there were location-based social networks, and now GPS and navigation-enhanced mobile social networks. This panel will explore how these emerging platforms integrate with existing social networks (facebook, twitter, etc), leverage GPS navigation functionality, and take location-aware social networking to the next level.

Buzz Out Loud Podcast Taping – Natali, Tom, and Jason

Buzz Out Loud is CNET’s premiere daily podcast hosted by Natali Del Conte, Tom Merritt, and Jason Howell. They cover all the tech news with their own and their audience’s takes on what it all means, often with hilarity ensuing. They’ll cover the top SXSW stories with special guests. If you want to understand what’s happening in the tech world, especially at SXSW, you need to listen to Buzz Out Loud.

iPhone Tweakage

At the conference this year, I am going to be testing out all that the iPhone can offer. To include the WordPress iPhone app for live blogging. Photos uploaded on-the-spot. Twitter streaming SMS to my phone. Google Alerts and Yahoo listservs to my gmail inbox. Hopefully, a whole lot of location based community building for meet-ups, spontaneous get togethers, and a little where the heck is everyone (not sure how this will work out…). Just wish I could record some vids on the phone…

Obama CIO – Vivek Kundra – LiveBlog

“Couple of things we want to do to embark on a technology revolution in America”

That’s his opening line as he launches into a comparison of previous revolutions. The industrial and agricultural. Each one allowed us to move faster, shrink the world, and increase our efficiencies.

“A lot of people say the federal government can’t lead, I reject that idea”

Another solid speech as Vivek, a notorious short speech giver, builds up. Hands down he’ll be done in 30mins…

Transparency changes the definition of a citizen. We the people, can participate and should, he references the executive transparency memo and To accomplish he defines his core principles:

1. Transparent platform, use this as the foundation for making this happen. He references the human genome project and satelites for GPS

2. Participatory. Opening up each agency to the public for participation.

3. Lowering costs of government operations. Why does it cost goverment more and why can’t government use modern tools?

Answers are cloud computing and opening up consumer technology.

He then moves on to fundamentals like targeted initiatives, not just tech for tech sake. Focusing on outcomes not proccesses. Developing an ecosystem of participation with citizens and buy in across the agencies.

QA: How do we send you good ideas?

Kundra: I plan to have sat or sun round table sessions. Anyone can attend and I’ll soon pass out my email for direct contact.

“Its going to be tough, it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight.”