30 July 2010

Friday Top 5

One of the things I love about NACHRI is the organization-wide commitment to wellness.  It manifests itself in many ways, from periodic office yoga classes to a weekly meditation group to a sponsored (and partially funded) Weight Watchers group to allowing me to organize 25+ of my colleagues to participate in a CSA on company time to the current wellness challenge:  walking.

For the past 7+ weeks, the overwhelming majority of staff have been wearing pedometers and dutifully recording our daily steps.  We started with a goal of 2000 per day, increasing by 1000 steps per day each week for 8 weeks (ending with 9000 steps per day for those who are bad at math).  Each individual who gets the requisite number of steps for the duration of the challenge will receive an extra vacation day.  We're also operating in self-selected teams of two.  The team with the most steps will receive a cash prize to spend on the fitness equipment of their choice.

Now, I get way more than 2000 steps on an average day.  Actually on most days, I get more than 9000 steps without doing anything out of the ordinary.  Can you see where this is going?  I just wanted the free day off...until the end of week 5, when our HR department announced the standings, and I discovered that my team was leading.  Oh, it was ON.

In week 6, we swapped the lead with the #2 team, and going into the final week (which started Wednesday), they were still in the lead, but only by about 11,000 steps (less than 1%).  The top two teams are more than 100,000 steps ahead of the #3 team, so it's down to the two of us. So I've been doing a LOT of walking.  A LOT.  Well in excess of 45 miles last week alone.

My Friday Top 5 honors that.  Here's what I'm looking forward to doing when the walking challenge ends on Wednesday:
  1. Wearing all the clothes that have been sitting, sad and alone, in my closet for the past 7+ weeks because there's nowhere to attach a pedometer to them.
  2. Practicing yoga, which I haven't done the entire time because those types of movements don't record as steps.
  3. Driving to wherever I'm going out in the evening and, as a result, getting to wear fabulous shoes, many pairs of which have also been sadly neglected this summer.
  4. Taking a day off (which you can do if you're just trying to earn the vacation day - you only have to get your steps 5 out of the 7 days in each week.  But if you want to win, there's no rest for the weary.).
  5. Hopefully using my winnings (assuming Team Walkin' After Midnight pulls it off) to buy some new walking shoes, because I REALLY need them at this point!

29 July 2010


For the first time, ASAE is recognizing excellence in volunteer projects from 2009-2010. 

I quote:
Every year, our many volunteer groups create numerous and exciting projects, events, and resources to help us complete our mission “to connect great ideas and great people to inspire leadership and achievement in the association community.”

To celebrate the many accomplishments of our volunteer groups and bring more visibility to their hard work, ASAE & The Center’s Volunteer Relations Department will recognize their outstanding projects with the first ever Great & Innovative Volunteer Experience (GIVE) Awards. Volunteer groups and staff were asked to nominate a project from each group completed during the 2010 fiscal year.
The contenders are listed in the Volunteer Town Square on Member2Member, and YOU get to pick the winner!  So vote now.

ASAE will announce the winners at the volunteer brunch on the pre-con day of this year's Annual Meeting in LA.

28 July 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Does "free" really work?
  • 14 (very good) reasons I won't follow you on Twitter.
  • Jamie Notter has a great Big Think-y post on design thinking, organizational design, and how they relate to social media and organizational silos for the SocialFish. 
  • Two great case studies:  relaunching your FB presence (via John Haydon) and the MPI "paying for positive coverage" fracas (via Maddie Grant) - oh, and the short version is that they didn't, but they could've been a little more clear/forthcoming about what was going on.
  • In honor of this past Sunday's season 4 premiere, Harvard Business Review tackles "What Mad Men Gets Right About Innovation" (and no, it's not the critical importance of daytime cocktails to the creative process, which someone should really write about pronto).
  • More on Mad Men - KiKi L'Italien (rock star association tech consultant by day, equally rock star makeup artist by night) posted on The Mad Men Effect, just in time for a Mad Men party I'm attending this weekend.  I'll be going as Joan, natch. 
  • Philadelphia Eagles training camp started this week, and we're just over 2 weeks from the first pre-season game (GAH!  must get back into football blogging shape ASAP!), so I'm reading all the camp coverage in preparation for my first-ever visit to training camp in just over a week!
  • I don't usually get all political up in here, but recent circumstances have led me to post this incredibly well-written screed against the myth of white oppression by people of color. Can people of any race be racist? Sure. But it's not oppression without power to back it up (thanks to my awesome friend Sarah for the link).
  • I finished The 19th Wife - not bad, and I didn't guess the killer before the end (always a good thing in a murder mystery), and I just started The World That Made New Orleans by Ned Sublette.  I'm only two chapters in, and I'm already loving it, which is not surprising, as I tend to devour anything about my favorite place, but this seems to be a well-written and entertaining history of the founding and development of the city.

27 July 2010

TEDWomen - Really?

By now, you may have heard that the famous and high-powered TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) organization has decided to launch TEDWomen.

YAY, right?

Not so fast.

I'm actually pretty annoyed that TED is ghettoizing women. I think more women should just be on the regular TED program, rather than this BS "well, the ladies weren't good/smart/innovative enough to make the REAL TED program, so we gave them their own event - which will also ensure that they're only talking to each other and don't bother us BIG IMPORTANT MEN with their silly little ideas."

Or maybe I'm reading too much into this.

But I doubt it.

26 July 2010

Always the Last to Know: Metasploit

One of the toughest things in IT security is figuring out the difference between a vulnerability and a threat.  Systems have thousands - maybe millions - of vulnerabilities, but not all of them are actual threats, and trying to block every single vulnerability will make you crazy, take up all your time, and potentially render your system unusable. 

But how do you know the difference?

Metasploit - it provides open source penetration testing of systems for end users to help you figure out what vulnerabilities you have that hackers are likely to actually exploit - in other words, distinguish the vulnerabilities from the threats.

23 July 2010

Friday Top 5

Exactly 4 weeks from today, I leave for LA for #ASAE10.  The Top 5 things I'm looking forward to:
  1. Networking - always my favorite part of the Annual Meeting.
  2. The YAP party - no, you don't have to be 25 to participate, so get it on your calendar ASAP
  3. The flashmob - you still have plenty of time to learn the steps, so get cracking!
  4. The session I'm doing with the fabulous Layla Masri and the equally fabulous Lynn Morton, Plays Well with Others - we're going to be sharing great information and case studies in a really, really clever way.
  5. Melissa Etheridge and Cyndi Lauper!
What are your "don't miss!" tips?

22 July 2010

Smart People on Health Care Reform

First, Rohit Bhargava gave a terrific Pecha Kucha presentation at last year's e-Patient Connections called The Past, Present and Future of Health 2.0 in 20 Inspired Tweets. It's about 7 minutes of awesome.

Second, Dan Roam has also weighed in on the future of health care with back of the napkin thinking:

21 July 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Acronym's doing a fun series of "threes" posts to help us all get ready for the Annual Meeting. My favorite (so far)? Three quotes from thought leaders.
  • Liam O'Malley writes about mental mise en place, which is applicable to far more than cooking.
  • More on socmed policies:  5 things they should all include, from Alexandra Levit, one of the panelists at this week's Buzz 2010 breakfast.
  • Another fun list - 5 things you're doing wrong on Twitter.  (I'm guilty of the non-custom background, but lack of visual design sense is part of my charm, right?)
  • Taking some time off this summer?  Here are some good things to ponder while you're at the beach/mountains that just might help you keep your sanity when you get back. 
  • I didn't get as far with Here Comes Everybody last Friday as I'd hoped. I am enjoying it, and all the examples make good intuitive sense, but I'm still looking for the "so what?"
  • The 19th Wife is coming along nicely, too, although it seems more like two separate books than a cohesive story that combines both present and past to me.  Maybe there will be some important tie between the two later in the book, but I'm about 2/3 of the way through, and nothing's apparent yet.
  • I also just started the July issue of Associations Now.  I particularly like the front piece on web metrics Amy Hissrich and David Hollender put together. In my experience both in house and as a consultant, we (associations) do a poor job of turning data into information.  This guide can help point the way.

20 July 2010

What's the Buzz?

I'm at Buzz 2010, Part 2: Revenge of the Buzz today.

For those who aren't familiar, the babes at SocialFish put together an epic one day conference last summer (Buzz 2009) and, being the cool chicks they are, decided to change it up into a 3 session series this summer.

Session 1 took place June 16, when Charlene Li wowed the crowd with her Open Leadership mojo.

Session 2 is today and features Alexandra Levit (nationally syndicated columnist and bestselling author), Wendy Harman (social media manager at the American Red Cross), and Mark Story (adjunct professor of public relations at the University of Maryland, and director of new media at the Securities and Exchange Commission) leading a discussion around managing risk in social media.

Session 3 goes down August 18 with Olivier Blanchard of Brand Builder Marketing talking about ROI.

If you're up this early, it's not too late to join us - the program kicks off at 8:30 am at the Clyde's in Chinatown.  So wipe the sand out of your eyes, down that coffee, and get over here!

Can't quite pull it together for this morning?  Registration is still open for August 18 AND the Charlene Li session was re-broadcast.  No promises, of course, but you never know about this one...

Edited to add:  Silly me!  Of course I should've mentioned that you can follow the conversation - even if you can't attend - using the hashtag #buzz2010 on Twitter. DUH!  

19 July 2010

Always the Last to Know: Activity Streams

One Ring To Rule Them All (only without that creepy flaming eye)

Check it out - The Powers That Be are working on an actual OPEN STANDARD that will aggregate all your social streams in one place.

Never see the same message in 17 places again.  Even better? Intelligent filtering will let you control how much of people you actually do see.  So those relatives of a different political or religious stripe you can't unfriend? Not so prominent anymore...

16 July 2010

Friday Top 5

Someone recently gave me an "inspirational" book. It was a very well-meant gesture, but let's be real: I'm a Gen-Xer. Cynicism is my middle name.  "Inspirational" stuff usually makes me want to mock it.  Relentlessly.  Until it cries and runs home to its mommy.

So I got thinking - what really does inspire me (since it's obviously not faux-heart warming "Chicken Soup for the Soul" BS)?
  1. People with the courage of their convictions, no matter what it costs them (Nelson Mandela, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King). Bonus points for maintaining your dignity while refusing to back down and taking the consequences without whining.
  2. The people of New Orleans post-Katrina. A great American city is still struggling to get off its knees with very little help from anyone else, and they're insisting on remaining true to themselves and their culture while doing it.
  3. Endurance athletes. And (no offense) I don't mean charity "racers" who walk most of a marathon course and drag across the finish line in 6+ hours.  I mean people who take it seriously.  Not many things make me cry, but watching the finish of an Ironman always does.
  4. Artists who can fight their demons long enough to create something immortal, even if they eventually lose (Virginia Wolfe, Sylvia Plath, Wolfgang Mozart, Vincent Van Gogh).
  5. The everyday people who do the right thing when no one is watching, who help people and don't need anyone to give them a book deal, who consciously work to make the world a better place in their small and large actions without needing TV cameras to record it - every person who gives an anonymous donation, who picks up the trash on their street, who helps a stranger without ever giving their name or asking for anything in return.
OK, so maybe I got a little schmoopy on that last one there.  When you're feeling cynical and bleak about the state of your fellow humans, where do you turn to turn it around?

15 July 2010

Brilliant Advertising

I have been in love with Old Spice's advertising since they started working with Bruce Campbell, but this is just brilliant.

How can your association use humor to amplify your message?

Bonus points for fantastic use of social media.

14 July 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Great review of Clay Shirky's new book, Cognitive Surplus.
  • Just because your event is over doesn't mean the content has to die.
  • Maddie Grant argues that associations are MADE for social media.
  • If you're involved in sponsorship (as I am), you need to check out this post from the Association Law blog.
  • Lauren Fernandez (aka @cubanalaf) is breaking up with traditional PR.
  • Jeremiah Owyang on the top 10 challenges we face in using social media and, more importantly, how we might resolve them.
  • I read Push by Sapphire over the weekend.  It's the book on which the movie Precious was based.  I highly recommend both.  The book is a quick read, but it is absolutely searing, and the style in which it's written contributes almost as much to the story as the story itself. It was deeply affecting, particularly the poetry that's attributed to the main character.
  • I'm now onto The 19th Wife, a novel that wraps together the history of Brigham Young's expulsion of his 19th wife, Ann Eliza Young, from the Mormon church with a modern murder mystery set in a fictitious but not unrealistic extremist Mormon sect.  
  • I'm hoping to get back to (and finish) Tribes this weekend.

13 July 2010

What Does the Future Hold?

At the recent CAE Celebration, Marsha Rhea led us in a futurist thinking exercise, which seemed apropos as this is the 50th anniversary of the CAE.  (Find out what she thinks will happen...)

After flying through some pretty densely packed slides, she divided us into groups that were to look ahead to 2020 (10 years), 2040 (30 years) and 2060 (50 years).  Apparently, looking 30 years ahead is pretty wild stuff for professional futurists - they usually stay more in the 3-10 year range - and 50 years is considered downright crazy.  But we forged ahead anyway.

I happened to find myself at a "2040" table with people who were all quite a bit older than I was (most started in association management sometime in the 1970s).  New CAE and (NACHRI colleague) Sue Dull observed astutely that people were having a hard time not just projecting what's happening now (virtual meetings, blurring of work and life, telework) out into the future.

I didn't say much (shocking, I know) because the rest of the group couldn't seem to wrap their minds around things like:

What will all this mean for associations?

To quote Sue again (she's really smart!):  humans will have to come up with new ways of affiliating.

By 2040, the Millennials will be in their 40s/50s and will be running our organizations.  Assuming GenX iconoclasts don't kill them first.  And Millennials are big on respect for authority, institutions, and hierarchy, which could mean a real renaissance for associations.  There will also be a pressing need for humans to collectively organize ourselves to address the above problems.  And - at least so far - government officials have shown themselves distinctly disinclined to address anything that might hurt their chances of winning the next election.  We will need someone to lead us, and nonprofit organizations could fill that leadership vacuum.  Assuming we survive the larger global forces at work.

12 July 2010

Always the Last to Know: Google Me

Google is - rumor has it - gearing up to take on Facebook.  Given all of Facebook's recent screw-ups and the backlash that's been generated as a result, the time seems ripe for another player to enter the field.  Company "Don't Be Evil" is as good a candidate as any, particularly since MySpace blew their last chance to become something more than a platform for unsigned bands and reality TV "stars."

Beyond Thunderdome: "Two socnets enter, one socnet leaves."

So if/when it happens, will you switch?

09 July 2010

Friday Top 5

It is H-O-T HOT in DC (and in fact, over the majority of the Eastern seaboard).  Trying to put a positive spin on it, the top 5 things that are great about a heat wave:
  1. Perfect opportunity to wear all my cute sandals and sun hats
  2. Delicious summer cocktails (mint juleps, "The Cuke," anything featuring fresh fruit and/or the blender)
  3. "It's too hot to cook" is an excellent excuse for having ice cream for dinner
  4. CSA bonus: everything's ripening ahead of schedule (we're already getting corn, tomatoes, and apples)
  5. At least we don't have 4+ feet of snow outside
Image credit: Pimp-my-profile.com

PS: when I was looking for an image to go with this post, I made the mistake of typing "hot" into Google images.  Don't ever do that.  You've been warned.

08 July 2010

5 Ways to Become a Social Media Douchebag

The language is a little R-rated (or at least PG-13), but this is HILARIOUS stuff from the always hilarious @tremendousnews:

07 July 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Fast Company shares 10 lessons from Apple. No, one of them is not "wear jeans and a black mock turtleneck NO MATTER WHAT."  In other news, my spouse's new 27 inch iMac arrived yesterday. SOOOOOO sexy!
  • I'm a little late to the party (and thanks to KiKi L'Italien for the nudge on last week's Association Social Media Sweetspot), but the always-provocative Jamie Notter has a great post on how our strategies are really a reflection of our pattern of investments
  • If you needed it, further proof that Microsoft Just Doesn't Get It.
  • ReadWriteWeb is doing a fantastic series on the Semantic Web, aka, What Comes After the Social Web. Check them ALL out.
  • Time.com has done a series on the future of work.  The articles themselves are shallow, but the main points are relatively interesting.  The best article, of course, is the one penned by Seth Godin.
  • Speaking of always provocative, Vinay Kumar on social media as manure:  pile of shit or fertilizer of great changes? 
  • Now that NACHRI is finally on FB, John Haydon's tips on engaging our fans couldn't come at a better time.
  • 5 Social Media trends to watch that are not the same-old-same-old.
  • Amber Naslund on why this is not influence. She's right by the way - it sounds seriously idiotic.

06 July 2010

Accountability - it's not a dirty word

Two things have struck me recently (or perhaps I should say "stuck in my craw"):

Associations are generally warm-n-fuzzy(er) than for-profits.  

Associations like to be collaborative and engage in consensus based decision making, but sometimes someone has to stand up and say you WILL do this or you will NOT do that. And there have to be consequences for non-compliance. There has to be a balance, but it has to be just as OK to use the stick where warranted as it is to use the carrot. We're not children - or at least we're not supposed to be - we're grown up professionals.

Associations like to acknowledge effort, and we all know we're always going to be at least somewhat at the mercy of our boards and other volunteer leaders.  But, to quote Yoda:  "Do or do not. There is no try." What you tried to do doesn't matter.  What you accomplished does.  There might be attenuating circumstances, and if there are, mention them.  But focus on results, not what you wanted to happen or what you planned to happen or what, in an ideal world, would have happened.

What do you to keep the focus on mission, results, and being accountable for your actions on a daily basis?  What do you ask of the people you supervise?  What do you ask of your boss?

03 July 2010

Happy 2nd Blogversary, T4P!

Two years ago today, I started this blog with a little post.  In July 2008, I felt like I was coming really late to the party.  But it's amazing to see how the association blogging community has grown, changed, and matured in the past two years:  blogs have launched, blogs have faded, bloggers have changed jobs, bloggers have changed the focus of their blogs, bloggers have launched businesses, the available technologies have changed and improved.

Some of my favorite posts from the past year include:
Thanks for sticking with me and, as always, Thanks for Playing!

Image credit: globalnerdy

02 July 2010

Friday Top 5

I had the opportunity to participate in Hackaction this past Monday.  KiKi L'Italien (from Delcor) and Jeff De Cagna (of Principled Innovation) led us on a day-long journey to examine member value from new perspectives.  The top 5 things I learned:
  1. "Coopetition" (from Matt Baehr) was the word of the day.
  2. 90% of association staffers are forces for stability - 10% are forces for chaos.  Own being a force for chaos (if you have the courage).
  3. You have to go through a lot of crazy ideas to get to the good ones.
  4. Design thinking - the ability to imagine and create better models rather than just picking from those that already exist - may be the key to associations' continued viability.
  5. Associations don't really fear ideas, change, or failure.  What we really fear is criticism.  We need to get over the tyranny of the vocal minority.

01 July 2010

Can You Say "Flashmob"?

I think you can! Learn the steps and plan to join us in LA at the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting. Don't miss this opportunity to act like a big goofball with hundreds of your closest association peeps.