Rest in Peace Zoe Bear!

Zoe BearToday, we said goodbye to a family member; Zoe Bear. Zoe was a little 6lbs apple-head Chihuahua born with a condition called hydrocephalus or water on the brain. When we first got her the vets told us that she would not live more than 1 year and that normally when this condition is discovered the default plan it to put them down. Shonda and I said no, and that as long as she was never in pain and had a good quality of life she would remain on this earth with a family that loved her; that was 3 years ago.

Zoe was special in so many ways. She would not let anyone but Shonda hold her for more than a minute without trying to bite your face off. She would bark at the bigger dogs as though to say to them, “Bring it…I can take you all on” and she would cuddle with you in bed for hours as long as you did not move since moving resulted in a bite. See what I mean by special but no matter what she was loved.

I knew something was wrong last night when she was stumbling around like she was drunk and then I really knew something was wrong when she let me hold her for over two hours. She was scared and as I tried calming her down I reminded her how much we love her and that everything would be ok.

This morning as the vet examined her I knew what the answer was going to be and I greatly appreciated the way he tried to give me other options but I knew what the right answer was for Zoe. Her quality of live had deteriorated and so it was time for her sleep.

Rest in Peace Zoe Bear! You brought much love, joy and happiness to our family and we will always love and remember you.

Work – Life Balance = Owning a Unicorn

Personally, in IT having a true Work – Life Balance (WLB) ranks right up there with owning a unicorn; it is never going to happen. Why? It is simple, computers tell time they do not know time, so when a problem arises at 11pm on a Saturday night the computer did not realize you were sleeping or you are out on a date, the problem just happens and you need to be available to resolve it.

You must be willing to accept this as part of the profession or find another profession. Now don’t get me wrong, there are employers that will work you to death and when you finally speak up and say you need a break, look at you with utter distain; forgetting all the extra hours worked. In this case, my suggestion is to find another company or not, the choice is yours. If you choose this type of WLB make certain you can live with it because working yourself in to the ground is in your control not your employers.

In my spare time…

In my spare time…there is an oxymoron if I had ever seen one. Does anyone really have “spare time”? Life is all amount making choices and one of the biggest choices is how we spend our time. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the average American sleeps 8.5 hours daily. Assuming you have a normal 8am to 5pm job there is another 9 hours allocated an according to the U.S. Census Bureau the average commute to work is 25.4 minutes so rounding up there is another hour accounted for. Therefore, in a 24 hour period, 8.5 hours is sleeping, 9 hours working and 1 hour commuting to and from work that leaves just 5.5 hours of time for family, friends and “spare time”. I won’t go in to the details of my schedule but I would love 5.5 hours a day for “spare time”. How much “spare time” do you have?

Everything Happens for a Reason

The belief that “Everything Happens for a Reason” has never rang more true to me than of late.  Here is my story and once you have finished reading it feel free to offer another explanation.

In 1978, at the ripe old age of 8, I was reunited with my soul mate.  We attended the same schools and social functions for most of our childhood.  Although, we did not understand the attraction to each other since we were too young to realize what that meant, but at the age of 16, I mustered up the courage to ask her to be my girlfriend…she said Yes. Unfortunately, we dated for only a short time and then moved on to other relationships.  Now here is where the interesting part begins.  No one remembers why we separated.  None of our friends or family has any memory of the reason why we moved on, only that we did.  There was not a defining reason as is usually the case in teenage romances.

At 17, my girlfriend at the time became pregnant and on my 18th birthday, I began my marrying life.  Between the ages of 18 and 32, I was married and divorced 3 times. Although, I love the idea of being married, my relationships were never right.  My soul mate shares a similar experience however; she was destined to be in a single relationship full of pain and heartache for 12 years.

In the middle of 2002, I received an email from my soul mate asking me if I remembered her.  We were both in the process of dissolving our existing marriages and decided we would meet for dinner.  Seeing her was pure magic and the years apart vanished; in December of 2002, we were married.

It is now 2010 and shortly we will be celebrating our 8-year Anniversary as a married couple.  However, I believe we have been together far longer than that.  I believe that our souls have always been together and in 1986, Heavenly Father saw that we had reconnected on earth and decided that we needed some time apart too fully understand what being soul mates truly meant.  We needed to have trials in our lives; we needed to experience pain and heartache before understanding what true and everlasting love means. 

I know that everyone reading this will not have the same beliefs but I ask you this.  If you were currently with your one true soul mate, would you want to be with them forever and ever? 

To my soul-mate:  I love you so much and am so extremely grateful to have you in my life and as time passes it only further solidifies my believe that we are destined to be together for time and eternity.

Reflection on Veterans Day

As I started my day today I did not realize it was Veterans Day.  Strange that I would not remember since I myself am a Veteran – disabled at that.    My family history is full of Veterans, my Dad is a living 3-time Combat Veteran (WWII, Korea and Vietnam), I served during Panama (Just Cause) and Operation Desert Shield/Storm.  My brother and sister-in-law both served during round two of Iraq. 

Although, we have all either retired from service or opted to seek other opportunities in life, the bottom line is we served.  My family knows first hand that Freedom is not Free and that we served our country to the best of our abilities in an effort to guarantee that Freedom for ourselves and your family.

My family asks for nothing in return for this service and would gladly do it again if called upon.  I write this simply to say thanks to all “Families” that have served, are serving or will someday serve. 

First MBA Class in the History books

Yesterday I took my final exam in BUSN601 and today I started my next class BUSN602.  All-in-All I found the class extremely eye opening.  I have been in the business world for many years and I still managed to learn something happy  I guess old dogs can be taught!

1 down – only 12 more to go.

Marketing Considerations

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is Habit 5 from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and in my opinion, this one simple statement sums up Marketing. Seek first to understand your customer, understand their needs and wants. Understanding the cultural-differences, government and political polices and how they relate to your company and products. Understand how they want to communicate whether it is in person or via a mass media outlet. Understand your products and determine how a customer might incorporate it in to their daily lives to the point of necessity; can you say iPhone! If marketing managers take the time to understand the marketplace, delivering a marketing campaign “to be understood” will be far more successful. In the words of Harvard Business School’s emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt, "Marketing views the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs."

Understanding the marketplace and all of the various nuances domestically is easy in comparison to understanding the marketplace internationally. According to Professor Jagdish Sheth of Emory University, “Almost all organizations began initially as domestically oriented firms. As they grew, and as the markets for their good and services expanded, organizations tended to evolve from their initial structures and operations on a replicative basis.” (Schultz & Kitchen, 2000). Organizations that partake in these types of activities are referred to as Multidomestic Organizations.

The transition to becoming a full integrated global company is a multi-step process, however during my reading, I discovered that most companies merely chose to establish an entirely new company in the region thus making it a domestic entity an avoid creating a global company. No matter, which route a company chooses, understanding is the key to a successful marking plan but if marketing managers do not take the time to understand the “Buyer” how can “Sellers” assume they will be understood.

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Processes for a Multicultural Organization

“Multicultural Organization: Where employees of varied backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and experiences can contribute freely, and achieve their individual potentials for their own and their organization’s benefit.” (

As I agonized, to find an example of a multicultural organization I thought about FedEx, Exxon, Toyota, McDonalds and the great successes they have had globally with establishment of international processes on manufacturing and achieving global brand-name recognition. I then, realized I was part of the biggest multicultural organization in the world, the United States Military (Army to be specific). The Military starts with a strategic plan designed by the Command Staff, then utilize defined Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) integrates these procedures across the entire organization to accomplish the objective.

Another example is my current employer, Bally Technologies a multicultural organization with offices in the US, India, France and Argentina just to name a few. We have a diverse team of employees and understanding all of the various cultural differences requires clear and concise Human Resource processes. While doing additional reading I came across an article from where they outlined the five steps to maintaining a successful multicultural retention strategy.

  • Walk the talk.
  • Develop diversity-friendly programs and support initiatives.
  • Tap diverse candidates for leadership training and development.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Make your commitment to diversity a selling point.

I will not go in to detail on each bullet point, but when I examined this list, I found similarities to our existing corporate policies. We have international processes around manufacturing, shipping, and quality control that focus not only on processes but also on the cultural and legal impacts within each region. As with any multicultural organization, the need for well-defined processes is paramount to the successful integration of said processes.

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Importance of having Strategic Direction

“Begin with the End in Mind”. This is habit 2 from Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and although this does not really answer the questions I do feel it is relevant. Knowing where you want to be will help define the path to get there; in life and business.

Having a strategic direction or vision is paramount to the success of any organization in a global market. If a company, business unit or individual wants to be successful they must visualize success, devise a plan to achieve success and move towards success with purpose; failure to have a strategic direction leaves a company wandering mindlessly as so many of them do. That being said, some companies are successful in spite of themselves through either a niche market or buyer demand. Also, simply having a vision does not guarantee success and Management may succumb to the challenges of implementing its vision, however the chances of success are greatly improved with a vision than without.

To more fully understand the steps involved in creating a global plan I found the following: According to Ball, McCulloch, Frantz, Geringer, & Minor, 2006, the global strategic planning process involves these steps:

  1. Analyzing external environment
  2. Analyzing internal environment
  3. Defining the business and its mission statements
  4. Setting corporate objectives
  5. Quantifying goals
  6. Formulating strategies
  7. Making tactical plans


The take-away from my reading was this. In order to have a complete Global Corporate Vision, Management must exam the global market space for existing competitors, review local laws and regulations, understand the regional culture and work ethics, create obtainable short and long term goals and finally be prepared to reevaluate as the business climate changes.

School Starts!

I begin my MBA program on Monday June 7th, 2010.  As the date draws closer I wish I had more time before I started.  I have several projects happening at work that require my attention such as a Data Center migration, Exchange 2010 migrations, Altiris 7.0 implementation, Symantec EndPoint Protection rollout and that is just my list for June/July

I realize that if I never start my MBA I will never finish it so I will just need to knuckle down and make time to study.  Let the fun begin!

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