Thursday, May 31, 2012

Franklin, MA: Memorial Day Parade - 2012

If you missed the Memorial Day parade in Franklin, this slideshow will take you there to show all the groups that marched on Monday.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Jobs on the mind heading into the weekend

The economic recovery is slow and will continue to be according to what I see and understand of the markets. The effect of lobbying dollars can tip the scale one way or the other, where ever the more dollars are, and the overall impact can have unintended consequences.

Keeping in touch with my network is a constant reminder of how fragile the economy is. So many well qualified folks are either still out for a long time, or recently coming out and starting to look around. Either way, the outlook is not promising.

You work for your retirement and plan for having what you think will cover you. There is always some uncertainty as you don't control the cost side of the equation, you only control what you worked for an earned. Until you find out someone can break that contract too!

Not a very pleasant picture heading into this long weekend. Do find some time to relax, drive safely and have some fun. You will need to be refreshed to come back to whatever challenges remain in front of you on Tuesday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where did all the blossoms go?

The view from the second floor window shows some dogwood blossoms around the top of our tree.

It usually was full of blossoms in prior years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

rhododendron blooming

A good sign of Spring is when the rhododendron start blooming.

rhododendron blooming 5

Are you ready to bloom?

What can you do today to help someone?

Monday, May 21, 2012

We, the people!

The Franklin (MA) Town Council did something interesting this past week. They punted when they could have knocked the ball out of the park. Yes, I understand that is mixing metaphors and it is a deliberate choice.

The agenda was published on the Friday before their Wednesday meeting as normal. The agenda included Res 12-33 which was an endorsement of the People's Rights Amendment. I thought this interesting because while I consider my radar pretty good, there are always holes and new opportunities and this was a surprise.

The Town Council was going to step into a discussion on people's rights? A national discussion that derives itself with roots in local politics (yes, all politics is local). A discussion fraught with political overtones covering the full spectrum of the rainbow. This Council was indeed going to set new ground!

Alas, this was not to be. The agenda was modified and republished on Tuesday without Res 12-33 and the associated documentation. The item was left as a 'presentation'.

Wednesday evening comes and several members of the Council make their sentiments clear that this was not the proper forum for the Council to discuss this item.

I beg to disagree. There may be a better set of language to put forward for this issue. There are at least two proposals out there, there may very well be more. The problem I have with the Council is that the Council is indeed a good forum for this discussion. Why?

What does the US Constitution say? You may recall that the US Constitution begins
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What does the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts say? In the third paragraph, you'll recognize the key phrase but pay attention to the first two paragraphs!
The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquility their natural rights, and the blessings of life: and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness. 
The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them. 
We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

And of course, the Franklin Charter, by which we are empowered to govern ourselves begins:
We, the people of the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts, in order to form a more perfect community, reaffirm the customary and traditional liberties of the people with respect to the conduct of our local government and take fullest advantage of the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, do ordain and adopt this Home Rule Charter for our Town.

So we have three levels of government, the two most local to us (MA and Franklin) clearly state that we the people have "a right to alter the government", the process includes "an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them."

We should have a discussion on the people's rights amendment. Maybe we can come up with the phrasing that will correct the money problem!

Part of this essay was originally posted to the Franklin Matters Weekly website here


My normal practice is to download a copy of the agenda and documents prior to the meeting, one to prepare, but more importantly to have a local copy to refer to during the meeting rather than be dependent upon the network in the Town Council Chambers.

The full set of agenda and documents as originally published for the 5/16 meeting can be found here

The revised agenda and set of documents (missing all the People's Rights Amendment pages) can be found here

My summary of notes from the meeting reported live can be found here

Sunday, May 20, 2012

weed whacking

There were lots of weeds growing up through the bricks on our walkway that I finally had a chance to tackle. Patiently uprooting them should provide a better long term solution than taking the weed whacker to them.

The 'before' shot

The before shot

The 'after' shot

The 'after' shot

Did you do any work around the house this weekend?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Deja Brew: bottling night

I took a turn on the cleaning crew Friday night. We went through all the bottles to run them in the sanitizer before putting them on the trees and out for the bottlers to use.

The evening moved along quickly and about an hour and a half later, all 6 kettles were bottled and ready for the ride home.

Now don't get the wrong idea, I did not bring home all 6 kettles. No, the shares were divided up among the "Band of Brewers" and I took home two shares (6 cases).

The cap codes for the 6 kettles are as follows:

B + Broken Spring - ACBBD - Light color & body, with a nice hops finish
G = Gene's IPA - An Imperial Style IPA, high in alcohol and high in hops
H = Hazelnut Brown Ale - The beer that won the Sam Adam’s Longshot competition!
L = Laberis Liberty Barley Wine - A customer designed barley wine. Very hoppy!
blank = Sammy's Octoberfest - A slightly dark dark even keeled beer leaves a soft malty feeling on your tongue
S = Sweet Cream Ale - A cream ale with a mild hoppy sweet flavor.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spruce Pond reflections

The water is calm. The sun setting casts enough light to create a good reflection.

Do you step back from time to time to see your own reflection?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From Ben Franklin to Franklin Matters

Google continues to enhance search and the results that are presented. This video highlights the changes now available in the "Knowledge Graph"

More about the Knowledge Graph can be found on the Google InsideSearch page here

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HMEA 5K Run/Walk - May 20th

In the Franklin area on Sunday? If you want to walk or run for a good cause, come on down to the EMC facility in the Franklin Industrial Park. The 11th Annual HMEA Independence 5k Run/Walk will be held beginning at 11:00 AM

Get there to register onsite after 10:00 AM or register online today

HMEA Independence 5K Run/Walk - 5/20/12

I'll be among the group of volunteers processing your race registrations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do they still?

A busy weekend, that is quite an understatement on 'busy'. Among the happenings, one of the family vehicles was in a minor accident. Driver safe but some damage that should be repaired before driving it again.

Went to for a rental for the week to provide some coverage. Quick, easy, reasonably priced. Then as I get in the car, I realize I have stepped back into time.

The car windows all have manual winds.
The door locks are all manual.
The side mirrors have the joy stick to adjust them. Meaning that you need to reach across to the passenger side to use the joy stick, then return to position to see how it looks, etc.... rinse, repeat!

I have to admit, while we are not current in cars, I did not realize that they still came with manual options!

Oh, but the radio has a modern media jack for input!

If you were to go back in time, what would the "must haves" be in your vehicle?

Monday, May 14, 2012

somebody that I used to know

After a busy weekend, seeing these two kids... reminds me of my "being a kid in car" days ... somebody that I used to know!

and then my daughter comes by and says, oh that... nice but you gotta see the Harvard Baseball Team... and memories of trips for cross country meets come to mind... somebody that I used to know

somebody that I used to know!

Thanks to the MondayMorningMemo for the first video!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Impossible quiche

A quiche is normally made with a crust. A crust that normally requires rolling out dough. It can be messy and time consuming. Someone somewhere along the way figured out that if they used a Bisquick, milk and egg mixture that it would cook to form something like a crust and be much quicker and easier to do.

There are hundreds of recipe variations on an "impossible" quiche.

impossible quiche

What do you do regularly what can be improved to shorten the time to prepare?

Have you ever given it some thought? What do you do regularly that might benefit from an improvement?

Maybe you have the next "impossible" (fill in the blank) in you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New growth

New growth is appearing around us.

new pine cone growth

Are you taking some time to look and observe the new growth?

Observation is part of learning, learning is part of growing.
Growing is part of life. How are you living today?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Technology enables

I talk often of the three legged stool: people, process and technology. There needs to be a good mix of the three to be successful. If the business process is not well defined or documented, then no amount of technology will help improve it. If the process is defined and the technology is too cumbersome to use by the people, they won't use it.

Technology needs to be an enabler and this story is one of wonder.

The desire of Claire is clear. The help that the technology provided is amazing!

Read the full story of Claire here

Monday, May 07, 2012

What's special about SOBCon?

The tools of the #SOBCon table are similar to those you might find at another conference event; laptop, liquid refreshments, candy, camera, and agenda document.

Tools of the SOBCon table

What makes SOBCon special is the folks sitting around the table in the mastermind sessions!

More notes, pictures and insights on SOBCon will be posted here as I collect my thoughts.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Smiling in Chicago

The morning walk to SOBCon 2012 included a diversion with a brief visit to Millennium Park and Cloud Gate or the "bean".

Cloud gate in good company

Next to Cloud Gate are two water towers with huge photos projecting on them (from within, I think). The photos change slowly. The face changes expression and I catch the smile.


What will get you to smile today?

SOBCon 2012 - Les McKeown

How to Find the Predictable Opportunities
Featured Faculty: Les McKeown, bestselling author of Predictable Success.

rate of information over the rate of pattern recognition creates a bubble of profundity
and a time of perplexity
6 blind men elephant story, we are all 400 billion of us trying to make sense of what is happening now

second voice, internal monologue, the inner dialog, usually negative, not helpful

polluting the ability to think straight, avoiding the ability to think period
break back through the 3rd voice to silence the 2nd voice

seven stages of business

  1. early struggle
  2. fun
  3. white water
  4. predictable success
  5. treadmill
  6. the big treadmill
  7. death rattle

Charlie Gilkey
think not what new ideas I have but what do I need to understand these ideas

Saturday, May 05, 2012

SOBCon 2012 - Rick Turoczy

Rick Turoczy, of Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) and author of Silicon Florist.

position is good, positioning requires change
be brutally honest with where you are today

Liz introduces the mastermind work
putting the quantitative together with the qualitative produces the value proposition

Qualitative position

size and age of business, core competencies, market share, competitive threats, geography, property you own

using the Franklin Food Pantry as the example for me to work with
As the main player in town, what if the economy got so well, there was no need? not likely anytime soon 

How do we reach the folks that we should be reaching (if the #s are right)
How do we get full community awareness of the Pantry?

Qualitative position

mission, relationships, reputation, culture, values

connecting the resources to create a healthy life style
building relationships with local businesses
reputation has improved from a couple of years ago when the doors almost closed
culture where the client matters, create a food shopping experience
value the privacy of the clients

Quantitative strengths
what does your size, skill set, geography, allow you to bring to the table

Qualitative strengths
What is your worldview and how do you use what you bring to the table?

"The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is." via@AmberCleveland here masterminding at #sobcon

SOBCon 2012 - Tim Storm

my notes from the interview with Tim Storm

Angel Djambazov interviews Tim Storm, founder of Fat Wallet
power of community, sense of community striking home

stupid little stickers, reinforced the stories on the core values
put on laptops, notebooks, etc. like the Buckeyes on the helmet

identified ‘fun’ as a core value later on

you hire for the core values because they are so hard to train!

Friday, May 04, 2012

SOBCon 2012 - Tim Sanders

My notes from Tim Sanders session at #SOBCon

quotes Nick Morgan, “the only reason to give a speech is to change the world”
find a mission that is worthy of success
elevate your purpose, it changes everything in your life

transparency and access,two things that the internet brings
your  higher purpose is either your secret sauce or the missing ingrediant

purpose is about being intentional
mission is what and for whom, vision is how we are going to get there

Net Minds, wants to make publishing fair
enthusiasm, quotes Dan Pink’s “Drive” real enthusiasm comes from a sense of meaning

must be a leader to drive engagement

story of the 3 workers on a scaffold
originates with Christopher Wren, architect

purpose will shield against criticism
maintains your focus

3 things to succeed

  • have a higher purpose
  • have passion for the purpose
  • have focus for the purpose

put the purpose on the table to show the why behind the what

Southwest tickets to nowhere story

your purpose doesn't have to be original but must be organic

“if you don’t know the asshole in your industry, you are the one”

how do you leverage all this?
hire for purpose
make purpose part of the process
leadership, think of measuring yourself differently
marketing, how do you share the story?

What catches your attention?

The sun was out in Chicago on Thursday afternoon. A woman with a skirt attracted some attention.

What holds your attention?

Do you recognize when your attention is wrapped around a topic?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Spring into action

With signs of spring popping out all over, what are you doing to freshen up?

spring blossoms

How are you planning to shake off the winter blues and get into the new life, the re-newed life that Spring brings?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Mark it well

The grave marker for Dad is now in place. Something about its bronzeness is so final.

Marker 2

I still have the urge to call Dad. Find out what's happening, let him know of an update. I'm not sure how long these feeling will last. On the one hand, it is eerie. On the other, it is a good reminder of what I need to focus on. Today is important. What can I do to be better, make things better today.

A good college friend of mine used to say, "tell me a story Steve" The story is continuing to develop. New pages (and sometimes chapters) daily.

Regular readers here can follow my story. My father's story will continue to be told here

What is your story?

What will your marker say?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Maple blight

Maple blight is here again this year. As soon as the leaves spread out, it is already appearing making holes in the leaves.

Franklin, MA: maple blight still this year appears quickly

Can a tree expert shed some info on this? Apparently, the tree still obtains enough stuff to keep going but what is the real damage done?