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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Text messaging is the key to quick, effective communication

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I’m only 34 years old, but most of my team is about 10 years younger than I am. The generation gap is bigger than you might think. I’ve been using an iPhone for over four years now, and cell phones since college. You would think texting was one of my primary forms of communication. I might have thought it was, but in reality it wasn’t.

Verbal communication and detailed emails were still my go-to forms off communication.  I was horrified when I began to have team members text me questions, or even worse, text me when they were “calling” in sick. That sort of communication was never acceptable in my previous job, nor was it acceptable in my mind, but over time I began to embrace the text message. Although I still don’t allow my team to call in sick over text. That still warrants a phone call.

Here is why I’ve decided to succumb to the generation gap and embrace texting:

  1. Texting is quick and easy. It takes seconds to send a text, versus a few minutes to draft an unnecessarily wordy email…. texting is to the point!
  2. It’s timely. Lets say you need a quick response to a simple question. A text is more likely to get a quicker response than email, as not everybody is sitting in front of his or her email all day.
  3. Less distracting. Lets say I’m in the middle of a project and I randomly think of a question I need to ask a team member. I can quickly fire off a text without diverting my attention away from the task at hand for very long. If I open my email, I’m more likely to get distracted by other emails. Texting takes away less of my attention from the important tasks at hand.
  4. Like email it allows people to respond when they are available. For example, one of my team members drives around town dropping off orders. I would much rather send her a text with a question that she can respond to at a delivery drop, rather than call her and distract her from what she is doing: either talking to a customer or driving to the next location. Plus I will get a quicker reply than sending an email.

What it all boils down to is quick, easy, effective communication. Simple questions, call for simple answers, which can easily be transmitted through a text message. Plus, this form of communication is becoming more widely accepted and has become an alternative of sorts to email. So, if you are struggling to accept text messaging as an effective way to communicate, I think it’s time to give in.

Disclaimer: I believe texting should be left to friends and team members (and the occasional client). I would never text a vendor asking, “where is my order?” There are certainly situations that are not acceptable for texting.

The Mountains are Calling and I must Go

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Hallet Peak - Dream Lake

My wife, Kristy (5 months pregnant with Abby) at Dream Lake, below Hallet Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

“The Mountains are Calling and I must Go”, the quote is from famous naturalist and mountaineer John Muir. It’s a beautiful quote that adequately proclaims my love and enjoyment of the mountains. My love for the outdoors was instilled in my by my father, who from a very early age took me fishing, hunting, and camping in Colorado. Although we never took backpacking or climbing trips, my love for mountains eventually took me there, and now it has taken me from road running to trail running.

On a trip last Summer to Estes Park with my wife, we passed a placed called Hermit Junction, a place I was destined for had I not gotten married two years earlier. At times I envy the free spirt dirt bags that do nothing but climb rocks hike and sleep under the stars, but then I remember nature was often times medicine for when I felt lonely, confused, or frustrated with life. But now, we have a beautiful daughter and one more child on the way. I can’t wait to share the outdoors with them.

Abby has already survived numerous camping trips with us, and she is not even one year old yet (she turns one next week). There is just something about being outdoors, especially in the mountains that soothes the soul. There is something about being in nature that I feel draws one closer to God. I can’t say that everybody that enjoys the outdoors experiences the same thing, but for me it’s an undeniable experience. I have yet to take a trip to the mountains and not return refreshed with new perspective.

The outdoors provides something you don’t normally get while living in the city….silence! The opportunity to dialogue with yourself, to talk to God, to enjoy the beauty of creation. It gives you the opportunity to slow down (even when you are running). Trail running has become a way of escape for me, as opposed to road running where I would just plug in my headphones and jam out for 4-13 miles. Now, I’m running 6-25+ miles on the trails, sans headphones. Granted a lot of my focus and attention is on the run, but at times I’m able to just zone out, let the worries of the week fade away and enjoy nature. This is especially true on mountain runs, as I’m more focused on taking in the scenery than on how fast I am going.

Experiencing the outdoors is something I would encourage everybody to do. Even if it’s a short two mile hike from the trail head, you can see and experience things that most of the world never will. It changes your perspective, it makes you realized how small you really are, it helps clear the mind, it refreshes the spirit, and renews the mind. So, get outdoors, enjoy nature, let loose of the hustle and bustle.

Why capitalism isn’t evil

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Conscious Capitalism

Conscious Capitalism

Last night I started reading Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia. I’m only one chapter in but have already been pondering the idea of Conscious Capitalism. The most interesting point John and Raj have brought up is that the idea of profit in business is relatively new. It used to be rare to see actual profits in business (about what was necessary to operate), but once businesses started to see profits above what was needed to merely keep the doors open, businesses classes began to teach this as the primary goal in business and the idea was ingrained in students everywhere.

This really struck me because myself, and most other people I know that have started businesses never did so with the sole purpose of making profit. They simply saw a need in the market and sought to fulfill it. John Mackey saw the same need when he started Whole Foods Market, he had become fed-up with the political games he saw within locally owned food co-ops.

Yet for some reason capitalism still gets demonized. Wal-Mart, though some might say they have lost their way, started out with the noble intention to provide lower prices by, get this…. LOWERING their profit margin. Steve Job, founder of Apple, sought out to make a better computer, and is now providing customers with the number one selling smartphone (a computer in every pocket). I love Apple for this too. I remember a day when I carried around a cell phone, Palm Pilot, and iPod. I thought, man wouldn’t it be great if all these were combined into one device. Just a few years later the first iPhone appeared on the market, and my need was met.

Another thing I think people forget is that that goods and services are voluntarily exchanged. Nobody is forcing you to give your money to Apple (those sleek white overpriced computers), there are a slew of PC providers on the market that can also meet your computing needs on a budget.

Additionally, capitalism is creating wealth! It provides jobs! Just think: if the computer had not been invented, if the iPhone had not been launched, there would be thousands, possibly millions of people without jobs. Individuals with ideas started companies that sparked the Industrial Revolution, which in turn has unleashed mountains of wealth on society.

So, tell me: how is capitalism evil? Post your thoughts in the comments.