Friday Bytes

Back to Tuscon.  Due process is a fundamental component of our legal system as is the human right of innocence until proven guilty.  But one would think that when there is irrefutable and undeniable evidence of the commission of a crime (like there is in the Giffords’ case) few legal options would be available to delay justice.  Insanity?  Change in venue?  Please.

Most of us who blog do so with a heavy filter.  I for one would really enjoy letting my freak flag fly every once in a while, but don’t because of concern over my online persona.  There are some, however, that don’t see the need for a filter and it works.  They are the lucky ones.

The only commonality amongst the QBs left in this NFL playoffs is that they are all first round picks.  According to the pundits one can’t run (Roethlisberger), one can’t throw (Sanchez), one is too unpredictable (Cutler) and one is still unproven (Rodgers).  The two “perfect” QBs (Manning and Brady) are home watching.  Bodes well for Tim Tebow.

Last night Charlie Rose interviewed Dr. Henry Kissinger as part of the coverage of the U.S. visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.  Kissinger was instrumental in righting relations with China 40 years ago.  Since then he has visited China over 80 times.  The guy is still sharp as a tack and one of the smartest men on foreign policy who has ever lived.  I could listen to him forever.

Who is Mikail Prokhorov? He is the billionaire owner of the New Jersey Moving To Brooklyn Nets who doesn’t use a computer.  A billionaire who doesn’t (have to) use a computer.  How refreshing is that?  Up to a year ago he didn’t carry a cell phone either.

Josh McDaniels destroyed, and I mean destroyed, the Denver Broncos in just under 2 years. Yet, just six weeks after being fired the St Louis Rams were willing to entrust him with their $60 million QB Sam Bradford.  This is another indication that prior performance in the NFL means nothing.

One up one down.  Is Larry Page trying to be the new (old) Steve Jobs? Mr. Page never left Google like Steve Jobs once did Apple, but both came back as original founders to lead their respective companies Google and Apple further into the promise land.  The parallels are uncanny and the timing particularly curious.  Curious in the sense that the change happened during the same week that Jobs look medical leave and at a time when Facebook and Apple has been getting most of the publicity.  Not to be forgotten.

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The Dreaded R Word. Are You Being Asked to Relocate?

You’ve just received a call about a job.  You are all ears.  After listening to the opportunity the recruiter asks if you’d relocate.  After pausing and feeling our blood pressure spike, your answer is “Ummm……..”.

Over the course of your career you may need to make the decision of having to relocate.  For some this decision is more difficult than for others and many factors need to be taken into consideration.  I’ve done it twice, once in being recruited from the Bay Area to Southern California and a second time as part of an acquisition to Boulder where I now live.  While it is energizing and exciting going to a new place there is nothing easy about it especially if you have kids.

The relocation game is not what it used to be.  For most non-executives gone are the days when you ended up financially whole after the move.  In addition, most recruiters are now asking for an up front commitment to relocate as a ticket to even being considered for the position.  This is a departure from five years ago when the discussion of relocation would come at the end of the process once the company decided you were the one.

What has changed?  The depth of the talent pool for one.  This gives the advantage to the company and they leverage it the best they can.  It can be difficult to convince candidates to relocate especially if the company isn’t fully established or if it’s in an undesirable location.

But, what does it say if a company is unwilling to first convince you of the opportunity?  I would argue they aren’t committed to finding the best available talent and it will eventually catch up with them.

When I was the CEO of a public company any discussion of bringing in an executive usually involved relocation.  This was because the type of experience we were looking for couldn’t be found in the local market.  We knew this and planned for it.  Our approach was to first sell the candidate on the company then address relocation.  Too often I see it being flipped around in the current market.  If you can first sell the candidate on the opportunity then many of the issues surrounding relocation seem to go away.  They become excited and sell their family on the idea of moving.  If you try and force a decision from the beginning my experience is that the candidate will take a glass-half empty approach and focus on the what-if-it-doesn’t-work-out scenario instead of the opportunity itself.

Remember, if you are getting interest in a position it is most likely due to the fact that you have a desirable skill set.  A company’s approach to relocation could foretell about how they really feel about you.

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Friday Bytes

There has been much written this week in the aftermath of the heinous shootings in Tuscon last weekend.  Many of us ask where morality has gone in this country?  Where is the leadership? Well-respected columnist Peggy Noonan has some thoughts on leadership and the new generation here.

With the end of the football season coming near the musical chairs of NFL coaches is in full swing.  I’ve always marveled at how anxious franchises are willing to spend several millions on a coach after only one interview.  Much of the time this is done in defense of losing the candidate to the next highest bidder.  Perhaps all executives should be under contract so we could have a free for all at the end of the year.  Just a thought.

On Tuesday Illinois passed a massive tax increase to help the state dig out of a $13 billion deficit.  Many states around the country have cut back essential services to the bone with more cuts on the horizon.  You can bet legislators from around the country will be keeping a close eye on this one as they contemplate the next move for their own deficit-ridden states.

A new book is out you may enjoy.  It is called The Third Miracle: An Ordinary Man, a Medical Mystery, and a Trial of Faith. It is a story about miracles, the Vatican and the notion of sainthood.  A fascinating read.  The author Bill Briggs is an in-law of mine.  He kicked off his book tour at the Tattered Cover Wednesday night in Denver.  Check it out.

I have to mention the CU Buffs men’s basketball team that last night beat their second consecutive ranked team (Missouri and Kansas State) for the first time in their history.  First year coach Tad Boyle has the Buffs off to a 13-4 record and 2-0 in the Big 12.  Next up – Oklahoma State on Saturday.

And finally, we’ve all wondered about cultural differences in raising children and their impact in the classroom  Apparently, practice means perfect.  This is a fantastic article that you need to read.

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Our Collective Resolve

It must have been like this back in 1920’s when the Civil War and lessons learned finally slipped from the public consciousness.

We are now 65 years removed from the end of World War II and the same thing is happening.  With each passing day we lose another hero and WWII forever fades into the history books.

It struck me yesterday when I read about the death of Dick Winters, 92, the leader of Easy Company during the final year of the WWII and subject of the book Band of Brothers and the eponymous HBO miniseries.  What becomes the rallying cry when all the survivors of WWII are gone?

I have always had an interest in WWII perhaps because through my travels over the years I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of the historical sites (I’ve never been to Normandy, but it certainly is on my bucket list).  Perhaps it goes deeper than that because for my generation when social crisis hits our country WWII and the lessons learned is always proffered up as the salve to heal the open wound.

Since Sunday past when the country was slammed with the senseless violence perpetrated on Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others there has been an outcry from many that it is time for the country to bury the axes and come together.  This happens every time there is a tragic event that causes collective pause in the public consciousness.  These tragic events provide a reality check, a taking of the social temperature, but eventually time marches on and people return to their old habits.

The last time this country pulled together for the greater cause was WWII.  Everybody sacrificed.  Imagine what was going through the mind of the son of a German immigrant fighting against his parent’s homeland because he believed in the future of America.

Times were different then, but is our country still capable of the same feat?  One would have thought 9/11 was the rallying point, but even impact and meaning of that attack is non-consensual.  In our attempts to ensure America remains the free world’s melting pot have we inadvertently fractured our collective resolve?  Hopefully we don’t need another major war to cure it.

Note:  Also lost yesterday was Col. William Marsh “Bill Bower, 93, of Boulder, CO., the last surviving pilot of “Doolittle’s Raiders”, who bombed Japan in 1942.  He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.  In their well documented raid, 16 B-25B bombers took off from the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942 and all but one crashed in China or were ditched at sea.  All but 11 of the 80 crew members returned safely to the United States.

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Almost is not enough for the Ducks

Since I picked Oregon in last night’s championship game I have to man up and give Auburn their props.

The Ducks had their chances even though Auburn held them to a season low of 75 yards rushing on the ground.  The play at the line of scrimmage, particularly Nick Fairley whom I hope is wearing Bronco colors next season, was the difference maker.  Fairley was dominating and at times made the O-line of Oregon look laughable.  That and two blown coverages in the secondary that lead to Auburn’s only touchdowns cooked the Ducks.

I must say I was disappointed in turf conditions throughout the course of the game.  Too many players were slipping and sliding all over the field.  Advantage Auburn because the Ducks were the quicker of both teams.  Auburn was just as fast, but quickness is hampered more with questionable turf.  I don’t understand how this can happen in the BCS Championship played in controlled conditions.

I was also disappointed in the way the game ended when Auburn running back Michael Dyer was not ruled down on a stop that turned into a 37 yard gain that pretty much clinched it for Auburn.  Now had his run been like that of Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch this past weekend it wouldn’t have bothered me so much.  To have the players stop dead in their tracks thinking the play was over was too bad.  Although it was the correct call they may need to take a look at that rule if only for the safety of the players.  At a time when the NFL is cracking down on defenseless receivers the same argument could be made in this situation.  Teeing off on a running back who is presumably down would certainly have drawn the flag for unnecessary roughness, a call that is not reviewable.

Other than that it was an enjoyable game to watch.  Nobody expected the defensive struggle that it was and in those types of games a few plays can make the difference.  In this case Auburn made them when they counted the most.

Congratulations Tigers.

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Why I’m Picking Oregon

Tonight it finally ends.  I like the Ducks and here’s why:

PAC12 – I grew up in Los Angeles area and have always been a PAC12 fan.  Now with CU heading to the PAC12 next year my allegiance grows stronger.

SEC attitude – The SEC has long claimed its superiority over any other football conference and the east coast bias trumpets the same tune.  I wouldn’t be happier if a team from Eugene, Oregon pulled off the upset.

Oregon has never won a national championship in football.

Cam Newton – He is without a doubt the best player in college football this year, but the controversy surrounding the selling of his services by his father to the highest bidder is a joke.  Worse is the NCAA punishment (or lack thereof) handed down.  This is the same body who stripped Reggie Bush of his Heisman this year for a similar act.

Ugly uniforms – Trend setters, perhaps, but my gosh.

Justice would be served to the NCAA and its BCS charade for a school from an outpost on the left coast that wears ugly uniforms with wings to win the national championship over a player anointed (with help of the NCAA) as this year’s king of college football.

Go Ducks!!

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Looking for Cost Savings in 2011? Try Your Library

My wife is a voracious reader.  I can only aspire to her levels.  After cleaning out the bookcase for the umpteenth time and risking a slipped disc carrying boxes of books downstairs to place out on the porch for pick-up, she decided that a new plan was in order.

A state of the art solution to book clutter at your fingertips – the library.

That’s right, the public library.  When was the last time you visited your public library?  If you are like most it was probably when you graduated from college.  If so, you’d be surprised how far they’ve come.  They have entered the digital world and you can even get dvd’s (goodbye Redbox and Netflix too).

Don’t want to pay $25 for the latest Patricia Cornwall novel in hardback and not a fan on e-books?  You can try Costco to see if they have it for $16, but I would suggest first checking with your local library first where you can get it for free.  If they don’t already have it in stock they will order it for you.  You can then celebrate spending your hard earned cash on designer coffee and a croissant with your best friend.

For those of you who love to read, but also tend to procrastinate, the due date for returning the book acts like a goal or objective for completing it.  Not good with deadlines?  Not to worry, you’ll get reminder email notices well in advance of the return date.

I’ve enjoyed our new found resource.  I’m reading more hardbacks than ever before and my back feels great!

Give your local library a try.  The price is right.

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Friday Bytes

Watching Nancy Pelosi hand over the gavel to John Boehner accompanied by a peck on the cheek was amusing.  These two hate each other.  It either signifies that politics is pure theater or they have buried the hatchet.  You make the call.

I haven’t seen so much energy coming out of Dove Valley in years.  John Elway’s press conference on Wednesday was a breath of fresh air.  His transparency in addressing all of the issues facing the Broncos was a nice first step in recapturing the fan base.  It remains to be seen whether or not he is a good judge of talent.

Thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas, 500 blackbirds in Louisiana, 2 million fish in Maryland, a “large number” of birds in Sweden, 40,000 devil crabs in the UK, 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish in Brazil, thousands of turtle doves in Italy – all dead from something, all within the last two weeks.  Nature at work or something more ominous?

The thought that a college coach like Jim Harbaugh, who hasn’t won a National Championship and has never coached a down in the NFL, can command $5-8 million per year from an NFL team is either lunacy or a testimony to the pool of available coaches vying for NFL jobs.

Soon-to-be ex White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has never really looked comfortable in his position.  My bet is there is a witty persona under that mask that should do him well on the paid speaker circuit.

I was impressed with the 24/7 HBO program on the NHL’s Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.  Before you get all high and mighty about the language, it’s hockey.  If you haven’t been around the game hockey players are the most humble and hard working individuals of any professional sport.

Starbucks has changed their logo to the dismay of many.  I don’t drink Starbucks coffee because of their logo.  I don’t fly Frontier because of theirs either (although I like the animals).  The point is a logo is not a product – it’s an identity.  It’s not about who they are, but what they want to be.  The future.

Now that Andrew Luck has decided to stay at Stanford we can return to life as normal.  This means he goes to the top of the Heisman Watch for 2011 and will enter the NFL as a Stanford graduate.  Good for him.


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Ringing in the New Year with a Wedding

We ended a nice long holiday yesterday with the wedding of the daughter of our dear friends up in Estes Park.  It was the first of a long line to come.

The wedding was at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau just below the Fall River entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was a beautiful winter day and just warm enough to conduct the wedding outside in a small amphitheater beneath brilliant blue skies.

Amanda is the oldest of three sisters (the two bridesmaids on the right) and like a daughter to us.  A recent graduate of CU she and her new husband Nick will be living in Missoula, Montana while he finishes up his Masters in Communications at U of M before heading back to Colorado.

Last night we were counting up the prospective marriage progression of “the kids” and we are likely to see anywhere between 10-15 weddings from our immediate circle of friends during the next 10 years.  This will be fun!

At the start of the new year, a new life.  A perfect kickoff to 2011.

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Words for 2011

Some words to reference in 2011

Simplify

Proactive

Unclutter

Exercise

Relax

Presence

Mindfulness

Awareness

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