Dec 102017
 
Facebook’s Unstoppable Power to Polarize

This year, I have posted several articles observing how the vocal few, amplified by online social networks, have an outsized voice in the political discord that swirls all around us. A few thousand like-minded activists are being heard while 350,000,000 others shake our heads in disbelief and sigh, while sipping our beverage of choice, remote control and smartphone in hand. Simultaneously, I believe the remainder of this decade will be the true dawn of machine learning algorithms. While the concepts [more…]

Dec 042017
 
Investing, and your Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappucino

Saving just a few dollars every day can make a big difference, if you invest it.  This lesson is lost on many teens, but it is worth talking about. I don’t care how you save it — I’m not trying to pick on Starbucks per se — you can do the same thing by drinking water in restaurants or simply comparing prices of everything you buy on your shopping app — but saving and investing early in your career is [more…]

Nov 102017
 
What Makes a Great Manager?

Life is too short and there is too much opportunity, to work in the wrong environment. I’ve had a bit of time to ponder this question, having worked for nearly a dozen managers of all different types, from John Wayne, to Yoda of Sales, to a master ambassador diplomat, to Rambo of customer service, to a micro-manager that meant well, to Action Jackson, and more. Most became lifelong friends and role models, each with an important lesson to teach. Looking [more…]

Oct 292017
 
Have a Daughter? Part 5

As part of my Have a Daughter series, check out this speech by Reshma Saujani at TED. I have written plenty of articles talking about the value of taking prudent risks and failing forward without loss of enthusiasm, but not in any specific context of helping daughters grow up well. Reshma opened my eyes to an important difference between boys and girls and how they are nurtured, and what must be done to encourage girls to take more risks at [more…]

Oct 082017
 
Expectations are a Parent's Choice

I believe expectations are a surprisingly important factor in success, no matter if the context is sports, business, politics, or parenting. This is evermore true now, in the selfie and social media driven generation. Social media and short barely-legible texts are often misunderstood, yet linger on mediums like Facebook, Instagram, and Messages on a person’s iPhone for days, weeks, even years later. How often have I seen parents screaming like crazed banshees at their young soccer players and basketball players, [more…]

Oct 012017
 
Crucial Ideas and Ideals -- We the People

It starts with “We the people…” America is not about one leader dominating the agenda, getting stuff done for the other 350,000,000 of us. Yet, it seems that we (and everyone in the news business and even everyone at Saturday Night Live) have forgotten this truth. Here is a brilliant speech, barely 12 minutes long, by a British Rabbi — believe it or not — that does a great job in reminding us why the selfie generation is confused and [more…]

Sep 292017
 
Social Media, the Millennials' Dilemma, & Real Relationships

If you are a frequent reader of OptimismMan.com, chances are you already realize that I believe there is a significant dark side to social media, beyond just the time that it appropriates rather insidiously. Every technology comes with positives and negatives, but often, the negatives are ignored until the evidence is overwhelming, common sense be damned. Simon Sinek is one of my favorite thinkers and speakers. In the interview below, he covers an amazing amount of ground, primarily focused on [more…]

Sep 102017
 
Idea Meritocracy for Better Decision-making

Much of my life, I have seen myself as an enthusiastic ideaman. I have more ideas per day than most people, I take the time to write a fair share of them down, I outline them into more than a fleeting thought, and I test them on friends and family all the time.  Unfortunately, I have found that people rarely tell me one of my ideas stinks… even though I’m certain that some of them do.  In most situations, true [more…]

Aug 242017
 
Make Happiness

Is your company designed so that its managers and associates will be happy at work? Probably not.  The executives that build companies tend to focus almost exclusively on financial results.  “we have to make the quarterly earnings or heads will roll…” But is that smart? Do stressed-out people produce better results? +++ Is your kid’s select club soccer team, basketball team, or volleyball team designed and concerned about player happiness? Probably not. Most teams that cost parents big bucks and travel to [more…]

Aug 102017
 
What’s your Secret Sauce?

When it comes to sport, we enjoy watching a hyper competitive match. Rules, referees, and video replay are all in place to keep game day as fair as possible. But in daily life, we all realize that a completely level playing field is not a great situation. Imagine that you are up for a promotion, but that there are 11 other candidates with exactly the same resume and experience? Not a comfortable situation, is it? The same applies to companies. [more…]

Jul 212017
 
Opportunity in Simplicity

Everything is become more complicated and interconnected. When faced with a difficult decision, almost everyone adds more detail, weighs more aspects, analyzes the problem to the n-th degree, and creates complexity. I personally work to sell solutions that create timely, valuable, and actionable insights from data, a topic that is truly large, complex and ever-growing, given the explosion of “big data” as zillions of devices connect to networks and every aspect of business becomes digitized by computers. The result is thousands of topics [more…]

Jul 122017
 
Priceless Persistence

Far too many people think “the brilliant big idea” is the root of home run success. I believe home runs happen more often with good ideas, not great ones. The home runs come when three elements are applied — full ‘whatever it takes’ commitment, unquenchable positive enthusiasm, and extraordinary dogged persistence. Success is barely the tip of the iceberg above the surface for the casual observer to see.  No one realizes the amount of work it took for the successful to [more…]

Jun 062017
 
Time and Forethought

Below are three great thoughts by Charles Buxton. It is so easy to forget how true these observations are, as you hustle week after week, year after year. In my case, I really yearn for more quality time but I often don’t find it… perhaps, with a little more forethought on a daily basis, I can design my day better so that there is more strategic, pristine time available: You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you [more…]

May 212017
 
Imagining (Internet) Progress (part 2)

Please watch part one first, earlier this month. These two posts work better together. My optimism for the pace of progress continues to grow. Kevin Kelly has had a front row seat. From TED summary of Kevin, Kelly has been publisher of the Whole Earth Review, executive editor at Wired magazine (which he co-founded, and where he now holds the title of Senior Maverick), founder of visionary nonprofits and writer on biology, business and “cool tools.” He’s renounced all material things [more…]

May 152017
 
Imagining (Internet) Progress (part 1)

Humans often — usually, in fact — have failures of imagination. We often don’t see the next leap, the next stair-step of significant progress. I find that looking back, at the imagination of future-oriented thinkers, at a point in time in the past but with proven success in the present, gives me a brilliant jolt of optimism. Consider this TED discussion by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon in 2003, now 15 years ago. It simultaneously reminds us [more…]

Apr 292017
 
Be a Beacon of Light in a Darkening World

We have lived through a truly divisive decade and election. In just the last few months, Trump pulled off a shocker win, the Brits decided to bail out of the European Union, and the war on terror continues with senseless killings everywhere that have numbed people emotionally: a headline that dozens of innocent citizens have been slaughtered doesn’t disturb the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  A common theme through it all is that we should not help people that [more…]

Apr 182017
 
It is Never About Wishful Thinking

All of us daydream with a hopeful attitude from time to time. We imagine ourselves in a different state of life, often fueled by what we see on TV and in print. Optimism is crucial — you have to believe you can — but it is important to remember to get started before all the lights turn green, be committed to your pursuit with great focus and energy, and finish no matter what for there are no credits, no rewards, no [more…]

Mar 162017
 
Why Not Me!

Too often, we think that those who achieve something really special were born with huge advantages. Yet, if you read stories about the most successful people, the common denominator is not birthright but rather optimism, a tendency to take initiative and action without over analyzing a situation, a confidence that overrides the voices of “realists” and “pessimists” that are ever present, a willingness to take a chance when the odds looks favorable, and a belief that failures are simply little [more…]

Mar 062017
 
Making Life Too Hard?

Worrying about stuff that might or might not happen seems to have risen exponentially as we have become more interconnected. Facebook and the rest makes us feel like we are not succeeding fast enough or big enough when compared to all those people we personally know. Kids born today seem set up from birth to worry more than any previous generation. Since I believe we are the architects of our own mental psyche, I believe we can train ourselves to [more…]

Mar 052017
 
Classic Zig

Remember that failure is an event, not a person.           — Zig Ziglar Far too often, people call each other — or themselves — a failure. The truth is that a failure is moment in time, the temporary result that happens when you try a certain recipe to accomplish something. Failures happen for many reasons, but the wise optimist learns from the experience and fails forward. Always remember that failure is a result of a certain confluence [more…]