New Rainmaker. Now you really owe me.

cb-rainmaker

If you’ve ever heard the expression “pay it forward,” then you know that if someone does something kind or altruistic to/for you, you’re supposed to do the same thing for someone else.

Hence, pay it forward.

Today, someone put me onto something that promises to revolutionize the way we look at DIY site building.

And since I’m learning front end web development, I probably shouldn’t hip you to a tool that will potentially make my new found knowledge obsolete, but…

It’s called New Rainmaker and it’s a one-stop-shop for building a high performance website for your business or brand.

You probably know a few free or low-cost site building tools: SquareSpace, WordPress, Tumblr, Web.com, etc.

But if you’ve used any of them, you’ve probably encountered some roadblock or hurdle, that made it less than it was cracked up to be.

Maybe there was no eCommerce component.

Or social sharing was a hassle to implement.

Perhaps creating columns required advanced knowledge of cuneiform.

Rainmaker promises to change all that.

Per the New Rainmaker website:

Introducing Rainmaker, a hosted turn-key online marketing and digital sales platform designed to give you everything you need to build your business by building an audience. It’s not just everything we use on our sites (such as Copyblogger and StudioPress), it’s exactly what we use on our own sites … ready for you to make your own.

Now I can’t actually tell you anything about the platform, as it hasn’t been released quite yet.

What I can tell you is that it’s built off of WordPress, and allows you to take advantage of all the plugins and widgets natively – that is, without having to call up or install anything individually.

It’s also built on HTML5, so it’s fully responsive.

That means it will be optimized for whatever screen users are viewing your site from.

Building your site using Rainmaker’s platform is also supposed to be dummy-proof.

Simply select the options you want via their wizard, and the Rainmaker Platform does the rest.

At the end of the day, Rainmaker is supposed to make setting up your site and running your online business a cinch.

Supposedly, it will make building sites using SaaS offerings like SquareSpace and WordPress feel like learning Chinese.

We’ll see.

StephenChukumba.com is a hosted WordPress blog.

So whenever Rainmaker does turn on the switch, I’ll be one of the first to convert my existing site to their platform.

And I’ll give you a blow-by-blow assessment of how easy (or difficult) it was to get set up, as well as my impressions.

Oh yeah.

The reason I feel like I’m paying it forward, is because there is a limited window to sign up to join the Rainmaker trial.

If you sign up at NewRainmaker.com/Platform, you too can register to take their platform for a test drive.

In addition to having first dibs to Beta test their platform, you’ll have access to the Rainmaker knowledge center, complete with podcasts, webinars, reports and video presentations from industry veterans and experts.

Now if you’re happy with your site (and it’s performance, conversions, etc.) then you can ignore this post altogether.

But if you’re looking to start a new business or website, and want just the right tool, then Rainmaker may be the thing for you.

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Filed under digital advocacy, technology

Flatbush Zombies+Visualeyz=Coachella turned up.

 

flatbush zombies

If you’ve never heard of the Flatbush Zombies, I will forgive you.

If you’re a person of a certain age, like me, your musical tastes are fairly pedestrian and rap music probably doesn’t factor highly into your playlists.

You probably listen to more classics and lame tame music (read John Coltrane on Pandora) and your underground music radar has probably been turned off for a while.

For you, music discovery takes the form of recommendations from the NY Times Music section.

You’re not trolling Grooveshark or YouTube looking for the latest hip hop videos.

If you do listen to rap, and are still a die hard hip hop fan, you’re listening to safe established artists.

Rarely do you stray off the reservation.

I say all this to say that it’s highly unlikely that your aural travels have brought you to the land of the Flatbush Zombies.

But now that you’re here, pay attention.

Flatbush Zombies are a three man hip hop group from Flatbush, Brooklyn, formed in 2010.

The trio consists of Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick “Arc” Elliott.

Since 2012, they’ve put out a series of well received mix tapes and even though they’re relatively new, they’ve built a loyal following both on and offline.

Despite the (trite and repetitive) themes of sex, drugs and alcohol, these kids can spit (spit=rap really well for my slang-challenged readers).

They remind me of the Alkoholics, Cyprus Hill, Wu Tang, and Kendrick Lamar all rolled into one.

Complex lyrical ability, hard hooks, insane production – they’ve got all the ingredients for breakout success.

Having already collaborated with the likes of Action Bronson, ASAP Rocky and others the Flatbush Zombies are not newcomers, by any stretch of the imagination.

But they’re new enough that you might not have heard of them.

And that’s okay.

I was put on when I heard that my man, Mark Hines (aka Yoda) was working with them, and was immediately intrigued.

Flatbush Zombies, as their name implies, aren’t your run-of-the-mill hip hop group.

They are eclectic looking, and very cerebral.

And their videos are ‘trippy’ to say the least.

Standing alone, Flatbush Zombies are bringing the heat.

Their videos are well produced and engaging.

But once you add Mr. Hines’ video production skills on top, everything becomes…well, better.

Visualeyz

He’s working on their visuals for their set at Coachella this week, and I can tell you that it’s nothing short of amazing.

Now Flatbush Zombies aren’t headlining at Coachella or anything like that.

In fact, they’re just one of the myriad of underground acts that Coachella will allow to shine on their stages this year.

But they will probably be one of the few (if not the only) underground act making use of the massive screens on stage.

And with Visualeyz’s tricked out treatment of Flatbush Zombies’ images and video content, their set is going to be off the chain.

So what am I saying?

1. Peep Flatbush Zombies.
2. If you’re going to be at Coachella, catch their set featuring video production from Visualeyz.
3. Thank me later.

Flatbush Zombies at Coachella

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Filed under music

I will teach myself to code. A 90 challenge.

20140403-083348.jpg

Last week, I signed up to learn coding with Thinkful.

What’s Thinkful?

Thinkful is an online school where you can learn web development and coding.

The cornerstones of the Thinkful model are curriculum, community and mentorship.

One of my people, Ian White, had posted something on his Facebook page about learning to code in 90 days.

And I was immediately intrigued.

Learn to code in 90 days?

Where do I sign up?

I’ve always played around on the periphery of coding – managing web, mobile and app development projects – but never actually coded myself.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I did have a DOS/ASCII class in high school.

And I’ve messed around in the code on WordPress for a couple of sites I’ve developed over the years.

And one of my friends did create his own web platform Upl1nk, which I made a few pages with.

But I can’t say that I actually know or am conversant in any programming languages.

So I’m a little excited to get started.

Now this isn’t your ordinary 90 day challenge.

For one, I’m paying for the Thinkful course.

For $300 a month, I can learn the ins-and-outs of front end web development.

The course is broken up into modules, and there’s an online curriculum, which, if you follow strictly, will allow you to complete the course within the prescribed time frame.

There is nothing to preclude you from completing the course in a shorter span of time, of course, but it’s all about pacing and comprehension.

Mind you, Thinkful isn’t all self-study.

You’re assigned a Thinkful Mentor, who you chat with (via Google Hangouts) once a week for 30 minutes.

And if you get stuck or need help, Thinkful has a host of online resources and links to loads more, like StackOverflow.com, to get you straight.

What’s more, Thinkful has taken advantage of Google Plus, creating a community of coding newbies, like your’s truly, as a sort of coding support system.

At this point, I’m about five days in and loving it.

I’m on my first module, Unit 1: Structure and Style with HTML and CSS, and I’m almost done.

I’m soooo lying.

I am not almost done.

I’m about 40% done.

Truth be told, I’m very a little behind where I’m supposed to be.

I didn’t actually look at the syllabus after I enrolled.

I sat back waiting for my mentor to call me to get started.

Completely ignoring the flood of emails from Thinkful, welcoming me to the course and setting me on the path to get started.

I thought they were a bunch of marketing drivel you get after you give up your email, so I kinda tuned out.

By the time I got my head out of my ass and checked in, I realized I was several days behind.

Yes. I know. I’m a jackass.

I should have been more diligent.

Cut me some slack.

It’s my first online self-study course – what did I know?

Point is, I’m chugging right along.

I’m all syntax and structure, and I’m starting to get it.

If you’re interested in learning how to code, there are a host of other self-study courses out there, besides Thinkful.

Many of the lessons in my course come from Code Academy, which has a really good learning interface.

And I’m sure that there are others.

For the time being, though, I’m sticking with Thinkful.

And I’m confident that when my 90 days is up, I’ll be a front end coding fool.

No. I’m not going to assault you with updates along the way.

Yes I am.

But don’t worry.

It will only be the cool shit I’m really proud of.

At this point, you would have seen that I was adding a bit of code to show off, but since WordPress is an HTML platform, all my lovely code was hidden.

I know. I’m a dork

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Filed under digital advocacy, Uncategorized

10000 steps a day for free. Fuck Nike+ Fuelband. Quest for 27.

Reading this title, you’re probably saying, “this nigga must have ADD.”

Unless you’re white, at which point you were thinking “this negro must have ADD,” because you would never actually say “nigga.”

Even if you had a pass from Black people, or grew up with Black people and feel like you’ve earned the right to say ” nigga,” you’d probably still think “nigga” but say “negro.”

At least in mixed company.

Who knows?

I am so off message right now.

The point is that you’re confused by this title.

But you can relax.

I do not have ADD.

And a group of militant Blacks isn’t waiting outside your door (white person) ready to bust that ass for thinking about using the N word.

Let me elucidate.

I’ve been all intrigued by this whole Nike+ Fuelband movement.

Nike-FuelBand-SE-Rose-Gold-WM0114_006_A

If you’re not up on the Nike+ Fuelband, allow me to enlighten you.

The Nike+ FuelBand is an activity tracker that’s worn on the wrist and used with an Apple iPhone or iPad device to track your workouts.

Per Wikipedia,

“the FuelBand allows its wearers to track their physical activity, steps taken daily, and amount of calories burned. The information from the wristband is integrated into the Nike+ online community and phone application, allowing wearers to set their own fitness goals, monitor their progression, and compare themselves to others part of the community. Nike+ relies on the gamification of fitness activities turning all tracked movement into NikeFuel points, which can unlock achievements, can be shared with friends, or can be used to engage others in competition.”

In short, wear the Nike+ Fuelband and track your fitness progress.

But see, the thing about the Nike+ Fuelband is that it costs $149!

A hundred and fifty bucks to track my workout progress with some stupid rubber band?

Suck a dick.

You’re not getting my money bitches.

But I dig the whole Nike+ FuelBand concept.

Wait.

I missed a critical point.

And no, this nigga does not have ADD.

Patience, Padawan.

Ok, so a few months ago, my little brother posted a picture of the 27 year old me, all cut and Adonis-like on Facebook.

Along with the caption, “Back in the day when I was young. I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I think I wish I was a kid again.”

Damn! I'm cut.

Damn! I’m cut.

Clearly alluding to the fact that, physically, I was no longer my 27 year old self.

And, by implication, challenging the new me to get back into the old me shape.

I’m not even going to talk about Dede Mays, the mother of one of my friends, who maligned me suggesting that the body I once possessed was a thing of the past.

Undaunted, I vowed to show them all.

But how?

I’m about to turn 44…carry the 1 and that means that picture was taken 17 years ago.

17 years ago!

When my testosterone was at it’s peak.

When I just thought the word “gym” and muscles would appear on my body.

When metabolism occurred in my sleep.

How could I prove my naysayers wrong?

And show them all that I could, in fact, reclaim my former Adonis glory?

Well for one, I’d have to hit the gym.

Hard.

Work out like a beast.

Cut back on the carbs.

Avoid junk food.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

But that wouldn’t be enough.

I needed an edge.

Something that would put me over the top.

That would allow me to track my progress all day every day – not just when I was in the gym.

Nike+ Fuelband was the answer.

Slap on the band, and I’d become a exercise tracking machine.

Right?

Wrong!

I was not about the shell out 150 smackaroos to get in shape.

There had to be a better alternative.

So I started checking out fitness apps to see what the competition had to offer – for free.

And I found it.

It’s called Pedometer++ and it’s great.

Pedometer++ is an app that tracks how many steps you take daily.

Simply keep your iOS device on you, and the app tracks every single step you take and displays your step count right on the Pedometer++ app icon.

Today, I walked 6.4 miles or 12,953 steps.

Pedometer++

I’ve only been using the app for three days, but it has tracked all the steps I took in the days prior to downloading the app.

And presently, I’m at 93% of my goal.

I wasn’t even aware that I set a goal!

But, needless to say, I’m getting my old ass in shape.

Peep these shots I’ve been taking on my journey to 27.

Good. Better. Best.

Good. Better. Best. Ladies, calm down.

As you may (or may not) be able to tell, I’m getting there.

Anthony Weiner selfies aside, I’ve been able to track my progress with Pedometer++ for free.

Sure, it’s no simple wristband, and I’ve got to keep my mobile phone on my person to have the app track my steps, but for me, it’s been worth it.

27 here I come!

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STFU! And other useful tips to help you keep your sanity.

Keep Calm and STFU

I got a call the other day from a friend looking to vent.

Apparently, he’d been working on a project for a hot minute, which had gone through an extensive planning and discovery cycle, multiple design iterations and painful concessions on both sides.

Although there was a consensus on the approach and planned deliverable, it was not his recommendation, as the proposed final solution fell short of the work he knew his company was capable of, and well below the client’s original expectation for the project.

During discovery, he painstakingly outlined all the options with his client, detailing the pros and cons of each approach, including costs, timing, and end-user experience.

He believed that his company was setting itself up to develop a substandard product, which the client would not be happy with and his company would end up having to re-do at the 11th hour to satisfy them.

Despite his best efforts, no one would listen.

Heading into development, he repeatedly expressed his mis-givings about the selected approach, warning all who would listen that it fell short of the standards typically applied to projects of this type and other products in the market.

Again, no one would listen.

Today, the client saw the project – and hated it.

Calls were made and he was back at square one – and bitching vociferously – to me.

What, pray tell, did I tell my friend when he was done ranting?

STFU.

That’s right.

I told him to shut the f*ck up.

Compassion is not my strong suit.

But bear with me.

You see, I’ve been here before.

No. Not ranting to a colleague about my job.

I am the consummate professional and handle all my shit with aplomb.

But I’ve seen many a colleague get off a call or emerge from a meeting flustered and frustrated.

Fussin’ and cussin and clearly out of sorts.

The source of their frustration was often valid: they had suggested a course of action – that was shot down – only to later find themselves in the unenviable position of cleaning up a mess that the failure to adhere to their recommended course of action has caused.

How often does it happen?

Enough to be a post on my lil’ blog, that’s how often!

But I digress.

As a consultant, project manager, aide or assistant, you’re often in a position where you possess superior information to the people you’re called upon to support.

While you may be the ‘low man on the totem pole’ you usually have access to information that makes your’s an informed perspective.

Worthy of a fair degree of weight, deference or consideration.

But because you’re not the HNIC, your opinion holds little weight when it comes down to decision-making time.

And despite the fact that you know what the fuck you’re talking about, you lack sufficient authority to force the right course of action on the parties or powers that be.

And therein lies the problem.

Time and time again, you find yourself on the wrong end of a fiasco – not of your doing – but which you have to resolve post haste.

So what to do?

Here are four fool-proof ways to help you manage problems (before they start) and be more effective at getting shit done.

1. Keep calm.

One surefire way of making a bad situation worse, is panicking.

So, as a matter of course, I never do.

When I was pledging my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we had to memorize the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

When shit got rough, we’d recite the poem and it brought the most tremendous sense of calm.

There was one line that resonated deeply with me, and is apropos for our little lesson today:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you.”

There is no greater skill, when facing adversity, than the ability to remain calm.

This is especially true if you’re the fall guy in a position of authority, with other people looking to you for answers.

2. STFU and stop complaining.

Sure, you’re frustrated – if only they had listened to you, the shit storm you’re  facing could have been avoided.

But they didn’t.

So fucking what?

Hindsight is 20/20.

Complaining is for babies and bitches and never helped anything.

And once you’re ‘that dude’ – mumbling to yourself about how shit’s always going wrong – you’ll find that your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

You’re in a jam, and you’ve got to get out of it.

So stop bitchin’ and man up.

And that does not mean bend over and take it with no vaseline, sweet-nothings or money on the dresser when it’s all said and done.

Not at all.

It means that you’ve got to figure out how to be more effective at managing your shit so that you find yourself less frequently on the wrong end of problems.

3. Document everything.

If your shit is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, and you’re reliving an endless loop of Hades, perhaps it makes sense to document what you’re doing so that you can figure your way out.

Rather than rely upon your recollection, maintain documents, email threads, meeting notes – anything that you can refer to in the future and use to show others (read clients, managers, developers) the error of their ways.

When a similar issue rears it’s ugly head in the future, you’ll be prepared with your case studies, post mortems and RCAs to provide empirical support to the positions you take.

More importantly, if anyone ever says “why didn’t you tell us that sooner?” or “why didn’t you give us any alternatives?” you can refer to the email, memo or note, which shows that you did.

4. Always have a Plan B.

If you’re so sure that a particular course of action is going to result in failure, you should have a contingency plan in place.

Preparing for the unexpected is a sign of an insightful individual.

But preparing for the known is just common sense.

If you find yourself confronted with a situation you foresaw, and you’re bitching and moaning – as opposed to implementing your Plan B – you’re a fool who deserves what you’re getting.

To summarize, when a project you’re working on starts to go south:

(i) keep calm – cooler heads always prevail; 

(ii) shut the fuck up – no one wants to hear your bitchin’; 

(iii) document everything – CYA is the order of the day; and

(iv) always have a Plan B – for “Bitch please!”

Class dismissed.

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Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking

K-Pop. Really? No seriously.

mnet_logo

I don’t know when it happened.

But somehow, K-Pop has taken over my home.

What’s K-Pop?

What indeed!

K-Pop is short for Korean pop.

No. I’m not Korean.

Why, then, has K-pop taken over your home, you ask?

I have no idea.

One day it wasn’t there, and the next it was.

I come home and K-Pop Tasty Road, or KCon (the K-Pop conference), or some other inane candy-colored show is on my beautiful 42″ Samsung.

Is that a Korean set? Hmmm…

Thinking back, K-pop has been creeping insidiously into my life for a minute.

It started with Iron Chef.

And then Smile Again Donghae.

Soon Tasty Road and Hello Pop were added to the mix.

Then came Mnet.

And my demise.

Mnet is everything K-pop.

Even though they play the same things over and over in an endless loop of dancing robotic young Asians, somehow I can’t seem to break its hypnotic grip.

I can’t tell one boy group from another.

GOT7, BTOB, TOPPDOGG, LunaFly, FT Island…

A bunch of androgynous boys clad in tight-fitting leather.

Very Boy George, the lot of them.

Girl groups are no different.

RunDevilRun, 2NE1, Girls Generation, Lip Service, 4Minute…

A stage full of six or seven gyrating automatons.

Singing or rapping their little hearts out.

I don’t get it.

Perhaps if I were a young Asian girl, I’d be all in.

But I’m not.

So I’m not.

I blame the wife.

She’s all into the crisp clean lines and manicured…well, everything.

There is something to be said about the highly stylized nature of K-pop content.

But the homogeneousness of it all makes it monotonous, quickly.

And since you really can’t tell one group member (much less one group) from another, I don’t get it.

Clearly though, there are millions that do.

Whatev.

Hopefully the kids will pick up Korean the way foreigners pick up English from watching tv.

I doubt it, but who knows.

What I do know is that since I’ve been paying attention, there are a number of new programs out there.

Far more than there were a year ago.

And this trend tells me that Kpop is here to stay.

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Filed under music

Status update: 10 signs that you’re a social media addict.

Social media addictAs I was riding the train yesterday, I look across the aisle to see the faces of five of my fellow passengers – an entire row of people – buried in their mobile devices.

For the whole ride from Montclair to New York Penn Station, they remain transfixed to the little screens of their “i” devices.

Social media addicts, the lot of them.

Social media addicts, the lot of them.

No small talk.

No exchanged glances.

No pleasantries.

Nada.

Expressionless faces peering into the void.

Looking around the train car, I noted that virtually everyone was on something.

With the exception of one couple deep in a conversation, everyone else – literally everyone else – was on some form of electronic device.

The lady to my left was ensconced in her Facebook feed.

The dude next to her was scrolling through Instagram.

Not to be the odd man out, I whipped out my iPhone, dialed up my Facebook app and began mindlessly “liking” updates in my News Feed.

Like a zombie, I stared blankly into my iPhone’s screen waiting for that thing – that visceral feeling – that made me ‘thumbs up’ one inane item or another posted by my friends.

And in that moment, I realized that I was addicted to social media.

Somehow, I had transformed from someone who thrived on human connections, to one subsisting on virtual interactions.

I knew something was amiss.

I also knew that I wasn’t alone.

Like the passengers on the train, there are probably millions out there, similarly addicted.

Today’s post is devoted to helping you figure out if you too, are an addict.

So here are the top 10 signs that you’re addicted to social media.

1. The first thing and last thing you do every day is check out your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed.

2. You ask people for life advice on Facebook. “Hey FB, am I addicted to FB?”

3. You’re always taking and posting selfies.

No, wait. I've got it. Hold on...just one more. No. That's not quite right. Just one more. Umm...

No, wait. I’ve got it. Hold on…just one more. No. That’s not quite right. Just one more. Umm…

4. You talk in acronyms. OMG! I’m a SM addict! SMH LMFAO

5. You constantly use hashtags. #youreaddicted #toptenlist #stephenchukumbarocks

Am I really going to search "#24yearsold"? Get your hashtag game right Maureen!

Am I really going to search “#24yearsold”? Get your hashtag game right Maureen!

6. You threaten to “unfriend” or “unfollow” people.

7. You get offended when people don’t accept your friend request or follow you back.

8. You experience the “phantom buzz” even when you don’t have your phone on you.

9. You check your phone impulsively and at the most inappropriate times.

10. You start or end you day with a greeting to your “Facebook family.”

Are we really your family, Judith? Really?

Are we really your family, Judith? Really?

If you exhibit any of these signs, put down your phone or tablet device, and get help immediately.

You could be suffering social media addiction.

If you don’t seek treatment right away, you may find yourself incapable of holding regular conversations and social interactions may become increasingly awkward.

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When you’re amazing it shows. Ode to a professional gangsta.

You're packin' a mean piece o' steel, Mister.

You’re packin’ a mean piece o’ steel, Mister.

I know when you read the title of this post, you thought, “Oh here he goes again!”

And on a normal day you’d be right.

I would absolutely be talking about me.

Heaping mounds upon mounds of praise on myself, crowing about how great I am at everything I do, and how the world hangs on my every word.

But today, not so much.

You see, today I’m going to heap praise on someone whom I consider a professional gangsta.

Who, I might add, bullied me into even writing this post.

Listen to me when I talk, y’all.

G.A.N.G.S.T.A.

Her name is Dianne Ramlochan.

And she’s not to be trifled with.

In the almost two years that I’ve known her, she has impressed me as one singularly bent on getting her way.

It’s her way or the highway.

Perhaps it’s the only child thing.

Who knows.

But whatever Dianne wants, Dianne gets.

Case in point, I don’t usually “friend” co-workers and professional colleagues on Facebook.

I like to keep my virtual personal world separated from my real professional one. Ya’ dig?

We can be LinkedIn, and you may get a trickle of the virtual real me from the incomprehensibly-difficult-to-disconnect Facebook/LinkedIn nexus.

Can someone pleeeeaaassssseee tell me how to decouple this bullshit?

But by and large, you’re not peepin’ my personal shit online unless you’re digging.

Somehow, though, Ms. Ramlochan managed to Jedi mind trick me into waiving that work-professional life separation.

Don’t you know I friended this heifer?

And she’s following me on Twitter.

She famously quips about how if ever she can’t reach me at my desk via landline, email, mobile phone or text, she’ll “tweet” me.

Tweet me?

How are you going to be tweeting your project manager?

Have you ever heard of anything so ludicrous?

But that’s this chick.

To her credit, when I met her, she had just been hired to the team of one of the illest executive dudes I’ve come across to date.

No nonsense Anthony McLoughlin.

This dude was like Miles Finch from Elf – except a lil’ taller.

Point was, you didn’t eff with Anthony.

If you did, it was your ass.

And D worked for this dude.

Trial by fire is all I can say.

But then Anthony left for the West Coast, and Ms. Ramlochan inherited his fiefdom of projects, vendors and responsibilities.

And turned us all into her vassals.

20140228-172129.jpg

What it felt like to work for Dianne.

Overnight, we went from watching Dianne do all Anthony’s dirty work, to having to do Dianne’s dirty work.

I still get cold chills thinking about the day Dianne took over…

Homegirl is relentless.

RELENTLESS.

She had one word you never wanted to see come across your email.

“Unacceptable.”

That’s all she’d say.

Unacceptable this.

Unacceptable that.

Unacceptable the other.

Unacceptable, and cats would gets to steppin’!

Chills.

But we worked it out.

And in the process, she pushed through a few apps, next gen mobile web, iPad kiosk update, a couple of mobile web and app-specific pilots, and a tablet web project.

She had help, of course (=your’s truly), but it all went down under her watchful eye.

And now, she’s leaving the nest – where she truly learned to abuse fly – to new shores.

Those of Saks Fifth Avenue – heaven protect you (said in a whisper).

To leave a wake of psychologically traumatized victims forge new trails.

Anywho, on the last day of our professional lives together, I bid her adieu in the best way I know how.

Memorialized in my blog.

There, D. I’ve made you famous.

PS Congratulations on your new job!

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, technology, work

XYZPDQ and other common courtesies people fail to observe.

Ya smelt it ya dealt it.

Ya smelt it ya dealt it.

Lets start off with a simple poll today, shall we?

If you answered ‘Say “excuse me.”‘ you’re not a savage. Stop reading here.

If you answered anything else, read on.

Most likely, if you’ve ever been the offender described above, self-preservation and the avoidance of shame won out over common courtesy.

You allowed others to suffer in silence and confusion, rather than providing them the solace of directing their anger towards your malodorous (and forthright) ass.

But imagine if we lived in a world where no one observed niceties.

Where you were left to fend for yourself.

No “Gesundheit” when you sneezed.

No “Good morning” when you entered a room.

No “May I help you?” when you walked into a store.

No “Excuse me” when someone bumped into you.

Imagine a world of savages.

Has anyone ever said “XYZPDQ” to you?

If so, you were eternally grateful for the intervention, I’m sure.

What’s XYZPDQ?

A response to an oft repeated faux pas by many, that’s what.

It’s the acronym for “examine your zipper pretty damn quick.”

In other words, your fly is down. Zip it up or risk further embarrassment.

To be accurate, it should be EYZPDQ, but it doesn’t quite flow off the tongue.

But that’s besides the point.

The point is that every once in a while, strangers behave in ways completely at odds with our disconnected society.

We’re a society of people who mind their own business and don’t care to intrude on the personal space of others.

Even if it means allowing them to suffer shame in silence.

Think about the last time someone told you you had food in your teeth.

Or that you needed a breath mint.

Or that your shoelace was untied.

Or your toddler was walking into traffic.

Okay, that last one was me. But I had four kids with me at the time and only two eyes.

We’re often surprised when acts of decency are shown to us.

The kindness of others shouldn’t surprise us in the least.

But they do.

Why?

Because we live in a world of selfish bastards. That’s why.

The concept of extending common courtesies, like holding a door, ceding the right of way, excusing ones self after a bodily emission, or a simple “thank you” after a kind act, are pleasantries long dead in today’s society.

Excluding yours truly, of course.

I’m the consummate gentlemen, raised by genteel parents, who understood the importance of being polite.

But the rest of you savages, would more likely cut someone for looking at you the wrong way, than ask “may I help you?”

I’m always struck by the way people respond to my acts of decency.

I recently gave up my seat on the PATH to an obviously pregnant woman.

You would have thought I’d opened up my chest, cut out one of my lungs, and implanted it in her open chest cavity saving her life, the ways cats were staring at your boy.

Seriously? Move on folks, nothing to see here.

It just goes to show you that the common courtesies and simple acts of decency we should take for granted are not that common.

So what’s our takeaway for today?

Don’t pass gas without excusing oneself?

Not quite, but close.

Always be courteous to others.

A simple act of kindness goes a long way.

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Filed under opinion, rant

Why the acquisition of WhatsApp is bad news. Facebook is the devil.

Facebook acquires WhatsAppFacebook is the devil.

So I’d be wary of anything the devil does.

Clearly a company that started off in a college dorm and became a multi-billion dollar company in the span of ten years must be in league with the devil.

If not the devil himself.

How else would you explain Facebook’s meteoric rise to the top of the social media food chain?

Sure, they’ve got millions upon millions of users.

Sure, they extract a pound of flesh from advertisers to hawk their wares to Facebook’s captive audience.

Sure, their IPO netted them a gazillion dollars.

But damn!

Enough is enough!

If you’ve been paying attention, startups on Facebook’s roster are batting zero.

Case in point.

Let’s look at the giant’s appetite over the past decade, shall we?

  • Connect U – shut down
  • Friend.ly – shut down
  • Gowala – shut down
  • Lightbox.com – shut down
  • Face.com – defunct
  • Threadsy – shut down

Suffice it to say, not all acquired companies fare well under Facebook’s oppressive thumb.

And these are just the more public purchases that Facebook has made.

There are scores of others too obscure to mention, scattered across Facebook’s post-acquisition landscape.

Facebook claims that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, but their track record doesn’t paint a convincing picture of post-acquisition bliss.

And while, Instagram, Branch and Friend Feed are still thriving on-going concerns, who can say when they will cease to please the devil and have their heads lopped off?

Facebook is a fickle beast, no?

I’m just saying.

I use WhatsApp.

I like WhatsApp.

Unlike most of Facebook’s crap, there are no distracting ads or mindless drivel mucking it up.

So you’ll forgive me if I think that Facebook’s acquisition to WhatsApp can’t possibly bode well for me and countless other WhatsApp users.

Sure, the creators of WhatsApp are making out like bandits, but who gives a fuck about them?

My misgivings are not without merit.

It’s happened before.

It can happen again.

I predict that Facebook is either going to scuttle WhatsApp completely or turn it into some ad-laden behemoth that I won’t want to fuck with.

With a track record like their’s, the devil Facebook is not to be trusted.

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Filed under apps