Reflecting on Leaders

Reflect on past and current leaders you have interacted with. Identify and describe the top three positive leadership characteristics you have observed – and the top negative characteristics you have observed. Top three positive characteristics – optimistic attitude The best leaders and managers I’ve worked with have been optimistic. They may be stressed, or have a million things to deliver and not enough time, but they keep their composure, remain light-hearted, and exhibit confidence that things will get done, and the world won’t end. They don’t spend all their time talking about how impossible tasks are, or complaining about the workload to people who can’t change it. – listening, listening, listening To really engage with the people around them, the great leaders I’ve worked with have relied on being available, being open to ideas, and listening to everything their employees have to say. They don’t just want to know how …

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Welcome Home, Charlie Brown

We’ve had Charlie Brown for two full weeks now. I started writing the second sentence to say something like “he’s quickly become the center of the family,” and as I was typing, he peed on the floor. That’s what having a puppy is like so far. Mid-congratulation, he does something he’s not supposed to, and I say “No,” and he is sorry for a moment. The hiccups are mostly a reminder that he isn’t a supreme being – a notion that without occasional reminders to the contrary, his human-mom and I might be spun up into believing. Something about having a face with enough wrinkles to be mistaken for an ethereal 150 year old wise man must be the connection. Charlie’s French Bulldog mouth is an ugly thing, pocked with hundreds of  little bumps that signal eventual whisker growth. It’s often clamped on an innocent teddy bear, or octopus, which …

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on Tomato Time

It may be a stretch to write about productivity on a Friday (the Friday before Christmas holiday, at that) but I’m going to give it a try anyway. If you’re a human who must use a computer for any more than a few hours a day to do your job, chances are you probably struggle somewhat with staying on task. It is in the internet’s DNA to make jumping from one thing to another really easy. The purpose of hypertext (you know, that http thing in a web address) is to transfer you from one text to another… and do it at hyperspeed! I’ve lost a lot of productivity when I encounter a frustrating problem, and instead of forging through decide to take an internet ‘break’ which stretches into hours. It’s difficult to keep a disciplined work routine when you’re face to face with a ‘distraction machine’ all day. For the last several …

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on my Ethical Radar

‘A man got to have a code.’ – Omar As I wrote in a previous post, I just began a class in ethics and technology. During lecture last week, I couldn’t help but remembering the quote from Omar in The Wire on how everyone should have a code, or sense of morals – even if they don’t adhere to societal norms. One of the ideas I’ve been most interested in, after two sessions with the class, is the concept of ‘discussion stoppers,’ and how they can be categorically expected to occur and also why they should be avoided. I’ve never really enjoyed arguing for the sake of it. Many people get pleasure from the competition of proving their own righteousness or intelligence through ethical battles, and those people always turned me away from the activity. I prefer finding common ground in conversation, rather than exploring differences of opinion. In class, …

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on Opening Doors

One afternoon last week, S. made some scrumptious turkey burgers for me to scarf down before heading out to my first night class of the Fall semester. I was recently accepted to, and enrolled in a Technology Management program at Georgetown University. My first class is called ‘Technology & Ethics.’  Occasionally in our apartment, the sound of neighbor’s doors opening and closing slides in to our kitchen, or a gust of wind rattles the window. Otherwise, it’s fairly quiet.  We were entirely surprised when halfway through the meal, we heard our front door open. Not just the kind of brief shake that happens if wind clatters through, but a full-on human powered door opening.  Generally our door is locked, but in the hectic few moments between coming home from work and leaving for school, I must have forgotten to secure it.  From the angle I was sitting, I was able to turn and see an arm on the handle …

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on not writing much

It has been a busy summer. I turned 30 back in June – a milestone of thirtiesh proportions. After spending an inordinate amount of time contemplating it, wondering if I should be preparing, etc; it just happened – I woke up without my twenties. A blog post has been in draft status ever since, in which I recount 30 blessings I’ve had in the last 30 years. I’m having trouble finishing it, because there’s too much I’m afraid of leaving out. For my birthday weekend, we took a quick trip to New York. New York is amazing, especially when you try to cram the whole bursting, loud thing into just a few days. We met Bryan Cranston, watched Outkast perform for their 20th anniversary, and visited with people we love. My wonderful girlfriend and I moved into a new apartment together a few short weeks later. It has been a blast …

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ode to a Cat

Twelve years ago, one of my high school English teachers congratulated me on graduating, and gave me a thoughtful gift that I still appreciate – poems by Neruda. Now its cover is warped and pages are faded, but I’ve nearly memorized my favorite verse from the collection:  ‘Oda al Gato’ For no reason other than cats are awesome, here’s a (translated) excerpt: “your kind need not puzzle us, surely – you, the least of the mysteries abroad in the world, known to us all, the pawn of the lowliest householder – or they think so! – for each calls himself master, proprietor, playfellow, cat’s uncle, colleague, the pupils of cats or their cronies. Not I: I reckon things otherwise. I shall never unriddle the cat. I take note of the other things: life’s archipelagoes, the sea, the incalculable city, botanical matters, the pistil, the pistil’s mutations, plus-and-minus arithmetic, volcanoes that funnel the earth the …

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In Reality, Googling

Q&A With Google’s Eric Schmidt The line of audience members queuing up for their turn to throw a question at Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, seemed oddly like an inefficient search engine. There were so many things un-Googley about it, like having to wait for someone else to finish before I could ask a question, and having to get up out of my seat to get in line. Otherwise, the hour that Schmidt spent discussing his latest book “The New Digital Age,” with co-author Jared Cohen, covered much ground and put a human face on a company that often seems much more robotic than peopled. The book was just released in paperback and plastered with glowing reviews from statesmen including Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair and the like. In it, the authors Cohen and Schmidt attempt to map out a future which they label as humanity’s greatest experiment to …

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on 15,000 Steps

It was only three or four steps to get to the bathroom when I woke up, late, Sunday morning. The grey light trying to force its way in through the blinds, the cat looping acrobatically beneath my drowsy gait. Since Christmas, I’ve been wearing a FitBit Force on my wrist, tracking every move I make with it’s fancy digital pedometer and accelerometer and altimeter and estimated calorie-burn computer and alarm clock and sleep timer. A trip to the bathroom in the morning becomes a matter of consequence, a record of competition. The conservation of my physique is now the ward of a few megabytes, transferred via low-energy Bluetooth. The gadget comes programmed to push me towards 10,000 steps as a daily goal, so I’m following its request, making the effort to walk at least five miles as often as possible. I’ve hit the 10k mark twelve times in January. My …

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