i think it was a NGG centerfold…the map of the world wide web 1995
a few years later i was lucky to get a gig with xx (formerly OE) during the frantic and anxious lead-up to Y2K. As Director of eBusiness applications our RAID team was installing Plumtree portal software across the company. We were working with select business units cranking out ROI-based deliverables every six weeks. A pace that drove the traditional 900+ IT department to fits and among other intrapreneur issues got me fired.
We’d meet with SVP in the morning, listen to their vision, strategy and goals for their business unit. We’d listen real hard. We’d ask them “if you had a magic wand, what would you start, stop or keep doing even better to move your business forward?” We’d either find pains or opportunities to enhance and accelerate what they were doing with our emerging tech. These RAIDs bridged the Business and IT divide and changed the conversation from IT saying tell me exactly what you want me to build you to finding ways we could give them something visual to react to very quickly that could help move them forward to
mine for pains and have a prototype up and running to look at before she went home.
cross-functional teams. IT geeks who learned the buzzwords of ROI, strategy and selling skills and sales guys like me that could help bridge the two worlds.
Our mission: to expose critical data trapped in disparate systems and silos (aka, applications “owned” by employees who didn’t always wanna share and play nicely) via gadgets or portlets. Emerging themes of openness and communities I remember hearing for the first time. I remember, too, we all had Palm OS-powered Kyocera 6035’s. Openness, communities were emerging themes within our team.
we wanted to understand their strategies as well as they did and then re-imagine (loved that book by tom peters)
dale dauten’s The Max Strategy. experiments never fail
i arrived at xx sometime in 2004. a business and industry that had changed little since i left the family business 15 years prior to spread my wings. not unlike LNG, gasoline and electric utilities, wholesale distribution of lubricant oils was becoming more and more a scale business. i didnt have the capital to go bigger. try and be distinctive. i liked granite rock’s story, which jim collins illiminated.
at the time i was reading a bunch of authors like peter drucker, jim collins, tom peters, jack stack, verne harnesh, napolean hill, Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovich (given to me by one of best friends Joe feidler, jazz trombonist and sesame street musician, arranger, composer.
recalled pulling in data from the fossil generation group and the 13th floor situation room to monitor the grid we helped build with smart dashboards. lets find a way to “see” into our customer tanks to figure out how to optimize deliveries to take not too much and not enough oil to fill the tanks. monitor, sensor.
experiments never fail. its amazing how easy and empowering it is these days to experiment as we pursue ideas to better service our cradle-to-grave customers. we have moved from improving administrative and operational efficiencies (improving quality of life with life style changes) by digitizing people- and paper-based processes to imagining and quickly building out apps to create new tools for enhanced or accelerated gains. genetic testing, big data and internet technologies and smart phone adoption that gets these apps/tools into the hands of people that can really benefit. no longer stuck in silos, held hostage by.

level devils with conduits, cables and modems. transmitters and receivers. cellular radar, wireless, wifi, cloud based centeron, tankscan to kickstarted twine sensors by

Either drowning in EPA paperwork or starved for the paperwork that would prove compliance in the event of a superfund or pollution claim..

cradle-to-grave traceability app which is extending itself as a utility to track our customers’ sustainability initiatives, not just key EPA and DOT compliance doc paper-trails.
smart phone as remote controls, various cloud-based collaboration platforms, experiments never fail and an a growing community of businesses assembled like a soccer team and led by managing partners much like the model we’ve adopted from zingerman’s community of businesses in Ann Arbor
reduce consumption through condition-based testing, reuse, reclamation and recycling technologies and programs.
neil deGrasse tyson quoting carl sagan “….responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with on another to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
its an exciting time for a guy with undiagnosed ADD to be working with a team that has embraced a philosophy that experiments never fail

the guy…

who was the one to get the drinking started

was the last one standing

was the one who went out looking for more when it was all gone

was the one who threw up, wiped off and kept on drinking

wedding night


car crashes

wedding night


all manner of boorish behavior

broke hand


Xx and xxx (girl friend parents)

Hopefully things went well for you guys and xx on Friday at your home. We didn’t have a chance to debrief with xx before he boarded bus for NYC. Hard to get a gauge on things with the heartbreaking site of xx and xx saying their goodbyes. Whoosh. Reminded me of me with my highschool girlfriend at same age as we headed to our respective colleges.
Sidebar – Had to laugh at thought of God belly-laughing at us and our perspective of “never say never”. I never imagined xx and I would bless a sleepover with a girlfriend. When we woke them up early Saturday morning, they looked so teeny-tiny asleep in eachothers arms. A stolen moment gazing upon a picture of young love in all its sweet innocence before they woke and reality came crashing down. (For what its worth, fully clothed:-)
The trip was fairly eventful with a bus breakdown, loneliness and arriving on an island only to be deposited at a birthday party not knowing a soul. Homesick for his comfort zone back in Ohio, it was a long slog getting him to calm himself down when he got to his “shed” – not exactly what he was picturing. Not unkindly, if you are anything like us, bet you guys are thankful for a moment or two to catch your collective breaths with Big xx out of town:-)
That said, thanks again for all the love, acceptance and encouragement you have bestowed on our son. The Bible, “This Too Shall Pass” and the many nice words of encouragement (and forgiveness) will hopefully be somethings he turns to as he works his way up and out of the funk and into a more healthy place for himself.

this is like a jail cell. this is shit

Funny, my xx just flew to Utah last night. He shared with me that he was nervous and mentioned a few days ago that it was going to be strange traveling to a place where he knew no one… bless their hearts, they are growing up. He landed in Salt Lake City last night at11pm. Had to navigate a cab because there were no Uber cars available at that hour… made it to where he needed to go. Sent a pic of his temporary dorm room saying “am I in jail? very depressing”. I reassured him it’s just a place to sleep and that I hope he would do that well;). I’m sure the next 6 days are going to be challenging for him as he goes through orientation today and tomorrow and then onto the swoop camp Wed-Sat. These are all great growing opportunities for our kiddos. God bless them everyone!!!

sleepover – the girlfriend kind

Not sure where you guys are on the pre-marital sex topic. Guided by xx we champion abstinence until engaged – but when we pull our heads outta the sand we champion safe sex within the context of a long-term committed relationship. xx and xx followed this path in HS and with a slight deviation or two at xx, (he gets quizzed often by xx) xx has pretty much stayed the course.
Helicopter parent sidebar – xx and I were at a graduation party Saturday night (damn, she cleans up so well – whoosh still takes my breath away). Anyways, we were chatting up two moms whose sons have headed off to college already (football players). As part of packing for their sons (WTF?), they bought and stuffed into their bags….condoms. As xx said years ago – “if you are too embarrassed to buy your own condoms, you are too young to be having sex!”. Sheesh
Back to Michael and xx and never say never. These two were utterly heartbroken to be saying goodbye. xx is really good friends with her mom and dad, so after dinner together they hung at her house. Then they came to our house and stayed up late, then later and then xx gets a text from xx – “Can xx sleep over?”…..hmmmm….
Next morning when we went in to wake them up so we could get xx to the bus station we found them in his bed, sound asleep, in eachothers arms. They looked so teeny-tiny small and fragile and just the most beautifully innocent two people on the face of the earth. A stolen moment looking upon our son holding on so tightly to something/someone he loves so dearly, oh so slowly slipping away, like an archipelago. For some reason, gazing upon them, it just brought immense comfort to xx and me as we navigate our own swirl of emotions with his departure out into the world. (BTW, I’d like to add, they had all their clothes on; I think they cried themselves to sleep)
As we drove home from the graduation party, we talked about how we never could have imagined any scenario where would would ever in a million years green-light a sleepover for a girlfriend.

xx and I too have championed no sex first, then safe sex within the context of a long-term relationship…However, I was also that mom that packed a box of condoms in xx’s “first aid” box…YIKES, as Julia would have said!!! I will not be doing the same for xx. I guess I just wanted to make sure he got the message which is silly. He is capable of buying his own (and has) – so the message was received. I also don’t think he’s a ‘ho neither.


Last summer xx & xx had their girlfriends come up to Michigan and stay at our cottage for a few nights. I made sure everyone had their own bed! However, it got a little dicey and crowded and xx (I think innocently) wanted to stay in his girlfriend’s room – on the couch in the attached little den. Well that caused a kerfuffle and xx didn’t think xx’s girlfriend’s parents would appreciate that scene. Much to xx’s dismay he slept on the floor in our room… (Back track to last fall and xx snuck a sleep over at his girlfriend’s house. Not cool. And they got busted and in trouble. xx came to tell me about it and then met with both of her parents to apologize. I think he handled it really well. And I believe it was innocent. xx asked him, and xx said they had decided they were not going “there”…)

It’s a big old goofy world, my friends. xoxoxo


We’ve taken the “safe sex within the context of a long-term relationship position” as well (in addition to ‘long-term’, I usually throw in ‘committed’ and ‘monogamous’ to the adjectives modifying ‘relationship’ — just for good measure … : )

underage drinking

Hmmmm….when I first read your email my mind went blank. If I had to choose, leaning towards “no, he didn’t really own the drinking incident.”

I don’t think he really had a chance to see his shadow in our session together. I sense rather than seeing it as an “explanation” and taking responsibility, he blames solely the alcohol as the excuse for the incident. His defensive walls we now realize went up when I shared the description of his behavior from others…at that point kind of shutdown. The no going over to his girlfriends house was a clunker – later, we deemed it the right place for him to go so he could apologize and close the loop with her parents.
We kept him home Thursday (which was a roller coaster of emotions. He was still discovering that what he did was violence against someone (for some reason he defined violence as throwing a punch). As the afternoon worn on, with several neutral corner moments, he invited us out to dinner. It was reflective, poignant and just what the doctor ordered; however, the overriding emotion was he was going to miss his girlfriend – I sense this is getting in the way of the deeper insights required. Recognizing GF and their relationship was really his only tangible thing he could “hold on to” (and “control”), it became resoundingly clear again to me and Susan this is an incredibly young 18 yr old and in a very fragile state of mind.
He got a goods sleep that night (for once) and next afternoon/evening saw his girlfriend and her parents. He definitely did see his shadow that night. Her parents, we all talked prior to him seeing them. Incredibly cool and understanding. We were all on the same page with everything, with a laser focus on the drinking and physical abuse. Unfortunately, the next time we had him alone was the few minutes before we put him on the bus. Looking back this is turning into a long email so I will tighten it up from here.
The bus had a breakdown somewhere in middle of Pa. He became unhinged. He eventually got himself on another bus and had a good time with a family friend in the city. Next day at a birthday party, he became agitated again. First time anywhere solo, with no friends, no family (another first experience). Then he got to his room where the summer help sleeps and he went off the rails again. “Of all people, Dad, I thought you would put in a position for success. This is not what I need.” To keep from escalating the situation his mom spent the next 2-3 hours trying to settle him down (ditto older brother). I was losing patience and was coming close to pursuing a traditional Dad-track to “nut up, take responsibility and quit acting like a spoiled kid.”
Hopefully a little sun, a bunch of physical labor, no cell phone until he gets home from work and a little time will center him. The labor is hard and he his body will be sore for next 3-4 days. Easy sailing is a ways away!