Monday, June 28, 2010

Vendors Are People Too

Hello From the Society for Human Resource Management National Convention!

You have finished a full day of programming, logged a few certification hours and have seen a few old friends. Now you face the dreaded task of braving the Exhibitor Hall. Your only goal: grab a bag full of logo-ed schwag for your teenager; because kids love squishy cows and stuffed animals.

You are greeted by a manic energy you never thought possible. People in uniforms throw a badge scanner in your face and rapid fire questions about a service that might not be applicable to your organizational role. After 7 minutes of furrowed brow conversation you are given the cow and sent off into the wild...knowing full well that someone has your email address and will be stalking you to buy a non-applicable product or service.


I hate the word 'vendor'; it is so objective....but in most cases the punishment fits the crime. I am also the first to admit that most 'booth teams' do not have an exhibitor strategy that promotes anything more than scan the badge, get their contact info and get our logo into the hands of your 12 year old (because they have decision making power).


Guess is not my favorite thing to stand on my feet for 12 hours engaging in awkward conversation. I love missing my daughter's first visit to Disneyland to wear an uncomfortable shirt and hand out fliers. Getting doors slammed in my face, being hung up upon and receiving email responses offering to contact the authorities if I keep stalking you is a way of life for me; but it is still a little defeating every time it happens.

Yes, the people in the bright shirts have kids just like you, they may very well read the same books that you do or sit next to you in church. Shame on them for not engaging you in conversation accordingly. This might sound completely bizarre, but 'vendors' like working with people who appreciate them. The best business relationships involve Friday night brain storming sessions while our daughters have dance recitals, Saturday morning project strategy meetings while our sons play in the little league championship and/or a Tuesday evening call to extend our condolences for a business partner's personal tragedy. We are willing to climb mountains for you if the aforementioned sacrifices come with two words: Thank You!


So in the midst of the Exhibit Hall madness...I met my hero. I did not scan her badge or give her a magnet. I gave her a hug and told her how honored I was to finally be in her presence. She is even more lovely in person than she is online. If I leave San Diego without the emails of people who hate me and a empty bag of schwag, at least I added another friendly face to my motivational keep me going when someone slams a door in my face.

And to my daughter Marley - Sorry I didn't get to meet Snow White with you....I assure you my time away will serve our family well!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I woke up early, headed into San Francisco and put in a few hours of lap topping in the Financial District. I then headed to Union Square via China Town and found this >>>>>>>>>>

It may as well have been the Mona Lisa! In the bare morning sunlight the artwork of Banksy looked to me like Heaven! I knew it was going to be an incredible day.

Banksy has been around as a commercially accepted vandal for 10 + years. Many have only recently made his acquaintance through his film "Exit Through the Gift Shop":

The aforementioned film documents the masked voyage of street art and the anonymous pirates that create these often ignored beautiful pieces of magical law breaking. Banksy's film explores the subjective nature of art and it's interpretive validity, but I am more interested in the process. I grew up wealthy enough, played varsity sports and attained 2 college degrees...I also spent a fair part of my youth running from security guards after sliding hand rails in various public establishments. I have never touched a spray can but I guess I appreciate the process and pursuit behind Banky's art. As a Skateboarder, I never meant to destroy anyone's property....I just yearned for the screams of appreciation from 100 of my close friends after kick flipping 12 stairs. Until you've flown double over head and landed four wheels at a time, I would not expect you to understand that joy.

I applaud Banky because no one has ever seen his face. He presents his art for all to see with only a moniker attached and he is willing to go to jail for us to observe it.

The best part of this story is the unadulterated support that the China Town Community in San Francisco has shown for this piece. I am ever grateful of their recognition of this extraordinary conveyance of human vulnerability and their knowledge of it's creator.

To me, art is represented in the drawings of my four year old son, the way my wife stands on her toes when she is looking in the mirror, the thrill of the underdog knocking his foe into next week, the raising of strings at a ballad's coda, the gum wall in Seattle, the smile of an old friend at an airport is ours to observe and appreciate!


Don't Forget to Remember!


In support of:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Outside the San Jose Convention Center I am greeted by two young people in blue shirts. They hand me a hard stock card that states: Stop Cloud Computing...I guess I would compare such an act to Jose Canseco standing outside Oakland Coliseum handing out a flier that reads: Stop Drug Free Baseball. (the culprits later revealed to be Microsoft employees).

To the contrary, June 22nd, 2010 was a landmark day for!

I walked in the Chatter Zone to receive a free flip phone (no questions asked), 10 random people won free I-pads, a nice Norwegian Gentleman gave me a free #chatter shirt, lunch was on the house & the cost of this extraordinary thought leadership think tank - $0.00.

At Cloudforce one distinct message range true:
A consumer market has created a business market!

With the introduction of Chatter...Salesforce has legitimized the social media skyscape as a business critical function.

  • A driver is out on a route
  • A sales rep needs to place an order to have a delivery made
  • She calls a customer service representative
  • He places an order
  • A transportation supervisor receives the order
  • He puts it on an itinerary
  • It is printed out
  • The next day the driver picks up a route list
  • Goes to the same building he was at yesterday
  • Delivers the requested materials
  • Has the customer sign a document
  • Hands him/her a carbon copy receipt of delivery

With Chatter:

  • A Sales Rep Logs into a business collaborative
  • Thus alerting the driver, transportation manger and customer service representative in real time that a pick up is necessary (for all to see)
  • All are alerted as the order is processed by customer service
  • The driver stops in to drop off materials
  • Customer signs electronically on the spot and is emailed a receipt

What used to take a day, now takes 10 minutes.

This is an example of the collaborative function that has created mirroring social media in their CRM.

It's Cheaper, Faster, Greener, More Customer Service Savvy, a Team Builder, a Source of Instant Gratification and the ROI is astronomical!

So, here is the next wave of computer geeks clawing tooth and nail for the next big idea, battling for talent and hiding behind their I-phones in arrogance....wrong!

Salesforce seem to have replicated Chatter from their business practices. Instead of badgering their competitors they are consistently open to finding a place a for them on evidenced by the 50 or so business partners (vendors) in the Cloud Expo. In addition Marc Benioff has founded and will be a key contributor to a Children's Hospital on UCSF's Mission Bay Hospital campus. Keeping and extending his 1% mission to the Salesforce Foundation.

Underground in Area 51 - A whole bunch of servers are pondering their extinction and in a bowling alley somewhere Mark Zukerberg is laughing his ass off. A new day is dawning in business:

The biggest takeaway from Cloudforce and the introduction of chatter: The number 1 element of collaboration is trust!

We can no longer hide behind old ideas or cower from competition! We have to get comfortable with putting ourselves out there.

If you don't believe in the relevance of social media, now would be a good time to hop on the is coming in fast and it will not wait at the station for you!

As I crossed the street to my car with my new Chatter t-shirt in hand, I felt an awesome sense of pride! A sense of purpose among a welcoming community of technical thinkers. We are no longer huddling behind the dumpster to plot our next idea....we are sharing it, gaining everyone's perspective and allowing expansion through chatter.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Sorry, I Love the Lakers

My father worked long, long hours. He was well into a day of work when I woke up for school and was not home when my head hit the pillow. His absence was nothing more than an affect of his commitment to give us a good life. The Caveat: His weekends were often used up entertaining a variety of sporting events...and he always took me along.

In 1984, When my father's hard work was recognized and he was promoted again...we moved to sunny Southern California...sun tanned girls, movie stars, The Olympics and....The Lakers! This took client entertainment and my dad's place on my hero list into a whole new universe. At this time, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambus, Byron Scott and a few others were my heroes. My dad would talk business over a few beers and hand shakes. I would eat popcorn, would cheer in glory and would cry in defeat. These guys were the super heroes in the comic book that was my life. I was fiercely competitive, totally attached to The Lakers and willing to fight for my team.

These silly traits of a child who put figures on a court way up on a pedestal still exist today. I am 37 years old and when the Lakers play I shout at the TV, I ignore my children's request for more popcorn, I lean into shots (thinking I can influence their trajectory) and I tell my wife I will do anything she asks without really hearing the request. When the Lakers lose, I feel cheated...when they win, I feel validated. I wish I was more mature.

So last Thursday, as the Lakers shot 26% in the first half and looked totally disjointed, Courtney Cox and I grimaced. Alas, the outstanding play of an unlikely hero, Ron Artest, was the difference in another Championship. Getting past the dreaded Celtics...another Back to Back t-shirt printed.

As a Laker fan, I never cared about the Hollywood aspect of the fan base. I didn't get hung up on hating the Celtics either. I liked watching my team win and I hated seeing them lose. But really, I just enjoyed spending time with my Dad.

Some shots fall and others brick, fans misrepresent your team, fans of opposing teams talk too much and players leave town to play for their sworn enemies. As a child I got way to worked up over this 'game' and as a man I still do. What I can say, however, is that the Lakers are always on the court at their scheduled time. They dazzle with dribble, jump into celebrities laps, cheat on their wives and get jailed for using drugs. These are not the men raising my son, and it will be a long time before he understands the extended personalities of these 'basketball machines'. Now and until then, we'll watch our team lose and win and I will try (as my Dad did) to connect a lesson to each game.

I am sorry if the fans in Boston are heart broken and I wouldn't know Kate Hudson if she passed me on the street. But, that Back to Back shirt is going to go well with my son's Kobe model Nikes!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Fathers Day Artie Lange

On this day last year, I wrote the following article. Since then, the story's hero has attempted to take his own life and has vanished from the public eye...Artie, where ever you may be the sentiment remains, Happy Fathers Day - my son and I want to share this day with you:

(posted 6-17-2009):
A lot has been said over the last few days in reference to Artie Lange's appearance on Joe Buck Live. There seems to be a divide of sports purest who believe Joe Buck walks on water and Howard Stern Fans who are of the impression that Artie "killed". Artie had a near identical appearance on "the best damn spots show" a few months back. That appearance did not make headlines because Bill Bellamy celebrated Artie for delivering the content he was sequestered to deliver. So, Joe Buck either didn't do his homework or he promoted an 'edgy' show and got in way over his head. Either way, instead of piling on Artie maybe we should hold Joe Buck accountable.

The media chastised Artie Lange throughout this week as an inappropriate bully filled with vitriol. Instead of joining the criticism, Howard Stern used his self-imposed psychological training to engage Artie in a thought process. The simple questions being posed: what is the root of all this anger?

I paraphrase Artie's response to this sincere question: "...I have anger issues because of what happened to my father...he was my hero and a man who was larger than life...he was my best friend and after a long game of catch my hand hurt because he threw the ball so hard...when he became a quadriplegic, I spent the last four years of his life wiping his nose and he asked me to kill him once a week..."

Does Artie have the right to act out on Joe Buck Live to mask the aforementioned tragedy? He is a performer and has exercised his demons by speaking his mind without a filter. Should Artie Lange put aside his anger, abandon his act and put on a tie to pander to Joe Buck?

Artie Lange has one profound insight that the Ivy League journalists turned talk radio hosts may not comprehend: When the Stern show goes off the air, when he is no longer receiving $50k for a stand up gig, when he is not topping the New York Times best seller list....Artie Lange has to go back New Jersey. The barreled bellied dock laborers with canned beer in paper bags on the stoops of Artie's neighborhood won't remember the time he sung with Paul McCartney, sold out Carnegie Hall or received accolades from Dr. Drew on his best selling book. They will remember the time he went on Joe Buck Live and spoke his mind in genuine terms.

My dad worked his ass off because he never wanted to put himself in a position where he had to take short cuts. He is a man of integrity first. He taught me never to compromise my genuine intent to please anyone else and that the only expectations that matter are my own.

So on Father's Day, before I play catch with my son, I will raise a toast to Arthur Lange Jr. May your first son be a masculine son and may you meet him at short after the Yankees win a World Championship.

Happy Father's Day Artie Lange. My son and I would like to share this one with you!

- Dave

Authors Note: It breaks my heart to re-read this post. Hang on Artie! On a lighter note, Joe Buck's show was cancelled after 3 shows.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In Commencement

To the High School Graduates of 2010 -
The last four years were likely the best or worst of your life. Either way, the next four will most assuredly take on the latter of aforementioned distinctions.

It is time for you to truly establish your identity as a person. You can wake up when you want to, watch what you want to, accept advice from who you want to, study at your own pace, fall in love and you might even drink a beer for the first time.

Where ever the next four years takes you, know that this last chapter of your life is closed. Put a bow around it and savor it for what it is. You will not have a close knit group for the extended period of time that you have experienced living in this town with the people you sit next to right now. You now will lead a transient life...people will walk into and out of your life with bolder objectives and shorter attention spans. Be adaptable, step out of your comfort zone, embrace change, & innovate.

We live in a time where any idea you have can make you a fortune. You need to decide what that idea is, if you are willing to dedicate your life to it, and if happiness is the end game. You have the opportunity at this moment to decide who you want to be and to make it happen. Two things to consider:
  • Will you be truly happy in pursuit of your chosen career?
  • Never make money the driving force behind that decision!

Do not choose a career path predicated on who your parents want you to be. Do not follow your boyfriend to college for the sake of familiarity. Do not choose a course of study because you got high marks in those classes in high school.

Be Yourself! Take the next four years to find yourself and who you truly are:

  • Take Walks
  • Find the Extended message in everything you read
  • Make new friends
  • Remember your old pals
  • Know that there is a song to lift or transcend any mood
  • Always heed the advice of your elders
  • Always be willing to listen when a friend is in peril
  • Prioritize based on your passion
  • Bow to No One
  • Allow No One to stick a finger in your face

There are no hall monitors in college, you can bring your lap top to class with you and you set your own study hours. You make the rules now...accept this as a privilege and act accordingly.

Know that you will have more than enough time to study, so study first. Know that the love you have now will endure if it is strong enough and if it does not the world will not end.

When you leave class, the movie house or the gym with a feeling that you could fly...that is what you should pursue. If you want a career bad enough, you can make it happen. There will come a time when you must consider your spouse and children in every decision you make...that time is not are bound by nothing.

Allow no one to distract you from what is genuinely important, dedicate yourself with purpose to what you truly love. Now is the time to pursue what you genuinely have the opportunity to try and fail several times. Don't try to be someone you are not, find your horse on this merry-go-round and set out to make the world a better place; every day.

I leave you with this: Every morning you will go through a series of exercises that can distract you back to bed or propel you into your day. Choose to focus on the positive aspects. You are used to achievement based on a four year cycle...your career will be 10 times longer:

  • Focus on the positive
  • Be willing to try and fail
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Be propelled by what you are good at
  • Don't accept advice from anyone who does not have your best interest at heart

Go now and find love, develop a path for your life, establish your rules and do not compromise your pursuit of happiness!

Allow yourself to believe you can change the world for the better and you will!

Don't Forget to Remember



Monday, June 7, 2010

Delivering Happniess by Tony Hsieh

I remember when I first saw Tony Hsieh on the cover of Inc Magazine about a year ago. I read stories of treating his employees to VIP parties in Vegas, giving away gift cards to an audience with no strings attached, total commitment to customer service not by process but through personal attention.

Two thoughts crossed my mind:
* This guy must be insane
* I really want to work for him

In the book Delivering Happiness we explore the unique mind of Tony Hsieh. We discover his willingness to admit his failures, his inability to stand still, his uncompromising determination to create fun, and the nontransparent hard work and intelligence behind all the glitz and glam of Zappos.

For far too long business progress has been affiliated with formal dress, competition, accountability, product dumping, price gauging and micro-management. The thought of work turning one's stomach on a Sunday in the park. Our commitment without reward driving us to drink for some sweet relief.

When people like Tony Hsieh, Blake McCoskie, and Johnny Cupcakes came to my attention I realized that they were not crazy....I was.

Delivering Happiness allows us to feel OK about putting our people first, putting everything into that which we believe in (at the risk of failure) and enjoying every moment (good and bad) in our climb to success.

Tony Hsieh went to Harvard and was an early Oracle stake holder. He could have used his credentials to earn, save and toil in predictable wealth. The school and first profession are where convention ends for Tony. He spent his time at Harvard creating a culture around a dorm room pizza parlor that he operated. He spent his early days at Oracle wishing he was somewhere else.

It doesn't matter if you are an Accountant, a Laborer or a Professional Quarterback - the end game for everyone is: HAPPINESS!

Unfortunately, most companies believe in numbers not people...they ask you to put on a mask when you enter the doors of their are plugged into a work hard/play hard double existence...

So in June when Delivering Happiness hits the book shelves could it be possible that a revolution may be ignited. That we can understand from Tony Hsieh's climb to billionaire status that the thing that matters most is not the money we make or our escalation through corporate bureaucracy but the relationships we cultivate and the energy we dedicate to that which we genuinely believe in...?

The book Delivering Happiness concludes with a movement! Tony's commitment to culture extended from Zappos to the world. This movement and Tony Hsieh's philosophy for Delivering Happiness is best exemplified through Zappos 10 Core them, digest them and live them in your own way:
1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7. Build A Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More with Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble

The Twitterverse is embracing the #deliveringhappiness hash tag...I see numerous professionals noting that they wish they worked for Zappos. By Tony Hsieh's true intention it is not the four walls that encompass your professional ambition but the spirit you use to carry it to the world!

Join the Movement!

- Dave

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Final Rule of Awesomeness

Slow down you're making us look bad, you are just not ready for that opportunity, you don't understand our business well enough, she's out of your league...all words muttered by those who have tried, failed and are too cowardly to get back in the saddle.

The 11th (and final) Rule of Awesomeness is: Some People are Assholes, Ignore Them!

In every organization there are the 'up and comers', the well cast, and those who's time has come and gone. Far too many organizations still honor a cast system based on seniority. As a result of this, the 'up and comers' are often instructed to go to the 'has beens' for advice. This is a way for Senior Managers to make the 'has beens' feel wanted. It is also an opportunity for the 'has beens' to curtail the motivation of the 'up and comers' through terrible advice.

The aforementioned cast system does not speak to age or generation: I was a well tenured, over confident 30 year old full of bad advice at one point in my life. Like me at that time, There are professionals every where that are not socially equipped to navigate corporate bureaucracy (for better or worse). So....those who have been around more than 5 years without organizational advancement are thrown from the company jet in a parachute with holes in it. Heading nowhere but down, very slowly, grabbing anyone else they can on their way to crash landing.

These people are called assholes.....ignore them!
  • Do you ever start up a random conversation with a person who feels compelled to defend their every sentence before you even respond?
  • Do you see that guy in the coffee shop that always belittles the staff?
  • Do you over hear folks complaining about the world around them after a few drinks?

All these actions are a cry for help, a wish to be wanted, a need to be needed.

If you are miscast in a role, it's not your fault...stop trying to be someone you are not, have some dignity, and take control of your professional destiny. Don't bow down to those who stick a finger in your face and fuel the fear and intimidation of poor leadership.

If you are in over your have to put the work in and learn the system or decide whether you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by the inequity of others.

  • Take all advice with humility and grace
  • Empower before you insult
  • Ignore those who continue to show you no respect
  • ..and if all else fails...stick up for yourself (but make sure you have the scoreboard and history to back up your argument)

The best thing you can do is to let them have their anger, avoid empowering them and over time they will come around. Everyone has good in them, some just lost it along the way. If you are really brave you can help them redirect their energy to get it back!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Tenth Rule of Awesomeness

Like many Beastie Boys' fans, I was intrigued by Buddhism in the early nineties. I enjoyed the balance the Dalai Lama offered my otherwise chaotic life. I read a few pages of '..enlightenment..' and moved on to something else. I couldn't embrace the concept of allowing life to form around me without having influence over it. (for the record, I probably completely misinterpreted the aforementioned concept).

The tenth rule of Awesomeness is: Simplicity can be the pathway to expertise!

My friend Brian and I have a weekly conversation about the art of sales.
We discuss process, elements of success and how to bring predictability to an otherwise chaotic process. For over five years we have had these weekly conversations and occasionally we ask one another if any of it means anything at all:
  • If you win a deal is it because your strategic influence 'sold' the customer on your product?
  • If you lose a deal is it because you suck at differentiating your solution?

...or are we merely carriers of a flame, moving advertisements, price peddlers...?

Sometimes we pound it out only to lose, sometimes we are in the right place at the right time.

With all this said, sometimes we have to look inside the roller coaster of our brains, slow them down and develop a process ground in common sense:

  • People want something that makes sense to their company culture - Listen
  • People want something different - Be Creative
  • People want to be taken care of - Devote Personal Attention

Yes, beyond all of the techniques we learned in $2,000 sales training, more than the nuances of finance we learned in business class, and instead of dynamic presentation skills.....maybe people just want to be heard, shown something that proves you listened and responded to when they need something.

Don't Forget to Remember!