Tag Archives: Lesson

The Tough Life Lesson I Learned from My Dad
June 17, 2018 6:06 pm|Comments (0)

My father was a pianist. I grew up to the sound of him practicing increasingly difficult pieces, three to four hours a day, on a Steinway grand that dominated the living room.

He never played professionally, though, because his father drummed into him that nothing was more important than a secure job. So he went to college, first to be an MD, then for the priesthood, and finally to become an optometrist. 

He was an Episcopalian priest when I was born and in the ten years my family stayed together, he transformed a sparse and failing parish into one of the physically largest and best attended churches in the diocese of Ohio. 

After my parents divorced, he went back to college in his forties to become an optometrist. He had a medal in his office for getting the highest score on the national boards the year he graduated. 

All in all, he spent fourteen years in college and earned three degrees, an enormous effort that allowed him to pursue two careers that, although he was superlative at both of them, he could barely tolerate

Because he was a pianist.

While everyone thought him successful and even somewhat of a saint (as an optometrist he gave huge discounts to poor people), but to me, who knew him best, he was constantly ill-at-ease, uncomfortable, unable to enjoy anything.

The only time he was “himself” was when he played the piano.

A few months after he turned 70, the sadness that he’d carried his whole life descended on him. He stopped going to work and slipped into a ten-year depression that lasted until a few months before he died.

The most important advice he gave me was this: “Don’t do what I did. Don’t waste your life doing something you don’t love.” I wish I could say I followed his advice from the start, but in fact it took me many years before I listened and acted on that advice.

As I come up on another Father’s day, I can’t help but wish that he’d been able to teach me that life lesson by living it himself. With that thought in mind, here’s a recording–made on a cheap cassette–of a moment when, for a few minutes at least, he was living his dream:

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The Warriors' Draymond Green Just Taught a Wonderful Lesson in Reacting to Criticism (Yes, That Draymond Green)
May 28, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

If you’re not a Golden State Warriors fan, you likely don’t warm to Draymond Green.

The power forward might seem to you like an arrogant, big-mouthed bully who, just as many bullies do, whines when he doesn’t get his way.

As far as former NBA whining bully Charles Barkley is concerned, well, he offered that Green annoys him so much he’d like to punch him.

The actual quote was: “I want to punch his ass in the face.”

Which conjures too many awkward images for my taste.

I fancy, though, that Barkley’s fist-swing is about as good as his golf swing — uglier and more ineffective than espadrilles in a rainstorm.

However, the former so-called Round Mound of Rebound was suddenly confronted with Green face-to-face after Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on Saturday night.

Would he take a swing? Or would he merely choose to insult the Warriors star a little more, in that adorable joking-not-joking manner?

And how might Green react?

Well, Barkley cowered somewhat. It was left to fellow TNT panelist Kenny Smith to point out that Barkley, in his dim, distant playing days, wasn’t dissimilar in style to Green.

Barkley claimed this was all “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

The only criticism he could articulate was that Green never admitted to committing a foul. 

And then, perhaps, well, there’s all the physicality — some borderline, some even worse — that Green brings to his game.

For his part, Green could have reacted to Barkley in so many different ways. 

He could have offered a politician’s bluster. He could have offered some bland statement that avoided the question. He could even have snarled.

Instead.

Instead, he just admitted that he knew precisely why some people don’t view him with kindness.

He said that he didn’t think anyone in the NBA thought they ever committed a foul.

But.

“I can get bad with that at times,” he said. “My mom always reminds me of it, my grandmother will say it, my uncle was really hard on me about it. So, I could understand that.”

Criticism is hard to take. The problem is that, occasionally — very occasionally — it’s true.

If you recognize that a criticism is true, there’s something glorious in admitting it.

It’s not easy.

Your ego is vast and vulnerable. Admitting fault feels like losing — or, even worse, exposing an ugly truth about yourself.

Oddly, though, you might find that people respect you more for showing that you at least know how you’re perceived by others.

I confess that, even though I’m a Warriors fan, I’m occasionally exasperated by Green’s highly sensitive reactions to alleged injustice.

Yet seeing him react with poise and honesty was a refreshing reminder that we’re all desperately imperfect.

Privately, we beat ourselves up over these imperfections.

To admit to them in public is the first step to a sane redemption.

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The #1 Lesson Cryptocurrency Investors Can Learn from the Dot-com Bubble
January 31, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

Life as we once knew it drastically changed in the mid-90s. The Internet’s popularity was on the rise, and many savvy businesses and companies saw the potential of a hyper-connected, digital world. This lead to the dot-com bubble–a sharp rise, and fall, in stock prices that was fueled by investments in Internet-based companies.

With experts predicting we are now in a cryptocurrency bubble, it seems as if history is at risk of repeating itself.  

While we’ve moved far past the early stages of Internet start-ups and e-commerce companies, digital is continuing to change our everyday lives–from how we work, live, and play to the future of money itself. Interest in cryptocurrency, similar to the frenzy we saw in the early days of the dot-com bubble, is reaching a crescendo–yet many experts are already predicting its demise.

Warren Buffet has gone on the record saying that crypto will come to a bad ending. Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan’s CEO, called Bitcoin a fraud before later admitting that he regretted making that statement.

Meanwhile, other big-name investors and companies are going out of their way to invest in crypto–from Richard Branson to Microsoft .

But are the naysayers right? Are we headed toward a catastrophic implosion of dot-com level proportions?

Yes, the crypto market is volatile. There are too many unknowns to be certain, but if we look at the histories of companies like Amazon, eBay, Priceline, and Shutterfly, then maybe we can gain some clarity.

These e-commerce companies were born during the dot-com era, and they weathered the storm and emerged as some of the most successful and stable companies in history. The dot-com crash didn’t destroy the concept of e-commerce or the fact that consumers want to buy airline tickets, antiques, or pet food online–there was simply a gold rush in the early development stages. Once the dust settled, however, the strong survived.  

Don’t call it a comeback

In the end, the dot-com bubble was a movement. Smart investors saw the future of digital-based commerce and, as they invested, the movement snowballed into madness. Many of the companies that popped up during that time were run by people who were in over their heads, or they didn’t have the technology to keep up with the demand. When the crash happened, it thinned the herd.

Mona El Isa, the chief executive and co-founder of Melonport, summed this notion up at a recent TechCrunch conference when she said, “The dot-com bubble was messy, but if we look at some of the largest companies that exist today they are a result of the dot-com bubble and they are part of our everyday lives.”

Which leads us back to what we’re seeing with cryptocurrency today. Even if this bubble bursts, the concept of digital currency will not go away. It may wipe out 90% of today’s existing startup currencies, but the strong will survive. Companies, like Kodak, who try to create a currency without providing real customer value may see efforts go to waste. And this will pave the way for the Amazon of cryptocurrency to make its mark on the world.

To further the power of this movement, it’s important to remember that cryptocurrency isn’t a company. It doesn’t have shareholders. It isn’t VC-backed. Which means this movement extends beyond any other economic bubble we’ve seen–it’s happening in an arena that’s removed from the stock markets. So, when, and if, the bubble bursts, it won’t go quietly into that good night. The parameters may change drastically from what we are seeing today, but digital currency–in one form or another–is the future.

How to invest in a movement

So, if cryptocurrency is the future–how do you invest? From a business standpoint, it’s important to look at crypto through a risk-management lens. Business leaders and board members should be learning everything they can about this new trend so they can determine how, where, and why it might affect or fit into the business. Is there a way to offer customers value through cryptocurrency? Is the time right to execute? Is there a long-term strategy in place that will take advantage of the crypto movement when the stormy waters calm down?

These are the types of questions you need to consider. Do what’s best for your business and what’s best for your customer. As with any digital movement, you need to be aware of the trends and aware of how it could change your business. This is the only way to defend your company from possible disruption.

Final word

For anyone who is considering investing in cryptocurrency, it’s important to remember that this is a long-term movement. Our world is becoming increasingly smaller and more reliant on digital means–currency transformation is inevitable.

It’s the smart investors who understand that this isn’t a fragile economic trend. Digital currency will continue to adapt and change over the next few years–and the companies and entrepreneurs who pay close attention now will have the best chance at deftly navigating the troubled waters.

Tech

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IDG Contributor Network: Lesson from AWS outage: stop putting your eggs in the same basket
March 31, 2017 2:25 pm|Comments (0)

It happened again.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) went down yesterday for hours,  bringing down a huge chunk of the internet with it. I didn’t realize at the time that AWS was the reason that I was not able to play the latest episode of Supergirl on my Apple TV. And it was not just the iCloud that was affected. It was not just the small sites. Big players were hit big time, including Apple, Adobe, Docker’s Registry Hub, GitHub, GitLab, Quora, Medium, Signal, Slack, Imgur, Twitch.tv…and many more.

This is not the first time AWS has gone down for hours, bringing everyone down with them. And it won’t be the last time.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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