The FBI Chief Goes Kerplunk

Thunk.jpeg

Who would’ve thunk it…the FBI chief goes kerplunk. 


James Comey–only 37% through his tenure as Director–is fired for the (mis)handling of the Hillary Clinton email fiasco. 


But Hillary never even saw justice.  


The politics in Washington is forever an ironic cliffhanger. 


The democrats who were supposedly aggrieved by Comey in the election are now screaming foul for his dismissal


And the republicans who supposedly benefited by Comey closing and opening of the case against Clinton are signing praises for his release.


Nothing is ever as it seems. 


Aliens could be falling from the sky and it would still be a political event. 


Washington conspiracy and counter-conspiracy theories…but the work of the people does it ever get done?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy  Blumenthal)

Abraham Lincoln And Election IT Scandals

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This just seemed like such a fascinating photo.


Abraham Lincoln on a tie juxtaposed next to the guy using his smartphone and email.


This election cycle has been plagued with scandals from private email servers, “extremely reckless” handling of emails, Wikileaks disclosures of corruption and collusion from hacked emails, crude denigrating language online, politicians claims of they can’t recall and IT professionals pleading the fifth, and an overall lack of transparency to the American people and Congress.


Yet, isn’t this the diametric opposite of what our esteemed President Lincoln was all about in terms of being “a man of profound feelings, just and firm principles, and incorruptible integrity.”


Is it now the technology that somehow has caused us to perform questionable deeds or is it just an enabler of what is in people’s hearts and souls?


As the man holding and controlling what he does with the smartphone in the photo, it is we who control our actions with technology and what we chose to do with it.


If we use technology for good or for evil…for raising up and helping people or insulting and hurting people…for lies and deception or for truth and transparency…for communicating principles and directives that are just and upright or for selfish and corrupt ends…these are choices of integrity that we alone control.


Lincoln fought for the democracy and freedom for all Americans and the end of slavery, and to that moral end, for whoever wins the election, we should continue towards using technology as a means to extend justice and freedom for all and not for operatives and operations that can jeopardize it’s meaning and integrity for America. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Content Filtering – Should We Restrain Ourselves?

think-before-speak

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 


He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage–road rage, email rage, etc.–and you can’t let your rage dictate your actions. 


People can certainly get under your skin–just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.


But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.


The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 


The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he’s supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)


Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling–that husbands and wives should drink this “special water” that they hold in their mouth–this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can’t say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 


The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 


And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 


When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that–it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 


She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, “93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media.”


I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, “write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic].”


Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful–“locker room banter”–maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren’t listening. 


Realistically, we can’t and shouldn’t have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do–there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 


But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Answer Your Watch

Watch

So I did it and took the plunge into a smartwatch. 

For over a year, I thought the technology just wasn’t there yet. 

Too clumsy, too difficult to use with such a small device. 

First, I considered just a Fitbit for tracking activity, but I quickly ruled it out, since you can get so much more with a full smartwatch.

Then, I looked into the Pebble, in particular the latest model the Time Steel, which runs between $200-$250. 

But I watched a review that pointed out the the Pebble does not have a touch screen, and everything are the buttons–okay, I immediately ruled that out. 

Next, I looked to old trusty, Apple…they have never failed me yet, and I tried on their various smartwatches. 

I settled on a simple sports model, since I figured as the technology continues to evolve or as the watch gets beat up in daily use, I could simply upgrade to the next great thing. 

Also, I figured if I really don’t like how it works, it wouldn’t be such a great loss monetarily. 

Well, the verdict is in–I really like it!

Easy to set up by simply syncing with the iPhone. 

And then all your major apps just show up on the colorful apps panel. 

In no time, I was checking the 10-day weather forecast, reading news headlines, tracking my activity, using the GPS locator, looking up calendar events, checking email and replying with easy voice dictation, sending text messages, and even calling family and talking to them into the watch!

I even started the music on my iPhone from another room by using the smartwatch. 

Oh yeah, I almost forget, it tells the time too!

Except for taking photos, which would be really cool with the watch, but it doesn’t do–it did most of the basics that I wanted it to. 

For not a lot of money, I felt that I was getting a lot of convenient functionality, and I am now encouraging my wife and kids to get it too. 

Apple, you still got it–so even though Google surpassed you in market value this week, I am still hopeful that you got some decent mojo left in you. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Zinged

Bee

So there is the work at work. 


And then there is the behind the scenes people stuff that goes on.


And anyone who has been around the block long enough in organizations know that the people stuff is where all the “craziness” happens. 


A friend told me a story about their colleague.


The colleague sends a trash-talking email about the person at work, but instead of sending it to the presumed audience they instead send to the person himself….oops. 


So the veneer of “how your doing today?” and “hope you have a nice weekend!” is revealed by something else. 


Awkward, no?


Email is generally a positive method of communication, but also can be treacherous and revealing.


No matter at work, the main thing is stay focused on the mission and not to get sidetracked by the zinger of the day. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Back On The Hiking Trail

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Such beautiful weather today–still February, but Spring has sprung!


We went hiking and I am so grateful to G-d after the surgeries of the last couple of years that I can once again start to enjoy Sugarloaf Mountain together with “my sugar.”


Thank you so much Hashem!


On the hike, one brief thing we talked about was how to email (and speak) nicely to other people.


My wife told me something really smart she heard from a colleague at work:


“WHEN you are having strong feelings and want to communicate them to someone…


Sit down at the table.


Pull your chair in.


Write down what you want to say.


THEN…


Imagine the other person is sitting right across from you.


Turn the paper towards them.


Pretend that they are reading from it in front of you.


NOW…


Decide whether you still want to send it that way.”


So much stupid stuff we say and email could be avoided if we just did this little mental exercise in our heads and in our hearts. 😉


(Source Selfie: Us)

You Can Be Nice and Powerful

You Can Be Nice and Powerful

According to the Wall Street Journal, workers “value kindness in their boss” and compassion–this is natural, as we are all human with tests, frailties, and yes, everyone even makes some mistakes (and hopefully they learn from it).

So while there may seem to be a contradiction between being nice and being an effective leader, there really is not.

For example, we can have empathy for people, while still holding them accountable to do a good job through programs like flexible schedules, telework, and other workplace accommodations.

Power in the organization can be wielded by a boss in so many ways, and they don’t even have to eat their spinach to do it.

From what assignments you get, whether you have to work odd hours, to whether you get a good evaluation or even that promotion, for that matter.

Many may be too quick to put on the punching gloves, however.

Sometimes, the boss will laud publicly over some employees, while degrading or shunning others…that sends a message doesn’t it.

Worse is boss that yells, tells someone their ideas are stupid, or glares at someone like they are a moron…that takes someone straight to employment hell.

The email chain is the classic message!

So while power can be wielded, it can also be shielded by appreciating each person for what they can do and their contribution, if sincere and merited.

While employees value a nice boss, this doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be challenged, we do–challenge adds some meaning to our jobs and our day–that’s why 75% would rather work for a high-achieving, but demanding boss than a nice, but ineffective one.

But combine nice and high-achieving into a boss, and I think we will all want to work for such a leader and follow them wherever they go! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)