Ownership and Beliefs

I tend to be proud of the fact that I’m good at “letting go.” Letting go of possessions is the easiest for me. I can determine their value and reduce it as needed through logical and value based judgements.

Beliefs and habits are a bit harder.

I don’t strive to be posessionless. I don’t strive to be without any beliefs.

I want to have a balance between what I own and the beliefs I hold. I want them to reflect one-another, if that’s even possible. I want to identify what helps me and what does not. What allows people to get close and what pushes them away. Bolster the good, trashbag the bad.

I decided that I wanted to own less things, so I posted some on Craigslist and sold them to people who owned them and I threw others away. I did this right before I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado because I couldn’t afford to rent a truck and move everything that I owned. Forced action.

What’s the first step to shedding and shredding unwanted beliefs and habits? I know that you’ve got to disavow them, but not letting them affect you… not letting them or the remnants of them be reflected in your actions or emotions… that’s what I’m trying to sort out.

I’m afraid of loss in this instance. I’m off balance. To keep something I want so badly, I need to let go of what’s holding me back.

Price Chopper’s Immature PR Practices

All brands, take heed. Do not EVER do this. Such a bad idea.

Remember the annoying little guy in class when you were in 5th grade who wanted to hang out with the cool kids but couldn’t hang? You know, everyone starts joshing, horsing around, throwing charlie horses and suddenly the same kid is crying and running to mommy to tattle tale?

Yeah, Price Chopper is that whiney little kid these days. My friend Jenn Pedde sent me a link about how Price Chopper (a national supermarket based out of New York) made a major PR Fail and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

To sum up what happened, a customer was visiting Price Chopper and decided to complain publicly on their Twitter account how the shelves were not stocked well and that the customer couldn’t find what they came to the store for.

Instead of doing what a community manager is supposed to do, basically apologize for the stores appearance and see how they could resolve the issue, Price Chopper’s PR department did a little research, found out who the customer worked for and asked them to basically discipline (fire) their employee for bad mouthing them online.

You’ve got to be kidding me!

I see some people online using this as a cautionary tale saying that you shouldn’t put your employer’s info in your social profiles so that stuff like this won’t happen. That is SO besides the point! Here’s why:

  • I’m self employed and work in marketing right now. So, I’m tearing into Price Chopper because they did exactly what I’d advise my clients NOT to do when someone complains. I’ve seen restaurant owners do this kind of shit before when a customer complains publicly, but a national supermarket? They should know better.
  • Price Chopper had no right to go after someone online for expressing their opinions online, especially when the complain was a valid one and something Price Chopper should actually work on. Those are thug tactics better reserved for mobsters and politicians than actual professional business people who want to build customer bases, not alienate them.

What I find humorous is that I used to work at Price Chopper. They were the first job I had that wasn’t under the table. I spent 2 years pushing carriages, bagging groceries and ringing out product at the register. I don’t recall them being a particularly innovative or forward thinking company to work for on the ground floor of the business, but I see there isn’t much variation in that all the way up the corporate, even 10 years later.

Fresh Findings Friday: Das Racist “Sit Down, Man”

I hope the NAACP and ACLU doesn’t get wind of this latest effort by Das Racist, because while it’s not really “racist,” it’s confusing enough to be banned, burned, outlawed just for upsetting anyone with a low IQ or practical sensibilities.

This is high brow, pretentious, fun as hell hip hop. You’ll find these dudes talking absolute gibberish based on popular themes in popular culture and hip hop, then they’ll straight up hate on someone really hard. They also rap about how they’re both mistaken for being Puerto Rican cousins and how the idea is preposterous and racist.

Just download “Sit Down, Man” by Das Racist and enjoy it. The louder the better.

“Sit Down, Man” http://www.djbooth.net/index/mixtapes/entry/das-racist-sit-down-man/

Also, (Their first mixtape “Shut Up, Dude”) http://usershare.net/fawr9zq5fi1o

Born Rich – A Review

My friend Chris tweeted a link to a documentary called “Born Rich” to watch on Hulu.

Chris is a smart dude, so I figured I’d check this free documentary out because I had a couple hours to blow. Check out this Youtube segment of the documentary.

I haven’t seen much in the way of real wealth in my lifetime. Maybe a story here or there or someone who knows someone who was born into a super rich family. However, this documentary was directed by someone of massive inherited wealth, actually a descendant of the Johnson & Johnson company founders.

He managed to turn his curiosity and resentment towards his wealth, which seemed to be a result of confusion based around inherited wealth meaning inherited identity and got to interview some other wealthy young people, whom he probably had access to via channels that a great majority of the world would never be able to access.

The documentary was mostly sad. I’ve always been confused by many people’s inane interests in the lives of celebrities and the super rich. I never cared about Prince William and Harry and who they’d marry or what they’d buy. To me they seemed as accessible and “real” as the idea of Jesus Christ from 2000 years ago. Just a celebrity. Just an idea. Except, these kids are living representations of what has culminated in the world of capitalism and imperialism. The good and the bad. From what this documentary highlights, mostly the bad.

This documentary shows how youth can bring about a transcendent curiosity and innocence regardless of economic or social backgrounds, but these kids and young adults in this documentary are bordering on their adulthood. They’re being penetrated with the old-as-time ideologies of how and why the very tip top percentage of human beings hold a majority of the wealth and to some of these interviewees, it is clear why it should stay that way.

I have to say, my sympathies do lie with a majority of the people interviewed, including the person conducting the interviews and directing this film. The two foreign men, the Italian and the German, clearly have an old world and old world view of their position in society and I really can’t identify with them at all. Even the oldest American families with huge wealth are very young compared to old royalty and wealth from Europe’s imperial days.

It seems like almost every last one of the young people being interviewed is on something… whether hard drugs, alcohol, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants or a mix of all of the above. It’s like there’s no real touch point for them to what is reality for the rest of humanity. Whether that makes them better than the rest of us or simply not really part of our society, who knows?

I think this documentary is worth the time it takes to watch it. You won’t get the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” style of glamorizing everything that these types of people own. You’ll get a young adult about to inherit the world asking what exactly comes along with that inheretence. I think that’s probably the most endearing part.

You can watch the entire documentary on Hulu here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/174635/born-rich

Knowing What’s Important, Un-Attached To Stuff

As I wrote last week, Boulder and the surrounding area has been battling with some truly nasty wild-fires. I’ve heard that well over a hundred houses have burned down. I don’t believe anyone’s been hurt and the fire is reportedly contained now, but I wanted to share a moment from last week.

Last Thursday the winds were blowing really hard leading into the night and a huge portion of Boulder was put under evacuation watch. My apartment was in the area, as was my girlfriend’s. I wasn’t sure if or where I was going to evacuate, so I didn’t plan during the day for it. As I left Harpos after having some wings and beer with my friend, my girlfriend said she was going to sleep at the house of a family friend in Niwot about 12 miles away, out of the range of where the fire was.

At first I was somewhat annoyed at the idea of going out there, late at night, but as I pulled up to my parking spot, I could really smell the smoke in the air. It made me question my stubbornness and the idea of being away from my girlfriend in a somewhat dangerous situation didn’t sit well with me.

So, I went into my bedroom, which was *relatively* well organized from a distracted cleaning fit I had gotten into earlier in the week and I grabbed enough clothes for a couple days. I walked out of my bedroom with a backpack of clothes and my messenger back which has my laptop, notebook and novel du jour.

I thought about packing a few more things into my car. Things of value, sentimental objects, etc, but I looked at my mini-safe under my bed and realized that would be fine if something happened with the fire. Otherwise, everything in my room was extra, non-essential, whatever you want to call it. Here’s a picture I took as I was shutting the light off and leaving for Niwot. I was leaving this stuff behind:

It struck me to take a picture of my room as I was leaving with what little I packed to remind me of what I was leaving behind

I knew that my girlfriend and I would be safe, the people I care about would be safe and the concept of fretting over a lot of stuff didn’t even occur to me.

Considering the winds picked up and blew hard throughout the night, it didn’t spread too much into Friday and firefighters did an awesome job from the ground and air containing the fire.

With so much damage done and being so close to it all, I just feel really grateful for what I have in my life right now and that I am able to distinguish what is important from what is just stuff. People are important. I say, more good people, less stuff helps lead to a better life.

Granted, some people lost everything. I do not, in any way, mean to make light of that fact. It’s so sad to think of people not having homes to go back to. I’ve never had that happen to me and I hope it never does. But, with no injuries related to these fires, I can’t help but feel grateful for that.

Fresh Findings Friday – Find A Job In Colorado With Andrew Hudson’s Job List

If you’re moving to, or thinking of moving to Colorado and don’t have a job lined up, you need to be scouring Andrew Hudson’s Job List.

Colorado, specifically Boulder, has been very good to me when it comes to networking. People are extremely willing to meet with one another regarding jobs and contract work. However, nothing supplements a serious networking game with a good old fashion list of jobs that are hiring.

I worked for a social network that specialized in finding savvy ways to job search, so I know what works and what doesn’t. Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and even Craigslist.org rarely work. Andrew Hudson’s Job List is without a doubt the most solid job posting website and email newsletter I’ve ever seen. They’re good companies and organizations that post jobs on here too.

Granted, I’m still freelancing full time by choice, but I see so many jobs pop up on this list that sometimes I feel like firing off a resume or two just because you rarely see so many cool gigs in one place.

Check it out!


Why I Avoid Cafes Lately

When I moved to Boulder, I had some pretty serious freelance gigs starting which lead to piles and piles of work to be done every day. I went ahead and found some comfortable cafes that I could either be completely alone in or ones where I knew I’d run into familiar faces. I’d go there, usually put my headphones on and zone out to music and get shit done.

Cafes are good for getting work done. When I stay at home, I can work too, but I tend to get up and make a sandwich, more coffee, do laundry, check the mail, dance in my living room with the stereo blaring… you know, that kind of stuff.

I haven’t been going to cafes lately because the majority of my freelance work, as I knew it at the beginning of the summer, is gone. So is the magic. I feel like the tables are switched now.

Now that I don’t have tons of deliverable and deadlines every single day (trust me, I’d prefer it the other way around), I’m able to get my actual life a little bit more in order. If I go to a cafe in the morning, I’ll stay busy and diligent about making myself distracted. Instead of doing cold calls and email outreach, setting up meetings and chasing down late payments, I’ll be distracting myself with the wonderful world of cafe people watching or neighbor chatting.

I’m still technically working remotely. I just have a triple threat going. I rock conference calls with potential clients, while I fill up my French Press with coffee grinds, all while sporting Boston Red Sox pajama bottoms.

For me, the point of going to a cafe and pretending to work when there was really a lot of stuff that needed tending to at home that couldn’t be done while meandering about, whether it’s domestic or actual business, has faded. Now I’m more focused and getting more meetings and landed a few consultation contracts.

I hope I can learn to enjoy cafes again for the reasons I fell in love with them in the first place. Hopefully home doesn’t grow old either.

What are your motivations for where you work, when and under what circumstances?

Boulder’s Fourmile Wildfire

Coming back from a blissfully relaxing weekend in Steamboat Springs, my girlfriend and I were in the car heading back to Boulder, driving through Golden, Colorado and we saw huge clouds on the horizon. I figured we were driving into some sort of rain storm, but there wasn’t anything forecast for today. Instead, we turned on the radio to find out that a wildfire had started in the Fourmile Canyon which starts less than a mile from my girlfriends house and was spreading rapidly.

(A borrowed photo from Twitpic of the fire during the night)

Getting back into Boulder, everything smelled of smoke and the winds seemed to be picking up. There were lots of citizen journalists on Twitter talking about which places were being evacuated, what the fire-teams were doing and such. This went on into the night and after midnight and I crossed my fingers hoping that the winds would die down and the fires wouldn’t spread anymore.

Waking up, I saw the photo above, accompanied by my entire house being filled with nasty smoke that’s burning my eyes and lungs as I type this. My area seems to be away from the fire, but my heart and thoughts really go out to all of the people who have been evacuated and whose houses are in danger of burning. I personally know a few people who live in the Canyon and I’m hoping they’re safe.Everyone’s still waiting for an update on if and when the 3500+ acre wildfire will be contained.

It’s interesting how I’ve never seen anything like this while growing up on the East Coast, yet I remember every summer seeing wildfires on the news. Reality comes out of nowhere sometimes.

Fresh Findings Friday: Seekers Beget Seekers – Jacq Soboti

This week’s Fresh Finding is my girlfriend’s new roomate and my latest vegan cooking inspiration and a badass runner – New Jersey’s pride,  Jacqeline Soboti (aka @JSoboti).

Jacq moved to Boulder shortly after I did and hit the ground running on her job search. Within days she was getting interviews, meeting people and making friends.

I think Jacq is particularly awesome because she’s a seeker and found her way to Boulder, like me, after visiting a while ago. I came here to visit two years ago, she came last year. Either way, we both caught the bug and knew we belonged here and managed to find our ways differently.

Jacq is a BADASS cook and is a vegan too. She makes the tastiest vegan goodies I’ve ever had and isn’t shy about teaching.

Also, might I mention, Jacq just landed the job she wanted and is going to stay local and avoid commuting to Denver. Things are looking WAY up for her and I couldn’t be happier.

Check out Jacq’s blog, I’d Rather Be Running, which is probably true because she’s a running fanatic.

The Hesitant Salesman – A Good Candidate

Today I’ve got 3 really important meetings set up here in Boulder. They’re literally one after another and could lead to potential business opportunities for me. I knew none of these people before 2 weeks ago. Through my network, I was able to find targeted individuals who were in the line of sight that I determined for myself. But knowing who they were and having contact info didn’t do it. I needed to reach out and figure out a way to get their attention and want to talk to me. I had to sell myself.

I am not a salesperson. I recognize the unique skill sets and motivations that are required to be successful at any type of sales and I lack most of those qualities. However, I’ve tried my hand at cold calling and sales enough times in the million or so job’s I’ve held after college because I figured while the economy was being an asshole and I needed to wait to find solid work, I may as well try as many different things as a temp while I could.

It’s funny, I don’t mind being yelled at when I call someone and they get angry at me for pitching them on something stupid. I actually find it humorous. The part about sales that gets me the most nervous is right before the call. I run through my head a million times what I should say, how I should say it and how to react if the person I’m calling says one thing or another. It’s in my nature to think out a conversation before it happens.

I’m so glad I had experience cold calling and selling good and services that I didn’t understand or care much about. Regardless of the success I had (or lack of success), it prepared me for being able to sell myself, sell my services and network better. Here are some reasons:

  • If you’re cold calling, emailing or trying to contact someone for a job or to sell something, you need to know the value of what you’re approaching them with.
  • Studying rejections and failure is as important as relishing in your successes. Knowing what pisses people off when being approached out of nowhere is important.
  • Closing your sale, making the person want to hire you or bring you in for a contract… all of these things rarely happen on their own. Don’t be afraid to guide them. Aggression isn’t needed, just solid reasoning and a clear pathway.
  • Stay on their mind. Follow up. Offer up advice. Back off when they ask.

So, while I don’t feel like I’m a real salesperson compared to some of the pros who only do sales for a living, I know how to sell. It’s important. You’ve got to reach a little deeper into the market or into employer’s minds if you want to differentiate yourself. A two-dimensional approach of resume-blasting or email bombarding just won’t do anymore.