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Showing posts from September, 2011

The Art Wall

One wall of my office is decorated with kids' art. We ran out of space, so now when one of the twins creates something new they must decide what comes down. It's kind of interesting, because it makes them want to constantly improve. They aren't willing to put a new piece on the wall unless they like it better than something already there. I never choose; they do.

We also have a room in our basement where kids can paint and draw on the walls. About once a year we paint over it so they can start fresh. I'm a big fan of temporary art. Great masterpieces are timeless, yet somehow art that exists only for a short time seems to move me more. It becomes more about the experience than the piece. I believe it gives the artist a bit more freedom to create what they want, rather than what they think the audience wants.

Creating art is like a pressure valve, but most people don't realize it.

We have thoughts and feelings, emotions, motivations, inspirations and crises. Our brains…

Safety Can Spoil the Sports Experience, Especially for Wheelchair Users

Michael Wogan was a 22-year-old man who used a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy. Michael was seated in the wheelchair section at an air show in Reno Nevada on Friday where a World War II era plane crashed killing 10 people, including Michael.

To my knowledge, this is the first wheelchair using spectator to be killed at a sporting event. Fans have died in auto racing accidents, at baseball and football games, and even been trampled during soccer matches. This event is the first time spectators have been killed at an airplane race, although pilots have died in the past.

It's ironic because I was at three sports events this summer and was frustrated by increased safety measures that interrupted my view of the event.

There have been two falls from upper decks of baseball stadiums this season. The fans were standing near the edge and fell over a railing to their death. Because of this many baseball stadiums have increased the height of railings. Unfortunately, the new railing heig…

Netflix CEO explains Quikster

I got an e-mail today (along with millions of other Netflix customers) from the founder of Netflix about the recent changes.


I've been a subscriber for more than seven years, and don't plan on vacating anytime soon. This letter is just another example of how Netflix treats its customers well.


Customer focused companies are the future of corporate America, in my opinion. Thanks, Netflix, for setting the bar high.


Here's the e-mail in its entirety:


-- --


Dear Jason,

I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn't make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something –…

Character Snapshot: Mansfield

"Mansfield" as I call him has been on 73 first dates and 0 seconds. Tonight makes number 74, although he stopped counting in the mid-30s. He's become a master of the first date.

He attended Mansfield University nine years ago for a semester and a half, accruing 15 credits in the process. On the 74th date he is wearing a Mansfield University basic gray T-shirt with white letters. It is simple, so he doesn't think of it as bragging, but he made sure to work the words "my alma mater, Mansfield University" into the conversation at some point during each date.

Mansfield isn't a bad looking man. He has curly red hair, which hides the fact that it's slightly thinning. It matches his red mustache, which is thick but well groomed. It doesn't stretch across his entire top lip, just a little broader than an Adolf Hitler. Subliminally, it made all of the women slightly uncomfortable, but only one person, a Jewish woman whose grandmother died in the prison cam…

Personal Space: an invisible disability

The worst part about being disabled for me may surprise you.  In a previous post I invited you to share your thoughts about disability. (See:  The Worst Part of Being Disabled)

I face numerous frustrating challenges on a daily basis. I'm constantly dependent on others. I need help bathing and dressing. I can't drive, cook, hold a book or feed myself. I rely on family, employees, technology and the goodwill of others. Some days it's frustrating, but I've learned through experience how to manage all this help.

Other frustrations are attitudinal barriers. Today I live very comfortably and have a high family income. I'm an entrepreneur, but not because of my unquenchable desire to build businesses, but because very few companies would be willing to give me a job. I made the decision more than 15 years ago that I could build a business easier than I could find a job, so that's what I did.

My single biggest frustration however isn't getting the help I need or overco…

Character Snapshot: Abraham Goldberg, Esquire

In the long there was a smattering of unused picnic tables, each with a charcoal grill at one end. One old man had taken up residency at a picnic table, but not sitting on the benches. He sat on the end opposite the charcoal grill in a rickety lawn chair. He was pecking away on a laptop methodically. A copy of the New York Times Sunday edition lay next to Abe Goldberg's laptop. He tapped out his fourth letter to the editor this month. He always signed them Abraham Goldberg, Esquire, although he was not currently nor had ever been an attorney. He believed it was a term of respect that he deserved. Last year he wrote 51 letters to the editor, and one letter to the circulation manager when his copy of the Times arrived Monday morning rather than Sunday afternoon. Janie would never meet Abe Goldberg. He died after writing six more letters to the New York Times, six months to the day after the passing of his wife.