Thursday, February 25, 2010


So today I did my two hour seminar on Business planning 101. It was a joint effort of the Chamber of Commerce, the SBA and Boeing. My class was the first one in an eight session series. Here is the outline of it:
When you start building a business plan, do you know what your business stands for? Do you recognize the difference between a slogan, brand, mission statement and mantra? Simply, your mantra is the statement to which all of your business decisions stem from! In this two hour intensive seminar, you will explore the basic segments of a business plan, some key steps on how to write one and finally develop your mantra for your own current or future business. Appropriate for all levels of business owners or non-profit staff, you will find this EDGE session will start you off right!
It was at the Hampton Inn & Suites here in Seal Beach and somewhat ironically, there was a meeting of the Education & Evaluation Center for Medical Marijuana having a conference in the room we were supposed to have, so we adjusted to working in the main lobby and breakfast area. It went very well. All the participants got a lot out of it and when anonymous presenter evalatuations came back and I got the results from the director of operations - I received near perfect marks! Another successful seminar session. What was even more exciting was the additional work from several participants which will likely develop.
So if you are in a service business, I strongly encourage you to teach a seminar for free - the clients and credibility you will recieve pays serious dividends!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Working through the Power of 2

Working in the consulting field always results in collaboration. First, you collaborate with your client, and in many projects, there are multiple consultants, advisors and departments all interfacing. This type of interaction will lead to issues which exist in pairs even more than in "teams." Recently, I have become an advocate for not only strength based leadership, but the entire structure pertaining to positive psychology. Those of you who have read my blog in the past know that I often focus on positive issues.

I can't comment strongly enough how communication, trust, mission goals and ultimately acceptance are core tenets of good partnership. The book illustrates others, but I absolutely agree that those are vital to any endeavor. When working with your clients, realize they are imperfect, you, in partnership with them can yield far superior results than they could alone. Be proud and clear in the value you provide. Accept that you may disagree, but remain open and understanding of what they provide - their willingness to listen and ACCEPT what you have to share.

Now go give them even better results!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A failure of customer service - Verizon

It is rare that I am deeply negative. Verizon has changed that for me. I have been trying since February 3rd to actually have my internet work. It still doesn't. I have spoken to people in Indonesia, India, California, and locations unknown. The latest, for the last three years, I have had a "slow connection" only now, I have found that at the crossbox I am apparently the only DSL customer and they simply can't deliver internet to me. FiOS is apparently available, but not for me. They have offered no helpful solutions. Why is this such a problem? Are they really as incompetent as I now believe. Are all cable and phone companies just raping us? When do we as consumers of a product become enraged by their gross failure of customer service? When do we band together to demand change?

If politics is any indication, we should simply throw them all out! If that is the case, when we are as dependent as we are on technology, how can we force telecommunications to meet the needs of its customers rather than its shareholders? Ideas - anyone?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

USS Dewey

Sometimes extraordinary things happen in Seal Beach. This March 6th, for the first time in Orange County, a naval vessel will be commissioned: USS Dewey DDG 105. Commissioning a ship is a time-honored tradition, which celebrates a vessels' formal entry into service with the active Navy fleet. USS DEWEY was constructed at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi and is sponsored by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff & Admiral Mike Mullen’s wife, Deborah. The vessel, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is the third ship to bear the name of Admiral of the Navy George Dewey. Earlier versions, the DDG 349 was very active in the Pacific theatre in WWII and the DDG 45 a Farragut class missile destroyer. But what does all of that mean to us as a community here in Seal Beach? Why should we care?

Our USS Dewey has a complement of 380 officers and enlisted personnel and is one of the most sophisticated Naval vessels ever developed. With a comprehensive set of offensive and defensive capabilities, it is capable of sustained battle and support in ship-to ship, ship-to-shore, ship-to-subsurface and ship-to-air engagements. It also represents a first ever opportunity for our business, school and residential community to participate more fully in what our largest real estate partner: the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. For those businesses in Seal Beach, we have an opportunity to build a greater connection with the sailors of this vessel and others which come in and out of the Weapons Station.

Lead by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, which is hosting the VIP reception on Friday, March 5th, the business community is doing it’s part to facilitate the USS Dewey events. Main Street Wine Cellar and Hennesey’s have also stepped to the plate and provided wine and beer for the events as well. Many Chamber member businesses are coming forward to create a “Welcome Kit” booklet of coupons and discounts for the crew. Working with the City of Seal Beach, Trees for Seal Beach and the Commissioning Committee, a large number of trees are going to be planted along Lampson Avenue in commemoration of the special day.

How does a series of events like this get pulled off? Thanks to a large number of volunteers both inside and outside the Navy. Maria-Isabel Soto, Chief of Staff along with Captain Jon Kurtz and the Commissioning Committee have worked for the last 4 months to make it all happen. Members of the Seal Beach staff also have played a huge part in connecting the ship and crew with events. I was deeply honored to be present when City Council presented Commander Warren Bullen with a certificate of appreciation and recognition and he complemented our town and citizenry for such a warm welcome and support. The Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a ship’s gift of a stained glass piece to connect our logo and the ship’s logo, as seen in this article, to commemorate the day and our community’s partnership. We are after all, in part a Navy town, not that unlike our larger cousin San Diego. So let’s all be sure to welcome our sailors and be proud of the partnership we have!

As President Theodore Roosevelt said in Chicago in 1903, “There is a homely old adage which runs: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.’ If the American nation will speak softly, and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.” Though the time of the Monroe Doctrine has passed, we are pleased that one of the “big sticks” of the U.S. Navy has been commissioned here in Seal Beach. For more information about the events, go to

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A return from SFO

My friend Dan and his best friend Lola are amazing. Here they are at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in my recent trip to visit. Do you ever wonder what life would be like with unconditional love? I know Dan doesn't.

He has near perfect love with Lola. He shared an interesting observation about love and care. Dan is a physician (among other things) and quite a successful one at that. The problem with being a successful physician (yes Jim, Dave and others - you know who you are and yes, I am talking to you too!)is that you often (like entreprenueurs) keep extrodinarily long hours. He pointed out that when he arrived home Lola would love to see him. When he was later than usual arriving home, rather than being upset or hurt Dan didn't make it home faster, she simply loves him THAT MUCH MORE.

Don't we wish all of our spouses would be that understanding about our schedules?

One of our first stops was the San Francisco Main Branch public library. Wow! That kinda says it all - WOW!

This library is simply amazing. From the outside, it seems fairly blocky, but once inside, you are transformed into a modern version of the library you grew up being forced to go to. It has a sweeping central rotunda and floor after floor of abundantly spaced shelving and seating. There are work stations for computer docking and computers available for use. Fastidiously clean and remarkably well policed, this library is a credit to the institution.

My favorite area, the Hormel LGBT special collection actually was not on display as I expected, but was a nice reading area. The collection in that area was a bit more sparse than I expected, I thought the Main library would have had a large selection, but perhaps not. It did have a good offering of periodicals relevant to the community.

The main reason I went here was to return a book for my stepfather, Jim who had checked out Canterbury Tales from June 19th, 1955. The circulation desk took the book, was delighted to receive it and didn't charge me! BONUS!

Plus, Dan and Lola (dressed in her uber cute "service dog" outfit!) were able to spread the joys of doggie service to many patrons. Overall, I would fly into SFO just to go to this library. It was that good.

When it was time to Nom-Nom, we asked: where do you take the boys and your favorite bitch in the Castro? Squat & Gobble! We couldn't have been happier at this restaurant. Not only does it permit dogs, it is DOG - FRIENDLY! Practically a must for those gay men with requisite four furred friend (not your collared cub, Papi bear!) j/k Seriously, they have bowls of water for dogs, a very friendly staff and a pretty substantial menu. Being fairly big men, we ordered four entrees for the two (and a half - for Lola) of us. I had a Chicken Divan crepe along with a half pound Black Angus Chuck Burger (they forgot the cheese - hence the four stars) and Daniel had the Seafood Linguini (yes, with huge ass tiger prawns) alongside the Marina crepe.

NOM-NOM; woof-woof; sigh. . .

Yes, it was that good. No, there weren't leftovers.

So grab your man, boi, hot friends (do you have any other kind?), lesbian sister, whatev. . . and be sure to stop in.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Huntington Library & Gardens

Today we toured the Huntington Library and Gardens. Vast gardens, significant buildings, a great collection of rare books/manuscripts, and a free day the first Thursday of the month to which you may request tickets. Be sure to get the tickets on line rather than via phone and you must do it the month prior to your visit. The system can be confusing, but you can get up to 5 tickets to one address. DO NOT think you can send multiple ticket orders to the same address, as they will be canceled out.

Some highlights from our trip:
- A Gutenberg bible
- An illuminated original manuscript of The Canterbury Tales
- Christopher Isherwood's original manuscript of "A Single Man"
- The succulent garden
- Tea & dim sum in the newly created and opened Chinese Garden (very pricey, but delicious)
- The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough & Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence
- The "Plant Lab" - good exhibits, but not great staff present to explain or answer questions about things. Very self directed.

Regardless of minor issues, the trip was truly delightful. Abundant parking and easy to get to as well. Perfect for out of town guests or a trip with your spouse. Do NOT think you can do this trip in just one day. I would suggest highlights the first time and then back for a second (or more) deeper visit. Enjoy!