After reading a tweet from Kurt Andersen (without a doubt the smartest and best boss I ever had) I got thinking more about the timeline of Watergate and our current president.
I worked for Kurt at the old Spy Magazine. I'd like to think that this is the sort of thing that Spy would have done. (The headline is an homage to a regular feature in Spy, Separated at Birth?)
If I had all day, I'd do more of a Spy thing, and ask the design team to make this look better, and ask the photo research team to come up with some amazing photos that draw connections, etc. But in the spirit of DONE, here it is.
I hope this is helpful to people all over the political spectrum.
For people that want Trump gone tomorrow, this shows pretty clearly that as of July we were really only about half done with the process. There's a long way to go.
For people that are tired of the drip-drip-drip, perhaps this will show why it almost has to happen that way.
For supporters of President Trump who are currently comforted by the fact that he's still in office despite what you perceive to be relentless media attacks, you won't find comfort, exactly, but with luck you'll see that those on the other side politically are not delusional about Trump, and that the sweep of history is not on Trump's side.
June 17 Burglars break into the DNC headquarters at Watergate
June 9 Don Jr., Manafort and Kushner meet with Russian government official promising damaging info about Clinton. Trump tweets later that day for the first time about "33,000 emails."
June 20 Washington Post reports connection between burglary and Hunt
July 18Washington Post reports Trump wants GOP to go soft on Russia
Sept. 15 Hunt, Liddy and burglars indicted
Oct. 7 DHS and DNI announce that Russia is interfering in election
Nov. 7 Nixon reelected
Nov. 8 Trump elected
Jan. 8 Burglary trial begins
Jan. 4 Mike Flynn reports that he is under investigation
Jan. 11 Hunt pleads guilty
Jan. 6 CIA, FBI and NSA report that Putin ordered a campaign to influence the election
Jan. 15 Other burglars plead guilty
Jan. 10 Sessions tells congress that he “did not have communications” with the Russians
Jan. 20 Nixon inauguration
Jan. 20 Trump inauguration
Jan. 30 Liddy convicted
Jan. 30 Trump fires Yates
Feb. 28 FBI director tells congress that Dean had “probably lied” to FBI.
Feb. 28 Trump staff instructed to preserve any Russia-related communications because of investigation
March 17 McCord refutes previous denial that he was working for the White House
March 17 Page refutes previous denial that he never met with Kislyak
April 27 FBI Director Gray resigns
April 5 Nunes recuses himself
April 30 Ehrlichman, Haldeman resign, Dean fired.
April 11 Comey tells Rosenstein about “serious concern about the way in which the president is interacting, especially with the FBI”
May 17 Senate Watergate Committee begins hearings
May 9 Trump fires Comey
May 19 Cox appointed as special prosecutor
May 17 Mueller appointed special counsel
June 3 Dean testifies that he discussed the cover-up with Nixon at least 35 times
June 8 Comey testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee, worried about president lying, says he hopes there are tapes
July 13 13 months after Watergate burglary, New York Times reports on Oval Office tapes of phone calls and meetings
July 8 13 months after meeting of Don Jr., Manafort and Kushner with person they believe to be Russian government official, New York Times reports on that meeting
Oct. 20 "Saturday Night Massacre" firing of special prosecutor.
Oct. 30"Manafort Monday" Manafort, Gates arrested. Special Prosecutor's office also unseals previous indictment and plea deal with Papadopoulos
Oct. 19 John Dean enters guilty plea after cooperating with prosecutors.
Dec. 1 Mike Flynn enters guilty plea after cooperating with prosecutors.
Nov. 17 "I am not a crook" speech
Nearly Every Day Trump tweets something saying Russia investigation is phony.
Dec. 7 White House can't explain 18-minute gap in tapes.
Dec. 11 White House can't explain 18-day period that Mike Flynn wasn't fired.
March 1 Nixon named as "unindicted co-conspirator" along with the "Watergate Seven"
April 16 Special prosecutor subpoenas tapes
May 9 Impeachment hearings begin
June 27 House passes Articles of Impeachment
Aug. 9 Nixon resigns from office
One last note:
One of the young staffers working on Watergate for the House Judiciary Committee was Hillary Rodham Clinton.
We may not have learned all the lessons we needed to learn from Watergate, but perhaps there's a young staffer working behind the scenes right now who will one day run for president, and if she doesn't come to fame as the wife of a guy who was once impeached himself... and if the election isn't tampered with... maybe she'll even win.
There's a scene early in Groundhog Day when the host where Bill Murray's character is staying says something about the weather to him, and he launches into a whole meteorological discussion that he would do on TV, and the person just stares at him. Then he says:
Did you want to talk about the weather or were you just making chitchat?
"Chit Chat," she says, awkwardly for both of them.
"Up and to the right"
When you are a CEO, and someone asks you how things are going at your company, you never are sure if they are just making chit-chat, or if they are really interested in the metrics of your business.
I suppose I could have asked which one it was, but taking the lesson from that scene, I always thought that would seem awkward, so I always just said: “Up and to the right!”
I guess I could have just said “Up!” given that we’re all marching at the same pace to the right on the spreadsheet of life, but “Up and to the right” seemed more conversational and worked for both sets of people asking. At least I thought it did.
When someone was actually asking about the health of the business, they were always glad to hear "up and to the right."
Anyone who’s been around business for any length of time knows that to have 20 positive quarters in a row is hard. Really hard.
And so it was. It was the one thing I thought about more than any other: How to make sure we would grow, and keep on growing. All. The. Time.
And grow we did.
After five years of leading a company that grew every single quarter, I decided to step away, and now BlogMutt has a new CEO.
The top thing on my list was to be an Entrepreneur in Residence. A guy I know saw that, and one thing lead to another and now I'm happy to say that I am a version of an EIR at CableLabs/UpRamp. It's an amazing opportunity, and I'm learning a ton and feel like I'm contributing to the world of cable and broadband in some meaningful ways, helping an established industry think about growth.
(My biggest contribution for CableLabs is not getting to define once and for all exactly what is a startup... but it's up there!)
I'm also doing a couple of other things that I'll write about more later, including helping a great friend grow a business that could actually put a dent in the opioid crisis.
I'm also mentoring some new startups, and have a few other projects going, including one where I'm analyzing some data for my pals at BlogMutt. (REALLY interesting findings percolating there, and I'll share them here, of course, once that's ready to go.)
In addition to that, I've also started doing some executive coaching for CEOs who are trying to grow faster and do more with the hours that they have.
Out of that coaching work has come a new opportunity: Helping launch a new kind of adventure. What I love about it is that it allows me to pay very particular attention to top-line growth.
Steps to Consistent Growth
The idea is simple: While techniques for growth are pretty well established, it can be difficult for operating CEOs to focus on those techniques every day. Once the realities of daily operations set in, it's quite difficult to have the foresight, focus, and courage to ignore what's going on in the business on a daily basis, and do what needs to be done for growing the company in the future.
There's an analogous situation in the public arena that I wrote about recently. In short: The future has no lobbyist. The status quo does have a lobbyist, and so things typically remain the same.
It's the same thing even in small companies. Employees are focused on the tasks at hand, but there's nobody who has the job of representing the unknown future.
Well, if that's your job, and you know that you aren't at your maximum and the organization you lead is not growing as much as it could, I might have an answer for you.
(That's what we're calling it for the moment. Not sure if the name will stick.)
You can read much more about it on the site, but in short we are going to make sure that everyone involved is going to do three things:
Set really aggressive, specific, structured goals for growth in a business for 18 months from now, basically by the end of 2018. We will work with you to find the right goals specific to your business.
In a structured way, read the best thinking on growth, and apply it rigorously.
As a group of peers with a lead facilitator, keep each other accountable to reach our individual goals. (This will be much different than other peer groups you may know about. See the site for more on that.)
So, there you have it: Three steps to consistent growth.
You may be thinking that you are already doing your own version of that, and maybe you are, but are you getting the results you think are possible?
Do you see a clear path to 20 positive quarters in a row? How about four?
If not, maybe you'll want to join us Thursday night.
If you aren't in Denver, or if you don't want to join a club, any club, (I get that, but would tell you to get over yourself) or if you are reading this too late... Just follow those three steps on your own, including getting into a group of peers with a leader who's been through those battles.
If you are in a spot where you'd like to see more consistent growth, I hope you'll consider joining us on the evening of Thursday, July 13th. Write to me to get an invite link.
If you know someone who is leading an organization, and wants to grow, I hope you'll send this post or the 10X site to that person.
Well, I'm now realizing that I'm not interested in starting another company, not at the moment. I don't mind hard work, but creating another startup from scratch right now just feels… lonely.
However, there's a problem: I don't play golf.
I don't ski.
I don't want to train for a marathon, a triathlon, a decathlon or even the Butt-Numb-Athon.
In short, I gotta get back in the game. I wanna be in it, solving problems, making customers happy, bringing new approaches to sticky problems.
A bunch of friends asked me what I want to do when I announced I was leaving, and I didn't really have a good answer. After a bit of a break, and thinking about it for a while, I finally have one, so this post is essentially the answer to that question.
Here's three scenarios of what might make sense:
Scenario One: Entrepreneur In Residence
Let's say you are in an established company. Maybe a growth-stage tech company, maybe a media operation. Maybe even a non-profit that's got a good track record.
Things are going well enough for you, but you realize that the world is changing fast, and you have a sneaking suspicion that you aren't really keeping up. What you'd like is for someone to come into your operation and do a few things without upsetting the apple cart too much.
What kind of things?
Talk to the team, see what entrepreneurial ideas are lurking around, but aren't getting any daylight.
Launch a new low-impact initiative, maybe a podcast or something that everyone thinks is a good idea, but it never seems to get done.
Evaluate other new ideas, see if there's any traction.
Typically an EIR just comes in for a defined time, usually one year. After that you'll have a much better sense of the future, and you'll have a program in place if you want to bring in another fresh set of eyes a year from now.
Scenario Two: New Product Leader
Let's say you have a new product idea, but your current team is busy with the current product. You've got some indication that this new product could do well, but you need to know how well it will integrate with what you do now, and you need to figure out what you don't know about actually launching this thing.
You want someone to come in who won't freak everybody out, but will also move the concept forward, and fast. That I can do.
Scenario Three: CEO Transition
I just ran a process to gently ease a CEO out of his position, run a search that he liked, and then found a great new CEO who is now kicking ass.
It's true, I was the first CEO in question there, but I have to say that I really did a good job at that.
Do you know a CEO who is, perhaps, a bit restless? Or perhaps that CEO just is no longer a good fit for what the company needs? And that CEO knows it, but just doesn't know how to let go?
I can help. I can help the CEO really look at the situation without a lot of emotional baggage. I can give hope to that person to see what the world might be like having moved on? And I can run a search to find the perfect new candidate, and then make sure that new CEO gets going in the right direction.
It would be hard, if not impossible, for someone who hasn't been in those CEO shoes to have that conversation. There are a lot of recruiters out there, but this is something entirely different. I've been there. I can empathize, strategize, and then move things forward for the person, and for the company.
Scenario Four: ??????
I realize that what will actually happen may be a bit different from what I plan on happening. Always works that way, right?
But if you are someone, or if you know someone, who might be interested in talking to me about one of these scenarios, or something entirely different, be in touch.
As of today, I'm going to be stepping down from day-to-day leadership of BlogMutt.
This news is big for me because I love everything about the company: the staff, the writers, the customers. Even the goofy name. BlogMutt is an exceptional operation.
So, why leave?
Well, we all have our strengths, and it's clear to me that my strengths are more in starting things... in creating something out of nothing. That and working out of 100-square-foot offices on a desk of a piece of plywood, like in the picture of me above in BlogMutt's very first office.
What BlogMutt needs now is someone who is good at:
1. Operations. Managing everything from sales to health insurance to product.
2. Growth. Understanding how to reach into new markets, reach new audiences, and build great partnerships.
For the short term, I'll be spending most of my time looking for someone to do that.
We need someone who can manage KPIs, EBITDA, CLV, etc. and not get MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over). I'm not that kind of CEO. As much as I love BlogMutt, I am just not that person.
Together with Wade Green—BlogMutt's other founder and technology head (who is staying on)—I'm now looking for that person, someone who can move us forward on all that management stuff, but also someone who can understand the magic we've created here.
Me, Courtney & Wade in the world's shakiest selfie, in BlogMutt's second office.
Qualities of this individual include:
Someone who is delighted to help small agencies be able to compete with much larger agencies because they have the power of BlogMutt behind them.
Someone who is moved to tears, as I am, by our writers. I spoke about them here, and we’ve shared some of the stories on our blog here, here, here, here, here, or really just about anywhere on our blog.
Someone who loves loves loves small businesses and understands the battle they face is almost always time, and how much BlogMutt can help them.
And someone who recognizes that the greatest assemblage of talent in any one office anywhere in the great state of Colorado is found on the second floor of an otherwise-boring building behind the PDQ gas station and convenience store in south Boulder, BlogMutt's fourth office.
Do you know that person? If so, please be in touch. See below for more.
(Most of) the aforementioned assemblage of talent, complete with my wrangling of the mascot mutt, Buddy, in front of BlogMutt's third office.
What comes next?
So, with BlogMutt getting some new management, what's next for me?
And I may be starting something new. What would that be, you ask?
Well, six or seven years ago I was fascinated by "crowdsourcing" in the loosest possible sense of the word. After a lot of conversations came the world’s best crowdsourced blog writing service, BlogMutt. Now I'm interested in "food." I read stuff like this about our broken food system and I find myself interested. Or maybe I'm just hungry.
In other words, it's time for me to sit under my own vine and fig tree. I’m no George Washington, but I am inspired by what he did, stepping down. That really had never happened before. And now we all get to live in a world where "no one can make us afraid."
And like Washington, I’ll be able to show the world that I can step down and the company will thrive because BlogMutt is so strong.
I’ve been lucky to have grown up in that world that Washington envisioned.
Really, I’ve been lucky my whole life. I had a great childhood, and I have a great family now.
I was lucky enough to work as a reporter and writer for years in New York City and all over Colorado.
And in a world where most startups fail, I’ve been lucky enough to create three of them that have all succeeded.
Thanks for joining me on this journey.
And by the way, before I can do any of the new stuff, I need to know that BlogMutt is in good hands. So if you know of someone who might be a good fit for the CEO job at BlogMutt, please contact me at CEO [at] blogmutt.com. That won't be my email much longer, so write soon.
The current controversy over putting a woman on the $10 bill — instead of the $20 — is helpful because it sheds a bright light on the powerful history, and all it represents today.
But history can be hard, so to help make it easier here's a helpful infographic. Feel free to share, embed, print, post, and then share some more. Let's bring history home, and ensure that no injustice is done in the paper we carry in our pockets every day.
My fascination grew in tandem with my son. Several years ago we watched this video. If you haven't seen it, or even if you have, here it is again:
My son actually memorized that whole rap, and last summer when we were touring around Philly and New York City he performed it several times.
One of those times he performed it was for the National Park Ranger who was the leading Hamilton expert in Philly. It was from him that we learned about some Hamilton events happening in New York City, and it was there we learned about the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society, and went on a walking tour of Hamilton sites. We attended a fascinating lecture about Hamilton, one pointing out how he was absolutely the most important founding father after Washington himself. We attended a dramatic reading of the letters between Hamilton and Burr at the Hamilton Grange.
Then we visited Hamilton's grave on the anniversary of the day of his death. It was all my son could do to keep from correcting the tour guides who kept mangling the facts of his death, and never even mentioned that they were standing above his remains on the very day he died. They all made the same lame joke about New Jersey, and then moved on.
And so when Lin-Manuel Miranda announced that the play about Hamilton would be opening at the Public Theater, we snapped up two tickets on a night when the cast would be answering questions after the play (my son loves that stuff) and when he would only miss one day of school. We got a great deal on some tickets on Southwest, and planned to have a geek-out father-son fun trip to see the play about the "Ten dollar Founding Father without a father."
Then the play opened, and the reviews started coming in. They weren't just good, they were stupendous, they wore out the thesaurus. I don't typically even like theater and I really don't like musicals, but these reviews were so good that I got crazy excited.
Then the celebrities started showing up. It started slowly, with actors who were well known and highly respected. John Lithgow was the first one I noticed.
Then the celebrities kept getting bigger and bigger. The Clintons went last week, but the one that impressed me most was Weird Al Yankovik, who declared it a "Work of Genius."
A guy who clearly is a genius doesn't toss words like that around lightly.
So our excitement was off the charts, even before we knew that Paul McCartney went to see the play the night before we were scheduled to go.
We woke up to reports of bad weather, but we figured it would be OK. We're from Colorado, a little cold and snow is no big deal.
Then the flight was delayed a half hour, then an hour.
Then — just after clearing security and walking on the cool bridge at Denver International Airport (the only structure in the world that a 747 can taxi under) with the Native American music playing — I got the text. Flight Cancelled.
We scrambled around at the airport, trying to figure out if there was some way to go to some other nearby airport, but to no avail.
There would be no trip.
So then there was the matter of the tickets. We came up with a plan to try to find someone else who had tickets for some future performance, and would be willing to trade with us. Through the magic of social media… Maybe?
Even Lin-Manuel Miranda himself retweeted my plea. Stand-up guy.
But it didn't work. We did have some offers to buy the tickets, and given that they are getting scalped for more than $1,800 a pop, and there are still none available, it's no wonder.
Luckily we have some great friends in New York who were able to get through the muck to see the show. As I'm writing this I haven't heard any reports yet, but I expect they will be glowing. Which is great, it really is.
Still, it hurts. Still sitting in my suitcase is my copy of the Chernow biography of Hamilton that inspired Miranda. I was going to bring it on the off chance that Chernow might be there the same night as our tickets.
This is also one of the greatest days of my life. You see, on this day an idea I had for a way to fix it so we won't have to change our clocks back and forth twice per year actually got introduced into a state legislature. The text I wrote is now part of the legislative process.
Put another way, I had an idea that started at the dinner table with my family, and that idea became an official draft resolution being considered by the legislature of one of the 50 US States, and it will be real in other states soon.
I'll be writing much more about that over on the Time blog, but suffice it to say that this is the very first real step in growing that idea into a reality.
So, is this one of the greatest days of my life, or one of the worst?
I know what Alexander Hamilton would call a day with stunning highs and lows and a production of a couple of thousand words of prose.
He'd call it "Thursday."
Remember, this is a guy who had stunning public victories.
As a teenager he wrote more persuasively than anyone about why the colonies should revolt against Britain.
He became Washington's indispensable chief of staff.
He lead troops to a decisive and yet honorable victory during the war, one of the few battles the Revolutionary troops actually won without help from the French.
He was the only founding father that didn't own slaves and worked harder than any other to ban slavery.
Nearly single-handedly pushed for the Constitutional Convention, and then lobbied harder than anyone to get the U.S. Constitution passed, something that was not at all a sure thing at the time.
Decided that it would help if the new federal government had a working guideline, so pushed for the creation of the Federalist Papers and wrote a huge majority of them himself.
Again nearly on his own, he pushed for a strong central government and forcefully but respectfully put down the Whiskey Rebellion.
Founded the Federal Bank, the Coast Guard, a college set up to embrace the Native Americans, and the New York Post.
And crushing personal losses:
He was alone with his mother when she died a horrible death.
The cousin who became his caretaker committed suicide.
The ship that brought him to America caught fire and was nearly lost at sea.
He saw the slave-trade up close.
He was lured into a America's first tawdry political sex scandal.
His oldest son died in a duel defending his father's honor.
And then with the same pistol that killed his son, he was shot down by repugnant little man in a duel over nothing.
Perhaps most impressive to me given my not-exactly-staggering literary output is that Hamilton would regularly crank out a few thousand words in a day, and he did it with a quill and ink.
I may not have gotten to see the play, but I got the message. The Hamilton play is probably the best thing to happen to hip-hop since the Sugar Hill Gang, the best thing to happen to theater since West Side Story, and the best thing to happen to American history since Schoolhouse Rock.
But Hamilton's story is not a feel-good story. It's not designed to make you happy to sit back and watch.
It's a call to action.
As it says on the poster for the play: Who gets to tell your story?
Embedded in that question is the larger question: What is the story of your life going to be? The play Hamilton (I'm figuring) and more to the point the man who was Alexander Hamilton challenge all of us to do more. We are not meant to watch, but to jump in with great vigor.
So instead of moping about not getting to come to New York, you can see me on HuffPo Live Friday morning (via a hangout instead of in person, alas) trying to take a stand and then later today you'll see me and my son down at the state capitol doing our best to advocate as best we can for a better world.
One year from right now on Dec. 18, 2015, I'm going to either be in line, or in a theater watching the new Star Wars movie.
It might easy to think that this is just a movie. It's not.
I think that it's going to be a harbinger of a great new era.
Why? Well, the last time Star Wars started, the world just got better. You couldn't really buy a computer in 1976, but in 1977 the Apple II, the Atari 2600, and the Comodore PET went on sale.
Also in 1977 the Space Shuttle began test flights, the first phone calls were carried on a fiber optic cable. The the first TCP/IP pings went through on what they called then the ARPAnet in November of that year, the same day as the first flight of the Concorde from New York City.
Also, I turned 12 that year. I was born in January of 1965, the first month after the Baby Boom so I was technically a member of what would later be known as Gen X. The Boomers dominated in 1977, but it was the Xers who made the world suck less over the next 30 years. Then we got the Millennials (don't get me started) but the group of kids actually born after the year 1999 seem to be showing the same understated but significant progress of Gen X.
We don't know what technological marvels will be released in 2015, but we do now have a whole generation of kids who don't know the magic of anticipation of a good Star Wars movie. The last time a generation grew up with Star Wars, the whole world became almost magical, as if it was guided by some all-powerful force.
Need more proof?
Funk that Star Wars got us out of
Great Recession, Afghanistan
Crappy dystopian scifi we don't have to pay attention to any more
Scary disease that was going to kill us all
Notable cars before
Aztec, Cadilac ATS
Notable cars after
Porsche 928, BMW 7 series
Protesters that faded away
Occupy (Fill in the blank)
Hobbit version not as good as the book released the year before.
This blog post is going to change your life more than any other opinion piece or news article you’ll read this week.
That’s right… With this one post I’m going to improve your life dramatically for a couple of weeks each year. I’ll improve your morning drive on a handful of days that would otherwise be horrible. This post may even save your life.
And to top it off this post may just give you hope in the U.S. system of government.
Big talk, I know, but I can back it up.
First, some background:
I’ve always been annoyed by the mandate to change all of our clocks twice per year. I’m groggy on that spring Monday morning when the government takes away an hour of sleep over the weekend and the alarm clock suddenly makes no sense in the inky pre-dawn darkness.
In the fall — when suddenly I’m going home from work in the dark — I fall into a funk that can last for weeks.
So I sit at the dinner table and complain, complain, complain.
One night at the dinner table, my wife, who’d recently read A Complaint Free World, challenged me. “Why don’t you do something about it?”
I replied: “I’ve made several very pointed Facebook posts!”
She was not impressed.
And now I’ve read the book, too, and have to concede that she was right. I felt so strongly, however, that I didn’t want to just stop complaining; I wanted to do something.
So, I started doing some research. Turns out there’s not a lot of good research, something that’s surprising. Certainly we wouldn’t upset so many lives so dramatically twice per year without having great research as to why we are doing that? You’d be shocked. There's very little, and it's very weak.
The origins of switching the clock seem to date to Ben Franklin. Now… We owe a great deal to Ben — the concept of the library, the fire department, the hospital, and so much more. And he had a legendary sense of humor.
And therein lies what may have been one of the great practical jokes of all time.
Is Ben smiling about the greatest practical joke of all time?
Franklin was certainly joking when he suggested that a way to increase productivity by changing the clocks around for the seasons.
Think about it. Daylight Savings does kind of seem like an elaborate practical joke you might play on freshman in a particularly cruel dorm. Imagine if someone moved your alarm by one hour a couple of times a year... Think about how mad you’d be. Or imagine that you tried that as a joke on your spouse. I know if I tried that as a joke on my wife there’s a good chance I’d wake up the next day in the ICU.
(By the way, did you know that they kept Franklin off a key committee drafting the Declaration of Independence because they were afraid he’d sneak in some jokes that they wouldn’t recognize? It’s true.)
The version of Daylight Saving (not “savings”) Time that we all recognize has its roots in WWI. After the war Daylight Saving was abandoned on a federal level, but then it was picked back up in WWII, and has been with us in essentially the same form ever since.
The thinking during WWII was that people needed to do whatever they could to save fuel and other resources so they could be used during the war. Admirable, to be sure, but remember the decision was made by the same government that thought “Internment Camps” would be a good idea for Japanese Americans. Great scientists built The Bomb. No science went into the thinking about Daylight Saving Time, just propaganda.
After the war states were left to decide for themselves when they wanted it to be 6 p.m. relative to the sun setting and there was a patchwork of different time zones from state to state, and even within some states. This created plenty of confusion, so the feds clamped down in 1966.
After researching the roots I started looking at the science regarding the clock changing. All of it is negative.
The U.S. Department of Energy issued a report that says sticking with Daylight Saving Time year round would save approximately one half of one percent of electricity used every day during the winter. Now, while 0.5 percent might not seem like much, you may not know that all the solar panels create just 0.25 percent of the total power generated in the U.S. Just leaving our clocks alone in the fall instead of reverting to Standard Time will save double the amount of non-renewable electricity than all solar power creates every single day from November to March. That’s a lot, and nobody has to install anything.
There is no conclusive research showing school children are at more risk waiting for school buses on rural roads, though this is the most emotional argument brought up against the idea. What is clear is that farm children are much more likely to die because of accidents with farm machinery than any traffic accident, with a bus involved or otherwise.
I've been asking people why we have Daylight Saving Time, and nearly all say that it has something to do with farming. It turns out that farmers were traditionally against the clock changing. They just got a bad rap about that.
Many of those of us who are lucky enough to survive the time change wish we hadn't.
The jolt is much worse than, for instance, traveling one time zone away because in that time zone the sun is coming up at a time that's more consistent with your wake-up time. Also you have external clues that you are in a different place. The Daylight Saving clock-changing is a radical and rude interjection into the most sacred of inner-sanctums: your bedroom.
A common epithet hurled at politicians is that they should stay out of our collective bedrooms. Of course, they are really talking about activities that could happen in any room of the house. The alarm clock really is in the bedroom and politicians should indeed get out and leave our alarm clocks alone!
I ran a traffic information service for five years, and the Monday mornings after both the spring and fall time changes were very good for business, and very bad for traffic. Groggy, incoherent and mad-at-someone-but-not-quite-sure-who drivers make for accidents galore.
Formation of a Plan
Are we on a path to end the clock-changing madness?
After researching it I started talking to friends, all of whom hate the clock changing, but they are always too groggy on the days when they are the most mad to really do anything about it.
(One note, I am advocating that most states switch permanently to “Daylight Saving” time, but some states may want to switch time zones when everyone fixes their clock and stops all the switching around. Arizona, for instance, needs to have business operate as much in the cool hours as possible in the summer, so it should stay put. The only organized group that wants more Standard time are the traditional broadcasters, who like it when it’s dark earlier so you’ll watch more prime time TV. But this is a fight not about which time construct is the best for which state, but about just picking one and not changing the clocks twice a year.)
So, research done, I came up with the beginnings of a plan to end the clock changing.
At first blush, I thought there was no hope. It seems like what's needed is an Act of Congress, and I know that for a guy like me to have a hope of getting Congress to do something would make Don Quixote look like conservative banker. Congress can’t get anything done even when they all agree on something. There’s a reason that Congress has an approval rating lower than Communism.
“Pro” is the opposite of “con” — my son points out — so “Congress” must be the opposite of “Progress.” Indeed.
My son actually provided me with a part of the solution. I've watched for years as some motivated school group goes to its state legislature and asks to get a some caterpillar, rock or whatever named the official state caterpillar, rock or whatever. Everyone thinks they are getting a lesson in government. Now, I'm not opposed to states having official caterpillars, but I'm not crazy about giving the youth of today false hope about how easy it is to get laws passed.
It is possible, though, to pass new laws and those school kids have one thing right: It is much more possible to get things done at the state level than in D.C.
But Daylight Saving Time is a federal issue, right?
At one level, yes. The Department of Transportation has ruled that no more states can do what Hawaii and Arizona have done, and switch to one time and stick to it year-round.
We live in a republic, however. We have a 10th Amendment that says that states can do what they want. The Feds have lots of ways of controlling the states, but this plan takes that into account. And the DOT even has a structure in place for states to opt out of clock-changing.
Here's the plan: I'm proposing that every state legislature passes a bill that says that it will stop changing clocks twice per year and just stick with Daylight Saving Time all year long.
The part of the plan that will help it get passed is that the elimination of the clock-changing will only take effect if at least 31 states pass the same bill. The number is really 33, or two thirds of all states, but Arizona and Hawaii are already on the list. I picked the number of 33 states because that's how many it takes to pass a constitutinonal amendment. I know this is not a constitutional issue, but it seems like a good standard.
Why do it that way?
Well, I think that state legislators don't really mind change, they just don't want to stick out as the odd-balls. Did you ever do business with someone in Arizona or Hawaii? If so, you probably expressed some frustration that it's hard to keep track of the number of hours difference from them to you because it keeps changing. (If you said something to them, they undoubtedly responded that it is you that's doing all the changing around. They do have a point.)
That's the rub. I don't think any legislator wants to be first in line to make his or her state the only one in the time zone that stops changing the clocks twice a year, no matter how many potential voters are saved from heart attacks and traffic deaths. Using the same notion, no legislator wants to be the one who is blocking the tide of progress if all the other states are doing it.
So, with a proposal like this — where legislators are voting that they don't want to be first, but they don't want to be last — they'll be happy to vote yes.
They'll be especially happy if they are doing so at the request of school children. I mentioned my son earlier, and he's played into this plan. His class will be studying government this year. They might even get it in their head to go to the legislature and propose a state caterpillar or whatever. My suggestion is that instead they go and ask for something that will really make the world they are growing up into a better place by asking a legislator to carry this bill.
And because schools love interdisciplinary bla bla bla, they could mix in some science and math, too. I can envision many great experiments, starting with:
How does a family’s energy use change?,
What are the computational abilities in students on the day after the clock-change?
What is the tardiness rates after the change?
All of that science, I'm guessing, will lead to the inescapable conclusion that changing the clocks twice per year is a folly that should be dispensed with before its 100th anniversary coming in about four years.
If students and families work together and we start going to legislators this fall, we could get 33 states to pass a bill when they all convene in January. If we can get 33 this year then the switch to Daylight Saving Time in the spring of 2015 will be the last ever. Imagine!
If it takes us another year to get enough states on board, well, we'll still be able to make the final change in the spring of 2016.
And if we can do that, we the people in the 50 U.S. States will be able to tell the federal government that the people have indeed spoken, and whatever bureaucratic powers that they may want to use to block us should instead be brought to bear to pave the way to a smooth no-clock-changing future.
This really could work.
I recently visited the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It's a magical place, and does a great job of showing that our country and our constitution has always struggled, and always endured. The current miasma that is the U.S. Congress can sap the patriotism from even the most earnest student. Maybe being a part of a real change can give our youth some hope, and that's all we really need to ensure a bright future.
A couple of important notes:
This was my idea, but like all great ideas I wasn't the only one to have it. I looked on BillTrack50 (full disclosure: I’m a shareholder of that company) and found that a state legislator in Missouri had a similar idea. Good for him! The bill didn’t pass, but it didn’t have the power of America’s school children behind it. I talked to him, and he's on board with this new push.
This idea of ending the clock-changing needs a name. I'm terrible at naming things. Have a great name suggestion? Send it to the page I’ve set up here.
On that page will also be a blog where we can showcase great science projects and efforts to get this thing passed, in addition to model legislative language that school children can take to their legislators.
I’m busy running a content writing service and being a father and husband, so I don’t have time to do everything needed for this revolution. It will take contributions of time and effort from many people. If you want to end the clock-changing madness, don’t wait for an OK from me. Just go do whatever it is you want to do. Once you’ve done whatever it is, take a picture, share it on social media, etc. and let me know and I’ll post it on the yet-to-be-named site.
Or if you really want to get involved, I've set up an end-the-clock-changing project board. If you'd like to volunteer to lobby, do PR or just manage the efforts for your state, we need you.
I've been following Brad Feld's observations about the patent system for years now. I find myself mostly agreeing with him, even though I filed for and was awarded a patent for my first company, back in the day.
I've thought about starting Patent Holders Against Patents, but I'm a bit busy with BlogMutt these days. Also, I don't want to be known as the PHAP guy.
PHAP PHAP PHAP.
But then I saw my chance to do my part. A US Senator, Michael Bennet, went on the interwebs to try to collect opinions about what name should grace the new US Patent Office in Denver. Now, I actually think this new office is a good thing. The Patent system needs smart people working inside of it, and we have lots of smart folks here in Colorado.
(By the way, patents do have their place, especially in our history. Lincoln said that a patent system was a big part of what helped the union win the Civil War. His theory was that inventors wanted to develop new technology for the side where they thought they could make money from their inventions.)
(And for a nexus of presidents and patents trivia, the first one to name the only US President to hold a patent gets a coffee from me. Just put the name in the comments below, and be as honest as you can about if you googled it or not.)
But the idea of naming the building for Brad makes sense for lots of reasons.
Colorado has a rich history of ironic naming. Remember that the Alferd Packer grill was originally an epithet because the food tasted a bit too... familiar. Now there's a bust of the "man-eatin' sonofabitch" in the foyer, making him look positively regal.
Come to think of it, Feld has a certain resemblance to Packer.
And most importantly: It may prompt some kind of actual discussion about how the Patent system should evolve.
Now, I'm not crazy. There's zero chance this will actually happen. I think the Feds will be too timid to even name it after Nikola Tesla, even though Colorado played a critical part in the science behind every single act of plugging a cord into a wall to get electricity to a device.
The fact that Tesla feuded with Edison should help his case, but probably won't. The fact that he was probably gay, well, that could go either way. AC/DC. The fact that the coolest entrepreneur on the planet these days recognized his genius when naming his car company will probably hurt, as GM, et. al. seem to use the government to thwart actual competition.
Pueblo native David Packer would be a good choice, except that it pisses me off that I have to pay more per ounce for ink than I do for 30-year-old Scotch.
Woz would be another great choice, but it seems unlikely after his ignominious exit from the University of Colorado. (The story I heard, which may be apocryphal, is that he hacked the regents computer system so when the workers came in one Monday morning all the printers had run out of paper exhausted from printing expletives all weekend.)
The first appearance went well, also, but now it seems like a thing so I wanted to post this here to let you know that if you have a tech startup, do feel free to contact me using the contact info on this blog to suggest other companies that I should take a look at on 9News.
When we dream, if we flap our arms, we fly away. That's a uesfull thing to remember so that if you experience something, and you aren't sure that it is really happening -- or if it's a dream -- you can just flap your arms. If you don't fly away, it really is happening.
I've been flapping my arms a lot lately.
It started during the college football game to determine the national champions. There were two different stories that required flapping of arms. The first is well-chronicled, the Notre Dame player who's dead girlfriend turned out to be fictional. That story didn't make sense for so many people because everyone knows that football players can get whatever girl they want, right?
That leads us to the second story from that same game. A tee-vee announcer, trying to fill time in a lopsided game, said that the girlfriend of the wining side's quarterback was attractive, and that if you want to get the pretty girls it helps to be a great football player.
His logic was unassailable, and yet he became a national joke, had to apologize, and may well retire after this "incident."
I was reminded of a conversation I had with my son once a couple of years back. He asked me why they still had a king and queen in the Netherlands. I told him that I just didn't know. He said that maybe it was so that girls would like the country more.
Pretty good theory, I thought.
Look, we don't have a monarchy in this country, but clearly we need something to fill that void. Why do you think the girlfriend of the football player was "crowned" Miss Alabama and wears a tiara? Why do you think Alabama was "crowned" as the national champions? The announcer was simply stating the obvious, making clear what everyone with eyeballs was thinking.
And for that he was excoriated? Time to flap my arms. Not flying.
Remember Ron Paul? The guy who ran a bill every year he was in congress to get the US out of the United Nations? He's the guy who used a groundswell of support and money (most of it via RonPaul.com) to run for president, and poll at a remarkably high percentage, only to be cynically closed out of the Republican party, which seems intent on making as many self-destructive decisions as possible. That's not flap-your-arms stuff, that's politics.
No, the news that grabbed my attention is that Ron Paul, now retired, has discovered that the internet is important, and he wants to control the domain RonPaul.com. Who does control it? People who liked him when he ran for president, but don't like him enough to just give him the domain. They want to sell it to him for a healthy price. What does Ron Paul do? Files a grievance with... wait for it... The United Nations.
Flap flap flap. Still here.
Todd Helton -- who pretty much won the lottery of life as a franchise baseball player -- got busted for a DUI. My sister is a flight attendant, and she got to work a Rockies flight once. She said the players were all a little grab-handy and suggestive, but the one total gentleman and great guy was Todd Helton, so he gets a lot of leeway in my book. Still, why was Todd going out driving at 2:30 a.m. to a qwicky mart? To buy lottery tickets.
Flap flap flap. Flap flap flap. Still here.
Those who've been keeping up on the news understand that the US Government really can kill whomever it wants whenever and wherever it wants. The current drone debate makes that clear, and yet somehow President Obama gets a pass on that one.
The more I read about laws that make it illegal for anyone to "exceed authorized access" to a computer, it's clear that if some prosecutor somewhere wants an Aaron Swartz or a Bradley Manning locked up or dead, they can do so with impunity.
So it doesn't surprise me too much when the government decides to arrest and charge anyone, really. Recently then they arrested a 67-year-old guy who likes to grow his hair long. Why? For suggesting that some followers of his should go and cut the hair of other people who like to grow their hair long. Fifteen years he got for that. I'm not saying I'm a fan, but 15 years? Not one drop of blood spilled, and he gets what for him is a life sentence?
Swartz, by the way, died facing charges that he was taking theses available at major university libraries and making them available to others. He didn't do any hacking to do that, he just used a regular log-in.
Some actual hacker broke into the email account of a former president. That hacker hasn't been caught, that we know of, He may well be dead by now for all we know. But we do see via his work that President Bush, (43) -- the one accused of water-boarding governmental detainees -- has taken up painting and created two self-portraits, both of them while bathing.
This blog has been fairly dead for the last few months, but I do think about it nearly every day. It's just that my main job -- ironically at a business blogging service -- has been so busy of late. That's a good thing, but it's also meant some things have had to slip.
You can see plenty of me over there, and you can see me around in Boulder, where BlogMutt's Offices are found in the old Daily Camera building, or in Denver, where I live and try to participate in startup events, such as Denver Startup Week.
If you don't believe me, watch the first 20 seconds of this video:
I also didn't want to write too much here because I wanted the post below to stay at the top of the page. It's become something of a touchstone. I just don't think there's enough written about the lack of work ethic of a huge demographic swath, so I like the fact that the post below was front and center. It prompted some Millennials to write in telling me that I'm full of it, and a couple of others to promise to become productive BlogMutt writers. They haven't, of course. It's just like them to complain and then not do any actual work.
One curious thing happens when I don't blog much: I get more inquiries wondering if I'd be willing to sell this domain. Maybe I should, I mean, I'm not nearly active as others in this neighborhood.
But I do still like it, and it will be hard to get me to part with it.
Anyway, for my regular readers, thanks, keep in touch, and have a very happy new year!
I've tried extending opportunities to these Millennials. I dish it up for them, and all they have to do is a little bit of work and…
Disappointment. Every time.
A little background: I run a blog writing service. We write blogs for businesses. Those businesses are run by people who are just too busy to write their own blog posts.
I thought when I started this that we'd have two great sources of freelance writers to help do that writing: stay-at-home moms and recent grads. The moms, I figured, have a spare hour every now and again and they are smart and some of them are good writers. They just lack an opportunity to write for pay. Zillions of them write for no pay on their own blogs, and that's all fine, but in general those are only read by the people they are already friends with.
That part has worked out very well. Many of our best writers are busy moms who make time for Blogmutt customers.
The other category is college kids, or recent college grads. They, right now, are either working at a coffee shop, or not working at all and either way living in their parents' basements.
I've been there. When I graduated the economy sucked and journalism jobs were hard to find, but you could always find work somewhere and I ended up at the Durango Herald and had some of the best times of my life.
While the Herald is still there, the reality is that the entry-level jobs for writers are far fewer percentage-wise than they have been in generations. I know there's lots of writing being done, but my job at the Herald was "Staff Writer." How many jobs with that title are out there today? Not many.
So I figured that these young Americans would be interested in writing work. Our pay is right in line with the industry, and it would be a lot better than spending all day asking people if they want room for cream. Maybe they could even make enough to move out of their parents' house, get a place of their own.
I really did try to reach out. I would get myself an invitation to go speak to college students anywhere I could, and recently got what I thought would be a perfect invitation to a class specifically designed to help graduating seniors from what for now is still known as the J-school to find work after they graduate.
I then talked to them about the big idea in that video, that the most important thing is to work hard, to produce a body of work and to work regularly. As I looked around the room, I got a bunch of blank stares.
So I used the standard technique for engaging an audience, I started asking them questions. "Do any of you have anything lined up for after you graduate?"
After an uncomfortable silence, one of them asked, "You mean… a job?"
"I don't want to put boundaries on it," I said. "A job, an internship. Going into the Peace Corps. Anything in the works for after you graduate in a couple of months?"
More awkward silence.
I then pointed to one of them. "How about you?"
"Well, I hear there's lots of jobs in San Francisco, but my parents keep telling me that I'll get free room and board if I move back home to Minnesota."
So, out of this class of 35 people -- people who went to college to study writing, need experience in writing, and don't have anything at all lined up -- guess how many of them signed up to be writers? One. One guy was brave enough to apply. I put him into the system straight away. After a week he wrote one post. One. The writing was fine, the customer liked it. Nothing glamorous. The posts we write at Blogmutt remind me of the "briefs" I wrote every day when I worked at the Durango Herald. Nothing groundbreaking, just work.
But work, it appears, is not what Millennials do. I'm not alone in discovering this, by the way. I've had this conversation recently with a lawyer, a CPA, a cell phone exec, and others. They all say the same thing: I asked a new associate to do something recently and they told me "no." They told me they had volleyball or something. When I was their age I never said no.
This connected an important thread for me. I live by Wash Park and every weekday evening I see zillions of people in their 20s hanging out playing volleyball, drinking, having a grand old time. I've often wondered why there didn't use to be so many people hanging out in the park, especially people in their 20s. When this lawyer friend told me that about the associate who left work to play volleyball, it suddenly became clear: It used to be that young people worked. There was a time we were called "Yuppies" and that was short for Young Urban Professionals. There's nothing professional about the Millennials, so the term has just faded away.
Look, I don't have anything against volleyball. You want to be a professional volleyball player, that's great. Play all the time. If you want to be a writer you should be writing.
Now… I don't want to be scrooge. It's great that people can have some fun with friends, but you get good at the things you do. Read Malcolm Gladwell. If you spend a lot of time hanging out with friends doing nothing, that's what you'll get good at.
I don't totally blame Millennials. It was your parents who gave you a trophy for finishing fifth out of six teams in your soccer league. They are the ones who came to school every couple of days dropping hints about how brilliant you were. They were the ones who helicoptered over you. They are the ones who offer you free room and board if you move back home.
I was talking about this with a friend recently and heard about an office where parents regularly show up with their children to demand more for their children. This was not a middle or high school, or even a college office. This was the graduate job counseling office of a law school. These kids earn a law degree and still they have their mommies and daddies come with them to demand more from school because they deserve it because they are special! Is it the kids' fault for bringing those parents along, or is it the parents fault for going? Hey, there's plenty of blame to go around.
It was your parents who voted for Baby Boomer presidents (Clinton and GWB) who were just like them and those turned out to be the two worst presidents we've had since…
Yes, that's an interesting question. Since… I think, a similar pair in Wilson and Harding. Those were the ones, along with people of their generation, who were so self-absorbed and incompetent that they led us into the stupid first World War, left a screwed up Europe and eventually led us into the Great Depression. You know who got us out of the Great Depression and saved us from tyranny around the world? Well, now we call them the Greatest Generation. They don't like that title much. You know how they did all they did? There are still a few of them around, and they'll tell you if you ask them. They won't say they saved the world. What they will tell you is that all they did was work and work hard and work all the time and then work some more.
They did such a good job that they built America into this amazing powerhouse that could put a man on the moon, build the world's biggest and strongest middle class, survive Vietnam and Watergate. The only thing that they didn't do a great job on… was raising kids. Most of those kids were OK, but some of them were the classic Baby Boomers, the ones who wanted to take over because they had better hair. The classic Baby Boomers, I would say were Clinton and George W. Bush. And just like Wilson and Harding they were so self-absorbed and incompetent that they wrecked the economy and got us into another crappy war: the War on Terror. (Not taking anything away from the supremely awesome troops.)
Now before you say Clinton was not bad because the economy did so well while he was president, and we had peace, may I point out that he had many chances to get Bin Laden, and missed them all. He had a chance to stop the Enrons of the world, and didn't. The economy grew, but much of that growth was fueled by people cheating, and it was headed downhill at a pretty good clip when he was wrapping up.
But it sure did seem like things were going well with the economy for a while there under Clinton... so much so that your parents thought they wouldn't really have to work that hard, and that's a value that you picked up on. It turns out that the most important formative years of childhood that most affect your attitudes about money come when you are about 10-11 years old.
Do the math. If you are 24 right now it means that you were 10-11 in 1999, right when the economy was the most frothy. You "learned" that if you just have a good business plan -- Pet Food On The Internet! -- you could make a zillion dollars.
Well, you learned wrong. What you learned is the stuff that screwed us up. Luckily it's not going to get too bad. We're not going to let it. Who are we? We're Generation X, and we are a lot like the X Men. There aren't as many of us as there are of you, but we can do these amazing things that you simply can't do.
First thing we did was elect a non-Boomer president. Politics aside, that last election was between a borderline Gen Xer and a borderline member of the Greatest Generation. Both parties rejected the classic Boomers who were the early favorites.
Can you imagine if that election had been between Boomers John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani? <shudder>
Once the primaries were over, those that read about McCain learned that he's all Boomer in his views about how special he is because… well, you know, because he is. For me, the 2008 election was less about politics than it was about generations.
Boomers were all intent on replacing "The Man" with themselves because they really know how to change the world because they trust their gut. Xers ignore "The Man" and just go out and change the world. This is well laid out in the excellent X Saves the World, really the only book I've seen that lays out the case for how Gen X is quietly keeping the whole nation from a giant suck-fest that it would be if the Boomers and their Millennial offspring were left in charge.
The Boomers sure aren't going to save the world, for as much as they talk about it. It's us, we're going to save it by just showing up and working hard every day.
And as for you Millennials, well, Stop Whining! We're sick of you telling us about how you need to find your work meaningful. We're sick of you telling us about how you want balance. We're sick of you telling us that you can't work Thursday after 4 p.m. because you have your Ironic Polo Club. We're sick of you working somewhere for six weeks and then asking when you will be taking over as management. We're sick of it all.
And you know what we can't wait for? One point in time. That point will come when you realize that you are expendable. Right now you think that you should have all the things that come with hard work, and you should have them because you've always had them. (Soccer trophies!) You just don't want to do the work.
But here's the rude awakening that's coming: The next generation. Our kids. My son comes downstairs every morning and finds me working, and he often falls asleep to the sound of my typing. He's started two businesses, and he's 8. We sit and watch Shark Tank together and he has a dead-on sense of which businesses will get an offer, and which will not. He has dreams about my current business, Blogmutt, in which he's solving business problems.
That's right. In his sleep he's better than you are awake.
And he's not alone. An 11-year-old relative of mine recently asked me if I was sad about Whitney Houston, "Because she's from the 1900s, like you."
Pause, and take that in for a moment. "The. 1900s. … Like. You."
She's not from the 1900s, she's from this century. She'll see you, born the 1980s or 90s as being essentially the same as the Xers born in the 60s and 70s. We'll all be lumped in together, and so you know how she'll judge us?
By our work.
Have you invented Google? No. Then get back to work!
Now, sure, you will say that Millennials can work. Look at Instagram. Yes. Let's do. Those are not whiney kids, those are people who are smart and work hard. They said it themselves: They saw the "wantrepreneurs" all around them going to parties, hanging out around incubators playing video games, reading every story on TechCrunch and commenting on all the stories about how stupid an idea was and how unworthy it was of TechCrunch coverage. What were the Instagram guys doing while the Millennials sat around talking about changing the world? They were working. Solving problems. Focussing not on themselves but on their users.
Now, you may be asking how I can write such incendiary things. Three reasons:
First, I'm not worried about any Millennials reading this. If it's longer than a tweet, they can't handle reading it anyway and so they didn't make it this far. If they did read this far it's probably because they are one of the exceptions that are so amazing in part because they stand out so dramatically. Millennials like the "boys" pictured above working 14-hour days on an organic vegetable farm, or writers like Téa Obreht who taught herself English by watching bootlegged Disney movies and wrote every day for as long as she can remember. There are even a few entrepreneurs who show promise.
Second, Even if they did read this far they aren't able to do anything about it. It's like that scene from Bull Durham where Kevin Costner challenges the hot young pitcher to throw the ball right at his chest. The pitcher says he'll kill him, but Costner knows the guy won't come close. He doesn't, either.
Lastly, Let's say there's one Millennial out there who's read this far, is outraged at what I say, and decides that he or she needs to prove me wrong, so that person goes to sign up as a Blogmutt writer and writes 100s of great posts for dozens of different Blogmutt clients.
This is the blog for my personal life, but because my personal life these days is pretty much all Blogmutt all the time (with the support and encouragement of my wonderful wife and super son) I'm going to share some news about the best blog writing service on four paws!
The first is that Blogmutt will be presenting at the Angel Capital Summit this coming Thursday. If you happen to be in Denver and are interested in coming by, please let me know. It should be plenty of fun. I'll be talking up Blogmutt, of course, but also the Founder Institute, which is gearing up for a fabulous third session in Denver this summer. It should be just as good as the first one, or the second one.
That pitch from Blogmutt will come on the heels of a flurry of activity on our profile on Angel.co, where Blogmutt was a "trending topic."
But I'm writing today mainly to put in one place three guest posts published recently in three different places.
All three are part of our thus-far relatively low key way of getting the word out about Blogmutt, and it seems to be working. We continue to grow about 10-15 percent per month in paying customers, in part because our current customers seem to stick with us month after month.
The first of the three was a blog post that was inspired by a tweet about the difference between social media tactics and social media strategy. The basic premise is that there's a difference between landscape architecture and good lawn mowing, and similarly there's a difference between social media strategy and social media execution.
It wasn’t that long ago that it was kind of a thing if you hired a lawn service. “Oh! Look at Mr. Fancy Pants, too busy to mow his own lawn!” That thinking is now as widespread as eating TV dinners while watching Dallas. People get help with their lawn because they’d rather spend their precious time with their family instead of cursing at the lawnmower.
Now you’ll notice, most people don’t yank out their grass and put in plastic, as noted above, they just hire someone who’s good at mowing grass, they pay them a fair price, and call it done.
I loved writing that if only because it allowed me to link to a post that I refer to every couple of weeks, the Cult of Done. Love it.
The second post was the culmination of months of back-and-forth, but that turned out OK. When I first proposed a guest post for the Startup America Partnership it was still hosted on a long and unwieldy domain. They switched to the slick: s.co, and then the Blogmutt post appeared. In that one I got to practice a little bit of contained schizophrenia, urging startups to "Go it alone!" and "Do NOT go it alone!" Thanks so much to the Startup America team for including that blog post.
The third post was truly satisfying in one key way. We keep talking about the power of crowdsourcing, so we got to sing the praises of crowdsourcing right on Crowdsourcing.org. The way this was more satisfying than the others was that we got to practice what we preach and the leading writer (using our internal point system) at Blogmutt wrote this story for us. Here's a clip from the post, written by the amazing Ruth Bremer:
As a writer in the Blogmutt crowd — or “pack,” as we like to say around here — I win too. The crowdsourcing model provides a unique opportunity to do something I enjoy and improve my skills without giving up flexibility. I just don’t have room in my life for a bunch of tight deadlines and external pressure. Blogmutt gives me the chance to gain paid writing experience on my own schedule.
With a wide variety of clients to choose from, I get to learn and write about all sorts of interesting topics — but since I’m part of a crowd, I know that if I can’t come up with something for a particular client one week, another writer will step up to do it. I can also take time off without giving it a second thought. I write only as much as I want, but as it turns out, that’s quite a lot. My biggest problem now is carving out time to write more blog posts. Because the other “win” about writing for Blogmutt is that it’s just really, really fun.
When I tell non-writers that the writers really enjoy Blogmutt, the response is sometimes disbelief. But I am a writer and if I wasn't so darn busy running a company, I'd really enjoy working in just the environment that Ruth describes.
I enjoy writing, but I'm also really enjoying creating a place where writers get to just write and do nothing else, and where customers can get blogging done!
"They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government ... shouldn't get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional ________s view the world, and I think most ______s understand that individuals can't go it alone, that there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture."
I cut a little for this experiment (full quote is here), but what word did I leave a blank for? You could make a strong case that you could put the world "liberal" in there both times and imagine many Republicans making this statement.
Turns out that it was Rick Santorum who said this about the Barry Goldwater-style conservatives.
I post this only to make two points:
Wonks like Shawn Mitchell are right that if Santorum is the nominee Obama will probably win all 50 states, and,
Liberals have way more in common with a Santorum than they would ever admit.
I know we are coming into a season of high pique, but my goal for me in this year is to really try to find common ground and say as many positive things as possible about those inside and outside of politics, and the amazing thing is that I don't think it will really be that hard.