Defending Escanaba from the Zombie Apocalypse

Coast Guard Boats at Escanaba Municipal Dock

Coast Guard Boats at Escanaba Municipal Dock

Re: Francis  X. Donnelly’s June 25 report, “Town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula celebrates birthday, harkens back to better  times

Journalists in the comment stream on are right to take Francis X. Donnelly and his editors to task for failing to provide a fair, balanced, and complete perspective on Escanaba.

I lived in Escanaba for 8 years and still own a house there. I laughed out loud at the author’s doomsday proclamations about the Upper Peninsula, which were so negative they became absurd. His word choices seemed plucked from a Dickens novel. I half expected Oliver Twist to creep from the shadows and ask for another pasty. Continue reading

Posted in Editorials, Michigan | 1 Comment

The Promise of Entrepreneurship

Every day people in terrorist cells are carefully trained to carry out acts of terror that kill hundreds, if not thousands of people.

If they don’t have access to a school for terrorism, people can learn to build bombs on the Internet.

Every day, people are bullied for things that make them different. They come to feel worthless, and that their lives have no meaning.

Human beings are social creatures, and we can lead other people to destruction and despair. But we can also lead each other to creation and hope.

Every day, people in startup communities are carefully trained to launch ventures that create jobs and help hundreds, if not thousands of people.

If they don’t have access to a school for entrepreneurship, people can learn to start companies on the Internet.

Every day, people are appreciated for things that make them different. They come to feel they have value to offer the world and they have the power to change things for the better.

That is the promise of entrepreneurship. Let’s start now.

Posted in Entrepreneurship | 12,286 Comments

Finding the New Frontier

I gave the following speech today as part of the University of Montana’s Innovation and Imagination Day session on Entrepreneurship. I was invited to represent the student point of view as president of the UM Entrepreneurship Club.

When we think of entrepreneurship, we tend to think of it happening in the present and the future. But I am the child of a history teacher, and my dad taught me that we need to also look at our history to understand the context of current events.

History tells us The University of Montana is home to pioneers. Jeannette Rankin graduated from the University of Montana in 1902 with a degree in Biology. In 1916 she ran against 6 men to become the first female elected to Congress (4 years before women in this country were granted the right to vote). Montana is home to pioneers. Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Montana | 23,102 Comments

The Cowboy in the Bank – A True Montana Story

I’m just back from a business trip to Eastern Montana, the land of oil wells, sugar beets, and championship rodeo teams. I heard a number of colorful stories along the way, but here’s my favorite.

A man in work clothes walked into a Montana bank, tracking in cow manure with every step. A lady at the counter wrinkled her nose at the trail of dirty bootprints and turned to the man in line next to her. “Why do they let someone like that into the bank?” she complained. “He’s filthy!”

“Madam,” he replied, “he owns the place.”

Posted in Montana | 15,445 Comments

13 Ways to Get a Job You Really Want

Dog guarding the chicken coop

I’ve received some really bad advice about job interviews. I figure other people out there are probably getting bad advice, too. So I’m writing a post to combat the bad advice with all the good advice I’ve read/received. I make no guarantees that my tips will work for every job seeker, but they worked for me.

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Posted in Career | 14,506 Comments

Goodnight, Newsweek

Newsweek Cover October 22, 2012Dan Pink saw it coming. Newsweek has announced it will stop publishing and go all digital after nearly 80 years in print. I’ve read Newsweek cover to cover every week since I was in high school, though in recent years I admit my loyalty has frayed at the edges. I’m saying goodbye with zero guilt and a twinge of relief, as to a houseguest who has overstayed their welcome.

Though I faithfully subscribed to Newsweek in print, there’s no way it is worth it to me to pay for an online subscription. Which makes me wonder why? If the true value is the content, the news and analysis, why does the format matter so much?

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Posted in Technology | 13,766 Comments

One Thing Good Bosses Do that Bad Ones Don’t

Boy roping wooden horse“…being too busy to train is the moral equivalent of being too hungry to eat.” – Ben Horowitz

The weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal highlighted a recent NBER study on “The Value of Bosses.” Researchers measured productivity of employees at a large technology firm and uncovered three insights:

1. The quality of the boss greatly affects worker productivity. Replacing a lousy boss (in the bottom 10 percent) with a great boss (in the top 10 percent) enhanced productivity as much as adding another worker to a nine-member team.

2. The boss’s biggest contribution was teaching productive skills.

3. As the WSJ phrased it, “The study found, counterintuitively, that it pays to assign the best workers to the best bosses, because that strategy results in the largest productivity gains.”

While all of these findings are interesting, I am particularly intrigued by #2. We don’t typically think of bosses as teachers. Perhaps we think of them as motivators, as mentors who offer guidance, or as managers who monitor and evaluate our performance. But teaching skills? Not so much.

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Posted in Leadership | 27,299 Comments