A great Christmas present for the business person in your life

tacoversmallTrust Agents by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith.

This is without a doubt the best business book that came out in 2009. It’s readable, interesting and filled with great illustrations. It is laced with application sections, so you can grab things to use in your business or organization.

Chris brings something new to the field of business communications — humility. He proves that you do not require a big ego to get the job done well. He cites many stories about how the best way to further your goals is to help someone else. What a refreshing voice!

Julien adds a lot of stimulating insights to the mix. However, since I don’t know him like I know Chris, it’s harder for me to really sift out exactly the part he had in the book’s creation.

Most books in the business category I read or skim and then sell on Amazon. This one? It stays on my shelf.

What’s the best book you added to your keeper shelf this year?


Ignite Boulder 7

ignite7boulderIgnite Boulder 7 was last Thursday, December 10th. This was the second Ignite Boulder event I went to and the third Ignite. (Denver was my first.)

In short, this one wasn’t as good as it could have been. No bad reflection on Andrew Hyde, the host. He was trying his hardest to keep things on track. But that was an impossible task.

The bad? Expletives were the main meal rather than the spice. And this time, the crowd had a little too much to drink at the pre-party. Many would yell whenever they felt like it — whether their contribution was helpful or not. The yellers must have been used to the Twitter environment, where it is OK to comment on everything. They forgot the basic difference… Twitter allows people the option to listen. At Ignite Boulder 7, there was no option.

The good? Still a great way to experience some new ideas in a fast-moving, live format.


Tiger Woods — the moment

tiger-w-momentTiger Woods made some serious mistakes. During various points in his life, he has been at the top of his game, golf. But lately he has been at the bottom of his other game, life.

I was amused when he started turning up in the “Entertainment” section of Google News, rather than the “Sports” section. I guess when celebrities have problems, that becomes entertainment. (Sometimes it’s nice to not be a celebrity.)

By the way, the magazine clipping at left came from my visit to a doctor’s office. I normally do not read Sports Illustrated, but I picked up that copy just to expand my little world. And it worked.


iPhone Screen?

store-facadeA few weeks ago, Heather and I had a wonderful date at a fancy restaurant in a fancy mall not far from our home. (We had a fancy coupon working in our favor.) Our arrival was early enough that we spent a little time window shopping.

One store had this glass-and-metal artwork on each of the door posts. I couldn’t help but think of what an iPhone looks like.


Design changes

hard-drivesFashion even dictates the design of hard drives.

Witness my roughly five-year-old drive on the right: red and green lights, angular, hard edges, silver-and-black. A bit cyborg-robot-like.

And on the left, a shiny new Seagate drive: organic, flowing, silver-and-white. Roughly 1/10 the price per gigabyte.

Back when I bought the old model, it was cheaper to assemble one yourself. Now the price of external drives and internal drives is about the same. Good thing! Saved me maybe 20 minutes of precious time.


Mac Christmas

snow-l-2If the Mac user in your life has not upgraded to Snow Leopard, now is the time!

Quite simply, this was the easiest and fastest upgrade of any operating system I have ever done.

If they are going to do it:

1. Make sure they have a current Time Machine backup. (They will need an external hard drive — here’s my choice.)

2. Make sure they first run SnowChecker, the free application that will tell them which applications they have will need to upgrade. (Download the installer for each application and then install them after Snow Leopard is live.)

As of this writing, you can buy Snow Leopard for $25 from Amazon. (Add four pencils to get free shipping.) You can get a family 5-pack for $43 (with free shipping) or the Box Set that includes the latest versions of iLife and iWork for $138 (also with free shipping).

That Mac-user you know and love will hug you! As the reviews have said, it is indeed zippier than the previous operating system, (regular) Leopard.

Disclaimer: Your results may vary. And if a lawyer were sitting in the room with me, they would say that I cannot be held liable for any lost data or system failures.


Lighten your load, part 2

too-many-carsA retired couple in my neighborhood have five vehicles in their driveway. Two drivers. (And there may even be another one or two tucked away in their garage.) Admittedly, the RV is a great addition to their choices of fun ways to spend a summer. But some of the other vehicles overlap in function.

I realize that the initial cash value freed up by selling two might not be much. But the insurance, tax and maintenance costs for keeping that many vehicles going is significant (in my book).

Having fewer vehicles in the stable to keep track of would give an increased sense of freedom, I’d almost promise. And they would never have to move one vehicle to get to the other.


Lighten your load, part 1

avanti-bThe Studebaker Avanti was a revolutionary design. It was produced in 1962 — way ahead of its time. Raymond Loewy, the designer, was one of the celebrated industrial designers of the 1950s and 1960s. It is truly a beautiful car, in many ways.

One lives in our neighborhood. And its more broken down twin lives in an adjacent garage. (Pictured is my neighborhood Avanti’s sad eye looking downward.)

I quietly wonder if its owner will do the restoration. Please understand that I am not faulting him (or her) for delaying — I would not be courageous to attempt such a major project.

I would suggest a path to freedom and perhaps a few additional dollars would be for them to sell the car. And its twin. Guilt over unfinished project? Gone.


Be creative everyday

call-wendyHeather was out. (We share our home office, at the moment.) She got a call. I grabbed a leaf from my waste basket to write the note on.

Takeaway: How can you can do a common task in an uncommon way today?