Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Fuc*&ng Caterpillars – Adventures in Landlording #547

April 23rd, 2018

Fucking caterpillars. Silicon Valley has been invaded by a nasty and destructive moth, borne from the pupa of an exotic caterpillar. To be exact, the Western Tussock Moth:
Previous tenants failed to alert me to the first and second infestations, but last year I hired a local company to trim the tree and spray this year. They are making a fortune spraying and it takes weeks to get on their schedule. (FF) Finally the tree has been sprayed; phew. Hopefully the tree will survive and I won’t have to spend 10K to have the tree removed…

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5 Keys to scaling your start-up.

November 18th, 2017

You are in the customer service business – yes, yes you are.
You are successful if your employees and customers are successful.
You know your goals.
You innovate.
You reward success.

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Random House Photos Santa Fe

April 5th, 2017
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Paris 1997

September 7th, 2016

I left work in LA to go to home to Silicon Valley. Fast forward and I’m in France at the 50th Cannes Film Festival representing Sun Microsystems Video Server group. Weekend-ing in Paris before returning home, I ran into man in his mid-fifties in the lobby of my little ** hotel. Turns out he lived 30 minutes from me in California and couldn’t get online via an antiquated switchboard/dial up to check email. While helping him to get on line, he told me he and his wife had ‘downsized’ and were in Paris for two weeks before renting an apartment for a month near Nice before heading to Russia for a consulting job interspersed with several months of vacation before heading back to the bay area for holidays with their family. They didn’t want to wait until retirement age to travel.

Yeah, that sounds good.

It was this chance encounter that made me focus on quality not quantity; it made me think differently about what success means to me. I may not have oodles of cash but have a great deal of personal freedom and my time is my own.

It took time, effort, and a lot of throwing the proverbial darts to see if they would stick, but here I am, 20 years later heading back to Paris for dinner with friends before traveling on to Portugal and Morocco.

Yeah, that sounds good 😉


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one year on – a lifetime ago.

April 21st, 2016
About one year ago (26th) my builder, (‘he who must not be named’ according to my Attorney,) sent me an email saying he was going to replace himself and promised to get back to me the next day. He never contacted me, and was unresponsive to all communication. As a result, my world turned upside down. Within 90 days all west facing doors/windows were removed and subsequently replaced – see ‘raining in the house post.’ In August, he was terminated (negligence/fraud?!) and did not name his replacement or do further work.
My second builder stormed off the job after her framing the fireplace wrong and refusing to even troubleshoot a solution. It’s now correctly installed (without having to shim out an entire living room wall) My third and final builder has never signed the contract; good news is that he has no attention to detail and has left me to fend for myself. Those things I coordinated came together. Not without hitches, but work has been completed in a timely manner.
I managed to find some amazing people that have helped me considerably along the way, so if you have a project coming up, these people are reasonable and trustworthy. John Reeder (505) 988-8098), while pricy, showed up, did his job, and billed correctly. Mary from is a fantastic person helming a women-run company, with an amazing team. It just doesn’t get better; professional, friendly, communicative, super easy to work with. 
Still quite a few days to go coupled with plenty of ‘hitches’ but moving forward nonetheless…
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The house that broke me. First World Problem #1529

January 8th, 2016

Today I realized I’m 34-38K over budget on a budget that was already 31K over budget (not including attorney’s fees – 25-30K, and the money I have in it ~410k).

So, I’m putting together a list of shit I can sell. Quite frankly, the list is pathetic. IPad Air 2 maybe $350. Then I start getting into 24 bottles of port/wine – 2K, and the junk silver 1K, consignment furniture/rugs. Mom’s ring, my bling. A rental property…

I need an attitude adjustment and some good brainstorming.

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October 23rd, 2014

Nora was kind enough to use several of my travel hacks on her blog. Super excited to be mentioned with the likes of Chris Guillebau – the been to every country in the world, Art of Non-Confomity Chris, and Nomatic Matt. Check them out! 5, 6, 7, and 16 are mine.

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Win-Win or When-When?

December 12th, 2012

I really do believe win-win can be achieved. Lately I’m wondering if it’s more like when-when instead of win-win.

With Win-Win there is an assumption of a common goal, similar values, the ability to put aside your own expectations for the greater good.

With when-when, I wonder -when- will people put aside ego and expectations to realize that success in whatever form it takes is to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected. When will you set aside differences and embrace what it takes to make the other side successful? When do you take feedback with an open mind and heart, rather than defensiveness?

When do YOU step up to the plate and take responsibility for creating an environment where win-win takes the place of when-when?

When you do, everybody wins.

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Teams: Defining roles and responsibilities

March 25th, 2011

How many hats do you wear? Team Leadership; Roles and Responsibilities

In my first post on cross-functional teams, 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Functional Team Management, I outlined the 5 keys needed for successful cross-functional team management: Goals, Roles, Responsibilities, Accountability, and Reward. My second post addressed the first of those keys: Cross-functional Team Leadership in Startups and SME’s: The First 5 Keys – Goal Setting for Success.
In this post I will address the second and third keys in this series: Roles and Responsibilities — how to define, track and measure them.
When it comes right down to it, the first two roles (hats) any team member wears besides their functional area hat are Team Member and Deliverable Owner.

Team Member because unless you understand that the first thing you do for the team is show up as a contributing member of the team, you are not on a team. Owner because unless you own your participation with personal responsibility and deliver on those responsibilities, you can’t come to the team table.

So, what does that say about titles like Executive Sponsor, Engineer, Sales, Business Dev., QA, Compliance? It says that you know what your job is and how your skills contribute to the success of the Product/Project/Team you are on.

That being said, you have to know your functional responsibilities, and these must be focused and actionable. By focused, I mean you are clear on what tasks you have to accomplish. By actionable, I mean they are specific and measurable, which includes status, inter-dependencies, schedule, issues and potential risks.

The following Hat Template can be used help you define each team member’s participation and can be tracked to plan. Click on the form to download/save a spreadsheet version. Feel free to copy, edit, and distribute it.

Hat/Role: Designates your particular role, be it employee, engineer, contributor, reviewer, manager, marketing, etc.
Deliverable: Denotes your task and/or deliverable – is this tracked in the MRD/PRS?
Current Status: Green, Yellow, Red, complete – if you don’t know what this means, you shouldn’t be reading this post.
Dependencies: Items that could potentially keep you from completing the task. One of the more important aspects of cross-functional team interaction is managing the gaps and expectations in and amongst team members.
Due/Done: Are you on schedule; is item tracked on a master schedule?
Issues: Anything that could jeopardize completing the task, be it supply chain, equipment, non-performers, or vacation schedules.
Risks: Provides snapshot of project status and gaps.

The most important thing about the above document is that it be completed and maintained by the team member either directly or via the team leader or project manager. This document should be easily accessible to all team members via a team portal, AND, should not be more complicated than what you are trying to accomplish. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Coming next: Accountability – how to manage people when no one is a direct report!

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A word about Coffee

March 1st, 2011


Okay, this is more than one word. I like – ne- love a good cuppa joe. My current fav is an Woman Owned Ethiopian Coffee Ethiopia Amaro Gayo

This exceptional coffee is exported through Ethiopia’s only female
miller/exporter, an exceptional woman. Asnakech Thomas is one of the
most inspiring figures in Ethiopian coffee today. Native to the Amaro
region, Asnakech decided in 2005 to return to her homeland to improve
coffee quality at her mill and in local communities.She is one of the
few people to travel weekly between Addis and the coffee areas. The
Amaro Mountains are a small range separating the communities of Amaro
on the eastern slopes from Nechisar National Park and the lowland
tribal areas of Arba Minch in southwest Ethiopia, Sidama region. The
local coffee varieties, relatively light population, waterfalls and
highland bamboo forests are among the many unique features of the

All Amaro Gayo coffee is certified organic. Prices paid for this
coffee are at the extreme high end of market, social programs are in
the works including possibilities for assistance with capacity
building and coffee job creation, schools, clean water and medical

Altitude: 5200 feet
Processing Method: Natural
Grade: Strictly Hard Bean
Species: Arabica

Cup Characteristics: thick body, chocolatey, dried banana &
blackberry. sweet rich chocolate aftertaste, very clean and consistent

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