Trying To Be A Plumber

It’s wonderful when we try to help others.

Isn’t that one of the reasons we’re here? 

But sometimes we are trying to help and it’s really something beyond our capabilities. 

My mother-in-law said something funny about this:

Sometimes you’re an electrician, but you’re trying to be a plumber. 

Isn’t that true, we are really one thing, but we are often trying to be something else that we’re really not. 

We can’t help someone that needs a plumber, if we’re an electrician. 

We have to know who we are and what we can do–as well as what we can’t. 

No one can do everything, no matter how smart, strong, or able they think they are.  

Each person has strengths and weaknesses.  

We need an electrician and a plumber. 

And you can’t be what you’re not. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anyone Have A Question About This Car?

Yeah, all I can say…

Anyone have a question about this car?


I am pretty sure this car is owned by Matthew Lesko, “The Question Mark Guy.”


Lesko was in a number of commercials and infomercials about asking him how to get free information and grant money from the government. 


He dresses and drives in question marks, and I’ve seen him a number of times around town. Frankly, it’s sort of hard to miss this guy!


His self promotion sort of makes you wonder, if you had to choose just one symbol to wear everywhere to represent you to the world–it could be a punctuation mark or anything else–what would that look like?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Twitter BESTS Facebook

Technology.jpeg

Here are six reasons why Twitter bests Facebook and we ain’t seen nothing yet:


Unadulterated News & Messaging 

Twitter is where you can hear it from the President’s mouth or the Kardashians or anyone else for that matter with no media bias and filtering (their very mission is information sharing), while Facebook is often about reposting stories, pictures, and videos that we find of interest already on the web. What’s even more amazing is that anyone of us can tweet back to @realDonaldTrump or @SpeakerRyan…that is some unbelievable access we now have. 


Speed of Information To Market

Twitter is now considered the fastest way to get the latest (and greatest) on what’s happening.  From the US Airways jet crash into the Hudson River to up-to-the-minute updates on the Mumbai terrorist attackYou could even watch the election debates or the Walking Dead and get a real-time running commentary. 


Our Very Social Identity

Twitter is now part of our very social identity, so that everything from our blog writings to our resume has our Twitter handle. Mine is @AndyBlumenthal.  


It’s Populism As A Movement

Twitter, while not technically as popular in terms of number of users as Facebook, is more popular in terms of the cultural impact. Politicians are putting out policy debates online and fighting it out there too, while celebrities and athletes are sharing personal updates, and the world is truly communicating directly and succinctly in 140 characters or less what’s really important to them. 


Operating On A Global Open Platform 

Twitter feeds are open to anyone who follows them and tweets are searchable on the web as opposed to Facebook which is predominantly a closed system to the web and you’ve got to be “friends” to get the real scoop with someone. Whether the Iranian Green Revolution or the Syrians Being Bombarded in Aleppo it’s open and on Twitter. 


Get Your BIG Data and Feed Your Artificial Intelligence

Twitter has about 500 million tweets a day or about 200 billion a year.  Even pulling out the ridiculous “What I had for lunch today” tweets, there is still an unbelievable amount of data to mine for analysis and artificial intelligence. Talking about a potential treasure trove of information and sentiment from over 317 million users, and computer algorithms are already churning through it to make the big data intelligible and usable for decision making. 


Certainly Twitter (and Facebook) need to get their virtual arms around fake news and profiles, but the good thing about it is that others can call b.s. as soon as they see it in 140 characters or less. 😉


(Note: I am so impressed with Twitter’s prospects, I am putting my own money where my mouth is.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Can’t The English Be More English

Brexit

The people of the United Kingdom voted in referendum yesterday for Brexit (British exit) or independence from the European Union (EU). 


Unity is a wonderful thing when values and vision is widely shared and the burden and benefits are more or less evenly distributed. 


But in the case of the UK in the EU, the vote for independence was anchored in the unsettling issues of mass immigration from the Arab Spring, the debt crisis of many of the poorer Southern EU states (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.), the decision of the UK to maintain their own currency (not accepting the Euro), and culturally (and language-wise), even though they all interact with each other, the UK has more in common with the US and Australia, then they ever had with Germany, France, and the rest of Europe. 


It is really very understandable that the UK doesn’t want to lose their identity and sovereignty and just be another EU state–rather than be a unique, independent, and dominant entity of it’s own, charting their own course and driving their own fate. 


While it’s great to a part of something bigger, sometimes being yourself is more important, and you can still interact with the rest. 

No people should be forced to become a shadow of themselves, and if the call is for independence, then that is noble call even if it is inconvenient for those who would rather call themselves the EU. 


Unity may best be by alliance rather than strict integration…one for all and all for each and every one. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Walking through the halls of one of the local schools, there was this awesome display of cutout hands.

Each hand, done by a student, was supposed to represent who they wanted to be as people.

In the center of each was a core saying/belief of the student written on the palm.

And then on each of the five fingers was their personal aspirations:

Emotionally
Physically
Socially
Intellectually
Spiritually

I thought this was a really cool assignment to think and focus on where we’re going with our lives and what our personal goals are.

Like a mini-personal architecture, these hands are the hands of our young people who have their lives ahead of them and the energy and opportunity to shape their futures.

No, none of us has control over the future, but we can do our part to shape who we are as human beings, as this student says:

“I am who I want to be.”

Of course, we have to choose wisely, work hard, and go for it!

We never know if there are any true second chances. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Many For The Price Of One

Many For The Price Of One

We were at the movie theater over the weekend and something funny happened when we went up to the counter to get our tickets.

I ask my wife if she also wants anything to eat like popcorn etc.

She says yes, and I ask the lady behind the counter where the tickets and snacks are sold for some popcorn to ring up.

She points to the next register and says “You need to get the snacks over there” (pointing about one feet over to the left).

I look at my wife like, okay and we pay for the tickets.

Then, we waddles over to the empty counter a foot over and wait for someone to help with the popcorn.

Well the lady who just sold us the movie tickets waddles over as well and says, “Can I help you?”

We almost cracked up laughing.

I said, “Yes, we would like some popcorn, please.”

She says, “Sure,” and proceeds to get the popcorn and we pay again.

What was hilarious was the lady selling the tickets redirected us to the counter over for the popcorn, where she in turn did the proverbial, changing of the hats, and then after selling us the tickets served us up the popcorn as well.

It reminded me of a TV episode I saw a kid where some people visit a small town and stop at the Sheriff to ask where the local inn is. The Sheriff points them down the street. Then the people go into the inn and there is the Sheriff again, but this time wearing the innkeeper’s visor. After checking in, the people ask where the town pub is and then stroll over across the way. They walk up to the bar, and the bartender turns around, and sure enough it’s the Sheriff/innkeeper now with a servers smock on and asks what they would like to drink.

I may not be remembering the episode completely accurately, but you get the point.

In a small town or an organization where people have to multitask, one person can play many different roles.

That’s why very often management in interested in good employees who can “walk and chew gum at the same time”–employees need to be able to perform under pressure to get many projects and tasks done, simultaneously, and they very often need to assume multiple roles and responsibilities to get that done.

Pointing the finger at someone else saying not my job or the ball is in their court is no longer an excuse not to get things done. We have to shepherd the project all the way through the many leaps and hurdles that may stand in the way of progress.

When people have to perform multiple roles and jobs–due to time constraints, cost cutting, or shortage of trained and talented people–then they may have to change hats many times over the course of their day and week.

The Atlantic (5 July 2013) in an article about performing head transplants–yeah, an Italian surgeon believes this is now possible–retells an Indian folk tale called The Transposed Heads.

Two men behead themselves, and their heads are magically reattached, but to the other person’s body. The clincher is that the wife of one of the men doesn’t know which man to take as her husband–“the head or the heart.”

It’s a fascinating dilemma–what makes a person who they are–their thoughts (i.e. brain) or their feelings (i.e. heart).

Similarly, when a person performs multiple roles at home, work, and in the community–who are they really? Which role is them–at the core?

We tend to like doing one or some things better than others, but does what we like doing mean that is who we are? Maybe doing the things we don’t like that challenge us to grow is what we need to be doing?

Like the lady in the movie theater–one moment she was the ticket master and the next the concessions attendant–both were her jobs.

We too are made up of multiple and complex roles and identities–we are head and heart–and all the things they drive us to do in between. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)