Spelling doesn't count on flip charts...

Many life times ago I was in a working session about something that literally wasn't memorable enough to remember, except for a comment about my spelling on a large flip chart. Having thought about this recently I've come to the conclusion there are two general categories of "things" that guide us —

  1. Things we are good at and things we are not good at
  2. Things we like to do and things we don't like to do.

In this context I'm not a good speller (a little better now) and I don't like to scribe on flip charts (this still holds true). Frankly I also don't like taking minutes either, but let's stay on point.

The word that was called out was "acquire" (or its misspelled cousin "aquire"). To be honest I cannot remember how I spelled it but ultimately it was considered an appropriately spelled alternative (or maybe just not that important to spend anymore time on). About two years later I found myself in yet another working session, and as the recorder picked up the marker to scribe she said in a matter of fact tone, "Spelling doesn't count on flip charts". I fell in love with her there and then, and this has been my modus operandi ever since. 

I had been given permission to continue my semi illiterate and illegible "flip charting ways" — no harm, not foul, because spelling doesn't count on flip charts.

It's probably important to mention I have always been impressed with those people who are able to capture the thoughts of the room for all to see with perfect penmanship, spelling and grammar — it's akin to a piece of business art in my mind. It does lead to the question as to why I took the easy way out with my newly acquired "flip chat rule" instead of improving my to skills to create my own business art.

My rationalization over the years has been penmanship, spelling and grammar are all secondary to the importance of capturing the idea raw, and I did not want to interrupt the flow of the conversation for the sake of style... and besides, someone has to transcribe it again to some sort of word document. This isn't a particularly robust rationalization (and slightly nonsensical) as to why I didn't raise the bar for myself, but as I've said, "I really don't like being a scribe".

Don't even get me started about the games I used to play when taking minutes in a meeting,


PS — I am well aware that there is a little bit of personal sabotage in all of this, and definitely a missed opportunity to develop some skills, but again I have to reiterate, "I don't like scribing".

PPS — I also know "not liking something" is the worst reason not to do it — particularly when you know it's good for you.

Everyone will have an opinion on "different"...


If you read anything I write (which I really appreciate by the way) you will know that I am a big advocate for "different". Different stimulates ideas, offers perspectives to better understand situations, is the champion of change, and makes things happen. It is important to realize though that different will always elicit a response, and this is actually what makes it so important.

But make no mistake about it, the response may not always be supportive. A slightly humorous case in point:

Recently I decided to adopt a whole plant based diet for health reasons (which I should point out does not necessarily mean I've adopted the vegan life style). For my efforts, some of the comments that have come my way went something like this:

  • "Where are you going to get your protein from? You are gonna bonk on the ride"
  • "You need to eat meat to get enough protein"
  • "We were talking about you becoming a vegan and just laughing"
  • "You are breaking your vegan rules because there are eggs in the bread you ate"
  • " I guess we can't eat at that restaurant anymore"

Sure I received other comments that supported my new eating habits but those mostly came from people who already support a whole plant based diet (aka vegans)... although they may not be so happy when they find out I will still be wearing my leather jackets.

As in my little case study, different will most certainly elicit responses regarding the problems that will come with what you are doing or suggesting — in fact, if you aren't experiencing this it may be an indicator of "group think" or a lack of engagement. Different is supposed to elicit a response, and with it, create discussion. It is in this discussion that better ideas are developed, situations are better understood, and change can be effectively implemented. And in knowing this there shouldn't ever be any reason to shy away from offering a different opinion, taking a different point of view, or offering up that "crazy" idea — you want to invite the pushback, as well as the discussion, because it offers a better result.

And for that opinion on my plant based diet — yes you can get all the protein you need from plants; meat is actually really hard to digest and inflammatory; I'm not a vegan; there are no eggs in the bread I eat, and restaurants are extremely helpful and flexible with what they serve.

So far, so good.


The swarming of bees...



"Do you want me to add a virtual bee to your business card for your bee thing?"

"You mean beBee?"

"Yes... that."


At this point I couldn't help think that as an advocate for the new social media platform beBee I was at least building some sort of familiarity; although "bee thing" wasn't exactly what I was shooting for. I had seen what Olga had done with her own business card so I was excited to see what she could do with mine — I enthusiastically said yes.

Olga is a very talented sculptor and artist, and lately she has redirected her talents into the area of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, has invested in the equipment, and is out front advocating for the future and potential of VR and AR. In my view, as she repositions her skill, she has caught the wave of virtual augmentation (and virtual reality) and is becoming a domain expert when it comes to leveraging visual art — in less than a year she has built a LinkedIn following of 3,162 followers, and her recent post illustrating her virtual card had 15,479 clicks, 337 likes and 48 comments.

Sure the bee augmentation has been a fun activity for me but what really resonates is how someone is repositioning their skill sets for new opportunities, and particularly those opportunities that reflect the coming "step change" shifts in the market. There's virtual and augmented reality, artificial Intelligence, robotics, shifts in consumerism, decentralization through blockchain, advances in healthcare, the redefinition of what it is to be human, et certera, et cetera — all part of a revolution that may be unlike anything we've see before. I have said I'm a lousy futurist and stand by that, but what I do know is that we all have skills that have value, and more than ever it will be important to understand these skills, and how they can be leveraged.

  • Understand what you are good at and build on it.
  • Pay attention to what is happening outside your comfort zone and don't simply dismiss it.
  • Appreciate that you don't need to be involved in everything, just something.
  • Don't believe you are insulated from everything that is happening.
  • And if you don't see it — search out someone who can help you.

As I said, my augmented business card was fun and I can easily see the utility (particularly in education, merchandising and entertainment), but that's Olga's thing. As for me, I still see great value in my sales and marketing skills, and how to leverage them in various "go to market" activities (particularly in the areas of social media and leveraging blockchain). It will be interesting where it all takes me. 

Olga and I are not the only ones doing this sort of thing because as we know, the market will do what the market does, doesn't really care much about us, and it's up to us to keep up (if we want to stay relevant).

And there are still lots of people who want to "stay relevant".


PS — at the very least I was also able to work the humble honey bee into my blog... which as many of you may know is in decline (and a crucial part of our ecosystem). With everything going on let's not forget our environment — and although I know there is still some debate over the causes, I think we can all agree we have way too much single use plastic littering up the place. 

PPS — Olga Nabatova