Sunday, June 05, 2011

Beginner's Guide to Twitter

I only have two friends who follow me on Twitter .. my one friend 612 who follows me only to humor me and does not believe it yet but Twitter will be in our future! Read below!

Beginner's Guide to Twitter

Joel Comm

Everyone seems to be atwitter about Twitter. The free online service lets users send and receive very short messages -- no longer than 140 characters apiece. A typical Twitter message, known as a "tweet," might provide a quick update on what you’re doing or request help with a problem. Users post tweets to a personal Web page from their cell phones, PDAs or computers. How Twitter can be useful and how to sign up...


To use Twitter in your personal life...

Keep friends and family updated on your life when you don’t have the time or inclination to call or e-mail. You might tweet, "We arrived home safely from our trip"... or, "The car’s running again. It was just a fuse."

Real-life tweet: A passenger on a plane that skidded off a Denver runway last winter used his cell phone to tweet about the event moments after it occurred. His friends never had to worry about his safety, because they got his tweet and learned that he was unharmed before the incident was reported in the media.

Arrange social activities, even at the last minute. Rather than place dozens of calls to find someone who is free, send out a single tweet. This tweet might read, "I’m going fishing. Anyone want to join me?"

Real-life tweet: Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal used Twitter to inform his friends and fans that he was sitting down to dinner alone in Phoenix. A pair of local basketball fans drove to the diner and hung out with him.

Solicit opinions, advice or assistance on short notice. You could tweet, "Can anyone suggest a good place for dinner in Albany?"... or, "My car broke down in Portland. Can anyone recommend a good mechanic?"


To use Twitter in your professional life...

Keep colleagues and clients up-to-date about schedules and plans. You could tweet, "Any customer expecting a service call today will receive one by 5:00 pm despite the snow" or, "My flight was delayed. Can someone stand in for me at this afternoon’s meeting?"

Search for tweets about your company, industry or products written by other Twitter users, then provide fast feedback. A plumber might offer responses to plumbing-related questions to build goodwill with customers. A manufacturer might respond to a complaint about a product with troubleshooting tips, turning negative buzz about the product into positive buzz about the company’s customer service.

For example, cable company Comcast has a customer service employee monitor Twitter for mentions of Comcast and respond quickly.

The Web site TweetBeep ( and Twitter’s own search page ( can help you find relevant tweets.

Show clients and potential clients the person behind the business.Customers are more likely to trust you if they believe that they know you and like you as a person. To build this human connection, tweet about your hobbies... your charitable work... or your company’s softball game, in addition to your business and products.


Twitter is easy to use. Visit, click "New to Twitter? Join today" and follow the simple directions.

E-mail a link to your Twitter Web page to keep friends, family, colleagues and clients posted on your life or business. You can find people to follow by clicking on "Find People" from your Twitter home page.

Warning: Click "Settings," then check the box by "Protect my updates" on your Twitter account page if you want to maintain control over who reads your tweets. Leave this unchecked only if you do not expect to share sensitive information and would like to reach strangers as well as friends. Always be careful. If you are going to be out of town for a few weeks, you may not want to tweet about that if everyone can read your posts.

You also can choose to receive tweets from individuals on your cell phone. Though Twitter is free, your service provider may charge you when you send or receive messages from your phone depending on your plan.

Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Joel Comm, an Internet entrepreneur, Loveland, Colorado, who has helped found such Web sites as (now Yahoo! Games). He is author of Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time (Wiley).

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Three Week House Refresh: April 19th - May 6th, 2011

It took 12 years but Fran and I finally took the plunge of replacing a few nooks put in place by the developer of our house back in 1999. I could start to see the handwriting on the wall as appliances started failing this past year ... but the kicker to get moving was the seemingly innocuous replacement of our 1999 model TV with a big screen TV in February. The new TV would not fit in the nooks so we had to buy a stand for the TV to sit on at the far end if the family room but now the nooks that had looked so quaint 10 years ago did not look so quaint anymore.

So we got a bid to replace the nooks and the artist rendering looked pretty nice so we went ahead with it and while we were at it the design grew to include granite ( a special sale of course :-) countertops, new appliances and an expansion of our pantry to go under our stairs.

All in all the folks at the remodeling company did a great job. The workers from all the various trades were courteous and conscientious and while the job ended up taking a little longer and definitely more expensive than we planned going in the work turned out great and we are quite pleased with the result.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 10 2011: Interesting Comments by Conference Speaker

I attended an industry conference on March 10th and the key note speaker was interesting enough that I thought I would write a little blog article to share and look back on 1-2 years from now.

Ken Krieg was the DoD Under Secretary for Acquisition under Don Rumsfeld during the Bush administration. He currently works in the private sector as a consultant with Renaissance Strategic Advisers ... advising clients how to survive the expected downsizing of the DoD. He was quite knowledgeable and his presentation was stocked with data about government spending and quite a few observations about political behavior and citizen behavior. In short we are headed for a near financial catastrophe if not actually achieving that state due to our gridlock in congress.

  1. Americans want lower taxes. In general since WWII our federal tax receipts have ranged between 16-21% of GDP.
  2. Americans want higher benefits. In general expenditures since WWII have been 18-25% of GDP.
  3. Entitlements grew from 5.8% of GDP in 1962 to 15% in 2011
  4. U.S. deficit in 2011 is projected at 11% of GDP and total debt is projected to be about $21T by 2016
  5. The U.S. debt portfolio carries an average interest rate of 3% with an average term of 57 months. The average rate from 1970 to 2009 was 6.2%. If we move back to the average of 6% that means the U.S. will need to come up with an additional $400-500B just to pay the incremental interest. This will have to come from either entitlement cuts or new taxes as interest on the debt gets paid first.
  6. DoD expenditures including Afghanistan and Iraq total about $700B. In CY $ there have been three major up and down DoD expenditure cycles since 1952. Each cycle (17, 17, and 25) has had a high of $550B and a low of $350B so the current $700B has broken out of the norms we have experienced during the last 60 years. This makes the current budget and in particular the expenditures for new weapons platforms extremely vulnerable to cuts. In addition the public support for two war efforts will likely not be there when faced with higher taxes or cuts to entitlements. Ken's projection is DoD will get cut back to $550B on the high side and low side of $400B. Those suppliers seeking to move from DoD to HLS contracts are in for a surprise ... the total HLS budget is only $40B ... implying there is going to be significant consolidation and drives for efficiency across the DoD supplier base. During the last major DoD downturn (1990 - 1995) top line DoD budget shrank 23% but procurement shrank 52%. Implications were a decade of corporate consolidations, no hiring and reduced maintenance.
  7. DoD procurement is cash basis and subject to available budget. Entitlements are the only portion of the budget not subject to annual voting ... the bills come in and they get paid.
  8. Ken's prediction. Continuing resolutions will be passed for the remainder of this fiscal year (six months) but more concerning is the budget process is so hosed up and with 8 senators retiring the electioneering will be crazy with no great incentive to pass a budget resulting in continuing resolutions through the 2012 fiscal year. CRs result in government agencies being constrained to what they spent in the prior FY with very little flexibility unless authorized by congress.
  9. During Ken's entire time in office even though he was accountable for performance versus schedule and budget and he regularly got grilled on this where he got the most heat from congress was with respect to jobs in "my district"
  10. Ash Carter is the current Under Secretary for Acquisition and his mantra is "Do More without More" ... he will be seeking restructuring of primes and driving out redundant operations from prior mergers. He will also be seeking more FFP versus CP or T&M contracts on major programs. CP and T&M puts the risk on the government ... we need to move to a better balance of risk sharing. Also, being "big" may not be an advantage going forward ... the DoD will be seeking lean, smart, agile companies that deliver breakthrough products at breakthrough prices.
  11. Question? Has the all volunteer force been a factor in extending the DoD up down budget cycle from 17 years out to the current 25 years? A. During draft times more citizenry had a stake in where our soldiers were sent, they were not paid much and when we did not need them we sent them home. The all volunteer force is highly professional, well educated and well trained and excellent candidates for leadership roles in industry after their service. This does appear to have created a slight disconnect between our broad citizenry having a direct stake in military outcomes. Another factor may be that most volunteers come from red states.
  12. Question? Will DoD programs be getting more scrutiny in these tight budget times? A. Yes. Expect much more emphasis on audits and compliance. Unfortunately, this only assures that people are doing what they agreed to do ... not necessarily what is the right thing. Opportunities for improving results after a contract award are typically not highly rewarded. IG & DCAA are box checkers they are not partners in performance for doing more with less.
  13. Question? When will entitlements be addressed in this budget cycle? A. No. entitlements will be fixed only when we as a country face a budget crisis. Americans tend to respond to crisis ... only issue is the market determines the interest rates so we have less control than we think. For 50 years Americans have been told they are great and can have as much cake as they want ... it has elevated our lifestyle but it is a borrowed lifestyle. Someone ... actually several senior political leaders ... are needed to lead and be blunt with our population ... we are getting older, we are not healthy, and the baby boomer generation is spending the younger generation's money before they die and then leaving them the remaining bills. Unfortunately, without a financial crisis and a cause to focus on the common good, no elected politicians will have the courage to say raise taxes or cut back on what people think of as things they are entitled to.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Enneagram February 11-12, 2011

Fran and I attended an Enneagram session led by well known author and theologian Richard Rohr on Friday evening and all day Saturday February 11th and 12th. This is the first time we have done something like this but I hope we continue this journey of self-discovery.

The "Enneagram" ... roughly translates as "nine drawing". OK, a little too rough ... the Enneagram is a circle drawing with nine points on it representing the ways in which nine different personality types perceive and defend their realities. More like "nine ideas". The Enneagram and supporting tools help us recognize who we are on this spectrum of nine personality types and with work examines whether we are living trapped within ourselves or free from self-imposed constraints. Spiritual directors have used it for centuries to recognize personalities and their very predictable behaviors ... a tool to quickly assess individuals and groups.

If you have ever taken the Myers Briggs personality assessment you will catch on to the beginning of what it means to know your Enneagram personality type. While Myers Briggs helps us understand the motivations of others and how we may optimize our interactions the thought process behind the Enneagram goes much deeper and is a tool that has the potential to change how you approach life. If taught and received it will lead to accepting others, greater compassion, and better living.

Feb 11th Friday night:

Our personalities according to Rohr are 1/3 nature, 1/3 nurture and 1/3 choice and we all have blinders ... to see what our ego lets us see and excluding things we are not predisposed to. Even if we can see that our personality and behavior causes us pain and makes us miserable the ego will resist change.

No one consciously does evil but what we do in our self-centered ego driven world is to rationalize the behavior as good. A dualistic thinking often drives us ... things are either good or bad ... right or wrong. The true key to life is to transcend dualistic thinking and moving to a higher plane of thought ... contemplative thinking.

Rohr mentioned a couple passages from the bible;

1] In Genesis when God told Adam & Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden but not to eat from the tree of good and evil ... this metaphorically can be looked at as being warned from the beginning not to be judgmental of each other. As we gained knowledge human beings especially religious types have used their knowledge to judge others. This is contrasted with Jesus and his actions ... he was not angry with sinners but with those who denied being sinners.

2] In Philippians 3 the apostle Paul was an example of the first personality a person who behaves based on gut instinct and is a perfectionist. Paul (Saul at the time) was a person driven by compulsion to be the best at what he did and rewarded by his society for being so. He was compliant to the dominant culture until his conversion.

We have a "Home Base" ... either Instinct (from the gut, internalized), Intellectual (we think our way through) or Emotional (masters of building or destroying relationships ... takes on the needs of others). Within each of these home bases and the three personality types within each we are either compulsive (trapped within) or redeemed (freed from our demons). Unless we tame our demons we will never know our angels. Our goal no matter what personality type we are is to move to a redeemed state.

All humans are "wounded" in their feeling function ... we feel incorrectly. As humans we have an enormous capacity to misjudge others.

Rohr told a telling and somewhat humorous story .... when Mother Theresa died there was a tremendous void in the 1,000+ order of nuns she left behind. They were beside themselves and the Cardinal of Calcutta called Richard. He had heard of Richard as someone who may be able to help. Richard spent three weeks in Calcutta speaking to the order and helping them work through their grief and developing new leaders to take the place of Theresa. Mother Theresa was an "8" a personality that takes charge but she had not developed leaders to take her place when she was gone. The Cardinal told the story of how she would pound on his door in the middle of the night to demand his attention and tell of things the poor needed. Then there was the businessman who told Richard the story of how Mother Theresa came to his door and told him that God told her that he was to give her his factory for the production of things for the poor ... and the man gave her his factory. Such is the power of the convicted "8" personality.

Rohr lamented the state of our national discourse ... infantile. To him, with all the churches we have in the US, it means that churches are not doing a good job helping people move beyond the infantile thinking. From a quote attributed to Carl Jung ... 95% of the people live their lives 95% unconscious.

Next came an overview of Personality Types:

Type 1: The Perfectionist, the good little boy or girl, be on time, be good, be clean. Life is serious filled with problems to be solved. Tired of being critical. Your face and body and movement take the Type 1. This was SO evident in the panel session when four Type 1’s were called up. Their body language, the set of their faces and their movements were rigid and stern. Jesus did not focus on order he focused on the sinner. Our church has been led by 1’s in its history creating rigidity and rules about right and wrong dualistic thinking.

Country - Switzerland

Animal - The Barking Dog, The Working Ant

Sin - Resentment, Virtue - Serenity

Type 1’s & 6’s who emphasized original sin and moralism have taught the Christian tradition. This has led to rules, guilt and people judging each other. Richard joined the Franciscans and was mentored by a "7" ... a leader that emphasized a loving relationship with God and each other.

Type 2: The Giver. The natural servants of the world who gives generously but makes you feel they are doing so because they must. The keep interior lists to show them how superior they are and what you owe me because of what I gave you. They take on other peoples needs. Repress their own needs and they don’t even know their own needs.

Country - Italy

Animal - Licking Puppy

Sin - Pride, Virtue - Humility

The game is over for a 2 when they realize they do things not because they love others but because they want to be loved.

February 12th, 2011: Saturday morning

Type 3: The Performer. Often handsome / pretty, good build, the camelian, effective. Cry easily. Wounded in the feeling function. They have other people’s feelings. Embroider the truth. Achievement oriented. The children of 3’s that are most like the parent have difficulty.

Dresses to expectations. America is the "3" country ... we know how to look good, we manicure the truth, we mirror the best qualities the group wants to embody. But this is also how the world views America … i.e. as posers.

Country - America, Israel

Animal - Race Horse

Sin - Deceit, Virtue – Integrity

Pragmatism – if it works it must be true. Deeper principles are not needed as effectiveness is truth. Revelation requires a failure. Good efficiency experts. Drama queen. Sante Fe is the capital of 4dom.

Type 4: The Romantic. Be classy. Grease the wheels of life. Do not be like others. Will not conform and they need to be special. Love black. 4s built Americas movie industry. Love the metaphor of reality more than reality. They are serious about their creativity. Japan is highly ritual and elegant. Esthetic perfectionist. Love depth and search for self-understanding. It is a burden to have the best taste in the room. Their whole life is in search of their authentic self. 4’s have a natural eye for ritual and art. The ritual allows depth. Tragedy and sadness is where special ness and creativity are found. Almost nothing can shock a 4. Sharing experiences and mistakes and failures is a way a 4 can relate to you.

Country - Japan, France

Animal – Peacock

Sin – Envy, Virtue – Equanimity (calm non-dualistic thinking)

Type 5: The Observer – the world is a dangerous place. A mistress of perception. Relishes gathering of books, ideas, knowledge and a mania for research. Appear as nerds and emotionally stingy and giving of self. Avoidance of engagement and intimacy. Need private space. Good powers of observation and clarity of thought and objectivity. Calm clear-headed advice. It is important for a 5 to know the answer. The eye is the center of gravity. An inordinate number wear glasses. Good observers of inner self. Will provide way more data than necessary. 4s and 5s often do not get along … marriage not recommended. Thomas Mertens a very influential catholic author was a 5 with a strong 4 wing.

Country – British Isles

Animal – Barn Owl

Sin – Detachment, Virtue – Detachment

Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic – very difficult to go against authority. Rohr estimates that 50% of all people are 6’s and 25% are 9’s. Head people personified. They try to control everything by thinking. Fear is controlled by the head of the institution (Politicians, Fox News, Catholicism, Islam, Hitler) … top down driven fear plays well to 6’s and they respond to this type of message. 6’s glorify things and weapons to defend oneself. War economics are driven by 6’s. The “Phobic 6” is always running from fear and they do what they are told; faithful, humble, loyal, responsible, they always are looking for needs of others. The “Counter Phobic 6” charges when threatened. Daredevils charge into their fear. Total loyalists, my religion versus yours. GW Bush was a CP6 – limited on flexibility of options. Did you know “be not afraid” is the most mentioned phrase in the bible? The biggest sin / demon is unnamed for what it is – fear. Conversion requires operating out of different channels. Wonderful, stalwart, faithful personalities if converted to operate out of their virtue - courage. Conversion of the 6 requires pairing the 6 with good leadership. If they are continually around paranoid, anxious people they will not convert. Phobic 6’s ask endless questions to be clear and to address anxiety. Most naturally humble. Reliable, loyal, the glue to society.

Country – Germany

Animal – Mouse Deer, Rhinoceros

Sin – Fear, Virtue – Courage

Type 7: The Epicure – Avoids the downside of everything. Dualistic thinker. Eliminate the boring. Fill the world with endless possibilities. Normally extroverted but can be introvert. Everyone else can be down but a 7 will keep everyone up. They don’t age like everyone else. The classic hedonist. The fun is in the planning for the event …not the event. St Francis of Assisi was a 7 with a positive worldview but overdid the asceticism to compensate. When the panel of four 7’s got on stage they were beaming from ear to ear and ever optimistic.

Country – Brazil, Philippines

Animal – Otter, Butterfly

Sin – Gluttonous for fun and excitement and don’t know how to stop, Virtue – Joy

Type 8: The Protector – passionate, juice drives to reality, going for broke, appears to others as overstating the case. 8’s love to expose pretentious behavior and can make many angry. Angry at injustice. Endless passion for those on margins. Most revolutionaries and reformers are 8’s. They can walk into the room and sense where the power is … they want to take that power. 8’s create change. Oppressed cities and countries produce an inordinate number of 8’s and counter phobic 6’s. Men are more accepted as 8’s than women. 8’s at their worst revel in violence. Killing of the bull in Spain is the archetypical 8 behavior. Liberation theology came from the critique of power. When the panel of four 8’s got on stage their body type (big & heavy) was very evident. Physically they were bigger than every other group and talked in terms of dominating.

Country – Spain

Animal – Bull

Sin – Lust, Virtue – Passion that can be confused and interpreted as anger

Type 9: The Mediator – It is not OK to assert oneself. At the top of the circle, Passive /Aggressive. Motivation is to harmonize but that can look like weakness. Refuse to get flustered, tone down the energy. By temperament do not have enemies. They do a lot but can be called lazy, as they do not engage at the same level as a 3. Lots of unhealthy 9’s go along they join in to participate in groups. They need to be woken up and educated. A high percentage of alcoholics and those in jail are 9’s. They avoid doing. Awakened and educated 9’s multi-task and are high performing. The wings are 1’s and 8’s and if developed lead to highly effective focused, harmonizing 9’s. 6’s and 9’s are the most humble of people. Not a self-initiator. The Type 9 with their low energy are often left out of the conversation.

Country – Indigenous people

Animal – Donkey, Elephant

Sin – Lazy, Virtue – Decisive Action

Arizona has been elevated on the national stage as a state of hate, intolerance, and ignorance. AZ politicians are illustrative of the last gasp of the white male hierarchical structure.

The Albuquerque Enneagram program focuses on male change. The Enneagram accesses the male psyche like no other – Thought… possible connection to males who perpetuate domestic violence?