Monday, November 15, 2010

Let the people fix it themselves

In the past week I have seen or read about two instances where, when left to determine it themselves, the people turn out just fine... reminding me that even though we are human, we can surprise ourselves.

Two instances: Homelessness and the Budget Deficit.

In an article in the Economist a recent study was done on a small sample group in London wherein homeless people were given funds directly and helped acquire the goods or services they needed. Guess what? It actually worked in 11 of 13 cases, people are off the streets. Now, again- not a large sample size, but inspiring. You can read more in the article here.

In a flurry among my facebook friends over the weekend, I had a solid handful of people re-post a bit in the NYT that encourages the people to fix the national budget. By clicking off options from spending cuts to tax increases you can fix the short term and long term budgets and see your progress throughout the entire process.

Both of these instances are illustrations of handing power to the people in order to hopefully come up with some creative ideas about how to fix real problems. I LOVE it. LOVE it. This is the kind of thing that not only our government, but many organizations need. A fresh set of eyes. I do hope that more organizations and local governments start to do it. Because sometimes the people who know and really live in the organizations have some great insights about how things might be done better.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Democrat CEO & a Republican CFO please

I just read an article about poverty being at its highest rate since 1994 (16 years for those who lost count). For working adults ages 18-64 it's the highest since 1965 (45 years). This is super frustrating for someone who has always been a social democrat but is slowly becoming a fiscal republican. I believe that as a "world power" the US should be able to support people in our own society because part of being a "world power" is being smart enough to take care of your own and then helping others. That's the democrat part. I have also worked my entire career in the high tech sales and marketing world. And I have been with companies that have had to close doors, I have see friends let go because budgets dried up. I have had to annually beg for budget to do what I think is right, but had to justify for the business. Based on all of that, my bipolar existence, this is what I suggest:

Democrat CEO: The person who is in charge, the one that has the final say, the one that leads the team to success through organic and strategic growth. Making sure that everyone is taken care of, that people are working productively to continue to help the economy grow.

Keep in mind, great CEO's do one thing really well. Hire great people. So, our Democrat CEO hires the smartest CFO who will drive the organization to operational excellence by cutting costs and analyzing what's working, getting the most out of contracts and vendors all while making sure that the CEO still sees growth. And, I gotta be honest, the smartest CFO is probably a Republican.

Let's make it happen. The time has come. Because we should be able to afford to take care of our people and keep them out of poverty.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Economy, Education and a Method to Marketing- All in One Post!

I am going to blatantly steal this post from Craigslist because it's funny, a little crass but mostly because it's SPOT ON! It covers two of the three passions of this blog, and another personal passion: Education, the Economy, and Marketing.

Short version, this person from Seattle is telling her former university that they are wasting their money on glossy brochures asking her for money because their endowment is down to a meager $500 million... when she doesn't even have a job. Waste of time and money all around.

"You know, maybe if you wanted a little bit of money from me (and these days you'd get about $3) maybe you should send me a fancy color brochure admitting your role in the bubble economics that got us all in to this mess.

For example, since 1987, higher education expenses have gone up 450 percent, while personal income in this country has gone up 87 percent, making tuition IMPOSSIBLE to afford without special financing. But, during this time, you were thriving because people could come up with the cash in two ways:

1. Get a home equity loan and use the inflated value of their house to pay for their kid to get drunk at your school and then lose the house when the market crashed.
2. Get a federal loan.


A few points here that I have to highlight. Education expenses are up 450% while income is only up 87%. And to think I used to dream of making sure my children didn't end up with north of $50k in debt after school. Pipedream realized. Great. Sad statement about the goals of our country. Almost as sad as the healthcare disaster.

Another point noted: educational institutions might want to consider a marketing automation tool or at least a theory. You signed their loans, you have to know they aren't paid off for a while. Don't put them on the mailing list for the glossy brochure for at least 10 years. If they didn't take a loan out at your institution, do a bit more profiling, find out if they are living at home, do it under the guise of a survey for goodness sake. Guess what? You are turning them off. BIG TIME! Speak to people like they are humans, not just numbers and all the same.

I am amazed at how behind our institutions are when it comes to marketing and revenue generation. Huge opportunity for marketing automation, lead generation and nurture campaigns all around. Hell, huge opportunity for me, since this is what I do...

Best of Craigslist was insipiring today. Awesome way to end a week. Have a good one!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Decisions Big Impact

I went to see 180 South at the local Patagonia store last week and was again blown away at just how unaware I find myself sometimes. I listen, I love to learn, I am constantly trying to be a better human, partner, employee, sister, daughter, etc. But, then I see things like this movie and am just shocked at how some of my little decisions make a big impact that I may never see.

In the movie Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face and The Conservation Land Trust talk about what they are doing in South America to make a difference. Including purchasing millions of acres of land to keep in a preserve. They fight to prevent these countries from selling very rich and ecologically unique lands to various power and pulp companies, that essentially do to the Earth what 90 days of McDonald's does to your body- breaks you down physically and mentally.

Guess where these power and pulp companies are selling their products? The U.S. Why? Because I forgot to turn off the overhead fans before I left the house last week. Because I NEED the AC unit to run when it gets above 85 degrees outside. Because I still like to wrap presents instead of wrapping them in recycled newspaper or something similar.

Little things, easily fixed. The scientists have been saying it for years. If we all make LITTLE changes, it makes a BIG impact. But remember, that works in both directions.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pay attention people!

I grew up golfing. I played Jr. Golf starting at age 7 and went into retirement at 17. At 21 I realized that if I was going to work in technology sales in the bay area, I was probably going to have to play again. So, now, 9 years later, I play 1-2 times a year, max. Golfing or anything about golfing should matter a LOT less than Healthcare.

But all the sudden our country cares more about a golfers extracurricular activities than they do about the way that we receive health care in this country. Tiger isn't going to affect the doctors you can see for the rest of your life. His sluts aren't going to be the nurses that care for you as you recover from your heart attack, at least you better hope not. Elin doesn't care if you have to pay 50% of your income to pay off hospital bills, she's going back to Sweden, which has government funded healtcare if you care.

We all need a little gut check on our priorities. We need to quit clicking on the tiger stories and instead tune into CSPAN to see what's going to make a difference in our lives.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being really good at what you do...

I was always taught to be proud of whatever you produce. This requires work. It means that you work hard to put something together that you are actually proud of. I know when I don't do things 100%. I can feel it. I try to make excuses, but deep down I know.

side note: it's why this wedding thing and lack of control over production quality (multiple vendors that I don't have experience with) is kinda freaking me out!

And the people close to me are the first to say "I know you can do better than that." But keeping people like that near you makes you better. They force you to give 100% all the time.

Based on where things are with the economy I would bet that only the 100% companies and people will end up on top...

PUSH it Folks! It's the only way you will make it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Unemployment rises again

I just read on NPR that unemployment is up to 9.8% nationally. It's the highest in 26 years... I am surprised by this because people have been whispering for the past month or so about how we might be coming out of this. I guess that's not quite the case.

NPR also put together a great map of foreclosure rates, unemployment rates and median household income across the US.

I really think that it's going to take a new year to turn this around. It's not just about people feeling better, but about a new beginning.

My gut says: Q1 2010