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  • Dean Waye 12:18 am on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, Employment, Job Search, Labour economics, , Olive Garden, Red Lobster,   

    Nobody Finds A Job Alone 

    University of Central Florida

    Image via Wikipedia

    Nobody finds a job alone.

    I was thinking about this last week, after dinner with a former co-worker on Thursday. Both of us had been brought into my current company by the same man, who was trying to get him to return to the company the rest of us still worked for.

    As I was driving home after dinner, I thought about the dozen or so jobs I had helped people (some friends, some acquaintances) start over the past decade, and I realized that none of them had ever helped me get a job in return.

    But, you know what? I haven’t yet helped the three men who found jobs for me:

    • Neil , a former grad school roommate who moved to America ahead of me and guided me into his company;
    • Marty, who called me for months before I finally agreed to interview;
    • and Mark, who I briefly worked for at Kronos, and who introduced me to my current employer after moving there himself.

    All great men. All, I’m sure, have helped many other besides me. I’m part of their dozen, and others are part of mine.

    Isn’t that strange? It’s as if career assistance is a giant game of pay-it-forward. Three people helped me. I helped a dozen. Hopefully, some of that dozen will help others whom I will likely never meet. And on it goes.

    Which brings me to to 2010. I last looked for a new job in 2007, and I believe the landscape is very different today. For me, 2007 was like 2004, and 2001. The companies and jobs I have found through connectors like Neil Wornes, Marty Wells, and Mark DeArmon, have been good fits, even if I didn’t think they would be at the time. The jobs where I connected through unknown third parties tended to be brief, and bad matches, despite my initial feelings after the interviews (I’m looking at you, Robert Half).

    But 2010 is different, apparently.

    Prior to this year, I didn’t notice much of a social networking component to the job market. I joined LinkedIn in 2003, but only recently have connections there crossed over into the real world. I’m one of the geeks who has 400+ LinkedIn connections and actually knows nearly every one of them personally.

    So I want to to walk you through a decade or so of job search history from age 29 to today, and discuss what worked and didn’t, and what I still recommend and don’t, and a few lessons that I hope are useful to anyone about to start a new job hunt.

    Part 1: Prior to social networking sites.

    Lesson 1. If you are young, and especially if you are in school, get out there early.

    I was lucky (and financially already in trouble) when I started, so I had nothing to lose by taking anything I could.

    When I returned to school after my bachelor’s, I walked directly to the career placement office and told them I wanted whatever odd jobs a technical person could do. That got me two short-term gigs almost immediately, as the ‘computer guy’ for an A/V company at a large annual software conference, and as a trainer for a subsidiary of MCI teaching people basics about MS Office and the web. The first led to my meeting a local event planner, whose small jobs kept me fed while I was in school. The second led to an opportunity to write a 1-day primer course for local telephone company workers who were being introduced to this new Internet thing.

    That 1-day course course, and being the trainer who conducted it, eventually led me to a job at that telephone company. That was my last full-time job before I left for America.

    Lesson 2. If you get the call, jump. Trust your new friends to know you.

    When my former roommate called me from a company in Virginia, and told me I would like working there, I needed convincing. I had never lived in America, and I had about 10 reasons why the timing was wrong. But I decided to live in the States for 2 years, get some experience, and return to Canada.

    [Note: over time, I met a lot of guys who have moved to America without already having family here. Those who remain here seem to fall into 2 groups. They came for a job and stayed for a woman, or came for a woman and stayed for a job. I’m the former)]

    I stayed with that company for two years, but left after talking with a recruiter at another firm about the job of a lifetime that really wasn’t.
    Lesson 3. As soon as you can, start speaking to groups, meeting folks, and helping others get work.

    After a couple of years, including immigration issues and a post 9/11 economy, I met Marty through our accountant, who I think put us together because we were roughly the same age and were ‘computer guys’. We hit it off, in part because we were (and still are) in different parts of the industry; he’s hardware, I’m software.

    Other than a one-time introduction to Darden Restaurants I made for him (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, those guys), which didn’t work out for either of us, I don’t know why Marty kept in touch with me, and kept asking me to join a company he had become a manager with (after meeting the owner on a plane, in first class, of course. Marty’s often lucky like that). But he kept calling, and eventually the budget opened up for a new position, and while I wasn’t sure about the company, I trusted Marty, and joined.

    That job was my first return to management in years, and gave me the chance to help a lot of people get hired (and to hire some myself). I especially focused on helping recent grads and immigrants, spoke at colleges and universities, and at one point offered whatever help I possibly could to a meeting of 400 international students at UCF.That talk at UCF was a valuable lesson for me. I was the last speaker, and it took me half an hour to get out the door after I finished. Those folks were motivated to find work (this was about two years after 9/11, things in Florida were still bad), and a small mob peppered me with questions and requests before letting me leave.

    From my talks at colleges I ended up either placing or directly hiring at least 4 people in my short time working alongside Marty, including one who graduated from UCF and, I swear, called me every 10 minutes for as long as it took to get me to hire her. I am still friends with her and her husband today, they are great people.

    Extra Lesson: You never know where your next connection will come from. That UCF speech was by invitation of a truly amazing lady related to my wife, Melanie Parker. Today’s she’s at MIT, where I’m sure she helps many, many people find jobs after graduation.

    Lesson 4. Know what your salary number needs to be, and especially if it’s a big boost for you, argue for it. Once you accept the job, you join the annual review / salary adjustment track, and might never see a big boost again.

    From working with Marty, I went to KRONOS, and set to work getting more great people hired there. KRONOS was the kind of company where, if you set your mind to it and didn’t mind the travel, you could meet an awful lot of people, both colleagues and clients. I worked with Honeywell, GE, state and county governments, and many, many others. I also worked with a lot of client HR teams while working both with and for KRONOS (I was a KRONOS customer when I worked with Marty), learned a lot about payrolls, and saw the truth of the old adage “People don’t get what they deserve, they get what they negotiate”.

    If you could see who-earns-what in your own company, or the company you are looking at joining, you would be SHOCKED. Many of the hardest-working and critical people in every company earn so little, you can’t believe they actually raise a family on it. And some of the lowest contributors (and least useful) people earn so much, you can’t believe they are kept on. Also, in my experience, especially these days, few people actually rise within a company. And the larger the company is, the truer this becomes.

    Extra Lesson: My busiest day ever at KRONOS was when a large layoff was anounced. I knew several people who were laid off, and from a Jackson, MS airport spent hours on the phone (took a later flight) to call everyone I knew who might have openings, to place people into new companies as quickly as possible. The lesson… somedays, it’s your turn to deliver real stuff to real people. When that day comes, don’t hold back. Don’t hold back. Don’t hold back. Pay it forward.

    Lesson 5. Somedays, it’s your turn to accept the phone call. It never hurts to listen.

    Near the end of my time at KRONOS, Mark DeArmon was hired and became my manager, only to leave six months later. Soon after that, KRONOS went through some major changes. I had been there three years, and decided to accept his introductions to hiring managers at my (now) current employer. Similar to Marty, I don’t know why he singled me out and kept calling me, but he did, and after talking to three different hiring managers, I joined that company.

    Summary of Part 1:

    These are three men. There are people who think they are ordinary, or worse. But they made big dents in my universe. As I made big dents in others’s. No one finds a job (or starts a business, or does anything big) alone. There are people who can make a difference. You already know who they are. Stop putting them off to another day, a better time, or any other excuse you have. Let them help you. If I knew you’d, I’d help. I have to pay it forward, especially since I haven’t helped them yet.

    Next: Part 2: What Social Networking sites change about the job search (and what they don’t).

    • missdisplaced 7:58 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Help out a grad student researching modern job search methods. This is not Spam and I am not promoting anything. It is a real research project.

      Follow the link below and complete my survey. Thank you!

      The following is a survey examining methods employed by individuals in the job search process.

    • derek hoekman (bighook) 6:59 am on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Dean Yeah its me .A ghost from those long ago days in Nfld.Read your blogs and have to say very impressed though not surprised.You always had a way of charming the pants off people.My self included.Anyways continued success in your ventures and I agree with your pay it forward philosphy.It is a much missing moral in todays selfish ,trashtalking, instant gratification society .I especially agree with your comments on facebook as I know an out of control teenager who currently uses it to document her partying life style posting pictures of herself and friends blitzed and showing large bundles of drugs and what not they consumed during a weekend.The Paris Hilton scandal lifestyle choice is really impressive. Oh well nice to see you are alive and well and have prospered in the important aspects of life.Anyways I understand if you are too busy to reply with an email but suffice to say I am still alive and happy to see you are as well.Derek

  • Dean Waye 8:50 am on October 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Business, Communication, Consulting, Education and Training, , , , ,   

    Dear Customer, 6 Things Project Managers Don’t Tell You 

    Project Management Knowledge Areas

    NImage via Wikipedia

    (I wrote this 3 years ago(!), before moving back to technical presales.)

    1. I have fewer people than you think, and that’s good

    No matter how big or complex the project is, I never have enough people and that’s okay, because adding people leads to additional lines of communication, self-sorting into groups or specialties, and a tendency to shirk (someone else will do it). A small team has its own risks, but overall you can’t beat the esprit de corps, the sense of being needed, and the nimbleness.

    2. I use my project management tools sparingly

    In a perfect world, we would live inside a project plan, having deep discussions about Earned Value and Critical Paths. In reality, I use the tools of my trade less than I would like to, because the messiness of your world spills over into mine , and those tools don’t  keep up well. Instead, I use other means to manage my projects, especially…

    3. There is a reason you see me so often, even though I live far away

    I recently made my 400th onsite trip to a customer site. In 3 years. The team that actually works for me (in my industry, it’s software development) hardly ever sees me, and lives all over the world anyway. You see me so much, to you I’m local. It’s even possible that I know more people inside your company than you do. But forget the project plans and status reports (no, not really), my main job is to get the different parts of your company, and your other vendors, to work with me, to talk, and be reasonable.

    I once saw a show where someone discussed how to be treated well as a guest on the Bill O’Reilly show, and the simple answer was, go to his studio. If you attend via satellite, he’ll cut off your mic, etc., but sit across from him (or anyone) and the tone changes. Get people outside their email fortress, and real stuff happens.

    Making real stuff happen = project management.

    4. Project management is the worst job in the world, except for most of the others

    It’s thankless. It’s stressful. The hours are terrible, and the true hourly rate (annual salary divided by # of hours worked) is not as much as it should be. But for a certain type of person, the kind that doesn’t like to be comfortable for long, the kind that likes to struggle, it’s the best seat in the house. Especially if you’re the ‘Outside’ type in the next section…

    5. There are 2 types of project managers, and I am not the one you think I am

    Most project managers are ‘inside’ project managers. A smaller percentage are ‘outside’ PMs. Here’s the difference:

    Inside PM: The budget for the project is coming from the same company that issues your paycheck. That means, in her job, delivering within budget and on deadline are ultimately the definition of success.

    Outside PM: The budget for the project is coming from a customer, or other outside entity. So, ultimate success is some combination of making sure your own company makes a profit this time while making sure the customer is happy.

    See the difference?

    If you are an Outside PM, you know that customers can still be happy even if a project is late or goes over budget, as long as the final result’s perceived value is high (whereas an employer is NEVER happy when you go over budget).

    Read that above line again. Twice. But keep it between us.

    6. If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t be here

    Thanks in part to organizations like PMI.org, plus the international standardization of project manager credentials, and growth in IT globally, the number of unfilled positions for Project Managers with proven track records is still pretty good. PMs who consistently show a profit (or don’t lose money) have even better options.

    PMs are continuously recruited. We are here because we are interested in your company, or the project, or both.  So as far as customers go, you’re alright :-).

    Hey, I like you.

  • Dean Waye 5:21 pm on September 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brian wansink, Business, Business and Finance, Business model, Cialdini, clay shirky, , , , , ,   

    Is Project Management Peaking? 

    Arthur Rudolph

    Image via Wikipedia

    After catching up on Brian’s progress, I started wondering if my own job was easy to outsource to the other side of the world, and decided it wasn’t. Well, it is, though not really. But I started doing a little thought experiment on what might make it obsolete altogether.

    The Thought Experiment: What could make most software project managers obsolete?

    Project managers, in the best cases, can add a lot of value. The best (paid) ones manage undertakings that are either:

    (1) complex, and would surely never happen without someone experienced in the challenges and tools to manage them

    (2) necessary, but hard to make a profit on, without someone who knows how to do that

    (3) fraught with risk, where the PM’s main contribution is to manage the project in a way that avoids loss or ‘failure’

    The above are general enough to suggest that PMs will always be with us. But can a case be made that 10 years from now, most won’t?

    There are a lot of project managers in the world today. There are nearly half a million PMP-certified ones, and most people in a project management role today are not PMP-certified.

    For #1 above, what if complexity gave way to smaller sized efforts? The inefficiency of communications between departments, teams, individuals, or countries yields once the complexity subsides.

    Likewise for #2 and #3, more and more software profits are based on services and other add-ons, where ‘regular’ managers with some project management knowledge could become the norm.

    #1 The March Toward Less Complexity

    These are the questions that are on my mind. Because I read a Wired magazine article a few weeks ago that showed how it is traffic from smartphone apps, not web surfing, that cellular networks are groaning under. And because of an article a few weeks ago about how more and more software development is being based on the iPhone/Android model of strictly defined frameworks (the smartphone/tablet operating systems) instead of more general frameworks like Windows, and that this is being done to protect users from malware as well as handset/tablet/iPad manufacturers from the general bugginess Windows users face. The same security model will, I think, become popular across all software, not just phones and tablets, and while it’s good overall, there are implications.

    Also, apps are less complex in general that other software. They tend to be single purpose, and the definition of a successful one isn’t that it does everything, but that it does something well that you find useful. As those companies (or more often individual coders) try to add in more features, they quickly run up against limits on the device itself. In most cases, they create additional apps, instead of bloating their latest success.

    What could this mean for high-end project managers? Maybe very little for the very best of them, because there will always be some complex projects needed, somewhere. Even if it is primarily to care for the current complex systems. After all, there are still people making a living with buggy whips.

    For the lower-end project managers, it might even be a boon, and these are often the types of location-independent project management jobs that can indeed be sent to a different country.

    But for those in the middle it could mean their ranks will be thinned out. As usual, the middle is the most dangerous place to be. Take out complexity, and you’re left with depending on inefficiency for your job’s value. Since much of the inefficiency is due to the size of the community or bureaucracy those PMs deal with, when it is reduced, so is their value.

    If I was in the middle right now, I’d make a 5 year plan to move up the value chain, move down (by relocating to a cheaper place), or move out.

    #2 The Project Manager Yields to the Profit Manager

    Making a profit is hard. Most project managers whom I know never have to think about doing it. Staying within budget, yes. Adding profit, no.

    Staying within budget is like being on the cost of side an enterprise, instead of the revenue side. In every enterprise, there are the people who focus on cost containment/reduction, and the ones who focus on revenue generation. Some management people have to do both, but generally it’s one or the other. The head of HR isn’t thinking about revenue creation, the head of Sales doesn’t care what paperclips cost. No matter who you are, you are one side of this split.

    If your interest, as a project manager, is on cost containment, then the (merely possible, granted) reduction in complexity as a general trend means this role is less necessary than before. Another reality of our modern life lately, the freemium, means the pressure to find additional ways to create a profit will grow.

    Personally, this is where I contribute most of my value as a project manager*, whichever company I am working for, and it’s tricky. At the last company I worked, I eventually had an entire system fashioned for myself, never shared**, that had me bringing in extra revenue for my employer amounting to 10x my salary. I have been sitting on the article I wrote about how to do it for a while now, because I am sure it would kill my career. It was 100% ethically conducted, but why even let the topic come up in conversation with a customer?

    #3 If I Wasn’t Here, You’d Be Screwed

    This where most of the project managers I know live. Their ultimate role is to manage or protect the project against loss, financial, time, or otherwise, by keeping things moving in the right direction. It’s hard work. It’s time consuming, maybe even life consuming. And it’s thankless. It really is a thankless job. But somebody’s got to do it.

    But what is that somebody isn’t you?

    What if the general trend really is toward smaller, less complex, inside tighter frameworks? Or what if the general business model is moving away from high priced services and toward offshore project managers where the first taste is free? If I lived in this space, I’d be the most concerned. Not only could the general trending be against my favor, but most of the project managers in my world are in the same boat, so there’s going to be price competition for the jobs I want. Price competition is bad.

    If either or both of #1 and #2 come true, depending on #3 for your value to the enterprise becomes risky. I could even argue that we see this already… how many project managers now run multiple smaller projects, where neither is big enough to justify their salary?  Specifically, how many of us have seen this become more common over the past few years? I know I have.

    Relax, Maybe I’m Wrong

    I could be completely off base, by the way. Maybe projects will become more complex. Maybe profits will become easier to create (okay, I’m being facetious about that one). Maybe the PM role won’t change much over the next decade.

    Maybe. But I still feel better having thought about the what-if.

    * Interesting note: percentage of project management job listings online that mention the word profit anywhere? Zero.

    (** If you are interested in the basics, you can contact me, but you can’t publish it anywhere. It’s a blending of lessons from this book, and this one, and this one. Oh, and what triggered this post’s creation was the first 3 chapters of “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, by Clay Shirky. It wasn’t new stuff, it just triggered the other memories. But maybe it would be new stuff to you…)

  • Dean Waye 5:13 pm on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, , Cambodia, Florida, , Google Alerts, Information technology, Outsourcing, South Florida, Southeast Asia, , YouTube   

    Brian, Outsource Yourself 

    Location of Southeast Asia. This map primarily...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Brian Gordon, American born and raised, just moved from South Florida to Cambodia, and I am trying to help him reverse the outsourcing dilemma you might be worrying about in your own job.


    It was good to hear from you, and I was glad to see that the move to Cambodia was trouble-free, given how problematic the months leading up to it were.

    Now that you are settled in, and want to find work, consider marketing yourself in a way that takes full advantage of your situation.

    First, I think that your story is compelling. The Great Recession + the Florida housing bust wiped out your equity, and then you got laid off. I used to live in Florida, and so I know you weren’t unusual. It was just bad luck – you weren’t sub-prime, you got crushed by falling prices, like millions of other people. And getting laid off during this recession happened to millions of people too, not just you.

    But what you did next is what makes the story so interesting. You picked a place you visited once before and liked, gave yourself a September 1 deadline to find a new job in America, and when you didn’t, you left.

    Now, you can geo-arbitrage. You can work for American companies (or really any company, anywhere), undercut your on-shore competition by 20-30%, and take advantage of the lower cost of living in Southeast Asia.

    Not many people could make the kind of change you did. And even fewer would even try. But you did it.

    So, now, how do you find clients?

    This is the weak spot in your strategy, since ideally you would have lined something up before leaving, but I don’t fault you for it. A big change like that means sticking to a date no matter what. Otherwise, maybe you would have never had ‘enough’ clients, and therefore never moved.

    The situation is what it is. Let’s just get started.

    1. You have a domain name, and an email address (brian.gordon@kronosreports.com). Put your story on your website, along with the type of reports you have done and can do for clients. Keep it friendly. (Note: Brian’s specialty is creating database-driven reports for HR systems)

    2. Decide on a rate schedule you can live with, and stick to it. If possible, be the second-highest cost provider among your competitors.

    3. Get someone to send you a MagicJack, so you’ll have a US number that you can use and a voicemail box for the calls you can’t take (sounds simple, I know, but it matters). While you are at it, sign up for Google Voice.

    4. Email everyone you know, individually. Especially former clients. Tell them your story, give them your contact info and website and let them know that you can handle their work easily from where you are, at prices they won’t find locally, at least not with the experience level you offer.

    5. Record some high-quality video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. At a minimum, record a 1 minute introduction to your website, again telling your story and how you are able to offer American-style work in a way that benefits the client. Then embed  the video on the front page of your website (this is easier than you think, honest).

    6. Set up Google Alerts for keywords that include your specialty, former employers, and former clients, and when you see new business deals announced, contact the people mentioned and offer to supplement what they are buying with your own offering. We both know the crazy markups that services like report creation have. Some of those companies will be happy to reduce their costs and get the same results.

    7. Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out. Yours is a story that is extreme enough to get media attention, and that sort of publicity will help you get clients and make them more comfortable with you.

    8. Start a blog on WordPress.com, and write about your career adventure. Posts there are picked up by search engines very quickly. I just googled ‘brian gordon‘ and I am pretty sure none of the top results was you. Even ‘brian gordon reports’ didn’t return anything about you. You have a common name (sorry, it’s true), so you need to start getting noticed by Google, buddy. We can’t all be named ‘dean waye‘.   🙂

    9. If one exists, join a group on LinkedIn for people who either do what you do, or are in industries you have sold into. I joined my first 3 groups the other day, and I was blown away by how many project management jobs are listed. Also, post either your website address or this post to Facebook/Twitter, and ask your friends there to pass it along. Mainly for the Google search results help, but it also might you pick up something.

    10. Finally, take a look at the freelancer sites like elance, guru, odesk, and TweetMyJob. They can get you started on something until you get established.

    Also: Dear Reader… yes, you, you right now, reading these words… What do you think? Got a comment, or a suggestion to help Brian?

    • deanwaye 9:14 pm on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Brian, It’s been 4 hours since this was posted, and while ‘brian gordon’ and ‘brian gordon reports’ aren’t showing you yet on Google, you’re number 1 for ‘brian gordon cambodia’. So, that’s a first step.

    • Brian Gordon 2:03 pm on September 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Dean – Just wanted to say thanks. I registered on elance and HARO and will submit my story tomorrow…also, I forwarded your article to a few friends and colleagues and this is where I stand

      A former colleague who now recruits technical talent is marketing my background at 4 companies with crystal report projects

      A controller I used to work with is now looking for me to rewrite standard reports from access

      You spelled out perfectly what I need to do.

      As my cost of living in Cambodia is a fraction to the states I can market my expertise in business reporting AND essentially undercut all competition on price….I think I can own this space with quality work and be the best bargain globally for business reporting….and as long as my revenue is below 90K it will be tax free as the US foreign tax exclusion is 90k……

      Thanks again for such a great roadmap.

    • lucythorpe 5:13 am on September 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You are clearly a great friend with some sound advice. We could all do with a new road map every now and again! As someone who gives press and publicity advice I think finding your story and getting it out there is a brilliant start.

  • Dean Waye 5:40 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: airport, , , Business, , ,   

    Dear TSA, Do Boarding Passes Matter? 

    Right Date, Wrong Airport

    Dear TSA, do boarding passes matter anymore?

    Last week I posted about being full-body scanned in Raleigh en route to Montreal, and no one looked at my boarding pass to ensure I was supposed to be in the airport in the first place.

    This week’s trip has me flying from Greensboro to D.C. and this time (it is really early, 4 AM-ish) I accidentally handed the wrong boarding pass to the TSA agent that examines boarding passes & IDs. He takes a good long look, he initials that he checked it, and lets me go forward. There is no one behind me in line, so no hurry at all.

    So what was he checking, exactly? He wasn’t confirming that I was in the right airport for that flight. Or that I was on any flight out of Greensboro today.

    If he had given it all a cursory check I could understand. But that’s not the case. He took his time.

    Do boarding passes matter?

  • Dean Waye 12:02 am on September 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, Business Services, Company, , Kronos Incorporated, , , , , , ,   

    Dear LinkedIn.com, How Should I Write Recommendations? 

    Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

    Image via CrunchBase

    Dear LinkedIn Colleagues,

    I wrote my first personal recommendation on linkedin.com 7 years ago, in October 2003. Since then, I have written at least 35.

    My early ones were lousy.  Over time they improved,  when I re-thought the audience. At first I was writing for you. Later, I started writing for your prospective hiring managers, in a friendlier tone, highlighting fewer things about you, but hopefully doing a better job overall.

    I think I have gotten better over time. But practice makes perfect. I’ll rewrite yours, if you are one of the early ones 🙂

    * A short note. People are, in general, bad at requesting these recommendations. Virtually no one knows what they want highlighted. Instead, it’s left up to me. In those cases, you have to take what you get. So please take a moment to consider what you want someone to say to your next boss on your behalf. Also, unfortunately, LinkedIn.com recommendations have zero feedback available. So we never know if anyone reads them, likes them, hates them, or even notices them. Maybe LinkedIn can address that in a future release.

    Here are some examples of what I have written for others, in chronological order.

    1. October 2003, for Raj Vennam at Darden: Raj has the tenacity and sunny personality that make for a great coder.

    [sorry Raj, you deserved better]

    Same day, for Uday Shivaswamy at Microsoft: Uday is one of the best programmers I have ever worked with. Very cerebral, with quick insights. [This one had a typo, that I fixed today, after 7 years!]

    2. February, 2004, a little better, this time for Roy Crippen at Digital Fusion: Roy really set the model for me on what a CEO is and does… broad strokes, vision, incredible people skills, and integrity. I’ve measured every other boss against him, and most can’t measure up.

    3. December, 2005, for Rich Bergmann, programmer extraordinaire: When I needed answers about solving a tough software problem, Rich’s answers were the only ones I trusted. He was the only person we all trusted. If Rich said it was possible, you went back to your desk and worked harder. If you still couldn’t figure it out, Rich was always there to help you. If I had ever been as good a programmer as Rich, I probably wouldn’t have moved into management.

    4. February, 2007, for Nader Hooshmand at Kronos: For me, Nader defines conscientiousness and tirelessness. He cares about every aspect of his job. I’m not sure how he does it. He throws himself into it, I’m not sure he ever sleeps, and he’s one of the smartest people I have ever met. Promoting him to be a practice manager was probably the easiest decision his boss made that year.

    5. May, 2007, for Aaron Fausz at Kronos: Change Management is such a difficult field to excel in… blending the science and art of it takes a certain kind of person, and a certain kind of approach. When I choose people to wade into my customer’s organization, I’m very picky. I have to be. I want someone who has perfected the art of “think fast, but talk slow”. That’s Aaron. He’s the only one I know who expertly does both, so all types of businesspeople feel they are in good hands.

    6. December, 2008, for Uta Grzanna, a former client: None of the multinationals (GE, Honeywell, etc.), governments, or tech clients I ever had at Kronos knew as much about, found as many flaws with, or offered as many solutions to our software’s architecture as Ute. She’s ‘that’ client… the one that keeps pushing you to be better: better designed, better implemented, better supported. If I had my time back I would chosen her as my FIRST Kronos client…  having done the work required to make her happy, I could have cruised through my remaining years at Kronos 🙂

    7. August, 2009, for Sudhamen Chandrasekaran at InfoSys/Time Warner CableWhen Sudhaman QAs your product, you end up treating him like he’s the actual customer… a true pain in the ass customer. He treats your product like he’s the one buying it, and picks at it from end to end. He shines a light on every nook and cranny, and writes you up for every little deviation from the spec. And he doesn’t back down.

    If he wasn’t such a super nice guy, you’d wish he would fall in front of a bus. But somehow he manages to be tough and picky and pleasant, all at the same time.

    8. Last month, for Charlie Shaw, PMP:  Charlie is the project manager I always think of when I think about the PMI, and my own PMP certification.  For me he has always been the PM’s PM. The standard bearer of the PMI Way.  And the project manager you look to when you need the job The Right Way.

    9. Yesterday, for Usman Bashir at Time Warner Cable: Someday, Usman needs to do my job for a day. And I need to do his. Someday, Usman will have to give up that fabled deep-focus thing he does, and handle all the trivia and minutiae and cheerleading and threatening I do, and I will get to focus solely and deeply on that day’s problem until I emerge on the other side with the simplest, most elegant answer ever seen. And manage to know the latest cricket scores at the same time.

    Someday… but likely not.

    So.. the later ones are better than the early ones, right? I hope so. Later, I will tell you the secret behind the recommendations others have posted for me.

    *Something occurred to me. This blog is indexed by Google within an hour after the article posts… if your name is mentioned above, this post will soon show up whenever someone Googles you. Try it.

  • Dean Waye 7:21 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Asia, Business, , , , ,   

    Dear Starbucks, UAL Ruined My Evening But You (& Bob Marley) Helped Me Get it Back 

    Dear Starbucks,

    Thanks for being, this evening anyway, the Anti-United-Airlines. In Terminal D at Washington-Dulles airport.

    Aregawi from Ethiopa (on the right), and Hsueh Ho from China, both immigrants like me,  were rocking out to reggae, upsold me a snack even though I am not hungry, and reminded me that not everything about modern air travel sucks.

    Thanks to both of them. Hope they like their picture 🙂

  • Dean Waye 6:21 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Airports, , , Business, , , , , united airlines sucks, United Breaks Guitars, Washington   

    Dear United Airlines, I Can’t Even Look at You Right Now 

    Dear United,

    I checked my carry-on bag plane-side, and you managed to lose its tag while it was inside the plane. That’s a new one for me.

    So we landed and you gave the other carry on bags to the other passengers but you wouldn’t let me leave with my bag.

    Of course I had my claim check. And of course it was useless because you managed to lose the tag on the bag itself, while it was inside the plane on a 1 hour flight. So you told me to go to baggage claim, get my bag there, come back through Security all over again at this intermediate airport (Dulles) and try to make a tight connection.

    And of course you then managed to lose my bag during its 5 minute trip between the plane and the baggage area. And it doesn’t have a tag (remember, you lost that inside the plane?). Let’s be honest here. That bag is gone forever.

    And, naturally I missed my connecting flight. So I have to wait 5 hours for another one.

    Here’s a tip, United.

    I appreciated that everyone was polite and somewhat helpful, within the very limited orbit you allow them to be. But mine was the only plane-side bag ‘unclaimed’ and I was the only passenger claiming it. I had a claim ticket. And you messed me up instead of being sensible.

    Now I understand the ‘United Breaks Guitars‘ guy.

    Oh, and my flight tracker app  just alerted me that my intended flight has landed in Raleigh while I sit here in Washington.


    I can’t even look at you right now.

  • Dean Waye 12:01 pm on September 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, , , Health, , , Montreal, Paris Hilton, Reproduction and Sexuality,   

    Dear Hilton Hotels, Thanks for the Condoms (?) 

    Hilton Place Bonaventure

    Dear Hilton,

    Sometimes, you crack me up 🙂

    I DO appreciate the option, at the Montreal Hilton downtown, to buy different internet speeds (are you reading my blog?). Although, having wi-fi only in the lobby is not useful.

    On the other hand, I have to give you points for creativity, or understanding (some of, but not me) your customers… this is the first hotel in my experience where next to the snacks and a mini-bar, you also sell ‘Intimacy Kits’, with condoms, lube, and ‘obstetrical towelettes’. (I confess, I have no idea what those are, but I am not willing to pay $12 to find out).

    Still, someone must buy them, or you wouldn’t sell them. Go Montreal!

    Canada…. it’s like a whole other country.

  • Dean Waye 12:06 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, Department store, , , , , , , Vending machine   

    Dear Hilton, Why Aren’t You Selling Me Anything? 

    Hilton Brand Logo

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear Hilton,

    I am at a new hotel near the Raleigh Durham airport right now. And it is the same, hotel room experience as always.

    Which started me thinking… why is it always the same experience, everywhere?

    I mean, you have me here and there, at hotels all over this country (and others), and what do you sell me besides a benign experience? Why do you only ever try to sell me the same thing, for the past decade(s)?

    –  A pay per view movie? I can get movies and TV shows from a lot of different places now. This is 2010, not 1990.

    –  A spa-something? Never been interested. And only offered at a fraction of locations anyway.

    –  Internet access? Well, now it is free. Thanks for that. But let’s be honest. It is uniformly lousy. Have you seen that iPhone commercial where the person in the hotel is using the video conferencing on their phone? That could never happen with any hotel wifi anywhere.

    Can you please think about selling me any of the following?

    –  On demand fast-as-blazes wireless Internet. Sometimes I need a g.d. fast connection.  This is doable. Honest. I’ll pay for it. If only because it would let me watch TV and movies from the sources I prefer anyway.

    –  Something in the vending machines besides stuff that could have been put there last year.  Because I get hungry at night.  I work a lot. And I can pay for real food.

    •  Car detailing … since I am leaving it in your parking lot all week. And it is dirty.

    –  Freemiums.  People in hotel rooms are bored (sorry, in case this is news to you).  There must be a ton of other companies that would be interested in your guests. Internet services and very small sizes of things would be the logical first step since I already packed without making room for more stuff. And national brands would work best, I suppose, or items that are not location-dependent, since I might not ever be back here. Anything I would buy using a laptop can work.

    … A hotel room is one of the last places where that sort of shopping or sampling can be done privately.

  • Dean Waye 12:00 am on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 802.11, , , Apple Dippers, Burgers, Business, Chicken McNuggets, Data Communications, , Happy Meal, Hospitality, , Restaurant Chains, Wi-Fi, Wireless   

    Dear McDonald’s, Thanks for the Wi-fi 

    List of McDonald's trademarks

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear McDonald’s,

    Thanks for free wi-fi. Last week when I nearly bricked my Evo (android) and needed a fast(-ish) connection to download ideas on bringing it back to life again, you were conveniently located, and happened to serve food, too. Nice job.

    Also, thanks for being everywhere. Jeez, seriously. Even crappy little middle-of-nowhere towns in are-you-sure-you-aren’t-lost?-Virginia have a McDonald’s, where I can get a fast drink and half a dozen bags of Apple Dippers (don’t ask, and yes, I decline the caramel).

    About that Filet o’ Fish I bought Tuesday, though… first time in a decade, I’m sure, and never again. Yikes.

  • Dean Waye 1:20 am on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, Certification, Education, , , , , Project Management Institute, Project Management Professional,   

    Dear PMI, I Just Thought of an Article You Will Never Publish 

    Project Management Institute

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear Project Management Institute,

    Thanks for the PMP certification. I have had mine since 2004, and it keeps me warm at night.

    However, I just had a funny thought… an article you will never publish in our monthly magazine: “The Project Manager Who Broke All Our Rules, and Won Big!”.

    Get it?… because you set the standards, so it would be weird to celebrate flouting them. Funny, right? No?

    Well, we can agree to disagree on this one.

  • Dean Waye 12:30 am on August 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Business, , Filling station, Financial Services, Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing, Insurance,   

    Dear AAA, About That Thing I Wrote the Other Day… 

    Gas prices on 2008-04-30. Hess Station in Wilm...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Dear AAA,

    When I wrote this, I knew there was something else I was missing, but I didn’t ‘have it’ in my fingers at the time. Does that ever happen to you, too?

    Well, I have it now.

    I’m sure you understand this even better than I do, since you live with it every day… AAA has a classic sort of branding problem, doesn’t it? No one thinks about you until they need you, and they rarely need you. You’re about about as exciting as term life insurance. That’s why programs like using the membership to get discounts are so important. And why you always manage to get mentioned on the radio around holiday weekends, predicting how many people will be on the road, and saying  how much gas costs*.

    So, back to the note I wrote the other day. Can you add in gas prices? Or even better, just show me the 3 lowest priced gas stations in a 3 mile radius. Don’t make me download a second app for my Android/iPhone, just add this into the current app.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Why does it always cost more than whatever state I live in, regardless of how often I move? Is that a coincidence, or does Alaska/California always skew the number higher?
  • Dean Waye 3:00 pm on August 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business, , , Los Angeles, , Website   

    Dear Hilton, About Your Website… 

    I’m sure this is just an oversight, so I will point it out without complaining…

    Did you know that when booking at your website, I can sort by Relevance (?), Brand, or Distance, but not by price?

    Isn’t that strange? Is there anyone who hasn’t, at least once, wanted to sort by price? You display the prices, so you clearly know them…

  • Dean Waye 7:56 pm on August 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brainstorming, Business, Government, Innovation, , Muse, Seth Godin, Ships,   

    …  from Seth Godin:

    One approach to innovation and brainstorming is to wait for the muse to appear, to hope that it alights on your shoulder, to be ready to write down whatever comes to you.

    The other is to seek it out, will it to appear, train it to arrive on time and on command.

    The first method plays into our fears. After all, if you’re not inspired, it’s not your fault if you don’t ship, it’s not your fault if you don’t do anything remarkable–hey, I don’t have any good ideas, you can’t expect me to speak up if I don’t have any good ideas…

    The second method challenges the fear and announces that you’ve abandoned the resistance and instead prepared to ship. Your first idea might not be good, or even your second or your tenth, but once you dedicate yourself to this cycle, yes, in fact, you will ship and make a difference.

    Simple example: start a blog and post once a day on how your favorite company can improve its products or its service. Do it every day for a month, one new, actionable idea each and every day. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice the change in the way you find, process and ship ideas.

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