Friday, December 30, 2011

The Power of the Internet

Technology has had an amazing effect on our country and how we are able to communicate information.  At the same time, many people talk about the huge divide between those with money and power and those without it.  It is also a little scary how large and powerful some of are corporations have become.

But there are a few incidents this year that I believe are inspiring as to the power of the people.  Examples of how we can use technology to communicate and control what corporations do and say.

1. Netflix and Flixter- We are all familiar with the rates increases and horrible plan to separate movie streaming and dvd's in the mail.  Netflix lost over 800,000 subscribers and completely scrapped the plan to create a new business for the DVD's in the mail.  Now Netflix has millions of subscribers and the rate increases probably paid for themselves and the lost customers multiple times over.  But the message was clear, people didn't want was Netflix was trying to offer, so Netflix had to adjust.

2. Bank of America and other large banks charging debit card fees - This year every large, national bank announced plans to charge for customers having debit cards.  This was very entertaining to me because my wife works at a local bank and we actually get a great interest rate with our checking account, specifically when we use a debit card!  But again, people came together and communicated the dissatisfaction with this plan.  I don't know 100% who is and who isn't charging at this point, but for the most part the banks backed off and scrapped the plan.

3. Verizon Wireless - I love Verizon's service.  I hate the stronghold they have over their customers.  When they announced a fee for $2 for online and phone payments it was ridiculous.  My friend who works at Verizon even commented on how stupid the plan was.  I don't know the exact day and time this was announced, but I do know I read about at 7am in the morning.  By 4pm of the same day, Verizon scrapped the plan because of the customer outrage.

Can this work for our government too? I hope so.

Last Friday of 2011!

It is the last Friday of 2011!  The last work day of 2011!

This year has been one of the most interesting, challenging and exciting years of my life.  I have enjoyed many successes in my short 27 years.  2011 marked the end of an era (over 7 years in a pest control related sales position) and the beginning of the rest of my life.

I own a local security company with 5 team members.
I own a local IT company with 5 team members.
I own a local web and graphic design company with 1 team member.

I'm excited about the new adventures and the new opportunities.  It has been a struggle to drastically cut my pay and develop my future earnings more than my current earnings.  I feel like I have invested so much in 12 months and it is obvious the pay off will be big.

I'm looking forward to continuing my own personal development and seeing those around me grow.  I don't know exactly where all of our companies are headed, but we have clear goals and a plan to get where we think we should be!  I just hope that everyone else enjoys the experience as much as I am.

I've sat down and made my personal goals and I have written goals for our companies.  The road is still daunting.  There is no immediate satisfaction, but there are many, many small wins and successes that keep my going everyday.  I can't wait for more!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Scary Experience- Highway Spin!

A few months ago I was driving home and found myself in a scary situation.  I was on I-65 heading north and this section of the interstate is 4 lanes wide.  I was in the second lane from the left.  I was going about 75 mph.  My wife was actually in her own car just ahead of me on to our right was a tractor trailer.  The interstate was extremely busy but there was a decent amount of traffic.

Without any warning at all, the tractor trailer next to me decided to merge quickly into my lane.  This is where I made a poor decision.  I feel like I am a great driver and tend to stay very aware of my surroundings.  I should have slowed down while staying in the same lane but I decided to slow down and quickly jerk the wheel to the left as to avoid the back end of the tractor trailer.  I knew there was not a car beside me and I made a small turn of the wheel, not enough to go too far.

But unfortunately, my speed, quick turn and almost bald tires combined to create a terrible situation.  After jerking the car to the left, I straightened the wheel directly forward.  At this point, the rear end broke loose from the road and spun me around the opposite direction I had turned the wheel.  I found myself out of control on a 4 lane interstate still travelling about 65 mph!  As I spun around things seemed to happen in slow motion.  I was turned completely around facing oncoming traffic and there were cars in every lane.  My tires were screeching and I could smell burning rubber.  I felt like the car stopped while facing the opposite direction, but I know it actually continued to spin around and I completed a full circle.  Somehow, every single car was able to avoid hitting me and my sliding car stopped on the opposite shoulder from where I started the spin.  My car was now facing the correct direction again and had shut itself off.

Almost shaking, I got out of my car and checked over everything.  I was alive, my car was untouched and my tires hadn't blown out.  I couldn't believe what had happened.  I had to sit there for a minute to gain my composure and then I drove home.  I've had many adventures or scary situations, but this was by far the worst so far.

If you are headed north on I-65, at just the right spot, you can still see me tire tread spun perfectly in a circle right in the middle of the interstate!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Leadership Struggles

Myself and a business partner have 3 companies that consist of 10 team members right now.  We have ambitious plans and goals for growth but right now we are sorting out and dealing with issues that seem to never go away.

We have been trying very hard all year to create a fun culture and get the right people in place.  Last week we had an exciting day with a review of 2011, goals for 2012, catered lunch, and a Christmas party/celebration.  The day went really well.  We played a lot of games.  Everyone seemed to be involved and engaged.  I would have rated the day as a 9 out of 10.

I thought we were finishing the year on a good note and all was well.  Nope.  All of the good things that happened this year and the great end of year was wiped out by one day.  You see, we were open on Monday the 26th.  In fact, many businesses were open on the 26th.  It was a Monday.  It was a normal work day.  Could we have shut down?  Yes, we could have.  But in light of everything else going on we did not close.  Now we have learned our lesson about communication before and this decision was communicated weeks before.  But when Monday rolled around it completely demolished the morale in our company.

I am still struggling to understand the entire situation.  We have never denied someone time off when requested within a reasonable amount of time.  We have always been flexible with our team members.  We have not always but definitely did effectively communicate this decision.  But somehow we were in the wrong in the eyes of our team members.

I know we will all move on.  I know some have already forgotten it.  But as a leader, I feel it is important for me to understand the situation and to figure out how to do it better next time.  My goals far exceed my abilities and skills, so I must change for skills and abilities.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Does it make a difference?

As the talk of the presidential campaign continues to increase, I find myself asking if any of it really makes a difference.  It seems like our government has become so large that our votes don't seem to really matter.  I really don't consider myself very involved politically, but I have always exercised my right to vote.  But at the end of the day politicians are politicians.  They are a certain breed.  One of two people will win the next presidency, either the Democratic Nominee or the Republican Nominee.  If you are not the chosen one for either of these parties you have no chance at running our country.

Well, the only way to become one of those two nominees is to be a part of the big, bad machine that I believe needs changed.  What we need is fresh blood and new ideas.  Our government serves a great purpose.  We all need roads to drive on.  We need an education system.  We need a military that can protect us from those that want to harm us.  I don't believe in NO government, I believe in SMALL government.  I think it is outrageous how large and burdensome the government has become to the people.  Forget about they wealthy paying more or less taxes.  We should all work hard.  We should all pay in some way to benefit from our government.  But we should have to support waste, or support those that choose not to work.

At this point, I don't get too worked up about all of these feelings.  Maybe that is the wrong attitude.  But I'm so busy trying to make a life for myself and actually live, I don't have time to get involved with government.  My hope is that my vote (which I will always continue to exercise that right) will make a difference.  Even if it seems like it doesn't, we all need to do it.  Perhaps those of us that work hard will eventually outnumber those that want to live off of us and be able to turn the country around.

Who knows!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Asian Karaoke

I'm not the biggest karaoke fan.  I'm not a singer.  In fact, I got kicked out of the chorus in 4th grade because I'm pretty much tone deaf.  I don't know if that is official but I'm pretty sure it is (and everyone agrees).  So I do enjoy a night out to karaoke but only to see other people impress or embarass.

Well, I was treated to Asian Karaoke thanks to some friends in Atlanta that insisted on going.  Basically, you and your friends rent your own karaoke room and have the karaoke machine all to your self, rather than taking turns with a bunch of strangers.  This encouraged a lot of dancing and allowed for a much more entertaining experience!

Everyone (that wants to) gets to sing a lot more and your friends can just jump on stage and join you whever they want to.  It was really fun and I could possibly see myself even joining in the singing next time.

As a side note, our friends had also told us about a great furniture store near them.  They said the furniture was real wood, quality pieces similar to Pottery Barn pieces but at amazing prices.  I am extremely cheap and think furniture is overpriced, so I was very excited to find they were right.  We ended up driving back from Atlanta with a new coffee table in the car!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crazy Week

I think sometimes I would be better off if I learned how to say no.  As a sales oriented person, it seems like I am also accommodating to what other people want and lately I seem to be maxing out my time.  I need to be careful about not taking on more than I can handle.

But this week I was able to attend a hockey game.  I participate in the Big Brother program and one of the players donated his private suite!  I had never been in one of the suites and my Little had never been to a hockey game, so we were both surprised and pleased with the donated tickets.

It turned out to be a really good game even though the Predators lost by one goal with only 3 minutes to go.  Other than that it was a very competitive game with plenty of excitement.  It was also great because I spent a lot of time with my little between the drive to the game, at the game and the drive back.  The entire experience is very new but he seemed to be more talkative already.  I'm  looking forward to how things will turn out.  He is a really good kid.

Other than the hockey game, this week has been filled with all kinds of work issues and I will have to save that for other posts (if I ever have the time).  But for now, I'm trying to get everything wrapped up so I can enjoy a weekend visiting friends in Atlanta!