Sucks to get fired from your job when you’re about to visit your children

Back in April, that’s what happened. First, I was going to visit my step-dad in the hospital. Then, I was going to visit my kids in Hong Kong. After getting fired, being robbed and more, I still haven’t been able to fly out there to visit my children.

However, for the first time in two years, I’ve given them a present. It’s a belated birthday gift, for the last few years, one for each of my precious children.

I know, I know. Everybody says their kids are precious. I’m not a scumbag and I have my priorities straight. Soon as I make a decent salary (my boss can be a bit scatterbrained), I’m heading out there for a week to say hi, hang out and give them hugs so tight they complain. :)

Image via wikimedia commons.

Image via wikimedia commons.

Nothing I can give them makes up for two years of childhood missing. Growing up, my dad was overseas a lot, and back then, phone calls sucked. The latency was terrible. Now, the only thing I really miss is the warmth of their touch, the soft skin of youth, the smiles that say, “Daddy, it’ll be okay.”

I miss that a lot. First, when interviewing, I told people the truth. I want to work from home, so next summer, perhaps, I can have my kids visit for a longer time.

Do you know the reaction I got from potential employers? “Oh, you want to take an entire summer off and not work next year.” At least, that was the vibe I felt. In one interview that was, verbatim, the reaction…unreal right?

I’m not going to name names, but wow, that was completely unexpected. More and more, I’m realizing why. Silicon Valley, as they say, is a long way from DC. Business only regulates some laws, not how you make people *feel* about those laws. Sometimes, it means emotional vampires will want to suck the life out of you – because they can.

Thankfully, most startups I met, including Dropbox, Netfix, ebay and others just weren’t a good fit for me. It’s far, far better for me to be in the team I’m in, now, eating a slice of humble pie, and finally putting my search & social knowledge to good use.2014-12-8-social-insights

For us, the team works from wherever in the world they are productive and I don’t yet foresee a need for a central office.

Happy Holidays.

Foul ball, penalties and salary changes: this CEO gets a pay decrease for the new year

A lot of people like to do, “New Year’s Resolutions,” and the last few years, indeed, most of my life, I’ve had a habit of doing, “New Year’s Planning,” instead. What I mean by that is I reflect, pause and try to grow as a person.

Highlights this year were on-boarding my team, Adam and Hans :)

Low-light this year was missing plan, given we’re a month behind schedule.

So, given that, “I touched it,” I own it – CEO means buck starts, and stops here. Some companies have a saying, “Sh!t rolls down hill.” I’ve always hated that idea.

Image via wikimedia commons.

Image via wikimedia commons.

Effective in our financial models for the business (still an LLC, but, we’re following plan) immediately, I’m dropping my salary to be the lowest on the team. Also, a lot of reflection went into our salary plans and levels.

However one thing that sounded great, because I got the idea from Buffer, was to increase pay based on what, “Expensive,” city or location you’re in.

Well, that’s also getting kicked out the door. The reasoning is simple because long term, I don’t see myself living in an expensive area. Talent might not live in a large city, but it might be found in unexpected places, that I know. After all, I’ve been importing talent from Nepal, India, China, Costa Rica, UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Ukraine, Maldives and many other countries for years.

The plan personally was never to hire in any given place. Learning from my parents growing up, I realized that, “Buy low, sell high,” was a great idea. Ask any good American, “Neo-colonialist,” and they’ve been pushing product production East, towards India and China.

That’s a fantastic strategy and until now, the very best engineering team I’ve ever worked with was from China. Fate gave me an awesome chance to work with a great guy, who grew to become an even better leader and, well, I’d love to say friend.

Consulting is good. It’s great, in fact, especially when you have awesome clients. I’m a tinkerer at heart though, and will only ever be truly satisfied when I have ample time for, “Work,” and what I call, “Play,” or what other people call, “Chatting with the best engineers and standing in awe as they make dreams come true.”

Besides which, this is a short term move. I’ve got next year, and the next, to do a better job. Improve performance. Enable the team to hit the group goals. Also, once we hit massive profit, I can’t underpay anybody on the team due to IRS rules about base pay and using somebody’s past experience and salary as a guide. Otherwise, I’d be able to slip myself a bunch of bonus money, along with the rest of the team, and lower my overall tax burden artificially – that’s a huge no-no. The only reason I’m able to do this is because, frankly, I missed plan. Sucks but whining won’t fix it. :)

I’d also like to take a moment and challenge other CEO’s whose teams were perhaps fired to drop their salary to be the lowest on their executive team. Both in cash and in stock, which is what I’m doing.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now, for those who aren’t the “boss,” of the company, like me. Ask the friends and families you see this holiday season, who perhaps have been hit in the face by corporate greed. Or been the unwitting victim of a colonoscopy.

Ask them if they think they deserved to get screwed. Or maybe, just maybe, the rich, the powerful and the influential should hold themselves to the standards I’m putting up.

You know, a humble, nobody guy like me. Somebody you’ve never heard of, haven’t met, and that can’t do anymore harm than a butterfly, right?

If your boss offers a free colonoscopy, respond, “Can’t touch this,” like MC Hammer

Guess what the knee jerk reaction was of my boss, when I called in sick, from the actual factual hospital?

2014-12-20-mlk-wikipedia-commonsHe called me back later on, saying he stopped by, but they had no record of me being checked into the hospital. Well, if you request, you don’t have to allow the hospital to admit you’re there to your f#cking boss. Period. He’s not family, he’s not a friend and I most certainly didn’t agree to the anal cavity search.

Why did I bring up the colonoscopy?

Simple. When he asked me for a favor to drive him back to his car, I agreed. During the car ride, he admitted he had a colonoscopy done that morning. I can only speculate but given person’s crimes, he probably needed some medical validation that other people couldn’t see how completely full of sh!t he was.

Reality is when I checked into the hospital last year, I signed a bunch of waivers and wasn’t able to be released until the medical professionals who helped me performed their job. That’s why we visit hospitals. To receive care, from professionals, with training.

And guess what?

My employer has zero f#cking rights to know what the hell I was there for – not if I had a lobotomy, not if I had my c0ck chopped off, not if I had my sixth toe removed or dealt with, like Chandler Bing in Friends, that, “Irritating third nipple that freaked out all the women I dated.”

Calling me later on, telling me that he double checked, the hospital said they could neither confirm nor deny my stay. I had to edit my privacy settings so that my ex-manager could confirm, while I was hospitalized, that yes, in fact, I was at the hospital receiving care.

Have you ever heard of such an insensitive prick that they need to see you in the fucking hospital to believe you’re sick?

I still don’t get it. Despite requests to a few folks (hey, sorry, not going to name names, but I asked for help – just make sure you don’t need a favor next time, I might accidentally forget you’re a decent human being) – despite lawyers called, law firms solicited and writing the companies involved…

I ask again: If GM Labs kills me in the next few days, will people start to believe how f#cking evil they are?

Federal law isn’t some abstract concept. There wasn’t ever an agreement I saw in my USA that said, “Oh, goodie! We can chuck that freedom crap into the sh!tter!” Near as I can tell, that’s been tried. The Bush family, in particular, had an awesome decade of attempted coup de’tat back in the 1930’s. Even topped it off with illegal arms sales to the goddamned Nazis, but somehow a few generations later, they’re grand-kids are worthy of being president.

Trust a guy who’s been accused in the media recently of the impact a false accusation like that can do to your character, your attention, your friends. It kind of sucks, let me tell you.

Just like in Princess Bride, “I’m waiting for Vesini,” or something, when Inigo Montoya is laying there, drunk, because the man in black kicked his ass. Thing is, ex-manager did kick my ass, illegally.

I’d like a lawyer to help me take a piece out of his, along with the other lawbreakers who f#cked me over. However, I’ve got business to run and if you go around executing people, then it’s nothing but, “Work, work work all the time,” to quote the Dread Pirate Roberts.

I prefer my enemies alive, beaten and bloody. This way, just like Westley threatened the Prince, to the pain means that I leave you in freakish agony, for all time, so that every day for the rest of your miserable life, you’ll know who beat you. :)

Cheers.

If you are ignorant of the law, and American, you have only two options. PDF explaining the highlights of HIPAA, from 1996, learn or be taken advantage of. Image screenshot via Wikimedia commons here.

That's a sweet hockey stick if I've ever seen one.

Moving heaven and earth, tai chi and the power of will

I’ve had an interesting week, to say the least. Some good, some bad and then the water pipes broke. No joke, in fact, despite it seeming like one. My step-dad and mom, along with my older brother, routinely have a number of things that happen in life.

So do I, but, the one thing we all have in common is we get back up. Period.

My blog is, quite literally, Catching Fire. :) Thanks.

My blog is, quite literally, Catching Fire. :) Thanks.

To whit, I was stalked, fired, robbed, threatened and more by my last full time job. His business, kind of like, “Scrooge,” if he had not listened to the ghost of Christmas future, destroyed.

It sucks what happened, but evil is a temporal thing, same with greed.

The guys can be redeemed and time heals all wounds. This week, despite my stress, that voice inside my head is gone. I can think clearly, articulate a plan and entertain the crowd. Comedy, acting, theater used to be one of my passions. It’s nice to see the skill is there, latent, waiting to be tapped. About eight years, between fifth grade through freshman year in college, I was in the theater.

Adam’s a genius at it, of course. Growing up, he kicked my butt in a few things, theater and soccer chief among them. As a freshman in college, he was invited to the team, a first division school. There’s this epic photo of him that had the wrong caption, lol, but he looked fantastic. These days, it’d be a, “National Geographic Photo of the Day,” or something.

Back to my point about Tai Chi and the Will to Succeed

Tai Chi helps you regulate your breathing, which is excellent to help focus. Something I need right now, after dreaming up the, “Ultimate product,” we need to reign in our creative impulses and focus. Prioritize, cut features if needed and slim down the product to where we can ship. Set a deadline, quick-march to the finish and then see if we can’t deliver even better.

Shipping is winning, in my mind, and when the team doesn’t ship, it’s not winning. Developing in the darkness never works, even if people might be able to sell the, “Stealth Mode,” argument, what I’ve seen is the opposite.

More light streaming into your business model, the more you’ll have a chance at redirecting that flow, participating in the energy, and shining on.

Check out my stats, you’ll see that I’ve been crushing it on LinkedIn. It’s time for holidays, time for family time for friends. However, you have the option any time, any place, to start glowing. It’s inside all of us and we can break free, anytime, if we choose.

If others drive slow, drive fast.

If others drive slow, drive fast.

Wanna see what the hockey stick looked like?

That's a sweet hockey stick if I've ever seen one.

That’s a sweet hockey stick if I’ve ever seen one.

Finally, the “coup de grat,” and why everybody should think about what I said when they could double their blog traffic, for free, two weeks back.

I’ve tripled mine. Best month in a year. See here:

Traffic by month for past 13 months. Crushing it.

Traffic by month for past 13 months. Crushing it.

Here’s one final parting message, today, after so many, many tech companies have a, “Holiday shutdown.” Even if you’re walking the quick step, if everybody else is sitting still, a small team can run nearly endless circles around larger teams.

Looks like my team and I will just have to keep winning. Share, enjoy and feel the positive vibes, people. I’m listening to some Reggae music this weekend.

Credits, citations and traces: good people, we all cheat a little

From the work of behavioral economics great, the book, “Predictably Irrational,” tells us that we all cheat a bit. That’s normal in American history.

If we look at the evolution of human society, I’m sure that every culture has a bit of, “Cheating,” as the normal.

However, we draw the line at our own children. As Bill Gates emotional maturity showed, it’s time those with wealth, power and influence follow his example. Let’s compete by how many children we’ve saved, how much better the human condition is, the world over.

Let’s give all the children of the world a priceless gift this holiday season, and in the years ahead.

Freedom. Trust. Privacy. Safety. Comfort. The knowledge, deep inside, that we can all be the heroes of whatever story we tell ourselves with the power of our own minds.

It’s what being a hero means to me. I’d like my children, and yours, to all have a shot at becoming whatever superhero we need, as humanity, to unite us and enable all the children of humankind to have clean water, loving families and a brighter, cleaner & better tomorrow.

Cheney, the VP I knew became President – he was good. You’re evil. Bullets inside.

It's a bit strange they keep giving him interviews. Either we start waterboarding the guy finally and sell it pay per view - or not. Done.

It’s a bit strange they keep giving him interviews. Either we start waterboarding the guy finally and sell it pay per view – or not. Done.

Dick Cheney…oh, how your parents *knew* that they named you so well. The boss you had, who became president in very questionable circumstances. All because perhaps of what he did when he helped off Kennedy, right?

So your old buddy’s son makes good, you’re jealous. On a hunting trip, you accidentally shot the bastard who’s with you, wishing, imagining for a moment you could do what my family was accused of – ascending the throne for selfish reasons.

Unlike the man I knew, who was Vice President of his country, then President – that man has good intent. Not once, despite the Daily Show (Jon Stewart, I love you, but you owe me and my family for hosting Anni Nasheed and his lies), despite the Late Night Show, of this idiot accusing my family of something wrong. Letterman, your career is almost over, but the “Nail in the coffin,” was hosting an ex-dictator and calling him a “Leader of the free world.”

Richard Branson, jumping in on knowing some of the people involved, but a single meeting never determines character. Trust is built over time, not an instant. Richard, if we ever have the pleasure of meeting, let’s agree – you completely, 100% misunderstood about Maldives, Waheed and had ZERO business interfering. In return, I’ll assume you weren’t being British and trying to fuck an indigenous people once more…or attempting to burn the seat of my federal government, the White House, like in 1812. I know the Brits were pissed, but guys, it’s been centuries – move on already.

However, now that we all know what little Dick is whining about, I propose that we let him have it.

1. Dick Cheney, we’ll nominate you for the Republican President, right after Obama finishes (I’ll help elect you, sick twisted man you are, if you ask – nicely).

I’ve already helped personally fill a presidential role as a marketing consultant after all. Unlike what the media in Maldives said, unlike what Richard Branson said, unlike what the UK Government said, I’m innocent of all accusations. If I was guilty, Chase Bank would have my $3 million dollars, and I wouldn’t be working full time to launch my ideas.

2. We tally up the waterboarding you and Bush junior ordered. I think 2x is more than fair, especially since it’s, “Not torture,” right? First your kids get to go twice each, while you watch, unable to look away. Before you get to feel it, I know, father to father, seeing your children treated the way you treated those prisoners would make you lose it.

3. After we finish waterboarding your children (we’re licensing this to Showtime or HBO, probably Showtime, think, as a pay per view special), guess what’s next? Your turn.

4. For the crimes you’ve helped so many people commit across the country, for the faith we’ve lost in each other, it’s only fitting the families of Treyvon Martin and others get a chance to help you understand how the waterboarding really isn’t cool – but as you say, it’s not torture, so it’s okay.

5. Last, but not least, since you really, really crossed the line with that, “Rectal feeding,” bit…after you’re waterboarded so much you can’t see, hear, think straight, after your lungs are nearly collapsed, sobbing, gasping, aching in pain throughout your body, the likes of which you have never experienced…

…in that moment, when dear god, all you can think, all you can process is, “Oh, no, they’re stuffing food up my bum.”

That, Dick Cheney, is the only way you’ll ever, ever become the Republican President of my beloved United States. I’m not sure when your family arrived to spoil the party, but “We got here first.” American blood had been flowing in my veins for a hundred years before we tossed the redcoats.

Besides which, Cheney, you’re the bastard that made the call to start getting creepy.

Not me, friend. Reap what you sow and the American people will finally believe you aren’t a greedy, selfish, envious, odious man.

Bitcoin based Remembrance Agent, My Knowledge Palace

There was a time when, as I read Paul Graham’s essay tonight, I also used to wonder how I knew something, then wonder, why I knew it or if it was important. I’ve re-read the Wheel of Time series many, many times. Each time, I think I got a whole lot more out of the story. I felt infinitely better, because I love that story.

Also, I’ve re-read the Tao Te Ching, and the book, “What Would Machiavelli Do?” What re-reading has taught me is that the clues you see always have a point, then counter-point. Some emotional anchor to the hard-won binary logic. A cliche, if you will. The icon and the text, one re-enforcing the idea of the other, enabling our simple minds to expand.

Emotion, action, image.

Einstein moon-walking next to me wearing a slick tuxedo; me, doing the salsa, shaking my bum in blue jeans with a silly grin. It matches that worn by the Cosmic Magician himself, right before I dip my head, spin away and seek my partner.

My angel, my inspiration. Being in a relationship teaches you things about yourself, like books do. A good book enables you to see good things, teach you lessons about healthy growth, emotional maturity. Relationships, perhaps good ones, do the same. Like good books.

A bad one can be a soul sucking vicious cycle, as I’ve seen a few times. I’m no stranger to scars. The important thing that happens isn’t that we analyze why we fell down. We’re all human.

It’s only important to get back up. Ever seen this motivational speaker before (youtube video)? Nick Vujicic, he’s amazing.

Intel Real Sense, Your Face is the Controller and the Age of the Mimic

Convert an analog face into a digital wave form

Convert an analog face into a digital wave form

Growing up, a read a lot of fantasy books. Even if I haven’t read as much sci-fi as fantasy, I love me a good story. Especially when it involves magic. Thing is, fantasy and science fiction are always grouped together in the bookstores and ironically, I never understood until today why that is; from the perspective of us human beings today, both worlds are fake.

Fantasy represents impossible things happening in the past, where people had access to extraordinary abilities not present in that time period. Same with the future, where people have flying cars, hoverboards and more.

Ying and yang, eh? Funny but, it makes sense. Librarians are some of the smartest people I know, probably becuase they have been dealing with the physical orginizations of knowledge across space and time. Like the Palace of Knowledge, from the middle ages, the librarian has to figure out how to re-position the specific knowledge into the three dimensional spot it previously occupied. For that task, we have a Dewey decimal system. It works well, in some respects.

Have you seen that you can use your face as a controller for a game now, in javascript?

This isn’t science fiction, it’s Intel’s Real Sense camera. I suppose, “Primsense,” being taken by Apple via acquisition meant that, as usual, the marketing folks played the name game to ensure that we all understand Real Sense is very close to Prime Sense, and each one enables technology that’s, “As intuitive as your own feelings.”

Welcome to the age of the mimic: buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride for a bit

3d is a powerful thing. Until somebody can create a perfect video, audio and kinetic imprint of somebody committing a crime. With projectors, Real Sense, a cocktail like those favored by Bill Cosby, I’d wager that we go from a few, “Football player raped me,” stories to, “The aliens raped me,” and they will believe it.

I, for one, don’t want to start in an unauthorized digital reproduction of, “Me,” unless I agreed in advance. Unlike a photo, a 3d representation of a person is incredibly powerful. Coupled with physical evidence, how hard would it be to convince a jury of our peers that somebody peed in the street, simply by breaking in, stealing urine & hacking a computer system?

Physically, there would be the urine. The molecules left over from your shoes. The path taken, etc. The only actual way to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you didn’t pee in the street would be to be able to prove that, while the pee in the street happened, you were in fact located elsewhere. Track, trace, record and project your particular harmonic resonance all over your existence – and a digital one to correspond to the analog. An address you own, only yours, ever.

Sounds a bit like science fiction, but as they say, “Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I did not even *see* the Intel Real Sense technology until last night but of course, it fits perfectly as an integration into both our correspondence system as well as our task management system via distributed identity.

Oh, one more thing. Google’s tech, they admit, is, “From the future.” So is ours :)

Patent pending cryptography and the bitcoin indexed digital world

When we think about how movies like, “The Secret,” can influence us, they seem like the corniest ideas imaginable. Deep down inside, I’m still the little boy who spent all his money on comic books, as soon as he could. Who read about the Professor, Wolverine and wished, someday, the good guys would win over the bad guys.

Unfortunately, it’s easy as an adult to forget how much *fun* it was playing with toys. Magical. Delightful. As a child, I played with He-men, with Transformers, dressed like a Pirate, a Super Hero. Dreamed.

At some point, the dreams left and then the career took over. Business became business, not fun. Those dreams remained buried, deep inside. When my own children started to grow up, and especially these last few years, watching, yearning to be with them. Not being able to bask in their glow, to watch them become men. It’s frustrating to be a remote controlling parent and trust me, the wish I have most inside is to hug my children once more. To hear them laugh, to be made fun of, to hear them tell me, “It’s okay.”

Comfort. Security. The idea that their identity or mine, could be stolen at the drop of a hat concerns me greatly. I have two unique, special and precious children. We come from different countries, but they are mine and I am theirs. Their father, and like any father, I want the very best for them. It’s a bit tough to compete as a man in the “badge,” arena when you have humble beginnings to your own story and have always felt a tiny, gnawing insecurity inside.

“Am I good enough?” I asked, earlier. Before I knew, I’d wonder. That wondering, that gnawing doubt, I allowed inside, it took hold, root and grew. Suddenly, I lifted my head up, lost, unable to remember where I was or worse, *how* I had arrived.

We’re all good enough to be fathers, otherwise, we’d never have been able to make children

Flaws, mistakes, rough edges and more are what make us special, unique. If we all made the right decision, the right call, all the time, we wouldn’t be human. We’d be gods. So as a father, with the flaws I own, with every imperfection inherent in every imperfect cell of my flawed from the beginning body…if I’m qualified to be a father, if any human being is qualified to reproduce, we all are qualified.

It sounds corny to write that, or even think it. But, it’s true. I know every parent I’ve ever met has asked themselves that question, and now, I know, it’s doubt. Pessimism. I’m good enough to have made children, and I love them. I expect their flaws, and I expect their pain. I am going to share their tears and their triumphs. Relish in their glory, their accomplishments and achievements. Small, large, relevant to my life or outside of my comfort zone, their outcomes are their own.

I’m just here to give what advice I may, because I love them, while we’re both on the same spinning, floating ball in outer-space, the third rock from the Sun, in the Milky Way. It’s a big, wide, massive universe out there.

What if hope, what if love, what if that unique gift we all share, to be human, to be flawed, really is the answer we’ve been searching for?

Have you ever wondered how ugly we all look compared to the aliens? We’re not humans, after all. We’re Earthlings :)