Mitch McConnell – Supreme Court & the American People Having a Choice…?

Hmmm, this will be one my shortest posts.

Mitch McConnell, you continue to spout off about letting the American People choose the next Supreme Court nominee.

Mitch McConnell, since when has the American People “EVER” chosen a Supreme Court nominee?  Have you been partaking of water, spirits or illicit drugs in conceiving that nonsense about us, the American People choosing a nominee?

If the American People ever did choose a nominee, you, Mitch McConnell, will likely be the first one to block that choice should it not dovetail nicely with any of your Machiavellian  schemes / plots. 

Mitch McConnell, I will not call you any kind of name, that is not what open minded, free and independent thinkers do. That is (or should be) beneath us. Maybe individuals from the Trump side of the house would oblige in that sort of tripe. We, open minded and blinder-free individuals, see what the options are and make informed opinions. We do our own research as much as possible.

  • We do not listen to only one anchor / tv host / radio host and
  • We certainly do not watch/listen to only one TV station from fear of corrupting our mindset or personal filters of the world at large

Mitch McConnell, if we, the American People had a choice in the matter, we would do our own due diligence, just as you should be doing, in making any ‘possible’ choice.

Too bad that the “American People” do not have a choice or hand in the matter of choosing a Supreme Court nominee…

This is likely to get some flack from certain groups of people out there and it is most unfortunate. Instead of having true debates, discussions and free flow of ideas – too many individuals in our country (and in the world) have deep seated fears of change. These individuals do not want progress and devolve/resort to name calling, threats and even illegal bodily harm. These individuals, you can figure out who they are, want to go back to a time of distinct separation, discrimination and suppression in order to gain the superiority they gained by doing what is today – illegal.

Successful Corporate CEOs & Presidents… of the Future, 2016 and Beyond

 

UP FRONT

SUCCESS Through Employees

Disaffected Employees & Losses

Productive Employees & Investments

Disabled Employees

SUCCESS Through Yourself

Yourself

Vision, Creativity, Ethics

Knowledge

Communication

Connections

Conclusion                                                             

 

 

UP FRONT

This writing is for those individuals who aspire to become Successful corporate CEOs and Presidents down the road as I stated, in 2016 and beyond.

And if you really do want to achieve these prominent positions of responsibility, you must really want to and you have to be the type of person who can successfully thrive in those positions.

Success is not just about working hard for 70 – 80 hours a week (or more) in perpetuity; it is about working SMART and HARD in productive, efficient and success steps. And doing so means learning to delegate instead of micro-managing everything.

Many of you know that micro-managing does not work well in the long run and it sure does not help your staff and employees grow or your business. Nor is working 70 hours or more hours a week a permanent and sustainable solution, your health will give in whether you are successful or not. And you can bet, in nearly every situation, the family life will be a shambles.

Take care in being successful. There are three areas where you must tread with great and sincere care, you must be a willing:

  1. Champion / Sponsor to multiple ideas, some brilliant, some exotic and some seemingly crazy (not meant in a bad way) but exceptional while other crazy ideas are complete duds – this is the price for innovation and creativity
  2. Collaborator with great people as well as with highly odious people – you must bridge that gap and act professionally, not just for your sake but for the corporation as well
  3. Risk taker, not just an ordinary risk taker but an intelligent and calculated risk taker, one who listens with eyes, ears and brain wide open – then to be truly successful, you must do YOUR OWN due diligence in finding out the facts, truths, positives and negatives behind each risk for today, tomorrow and in the future – you cannot just take the words of others without information (that is what Big Data and Analytics can help with) – you have a fiduciary duty and obligation to all

And one area, due to today’s digital arenas, where you have got to be explicitly aware of – Information & Cyber security risks to:

  • Your employee’s Personally Identifiable Information (health, financial records)
  • Corporate financials
  • Corporate Intellectual Property (business processes, partnerships, R & D efforts and product secrets)

You need to be cognizant of the massively numerous digital risks as well as having on staff a CIO and CISO who are not only aware of those risks but are up to date as to what has to be done to protect the corporation. This means detecting, defending, deterring, mitigating and performing root cause analysis of what happened, why it happened and how prevent the breach from occurring again).

 

SUCCESS Through Employees

Do not worry, I will come back to other topics but this one prominent thought springs to mind time and time again. And yes, there will be some disagreement on this point. You absolutely have to take care of your employees first and foremost! Why? Because if you do not care for them, these unhappy employees can and will sink your company faster than a Mark VI torpedo striking an adversarial target of opportunity…

You must realize that caring for, nurturing and growing your corporate staff means your company can continue to flourish and thrive in tight economic times.

Employees should come first. Why would this be the case? It is the case because employees are the people who make your company hum. They are the ones who make customers happy and WANT to come back, continuing to do business with your firm. Employees are the face to the world and you most definitely want the best face facing out to the world. You want staff that is happy, satisfied and eager to do more. So care for them. 

Disaffected Employees & Losses

This paper is not to dwell on the negative aspects of employees, only to point out several items.

Unhappy, disgruntled, disappointed and unchallenged employees will make your firm drown in morass. This will manifest itself in myriad manners. Sure, you will see these individuals energetically working – while you are present but what about when you or other senior leaders are not visible?

These same unhappy individuals will revert to what they normally do, such as:

  • Sluggish or haphazard anemic work efforts, getting only the most pressing or urgent tasks completed and not at blazing speeds either nor at a sufficient level of competency either
  • Performing inaccurate work that is not as thorough or complete as it should be
  • High rates of absenteeism for any number of reasons but mainly to not show up to work
  • Spending more time searching the web for things that have absolutely nothing to do with work, just to pass the time
  • Low levels of morale
  • High levels of adversarial teamwork, combativeness, insubordination
  • Disgruntled employees could also walk out with your most highly prized Intellectual Property (IP) before you realize it
  • On, and on, and on – the list is long

And for any senior leaders, who do happen to have the time and inclination to read this, tell other readers the truth, “Do you by chance manage to catch employees in these various states of mind and attitude?” 

Productive Employees & Investments

For any new CEO and President, it does not take a rocket scientist or a brilliant psychologist to see that there are many things that can make employees ever more satisfied and productive at your firm. And all the while with investments that do not have to be super-significantly expensive. The investments will pay off in spades in the short term and in the long term, making your ROI a number you can trot out time and time again to your investors and customers.

Some of these employee investments can be minor for things such as:

  • Better noise abatement and cubicle designs to give workers some satisfaction of privacy from other nosy AND noisy neighbors
  • Computer Based Training (CBT) and online courses to improve the employee knowledge base or to stretch their skills to go to the next level
  • Communication, “honest,” communication from the top in a more frequent manner – even just managing by walking around to see what the current state of affairs is like throughout the organization – unannounced walkabouts, not to catch staff doing things wrong but to say ‘hello’ and see what can be improved – having open and honest dialogue with junior staff, with middle management and with other senior executives

Then there are employee investments which can be major but worthwhile:

  • Better lighting, brighter and full spectrum lighting – LED – to move away from the harsh or dull old style lighting still used in many organizations – it has been shown time after time that brighter and better lighting, which also mimics natural sunlight, cuts on depression boosting productivity – the better lighting rejuvenates people on an healthier, unconscious level – causing a lasting spring in their steps (and in their work)
  • Better and brighter paint schemes – too many organizations have dull, drab and even worn paint schemes throughout their buildings, who wants to be around that…
  • Windows – add more windows if possible, replace old inefficient and well, crappy looking windows/frames to allow more sunlight in and a view out to the world
  • Plants – bring in plants, “real” plants to bring color AND oxygen as well as absorbing some of the soul killing dead air
  • Skylights
  • Have privacy rooms for those who need to make short private phone calls without their cube mates hearing everything – or else, the employee who needs to make a call will go out to their car, taking off time from work
  • Have power nap rooms for those who need them, with strict policies – these can revitalize those who really want to work but could use a nap
  • Ergonomic chairs – these should not just be relegated to the senior and executive staff, comfortable workers are more productive workers

Lastly, there are significant corporate investments that benefit the corporation for the long term as well as the employees:

A faster network:

  • Yes, this will entail laying new cable, something like Cat 7 (category 7) or fiber optic to break up congestion and latency, specifically for those high peak times (employee work/customer access) – we will continue to see larger datasets moving across the network
  • Faster and more powerful – routers, switches, firewalls and wireless access points
  • Full or Hybrid Cloud infrastructure to complement your current data center (or to replace it) so you can scale up to as many resources as you require when you need them – including faster network bandwidth, faster CPUs for the computing devices and faster storage devices to store / retrieve data (solid state versus hard disk) – it may also cut down on your Capital Expenses
  • Better computers, tablets and servers that can function with a flow allowing employees to keep working, productively

Yes, it will mean replacing many corporate devices but it will ensure your network can handle heavier load over time. It will also mean that you do not hear about or see many, many, many of your employees sitting and watching a spinning hour glass or circle nearly every time they perform a print, retrieve or save task (not every single time but you get the point).

All of these instances across the firm will add up to wasted, unproductive time and significant revenue loss to operating expenses year over year that wind up being opportunity costs lost. By this last statement, I mean that employees could be more productive if they did not have to constantly wait for their computer system or network to respond. 

Disabled Employees

You should also be looking at the ranks of disabled employees; such as the blind who can help your company by listening to products you may produce that have an audio aspect to them. To hear how pleasing or unpleasant the product(s) may sound.

Look at deaf employees; they could help with the visual aspects of products and see things in a different manner to make those products more successful. The deaf could look for things such as color, layout and appeal to help make various products winners.

There are the individuals confined to wheel-chairs who may be mentally brilliant but are overlooked only because they are in a wheel-chair.

 

SUCCESS Through Yourself

Yourself

Now, as one who wants to be a successful leader, there are many tools you should have in your arsenal, ready to pull out and wield. Some of these tools will be tangible, while others are intangible.

You are who you are by the dint of all that you have done over the course of your life. 

Vision, Creativity, Ethics

It is necessary to be a person who is capable of having vision to look forward in time, through the hard times, to bring success to the firm. It is also a necessity in making connections where others do not see it, such as dual use for a product when the product was not originally designed for anything but what it is selling for.

You should strive to be able to see trends coming that you and your company can take advantage of to continue being successful. 

You need to have creativity, even to a small degree, to see, hear and understand what your staff is telling or presenting to you for any viable product that may come to market. This is not say you must be a marketing genius but you should be able to tie your vision to your creative juices to move forward with a product or product line.

It is also mandatory to have the ethics, strong ethics, to not bamboozle anyone – employees, customers, shareholders, no matter how dire the situation has or will become. You must be strong enough to be bold and upfront about everything. Dishonesty and deceit will never, in the long run, win you any awards. This principle of right and wrong, integrity, must be imprinted onto your DNA so that it is, well, just second nature.

Everyone fails at some point; you must be able to show your resolve and your ethics to be bigger than others when the time comes and move forward. 

Knowledge

Yes, you must be knowledgeable about EPS, ROI, Cash Reserves, 10K and 10Q statements, CapEx, OpEx – these are all a given. What is not a specific given is that you need to have other kinds of knowledge as well.

You should be curious, all the time and willing to learn more – when you make the time, which you need to pencil in. You have to be adept in picking up and learning new things and being adaptable, another requirement, to multiple instances you find yourself in and to new kinds of knowledge.

You, yourself, do not have to be the smartest and most intelligent person in the room but you do have to smart enough to know when to have the smartest and most intelligent people around. You should not be shrinking away from these smarter people; you should be embracing them and learning from them. To be successful, you must pick up knowledge in many unlikely places, not just the known and predictable places.

If you continue to try to be the smartest person in the room, it will show and many people will be repelled by it.

You should have gained, and continue to gain, your knowledge in a multitude of places, from school, in the streets (commonsense) to the many places you have been employed. You should also strive to continue learning to be better at whatever you do. 

Your knowledge, especially if it is broad based knowledge (or what can be called cognitive diversity) will continue to pay dividends for you as long as you live. Because of that broad background of knowledge and experience, you will have the tools you need in continuing to be successful.

Take for instance your school based education. Suppose you learned to play in a concert/marching band; that you played in one or more sports; you learned at least several hard sciences (advanced math, physics, areas of medicine, chemistry – male or female); you learned home economics (not to be minimized in the least); geography; languages (one or two); political science; technology based courses (male and female); history and English (if you are in the U.S.).

Then suppose you continued to learn more about these topics at least through college. With this multitude of learnings, you will have a foundation of knowledge that will last you a lifetime. You will be able to discourse on any number of topics in any setting with just about anyone who is willing to honestly hold a conversation with you and you with them. 

Communication

You should be a good to great communicator to get your point across or attempt to. The honesty of trying will win out every time in highlighting your sincerity. If you attempt to put on a choreographed, scripted performance that is not true or heart-felt, everyone will see it and make note that your brand, your reputation is not as sterling as it should be.

Your brand and reputation, after your ethics and integrity, is what defines you as a person. It is what defines you as a leader. You should bend over backwards in proving how solid your brand and reputation are, not only to yourself, but to everyone else. Those who are paying attention and looking beyond their own nose and selfish needs will see the truisms you have and will respond to accordingly. 

You are the kind of communicator that listens intently, respectfully and honestly to those talking to you. You must be acutely, but not painfully, sensitive to the needs of others. You must show some level of empathy to the people you deal with, no matter if it is on an occasional or irregular basis.

No matter the situation, in being successful, you must be an active listener. Sometimes, that is all some people really need or want, even if it does not require any action on your part, other than listening. 

You must be open and honest, as much as possible in whatever situation you are in. You must be affable at times because many people actually do like that, as long as you do not go overboard with it AND you do not make it a gimmick. But you must also be serious at the times when you need to and it should explicitly come across that you are serious and not wishy-washy to use a ‘highly’ technical term…  

One ultimate item of interest is that you have got to be a person who is willing to engage and very capable of collaborating with others, no matter who the other is.

The other could come from any walk of life, they could be a:

  • Woman/Man – just because the other is a woman or man should make no difference whatsoever (I’m not talking about lifting strength here)
  • Different age – this is meaningless because that person could be a better, smarter person than you, you will not know until you give them a chance
  • Race – now this, this is just a no-brainer – the color of the other should not matter in the least, it is what in the character and the heart of that person that should matter to you
  • Religion – well, this is a touchy one for which I will not get into much because there those where religion is not an albatross upsetting any engagement – then there are those where religion is a complete and intractable roadblock where they will not compromise no matter what you compromise on – so be careful in working with this latter group of people, it can be rather difficult.

The bottom line in regards to others is that you be respectful of who they are and what they represent. If you are respectful to them that is a big head start. 

Connections

To be successful, you have to be something more than average, you have to be not just a thinker but you also have to be a lateral thinker [1]. You have to be able to think in a multitude of directions, vertical, horizontal and diagonal in order to see things in a different perspective or through different rose colored glasses. You should work at and continue being a multi-spatial thinker. Do not look at just that one single tree (micro) but instead, look at that tree AND the forest (macro) for a holistic picture. This is a far better imagery to have instead of looking at a single tree, after single tree, after….. 

You will need to understand the multiple connections and axes of the organization and industry you are in. You need to understand the interrelationships between marketing and research, between research and operations, between business and technology and between technology and people – only to name a few here.

You must see those connections and see where there are possible pitfalls and negative entanglements. You must be able to strategize where there are possible successes in any number of those connections. This where predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and even visual analytics comes in handy – all these tools can assist you with doing ‘what-if’ and ‘what-about’ scenarios to fine tune various strategies.

 

Conclusion

Again, employees should come first because if you do treat them better, rather than as a resource to bring profits to the bottom line, they will reciprocate as they should by being better workers and not using as many sick days or excuses for not coming in to work, a place they loathe.

Look for good people, whether they are handicapped or not. Look for people who different than you because many of them could be or will be smarter than you. Surround yourself with smart or smarter people, they can help you and your company be more successful.

Continue being creative and if possible, try to be innovative to make disruptive and revolutionary changes, not just incremental and evolutionary growth. Try to combine the best of all worlds; the best of the best business practices; the best technological tools that can be used for best results and certainly not least; People and what they individually and collectively can offer. 

Ultimately, to be successful, you must continue to learn, strive in growing and engaging with others and at various points, others who have altruistic intents rather than vested selfish interests will help you succeed. You in turn, can help others be / become successful. 

And that is the crux of it all, if you help others succeed, you too will be successful. If you help your company succeed, you will be successful. It is a wickedly nice circle to be in…

 

Definitions

Cognitive Diversity – He (Scott Page) suggests that cognitive diversity has four dimensions: perspectives, interpretations, heuristics, predictive models.

  • Diverse perspectives: people have different ways of representing situations and problems; they who see or envision the set of possibilities confronting them differently.
  • Diverse interpretations: people put things into different categories and classifications. To some people, I might be someone who worked at the World Bank. To others, I might be an leadership storyteller. To others, I might be an author about radical management. All are true. They are different interpretations of the world.
  • Diverse heuristics: People have different ways of generating solutions to problems. Some people like to talk through their thinking about problems; others prefer to write out his solutions first and then talk
  • Diverse predictive models: Some people analyze the situation. Others may look for the story)

(Cognitive Diversity boils down to the broad base of experience/knowledge that an individual has collected throughout their lives and the differences in what others have learned – making the collective whole that much better)

Predictive analytics – Practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. Predictive analytics does not tell you what will happen in the future

Prescriptive analytics – A type of business analytics that focuses on finding the best course of action for a given situation

Visual analytics – A form of analytics in which interactive graphical displays of data are used to generate analytical results and insights – it can attack certain problems whose size, complexity, and need for closely coupled human and machine analysis may make them otherwise intractable

 

References

[1] – Dr. Edward DeBono – multiple books on Lateral Thinking

[2] – Scott Page – The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, (Princeton, 2007)

No Net Neutrality is “Kinda Like Discrimination”

BB

Well, let’s clearly state up front that if we do not have net neutrality in place that it is Kinda Like Discrimination!If there is inequality in how individuals and firms use the ‘Net, there will be discriminatory impacts as a result.

Also, this paper is not focused on entertainment value of the ‘Net but the power of the educational component of using the ‘Net and improving individual lives.

 

Now, let’s also be clear, corporations and companies should make a profit, there is no doubt about that. But when the profits come in the form of gains due to people here and there and companies here and there having to pay for a faster speed to get a leg up on their competitors, well, that could be problematic.

In the first place, aren’t the major (and minor) ISPs, Telco’s and exchanges (LECs/IXC’s), supposed to be improving their communication pipes with their own investments (culled from the profits made off of customers) in order to attract and retain current and future customers?

 

If lower income people around the world do not have a fair and equitable manner of accessing the ‘Net, in comparison to the more wealthier middle/upper income earners – these lower income folks cannot play ball at the same level. The less fortunate will either have to make trips to the local library or suffer from a much slower ‘Net.

Who wants to suffer in watching an hour-glass or spinning wheel on the PCs’ monitor? Who wants to wait for a connection that might well die and disconnect and reconnect and start all over again for what was originally wanted.

If you have a student in your home and they are watching an educational video, the value of that learning time plummets when the learner/viewer cannot have a solid, good and fast connection. The learning is drastically disrupted due to the vagaries of having to deal with the many network errors (sync errors, drops, slowness, etc.). And many, many of us have put up those kinds of problems in the early days of BBSs’ and the early years of the ‘Net. NONE of us enjoyed that at all.

 

We, the global citizens of the world, have put up far too many forms of discrimination in our time on earth. And whether you count time on earth in BC/AD or BCE/CE, it does not matter, we have seen discrimination in its many forms for centuries and many of which are still here today (sadly and pathetically so).

Do we need yet another form of discrimination? Should major ISPs, telcos, LECs and IXCs have the power to dictate pricing on the ‘Nets of the world, the U.S. at any rate and make those who cannot afford it, scrimp, beg and borrow money to pay for equal access to the ‘Net?

 

As it stands, there are many jurisdictions in the U.S. where any new company AND even the local municipality are banned from competing with the major broadband. This ban is due to those major telcos and their lobbyists spending gobs of money and getting laws enacted to end up in the favor of the telco/broadband carrier.

It also does not hurt these major providers – ISPs & Telcos – have congressional representation (i.e. Blackburn – see the references below) aiding them in blocking municipalities from competing, it is all well and good for the major providers but not so good for the rest of the country.

 

How can this be fair? Sure, again, all companies should make a profit. But when companies lobby to get other companies/municipalities banned from competing that just paints an unflattering picture for those major providers as bad corporate citizens.

Why wouldn’t these major providers allow competition? Is it to retain monopoly and duopoly control on a vital service? Profit, well, yeah….

When municipalities are blocked from building their own fast networks in their own cities/towns that flat out kills the spirit of competition. These municipalities have the interests of their constituents at heart and want to do better for them and by them.

 

But as long as the courts and some certain members of congress continue to allow major providers to have their way in controlling the communication pipes of the country and stifling competition, we will continue to see discrimination. Only, this form of discrimination comes in the form of access to a better (reliability and speed) network that may or not be as available to all as it really should.

 

Already, we, the U.S., are at #27* in the world, behind Estonia, as far as ‘Net speeds go AND paying a significantly more for OUR slow speeds. Either way, the U.S. is not looking so hot…

* The speeds, however, vary depending on who you go to and when you check them out:

— Akamai has the U.S. at #11 at 10.5 Mbps in 2014

— One writer, Sept. 4, 2014, wrote that the U.S. is listed at #30 with download speeds of ~20Mbps, http://www.dailydot.com/politics/us-broadband-speed-cost-infographic/

— Ookla has the U.S. listed with download speeds of 33.3 Mbps right now, Mar 1, 2015, http://www.netindex.com/download/2,1/United-States/

 

References

Municipal Broadband Roadblocks, Jul 18, 2014, http://broadbandnow.com/report/municipal-broadband-roadblocks/

FCC overturns state laws that protect ISPs from local competition, Feb 26, 2015 , http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-overturns-state-laws-that-protect-isps-from-local-competition/

 

Definitions

‘NET    Internet (what this writer has been using for years)

BBS     Bulletin Board System / Service (of the 80s & early 90s)

FCC     Federal Communication Commission

ISP      Internet Service Provider

IXC      IntereXhange Carrier commonly called a long-distance telephone company

LEC     Local Exchange Carrier

Mbps   Mega-bits per second

MBps   Mega-bytes per second (8 bits/byte)

TELCO Telephone Company

 

 

Vocal Fry (or Creaky Voices) – How Do We Make it Go Away…?

UPDATE Aug 27 2015: Ah well, it appears we are just flat out stuck with this ever increasing rise of vocal fry emanating from men and women and boys and girls – everywhere, in all countries. Vocal fry is in everything we hear; in person, on the radio, in the movies and on television. As a result, speaking only for me (without vocal fry…), I have simply resorted to not listening to many, many programs any longer.

What I have stopped listening to or watching much of are:

— radio programs, T.V. shows and even movies

that have hosts, contributors or guests that speak with vocal fry / creaky voice, such as NPR, CNN (I rarely watch any Fox), Bloomberg (many of their programs) and others. If I really want to watch some content on TV, I’ll mute to read the graphics / crawlers…

Yes, some of these men and women, boys and girls may have a legitimate medical reason for speaking so. But, there are many who use vocal fry to try to simply sound mature or sexy, look or sound cool or even to be manipulative.

For me, I’ve returned to the old stand-by, reading content I am truly interested in, in print or online without having to put up with creaky voice/vocal fry.

Oh and at conferences, if someone starts speaking that way, I’ll just leave. I’ve already left a couple… So, if vocal fry does not annoy you maddeningly or turn you off, bon voyage…

 

Okay then, Vocal Fry and Creaky Voice are on an ever growing uptick. And the use of either is not: sexy, cool, attractive, hip or appealing – not when so many people are you are using it at the same time, there is no differentiator.

Are you noticing this sound (like the painful raking of nails or fingernails across a chalkboard) more and more as you go about your daily life? Or have you heard it but did not notice it or pay attention to it? Or did you not know what to think of it when you heard it?

Look (or rather, listen) around you, there are more men and women, boys and girls, using this affectation. And quite a few of us do find it distracting but what do you say to someone using vocal fry? It appears that the only thing you can do is to stop listening or paying attention to them, or at the extreme end, walk away.

Can you, you specifically, realistically sit/stand through a discussion/dialogue when the other is using such a distracting manner of speech? If so, I definitely doff my hat to you.

For the rest of us, what we do as a reaction is to just stop listening and stop actively engaging with that person who talks in that fashion just to end the conversation. I know, I know, that could be a lot to some people, but it is a tactic some of us are willing to undertake.

Numerous other bad sources of vocal fry are on radio, television and cable where TV announcers, news anchors, talk shows, etc. employ and it is just bad. It seems as if the news station chief’s, program directors no longer seem to care about it and how it affects the listeners.

The thing is, some of us just change radio or tv stations and engage in something else. That is the only alternative we have, outside of writing a letter or email or website posting to complain about the use of vocal fry in that program. For some of us, that is not a problem in switching channels/stations to hear something else that is NOT vocal fry. For me personally, if it is a topic that I really wanted to hear, I’ll just find a print version online somewhere or buy the magazine where it may appear.

And the biggest factor is that of viewer/listenership loss of the various radio and tv programs as we come upon vocal fry/creaky voice speakers on those programs. That is, the loss of fans/followers and potential ad revenue.

For many of us, listening to someone with vocal is flat out painfully distracting, detracting, annoying, irritating, ummm, how many more terms can I use here…

There are several other articles on this topic noted below and I am sure there are many, many more.

In writing this piece, I do not focus on the untrustworthiness aspect as all the articles here discuss at some point in their stories.

Check out the June 2, 2014 “Vocal Fry” in the Washington Post story, posted by, Gail Sullivan, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/02/study-women-with-creaky-voices-also-known-as-vocal-fry-deemed-less-hireable/

Some of us actually enjoy the richness and varied ranges of voices in society.

We like hearing:

  • Women sound like women, whether it is soft, serious, throaty, stern or questioning or even feminine
  • Men sounding like men, whether it is soft alto, richly rumbling, high pitched at times, deep (not that some women don’t naturally sound that way), sometimes cackling or commanding (if that is how they sound at times)
  • Boys and girls sound like boys and girls, not vocal fry or creaky voice imitators

We want to hear all that varied richness from the many different voices around the world.

So, overall, speaking for myself, I just flat out dislike affected vocal fry in anyone. I really, really am not looking forward to a world of more people (specifically news anchors, commentators, sports announcers, etc.) sounding alike, where with vocal fry/creaky voice:

  • men sound like women or
  • women sound like men or
  • men sounding like other men or
  • women sounding like other women – for any affected reason…

It is, as Mark Liberman alluded to in his article (3), about being ones’ self…

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are those out there who do have an actual physical condition that causes this sound, whether it is a physiological situation or they are smokers. The first situation, well, many of can understand and sympathize. For smokers, they bring it on themselves and not for me to say anything more about individuals’ personal habits.

But, alas, sad to say, I am one of those that intentionally turn away, change channels and lose all interest in listening to people (not just women) who appear to be using that creaky voice or vocal fry affectation in hopes of sounding “cool” or “sexy.” None of us are sure what it is that so many people believe they are doing but it is, as Ms. Sullivan’s writing noted, distracting and annoying and I am one of those negatively affected by it.

Is there any way that this can be brought to a larger public venue with a spotlight on the increasing use of vocal fry / creaky voice and figure out a way to stop it? And get people back to using their natural, true, rich voice…

Additional References

1 – Vocal Fry May Women’s Job Prospects, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/employers-look-down-on-women-with-vocal-fry/371811/, 29 May 2014

2 – The Way You Talk Could Be Hurting Your Job Prospects, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/vocal-fry/, 30 May 2014

3 – Vocal fry probably doesn’t harm your career prospects, http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=12774, 7 June 2014

 

Oscars 2016 – White Actor(ess) Gifting Oscar(s) to Actor(ess) of “Another” Race…

UPDATE: Feb 28, 2016

Well, here we are in another year and another Oscar event – same situation as last year as everyone has noticed. I wonder if this year will be different, as far as an actor/actress of one race gifting their hard earned Oscar award to an actor/actress of another race – I do wonder.

Yes, I do know a great deal of work went into getting to the Oscar level, but still, I wonder? Will there be anyone big enough to gift their Oscar tonight…

Who Won This Year?

So…. it appears that the folks (and leadership) responsible for picking out the golden people to win an Oscar this year seem to have been, ahhhh, missing some brain tissue or at least a small bit of intelligence…

 

Were there really no ‘superb’ Black or Asian or Hispanic actors/actresses worthy enough of being chosen for such an illustrious award?

Were the reviewers who picked out the possible actors/actresses somehow, ummm, dissuaded or even persuaded to only pick white actors? Not sure on this one – will we ever know…

Were the folks who needed to review possible films in order to choose Oscar candidates clueless and/or asleep at the switch (screening room)????

 

Well, what if one of the white actors/actresses, onstage and live, gifted their Oscar to one of the black (or Asian or Hispanic) actors/actresses who were snubbed this year.

Wouldn’t that shake up the news cycle for a week or two? Wouldn’t that make Twitter go ballistic in the number of tweets during and after the awards?

Wouldn’t that raise the stature of the white actor/actress gifting their 2015 Oscar to another actor, due to the lack of color a person of the year…??? Wouldn’t that make that gifting individual appear to be the most gracious and generous person on the planet – in actuality…???

That gifter would become the best gifter on the planet in making the life of another THAT MUCH BETTER…

 

But what can we expect; this is all just wishful thinking. But, if it did happen, it would make winners out of some special people…

Many of us only hope that impropriety or, aaargghh, racist were not the primary causes of this oversight.

 

Global Evil = ISIS

UPDATE Feb 18, 2015: It was brought to my attention that I did not mention Syria, Russia or China in aiding in this cause. I did not, it was intentional.

ISIS

We have arrived at a point in time that it is far overdue for countries around the world to literally join together to stop a scourge, no, a metastasizing cancer from continuing to spread.

Detection

Countries in the mid-East, northern Africa, Europe and North America have to unite in figuring out a way to detect radicalization of the:

  • Young and old,
  • Poor and middle-class,
  • Disenfranchised,
  • Outcasts and
  • Religious fanatics (or so-called religious fanatics)

Countries of this grand coalition will have to do a better job of data-mining to find these newly radicalized, or becoming so. However, that data-mining will have to be done without trampling on the privacy rights of the ordinary and innocent citizens of those countries infected with these malicious and dangerous malcontents.

On the other hand, ordinary citizens, no matter what religious or non-religious background they hale from, now have an extraordinary duty of reporting valid suspicions to the authorities. Of course, we will need some kind of international database for that purpose.

There are multiple sources of information out there where one can find or come across individuals becoming radicalized or are fully radicalized who harbor anger and hatred vile enough toward ‘non-believers.’ These ISIS wannabe’s will harm or kill anyone who stands against ISIS or just because they are Jewish or because they draw cartoons of the Muslim Muhammid (or Mohammed or Muhammed). There is no right granted anywhere in the world to anyone where they can kill another over a cartoon, even if that cartoon is offensive – no matter what religion or faith.

Yes, it may be stupid or drawn out of poor taste – but NO ONE has a right to kill another over a cartoon.

There are too many individuals coming out of the woodworks who purport to want to be part of this ISIS movement because of the religious faith that is offered. The brainwashing effects of the glitzy web ads and tweets and online conversations are irresistibly drawing in those of a weaker caliber mental state. And it is those of a weaker mind-set that is the problem, they want to be part of a movement where they ‘think’ they belong and are welcomed…

 

Prevention

Besides detecting those becoming, or are, radicalized we must prevent and stop them from joining up with ISIS. We cannot just put them in jail, we have to find a way to de-program them away from ISIS and back into society. We have to find a way to show these individuals that they are welcome in society.

By the same token, these individuals have to learn to accept that just because they have joined the Muslim faith or have taken their Muslim faith to another country – they have to act according to the laws of whatever country they are in. These radical Muslim’s have to understand that they cannot force their religion on others of a different faith, of the western world where free will is the norm – not anything related to Sharia or Sharia law.

People have free will to do what they want, with the exception of physically harming others. Women actually can walk around scantily clad in public or work for a living or drive themselves whenever they wish, all without any male Muslim (or any religion) dictating what women can and should be doing. This is not the dark ages where it was ignorantly believed that men had the sole right to dictate the daily life of women, boys and girls.

Women are not chattel.

 

Information

All of the countries mentioned above must do a better job of sharing information, even if it means a massive database where ordinary citizens can report information of ‘valid’ suspicions, facts or incidents of wannabe malcontents or actual members of ISIS.

We, the people of the world and law enforcement and military entities, are going to look longer and harder and deeper into all the social media (social networking sites, aka SNS) out there. More than we are currently doing now. We must have a synergistic effort (data collection, intelligence and combat strikes – sorry, cannot go into any real discussion on any kind of intelligence efforts (other than publically open source) and military matters at this time) to massively multiple the efforts to corral and stamp out ISIS

We are going to have to undertake deep data-mining of the open ‘Net and as much of the dark web as possible to ensure we locate as many as possible of these wannabes while they are in the early stages of pre-radicalization and after they become radicalized. We need to detect, prevent and stop them wherever we can.

If ISIS is using social media to their advantage, we need to do a better job than what the U.S. State Department is currently doing.

We have to stop this scourge and being nice is not going to work all by itself. Not when these ISIS members want to kill those people of the world who want to live in peace.

This collaboration has to be an operation on the scale of the allies joining forces in WWII to stop the spread of Nazism, or even as was done with Desert Storm. We must do this now, with an overwhelming amount of information to finding all these criminalist thugs, before ISIS continues to grow ever larger. The longer we wait, the worse it is going to be and more expensive in terms of lives lost and/or ruined. This effort to clamp down on ISIS and the cowardly carnage they are conducting cannot be based on what it might cost us financially.

We have to stop these, well, crazies now because it will cost more due to uncertainty and fear (loss of business – i.e. tourism).

 

Endgame

We have to join together as a global group and stop the growth and spread of this cancer that is indiscriminately killing people who do not convert to their brand of religion. We have to stop these twisted individuals from taking women and girls and doing whatever they wish to them.

Bombing these thugs is not the sole solution; it is going to take troops on the ground to stop them. And it is going to have to be troops primarily from the mid-East and Africa leading the way with other countries of the coalition backing them up.

The amount of open-source intelligence will have to be ramped up – in collection and analysis. There will have to be much better data correlation in ‘connecting the dots.’ The more data we can glean on malcontents and radicals, the better. The more sources of information, hint – citizens of the world, the better.

If we are to retain a free way of life, we are all in this together. If we want a way of life where you can practice any religion you choose (or no religion at all) without harming others; or have a way of life where women are not treated as second-class people, or worse; or be a Jew free of any kind of persecution, we must join together in overwhelming willingness and support to stop ISIS.

We may need to put up even more cameras in the public spaces to find these malcontents or be able to put together a picture that tells the story, after a horrific event… We may need facial recognition software, in many, many cities around the globe for this purpose. It may be regrettable but it may have to be done out of need…

No one wants to have to fight another conflict of any kind because we will suffer human losses, again, as we fight. But in this case, we may need to bring an army of the world to stop this group calling itself ISIS. This army of the world should be made up of the diplomatic corps, of other religious leaders who have a strong voice, of law enforcement, the military and most of all, let me repeat that, most of all – you, the citizens of the world helping to staunch this maniacal spread of something purporting to be of the Muslim faith. We will need to keep an eye out for malcontents in the regions in and surrounding Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia too…

Most of all, this is not going to be any kind of quick ending to ISIS. It is going to take a couple of years and that is a generous couple of years.

 

Lastly, we do not need celebrities or high powered corporate executives or some 4-star general / admiral or a group of billionaires running point on this – we primarily need YOU, the citizens of the world to be the point man/woman on this effort. We need YOU to use your voice, the power of your thinking and the power of your heart for what is right to step up and denounce this brutal, dishonest and completely misguided group of individuals who call themselves ISIS (or ISIL or IS).

We need you and your peers  wherever you are to stand up and make your voices heard to your government, so they actually make a concerted effort to stop and excise ISIS.

 

Using your Intelligence for Beneficial (NOT Evil) & Successful Influence

UPFRONT      

Influence, as to what many of us expect, should be used for ‘good enablement’ and not ‘evil manipulations’ for all people. Thus, this paper is for ‘good.’ And not the dastardly, horrific things we see in other parts of the world.

We have far too many entities worldwide using influence to suppress people and most of what their people hear and see in everyday life. To wit:

  • State run media in Russia, China, Turkey and other closed societies
  • Religious control by so-called religious groups such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, ISIS (or ISIL or IL) but are nothing more than fanatical, brainwashed thugs with its seemingly sole purpose of controlling women, girls, education, prohibition of any western influence (no pun intended) and oh yes, possibly religion as well.

And no, this does not excuse some of the practices in the U.S. and/or the western world, where men of some religions suppress women or attempt to suppress them. And yes, we still have covert racism in this country – this is one arena of the most evil influence machinations in this country or the world.

We can do without racial and religious influences which are meant to suppress anyone.

 

Beneficial Influence

This paper is to discuss the excellent benefits of gaining and using influence with some modicum of ‘wise’ and ‘thoughtful’ intelligence.

Wielding influence can be a highly powerful and valuable tool and, yes, you can read up on this topic in many, many books. You probably should too because there is a plethora, a great deal, of information and large bodies of knowledge on the topic.

Unfortunately, influence can also be wielded powerfully for malicious means as well – more on this later.

Primarily, this paper on influence is meant to spring from good, meaningful and even altruistic intentions. Influence used with any small measures of intelligence is a wonderful thing. What is meant by that statement is that when you use influence in a good fashion, to help others (individuals, businesses and non-profits) – you can have lasting, powerful impacts and ripple-like effects on AND for those around you as well as well on AND in the work you do.

Now, when it comes to influencing others around you, you do so – not in any pronounced or inflated fashion but in a manner where others willingly want to emulate you and do as you do. You should be going about your work and activities as you normally do, all the while thinking in a positive vein of what good can come out of your efforts and what you ‘can’ pass on to others.

You want to do things that have influence on others by you being you.

One little effort you can make is to help others to see things that they would not ordinarily see simply by helping them look at a situation or problem from a different perspective. Look at the forest of trees, not just at that single tree. And then extrapolate on it, by thinking – “What if?”

If you want to be a brilliant influencer, you should be one of those who are very willing to impart the things you’ve learned in your past, your career, your education, your travels and/or your upbringing.

Being a brilliant influencer means you look beyond the:

  • Looks
  • Race
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Physical (and maybe even mental) handicap and last but certainly not least
  • Gender

of the other(s). You are ONLY concerned about helping, enabling others to be better and show them the road to being better.

None of this means you have to be a full-fledged mentor or even someone with the svelte tongue of a perfect orator. You just need to be ‘YOU,’ while continuing to do the great job you always do. You should just be honest and open with the clearly delineated intentions of sharing.

And yeah, this could even be interpreted as being altruistic – but there you have it, the interpretation is totally up to you.

 

Successful Influence

So, successful influence means:

  • Enabling/helping others/business become better and in turn – successful
  • Your being a great role model, whether intentionally or subconsciously
  • Being an enabler for significant and deep collaboration in all endeavors, with another, others or businesses

Where does intelligence come into play for all of this? It means using your great and wonderful, ever growing brain (you are continuing to stretch it – correct?) in being smart in how you engage and interact with others.

It means being judicious in how you influence others. You want to use your stockpile of accumulated and ever growing knowledge in how you successfully respond to and with others, with those who could benefit from that vast pool of knowledge of yours.

 

Criminal Influence

Now then, there is also the flip side of “good” and intelligent influence and none of it is good.

Crime

Criminals use influence to their benefit in taking advantage of the weaker, slower and less educated of our fellow citizens. And at times, even the smartest and most educated fall victim to the criminal element, so in essence we all have a bone to pick in this fight in preventing, finding and stopping the criminal element in all its myriad forms, wherever we can find this perniciously evil group of miscreant thugs and silver-tongued devils.

Criminal influence, well, with greed and desire for power, we will need to always be on the lookout for malicious use of influence so we do not wind becoming victims of some smooth manipulator.

State Sponsored

We have state sponsored elements that use their influence and manipulate those under their purview and citizens who are powerless in stopping their mates from being victims of evil influences.

Take for example, China and its great firewall, where everything that passes through the nation’s communication network and internet is prone to censorship – blocked communication, deleted content, websites’ being shut down – without any hesitation, even if the site is for good, for education or to help others in the country just be better.

How do you have free and open dialogue when a government wants to muzzle you and/or its people? How do you have free reign to explore and connect with disparate people around the world without being spied on by your governmental leaders who tell you who it is okay to talk to or to seek out new and more accurate information?

Then we have Russia, with all of its voice, data and internet traffic being “required” to flow through government equipment. There is nothing secret here, do a search on the ‘Net for SORM I, II and III.

For example, you can go to one of the following sites and check out info on SORM:

          www.fas.org

          http://csis.org

Again, as I noted, this is not secret, classified info, it is publically available at multiple sources. But when you do seek it out on other sources, use multiple sites and then collate it so you can then think on what you have found. THEN – you can make your own informed decisions as to what you can risk saying in Russia without becoming a target of any Russian government agencies.

 

Both, Russia and China, as the two preeminent examples, attempt to control their people by restricting communication – visual and audio – so the people cannot grow and become aware and knowledgeable of what is true around the world. Russia and China control the media so the leaders in power can remain in power and control all outcomes.

Both countries, especially China, revert to saying that they do so because they do not want western influences creeping in and subverting their way of life. The leadership does not want to see the current way of life being lost, so, they control what people see and say.

 

These various kinds of state sponsored influence is just flat out wrong – let’s hope we can keep chipping away at that kind of wrong and evil influence and eventually manage to shine a light on equality and openness on what is happening in society.

 

Good and not Evil influence

Look, the bottom line is that, whatever you do right (or even in making an honest mistake here and there), might just become something that another wants to do.

There are many out there who want to do a great job in whatever they do, and if this makes them an excellent role model, so be it. And if there are those who want to follow in the footsteps of those excellent role models, those role models should do whatever they can, overtly and even surreptitiously (in a good manner), to enable others to grow, intelligently and successfully.

And yes, this paper could have gone on much longer – but you get the gist of it by now.