@Bethesda Trolley Trail

You can walk for miles…

It’s quiet and green in a suburban setting.

Who’s that dummy?

Lovers come out here too.

Some graffiti tells you there is still the big city of Washington, D.C. nearby.

A little surveillance—the “I’s” have it!

ADT security plus some colorful wind adornments in front of the houses. 

Park is good, but only until sunset. 


Watch out, “old people” crossing (saw a deer too).

 

The whole trail runs between Rockville and Bethesda–see the French International School, The National Institute of Health, Suburban Hospital, houses, shopping, parks, and more. 

Try not to get too lost in the fun of it all.  😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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@DC Design House For National Children’s Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wealthy couple built this amazing mansion in Potomac, Maryland.



But sadly before they could enjoy it, the wife developed a terminal illness. 



The husband allowed the house to showcased in a design talent competition with the various rooms decorated by all different interior designers.



…And the house to be shown for charity for National Children’s Health System. 



Here are some photos from this wonderful fundraising event. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Where Does Organized Religion Go Wrong

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So I am definitely someone who is spiritual and tries to be faithful to G-d.


I believe, He is my creator and sustainer and that we are here to learn and grow our soul before it goes back to Hashem. 


Yet often, like so many others now-a-days, I find organized religion to be a turn-off. 


Why?


1) There is a consistency and sincerity problem.


To some people, I believe it’s partially the rote and robotic nature of some of the practices–where we just do it, because we are told to do it, and we do it over and over and time after time, again–even when we don’t feel it in the moment, and even if we do other things that are not so right in other areas of our lives.  


In contrast perhaps, there can be more spontaneous and genuine feelings and actions, in the moment and every moment–that come from the heart and the soul of the person and directly to G-d–and they are consistent whether we are in a religious setting to how we treat others and how we act in business. 


In other words, we just don’t follow the rules, but we live them fully and integrated with ourselves and all situations we find ourselves in. 


2)  There is a money and power problem.


In some religious environments, all people are not created equal or treated equal. Instead, the say, the attention, and the honor goes to the powerful and the rich, who are courted for their donations and their votes to the institution and the spiritual leader. Who gets talked up? Who is given the honors at the religious rituals, at the events and the dinners, and with their communal “peers”? 


In other cases, it’s not just money and power that talks, but who is outwardly the “most religious” and presumably walks the walk.  If you but “seem” more religious than the next guy, then you are elevated and exalted in the religious community.  


Instead, what happened to welcoming and caring for everyone–to everyone being children of G-d–to each person having a soul and their personal life challenges. Why can’t we treat everyone as religiously worthwhile and give everyone a chance to learn and grow in their own way from their starting point and to their destination?  


Religion should be the one place that isn’t a competition with others. 


Religion is ultimately between man and G-d!


And only G-d knows what is inside man’s heart and in his soul–and what his actions really are all the time and what they truly mean in context and in essence


I welcome G-d in my life, because I:


– Have faith in Him and that ultimately He has a master plan and that everything is for the good 

– Love Him for giving me the chance to learn and grow my soul to be better

– Fear Him for when I do something wrong in my life and need a course correction 


I wish for a time and transformation when religion would not just be based on outward manifestations but on being sincere and consistent in people’s lives, and where people would no longer be superficially judged and (mis)treated because they are themselves and on their G-d given paths. 


If only we could religiously love, rather than endlessly judge, each other, oh what a heartfelt and inspiring religion that would be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

People, Process, and Technology Lifecycles

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The table describes the alignment of the various people, process, and technology lifecycles commonly used in Information Technology to the CIO Support Services Framework (CSSF).


The CIO Support Services Framework describes the six key functional roles of the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO)–it includes:


1) Enterprise Architecture (Architect)

2) Capital Planning and Investment Control (Invest)

3) Project Management Office (Execute)

4) CyberSecurity (Secure)

5) Business Performance Management (Measure)

6) IT Service (and Customer Relationship) Management (Service)


All these OCIO Functions align to the lifecycles for process improvement (Process), project management (People), and systems development (Technology).


– The Deming Life Cycle describes the steps of total quality management and continuous process improvement (Kaizen) in the organization.


– The Project Management Life Cycle describes the phases of managing (IT) projects.


– The Systems Development Life Cycle describes the stages for developing, operating and maintaining application systems.


Note: I aligned cybersecurity primarily with doing processes, executing projects, and designing/developing/implementing systems.  However, cybersecurity really runs through all phases of the lifecycles!


My hope is that this alignment of people, process, and technology life cycles with the roles/functions of the OCIO will help bridge the disciplines and make it easier for people to understand the underlying commonalities between them and how to leverage the phases of each with the others, so that we get more success for our organizations! 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Facebook Is Dead!

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So folks, here is my absolutely contrarian prediction. 

Facebook Is Dead!

Who in their right mind would say something like that?


Facebook has 2 billions users! 


Well I am one of those users.


But even though I use it. 


I recognize that it is essentially useless and a waste of time. 


Yes, there are cute videos and messages and photos on there. 


But basically if you’re honest, it’s mostly a lot of garbage and time sink!


Twitter has a newsfeed purpose. 


Instagram has a photo sharing purpose. 


LinkedIn has a professional networking purpose. 


But Facebook is a glorious made-up fad!


I believe that people are getting tired of the:


– Meaningless, mind-numbing posts of what they had for breakfast today (and every other fart, literally). 


– Phony self-branding veneer as if everything is always perfect in their lives (look I’m on another vacation skydiving!)


– Virtual relationships rather than genuine friendships and real connections (I’m fiends with over 3,000 people!)


– The millions of empty slogans, political statements, and impersonal wishes to everyone for every occasion (have a really happy birthday!)


Frankly, I think that people are reaching the point of realization where they want more from the time they spend online.


– More depth of feelings


– More substance of thought


– More reality than superficiality. 


Yes, we all need some downtime too to mellow and just laugh a little, but I am fairly certain that the time people are putting into Facebook is not really meeting their true social networking needs. 


In the end, we will find out that Facebook is the epitome of the greatest fool theory–where everyone dumps their shit from the day, hoping that there is some greater fool who will superficially lopping it all up. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Reading Your Emails

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So you know you typically get a message when you log on your computer at work that there is “no expectation of privacy.”


Meaning…you’re on the corporate network and so remember that you can be monitored. 


Well we all read that warning and sort of know it by heart.


But do you really think that someone is watching you.


Well be assured that they are!


Talking to one of my colleagues and friends recently and this is what happened.


He had to fire one of his senior guys. 


And I asked him why?


He said:

“Because he was dead wood.”


I asked what he meant as this was a senior person in the organization that was being let go.


So he said:

“Well I read the last few days of his emails on his account and he was doing absolutely nothing!”


And I was like hmm, that’s amazing that you actually go into his account and read his stuff.


Yeah, I know it’s not really his employees–the guy is at work–but still it’s his email account that he uses, seriously.


So it’s not just some corporate spooks sitting in the bowls of the building in a darkened security operations center behind a lot of cool looking screens monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.


It’s your management too that can logon and see and read your stuff, whenever.


So this guy that was fired wasn’t just dead wood, he was actually dead meat. 


“Smile you’re on camera” in more ways then one.


So if you decide to write some juicy emails today or save some salacious files on “your” computer or on the network, the expectation surely is that they are being read–you can take that to your privacy bank. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Manage The Crisis and Don’t Exploit It

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So I heard an interesting thought on crisis management:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste!”


Isn’t that frequently how politicians and lobbyists use the crisis, rather than deal with it. 


In certain cases, some have even been known to actually create the crisis for their ends!


Whether it’s some politicians calling for strict gun control when there is a mass shooting (perhaps infringing on other reasonable 2nd amendment rights) or it’s right to life advocates demanding an end to funding for planned parenthood when some bad people are caught selling fetal body parts and so on and so on.


Maybe these things are the right thing to do–in which case, a very bad event can end up being an impetus for much needed change and thus, can facilitate in transforming society and from that perspective, be a good thing!


But is the change really and necessarily the right thing to do…or is the crisis de jure just an excuse to get what some people wanted all  along.


– Use (exploit) the crisis.


– Maximize the momentum from the crisis.


– Leverage the emotions from the crisis.


– Promptly turn the tables on the issue.


– Leave all compromise and negotiation aside, and seize the moment.


The lesson here is not to just react, because a sudden and impulsive decision may end up being an overreaction and cause negative unintended consequences down the road.


The pendulum tends to shift and swing widely in both directions–neither extreme is good.


Instead well thought policy, use of common sense, maintaining reasonableness, looking at all sides, and a general middle of the road approach usually yields the best results for the most people.


Crisis management should be just that–managing the crisis; the policy should be fully reasoned both before and after. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)