The truth about open office layouts

by Joey deVilla on August 23, 2016

open office layout

One of the Cooper Review’s many dead-on observations about office life.

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cast of national lampoon vacation

There’s an entire category of young adult novels whose plots center around going on a no-fun vacation with the parental units, and hilarity ensues. If you’re a young adult novelist looking for a new twist on this tried-and-true theme, you might want to steal an idea from the 15-year-old whose parents forced her to vacation with them in Trent Hills, Ontario. Her novel solution to this problem was to call 911.

In case you were wondering what this horrible place looks like, here’s a photo:

trent hills ontario

I’ll admit that I’m a couple of decades past my teen years, and this view looks lovely to me, but to a teenager from Mississauga, a satellite city of Toronto, and Canada’s 6th-largest municipality, being stuck in a mall-free wilderness far from friends must’ve seemed like a circle of Hell.

While it was a completely inappropriate use of 911 and could’ve diverted much-needed police resources from a real emergency, the Ontario Provincial Police decided not to charge her, saying “This appeared to be a case of a teenager being a teenager”.

The police decided to leave it to her parents to dole out the appropriate punishment. My guess is that my teenage self would’ve begged the cops to haul my sorry ass to jail.

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Secret Service escorts leader of Florida’s Black Republican Caucus from Trump rally because…well, you know why.

donald trump - sean p jackson

Sean P. Jackson must love uphill battles: he’s young, black, a Republican strategist, and he’s a true believer in Donald Trump. The sad thing is that Donald Trump’s campaign doesn’t seem to be a believer in him: the Secret Service recently escorted him from a Trump event, despite his being the chairman of the Black Republican Caucus of Florida. When he asked the Trump campaign’s chief Florida strategist, Karen Giorno, to vouch for him, she refused to do so. Worse still, Jackson says that Giorno said that his “classification of people” wasn’t necessary to win the election for Trump.

Trump says Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott is doing a “fantastic job” on “the Zika”, which means…well, you know.

donald trump - rick scott

“You have a great governor who’s doing a fantastic job, [Florida Governor] Rick Scott, on the Zika,” Trump told CBS12 News in Daytona in early August. “He’s going to have it under control. He probably already does.”

As usual, the facts don’t line up with what Trump says. The Florida Department of Health, which operates under Scott, said that at the time he made the statement, there were at least 336 people confirmed to have Zika, 55 of whom were pregnant women. As of August 18th, the count has climbed to 479.

Remember that Florida kid who killed a couple and tried to eat one of their faces? Guess what he was wearing.

austin kelly harouff

On August 15th, a young Florida man name Austin Kelly Harrouff stabbed a random couple who were twice his age to death, and while “grunting and growling”, attempted to bite off the face of one of his victims.

It turned out that prior to his crazy face-eating rampage, Harrouff’s mother called 911 to report that he was behaving erratically and had gone off into the night jabbering something about being a superhero. When asked to provide a description, his mother said that he was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat.


Sign of the day: Nationalism

by Joey deVilla on August 21, 2016


Click the image to see it at full size.

An important reminder in the time of Trump.

Photo circulated by — thanks to Liz Lawley for the find!


Olympic meme of the day

by Joey deVilla on August 20, 2016

there go those muslims making america great again

From “sanasakinah”‘s Instagram. Click to see the source.

Thanks to Domenic Romano for the find!


Reading list: Interesting stuff my friends have written

by Joey deVilla on August 19, 2016


A number of my friends have written things that I think are worth reading, so I’m sharing them here. Read, enjoy, and please help spread the word!

Take the Damn Coffee, by Rachel Segal

rachel segalRachel Segal, with whom I worked at b5media circa 2008, has written Take the Damn Coffee, a great response to Forbes’ off-base article, Here’s What To Say When Someone Asks To ‘Pick Your Brain’ About Social Media Over Coffee. The article’s thesis is that by meeting up with someone over coffee and letting them pick your brain about your subject of expertise — social media, in this case — you’re letting that person rob you of a real consultation for which they should pay in serious cash and not in a piddly little coffee, no matter how fancy or overpriced.

Do you buy your dentist a coffee in exchange for a tooth extraction? asks the article’s author, Natalie Zfat. Do you buy a lawyer lunch for legal advice?

No, says Rachel, and she rightly points out that as a social media consultant, you ain’t no dentist or lawyer, but in an industry that barely existed a decade ago and will likely be a completely different creature a decade from now. Here’s the money quote from her article:

Take the damn coffee. If you’re actually the successful social media guru you want everyone to believe you are, it won’t factor into your bottom line enough to matter and may actually lead to recommendations and business in the end.

She’s right. In the end, taking the damn coffee is part and parcel of building those connections that create possibilities that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Many of the opportunities that have come my way are the result of my taking the damn coffee, sharing my damn point of view for free, and just damn being there for a friend, colleague, or acquaintance.

It doesn’t matter if they end up “stealing your ideas” in the process. While ideas are nice, they’re vapor until they’re executed, and that’s usually the much bigger hurdle. So go ahead, take the damn coffee.

Read Take the Damn Coffee.

Hilary Robinson’s Polished Professionals and her Conference Confidence workshop


hilary robinsonAs a trained tech evangelist, I’ve been asked for advice of how to handle people and social situations — people in the tech industry have many questions about this sort of thing — and I’ve been happy to help them out. But when I have those questions, my go-to person is my friend Hilary Robinson, who judgement in matters of socializing, protocol, and etiquette I trust completely. Hilary runs Polished Professionals, a Toronto-based consultancy that provides courses and workshops to help businesspeople master etiquette, present themselves well and with confidence, and put their best foot forward. If you’ve ever had an unpleasant customer experience and decided not to give an organization your business as a result, you know the business value of etiquette.

With summer drawing to a close, we’re approaching conference season. Conferences cost your company money and time, and while there, your employees are the “face” of your company. Polished Professionals’ upcoming Conference Confidence workshop will give your employees the tools they need to maximize their attendance’s benefit to the company, present your organization in the best light, and make the most of the face time they’ll have with current and prospective customers and partners.

The workshop will feature sessions on these topics:

  • Making great first impressions
  • Dressing for success
  • Dining etiquette. taught over a three-course lunch with wine
  • Successful networking and relationship building
  • The art of being a thoughtful host and graceful guest

The workshop takes place in Toronto’s Royal York Hotel on Wednesday, October 5th.

For more details, see Polished Professionals’ “upcoming events” page.

Head or Gut? by Alec Melkonian


alec melkonianThe aphorism “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” is often good advice, but there are times when it’s mainfestly the opposite. As my former schoolmate from Crazy Go Nuts University Alec Melkonian points out, it leads people to have a conflict where their gut tells them to jump in and speak out, but their head says “don’t do it — you’ll look like an idiot”.

Alec, in order to empower his employees who are more likely to remain silent (he’s a VP at Klick Health), is encouraging them to take the “speak up” approach through gamification. In his essay, Head or Gut?, he explains the simple game-like system that he came up with, and I think it’s interesting. I’d like to the see the results.

Read Head or Gut?


Tampa Pokémon Go pub crawl this Saturday!

by Joey deVilla on August 19, 2016

pikachu at a pub

If you like playing Pokémon Go (or have been meaning to find out what the fuss is all about), meeting up with your fellow Tampanians, beer and great barbecue, you’ll want to meet up with me, Anitra and the rest of the gang at the Pokémon Go Pub Crawl, which takes place 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, August 20th) at the downtown Holy Hog BBQ (302 East Kennedy Blvd).

Here’s what the organizers have to say about this get-together:

This will be a get together for all of our Pokemon Go fans in this group. Or if you want to get into it…come learn all about the craze! We have chosen some awesome stops all around Downtown Tampa. Not only will we be catching a ton of Pokemon as a group but we will be visiting lots of Poke Stops too. Of course we will be getting our networking on as well since we will do this Pub Crawl style. We hope you can join us for a fun afternoon exploring downtown and saving the world from those Pokemon 🙂

Starting point will be Holy Hog BBQ at the outside bar.

P.S. You’re welcome to bring your kiddos that are Pokemon Trainers too! Just keep in mind folks will be consuming some adult beverages along the way.

sdcc pokemon crawl

A scene from the Pokémon Go bar crawl at the recent San Diego Comic Con.

Going by reports from other Pokémon Go pub crawls, it would appear that they’re fun gatherings. The Verge reports that the crawl that took place at the recent San Diego Comic Con — mecca for sci-fi and fantasy geeks — was one of its best events. ReCode’s Ina Fried had a great time at the one in San Francisco. There was a similar event last month on the other side of the Bay in St. Pete, and the Tampa side finally gets its event this Saturday.

holy hog food

The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. at the downtown branch of Holy Hog Barbecue, which currently has a four-star rating on Yelp. Join me, Anitra, the accordion, and a few dozen Tampa-area Pokémon trainers/barflies this Saturday!

The specifics:


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