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Archive for March, 2009

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Pause button….for 20 years.

pause.jpgAhhhh, the Facebook. A place to connect with friends of old and new. A place to see what is going on in your friends life. A place to upload drunk pictures from your phone.

I believe that the greatest aspect to FB is the ability to reconnect with long-lost friends. Over the past year, I have reconnected with the two people (outside of mom and dad) that I have known since I was 4 years old. While not all my relationships go back that far, I have shot over the 400 friend mark thanks in large part to my high school/college friends.

Of course, the first things that you ask each other, “What have you been up to?” Wow, take a second to think about that. If you had not seen someone for 20+ years, how do you summarize you life. Do you simply focus on your personal life? (Got married, have x kids, run marathons) Maybe professional life? (Worked for XYZ Corp, started my own business, etc.) Maybe you just take the highlights of both.

I think what I’m going to do is to write up my bio in short form to be able to let people know what I’m up to. Maybe take a page from Twitter and summarize it in 140 characters. Here’s my first attempt:

SIU grad, worked at bank, went into investments, married Jennifer, one son: Truce(has autism), started Souza Financial, try to write more

That’s 137 characters, enough to fit in a Twitter window. But I didn’t say anything about living in Hoopeston, getting engaged and married on the same day in Las Vegas, my Indians tattoo, anything about my parents or brothers.

I just found an old friend the other day on FB and his question was, “Do you still listen to Anthrax?” Understand that my license plate used to read ANTHRX 2. Boy, hit the pause button for 20 years and that’s what he remembered? It’s who I was, but I almost felt like a sell-out to say that I still like them, but don’t listen on the regular. It’s funny to look back 20 years and think of all that you have been through and to summarize that in 2 or 3 sentences. When I get the 140 character bio perfected, I will post it here.

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Dan Ariely on TED

I found another TED talk that is worth sharing. This one is by Dan Ariely. He’s a faculty member at MIT. His talk is about “Why we think it OK to cheat and steal (sometimes). He shares his insight to the recent round of wall street woes. It’s 18 minutes, so grab a cup of coffee and watch away.

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Saturday Night Funny

First, watch the video before you read on….please. It’s well worth the 4:30 minutes.

When I first started to watch this, I thought, “OK, some tool is going to dance at a bunch of different places around the world.” Then, I see everyone else join in, and I was moved. Some guy dancing is one thing, but the joy of everyone else dancing with him, was really cool. I also love the concept. It’ goes back to my love affair with Post Secret. It’s something of an art project, part silly & part inspiring. No matter where you are at in the world there are still things that are universal, dancing is one.

If you read Matt’s bio, you will find that he’s didn’t make his millions off the internet boom and travels around the world. He’s a normal, lazy guy, who fell ass-backwards into this and got the folks at Stride gum to pay for it. Stories like this keep me inspired to find that next, big thing, or die trying.

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Thanks, Jon Stewart

Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame came on the Daily Show to “defend” his network. As you can see from the video, he puts up very little fight because he’s got no backing. They missed the boat. Stewart asks the question that I have for years about CNBC, “Why do you take the word of the CEO’s at face value. Your job, as financial reporters, is to do some other work to verify this info.” I think he sums up the frustration of everyone with part 3 of the interview.(To set this up, at the end of part 2, Jon showed a clip of Cramer talking about how to easy it is to manipulate stocks based on rumors.) The whole thing can be seen here.

I have never been a fan of Jim Cramer, you can ask any of my clients. I watch/or listen to CNBC on occasion to hear the headlines. However, like Cramer points out, they have 17 hours of live TV a day to fill. Give me 17 hours period and I will be out of material in 3. I have commonly referred to them as the Financial Inquirer. I have said for years that it’s entertainment first and financial news second.

Thanks, Jon Stewart for making legit what I have been saying for years.

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I love you….Whiteboard!

DSC_0055.JPG A man can love a a piece of office equipment, can’t he? I mean guys have a favorite chair, an old calculator, a pen, right? Well, my secret love (I guess it’s not so secret now.) is my whiteboard.

I installed a new one today in my home office. And, at the risk of sounding like a recovering alcoholic, My name is Keith and it’s been 3 years since my last whiteboard. “Hi, Keith.” When I opened my office in April 2006, I decided not to install a whiteboard. I had used one in my office since I began my career in 1995. I was always more comfortable standing and writing on my board than scribbling on a notepad at the desk. I’m such a more visual person when explaining something, that it was a natural fit.

To be honest, I don’t remember why I didn’t put one up. Maybe I thought I had graduated from it. I was an “independant advisor” now and growns up don’t us whiteboards. I guess I didn’t realize how wrong I was. If I need to explain something to a client I use a notepad, but write so freaking big on the paper that I look like a 1st grader. I’m over compensating for my lack of a whiteboard, I know that now. (The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.)

While I still don’t have one at my office, it’s a safe bet that after falling off the wagon, one will be installed this week.