The Stuff of Dreams
Jan 19 2009

barack_obamaTomorrow is the inauguration of the next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama.  The post I did called A Vote for Brown, Brains, and Change after he was elected was one of the most commented-on posts I’ve written on this little’ ole blog.  It’s a historic event for America because as pretty much everyone in the world knows, it is the first time we will ever have a brown person, who also happens to be extremely smart and qualified, at the head of what is still the most powerful nation in the world.

There is much hope pinned on him to keep the US a strong world power and save us from the descent we are now experiencing.  I believe that if he continues to openly communicate with the American people that he will set the realistic expectations that it could take as long to get out of the world wide economic quagmire we find ourselves in as it took us to get into it.  He has a lot of challenges ahead of him and it comes down to each and every one of us contributing by continuing to work hard and helping others, as good Samaritans do, to help them get back on their emotional or financial feet one family at a time.

I was watching Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech (August 28, 1963) earlier today on CNN and was moved, as I usually am, at his words.  Just over 45 years ago, colored people could not drink from the same water fountain as White people.  They could not stay in the same hotels or hotel rooms as White people.  They could not sit in the same place on the bus. They could not get access to the same education.  They could not play on the same football teams.

MLK and all of the people (White, Black, Brown, and blonde, red, hair-dyed, and dark haired people) who believed in his dream, knew that one day the children of the slaves and the slave owners would be able to sit down together for dinner as equals.  They would be able to go to the same restaurants and stay at the same hotels.  His dream took time to achieve but now almost half a century later most of his dream has become real.  If he had not been killed for voicing his dream out loud, he would be 80 years old today enjoying his 4 children and granchildren.  If he had not taken a stand, the world might have been a different place.

Not only colored people but also women have been able to achieve amazing things because of the barriers broken down by men and women who came before us.  I am so grateful for the strong women I have met along my path who have helped me and instead of pushing me down, they offered their hands and their hearts to pull me up!   These people fought hard to make our lives easier, and as I start to cross mid-life, I not only look ahead of me but also behind me to offer my hand in help to others.

The Obama experiment is a new one not only for the US but also the modern world.  For any experiment to work, we as a nation need to be fully on board.  Be skeptical, but push ahead with gusto.  Put cynicism aside for a while and have faith that with our words and actions we can make a difference for the world!

A friend of mine, who I know is wrestling with his dreams although he won’t admit it out loud, recently told me that some philosopher said something like “we can change the world by changing the songs (narratives) we pass on to our kids.”  The stories we tell our children about someone’s beliefs, someone’s skin color, someone’s gender are the stories they carry with them the rest of their lives.  The stories have changed in the US with regards to brown people even from when I was a child, yet I still struggle to change those internal narratives even now.  The stories have changed also with regards to women/girls.  We still need to continue to change them for the positive.  My grandfather once told me that one day the people of this world will all be a nice tan color so in some small way it became OK for me to marry a White man and have tan colored kids.   He told me a bunch of other stories that were hilarious but not appropriate to blog about! 🙂

But the world still seems to have trouble changing the stories about people’s religious beliefs as we continue to see in Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.  The children are taught to hate and mistrust others based on their religion because that is what they see and hear on a daily basis.  I wonder how we can help change the stories and dreams for those children?

In my mind, getting an education is the single most important way to continue to enhance the lives of each and every one of us, our children, and the world’s children.  Tolerance and understanding come from open minds, open hearts, and trying new things.

As you think about how we can help change those children’s stories, I leave you with a YouTube video of Martin Luther King’s speech given in 1963 (see below).  Isn’t technology amazing sometimes?!

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, success, success story | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments »

Mort Meyerson on Success
Jan 11 2009

I used to co-write articles for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine called The Alcalde. It was one of the things I had to give up when I started a day job.  My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I enjoyed doing them but it took more time and didn’t pay enough money for either of us to  justify being able to keep doing them in either of our schedules going forward. The articles are listed on the Success Profiles page of this blog. But we had a good run with the first article on Mort Meyerson (pdf) running in the Jan/Feb issue of 2005 and the last one in the Sept/Oct issue of 2008. The series started as Success To Me and during the middle of last year we changed it to Self Starter to focus more on entrepreneurs. They have apparently brought the series in house or found someone else to continue the series which goes to show you everyone is replaceable!

I blogged about a few of the more recent ones we did but not some of the initial ones, so I am going to start from the beginning and do some posts on the older ones where I highlight a quote or two from each article. You can see the full article on Mort Meyerson by clicking HERE (pdf).

Mort is the former President of EDS and former Chairman & CEO of Perot Systems. He currently leads 2M Companies and the Morton H. Meyerson Family Tzedekah fund. He received his BA in 1961 in Economics and Philosophy. He was at Perot Systems from 1992 to 1998 when the company went from $100 million to $1 billion in revenue. He was at EDS from 1975 to 1986 when the company went from $200 million to $4.4 billion.

We started the article with this quote by Mort:

When I first retired in 1986 at 48 years old, I asked myself the question, “Is this all there is to life?” I had been a CEO, I had financial security, I had great friends and a devoted family. I wasn’t unhappy, but I didn’t feel fully successful given my financial and work success.

He then went on to describe his philosophy on giving which is based on the framework of the Jewish philosophy of tzedakah.

So now our foundation strives to be a node in a neural network called the greater community of human beings trying to help each other. I am a connector. It’s interesting that that’s what I did in business for 40 years. So, I have been applying part of my business expertise within the tzedakah perspective, and I find it very rewarding. Through the concept of tzedakah, I’m beginning to feel more whole, more successful, than I did in 1986 when I retired from EDS and in 1998 when I retired from Perot Systems.

I (Aruni) have always found it interesting that in my search for meaning I have run across so many others with far more financial and material wealth than I certainly have who are searching for the same thing. I meet many with much less material wealth searching also for understanding and peace. I have run across very few people who are completely OK with who they are and where they are in life and 99.9% of those people are kids.

There is always something in between the black & white lines in an article, a newspaper feature, or a TV story that can never be accurately conveyed to the listener or the viewer. Most of us know this, yet we still make assumptions about people and situations as if their inner essences are completely different than ours…but are they?

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A Vote for Brown, Brains, and Change!
Nov 4 2008

I haven’t written about politics on my blog for a variety of reasons but mostly because I think everyone has a right to their own opinion and my blog is primarily about business and parenting…not politics.

However, given that a historic, unprecedented event has just happened in our lifetime, I felt compelled to write this post.  I am SO excited that Barack Obama was elected to be the next president of the United States!  Not just because I agree with much of his political philosophy, but also because he’s brown, has brains, and has the potential to heal wounds created throughout the world.

If you are someone who has not grown up with brown skin, this might not make sense to you but in my opinion this is a huge affirmation of the American dream.  My uncle, a geography professor, was turned away from a restaurant while visiting Virginia New Mexico because of the color of his skin.  When I was 8 or 9 years old, a blonde little boy turned to me in the walkways outside my elementary school and yelled at me calling me the ‘n’ word.  I had never heard that word before, yet I felt the hate emanating from this young boy, and I still remember the fear I felt standing there all alone wondering why this boy hated me so much. 

I’m not even Black (I’m South Asian), but I (and other members of my family) were lumped into the non-White category.  When I lived in West Texas, the difference was even more pronounced.  I grew up self conscious of my skin color and even now I have moments where I wonder if I truly fit in…despite being married to a White man!   Women and Black men have had to consistently work twice as hard and be twice as good to be recognized at the same level as White men in this country. 

Time will tell if Obama was the right pick, but the fact that he was picked in this country in 2008 means to me that we’ve reached a turning point in our history.  People who are not White and not even men (thanks to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin) now have a living breathing example of how it can be done.

Obama, to me, epitomizes working hard (no riding daddy’s coattails), focusing on education, prioritizing family values, and taking a thoughtful analytic (that man is smart!) approach before acting.  As an added bonus, he appears to know how to speak proper English! 🙂

Not only has he broken color barriers, he has broken social media barriers.  He has run the biggest, first, and most effective political campaign that has ever been run (oh what money can buy)!  By his campaign’s avid use of twitter, YouTube, blogs, MySpace, email campaigns, etc., he has single handedly affirmed an entire new industry and demonstrated how using the Internet and social media can have a huge impact on the success of campaigns, businesses, and causes.  If there was any doubt by individuals and big companies as to the efficacy of social media, it has now been shattered!   

I was 3 when I came to the United States with my parents, and we landed in Pennsylvania.  I was 21 when I became a naturalized citizen in New Mexico.  I am now many years older, live in Texas, and tonight I saw the window of opportunity open wider for my light brown kids…

God Bless America!

Author: | Filed under: competition, diversity, parenting, social media, success, success story, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

Self Starter – Kirby Allison of The Hanger Project
Sep 27 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page of this blog.  The last article that we did for the Self Starter series for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Kirby Allison (gif).  Kirby is a recent graduate and the founder of The Hanger Project.  He built the business nights and weekends in school and even after graduating while he held a day job!

Sadly, interviewing these interesting entrepreneurs and writing about them with Pam was one of the things I had to remove from my very full plate of things to do.  Both Pam and I took on other commitments ranging from my day job and her additional writing work, that we decided we couldn’t continue to do it and do it well.   We’ve been doing articles for The Alcalde for over 3 years now and we really enjoyed working with each other and the editor, Avrel Seale.  Life is full of hard decisions and this was one of them.  Who knows, we might write for them again when it works for all of our schedules…

I’ll do full posts on past articles we’ve written that I haven’t done one for yet…so keep an eye out for those.  An image of Kirby’s article is below and an interesting highlight from his article follows.  

Last fall a confluence of opportunities – a complimentary product review in the Wall Street Journal and a major order from a luxury men’s store in Guatemala – propelled the popularity of Allison’s hangers.  He found himself scrambling to air-freight new inventory to meet the Christmas demand.  His little side project had become The Hanger Project, a recognized leader in premium hangers.”


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Entrepreneurship vs. 2008 Summer Olympics
Aug 29 2008

The Summer 2008 Olympics are now over.  The national conventions for the Democrats and Republicans are happening.  Democrats just wrapped up theirs and Barack Obama is the official candidate.  The Republicans are up soon and John McCain just announced his VP, Sarah Palin.  School has started for all kids across the country.  Summer vacations are over.  And life goes on. 

Like many I watched the Olympics when I found the time in the evening and was fortunate enough to see some of the men and women’s gymnastics, swimming, track and field, and volleyball.  I saw the US women’s beach volleyball team win.  I saw the women’s gymnastics team win and saw Nastia Lukin win gold.  I saw Michael Phelps win several of his gold medals for swimming.  One weekend I even caught the Chinese synchronized swimming team.  Wow, that was impressive!  My husband stayed up later and saw the women’s and men’s volleyball teams as well as the men’s basketball team. 

I actually think I was able to watch more of the events during this Olympics than any other Olympics in my life.  I’m not sure why that is given that my life is so much busier than it used to be.  It’s probably because my husband was watching it and it was a nice (often nerve wracking) way to end the day and see several of the events “live.” 

What struck me was how hard all of these athletes have been preparing for the vast majority of their lives for this one shot at gold, fame, and potential sponsorship opportunities from big name brands/companies.  All their preparation comes down to a single point in time to succeed or fail.  The pressure and mental stress must be extreme, and yet they get up every day to prepare for that one moment in time. 

Every individual who competes tries hard, practices hard, prepares hard and only 1 receives the gold medal.  The same is true for entrepreneurs but fortunately there aren’t hundreds of little kids competing to win in one particular business (e.g., selling widget X).  There may be several competitors in a space but it’s doubtful that the leaders of your competitors started practicing to compete to sell “widget X” when they were 10 or even 5 years old!  

However, there seem to be many more factors way out of the control of the entrepreneur that determine their company’s success or failure (e.g., the economy, people issues, product issues, market timing, etc.).  An athlete has much more control on whether they get up and practice every day with the major big unknown being a devastating injury.  They are rarely blindsided by a last minute entry who ends up being a well-funded Superman/Superwoman athlete! 

Building a successful business is extremely hard, costs money, and is time consuming, but after watching the Olympics, my guess is that preparing and then winning a gold medal is harder, requires more discipline, and is more time consuming but with more defined parameters.  Even more so if you happen to be a Chinese Olympic team member who are often taken from their parents at a very young age. 

People expect athletes to take years or even a decade to train to even make it to the Olympic games, but many expect entrepreneurs to make it big in just a few years and in the process they often burn themselves and others out.  I’m guessing that fewer entrepreneurs earn ‘gold medals’ than individuals and teams do every four years in the summer Olympics.

Author: | Filed under: competition, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, success | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Self Starter – Bart Knaggs, Founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment
Aug 17 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page of this blog.

Our most recent article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Bart Knaggs (gif).  Bart is the founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment which brings us the annual, highly popular Austin City Limits Festival.  Here is an interesting quote from his interview:

There are ways you want to manage opportunities, but mitigating risk, I think takes you down the wrong path.”  Instead of thinking that you might lose so you’d better prepare for the crash, Knaggs says you must believe you’re going to take off, so you’ll only prepare to fly.  “You have to commit 100 percent to powering the engines and getting up to speed.  You have to rally your people, you just have to know you’re going to fly.”

Bart has two kids.  After getting his undergraduate degree, he became a competitive cyclist – “a form of self-employment in which the sacrifice is monumental and the payoff only accrues to an elite few.”


























One more article in the Self-Starter series will be coming out soon, so sign up for free email updates and you won’t miss it!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, father, success, success story, working father | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Self Starter – Gay Gaddis of T3
Jul 26 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page

One of our latest articles for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Gay Gaddis.  Gay is the founder of T3 – The Think Tank, the largest women-owned advertising agency in the US!

Here is a thought provoking quote from Gay’s interview:

You get knocked down a couple times and your confidence gets busted and you draw back a little bit,” she says, “but you have to allow yourself the mistakes and the rejection and not let them eat you up.

I agree with Gay that many entrepreneurs give up is when they let their mistakes eat them up instead of learning from them and moving forward.  I struggle with limiting thoughts often.

Gay has 3 kids and came from a long line of entrepreneurs so she saw the reality of how it is to build a business.  She started helping her mother with her kindergarten program when she was 13 years old after her father died!     


There are more articles to come, so sign up for free email updates to get them right in your inbox!


Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mom, mother, success, success story, working mother | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Self Starter – Gay Gaddis of T3

Moms Gone Viral
May 2 2008

I was planning to write a post updating everyone on our search engine optimization experience today but the real world injected itself with a sick kid at home.  High fever and rescheduling meetings doesn’t leave much time for writing long, heavy posts.  Plus I had to sneak in a nap in the afternoon while our daughter napped since we didn’t get much sleep the night before. 🙂

So instead, while my husband takes care of the kids this evening, I thought I’d write a post on the example of an unanticipated, viral marketing story with a mom twist.  So here it goes…

Once upon a time I met a friend on the Internet.  I found her blog and commented away.  After some time, we realized we had similar visions and she invited me do a guest post on her blog called Entrepreneurship: A Blessing or a Curse.  We kept in touch, spoke on the phone a few times about ways to work together, became twitter pals, and finally met in person at SXSW here in Austin back in March and clicked even more. 

While at SXSW she got further proof of what she already knew which was that the name of her blog, then called eMoms at Home, was not really reflective of the demographics of her readers and would-be readers so she had a mini-meltdown, picked herself up and came up with a cool new name called Sparkplugging!  Since she was and still is an advocate of entrepreneurs and especially those who work from home, her cool, new name opens the door wide open to many of us who are moms or not but like to spark up ideas and play with them until something happens.

So after SXSW, she went home and saw a post about dads on twitter and decided to do one for moms.  Within hours she got tons of replies and created a post called The Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter that started with 250 moms.  I commented and subscribed to comments on that post and every day new moms would leave a comment with their twitter name until May 1, 2008 that is.  Twitter sent out an email to everyone yesterday, May 1, and in it they included:

Mother’s Day: On The Way

We’ve noticed a trend of parents twittering the moments of their baby’s birth so we know there are some new moms on Twitter. Are you a mom on Twitter? Is your own mom on Twitter? Maybe you even made “The Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter”? Mother’s Day is just around the corner so don’t forget to @reply the moms you know with a thoughtful phrase–but keep it under 140 characters, moms are busy people.

List of Moms on Twitter:

And today I had 150+ comments in my inbox and they are still coming.  Now she has close to 400 comments on that one post! Did she do anything extraordinary to make it happen? Not really.  Did she tell people on twitter about it? Yes, of course.  Did she know others would tell and re-tell more people about the list? Possibly.  Did she know twitter would pick it up in their mass email to everyone? Doubtful (but I don’t know what went on behind the scenes).  So in hindsight what played in her favor to have a post she wrote on April 8 (before her name change) take on a life of its own?  Here’s what I think:

  • She took the initiative to do something that ended up being quite time consuming, but she saw from the responses it resonated with hundreds of moms on twitter that it was a worthwhile endeavor. 
  • She told her friends about it who re-tweeted and blogged about it. 
  • The tweeters kept the link going within twitter and in the blogosphere. 
  • Mother’s Day was around the corner and the guys (I think they are all men) at twitter saw the activity and might have said to themselves “Hmmm. How can we mention a major holiday, get brownie points with our wives/mothers, and promote twitter at the same time” and voila a mention was born!

UPDATE: I sent a link to @Biz to this post and he informed me there are several women who work at twitter!  So of course I followed them.  Here is his tweet: 

biz @aruni awesome! I included the moms list because it was noteworthy – also, women who work at Twitter: @crystal @krissy @alissa @lane @sara

In case you haven’t guessed who this friend is, it’s Wendy Piersall.  I guess only Wendy can tell us if she planned all of this, but to me it’s another example of viral marketing that in hindsight makes sense but when started, the current result would have been highly unpredictable. 

To me, this is why it is so hard to orchestrate a viral campaign.  You can plan everything down to the “t” and still not have it work out the way you wanted.  It’s hard to predict when there are so many variables.  You can also just do something you enjoy doing that helps others and see a “spark” turn into a flame!  Way to go Wendy! 😀

Oh and by the way, I am @aruni and Wendy is @eMom on twitter…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mom, mother, mother's day, networking, social networks, success, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

An Inside Look at a Little Known Secret to Success
Apr 10 2008

Liz’s assistant approached me a few weeks ago about doing a guest post on my blog.  She sent me a copy of her book The MavHERick Mind, which I mentioned in my Psychology of Entrepreneurship post.  It’s a really quick and easy read and a great reminder of how/why our thoughts get in the way of our success!  One quote from a famous person that she included in her book that made me really smile was “If it is once again one against forty-eight, then I am very sorry for the forty-eight.” by Margaret Thatcher.

liz-pabon-headshot.jpgAn Inside Look at a Little Known Secret to Success
By: Liz Pabon, The Branding Maven

During a recent interview, I was asked if women find it easier (or harder) to model the branding principles I teach.  While my answer may not come as a surprise to you, identifying where you fit within the continuum may.

Here’s how I replied…

The fascinating thing about it all is that women are known to wear their hearts on their sleeves, are more generous, and are generally an open book.  Yet, in business many women have been led to believe they must hide behind a role…the role of “business woman.”

What do I mean by hide?

Let me explain…

You see it’s quite a challenge to be your most authentic self when you turn who you are at your inner most core “on” or “off” depending on your circumstances.  Yet, that’s exactly what many women do. 

When we’re with friends we play the role of “trusted friend” always listening, offering sage advice or just being…silly.

When we’re with family, we play the role of “mother,” “wife,” “daughter,” “sister.” It’s then that we exhibit all the behaviors and place (sometimes unrealistic) expectations on ourselves associated with those roles.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, I’m 100% authentic 100% of the time.

It’s funny how we are sometimes asleep to the subtle shifts in our behavior brought on by the situation we’re in.

Here’s what I observed in the interview I mentioned earlier…

During my interview we had a short break.  And on this break the host and I gabbed about shoes, lipstick and where we planned to vacation this summer.  As soon as we got the cue that we were back on the air, her voice tone and demeanor did an about face and she was now playing the role of “show host.” 

Was she being phony in her role as show host?  No.  But she turned off the delightful, engaging part of her and replaced it with a more formal, conservative persona.  Had her listeners been introduced to the woman I connected with during the break, her listening audience numbers would grow like wild fire!

What’s the result of all this mask wearing and role swapping?

Living with a tiresome sense of having to compartmentalize yourself instead of enjoying life in a wonderful stream of simply being.   Where the personal and the professional flow naturally and effortlessly as one.

It’s a rule of good branding to remain consistent.  Showing your market two faces can lead to disaster.  Showing your market what you think they want to see can also prove ineffective.

Business today has gotten very personal.  What this means is giving (and showing) your audience more of who you are and what you’ve got. 

That’s a little known secret to success.

©Copyright 2008 Liz Pabon.  All rights reserved.

About the author:  Liz Pabon (aka: The Branding Maven) is a champion of women, shoe lover, award-winning author, and brand strategist.  To learn more about Liz and her recent book, The MavHERickTM Mind, visit her at

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Success To Me – Clay Nichols
Mar 6 2008

I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Clay Nichols.  Clay is a Michener Fellow at the Texas Center for Writers and Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at DadLabs, an Internet TV show featuring humor and advice on fatherhood.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  Here is a thought provoking quote from the article:

Leadership in a corporate context is very different from that in a family context.  To me that’s painfully and brutally obvious, but I’ve run across many who don’t seem to recognize that distinction and the relationship with their families suffers irreparably.”  He goes on to say “The time you spend with your kids is going to be as valuable to your ultimate success as the time you spend with your colleagues.”

You can’t manage relationships with friends and family the same way you manage relationships at work or manage your career.  I fall victim to thinking it can be managed the same myself from time to time.  They are two different things and as we’ve seen from observing people around us trying to fit a square peg in a round hole doesn’t usually turn out that well.

Stay tuned for a whole new series with the next edition of The Alcalde that will be called Self Starter. We will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ’em Horns!


Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, father, parenting, success, success story, working dad, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Success To Me – Clay Nichols

Success To Me – Jim Nolen
Feb 13 2008

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Jim Nolen.  Jim  is a UT Distinguised Senior Lecturer of Finance and President of CFO Services.  He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  One of the key things he said that resonated with me was:

“Thomas Edison said ‘I’ve never had a failure — I’ve found 10,000 things that didn’t work.’  It’s that mental attitude that really translates into success in the end — never thinking about failure, but saying instead, ‘I’m going to be successful.  I may take a lot of detours, but I don’t have a problem with that.'” 

It’s all in how we frame it, isn’t it?  Life is one big university where we continue to learn and grow!

The editor has since asked us to focus on entrepreneurs for future articles and of course I am thrilled since I love meeting and talking with entrepreneurs!  So after the next one, the series will be called Self Starter and we will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ’em Horns!


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Bill Gates’ Last Day At Microsoft LOL Video from CES
Jan 7 2008

In case you missed it, here is the hilarious video about Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft that was shown at his final keynote address at the Computer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday.  I think it’s so great to see his fun side!  As an entrepreneur, I am in awe at what he has accomplished in his lifetime and even did a post about a prior appearance of his with Steve Jobs a while back.

The video stars Brian Williams, Steve Ballmer, Matthew McConaughey, Robbie Bach, Jay-Z, Bono, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Kevin Turner, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, and others.  Thanks to Long Zheng for posting his own video and helping me find a link. Here’s the link to the YouTube video that will hopefully show properly below (its been off & on again).

Author: | Filed under: bill gates, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, Just For Fun, random stuff, success | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

The Power of Positive Thinking and Action
Nov 27 2007

sandys-flower.jpg A few of the blogs I read have been posting recently about the power of positive thinking & action as well as how we can be entrepreneurs and still have work/life balance.  I hope to be part of that group who can prove this is the case.

Shane & Peter did a post called 2008 goals: scare yourself where they state “In 2008, we are going to gross a million dollars and still have a life.”  They make a compelling argument and I believe they have a really great shot at getting $1 million in revenue in 2008 given their attitude.  In the comment thread, I asked them what they mean by ‘have a life?’ and Shane said they will be doing a post on that soon as they figure that out as well.  Personally, I think I’m still a bit too nervous to scare myself by stating my 2008 business goals out loud and on this blog just yet!

The next post on their blog was written by a guest author, Jarkko Laine, called bring people with you – a recipe for small business revolution.  He says: “I challenge you to count the successful entrepreneurs who have been able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.” Jarkko proclaims that in order to stay balanced you must bring your family, your friends, your world, and yourself with you.

Naomi at IttyBiz wrote Top Secret Advice On Making The Digg Front Page where she set a goal, took action, and achieved her wish.  Her post Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless made it to the font page of Digg and apparently didn’t crash her server like it has others.  Way to go Naomi!  I haven’t had a post make it to the front page of Digg, but I already know the one that I hope will make it to the front page which will be part of my plan to achieve some of my 2008 scary business goals!

Pearl at Interesting Observations also set a goal to make it to the front page of Digg with her Best 101 Lists post.  She made it (yay!), her server crashed for a bit, but now she’s back up and running!  I am working on making many more friends like those mentioned here in the blogosphere to achieve my front page of Digg goal one day next year.

To sum this post up, Liz Strauss has started a series of posts about thinking and how we can and should change our thinking and free ourselves of the limits of old thoughts.  I joined the conversation at Change Our World: Think Our Way Out of the Box, came back for Personal Identity: Who Are You Really?, and followed on at Positively Me.  Since she said it so well, I will leave you with an excerpt  from her last post:

“I’ve been thinking about those sentences in our heads.

They were useful once I’m sure – those sentences in our heads that tell us how to act and who we are. But some of them are woefully past their “sell by” date and still they play over and over. It’s time to stop paying attention.

I see folks who let one sentence, one event, define their entire life while they sit with the power to set it aside and chose a new path.

It’s my life. They’re my thoughts. I’m tossing out the ones I don’t want. I don’t need negatives anymore. It’s the positives that move me forward.

How else will I become positively me?”

On her post, I said I would make a list of positive thoughts and negative ones and burn the negative ones…to delight the pyromaniac in me! 🙂

I can’t wait to read what Liz writes next!  What are we (am I) afraid of will happen if we let go of those negative thoughts?  Is it failure or could it quite possibly be as Wendy Piersall at eMoms at Home suggests, of…shudder…Success!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneurship, random stuff, success | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Success To Me – Leilah Powell
Nov 22 2007

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Leilah Powell, Government Relations Manager for Bexar County, Texas and former Assistant to the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. 

Our goal with this endeavor is to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.


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Rock. Paper. Scissors. How Do We All Win?
Oct 15 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the amount of paper we use and come in contact with from newspapers, magazines, bank/credit card/mutual fund statements, printed paper, kids crafts, etc.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time but either didn’t have the time or wasn’t sure how to approach the topic but after writing a first draft down on October 5, 2007, I happened upon a post called What Have You Done Lately? by Lorelle on WordPress the very next day!  Her post led me to Blog Action Day, and I though ‘Holy Trees Batman,’ this is why I am supposed to write this post despite my Bloggo Fears that people will think I’m nuts or possibly a Tree Hugger!  And now because of Blog Action Day I have found the reason to do this post today, October 15, 2007.

I was motivated to write this post because I have been attempting to clean up my home office and the paper shuffling has been at an all time maximum.  I like to make space and get a sense of openness before embarking on a strategic thinking endeavor…which I am in the process of doing regarding the future direction of Babble Soft.  Boy do I wish we lived near a beach…because something about sitting under a huge umbrella, staring at the ocean, and listening to the waves with a margarita in my hand would really help get my thinking juices flowing!  🙂

I have seen some things written about reducing the amount of paper used in office environments such as:

But I haven’t seen much written about how each of us as individuals can help reduce the amount of paper products we come in contact with on a daily basis.  I did see a post made by Tim Sanders called Redesign your reading life where he discusses ideas on how to reduce the amount of paper by changing how you read.

But what I’m proposing is slightly different.  I have been looking at the things we don’t necessarily read and/or need to have a hard copy of.  So here’s what I’ve decided to do, and I took action on the day I wrote the first draft of this post back on October 5. 

I finally called Pottery Barn and told them to take me OFF their catalogue mailing list for their pottery barn baby and PB teen catalogues.  I think I ordered one thing from them a few years ago and then somehow got on their catalogue mailing list.  Every time I would get them I thought to myself I really ought to tell them to quit sending these to me, but I was always in the middle of something or I said to myself ‘oh, I’ll do it later’ and immediately put them into our recycle bin.

Now it’s great to recycle but what if I hadn’t even gotten those catalogues to begin with for the last few years?  Would some trees have been allowed to continue growing?  Would the additional oxygen they breathed into the environment have had an affect on our heated discussions on global warming?  Would we have Cooler Heads?

Since I’m not a scientist and don’t play one on TV, I really have no proof indicating that this tree saving would happen but my gut tells me that reducing the amount of paper we receive can’t hurt.  Also common sense tells me that record amounts of rain and 100 degree temperatures being more common than not here in Texas this past year are probably an indicator of something.

It took me literally less than 2 minutes to call Pottery Barn, give them the codes on the catalogues and they removed me.  And you know what? She actually THANKED me for calling them to let her know!  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised because I was half expecting her to ask me why I wanted to be removed, try to convince me to continue receiving them, and/or convince me to order something.   Isn’t it funny how our assumptions of how we think something will happen might actually subconsciously dissuade us from taking immediate action?

So I’d like to challenge all of you to do something to reduce the amount of paper in your lives.   If you share in the comments what you did that might give others more reason to examine their paper-filled life.  If you are a blogger, I encourage you to post about this on your blog (please don’t feel like you have to link back to this post – I’m not writing about this for links) and let’s see if each of us making one small step to reduce the paper in our home lives can make a difference over time.

Canceling the catalogues to Pottery Barn was just the beginning, I still have a long way to go, and I’ll either update this blog or post about my progress in future posts.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Change statements (financial, bank, etc.) to e-statements if possible
  • Cancel subscriptions to magazines you no longer read
  • Encourage places like pre-schools and private schools to send you receipts by email if they can
  • Ask people who want to fax you something to scan and email it to you instead and then save it instead of printing it if possible
  • Ask the post office if they can quit sending those coupon pages, fliers, etc. that you never use.  I have no idea if it’s possible to have them quit sending bulk mail, but I guess it can’t hurt to ask.

If anyone has any other ideas, please share them!  If any of you have already posted on this topic, please let me know and I’ll update this post to refer to it.

One small action could quite possibly lead to a phenomenal reaction!  How will we ever know if we don’t try….

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