If you travel through New England, you can barely go fifty yards without seeing some historical landmark or marker of where something in the history of the United States took place. As someone who grew up there, you are almost oblivious to the significance of what happened several hundred years ago. When I go back to visit, it is almost like I see these for the first time.
Take a look at this historical marker, which is located in the center of Arlington, Massachusetts:
(click on the photo to see a larger image)
The marker reads, "Near this spot Samuel Whittemore, then 80 years old, killed three British soldiers April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten and left for dead, but recovered and lived to be 90 years of age."
This event happened as the British were retreating from the famous battles of Lexington and Concord. Whittemore was a retired British soldier who owned a farm, an entrepreneur in his own right. No wonder his resiliency.
And as to the distance between historical markers, across the street from this one is another marking the birthplace of Uncle Sam, an entrepreneur in his own right.Diversions • (0) Comments • Permalink
I believe everyone should own a domain name, and use it - at a minimum - for their personal email. This way you have control of your email address, and don't have to solely rely on – or be hostage to – an ISP or service.
Over the next several posts, I will be writing about domain names and email addresses. My hope is to present my thoughts, hear what my small but mighty readership has to say, and will shape them into larger publications of some form or another.
As I believe strongly in controlling your own Internet presence, I hope this forum can serve as a springboard to sharing this information to an even larger audience.Domain Names • (2) Comments • Permalink
Why is the "power" button on the LodgeNet TV remote control on the bottom of the remote? Sure, it’s green, but it’s relatively small as compared to the large, round "menu" and "order" buttons at the top of the remote.
Why is the design of the remote control that you find in just about every hotel different that the paradigm of just about every remote control found in your home? So much for that “home away from home” feeling.Technology • Diversions • (1) Comments • Permalink
This year I have a goal to read one book a month. Where for some this may not seem like much, it is a big deal for me. I have not been much of a reader in the past, with the exception of trade magazines and technical manuals. As I finish each book, I will write not a review but my "take-away" or the things that made me go “hmmm” after I put the book down for a final time.
My book for January was Small Giants by Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large at Inc. magazine. It highlights several companies that are "giants" in their respective industries, but chose to remain at a certain, smaller size, and details their path to this decision. Some of the companies featured include Anchor Brewing, CLIF Bar and Chicago's Artists' Frame Service.
When people talk about growing their business, the discussion starts at getting larger, but it does not tend to stop anyplace. The companies in this book made a decision to get to a certain size – by the number of staff or services they offer – and are content there. They do not see themselves being limited by this, and the contrary they feel much better about their businesses and its vitality, and in turn themselves. As I plan to grow my own business, this book has given me a different perspective on what growth is, and insight into some choices I may have to make in the future. I recommend fellow small business folks to give this book a few hours to read.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
Book Take-Aways • Business • Diversions • (3) Comments • Permalink
With all of the curiocity surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith, I visited her personal Web site, annanicole.com, on Friday and all that was there was a black background and the words “Anna Nicole Smith 1967-2007” (as of this writing, it has since been replaced with a photo of her and the dates).
That creeped me out. Why? Because I was born in 1967! It has nothing to do with her age as compared to my own. It was more to do with the fact that I saw a date range for a death that started with the same year I was born.
However this was not the first time I was creeped out over this. In 1994, shortly after the death of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, t-shirts were being worn with his picture, and his name and birth and death years. Again, 1967 was right in front of me.
Yet another reminder to make the most of our days...Diversions • (0) Comments • Permalink
There are purely cross-browser Web sites, ones which can be viewed and function the same no matter the browser brand or version they are viewed in. Then there are Web sites that have small quirks or functionality that only work in some Web sites.
Then there are some that only work in one browser. When someone who builds Web sites thinks about this, they typically chalk it up to bias or sloppy work on the part on a single developer/designer. But Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer? TechCrunch has the screenshot of what Wal-Mart's new video downloads site looks like in the Firefox browser.
After walmart.com was down most of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) last year, why does this not surprise me?Technology • (2) Comments • Permalink
I find the office supply wars in Chicagoland mildly amusing. It may be the same in other areas – you tell me – but this is the first time I have been exposed to it.
Hailing from Massachusetts, I have shopped at Staples, which was founded in the Bay State, since they opened in the 80’s. Staples has dominated the northeast, even with the few OfficeMax stores that come into the area.
When I moved to the Windy City a couple of years ago, there were no Staples stores. Then they arrived, or should I say invaded. As I had a Staples Rewards card (their frequent shopping program) I was invited to their launch party, featuring a performance by Chicago’s own Mavis Staples. And for what seemed to be almost half a year, I was bombarded with general discount coupons (e.g. $5 off a $5 purchase) by guerilla marketers in the streets and by mail.
Prior to their arrival, I shopped at OfficeMax and Office Depot and I still have their respective frequent shopper cards. Therefore I am in their "systems" and they should have noticed that my purchases dropped and pretty much ceased. If so, you could have fooled me. I have yet to hear or receive anything from them to indicate this. How about a "we miss you" mailing with a general discount coupon or other incentives to bring me back? That would be my thinking, but not theirs. I get specific, low-discount coupons for items I am obviously not buying. Not to mention their lack of response to the general discount coupons I continue to get from Staples.
Or maybe OfficeMax and Office Depot do not have that kind of information on me, or they do but don’t know what to do with it?Business • (0) Comments • Permalink
This Saturday, February 10, there will be an amazing concert just outside of Chicago put on by the Sing to Live Community Chorus. The chorus is made up of people who have been personally affected by breast cancer, whether it was themself or a loved one. I am proud that my wife is a member of this chorus in honor of her aunt, grandmother and a dear friend, all who had breast cancer.
I am also proud to have an advertisement in the program book for the entire season of three performances. Do I have the ad because Super Bowl ads are outside of my budget? Or is it because I believe my phone will be ringing off the hook after each performance? Though the latter would be nice, it is to show support for an amazing organization that puts on equally amazing performances, and I hope my small contribution will help in their cause.
Community service is a big part of my life. The experiences I gained from being a member and president of the Boston Jaycees helped shape me greatly, not to mention that is where I met my wife! Our support of the American Liver Foundation has helped channel the energy and emotions from the loss of my Mom to liver disease over 5 years ago. I also have several pro bono clients I help in communicating their message on the Internet.
As much as these organizations have benefited from the little bit I give to them, I believe I get back more from them. And I hope to see you at the Sing to Live concert on Saturday night!Diversions • (0) Comments • Permalink
Happy Groundhog Day! Today is the day when we find out whether we have six more weeks of winter or not – not in the sense of when spring starts, but what the weather will be like.
When most people think of today, they think of Punxsutawney Phil, of the town by the same name in Pennsylvania. But there are other groundhogs, and my choice of weather prognostication animal is Dunkirk Dave from the city in western New York that also inspired the name of my business.
This morning Phil did not see his shadow, meaning an early spring. Dave did see his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. Maybe a split difference is in store? In either case, it would be nice to get some snow to go with the single-digit weather here in the Windy City.Diversions • (0) Comments • Permalink
Podcasting has been of mind lately, as I pondered an accompanying podcast to The Hot Iron blog. A monthly or semi-monthly podcast featuring highlights of recent posts and perhaps some unique content was my running thought.
Then along comes a new, free service to automatically convert the words of blog posts to an audio file. Odiogo takes my RSS feed and creates an MP3 file with a digitized voice reading the text of each blog post. About a week after signing up for the service, I am in the program, and MP3s of the last ten posts are now available – you can follow this link to Odiogo or subscribe to their feed.
How does it sound? You can tell it is a digitized voice, but it is very clear and it speaks "difficult" words well, like Maddaloni. I put my last name, which people have been mispronouncing all my life, into my last post to see how it sounds, and it was better than I have heard from many people. The service is free to bloggers, and there is an ad program available to blogs with high traffic, sounding similar to Feedburner’s ad program.
Give it a listen and I am eager to hear your feedback.Technology • (2) Comments • Permalink