Monthly Archives: May 2014

How Do You Say Goodbye?

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About seven years ago I was a guy working 55 hours a week and had moved out to Colorado three years previously. I knew there was more to life than work: I had been married once before and I had been in a long-term relationship that ended sadly in a passing. I knew that I wanted to find someone to share my life.  I wanted to find someone who would be my wife and grow old with me.

Susan and I met after corresponding on a dating website. Our first encounter did not bode well for me. She lived in Aurora, Colorado and I lived in Broomfield, Colorado. When she offered to meet me for coffee and told me there was a Starbucks in Stapleton, I stupidly went to Northfield. I was late, but once I met her I knew that I wanted to know more.  She was tall, with long, reddish, auburn, brown hair and a great smile. Needless to say even with my tardiness, we kept the relationship and communications going. Only later did I find out that she really did not like or drink coffee.

Guinness Storefront-- Dublin!  Cheers!_5488588043848619707_Photo

Apparently one thing about our first meeting or meetings, Susan thought I was a little bit too aggressive in my kissing. Now I am a really affectionate guy, and if I like someone I’m not afraid to show it. The way this part of the story has been put to me, Susan was having a conversation with her work friend Kristin and mentioned this about our first meetings. Kristin came to my defense and told Sue that she should give me a chance. I’ll always be grateful to Kristin for passing these words to Susan and being an advocate for me.

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We ended up going to the same Rockies game for fireworks night a few weeks later.  We did not go together, but I would always joke about how she probably saw me on the Jumbo-tron when I was captured laughing with my sister Nancy and pointing to my Yankee jersey as they were setting up between the game and the fireworks and decided I was the guy for her.

Top of the Rock, after going on the Rockefeller Ce..._5488588043851614046_Photo

We did not get together for a few weeks, but finally went back to the same area in Stapleton and had dinner at the Irish pub (Casey’s Bistro and Irish Pub) that is right across from the Starbucks where we first met. We’re still in that “we don’t know yet” in getting to know you phase and really talking and laughing as we explored who we were as people.  She was a CPA Auditor for the Commerce Department at that time (she later moved on to the National Science Foundation) and loved to travel. One of the things that attracted me to her profile was that she wanted a guy who had a passport and was ready and willing to take off at a moment’s notice on a trip to Mexico for a long weekend. This totally intrigued me as I had only taken one large trip in my life and really wanted to experience the world with someone at my side.  Another thing that attracted me was her insistence that the responder must love animals.  Having 2 cats, I knew that I could be a match with her Black Lab Avalon and cats Sage and Savannah.  (I know that Avalon and Sage were there to greet her on Wednesday morning!)

Graduation Dinner-- me and the beautiful Susan at ..._5488588043851614027_Photo

So far the relationship was progressing, but we hadn’t had a first date. We both really loved going to the movies and, being the gentleman that I am, I let Susan pick the time and place for our first movie date. She decided that she wanted to see the movie, Starshine that was playing at the historic independent Denver Theater “The Mayan.” We had purchased tickets in advance for the early show and decided that we would meet at the restaurant next door. Unfortunately for me, it was a Friday night, there was an incredibly bad thunder and lightning storm that dumped inches of rain onto I-25 as I was heading down to the theater and parts of the highway were closed and rerouted due to flooding under overpasses. I kept calling her from my cell phone to let her know what was going on. When I finally arrived two hours late, she was still there at the restaurant. Now one thing you have to realize about Susan, she never wanted to be the center of attention, EVER. Sitting at a table in a restaurant by herself was tantamount to an excruciating exercise for her, but there must’ve been some connection that made her stay.

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Since we had already missed the early show, we talked the box office into trading our tickets for a later show. The Mayan box office was great and agreed to let us go to the 9:30 show. We got into the theater and found some good seats in the middle, and of course I loaded us with popcorn and soda as I always do when I go to a movie. The lights went down, the movie started. Now this movie is all about a mission to the sun to reignite the solar actions because it is starting to lose fuel which will doom the Earth. As we are watching the movie, there is a scene where sirens and alarms are going off on the ship in the movie. As we are hearing this, I begin to notice that the siren sounds don’t seem to be only coming from the movie audio. What’s more alarming is that I begin to smell smoke as well. I grabbed Susan’s arm and said “I think we need to get out of here the theater is on fire.”

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We got out of our row of seats and headed towards the entrance of the Mayan theater. At that exact moment firemen were coming in the door with hoses. Everything seemed to be pointing to us not getting together as a couple, but we persevered anyway. Yes, our first date was one to really remember and cherish as a story. We ended up getting a voucher to see the movie and eventually went back and saw the whole movie at the Mayan.

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Susan lost her battle this week early on the morning of Wednesday, May 21, 2014.  A bright light was extinguished from my life. There are only a very few people, and in some cases only one person, that you ask to marry you and spend their life at your side. Susan was the person I was hoping to spend the rest of my life with. Things got extremely complicated over the last year, but the feelings never changed. I will always love her, I will always remember her, and I will do things in her memory going forward.

How do you say goodbye? I do not know…

**** To Family and friends of Susan Crismon. May 31st at 2 pm please join us to celebrate Susan’s life. The Celebration is at New Dawn Center for Spiritual Living 1680 S. Chambers Rd., Aurora, 80017. In lieu of flowers Susan requests a donation to Cat Care Society, 5787 W. 6th Ave., Lakewood, CO 80214.

All are welcome. Please forward this information to others who were part of Susan’s life.

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Business Tip: Topsy-Turvy Innovation

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

 

The Book Kahuna

Tomato Crops

Every year for the past 5 to 7 years I have been planting plants on my front stoop and also in pots that I have put on my window-box ledge in front of my house. About five years ago I decided that I was going to try something different. I put some I-hooks into the ceiling of my porch because I wanted to hang Topsy-Turvy’s to grow some tomato plants.

Now being the frugal guy that I am, I decided that buying new Topsy-Turvy’s every year was an economic disaster and a new way of thinking needed to come out. I decided that the Topsy-Turvy’s could be reused if I clean them out and then insert new foam insulation to surround the plant base that holds the tomato plant in the Topsy-Turvy hole. So far I’ve gotten some good yields of tomatoes from the Topsy-Turvy’s that grow in front of my house.

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The 3-Turvy Monty

After last year’s growing season I had three Topsy-Turvy’s that were ready for this year. One Topsy-Turvy from last year had to be retired because it was starting to decay and have holes in it. Thus began the quest to find another Topsy-Turvy. Today I went out on my motorcycle and went to Home Depot, and then to Lowe’s, and then to Walmart, with absolutely no luck in finding Topsy-Turvy’s for sale. I know many of you are going to look at this post and think that it is purely nonsense, but I am coming to the nugget that will make this entire post worth your while.

Business Golden-Nugget

While I was at Walmart I had to wait for the information I was seeking. While I was talking with the woman at the checkout she decided that she needed to speak to a manager since she had not seen any Topsy-Turvy being sold so far this growing season. When the manager was available about five minutes later, he started to tell me that he had not seen any Topsy-Turvy’s in stock in the store so far this year. I started to feel defeated and downcast when he said to me,” why don’t you just take a planter and cut a hole in the bottom and then take a macramé pot holder and hang it from the hook?” This was shear genius. I’ve been so busy fixating on the Topsy-Turvy itself that I did not take the time to stop and use my mind to think about an answer, to think out of the box, to come up with an original idea that would have the same effect and end result. This is brilliant business sense. Not to mention the fact that he could’ve tried to sell me something else in the store, instead he threw me the nugget to disengage from the Topsy-Turvy fixation, and re-focus on a completely different answer to the problem.

Look at me, I’m stuck in a BOX

This will happen to you in your business as well. Sometimes you will have tunnel vision, and sometimes you will see things clearly enough to make a different and varied call. Always be open to the unexpected answer. My theory has always been: I don’t believe in out-of-the-box thinking, I believe in taking the box and kicking it down the street until you find the answer.

Simplicity is the act of Restful-Thought

Sometimes the easiest answers are the hardest ones to find.

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E-book:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing

 

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Book Review: Dealing With Danger by John Higgs

Dealing With Danger0001

Website: http://www.junkyard-dog.net/

Blog: http://the-junkyard-dog.blogspot.com/

Lulu books: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/dealing-with-danger/10256187

Amazon books: http://www.amazon.com/Dealing-Danger-John-Higgs/dp/0557376998

Barnes & Noble eBook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dealing-with-danger-john-higgs/1021577441

 

I will be having a Google Hangout-Pub Talk! interview session with one of my fellow Toastmasters, John Higgs. John has written the book Dealing With Danger: Be Prepared, Aware and Decisive. John and I thought about getting together and doing an interview in the recent past, but now that I have read the book I am pretty sure we will soon be accelerating the process to make sure that we do the Google hangout quickly. I’m looking forward to my conversation with John on video.

This book is chock full of helpful information on how you should deal with certain uncomfortable events. There is no real way to know who is ready to do you harm, but reading this book will give you a much better understanding of how you can increase your vigilance and reduce your probabilities of being a statistic at one time or another.

This book brought me back to a time in New York City when the possibilities of a terrorist attack were in the back of my mind at all times. The year was 1991 and we were getting ready to fight the Gulf War. I read an article in the New York Times that mentioned that many people who traveled on the trains and subways in New York were purchasing Israeli gas masks to thwart any insertion of poison/toxic gases into the subway system or train stations. At this particular time I was working at McGraw-Hill and I decided that, come what may, I was not going to purchase a gas mask. Call me a fatalist; call me a young man of 30 who has no fear in his chosen field or in his life; or call me a guy who did not want to part with $150 for a gas mask!

The book covers all avenues of danger from home invasions to fires and terrorist attacks. The analogy that John uses throughout the book of a junkyard dog protecting the yard is an ingenious way to amplify and focus on the needed vigilance to stay protected. The color-coded warnings that he has included from the Marine Corps designations are descriptive and extremely helpful. The best parts of this book are the halftones. The book is illustrated throughout and I didn’t notice this until I looked at the photos a little closer that John plays the attacker in most of the photographs.

It is said that in this day and age we actually have to think about predators and attackers who might do us harm. Natural disasters will always be with us so being vigilant and prepared is just a part of life. The man-made disasters are the ones that are more intense because they are reflective of a one-on-one situation. John has crafted a book that everyone should read and implement the plans and tactics in an overall protective strategy for safety.

“If we can win every intermediate battle in our lives, whether it is avoiding a car accident, an earthquake, or drowning, or winning a fight or surviving an attack, it enables us to continue with our lives to enjoy the good things and the good people that make our lives worthwhile.” –John Higgs, Dealing With Danger

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E-book:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

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Overlord: D +70 years

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Last night at my Toastmasters group, Speak with Ease in Lafayette, Colorado, I gave my seventh speech since joining the group. The seventh speech in the Competent Communicator Manual is one where you are supposed to research your topic to support any statistics, facts or stated information that you bring to the table. I did not actually plan on giving a speech last night since I had given my sixth speech last week. The Toastmaster assigned for last evening had requested that I continue to give a speech this week because if I did not there would only be one speech on the docket for last night.

I decided since we are coming up on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, that I would do a speech on this pivotal event in World War II history. The date June 6, 1944 is a date that no one will ever forget. It is a pivotal day in the history of the world where the forces of good began the quest to vanquish the forces of evil. There was never a time when the two sides were more clear-cut as good and evil. I think Americans have lost some of the ideals that brought us all together in the 1940s to fight this war and win this great victory. I think in some respects it behooves us all to take a look at what happened on this particular day and remember with reverence and solemnity.

Toastmasters as an organization, has given me an incredible confidence in standing before a group of people and talking about various subjects. I thoroughly enjoy the Table Topics portion of our meetings because you are forced to think quickly and succinctly in a group environment. The questions at this particular point in the meeting are very much akin to what occurs during a job interview. You can prepare for almost every question but you can be sure that your interviewer will probably ask you something that you never even thought of once the interview kicks off a gets underway. If I had to choose between many of the various outside activities I’ve been involved with and Toastmasters, I would choose Toastmasters and jettison everything else because I know that making yourself a better speaker is tantamount to putting more dollars in your pocket as a much better communicator.

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E-book:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing

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Professional Services: What Are You Worth?

 

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

Having been in the publishing industry for many years I’ve often wondered how other professionals charge and feel about questions regarding their profession. With 30-years in the industry and an advanced degree, I feel that the information I offer should be worth something. It took me long enough to acquire all this information, it also took a large amount of money and effort to go through a Masters program in publishing. Why would people expect me to give them information for free?  I’m already giving free content through my bog posts and videos.

Hey Doc, I got this pain…

Some of the other professions that get asked for information are doctors and lawyers. Everyone always wants to go to a doctor and say: “Hey, I have this problem with my shoulder can you tell me what I should do about it?” But meanwhile the doctor has a practice that he needs to keep up and viable as a transmission point for ROI on his education and learning. By the same token lawyers are always asked for free legal advice. “Hey I had an accident on Colfax! What should I do and who should I contact? The accident might’ve been my fault.” Both professions get asked questions for free advice all the time, but is this appropriate? Are we actually paying respect to the fact that this person spent years in school and possibly years in practice to hone their profession to a high level of respectability?

Free is a Way to Build Relationships

I think free information is a great way to get your word out. I’ve been blogging for years. I’ve been doing videos for about a half-a-year now and I thoroughly enjoy giving information to help people in their chosen fields. Having spent so much time in managing departments, I have a wealth of knowledge about business, operations, communications, and a plethora of other areas of import that might help an aspiring professional in any arena of business. The question would be where do you draw the line and start asking for a fee for your information?

The Rules of Thumb…

I think there are a few different factors that go into this equation:

1. What is your relationship with the questioner? If this person is a dear friend that you’ve known for years, then I think the questions are valid and the free information transfer is required. If this person is an acquaintance than the nature of the relationship is different and needs to be evaluated.

2. The depth of the question or number of questions: if someone is asking you five different questions and you answer all five but then there is a follow-up with another seven questions, depending upon your relationship in number one above, this would be the mark of a business relationship. As such, an evaluation of the relationship is in order so that your professional standing is respected.

3. What is the level of need of the questioner? If the person asking the question has no reasonable way to pay you and this information might be tantamount to a parachute to help them in an economical way, then the passing of the information is a donation of goodwill to help your fellow-man. Always use your knowledge and experience for the good of others. If you know for a fact that the person asking the question has the ability to pay, then the nature of the relationship needs to be evaluated.

The transfer of free information from an expert in the field is a great way to build visibility and get your word out that you know exactly what you’re talking about. There is nothing wrong with asking for payment for your expertise. If you have information that people want and you have a background of success and excellence that can back-up your reputation as a professional then it is only fitting that you should be able to set the price for your knowledge and information transfers.

Never Devalue What You Know!

Never devalue your experience and knowledge by giving everything away for free.  Set a limit, and set a price standard.  The free-market will judge whether you are worth your asking fee or not.

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E-book:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing

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The Entrepreneur Mentality

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

I started to think about what has happened over the last year and a half and it gave me pause as I thought about the analogy of building a business. A business always starts with an idea. Whether that idea is how to build the best car, how to let people share photos on their computer, how to manufacture life-saving drugs, every business starts with an initial idea. That is the seedling. As the seedling starts to grow, more care and attention is needed to make sure that the business structure reaches an adult-status.

Growing

I just went out and bought some tomato plants which I will be planting this weekend. I plant tomato plants in topsy-turvy’s in the front of my house every year. I usually try to get a variety of different tomato plants so that I will have different tomatoes at many different points during the course of the summer. There is nothing better than taking a tomato that you’ve grown from your garden, cutting it up and putting it on your BLT. The pure enthusiasm that you have grown this tasty food product from a seedling or a small plant makes the final enjoyment of eating it that much more satisfying.

The exact same mindset can be said for your business. You as an individual start out with an idea. Whether this idea is tenable or not you don’t have any clear information. You are starting on the path that is new but will be utterly satisfying if you stay the course to your final destination. The problem is many people run into problems and deviate from their course or stop altogether. Stay on the course! As I’ve said before, we only have to look to WD-40, Formula 409 and Thomas Edison and his 10,000 tries at making a successful light-bulb. Look at your business as a plant. It needs water. It needs sunlight.  It needs love and some plant food.  It can grow and can give you everything you’ve ever wanted out of your life. Take the journey and make spaghetti sauce at the end, you will not regret it.

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E-book:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing

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Forbes Article: Indie Authors and Amazon

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

There are so many different varied places to find great information on publishing that sometimes there is a bit of information overload. This occurs frequently when looking for ways to get from manuscript to e-book or bound book as quickly and efficiently as possible. I do many blog posts that are culled from information from the dbw website, Entrepreneur Magazine website, Publishers Weekly website and other information conduits when I find pertinent information that would help. Today I found a great article on the Forbes website that detailed specifically how authors can get an e-book project posted to and through Amazon for Kindle download.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2014/04/25/how-to-self-publish-your-book-through-amazon/

This article kicked off with a nice intro by Deborah L. Jacobs, who then handed off to successful independent publisher Paul Jarvis. The article gave some interesting background on Mr. Jarvis as he told us about his previous excursions into self-publishing in the recent past.

“I started out in the first camp two years ago when I used Gumroad to self-publish the ebook, Eat Awesome…   Gumroad allows you to sell a variety of digital products from your own web site, including ebooks, music and software. Setup takes less than five minutes. They take a very small percentage (5% + 25 cents) of each sale. I sold 5,410 copies of the book I published with them, netting about $12,033 (after they took their fees)…  My second book, Be Awesome at Online Business, I sold exactly same way.”1

Mr. Jarvis then goes through a listing of the most important functions that any self-publishing author would find useful and helpful when dealing with Amazon to publish their titles. He mentions the KDP which stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP is an integral part of the e-book functions for loading, marketing and selling your e-book on Amazon. He also thought talked about the print arm of Amazon which is CreateSpace. Now CreateSpace is a print-on-demand portal that will allow you to get print books out to your audience that may not necessarily want to buy an e-book. They will print your title as a one-off so you don’t end up with a garage full of printed books. Mr. Jarvis gave some information on Amazon Author Central, which is the pivot point for all of your personal author information. And finally Mr. Jarvis gave information on Amazon Associates. In the Associates program you can link your book with other products on the Amazon website which can increase profit margin when there is a purchase of your particular title.

Having actually published an e-book on Amazon myself (The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing) I find it exhilarating that this mode of content transmission is readily accessible. I recommend you read this article by Paul Jarvis, the time investment is well worth it.

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E-book:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing

Empower Network Blog:  http://thebookkahuna.net/

 

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