Hello Appleton And The Fox Valley Of Wisconsin

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, August 06, 2017 at 12:29 PM with 0 comments

photo of welcome to Appleton Wisconsin sign

It is with much enthusiasm that I announce my family and I have relocated to Appleton, Wisconsin. After the last few months of logistical planning, packing, purging, running back and forth with a minivan and U-Hauls and the overall stress that goes with a move, we have finally arrived in northeast Wisconsin in the area known as the Fox Valley.

Some of you are probably asking, why? Why is a Patriots fan moving into the heart of Packerland? Interestingly visiting teams who play in Green Bay stay in Appleton, as I have educated my kids when I pointed out the hotel, telling them, “Tom Brady slept here,” but I digress.

The short answer to why the move? Family, more space and less noise.

With any move, the next logical question is, where are you working? This is an easy question to answer, as I am not changing jobs. Thanks to the magic of working remotely, I am able to do the same job I have had for the last 2 years. Special thanks to the people at this great place to work, including my CTO, Director and colleagues.

As I get settled into my new surroundings, I am planning to get back out there and connect with the local tech community. This aspect of working in technology is something I have always done, and where I may not see people on the job on a day-to-day basis, I hope to make up for it with meeting new friendly faces and learning from others.

When You Move To You Also Move From

As I say hello to Appleton I am also saying goodbye to Chicago, a city I have called home for the last 13 years. The time there was a whirlwind of many highs and lows, where I went from newly married and launching a business to a husband and Dad of 2 amazing kids and working for a well-established and acclaimed organization. The friends and relationships I made over those years in the Windy City are and will remain important to me. Plus, I am still a Cook County taxpayer there as a property owner, so I still have some skin in that game. There are many things I will not miss about Chicago, and that will be the topic of future writing.

An important part of this transition is the focus of my social media engagement. As I still don’t have cable TV or an antenna, the Web and Twitter are still vital sources of news. I have been unfollowing many media outlets and sources of information for Chicago and Illinois as I subscribe to the same for Appleton and Wisconsin. Where I am cutting ties with publications and media outlets in Chicago I am still following many journalists and columnists whose opinion and what they share are of value to me. Again, it’s all about the people.

For now, I will get back to work… both to my job and to unpacking.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Takeaways From December Magazine Volume 27.2

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 07:08 PM with 2 comments

photo of back cover of December Magazine Volume 27.2

Beyond the writing I have done here at The Hot Iron I have also explored more creative and expressive forms of writing. Don’t get me wrong, what I wrote about registering domain names for your children took a unique approach, but it’s not certainly something to curl up and read in bed.

With this in mind, I attended last year’s Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago with a different lens and steps than previous times. Not only was this quest more fulfilling, but I spent most of the day there as well.

One of the first stops I made was at the table of December magazine, a biannual literary journal. The non-profit magazine has its roots in the Windy City but now hails from St. Louis. I was intrigued as this publication presents works from a variety of authors, some being their first published work. I subscribed on the spot – a mere $20 for a year – and got the current issue as a bonus. Later that day I tore into it, reading it cover to cover, all the while thinking, “hmmm.”

When the latest issue, volume 27.2, arrived, I was now 3 issues relatively new world of poetry and short stories, and as you may have already guessed I have some takeaways from reading this edition and the others of December magazine.

Poetry is more than what I was taught in school – First I have to say when I say “school” I stop at high school, as my college experience had me mostly in the computer lab. I was taught poetry was about structure and rhyming. So as I grew up, if it didn’t have a set structure or rhyme, it wasn’t a poem. Granted much of the lyrics of the songs I grew up listening to didn’t always rhyme either, but I must have been too busy singing and moshing to them to notice.

The drama is in the details – The greatest thing I have enjoyed of the many short stories I have read has been how details of whatever story is being told, from gripping to mundane, come alive as the details are being revealed. It’s like peeling layers of the onion to reveal more connection to the story. That zoom in on the details, or lack thereof, can make or break a story.

I can do this – Enough said there… I’ll stop this takeaway, wrap up and get back to an idea for a short story that has been simmering in my head.

Upon further perusing the Lit Fest that day I found many, many other periodicals similar to December magazine. Rather than collect them all, I stuck with one, one I just renewed for another year of unique reading and inspiration.

As I give away books as I read them, I did the same for this issue of December magazine. Rather than directly giving it to someone, I simply left it on a Chicago CTA Red Line subway car one morning. I only hope the person who happened upon it enjoyed it as much as I did.

Do you read any literary journals? Perhaps December magazine? I welcome your thoughts in the comments of this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Why I Don’t List My Birthday On LinkedIn

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 02:42 PM with 0 comments

screenshot of LinkedIn birthday notifications turned off

Happy Birthday! Or should I say, Happy Birthday?

When you hear those words, what do you think of? A child’s birthday party? A co-worker gathering for birthdays for the month? Or a recurring line from a Christmastime cartoon?

Or perhaps do you think of an onslaught of people, some you may not even know well, sending you those 2 words in a rote fashion over a social media platform?

It is for this latter reason why I don’t list my birthday on LinkedIn.

Sincerity vs. Obligation

Adults have a variety of traditions when it comes to their birthdays. Some don’t acknowledge them at all, some dog you with it like it’s a national week of celebration, and most are somewhere in between. For myself, my immediate family will acknowledge it, I get a few messages from those cousins who keep track of everyone’s birthdays, and that’s it. And I am fine with that.

As social media platforms have evolved, they have asked for more and more information about you. This includes LinkedIn, which most regard as business social media platform and, ideally, above the fray of such frivolity. However, that’s not the case, as they ask for the date you entered this mortal coil. Capturing this in their databases, now owned by Microsoft, is not the extent of it, as they now share your birthday with your connections on that unique day – as you go through your feed seeing who has a new job or work anniversary, you will also see who is marking the day as surviving another year on this planet.

This compels people to “like” or go as far as to wish you a Happy Birthday with a canned greeting. On occasion someone, likely a person who actually knows you, may put a more personalized greeting, but for the most part the obligatory methods are the ones which are used. On the surface this may seem nice – look, everyone’s wishing me a Happy Birthday – but it is insincere, and for some, intrusive, as many people don’t like it highlighted.

Just Say No As I Do

screenshot of blank LinkedIn birthday settings fields

If you want to rise above the fray of the frivolity of empty birthday greetings on LinkedIn, there are 2 steps you need to follow. First, don’t list your birthday. Under your contact info on your profile page, simply remove your birthday, as shown above. Second, you can turn off notifications of those who still have their birthday listed on the social platform, so you won’t be inundated with requests to wish them something that may not want to hear. The image at the top of this post is what this looks like on the LinkedIn notifications page.

But Wait, What About in The Name of CRM?

As some of you are reading this, you may be thinking I am missing the point of why LinkedIn is asking for this information to begin with. My guess is some of you who are in sales or have businesses may think birthdays are a great way to engage with customers and provide an added level of personalization, and taking their birth date from LinkedIn to your own customer relationship management system is a natural step.

Think again. Just because someone has their birthday listed on a social media site, it’s not because they consciously entered the information. Other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter ask for more information than – if you think about it – you should comply with. Entering your birthday may be as natural as entering your email address or even your name, as you don’t think twice about it. Just because it’s listed there for a person, don’t assume you personally have permission to do with that data what you will. The platforms likely have it covered in their terms of use though. The best way to alleviate this is to just not do it.

Deconstructing Birthdays in LinkedIn

Birthdays are personal. Sending birthday greetings to a person you do not know well, just because you saw they entered their date onto a social media platform, can be awkward. Especially when using a business-focused social platform like LinkedIn, pause should be taken when acknowledging or using this information, as the person who entered it may not be aware of how it would be used or shared.


Do you have your birthday listed on LinkedIn? On other social media platforms? I welcome your thoughts on this in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Takeaways From The Book Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 02:21 AM with 0 comments

photo of the back cover of Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

Everything happens for a reason. That phrase is something I have always believed in. Even if I don’t know what that reason is, or don’t believe the reason when I hear it, I have always felt that somewhere, someone knows why something happened.

This phrase came to mind as I read the 2004 novel Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. The book, which he says is truly that, his confession – is about how corporations have worked and continue to work on behalf of the US government to gain influence, allies and assets from other countries for the benefit of said corporations and the US government, but not necessarily for the countries they are purporting to help.

As you might guess, Perkins states he was an economic hit man, or EHM. The book is the story of his life from growing up in New Hampshire to being offered the role and traveling the world doing the bidding of others through the consulting firm he worked for. When successful, he benefitted greatly. When not, he still got paid, but then handed the work off to others to get the job done, presumably at any cost.

As I read this tale of international intrigue, many thoughts swirled through my head, including the following takeaways.

Act Locally – Perkins traveled the world as an EHM. He didn’t do it sitting behind a desk in his Boston office. Granted this was the 1970’s and 1980’s and you didn’t have the tools of the Internet we have today. But if you want to be effective and close the deal, you have to directly connect with others, on their turf. I have done this before and in the case of an EHM, for good or bad.

Tell Your Story Well – With a topic like this, it is easy to dismiss it as a farce and conspiracy theory without even reading one word of it, Now I am not saying this story is 100% true, as I have no clue. I am simply absorbing what the author wrote. But what he wrote, though, is a well-told story where he ties world events in with his own tale. If it is 100% false, then he is an amazing fiction writer.

Everything Happens For a Reason – See what I wrote above. What Perkins wrote about may or may not be the reason – again, I don’t have any special insight, I can only take him for his word. Then again, what I’ve seen in headlines over the years, my hunch is there is more to the truth than fiction. And as Mark Twain once said, truth is stranger than fiction.

If you have any interest in current affairs, world politics or simply love a great story, I recommend Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. I bought this book myself, and as I pass along all books I read, this one is going to a good friend who is an international consultant who himself has traveled to all corners of the planet. Is he an EHM itself? I don’t know, and if he is I’m not sure I even want to know for sure.

Have you read this book by John Perkins? If so, what did you think? I welcome all thoughts in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Digital Spring Cleaning

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, May 01, 2017 at 11:20 AM with 0 comments

screenshot of an empty trash can message

Call it a rite of passage or a subconscious impulse, but there is just something about the weather getting warmer and wanting to get rid of excess possessions. Though Spring is only a few weeks in as I write this, perhaps it was the warmer weather in Chicago (hello, a cookout in February?) that got me started with this sooner.

Personally, as I have purged much of the excess tangible things I have acquired over the past years, my spring cleaning this time was more virtual – specifically, digital. I have been carrying around some digital baggage for a while that was beginning to wear on me, let alone cost me money.

So I exchanged my broom and dustpan for my fingers and a physical trash can for one on my desktop and did the following.

Archive Excess Files Off My Computer – When I bought my Macbook I purposely got the maximum available memory and a smaller hard drive. Why? I don’t want to carry around a lot of unnecessary files. So I scoured my hard drive for what I truly didn’t need to carry around and 1) deleted what I didn’t need to own at all, and 2) archived what I needed to keep.

This activity freed up a lot of space on my hard drive, making searches more efficient, and mitigated the need to buy more online backup space, what I use it as part of my digital backup strategy.

Shuttered Old, Inactive Web Sites – As someone who, among other technology skills, builds Web sites, I still had out there a few sites that, though I had high hopes and intent for, had languished due to lack of time as well as changes in my personal priorities. So I closed them – backing up all of the code and databases – and in most cases redirected the domain names to my blog at TheHotIron.com (link) where you are likely reading this.

I would be remiss to say some of those sites still had some sentimental meaning to me, but in the end, it save me some emotional baggage, and led to the next cleaning task going a lot smoother.

Consolidated Web Hosting Accounts – All these Web sites and services have to live somewhere, and for me they were with multiple companies. My goal was to consolidate the 4 of them into 1. However, as I got into it, I decided to leave it to 2 for reasons that, if this isn’t boring enough for some of you reading it, would certainly put you to sleep!

Where this task saved some money, it also allowed me to isolate and think about what I need for Web hosting, leading to an even better way to manage it, and save even more money. This is a work in process as a result, but one that has already deliver gains.

Dropping Domain Names – As someone who has worked a lot with domain names, from advising to managing domain name portfolios for individuals to publicly-traded firms to everyone in between, it’s probably needless to say I have registered a number of domain names for myself over the years. Just like a financial portfolio, a domain name portfolio has to be reviewed, evaluated and changed periodically. In this case, that included dropping domain name.

For this task, similar to dropping domain names, there were a few emotions I needed to put aside. In other cases, I just realized having the .com for a domain was enough and the .biz and .info were not needed. The savings from this cleanup will pay over time as some domain names don’t renew right away.

Antialiasing, or Deleting Email Addresses – Over the years I have employed various strategies to manage email. Where some have worked great, like managing my inbox to zero (LINK), others proved to be more work that saved. This was the case with setting up email aliases or forwarders, which were separate email addresses that forwarded to my main email address. I set them up to use for specific purposes, like eCommerce (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), noting xyz.com is not my email domain!) and mailing lists (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), etc. Et. Al., yada-yada, henceforth… you get the picture.

As you might guess, I had a lot – over a dozen aliases when I stopped counting – and though they were not being actively used, they were the destination for most of my spam email. So I deleted them, or “antialiased” as I like to call it. I now have 1 email address, and a heck of a lot less spam.

Canceled My Yahoo Accounts – As Spring rolled around, so did the word that Yahoo had yet another major password breach. I have had Yahoo accounts for over 20 years, namely using them as backup email addresses and tying them to Flickr accounts when they acquired the photo sharing service. As time went on, I never used the Yahoo portion of the accounts, as well uploading photos to Flickr went out of vogue for me.

So it was with less emotion that I canceled my Yahoo accounts. Nobody was emailing me at those addresses, and there was little traffic to my Flickr photos. Granted all of those photos will disappear from the Web, but if anyone really needs to see pictures of me sitting on the visitors dugout bench at Wrigley Field, contact me directly.

Deconstructing Digital Spring Cleaning

Digital Spring cleaning is similar to eliminating tangible items, but is more for peace of mind, not to mention possibly cost savings. This peace of mind gave me the same relief I get by packing up a box of stuff and shipping it to GiveBackBox or dropping it off at Goodwill. It is also something I will plan doing every year along with getting rid of physical crap.

Have you done digital Spring cleaning yourself? Or have you even thought of it before? I welcome your thoughts on it in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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7 Tips For Giving Your Younger Kids An Old iPhone

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 08:08 PM with 0 comments

photo of my kids holding an iPhone

A common situation in my household and others is when parents upgrade their mobile phones they then give the old one to their kids. With more and more apps tailored to kids, their desire to take pictures as well as shorter device upgrade cycles, it is a logical scenario. Not to mention kids know how to use them better than most adults and, frankly, they make for the occasional babysitter, but I digress.

As good as they are, and as much as they can be used for educational purposes, simply handing over your old device without restrictions when you get a new one is not the best approach.

For the iPhone and Beyond

Here I will be specifically talking about the Apple iPhone, as it is what I use and know best. Where some or all of these tips may apply to other mobile devices, such as an Android, I don’t know them as well, so I will only vouch for what I know and lessons I have learned.

Where there are some features for managing the use of them by the kids, and apps are continuously coming onto the market to address this, there is already some features and settings out of the box built-into iOS – the iPhone’s operating system – you can leverage, along with good old-fashioned common sense.

As someone who first did this years ago, and has learned a few things along the way, I’d like to share with you some tips I learned – some the hard way – for giving a kid an iPhone. Note many these apply to whether or not the iPhone you give has a SIM card in it or not, and I indicate which ones apply to specifically to having one or not.

1. Wipe It Clean – Once you have activated your new iPhone, synced all of your photos, contacts, calendar, music, apps, etc. to the new device and did one final backup of it, have your kid start with a “fresh” iPhone by wiping it clean, or doing a hard reset. This article from Lifewire takes you through doing a hard reset on various versions of the iPhone. This way, your kid will not see any of your old information, apps, texts, notes, email… or something you may have forgotten was on it.

2. Use Your Own Apple Account – By using your own apple account for the kid’s iPhone, they won’t be able to install any apps on their own, and it will require you to enter your own password to have any added to the device. Any photos they take will also appear in your Photo Stream, as another way of monitoring their activity. And when you enter your password, make sure nobody else sees it!

3. Use a unique passcode, different from your own – Their iPhone should be locked with a passcode… just like yours is, right? You should know their passcode, and tell them not to change it (they will likely find where to do so), and if they do and don’t tell you what it is, you will have no choice but to wipe it clean again.

4. Turn Off Cellular Data For Apps – Streaming Pandora and watching all of the Angry Birds app videos is certainly fun, and can add up if they are eating at cellular data. If your device has a live SIM card in it, make sure to turn off the settings to use cellular data, which will force them to use WiFi for such app features. Even with recently launched “unlimited” data plans, the more data you use, the slower the connection can be.

5. Turn Off Notifications In Apps – It’s one thing if they use the iPhone, it’s another if it keeps beeping and vibrating for whatever random notifications. Turn off these notifications so they have less reasons to keep it in their hands… any more than they are now. Where you can do it for already installed apps through the Settings, you can also be with them when they first launch a new app, and when prompted to show notifications, you can always decline them.

6. Do not give them a charger – If they don’t have a charger and need their iPhone recharged, they need to give it to you. Granted many households have chargers everywhere (mine included) but one place should not be in their possession. Most likely the battery on your older iPhone is not too strong and draining quickly, so it this adds an additional control mechanism on the device.

7. Do not “give” the iPhone – You’re probably reading this and saying, Mike, so far you have been talking about giving them a device, now you’re saying not to? What the… Ok, ok, let me explain! The kiddos can use the device – customize the icon locations and wallpapers, get a case for it… but it is still your iPhone and their use of it is a privilege! A privilege can be revoked if abused or as a consequence of not getting out of bed in the morning or whatever other challenge you have with them as a parent.

Take a few steps before you simply hand over the old iPhone, and you’ll be glad you did.

Demystifying Giving Your Kid An iPhone

Parents are faced today with challenges they themselves and their parents didn’t have to deal with, one being mobile technology. Where it is impossible to watch the kids constantly and how they use the devices, taking some preventative steps will go a long way to instilling responsibility in using the technology.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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The Simplest Web Site Content Plan

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, March 05, 2017 at 06:55 PM with 0 comments

image of content plan model

Quick – how accurate is your Web site?

My deepest apologies if I caused you to have anything from a puzzled look on your face to a panic attack. But if you own a Web site and have any sizable amount of content, it should be periodically reviewed to see if it needs to be updated.

Where there are tools available to help this – perhaps within your content management system (CMS) where you update your content, or external, third-party tools, I’d like to share a basic, straightforward and low-tech way to remind you to review your content.

From Louisville With Love

In a past role I managed the technical environment for our Web site and Intranet, working with staff from Marketing together as the Web team. One day someone from the facilities department stopped by my desk, and the brief conversation we had went something like this:

Julie (not their real name): “Hey, Mike.”

Me: “Hey, Julie”

Julie: “You know the Louisville, Kentucky office moved, right?”

Me: “Yea, I saw that someplace… why are you asking me?”

Julie: “Because the old office address is still on the Web site – you do something with that, right?”

After that thrilling conversation, I got on the phone with my marketing counterpart (we’ll call her Natasha) and has basically the same conversation with her, however I said Julie’s lines. This was followed by a few choice adult words by both of us, then Natasha proceeded to make the change to the Web site.

Maintaining With a Plan

Still on the phone, we both could hear each other exhale. We were glad we were able to make the change quickly, then the conversation continued around how much other outdated content was out there, updating it, and a plan to do both of these tasks moving forward.

As with many Web sites out there, content has many owners. The marketing teams for each product managed their own content, and Natasha was responsible for the overall “corporate” content. We didn’t have a feature-rich CMS for the site that could alert us to “expired” or “expiring” content, nor were there many decent comprehensive content tools at the market at the time – and we looked – so we had to come up with our own solution.

What we came up with was straightforward yet highly effective, and it came about with these steps.

1. First I listed all pages of the Web site and put it into a spreadsheet. As we had a Sitemap page it made this task easy.

2. Natasha then took the spreadsheet and added a column called “frequency” and proceeded to make the frequency of how often page content should be reviewed (e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly).

3. I took a look at her revised spreadsheet and made suggestions regarding the frequency – remember, I am much, much more than just a technologist!

4. Natasha, using the final spreadsheet as a guide, created calendar alerts with links to the pages as reminders to review the content.

That was it, and it worked.

Of course some content would be reviewed more frequently, namely when it was modified or other business triggers occurred. The point of the above exercise though was to ensure that, on a regular basis, all of the Web site content would be reviewed for accuracy. In addition to this, I would perform regular link checks to ensure the content was technically connected.

What Works For You?

As you are reading this, I hope you are thinking of the content of your Web site, as there is no time like the present to be thinking about it! In addition to the site itself, your extended Web presence includes your social media profiles and feeds. As it’s easy to tweak one or more and forget about the others, perhaps this “detached” solution of using your calendar will work for you too?

Deconstructing a Web Content Plan

In this hyper-speed world of content development, it’s not unusual to have inaccurate or incomplete content out there, exposed, for all to see. By coming up with a straightforward and highly usable plan, you will be able to get ahead of long-standing errors and omissions in your Web presence.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Takeaways From The Ultimate Female Fan Guide to Pro Football

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, February 04, 2017 at 05:19 PM with 0 comments

photo of The Ultimate Female Fan Guide to Pro Football cover

The Super Bowl is a game you prepare for mentally, physically or both – depending on your level of fandom, and what you are watching it for. It is unique among sports as even non-fans watch, for the commercials, because they are at parties, for curiosity sake, et. al.

If you are a football fan, you realize the complexity of the rules of the game – realize in that you understand them all, none of them, or as many are, somewhere in between. How much you may know is most likely influenced by if you played football, was taught by a parent or someone else close to you or you learned on your own… he latter being the case for myself. Football for me wasn’t my first love of sports, but has become it. I grew up a baseball fan, which came from my Mom’s love of the Boston Red Sox. While I was growing up, the New England Patriots were horrible, and the bottom rung of the sports ladder in New England, way behind the Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.

So when I decided on a whim to get season tickets for the Patriots back in the early 90’s, before they became the multiple Super Bowl winning team they are now, where I had some knowledge of the game, I had much to learn. As I was in my mid-20’s at that time, I was a little embarrassed that I didn’t know more of the game, and sought out a way to learn it. I found a book that not only helped me then, but over 20 years later as well.

I found the book The Ultimate Female Fan Guide to Pro Football at the Patriots Pro Shop, which was adjacent to the team’s former home field, Foxboro Stadium. Flipping through it, I realized it was exactly what I needed to learn the game. Two decades later I found it among some things, and I dusted it off and re-read it. My takeaways, as follow, come from my recollection of my initial read as well as this recent unearthing of it.

Structured Learning Is Sometimes Better Than On-The-Task Learning – As most of my training and learning over my career has been on-the-job or just-in-time and supplemented by some training, depending on the topic structured learning is the better way, as it was for me with football. Simply sitting down and watching 60 minutes of plays over 3 hours may not even cover everything, and taking a methodical approach supplemented with watching the game helped me learn it well.

Anecdotal Information Provides Greater Context To Formal Knowledge – Learning the formal rules of football, like any other topic, is important to learning about what you are watching. But for a game like football which has evolved over close to 100 years, having familiarity of the evolution and events which led to where the game is today is great to the deep understanding of the game. Betsy Berns mixes helpful hints and fun facts throughout the pages of The Ultimate Female Fan Guide to Pro Football, all of which provide greater context to the main information presented.

What Taught Me Helps Teach Others - When I found the book, I wanted to go through it again as I am teaching my daughter the rules of football. As I am writing this I am sitting down with her and we are going through it together, and I am helping her understand both the rules for and my love for the game, which I hope will lead to her own appreciation and affection for it too.

As my copy of The Ultimate Female Fan Guide to Pro Football came out over 20 years ago, what I have is now out of print and is now known simply as The Female Fan Guide to Pro Football by the same author. Where I haven’t read the newer version specifically, I can only imagine it is better (not to mention more up to date) than my version. I recommend it to any fan of any reading age – and gender – as a great way to learn this great game.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Takeaways From The Book Equal Is Unfair

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 04:11 PM with 6 comments

photo of Equal is Unfair back cover

This past spring I attended a debate held by Chicago Ideas Week between Dr. Yaron Brook, the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and Dr. James Galbraith, an economist and professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, on the topic “Is Equal Fair?” Where it was a debate about a heady topic, there was a good connection with the audience on the subject of equality and inequality in our society.

As someone who owned his own business and believes my success and failures are my own doing, despite all outside factors and influences, I personally take a more conservative look at this topic. That being said, I came into this debate with an open mind and was interested in hearing both sides to see how either could influence my thinking. In my humble opinion, Brook won this debate not only on substance but in style and how he presented complex economic models in simple terms.

After the debate I bought a copy of the book Brook co-authored with Don Watkins, an Ayn Rand Institute fellow, titled Equal is Unfair as I was interested in reading more on the points Brook made during the debate. As I expected, it is a very comprehensive book, with economic charts and data. However, it has an interesting and engaging narrative that explains well to the non-numbers person like myself without taking anything away from the topic.

As I read Equal Is Unfair, there were a few overarching takeaways I took from it, including:

Nothing Is Ever Equal – Other than a well-formed math equation, it is hard to say that all things are truly equal in the world, or can be. Many people have advantages in one area over others where they may have disadvantages in other areas with the same people. Especially in an ever-changing world, it’s hard to predict everything and keep things in equal, especially when there are unpredictable and unanticipated forces that may come along and have a negative impact, at first, and from which someone may recover or not.

By artificially trying to make something equal that naturally isn’t, it is simply going against a tide that is hard to maintain. Rather, do you look for another way, a Plan B, to gain advantage as compensation? For myself, I don’t look at being equal as the end goal.

What Do You Really Want? – The idea of equality is discussed in the book, as it was in the debate, to bring people in line with others who have better access to resources or information. To this end, I think to myself… is the goal for everybody to be equal, or to have the opportunity to be all the want to be?

Consider the Ripple Effect – Efforts to make all things equal may have unforeseen consequences, such as costs incurred or diverted, that have to be paid for somehow from somewhere. Anything new will have an impact on time and resources which are not infinite.

Whatever side you are on this issue or whatever your political and societal positions are on the topic of equality, I recommend reading Equal Is Unfair for a unique point of view on this topic.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Thriving In A Culture of ASAP

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 04:57 PM with 2 comments

screenshot of ASAP definition page heading

When you see “ASAP” in an email or text, do you cringe? Sadly most of us do – I do – as the acronym, which is made up of pleasant words, has ended up becoming a harsh term.

Looking up the definition of ASAP in the dictionary you see it stands for “as soon as possible” which is, as I said, pleasant. But thinking back to the cringe-causing event (or more likely events) that come to mind when you read the opening of this post, do you think the person typing ASAP really meant “as soon as possible?”

Hell no I can hear you say! Rather than asking you to do something as soon as it is possible for you to do so, aren’t they really asking, “drop all you are doing and respond to this right this fucking second!” Let’s be honest, this is what should be listed in the dictionary as the true definition of what ASAP means, and not just the words behind the acronym.

The Culture of ASAP

Most organizations have a culture of ASAP. In this hyper-connected world where any information can be had in seconds, we have a heightened expectation that seems to come with a narrowing window as time goes on.

Note I say “any” information and not the “right” information or even accurate information, or any other qualifying adjectives that requires strategic thinking. This has no place in the culture of ASAP, as everything is being responded to fast and furiously. Even if the answers or responses have already been prepared and presentation in reports or dashboards, the person slinging ASAP around has no time for these tools and want the answers from you and right now, though ironically they may be the owner of said reports and dashboards.

Succeeding Under ASAP

It goes without saying that to get beyond a culture of ASAP takes leadership. Part of that leadership is in communications – sharing expectations of greater foals and what may be asked of a team. As well, the team is given time to ideate and strategize the big picture down to their area of expertise and can thus be proactive in using information sources or channels.

In the absence of that leadership, there is still the ability to make gains and efficiencies yourself to make your life easier. Simply documenting ASAP requests is a great start, by recording overall what is being asked, looking for trends, and comparing it to what you are doing now. Incremental improvements to processes or reporting can be made as a result of this analysis. As requests come in, make sure you are clear as to what is being asked and – if appropriate – why it is being needed. The “why” can influence “what” is created. These latter steps are things I do on a routine basis to make both the collection of data and reporting of information much more efficient.

Deconstructing ASAP

Priorities in business change frequently and requests can come in that need to take top priority. With some analysis and a small series of successful changes, dealing with ASAP can be made much less harsh, as it is likely to not go away altogether.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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