Month: September 2014

Engaged, Inspired, and Ready to Build a Better Web

Sounds amazing. Sign me up.

WordPress.com News

Automattic is a distributed company — we all work from wherever we are. Right now, “where we are” is 197 cities around the world: New Orleans, USA. Montevideo, Uruguay. Tokyo, Japan. Vilnius, Lithuania.

Once a year, we get together somewhere in the world to meet, work alongside, learn from, and laugh with one another in an exhilarating, exhausting week called the Grand Meetup. This year, 277 Automatticians descended on Park City, Utah, for seven days in mid-September.

We introduced ourselves to new colleagues, reconnected with coworkers we haven’t seen since last year, and worked on ways to make WordPress.com even better. And of course, lots of us blogged about the experience, in words and images.

We were…

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Read This Book

Title: Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great by Jim Collins.

Topic: What it takes to be successful in life, in business, and in doing good.

Why you should read it: Collins has a way of writing that hits you over the head (and in the heart) without seeming like he is. He is trying to tell you how to improve and you know that but he says it so reasonably that you can’t help but agree with him. The book really focuses on why non-profits and the like shouldn’t be so business-minded because it can actually be ruining what they are trying to accomplish. But I got a lot more out of it than just that. It also had a feel of life advice, which I am all about. One of the biggest points was defining what greatness means to you and coming up with a tangible plan to track it. And never stop striving to be better than you are. Another mark was the Hedgehog Concept (shown below) to determine what your passion is, what you can be best at, and what drives your resource engine; inclusive in that is the idea that it’s okay to say “no, thank you” to opportunities that don’t fit with the profile of those three points.

This is a great read to learn how to work smarter, not harder.

It’s also actually a companion guide to a large book, Good to Great, but you don’t need to have read that to appreciate the lessons offered in this novella.

hedgehog

No Excess

No Excess.

“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” – Edna Ferber

I definitely agree with this sentiment. Think about it with me for a minute. The more we try to stretch something, the less it is able to be what it is supposed to be. The more we try to do everything, the less we are actually doing well. The more candy types we eat, the sicker we can become.

That’s not to say that trying new things or expanding our horizons are bad ideas, but we need to exercise caution when doing so. Our society, culture, and government are all prime examples. Trying to please everyone and be everything they need has deformed our country in some ways (although it has been beneficial in others). We are trying to be everything but I think it’s taking away from the things that we could be doing much better than we are.

And look at how much trouble the wealthy get into with their excess time and fortune. There are many stories filling the news of this celebrity or that tycoon on drugs, getting caught up in a money scandal, or getting arrested. So yes, too much can be just as bad as not enough.

Legend by Marie Lu

Absolutely! This entire series is phenomenal!

Legend (Legend, #1)Date Published: January 1, 2011

Dates Read: 9/21/14 to 9/26/14

Rating: 5 stars!!

Synopsis: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth…

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Make It Count

Make It Count.

Dear John Boehner,

As Speaker of the House, I’m hoping that this message reaches you in good health, a peaceful state of mind, and that you choose to share it with those who reside in the chamber with you.

I’m not going to introduce myself beyond what is the readily available information. Simply, my name is Kat Webber, I am a master of library science student, and I am not registered to vote.

That being said, I would like to explain why I have made this important choice. It used to be because I didn’t care much about voting or government or politics but over the years as I have followed the politics, I realized that it is much more than that. My reason remains that I believe there is no one worth voting for in our government. There is no real change happening. People posture and make pretty speeches and say there will be change but the truth of the matter is is that there is a sickness that has crept in the hallowed halls of our federal city.

When was the last time you sat down and had lunch with someone who voted for you? Talked to one of them for more than five minutes at a time? When was the last time you spent a significant portion of your day in your home state doing nothing but living life? When was the last time you went hungry? When was the last time you lived paycheck to paycheck? When was the last time you had to make a choice between feeding your kids or paying the electric bill? When was the last time you were waiting on a pension payment that never arrived? When was the last time you had a medication you couldn’t afford? When was the last time you were without a job? When was the last time you had to make a payment on a student loan? When was the last time you remembered to represent the state of Ohio and its citizens?

I ask these questions not to place blame or to complain about your wealth. But because these are issues that your voters, your fellow citizens face consistently. You were elected to your office. And as such, you have a responsibility to uphold the agreement you made with your constituents. That you would support the issues that matter to them. Not the ones that line your pockets or do a favor for someone else.

It is my belief that our great country is on the verge of falling into disrepair. We are broken. We are in debt. We are filled with unhappy Americans. And it’s not just about the money. And it’s not just about the laws. It’s about the general lack of leadership.

People are so concerned with their own party, or even a small sect of their party, that they completely overlook the voters screaming at them about the choices they are making. Dividing the country into two parties isn’t working anymore. With the rising of diversity, shouldn’t there be a rise in parties to choose from? Shouldn’t the lesser parties have a chance to be heard? Shouldn’t people be able to vote for the person they want elected not just the party ideals? Take the money and the campaigning out of the picture. Let everyone make a short and sweet speech and let the nation cast their ballots.

There is a book that I’m reading for a class of mine. It’s called The Trusted Leader and I think you should read it. It discusses how to be a leader, a proper one, and the difference between being that and being a manager. I think it could go a long way into helping you and many of your coworkers to understand why you are no longer leaders. It also touches upon inter-agency communication and how to improve that because that’s definitely impacting the way this country is being ineffectually run. So many things can slip through the cracks because there isn’t a system in place to catch them.

The United States is being treated like a poorly run business. And it’s “too big to fail”. It is supposed to be managed by the few people who are making choices for the greater good but lately it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like every time I look to the news, I am bombarded with another way that we have overstepped our boundaries or our reach. We have issues within our own borders and yet we are more concerned with overseas affairs. Isn’t it time we brought the fight back here?

Are you aware, Mr. Boehner, that we have mission groups from other countries that come here to help our poor and unfortunate? That we have people suffering in this country who don’t have a voice to stand up for them? What about the fact that Social Security was intended to be a temporary system? Or that the rising cost of college education (and loans) continues to increase because now jobs are demanding advanced degrees beyond undergraduate studies?

So don’t take it personally that I didn’t vote for you. And not voting may not give me the right to complain about any particular person but these are flaws in the general system that need to be fixed. We need to focus on making people in this country happier, healthier, and safer before we worry about what the rest of the world is doing.

Now I’m asking you to stand up for me. For everyone who agrees with even one thing in this letter. Hand out copies of this on the street if you have to. Slip it under your fellow Representatives doors. And if you like, I can even send you a copy of The Trusted Leader so you can get a jump start on making some improvements. Be a leader. Lead the way to change. Lead the way to a better way of life. Lead the way for your fellow leaders to stop being so selfish and party-minded and do what they were elected to do: make choices that will positively impact those who voted for them.

Sincerely,

Kat Webber

Concerned Citizen of the United States of America

Writing 101: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!

Writing 101: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!.

For me, it would be Happy Spending Time with Grammy!

My favorite meals are both cooked by my grandmother. One of them can be made by anyone (meat pie) and often is but the best childhood memory of a meal that I can possibly think of that never fails to fill me with joy (and homesickness) is my grandmother’s meatloaf. Now I know most of you are probably puking on to your keyboards right now but to me, that is the ultimate comfort food.

I have had many meatloaves over the years. Barbeque ones, bacon ones, salty ones, mushroom ones, and even one filled with mac n’ cheese. And while each meatloaf is probably good in its own right, my grandmother’s is something special. Most people think of meatloaf and think of dried bricks of hamburg, excuse me, ground beef, and that it must be swimming in gravy to be any good at all.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong to think that. This meatloaf comes in your standard 9×13 baking pan. It is about 2 inches high, smothered in tomato paste of all things, and filled with chopped onions and love. It’s a little greasy but warm and perfectly cooked. The smell makes you mouth water the minute you enter the house. And if you go peak in the oven door, you can see the perfection at work.

The homemade mashed potatoes with real cream and butter sit on the counter having just been finished and the green beans (substitute peas, carrots, or corn as necessary) are warming in the microwave. The plates are paper and the cutlery is plastic but it’s all waiting for you. There is a bag of fresh rolls sitting in the middle of the island table with a dish of butter and one of margarine to spread as you like.

We would all gather around the table and say our blessing for food and family, health and happiness and then it was time to go serve yourself. Get a plate and fill it up. Two pieces of meatloaf, each no more than a 2×2 square. A big dollup of mashed potatoes and vegetables so mom didn’t yell at you.

Get a cup of milk or water. Grab a roll and split it open with your fingers, letting the crumbs fall onto the plate. Slather on some butter and close it back up. Fork in one hand, roll in the other, it’s time to begin the meal.

The mashed potatoes slide off my fork into my mouth with ease and smoothness. The green beans crunch in the perfect pitch. And lastly, the meatloaf is salty and filling. Not overly salty mind you but the perfect amount. It has a little tart bitter type taste from the tomato paste and a nice after taste of onion. It isn’t dry or super thick. It’s a mouthful of perfection.

I sigh with happiness and plow my way through the meal. I continue to munch on the roll in between bites, scooping little bits of mashed potatoes onto it as I do. I reach for and butter a second roll and use the end of it to slop up any leftovers on my plate.

I slug down my water and sit back on the stool with a contented smile. My grandmother looks at me and laughs. She knows how happy her meatloaf makes me.

And she continues to make it when I visit now. Even a grown-up can use comfort good every once in awhile.