Reading list: Interesting stuff my friends have written

by Joey deVilla on August 19, 2016

books-open-on-table

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

coffee
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

conference

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

guts

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?

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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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Florida of the day: How’s my driving?

by Joey deVilla on August 17, 2016

hows my driving

Don’t worry — Anitra took the photo while I was driving.

It’s quite possible that the puncture didn’t happen while the truck was in motion, but it’s still funny when it’s that close to a “How’s my driving?” bumper sticker.

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procrastinators meetup

The Procrastinators Meetup was set up here in the Accordion Bay area a week ago and now has 20 members, but hasn’t yet gotten around to setting a date for its first meeting. I think that’s pretty clever, and I don’t even care if that’s intentional or not.

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covert ops van 1

Click the photo to see it at full size.

If you’re in the market for a used large van with very low mileage that stands apart from most of the other used van offering out there, you might want to take a look at this one on eBay, which is selling under the headline “1989 Ford E-Series Van E-350 Dully”. It becomes more intriguing when you look at the subtitle, which reads covert special weapons and tactics unit vehicle.

covert ops van 2

Click the photo to see it at full size.

The seller’s not kidding: the manufacturer’s product identity plate identifies it as exactly as a covert special weapons and tactical unit vehicle manufactured by the now-defunct Florida-based Phoenix Worldwide Industries Inc.:

covert ops van 8

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Wikileaks has an interesting little tidbit on Phoenix Industries’ secrecy, and how Venezuela’s Director General of Military Intelligence bought millions of dollars of spy equipment from them.

covert ops van 3

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Here’s how the seller describes the vehicle:

This Command Vehicle Would Work Perfectly For The Prmivate [sic] Investigator
– New Tires – Six (6) / (2)-Front Tires & (4)-Rear Tires Recently
– ALL Equipment In The Photos Are Included In The Price
– Full Door Entrance On The Passenger Side For The Command Area
– Rear Door Entrance For The Command Area
– Inside Door Access Through The Driver & Passenger Cab Area
– Command Mounted Chair – Very Comfortable
– Plenty Of Storage Areas – Under The Padded Bench Seats And Wall Storage
– Cameras 360 Degrees
– Escape Door From Inside The Command Area
– Can Be Upgravded [sic] With Today’s Technology

covert ops van 4

Click the photo to see it at full size.

My favorite selling point is the last one:
– Very Roomy And Comfortable – I Am 6′ 2″ Tall And I Can Move Freely Standing Erect In The Command Area

covert ops van 5

Click the photo to see it at full size.

(I must admit, if I had my own covert ops vehicle, I’d be erect every time I was in it, too.)

You might be surprised at the mileage on the van: it’s a mere 3,457 miles. It’s not a typo; someone asked, and the seller confirmed that:

Q: your ad says 34 hundred miles…is that correct? Also..is the rear air conditioned?

A: Yes–This vehicle ONLY HAS 3,457 Three Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty Seven Original Miles. YES–There is air conditioning and many other communications items in Command Center Area–Pictures were taken from inside the vehicle.

covert ops van 6

Click the photo to see it at full size.

If you’ve watched any police procedural TV show or movie featuring a special investigations unit, the van’s exterior look pretty much as you’d expect: a plain white Ford Van with an expanded rear body. The interior is also as you’d expect — for a couple of decades ago, in terms of both styling and technology. Still, most of it would serve a private investigator (or creep) very well.

Note that the van appears to come with three phone lines: a main line, a phone line for negotiators, and a phone like for hostages. There are also a number of surveillance cameras:

covert ops van 7

Click the photo to see it at full size.

If you can head over to Sanford, North Carolina to pick it up, this just might be the biggest used car deal you’ll ever get!

Thanks to Danny O’Brien for the find!

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Every stormtrooper has a sad story to tell

by Joey deVilla on August 11, 2016

dark side no have cookies

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im the ex deceased mayor

The video that is supposed to show deceased former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford smoking crack has never been seen by the general public — until today. Here’s an captioned version, which was put out by the CBC:

The video shows Toronto’s messed-up Pete Griffin-esque ex-mayor huffing rock and engaging in profanity-laden conversation with an off-camera Elena Basso (who has convictions for cocaine trafficking and prostitution), owner of the house where the crack-smoking took place. You’ll hear Elena praising Ford for what drives him, Ford’s great dislike for Justin Trudeau (who’s now Prime Minister of Canada), and inquiries about whether the whole thing is being recorded, and this CBC article has a full transcript of the entire hot mess.

The National Post’s Chris Selley writes that the video “elicits more sympathy than scorn”, but keep in mind that the Post endorsed Ford for mayor. The Toronto Sun, who were Ford’s most gleeful supporters, kept their trademark right-wing editorializing to a minimum in their coverage. And here’s the piece published by the Toronto Star, who were investigating Ford’s crack connection when Gawker revealed what was going on.

But the most telling reaction is the one on the I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford, the pro-Ford Facebook page that’s stayed active all this time:

rob ford facebook

Here’s the text from their posting in reaction to the news:

Here you go, Toronto. Are you happy now? Watch out. Karma is coming back on everyone who capitalized on this, for financial profit or political gain, or who used it to simply heap scorn on the regular average everyday people of Toronto who decided to reject the Liberal-left mafioso political professionals and elect a reformer to high office.

It’s obvious why this video was not released to the public during the time Rob was still in office and still running for Mayor in 2014 – it was far more valuable to the haters as a figment of people’s imaginations, than it was as actual damning evidence. It shows a man beaten down by circumstances, using drugs to mask his pains (physical and psychological), and expressing little more than sadness and depression as far as anyone can understand – sadness and depression that is entirely understandable to anyone with even a fragment of a human soul still remaining in their lives.

To hell with you all, haters, and God Bless Rob Ford, may he rest finally in peace. And to the “friends” who allowed this recording to happen? Nothing good can happen to you the rest of your life, as perhaps you’ve already found. Your every day is a living hell.

They don’t see a man who often showed up late for work and left early to coach football while earning a $170K salary, consorted with criminals, showed great disdain for Toronto’s LGBT community, drank on the job and made intoxicated public appearances, but a hero who stood up for “the little guy”.

And that’s how Trump’s supporters see their guy.

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