Thursday, August 22, 2013

The New Digital Age

Just finished reading "The New Digital Age" which had me thinking of picking up my original copy of "Being Digital" to compare and contrast. Maybe later.

It's a good book, thoughtful and smart but at times a bit out there. I wanted to capture here some stats they throw in to set the stage for their assumptions, all stuff we know but it's more good data you can use and quote. The book focuses on BIG issues around digital - statehood, terrorism, politics, society etc... worth a read but it is dense. I admit, I flipped past some of the sections on statehood and politics.
  • Number of people connected to the Internet worldwide increased from 350 million to more than 2 billion
  • In the same period, the number of mobile-phone subscribers rose from 750 million to well over 5 billion (it is now over 6 billion)
  • By 2025, the majority of the world's population will, in one generation, have gone from virtually no access to unfiltered information to accessing all of the world's information through a device that fits in the palm of the hand.
  • If the pace continues, most of the projected 8 billion people on Earth will be online

Now that's scalability.

Disconnect - 3 keys to disconnecting while on vacation

Previously posted on Medium, reposted here. I blog so infrequently, I figure I need to repurpose as much content as I can!
(Photo by Marc Sirkin, Utah Mountains 2013)

Even before mobile/smartphones I was bad; sneaking away to check email, reading business books or memos while on the beach, working on proposals or ideas at the pool. All behaviors of someone who would rather lose himself in work, instead of being present with family, focusing on clearing the mind and having a good time.

Over the past few years I’ve improved my efforts to disconnect. I did however notice that it would take 2 or 3 days to fully disconnect. Similar to an addict, I’d have dreams about work, fanatically check in and have to almost physically restrain myself from replying to emails. It was bad, very bad. I’d come back from work up to date, but feeling like I hadn’t even had time off.

As my kids grew older, it became more and more important to disconnect from work and get focused on my family and friends while on vacation.

I was recently off for a week in Utah and did a lot of thinking about being disconnected. I noticed how much I loved it! In honor of that glorious time off, I present you with my 3 keys to disconnecting:

  1. Drop the ego. Start to realize you aren’t you just aren’t that important. Life goes on. Work goes on. People step up while you are gone.
  2. Be selfish. Read something other than the news, business books and memos. Find a book or a movie that moved you and consume it again with fresh eyes. I have been sharing my favorite movies from when I was a teenager with my own teens and it’s been an incredible experience. Most recently, we watched “Stand by Me” which brought me back to thinking about what it was like to be 12.
  3. (Re)charge. I read recently something about how the brain engages in new ways when you are learning something for the first time. Do that — find something new or something you do rarely and allow your brain to struggle with it, focus on it. It (re)charges you in ways that are hard to explain but are easy to feel. We went on a 3 mile hike that I absolutely loved, something I don’t often do. I was focused on the trail, the rocks, not getting hurt and enjoying the view. It was amazing.When it was over, I felt elated. My mind felt electric.
I can’t wait for my next vacation, even if it’s for a day or even a few hours, I will most certainly be disconnecting. I hope you can find your own keys to disconnecting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


If you've been reading my blog (sorry it's been dormant for so long) it's time yet again for me to leap to the next thing. For the last 3.5 years I've immersed myself in the autism world learning more than I ever thought possible. Up until last week, I had been leading teams at Autism Speaks in social media, fundraising, marketing, IT, direct mail and CRM. I've been a busy bee.

First and foremost, I learned that autism is really, really complicated. Pick any one thing about it (take causes for example) and you'll find significantly different viewpoints from a variety of corners of the community.

I deeply connected with all parts of the community; parents, children, adults, researchers, caregivers, teachers and more. Beyond any of the other causes I've been involved in, autism got under my skin in some incredible ways. I feel deeply for those on the spectrum and for their loved ones who are must struggle to understand and cope with whatever comes from their experiences for all sides of the spectrum.

The autism journey is it's own unique, amazing, stressful and challenging path - one that as a society we're just now starting to understand, cope with and build supports around. I hope to stay involved in variety of ways with the community and will not soon forget the friendships I've forged with so many touched by autism.

Being at an organization like Autism Speaks which has both fans and detractors has led me down many different paths - from conversations with self-advocates and parents to civil and gay rights leaders to try to understand and get straight in my own thick head what autism is, and what it isn't.

After my time however, I still don't have a simple or single answer. That said, I know that there are many, many people and organizations out there fighting everyday for a variety of things, all hoping to improve the lives of everyone diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

The "arc" of autism, (the story about what we as a society tell ourselves autism is and isn't) is just now cresting after years of misunderstanding and confusion. That said, there are still miles to go. Even the very definition of autism, and classification as an illness, a disorder or some other word is up for grabs. Until we as a society we find some balance in the semantics of autism we'll struggle, argue and fight. Right now, in early 2013 it's as it should be and how it must be in this moment. In the future, when we do finally figure it all out, all of our lives will be enriched with millions of new and unique voices. If you listen closely , you can actually hear a few already.

I'm extremely proud of the work my team accomplished within Autism Speaks. I want to acknowledge all those who helped shine a light on my path and informed my own journey. You know who you are - and there are many of you who helped me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Autism has changed me and affected my perspective on life for the better.

In case you are wondering, I'll be joining PwC as a Director in their customer advisory group focused on social enterprise, social business and using technology to change the world like I always do. I hope to resume regular blogging but know better.