Monthly Archives: February 2014

Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone: A Publishing Mind and Book are Needed As Well!

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

Hardship builds CHARACTER

There are times in your life when you go through hardships and you look back and say “This made me a better person by building my character.” One of those times occurred back in 2003. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own business and after I was laid-off in 2001 I struck out on my own and did just that. The .com bust had occurred, many were unemployed but I was undeterred by this and thought that someone with my publishing credentials at that time could make a go of it helping small to mid-sized publishers with their manufacturing needs.

Entrepreneurship: Phase 1

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This first foray into a consulting role had its pitfalls. Consulting on a one-to-one basis always meant that your return on investment needed to be high and spread out among a few different publishing concerns. Rather than building a web-portal for digital reference materials, as I am doing now, the thought never entered my mind that reaching more people would be a touchstone toward building a lucrative and informative publishing corporate structure. As it turned out, one company in particular began to take up more and more of my time. After about eight months they made the decision that the functions I was providing should be brought in-house under their corporate umbrella instead of using me in a contract position. The playing field had changed and I was caught without a backup. One of the takeaways I learned  is that you always market yourself. You continually get the word out about who you are through writing articles, blog posts, tweets, and YouTube videos. All of these are essential at this point time, but were not in existence back in 2003 for me to use.

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The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing:  History, Industry Perspective (Print and E-book) and “How To” Publish Your E-book for Amazon Kindle

Mentor-A-No-Go

One of my former supervisors had always told me that if I ever decided to move back to New York from Colorado there would be a job ready for me. With this information in mind and family ill-health as a background, I packed up my apartment and moved back to New York. When I got back to New York I was wined and dined and not given the job. Another learning experience, people are friends and mentors but when personal gain conflicts with the relationship the relationship will take a hit. Now I was back in New York, publishing capital of the world, but living in a situation where I could not commute to Manhattan because I was 100 miles out on the end of Long Island. This is where the Wenner family and their bakery in Bellport, Long Island come into the story (The Wenner Family have just recently sold the plant).

Wenner  to the Rescue

My sister had always been friends with the Wenners and I knew them as well from High School.  When I needed a position just to make ends meet they gave me a hand- UP. They knew that I would not be there as a long-term employee and they still took me on and gave me the opportunity to get back on my feet. For this help I will always be grateful to them. Now the Wenner Bread factory in Bellport Long Island employed 600 people at that time and was busy on a 24-hour basis turning out bread, rolls, and specialty breads. I worked in the tool-crib for roughly a little over a year getting parts, tools and all types of equipment that the on-site mechanics needed to keep the conveyors moving.  I was a fix-it go-fer for the company.  It was a time in my life that I will never forget and it gave me the impetus to move forward and know that “this too shall pass.”

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Survival is the Yeast That Ensures A New Rise

It wasn’t beneath me to work in the factory.  It was not the worst experience of my life.  It was an experience that tempered me and forged a resolve to never quit, and never give up.  I do not believe in handouts from the government, but when needed it is necessary to survive. I believe in hard work, I believe in doing what you have to do to make ends meet, and I believe that everything in your life happens for a reason.

I am drinking in all that is surrounding me at this point in time because I know this will not last and a new day is rising.  Giving-Back is a huge part of what I am all about and I will be helping as many people as I can with book projects and corporate ladder-climbing through my digital materials.

Be an Experience “SPONGE”

Drink in the moment whether good or bad; there is always something to be learned from the bread you are given.

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The Modern Workplace: Talent Trumps All

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

When I founded The Book Kahuna about two years ago, I knew that I could bring a treasure-trove to the table in terms of business savvy in addition to an expert publishing mind. If I only dealt primarily with publishing issues I would be doing my readers and viewers a disservice in terms of how corporate America is incorporating talent into the publishing structure. I’ve worked at many different companies, some good some bad, but even the bad experiences had good points. There was always a learning experience to take away from any environment. Once you’ve seen the various machinations that you do not want to be a part of, you look out for those in any future position or business endeavor.

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The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing:  History, Industry Perspective (Print and E-book) and “How To” Publish Your E-book for Amazon Kindle

Driving the Talent

It was with this background in mind that I just read the article on the Forbes website by Liz Ryan: Ten Ways Companies Drive Away Talent. A thought occurred to me as I was reading this article that in many of the situations where I was employed, Ms. Ryan could’ve been looking over my shoulder, or sitting in on one of our meetings, or listening to another company meeting where only a select few got mentioned;  meeting after meeting after meeting. I want to laud Ms. Ryan’s efforts in writing this article because a few of these I have lived through and seen firsthand. I would never go into detail about which companies in my past had these traits, but even the good companies that I’ve worked at in the past had some of these traits as well. It’s very difficult when you’re dealing with people who have various skill levels and personality traits to keep an open, honest, and respectful workplace in any given corporate situation.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2014/02/01/ten-ways-companies-drive-away-talent/

The individual 10 items that Ms. Ryan has enumerated are:

1. Zombie-Fied Job Ads

2. Blackhole Recruiting Portals

3. Robotic Communication

4. Inflexible Time-Off Policies

5. Hear No Evil Feedback Systems

6. ScroogeTastic Compensation Plans

7. Hey, You Stole My Idea

8. Godzilla Processes

9. Constructive Sniping

10. Triumph of the Best and Brown-Nosiest

HR Ingest, Then Digest

Having been in the publishing trenches for 30 years plus, this list is pretty comprehensive and can give many HR Departments a good amount to ingest. In my personal experience, the most common of these ten occurring in the field are those from five through ten. I don’t think businesses inherently start out to try and alienate the best talent but sometimes corporate enterprises that are only marginally successful are pushing the envelope of desperation. Once upper management has hit that panic button and no new ideas or innovations are flowing into the corporate mindset, the battle will be one of an intellectual attrition as the company convulses to regain past revenue successes. As Ms. Ryan has pointed out companies that exhibit these ten negative tendencies (or some of these) are those that the best talent should avoid. There is always the possibility that an internal shift could occur and the current leadership team could be replaced with one that would address these issues, but don’t hold your breath.

Eyes Open at All Times

Depending upon your industry, it may not matter whether a company exhibits any of these tendencies when you are in job-search mode. With the sluggish economy, it’s better to have a paycheck coming in, know the score with your employment situation, and have a resume ready to go at all times. Another aspect that may preclude you from personal experience with these companies entails becoming a professional networker. Keeping in touch with industry professionals at other companies is always the best way to have a barometer of what companies are good and what companies to stay away from.

I think Ms. Ryan has really hit the nail on the head with this article and I recommend that everyone take a look. It’s always nice to know the telltale signs before you walk into a bad situation.

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Speech-To-Text Recognition Software: Writing Made Simple!

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

Now as I may have mentioned in a blog post before, I am definitely a gadget guy. I think technology is here to help us in any way, shape or form and to make various actions in our lives much easier than in days past. I am not the greatest typist in the world, and when it comes to writing blog posts it could take me roughly 2 hours to put down a couple of hundred words and get them up on my blog. I’ve been thinking about using some of the speech to text recognition software that is out on the market to speed the process.

I Speak, Therefore I Am

I’m not here to endorse any products but I just wanted to go through some of the occurrences as I have been using various software products to get to a finished blog post. Now in going through the Laptop Millionaire’s methodology, Mark Anastasi suggested that the speech-to-text software to use is the free Audacity software that you can download very easily. Unfortunately I was unable to get the Audacity software to download and extract on my laptop. So much for using Audacity as my speech-to-text software of choice.

My best friend advised me that if I had Microsoft Office 2007 there was built-in speech-to-text recognition software within the office utilities. I was overjoyed to hear this and thought that all of my problems would be solved by using this tool in the Microsoft Office Suite of utilities. I went into control panel, found the ease of access tab, then found the speech-to-text recognition and started to set up my microphone for immediate use. There might be an issue with this particular office tool being from the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite instead of the 2010 Microsoft Office Suite. The tool itself in the software may have been advanced to be more receptive to understanding particular words and phrases  in the 2010 version than in the 2007 version. I found myself continuously dictating and proofing lines, which was a drag on the time it takes to get a 500 to 700 word blog post completed. I knew that if I got to the point where I could just speak and my words would be written I could greatly increase the speed with which I completed blog posts and I could get them out for public viewing in half the time.

Rhymes with “Wagon”

A few months ago I started to see commercials on cable television about a new speech-to-text dictating software called Dragon. The speech to text recognition in the commercials gave me the impression that this software was highly skilled at picking up all the nuances of any and all dictated speech patterns. There are many products where the commercials are not truly reflective of the product in use, but after 2 to 3 months of watching and struggling with the Microsoft speech-to-text software I decided to take the plunge and pick up the Dragon software. Since I am in the process of doing 40 blog posts in 40 days, I thought the time was right to kickstart my dictation process and get my blog posts completed in a much quicker fashion. I could not have made a better decision.

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The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing:  History, Industry Perspective (Print and E-book) and “How To” Publish Your E-book for Amazon Kindle

After initial installation from a downloaded file, the Dragon software had me read through a couple of passages of text at varying degrees of difficulty.  The first one was John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Speech, and the other being an excerpt from a Dilbert spin-off book about Dogbert’s management style. After completing these two and training my dictation software I can honestly say I’ve found the way to knock off blog posts in a very quick and succinct fashion. I now have the ability to spend a weekend to write the better part of an e-book that I can now place for sale on Amazon. I can knock off 10 articles very quickly. I can use my dictation software to write articles and copy for outside individuals.

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The Future is NOW

Dictation software like Dragon is not an option in this day and age for anyone who is going to be writing and authoring content for mass dissemination. It is not an option because it is a necessity.  I am extremely happy with the software.

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