Marketing | Environment | Culture

On Right Living: The 3 Most Important Things You Can Be


When our son was born several years ago, I thought very much about the kind of person we’d like him to be. Which qualities and characteristics to cultivate. What “right” living looks like.

From that motivation came an elementary system to share with him – basic guidelines for “right” living. It had to be simple, but scalable. Approachable for a child, but meaningful enough to grow with him into adulthood.

The result: The Three Most Important Things You Can Be.

Review them, see a fourth addition, consider other systems, and share your own thoughts.

Give it a look for yourself. And consider its applications in parenting.

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Our Contaminated Drinking Water: 3 Questions

Contaminated drinking water. Right in our own backyard. And probably in yours, too.

Unregulated, toxic chemicals linked to cancer in our wells. Perflourinated chemicals (PFCs), specifically.

Ever persistent, PFCs don’t break down and they don’t boil off.

Prolonged PFC exposure is linked to:

  • developmental damage to fetuses during pregnancy
  • low birth weight
  • accelerated puberty and distorted bones
  • kidney and testicular cancer
  • liver tissue damage
  • impaired production of antibodies
  • cholesterol changes

That PFCs are in our drinking water begs questions. I’ve got 3.

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On Mosses, Modesty, and Sustainability

Like all kinds of life, mosses have something to teach us about right living.

Basically a lift from an outstanding conversation on On Being with Krista Tippett titled “The Intelligence in All Kinds of Life,” this post celebrates the modesty and sustainability of one of the simplest and oldest kinds of life on Earth.

The guest, Dr Robin Wall Kimmerer, is a bryologist (expert in moss) and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. This balance of scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge provided an interesting backdrop for the entire conversation.

“Science asks us to learn about organisms. Traditional knowledge asks us to learn from them.” – Kimmerer to Tippett


As I often do, I heard this episode while hiking. And, as I often do, I was hiking with my camera.

The conversation between Tippett and Kimmerer immediately changed my typical shooting subjects and perspective. Rather than going wide and grand, I shot everything with my 45mm f1.8 (90mm equivalent) for fun and challenge and did so low to the ground.

Here: a few choice quotes from and shot-while-listening images inspired by Kimmerer and Tippett. And a new respect for modest mosses.

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Considering Job Automation and Minimum Wage Hikes

A chorus of “I told you so” came down last week as headlines tied minimum wage hikes to job automation.

Fox News: “Minimum Wage Hike Backfiring? Wendy’s Increases Self-Service Kiosks”

Washington Times: “As minimum-wage hikes become mandatory, Wendy’s looks to expand self-service kiosks” “Wendy’s Serves Up Big Kiosk Expansion As Wage Hikes Hit Fast Food”

The idea: raising minimum wage causes companies to eliminate jobs, bringing in job automation through self-service.

Keep in mind that Wendy’s itself only operates only 10% of stores, including zero in California (a minimum wage warfront), so they don’t fully bear these costs directly. Also, they cited competition to “access good labor” as a key driver of wage inflation. And especially as the fast foot market softens overall, price competition remains fierce and cost pressures remain high.

Notable in the Wendy’s announcement was that mobile ordering and mobile payments also coming.

And here’s where any confusion about correlation and causation breaks. And where a brief consideration of job automation begins.

There’s an inevitability to it all (maybe).
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Show Notes: TED Talk on Face to Face Communication

On being there in person, getting face to face, and falling back to simple video communication when time and distance keep us apart.

I enjoyed the privilege of producing and delivering a TED talk on these themes at the inaugural TEDxUCCS.


Right off the top: Thank you to EPIIC and UCCS for inviting me to participate.

Rather than provide a written version of the talk, I’m borrowing a concept from some of my favorite podcasts – the recording itself, plus “show notes.”

Included in these notes:

  • Links to ideas used to construct the presentation
  • Info and credits for the photos in the slide deck
  • Additional, related links
  • A few closing thanks

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Artfully Articulated: Myopic and Unsustainable Human Living

“If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might well be: ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time.'” – British author, journalist, literary critic, and travel writer Dame Rebecca West

I’d been sitting on the significance of Lampshades on Fire by Modest Mouse for some time. Encountering West’s quote tipped this write up.

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24 Quotes on Brand Conservancy


“It’s rarely one brand that knocks off another. Usually, brands succumb to self-inflicted wounds.”

See what I did there? I opened up this post about quotes from You Can’t Ride Two Horses with One Ass by branding expert Kurt Bartolich with a quote from the book.


The essence of the opening quote and of the book is brand conservancy. Protection. Vigilance. Curation.

Many branding books have been written on how to build a brand. Now we’ve got a clear and concise guide to nurturing and protecting our most valuable asset from the lack of discipline and understanding that devalue, if not destroy, our brand.


The book title itself is a quote. “I immediately recognized how it embodies everything I believe about branding,” Kurt writes in the opening chapter about the expression he heard an account manager use with a client.

And with that … two dozen quotes about brand conservancy from You Can’t Ride Two Horses with One Ass.

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Two Tales: The Long Game and The Overnight Success

Two different podcasts. Two different authors. One common theme.

Just as this post concludes, it also began (albeit on a much smaller scale): with a compulsion to write.

I’d heard Paulo Coelho talk with Krista Tippett for On Being a couple months ago and the passage quoted below jumped out. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.

Yesterday, I heard Salman Rushdie talk with Alison Beard for Harvard Business Review’s Ideacast. A minor echo in theme compelled me to write this up.

The myth of the overnight success is very well established. And while some successes work out that way, most are the result of consistency, hard work, and/or compulsion.

Two tales on the theme in the authors’ own words …

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The Story: Our HP Printer Stopped Printing Black Ink

First, the good news. Any day now, we should receive a free shipping label from HP to send our useless printer to one of their recycling centers.

That’s the full and complete extent of the good news.

This is the story of an otherwise functional HP PhotoSmart 6525 All-In-One Inkjet Printer that stopped printing black ink and, as a consequence, faces the fate of dismantling and (hopefully) reuse.

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6 Themes: The Best Company to Work For

Authenticity. Engagement. Culture.

Marketing and management buzzwords? Yes. But they’re also table stakes. Cost of admission. Necessary but insufficient.

To recruit and retain the best people, your organization needs these things. But what do they look like in practice? How do you inventory your company’s situation and improve from there?

Recently, Gareth Jones and Rob Goffee tried to tackle this. Through their research 6 themes emerged to help define the best company to work for.

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