Monday, December 26, 2011

Goals for 2012

  1. Read at least 12 books
  2. Increase my net worth by $50,000
  3. Earn at least $150,000
  4. Launch; 100 percent functionality
  5. Launch; 100 percent functionality
  6. Launch health care web site; 100 percent functionality
  7. Build LiftClickit prototype with Go/No-Go results
  8. Replace backyard deck by the end of September
  9. Make and bottle 500 bottles of wine
  10. Exercise on at least 150 days
  11. Reduce red meat consumption to 300 ounces (six ounces a week) with a stretch goal of 200 ounces (four ounces a week)
  12. Take four weeks (28 days) of vacation
  13. Reduce bodyfat to ten percent or less
  14. Have 100 percent of my CDs available as computer music files, i.e. they will be on my home server

Friday, December 09, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Puerto Rico

Spent three days in San Juan last week.

Sunny, hot, gorgeous.

I was in the pools (plural!), the ocean, the hot tub. Enjoyed a cigar in the evening breeze. Sipped local rum while watching models prepare for a lingerie fashion show.

Yeah, it was enjoyable.

I did some work, too. Met some fantastic people. Rub elbows with the TV stars of Univision.

I can hardly wait to go back.

Monday, September 26, 2011

On A Serious Note

Seriously, if you have a contagious illness, stay the fuck away from the office!

In Sickness and ...

Last week, a person at work showed no respect nor regard for anyone else and came in all week sick.

I complained, asked the person to leave and not come back until she was well, but my pleading was ignored.

In hindsight, I should have refused to come to the client's site all week and insisted on working from home. Okay, my bad. From now on...

So, of course, Friday I became ill at work. I spent the entire weekend sleeping, lazying, lounging, resting, drinking gallons of water. Not fun.

This morning, I woke up and immediately sent a text to my client that read

My turn to be sick.

His totally inappropriate response?

Ok. See if you can make it in later.

WTF?? No "Take care of yourself and get better" or "Please don't bring it to work".


Nothing. Nothing, trumps the Almighty Dollar as God.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Project Management

So I'm working on this huge project. Not huge in terms of lines of code, or in terms of number of people involved. Huge in terms of: It will be used by tens or hundreds of millions of people every year. Yeah ... pretty cool.

The project isn't being managed as well as it could be, in my opinion. Let me emphasize that: In my opinion.

So, I suggested -- to the owner of the company that is creating the software product -- that we use Basecamp. It's a web-based "Software As A Service" application.

Disclaimer: Basecamp is a product of 37 Signals. The founder of 37 Signals, Jason Fried, is a personal friend.

Basecamp is, arguably, the single most important piece of project management software ever created.

"Wow, Don ... that's quite a statement!"

Yeah, well, you use Basecamp and you'll become an evangelist as I am.

Basecamp allows all the important parts of a project -- artifacts, messages, schedules, etc. -- to be stored in one place. Any "stakeholder" (BUZZWORD ALERT!) can access the project's information from anywhere: Computer, iPad, phone. Even a Windows-based machine.


As you might imagine, the old-school owner of the creating company (NOT me) was opposed to the idea. "We have Microsoft Project" ... "It's in the cloud" ... "We don't have a process in place" ... all the excuses -- and that's all they are -- you would expect.

Nixed. Shot down. Kicked to the curb.

So, like any good self-starter, I purchased my own subscription to Basecamp and started using it.

I invited the client to join my project. They did, immediately, and are already liking it.

Today, while working with an ancillary party (the usability experts), they asked me to make the latest copy of the prototype software available to them.

"No problem. I have an online project management software that I use ..."


"Yeah! How'd you know? Did Kristy tell you?"

"No, I've used it before with _____. It's great."

So, despite the best efforts of the owner, we're using Basecamp, collaborating on this project, communicating and sharing "stuff" via one, central location.

Kudos to Jason, 37 Signals and Basecamp. I cannot recommend it enough.

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, April 01, 2011

My Life Purpose Statement

My Life Purpose is to help others realize their full potential as a result of my own personal growth. Everything that I do to help myself now carries with it the responsibility to use it to help others.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Don's Black Bean Dip Recipe

I'll start the year by giving you my recipe for my amazing black bean dip. It's a wonderful dip for when you're watching football or hockey.

Or anything else, for that matter.


Don's Black Bean Dip

Two cans (15.5 ounces each) of black beans
One small (4 oz.) can of green chili peppers
One garlic clove, minced
One teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (or dried onion flakes or fresh onion)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chipotle sauce; I like Pass Out.

Optional: Hot sauce of choice

Real easy; Just dump everything into a food processor and blend until smooth enough to suit your tastes. I use a stick blender and blend it right in the container, so it can be stored in the refrigerator (assuming there are leftovers, which hardly ever happens).

Quick backstory: I fell in love with Desert Pepper Black Bean Dip, but at five bucks a jar I was spending at least $20 a month on the stuff. I checked out the ingredients and did a pretty good job of reverse engineering it.

All The Best,

-- Don

P.S. My next step is to make my own chipotle sauce. I'll work on that in February; January is pretty much booked up.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Looking back at 2010

Now that 2010 is safely behind me, I can reflect. What happened? What did I learn? How can I improve?

The year was odd. It started with my main client going out of business. That was followed by about six months of basically not working, save for a few checks here and there from doing work with my son. Cash flow slowed to a trickle, resulting in a lot of adjustments.

It's important to note, that the time spent working with and visiting my son in New York City was the best four months in memory. Being with him, watching him work, lead, communicate ... what a wonderful experience. The meals shared, the drinks together, the times walking around the city, talking ... I was given a gift that very few parents receive; The gift of time with my adult son. I wouldn't trade that for anything, and it was then that I realized that I'd rather lose my house and the junk I owned if that was the price to pay for the wonderful moments with my son.

In late July, I landed a poor-paying contract with a large company. It was steady work, at least I had an income. It turned out to be the textbook example for "Corporate Hell". A large, impersonal company that treated people like cattle. No personality, no enjoyment, a culture of vanilla under flickering fluorescent lights. I sincerely hope the leadership there all lose their jobs and are replaced with real, living and breathing human beings. Otherwise, the place deserves to go under. There is no excuse for such a horrible, drab, lifeless, depressing, soul-sucking workplace.

I fled there at first chance, which turned out to be a call from a client from early 2008. I had left there in '08 because the owner of the small business was seeing a dramatic downturn in business and had to jettison his best but most costly asset -- me.

His business, now, was booming, and he needed help immediately. I was thrilled. I reduced my daily commute by 57 miles (from 80 to 13), saved two hours a day in driving time, got a 25 percent increase in income, got my own office with a window, and would be working on really cool stuff.

In a small business where the owner likes and respects me and my opinions. A chance to have an impact.

Hours mostly flexible, next door to a good sub/pizza shop, half a block from a bodega.

That's going very well. In fact, I haven't enjoyed work this much in many, many years.

What did I learn in 2010?

I learned that I could live on a hell of a lot less income than I thought I needed.

I learned that if I lost everything -- something we thought was a very real possibility -- it would not matter. Money and things and status and all that bullshit is just that: Bullshit. Don't get me wrong; I still have my eye on a 3 Series or S Class, I'm still taking a cruise in 2011, I'm still enjoying my High Definition TV with Surround Sound, my pool, my patio, my fireplace, blah blah. But I learned that those things are not only not the key to happiness, they're not even needed to "live". Having friends, enjoying walks with my dear bride, seeing my grandson grow, witnessing the birth of my granddaughter, experiencing the struggle of watching my dad decline as he ages ... those are the important things that make life worth living. The rest is just stuff. I know we all say that, but the difference is that I now know it.

How can I improve in 2011?

I intend to read more.

I intend to take more walks.

I intend to continue to improve my culinary skills and repertoire.

I intend to continue to get more organized.

I intend to continue to get rid of complexity, no matter where I find it. That includes tossing/selling/donating things that I own.

I will say "No" more often, which will allow me to say "Yes" more often (Some of you will get that; As for the rest -- you have to "be there" to get it).

It is my intention to take a cruise in the winter, and a vacation at the beach (and surf!) in the summer.

In retrospect, with all the troubles 2010 brought (and it was a helluva ride!), it was a very good year.

All The Best,

-- Don