My 3 words for 2013: Adventure, Celebrate, Remodel

2013_3_words_300pIn 2011, my 3 words for the year were Create, Move, and Matter.  In retrospect, 2011 was a great year and I did a lot to do my 3 words justice. 2012 came along, and I lost focus. Not on my work, or my family, but on what would put me on a path to getting what I wanted out of my personal and professional life.  Looking back, 2012 was a great year, but am I any closer to where I want to be as a father, husband, friend, or even a marketer?  Perhaps somewhat, but not nearly as close as I should be.

Thanks to Chris Brogan for introducing me to this concept back in 2011 and again this year, and to C.C. Chapman for his latest book “Amazing Things Will Happen” that inspired me to come up with my 3 words for 2013. I’m about half way through C.C.’s book, and heeding his advice, I had to spend some time reflecting, soul-searching, and planning for what I really want in 2013 an beyond.

So, I started making lists of all the things I want, the areas I know I need to improve, and what obstacles real and imagined that have served me not so well as excuses. What I came up with are my 3 words for 2013: Adventure, Celebrate, and Remodel.


If there is one thing I am not is a huge risk taker whether it’s in my personal life of professional life. The decisions I make, the actions I take have all been very calculated, almost over analyzed.  I feel like Ben Stiller’s character in Along Came Polly – an overly cautious insurance analyst that constantly measures risk.  No risk, no reward could not be more evident, but I’m not talking about huge risks here. I’m talking about trying new things like learning an instrument, a second language, a new sport or physical activity. Professionally, it’s about speaking up in meetings, shooting more video, public speaking.  So don’t let laziness, fear, procrastination get in the way…seek and embrace the adventure.


All too often I limit celebration to the major milestones in life: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, promotions, victories, etc.  I don’t stop an celebrate the little things.  The 10 out of 10 on my daughter’s spelling test. The speech my daughter delivers to her class, the amount of money my wife helped raise for my kids’ school. Celebrate is a bit of a “stop and smell the roses” cliche, but one that can make a huge difference in being the father, husband, friend, co-worker I strive to be. Let’s face it, the digital world in which we live moves so fast, sometimes we don’t celebrate enough of the little wins that add up to make more of a difference in our lives than the big ones.


Just when I think everything is perfect, I realize it isn’t. There is no such thing. There is always the opportunity to remodel, to make it better, more functional, more rewarding.  Whether it’s big remodeling projects like a new home, a new body through exercise, a new interest through study, or small remodeling projects like writing a blog post everyday, taking more photos, or watching less TV and reading a book or two every month. Remodeling is about embracing change, taking on something new, and the beauty of remodeling, it’s an adventure, and something to celebrate, which makes it all that much more rewarding.

So, if you haven’t gone through this exercise, I encourage you to try it.  C.C. recommends keeping your 3 words visible as a constant reminder – posting on the fridge, in your office, as the wallpaper on your phone or laptop. Doing so will help stay on a path to doing amazing things in 2013.

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2011 Resolutions: Create, Move, Matter


Is technology complimenting or complicating your life?

Technology is the proverbial two edged sword…we love it, yet we hate it…so would say a recent study by AdAge magazine published this past January.

The study surveyed households making greater than $100,000 per year and the when asked how their lives have changed over the past 10 years, 79% of “Affluents” said, that they’d become “technology-infused.”

The article by AdAge broke down the “affluents” technology ownership:

  • 98% of Affluents are online, averaging over 25 hours of internet use a week.
  • 75% have at least one high-definition TV.
  • 66% have a digital video recorder, of which 58% report always or frequently fast-forwarding through commercials.
  • 23% own e-reader as of April 2011 up from from 12% in September 2010
  • 14% of Affluents now have a tablet, and an additional 15% plan to buy one in the next 12 months indicating that nearly 1/3 of affluents will own a tablet by the end of 2011.
The study went on to find that a majority of affluents surveyed said their lives have become “more complicated,” “more stressful” and “focused on finding ways to do more with less.”
So given the findings of this study, why the continued adoption of new technologies? Has technology become the “toys” for the affluent? I recently visited with family who has 3 laptop PCs, 1 desktop PC, 4 smartphones, 1 e-reader, and recently jumped on the tablet bandwagon. I asked what technology meant more to their everyday life, what added the most value?  The quick answer was the laptop.  “The tablet is just a toy” were the exact words.
Okay, not exactly shocking words, but funny that if you consider the study and the opinion of my family members, is it safe to say that life was easier when it was just the home PC? All of this new technology that was supposed to make the user experience easier has actually made life more complicated.  Sure when comparing the user experience from one technology device to the next, it may have become easier, but when looked at as a whole, the accumulation of technology devices has actually made life more difficult.
The devil is in the details. Why do affluents say  the infusion of technology complicates their lives?  What specifically about it has made life more stressful?  Perhaps it’s managing all of their content, communications, or balancing the use of technology for work vs. home, local vs online, secure vs. shared.
The technology companies that truly understand where these pains lie, and how best to address them will ultimately win.  My bet is on how and where information is stored, accessed and shared. And based on where technology devices are heading, the battle is raging between Apple, Amazon, Google, and we cannot discount Microsoft.  Just look at the mix of devices my family owns:
  • Laptops = Microsoft
  • Desktop = Microsoft
  • Tablet = Apple
  • e-reader = Amazon
  • Smartphones = Google & Blackberry
I fear the battle will be long, and the walls already forming between technology providers are forcing affluents to choose what platform best compliments their lives, because a mix of platforms is apparently, well….complicating.
What’s your take?

When will we do all our school supply shopping at the Apple Store?

We just completed our kids’ school supply shopping. Notebooks, three ring binders, folders, pens, pencils, markers, calculator, etc. were on the list. $100.00/child and counting considering it’s just the start of the school year.  It seems we always need to replenish or add to the list over the course of the year, and that’s just elementary school and junior high.

Let’s say the total is conservatively $150.00 per year per child. We do this each and every year for 12 years x 2 kids and you rack up at minimum $3600.00 over the course of their primary public education.

At what point are we going to scrap the paper and pencil model and simply go digital?  For $3600.00 over 12 years, I could have purchased an iPad every 4 years for each of them.  With an iPad, you can read, write, draw, add, subtract, multiply, divide, research, compose, and even turn in homework. Hence Apple’s push in this space, and blogs like this that tout “why iPad in schools”.

It’s already happening at some schools in Chicago and New York, but what is it going to take for schools to adopt the digital world in mass? It may come down to money, but based on my calculations above, that could be covered by the parents, public grants, donations, or scholarships from private entities.

I think it comes down more to how we embrace technology to educate. Face it, the new generations are born digital and can quickly navigate a smartphone or tablet at an earlier age and much faster than most adults. Just look at your own kids. The student’s learning curve on using technology is not the hurdle, but it maybe for most teachers that have been educating for years. According to the study Educators, Technology and 21st Century Skills: Dispelling Five Myths by The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, “continued technological education throughout a teacher’s career is vital to providing students with the skills they will need for future careers,” said Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association.

I’m all for teaching teachers how to teach with technology, and for forking over $500 every 4 years for an iPad or similar technology at the expense of school supplies…because in the long run, my kids will be much better prepared for the digital world in which they were born.

How are you using technology to teach your own kids at home?

Image by: Apple, Inc.

How to fuel creativity? Do your kids' homework

Earlier this week, I blogged about my daughter’s homework assignment: a paragraph a week and how companies could deploy this concept to engage with employees, invigorate employee creativity, and in the process get a ton of new ideas.

Then I thought more about it….Why would just companies benefit from this assignment?Why couldn’t individuals?

Creativity in school is becoming more and more prevelent as teachers try to tap into kids’ creativity as a way to not only encourage it, but develop new and exciting ways to teach and thus learn.   I did a post on the topic for Seagate a ways back: Reaping the rewards of the creative continuum, “the article argues, that students should be measured on how well they create as well as how effectively they consume.”

I don’t know about you, but some of the homework my kids bring home really stretches the bounds of their creativity. What a great excercise for all of us, so I am going to try it out.  I am going to do my kids homework.  Not for them, for me.  It not only get to engage more with my kids and their schoolwork,  but it may unleash ideas and thoughts I may have on any number of topics…we’ll see what we get assigned.

I’ll start with the paragraph of the week assignment and see how it goes.  Eventually, maybe I’ll branch out into collages, book reports, and art.

I’m done with math, so don’t count on that.

Try it out.

2011 Resolutions: Create, Move, Matter

Reading through my Google Reader feeds, tis the time for New Year’s Resolutions.  In the past, I have always said I would do something but never really made it happen.  So this year, my main resolution is to actually follow through on my goals.   I took a page from Chris Brogan’s idea of creating three words for myself for the year.  What 3 words will shape what I do each and everyday personally and professionally?  The three words I came up with are:

  • Create
  • Move
  • Matter


Create something everyday whether it’s a blog post, photography, drawing, a journal entry, or simply an email to an old friend I have been meaning to reconnect with.  In addition, I want to better enable and foster an environment of creativity for my 2 kids (Megan -11, and Sarah-8). Both love photography, drawing, arts and crafts.  Megan writes poetry (and is pretty darn good at it).  Sarah is a free spirit that loves to do just about anything.  I would love to turn the basement into a studio for them to “create”. Heck for the family to do some cool stuff together.


This boils down to sheer activity whether it be exercise (cycling – road and mountain bike), or just simply getting outside and doing something, anything.  My wife and I always talk about visiting national parks, weekend getaways with the kids. We can start with Minnesota, and work our way to the Dakotas, and further west as we get more adventurous.


This encompasses everything…personally and professionally.  It’s all about learning and putting new thought and ideas into action whether they be at work, on this blog, on other’s blogs, etc.  I want to expand my network, strengthening existing relationships while establishing new ones. This comes from making new connections everyday.  There are so many ways to do this, it’s just a matter of using them, putting myself out there, making mistakes, but also experiencing more and more success.  It also means expanding ideas and thought, and this comes from reading, and continuing to learn. A book a week would be a “little win” to start with.

I will share what I am doing to support my 3 words in posts throughout the year.

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Little Wins vs Big Wins for 2011

For my wife…

16 Years…

We started as friends, then decided to wed

16 years later, there’s a lot to be said…

Our girls… happy, healthy, smart, and true, the way they are is because of you.

It’s not always been perfect and pure, the few times we hurt, only our friendship could cure

Pain we did feel. Yes it tested our strength, but it made us real

So I’ll take the millions of laughs, and the fair share of tears

Because that is what made us these past 16 years