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September 2006

Minnesota Golden Gopher Football Luncheon

I had a conversation with my mom on Saturday and I told her I was not feeling well. She got that mom tone in her voice and I realized I had better explain myself.

   

That morning ESPN had their first College Game Day, a preview of the upcoming season, and it was hard to watch. As in I did not care. Did not care, she asked. Something must be wrong…

   

I have tickets to the Minnesota vs. Cal game on September 9th. My fraternity brother Jason and I are making this our third year in a row to an away game. The last two years were at Michigan and we are 1-1.

   

Tuesday I was invited to the luncheon by Rick Beeson, President of Park Midway Bank and a board member of the Goal Line Club.

   

I had been busy the whole morning and it felt like it was more trouble than it was worth to drive over to St. Paul. But I went anyway.

   

The program and lunch were good but I was still feeling a little ho hum. Then Coach Glen Mason started speaking.

   

He told us why he likes doing what he does in coaching and teaching young people. About the relationships and friendships that are built. That there is something on a day like Tuesday with a warm afternoon but a sense of fall in the air. Maybe not so much in temperature but with state fair going on, school starts next week, it just starts to feel like a football season.

   

And then he started speaking about the last three years of Michigan games and my enthusiasm started kicking in. He talked about the game three years ago up by 21 going into the 4th quarter on national TV and then mistakes are made and we lose.

   

Two years ago up by four with two minutes to go, Michigan with the ball, and no timeouts. They score to win.

   

But then there was last year. The sweet sound of 111,117 in the Big House, except for a couple of thousand screaming Minnesota fans, stunned in silence as we kick the game winning field goal.

   

It was awesome to hear him talk about his experience that day and I started reflecting on mine and how I am fortunate to remember almost everything from our bar crawl in Ann Arbor that night. (Good thing I was the sober driver on Friday night)

   

I left there with a hop in my step humming the Minnesota Rouser.

   

7 days until I leave for the Bay Area and 9 days until the game. As I started typing this I realized that I somehow deleted a couple of posts from last season so I will do a 2005 In Review later this morning and my 2006 Preview this evening.

   

Let’s Go Gophers…


Radio Shack, You Have Email And No Job

Radio Shack laid off 400 employees by email this week. I understand that they announced the pending layoffs on August 10th and that they said it would happen electronically with most cuts coming at the headquarters in Forth Worth, Texas. The staff was sufficiently prepped.

   

Still, what are these executives thinking? Were they trying to save printing costs so they decided email was a cheaper alternative?

   

This is absurd. You would think that after the Northwest Airlines debacle, which happened while plans were being made for the layoff, Radio Shack would have rethought their plan.

   

Nope, apparently common sense is nowhere to be found in the northern or southern parts of Middle America.

   

Yes they gave what looks to be a good severance package including 1-3 weeks for every year worked up to 16 weeks for hourly employees and up to 36 weeks for staff making at least $90,000 a year.

   

That’s admirable but that does not make the message itself any less absurd. It screams that the company is insensitive. Yeah the cash is great but tell it to my face. Take five minutes of your time.

   

Can you imagine knowing a layoff notice is being sent at 8:45 am on Tuesday, getting to work, and cautiously opening your email? Hey, your one of the lucky lottery winners, get your check and go home.

   

At least they did treat everyone equally from file clerks to a vice president. Like that makes it any better.


Lunch With Governor Tim Pawlenty

Many thanks to George Serdar of Messerli and Kramer for inviting me to the law firm for lunch on Monday. Governor Pawlenty stopped by and had a chat with the attorneys and their guests about his vision for the State of Minnesota.

   

He spoke a bit about challenges facing the state including, health care, energy, public education and his vision on how to work on them.

   

It was also interesting to hear him say that quality of life in the region is important too and that projects like the Guthrie and Shubert Theaters and Minnesota Zoo are important. He also noted that it’s the quality of life that keeps Minnesotans here and attracts others to move here. That’s interesting to hear from a republican.

   

He answered a few questions but I had one that I was really curious about. After he had finished I introduced myself and asked the following question, “Technology and the use of it seems to be a major answer to many of the issues we face. How do we get young people who do not see technology or engineering as a career interested?”

   

We only had a couple of minutes but he explained STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the upcoming summit on September 30th at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Here is the entire press release with information on the STEM Summit, PAWLENTY ANNOUNCES GRANT MONEY TO COVER SOFTWARE TRAINING, $1 MILLION IN AP GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE, and here is just the part on the summit:

The Governor also announced that the Department of Education and partners will host a STEM Summit on Saturday, September 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Interested students, parents or teachers should contact the Minnesota Department of Education for information about the event and how to receive free admission that includes a ticket to the Science Museum for the day. Additional details and a sign-up form are online at www.education.state.mn.us.

   

“The business community has asked how they can help prepare our students for the future. Participating in our STEM Summit is a great opportunity for them,” Governor Pawlenty said. “The STEM Summit will bring together Minnesota companies and hundreds of high school students. We need to provide the opportunity for students across Minnesota to make direct connections with employers to show what it means to be an engineer or have a technical job.”

   

STEM education is key to building a strong Minnesota. Economic forecasts project a 20-33% increase in scientific and technical occupations in Minnesota in ten years and new job growth in professional and high tech industries will demand an extra 10,500 college graduates per year. For students, completing Algebra II in high school more than doubles their chances of earning a four-year college degree. Governor Pawlenty proposed and signed legislation this year that requires Algebra I by eighth grade and Algebra II and Physics or Chemistry to graduate from high school.

In order for both Minnesota and the United States to continue to be leaders we cannot continue to see lower numbers of technology, science, math, and engineering students. It is nice to see that state and local government and business are working together on this.


Minneapolis Wi-Fi Provider Chosen

A couple of local stories, Minneapolis picks Wi-Fi firm, Qwest protest fails to derail Wi-Fi project, and US Internet expected to win city Wi-Fi contract, on US Internet being picked by city staff to win the contract. While this does not guarantee US Internet will win the contract, and to use a football analogy, they are up by three touchdowns with the ball and it is the 2:00 warning in the 4th quarter.

    

Service will cost $20 per month, $30 for businesses, and will cover 95% of the city. A special modem will also be required at $75 or $5 a month to help with indoor service. A fund will be set up to help low income users.

   

Neighboring cities are talking about getting into the service too.

   

Of course Qwest is unhappy with the decision. I am one of the many former unhappy Qwest customers so in my mind, I call it even.


IT Jobs With NonProfits

The following new full time IT jobs have been added on the Volunteer Page:

   

Assoc Network Admin, Fulll Time Job

      

Workstation Support , Fulll Time Job

      

Information Technology Specialist , Fulll Time Job

   

Click weekly newsletter to receive the Wednesday message of nonprofit needs, IT jobs I am recruiting for, recruiting gigs, and most popular blog posts of the week.

   

If you are using a RSS Feed click Volunteer.


Federal Judge To NWA Flight Attendants, No Strike Yet

Apparently this federal judge wants everyone to take a deep breath, hold it, turn blue in the face and hope they do not pass out while he thinks about this a little more, NWA strike on hold: Judge wants status quo while he decides

   

Hey, I have a great idea. Maybe both sides should get together and negotiate a reasonable settlement before the judge “sticks” it to one of them and possible everyone else in the region.

   

Oh hell, there I go trying to make sense again…


Truth Or Dare

This post comes courtesy of the Recruiting.com Blog Swap. Claudia Faust writes the Improved Experience blog. Claudia is also the Founder of Improved Experience, a third-party research company that provides customer-specific business intelligence.

Here’s the Truth part.  You’re sitting around having a beer with your friends after work and discover that someone at the table has the exact skills that your boss is trying to hire into your development team.  You like this person, think they’ve got both talent and potential, and know you’d work well together.  Do you say:

   

(a)    “You really ought to come to work for my company!”

(b)   “You really ought to meet my boss!”

(c)    “You really ought to be glad I won’t pass your resume on!”

   

Referring others to your company for hire can seem like a slow and painful way to make a buck - if they pay you for it at all.   Which is why most people I know don’t do it for the money.   To be honest, referring talent is bit like volunteering in your community…you do it for lots of reasons, but money isn’t usually one of them.

   

Not every charity is worthy of your time – and not every company is worthy of your friends (read the end of this post if you think you’re working for one of those).  But for companies that do take care of their own, in the spirit of volunteering we recommend the following "Top Five Reasons To Introduce Your Friends":

   

  1. My existence here makes a difference.  And if I can make a difference here, think of what we could do together.
  2. I want to give something back.  My company has done a lot for me – opened doors in my career, invested money in my training, and given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had somewhere else.  They believe in me…when was the last time you said that about your job? 
  3. I want to be part of a team with common interests.  We’re already friends.  This team would ROCK if you were a part of it.
  4. I want to promote my business.  I am part of an amazing company that deserves a chance to be seen and heard.  I’m telling you so you can turn around and tell somebody else about it too. 
  5. I love what this company does.  This product, this service, this connection with our customers…that is why I’m here.  We’re changing the world, one customer at a time.

It’s a great thing to like the company you work for.

   

If that isn’t your story (I'm guessing that you're the one who answered (C) above), then it’s time for the “Dare” part of this post.  Dare to find a job you love this much.  Or, dare to work toward solving the problems in your company that will make it the kind of job you love this much.  Either way, you win.  Happy recruiting!


Avoid Marrying A Career Woman

So says Michael Noer at Forbes.com. If you have not yet heard about this, Mr. Noer wrote an opinion piece earlier this week “Don't Marry Career Women” that caused such turmoil that Forbes.com took the story down. Taking down the article turned turmoil into a major storm and Forbes.com returned the story to the web site with a counterpoint.

   

Now they have both stories side by side with a new URL, Careers and Marriage.

   

Mr. Noer starts his opinion with this:

Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

He says I should be OK as long my wife, who ever and where ever she is, makes less than $30,000 and likely does not have a college degree.

   

Now I know why I am single, internally I must have already known this and because most of the women I know are college grads making well more than $30,000 I have been protecting myself. Whew, mom will feel so much better knowing I was saving myself from future heartache.

   

Mr. Noer is an idiot.

   

I know some people, men and women, will agree with him. My observation is that it’s about what common goals you and your spouse have and how you work the individual ones in. Not about the man or woman but how it gets worked out between them. Besides, that would be like saying women should not be married to middle aged writers for business magazines because they have certain traits.

   

I wonder what Mr. Noer would think of that.

   

Elizabeth Corcoran, a lead writer for Forbes, started her rebuttal with:

Girlfriends: A word of advice. Ask your man the following question: When was the last time you learned something useful, either at home or work?

If the last new skill your guy learned was how to tie his shoes in the second grade, dump him. If he can pick up new ideas faster than your puppy, you've got a winner.

Read it for yourself and then click over to Reader Response to "Don't Marry Career Women" and you are sure to see some comments that will set you off…


Google Page Rank, How Do You Like Me Now

In yesterday’s post, More Northwest Airlines 101 Ways To Save Money, I mentioned that I have been a little overwhelmed with the response to the Northwest Airlines story. Overwhelmed is not the right word. Maybe shocked. I really had no idea that people outside of the Upper Midwest would care about it.

   

I had a couple of buddies yesterday ask me in regards to my visitor spike of the last week if my ego was getting large and if I still had time to have lunch with them. My response, in humor, was that I would have my people get back to them. I was busy working on my signature for all of those autograph seekers.

   

First, I have no “people”. Second, I should work on my signature because my writing skills are bad. It’s the only talent I have that qualified me for being a doctor.

   

Most important, I know that most people from Vegas, Miami, Portland, Dallas, Honolulu, Vancouver, and Moscow are stopping by just for the one item. I hope they found the information useful and of course I hope they come back again.

   

For those from local places like Eden Prairie, St. Paul, Eagan, and Woodbury I hope they found a lot of useful information and come back often.

   

I wrote a while ago about how my Google Page Rank went from 5/10 to 4/10 and that referrals from the search engine dropped considerably. Which was a small issue as most of my traffic comes from repeat visitors, local sites, and technology user groups.

   

Well the Page Rank went down but the Alexa ranking went up courtesy of the Northwest Airlines story.

   

I have been keeping track of my Alexa rankings since March. Back then I was around site 2,100,000 (3-month average). My 3-month average now is 706,246. My one-week average has been usually around 400,000.

   

Today, more like the past few days because they seem to be a day or two behind, I am site 50,550. The one-week average is 171,318.

   

This story has a shelf life of only so long but it is very cool to watch happen. Of course I hope some have added me to their favorites or RSS Feed. Which by the way during this time went from 65 to 398.