Speeding or the subway

Honesty can manifest itself in many ways but in its truest form, honesty only exists in yourself. You can showcase to others how upstanding you are and how you always do the right thing. But that is only a glimpse at what you truly are. It’s easy to do the right thing when others are watching. It’s also easy to be honest when others are watching. And it means nothing. Why? It’s no different than obeying the speed limit on the highway when a police car is driving behind you. I think we all can say we would follow the speed limit in that instance. But we wouldn’t always say we always follow the speed limit.

The most important thing is being honest with yourself and doing the right thing when you can get away with doing something, well, not so right. It’s what truly determines our character. We all seek acceptance from our peers, our friends, our family and go to great lengths to please them. When compliments flow when we’ve succeeded, we feel good about ourselves.

But if the compliments arise as a result of acts we wouldn’t replicate if no one knew about them, then we’re only fooling ourselves, and our peers, friends and family will eventually catch on. And then the gig is up. Being honest and doing the right thing shouldn’t be about gaining the acceptance of others or appearing to others as an honest individual. It should be about making ourselves feel good, regardless of what others think or see.

It means not littering when no one is watching, It means letting a senior citizen sit down on a subway when no one you know is around. It means giving to charity when no tax deduction is received. It means going the extra mile when you know the extra half-mile is all that’s needed. I could go on and on with examples but I think you get my drift.
Your honesty and goodness are defined by yourself. Act in a way that keeps you happy and makes you feel good. You don’t need to seek acceptance. It will find you naturally.

ranjeR on!

Reaching Gilligan

After a long and challenging year, heading out on vacation seemed like a nice reprieve from normal responsibilities. Heading out to a remote island, the belief was that the days would be filled with relaxation and freedom from the day to day complexities that come with everyday life. However, that wish was quickly shattered when the chime and vibration of the corporate smartphone occurred. The remote island was now just an island and no longer remote. Reaching over and reading the emails that were streaming in quickly highlighted that the two week, uninterrupted vacation mandated by the Human Resources department was merely a policy and not actually intended to be followed.

The transition from our unconnected existence to one of always on that’s occurred over the past twenty years has not been free. While we love the capabilities we’ve gained with the new technology, some are starting to mourn what we’ve lost – our free time. When I started in the corporate world in the early 90’s, I was thrilled to get my first company laptop. Wow, I felt so special. A computer that I could use to work on the train, on a plane, in a car, on a boat. Dr Seuss, look out. I could work anywhere now. I was unstoppable. Then came VPN that allowed round the clock access to my files and corporate email. If I felt special and unstoppable before, imagine how great I felt now – they must really like me to give me this new technology…It was simply awesome. But I guess the awesomeness of being so special blinded me to the reduction in free, unencumbered me time. And so it went.

A few years later, a wonderful invention was created in Canada that would forever change our personal and working lives for the better. I don’t think I have to tell you what it is, but just in case, it’s a type of berry and it happens to be black (although it can be blue or red or silver or white). If a laptop with VPN was the Cadillac of working tools in the corporate world, then this new gadget was the pinnacle of German automotive engineering. I had to have it and my company was more than willing to oblige. I would no longer need to fire up a clunky laptop and wait 5 minutes to logon and read emails – I could do it instantly, 24/7 just by taking this little gadget out of its holster. I felt like the prize gunfighter at the OK Corral, able to draw my weapon and respond to emails with multiple cc’s, proving I was the fastest gunslinger to all. And so it went.

Until the vacation on the no longer remote – remote island. My ability to have some downtime had practically vanished over the past twenty years. It didn’t happen at once and I was a willing participant. And I want it back. No one can be on at all times and be effective. We all need to disconnect from our work lives a few times a year. To clear our mind. To relax. To rejuvenate. That’s what a vacation on a remote island is supposed to do. Until it can’t anymore. And that’s just the work aspect. Throw in the social networking and the addiction bridges the divide between career and personal lives. Checking into that clinic to detox just became more important.

But how? An automated out of office response is useless nowadays as the email coming in always says “I know you’re away but can you please look at this quickly?” An RNR (for the less tech savvy, Read No Response) is almost a mortal sin. What I needed was a way to say “Leave me alone, I’m …” (insert whatever you want at the dots). If I say I’m unavailable or unreachable, guess what, I mean it. If I wanted to work, I’d be at work. If I wanted to respond to your text, I’d respond.

And so ranjeR was born. As a means to control my time, as a means to manage my contacts. After all, isn’t that what a contact manager’s supposed to do? I’d never buy a new car that I had to pedal – I’d get a bike. Why would I settle for a contact manager that doesn’t manage?

The Clock

What makes people change their mind? What makes them realize that their current direction isn’t so great and a change is warranted? Sometimes, a clock in a taxi can trigger the change while at other times, a 2 X 4 to the head still doesn’t provoke a change. For most, seeing the future isn’t an option. Or is it? Changing direction implies an incorrect original path further implying the ability to either see success with the new path or failure with the existing path. The result is the same – seeing the future.

Now, let’s discuss a quote from Dorothea Brande – “To guarantee success, act as if it were impossible to fail.” A very bold and powerful statement once it’s recognized that “act” is the key word. Clearly, advocating success through positive thinking was the intent but by ignoring the significance of “act”, most readers will miss the intent. The realm of possibilities always includes failure and its existence must be acknowledged. However, acknowledgement isn’t acceptance and it should just provide the alternative that drives behaviour in the proper direction. In other words, when undertaking any endeavour, recognizing that failure is a possibility even though we act as if it’s impossible is the only way to guarantee success.

So we can see the future, we can acknowledge the existence of failure and we can act as if failure were impossible. Which leads us back to the original question of what makes people change their minds? What provides the clarity to incite one to say “This is a bad idea”? Last night, it was the clock in the taxi on the way out the door at 1:00 in the morning. Tomorrow it will be something else. Meaning we can’t ignore the seemingly innocent and innocuous messages we’re constantly bombarded with. They’re all signals – they’re all key. And they all help us guarantee the success we’re looking for on the path we’ve voluntarily chosen in life.

Stop speaking and start leading!

Without leadership, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. Anyone can attack their enemies’ views. Few can convince their supporters to change their views. A leader can – a speaker can’t. I think you can guess which one the typical politician is.
”Trust us” they say, expecting us to blindly believe that they’ve learned from history and will not make the same mistakes again. But by blindly trusting, we end up repeating history. Human nature doesn’t change and the people we elect don’t change. Their names might be different, they might look different and they might express a different viewpoint – but their characteristics remain the same. All elected officials believe they are providing their supporters with what they want. They attack their enemies to please their supporters. But the one capability that is rarely seen is the willingness to be unpopular with their supporters so they can effectively lead.
Why do we believe and buy into the fact that a few elected officials, whom we only know through brief appearances, can actually do the job that is required? In this age of globalization and great achievement, with constant new discoveries and technologies, why has government not progressed? Why are we still using the same old methods to govern and, as a governed population, not demanding that government evolve? Why is it that private enterprise can evolve and become more efficient and yet we don’t demand the same of our governing bodies? Why do we elect speakers and not leaders?
Do the elected leaders understand that we want them to lead, to be creative and not just do more of the same, let alone move backwards? Tax the rich, don’t tax the rich – cut the entitlements, increase the entitlements – time passes by but the arguments don’t change. It shouldn’t take a year to figure out how to solve an economic crisis, whether in Asia or Europe or North America. We elected you to deal with these issues. Deal with them – and kicking the can down the road is not dealing with the issue!
Stop doing more of the same. You are the government we have chosen to lead us into the future. Evolve. Be creative. Be resourceful. We have put our trust in your abilities. Show us that you deserve it by doing your job.
Stop speaking and start leading!

The chicken and the egg (or popular and accepted)

Although doubtful the chickens or the eggs have ever given it any thought, humanity has spent much time pondering the question of which came first. It’s what we do as humans – create unanswerable questions that provide food for thought while we’re using the throne (that is before tablets came around). The scientific community, not to be left out, has gone as far as stating unequivocally, in July 2010, that it was indeed the chicken that came first given the proteins required to make an egg shell. Although scientists are extremely proud of themselves, it has not really provided a credible answer to the theoretical question.

The theoretical answer has important implications to the business world, especially when creating a new business that will require a critical mass of participants to become successful. The question of chicken or egg is akin to accepted or popular. Is it possible to determine the answer to either? Did a business / platform / idea become popular because it was accepted or did it become accepted because it was popular.

Of course the real answer to both questions are that the questions are irrelevant. In both instances, both options occur simultaneously, thus rendering the question of which came first unanswerable. If you have a chicken, by default you have the ability within the chicken to create an egg, thus the egg already exists. If you have an egg, by default you have a chicken in the egg, so again both come into existence at exactly the same moment. Essentially, by having the building blocks to create one within the other, you already have the other.

This is true in terms of popularity and acceptance of a business endeavour. By creating something that becomes popular, you’ve also created something that becomes accepted and the reciprocal is true. You simply can’t differentiate the the two because they both occur at the same time. Whether you measure popularity or acceptance as having one client or a billion clients, the answer is always the same.

So the real question is if popular and acceptance or chicken and egg come into existence concurrently and not consecutively, how do you actually make something come into existence that will satisfy this statement? Hmmmm…… We’ll have the answer shortly.

Patience

While building this wonderful business of ours, we’ve been confronted with many challenges (some would call them opportunities), with some seemingly insurmountable. For the most part, we’ve plowed our way through them, adjusting where we could to stay on track. We’ve tried to stay focused, and although we haven’t launched the beta (next week or so) of the initial platform, we’re already working hard on conceptualizing the follow-up products. Being strong believers that you must evolve to stay relevant, our biggest challenge hasn’t been defining our ideas but the time it takes to convert our ideas into a usable product.

By far, time has been the hugest and gnarliest limiting factor we’ve confronted. Between our primary careers during the day, our parenting of four awesome kids and the necessity to get at least a couple hours of sleep a night, our ranjeR time is limited to snippets here and there throughout the week. Our partners in the project, from our developers to our professional resources have been amazing in adapting to our constraints and we’re actually amazed at how much has been done so far.

And yet here I sit frustrated. Why you might ask? Because as far as we’ve come, ranjeR still hasn’t officially gone beta (or viral but that will happen). No one to blame, just time (or lack of it). Knowing the potential ranjeR has but having to wait – ouch, that hurts. And frustrates. A lot. Soon though.

However, we’re turning into marketing gurus so the wait is helping us amass a huge potential user base. We’re amazed at the global interest we’ve been able to garner so far. The sign-ups on our two pre-launch pages (ranjeR.com and ranjeR.ca), our likes on Facebook and the number of hits on our sites is spectacular and we truly believe ranjeR will live up to all your expectations.

We’re really excited about the product we’re ready to launch in beta mode and hope you’ll come along for the ride. Thanks to all. ranjeR on!

Simplicity. Efficiently defined.

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Me and You? You and Me.

I know I’ve held you in suspense for a few days. Sorry about that. Wasn’t intentional. Was just a bit out of it with a cold and a bad back. Anyways, I gather you really want to know what the answer to the last riddle was. If you haven’t read the first two posts, be sure to read them in the archives section (click here) so you can get caught up. Well, here goes. The answer to the second post is You (if you want an explanation to the riddle, email me at support@ranjer.ca).

You is the essential word necessary to define the person that Me is interacting with in any scenario. Now, obviously, Me and You are interchangeable depending on the person speaking. If I am the one describing, then I am Me and the person I am dealing with is You. However, if the You mentioned in the previous sentence is the one describing their dealings with the Me mentioned above, then the roles are reversed.

All good? Hope so.

To recap, a Me is the person describing an action taken that affects someone. The someone that is affected is a You. So that describes two types of entities in our universe of descriptors. Which leaves two more to go. If a Me and a You are connected via a common interest, then what would you call someone that Me is not connected to in the same manner? I.e. Me and You both have sports cars and they both talk about it on www.imsocoolcuzihaveasportscar.com. Now say another person has a sports car, but because they are not as cool, they are not on the blog. What would you call that person? Me and You might even know the person. But if the person isn’t on the blog, then what do you call them?

Some clues for you. Britain’s was called this but Canadians had to guess. The third third, when put in front of the first third and after losing the middle is an expression all to itself. And not only does the first third look like the first half from previous posts when seen in a lake, it’s actually confusing because it’s a letter squared that makes it but it’s actually called something else. And if you ask me “How to arrive at the answer”, I’ll answer “How, unscramble it of course!” and I won’t mean undoing the torture of an egg in a bowl.

Have fun…..

Simplicity. Efficiently defined.

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It’s all about Me

Welcome back! Glad everyone could join us on our little journey. Hope readers didn’t hold their breath waiting for the answer to the question. Otherwise, there would be fewer people reading this (oops, sorry about that). If the original post was accidentally missed, just click here. Well, if some readers still haven’t figured it out, here goes. I think. Well, okay, since some readers are pleading, I guess I have to spill the beans. Ok, alright already, stop yelling. I’ll tell.

The first word is Me – it is the universal definition that can be used when describing an action the user is doing. It’s pretty straightforward. If I am the user, then I would refer to myself as Me. However, if someone else is the user, that person would still reference themselves as Me. However, if we are both users that are interacting with each other, can both of us be referred to as Me? It depends on which one of us is doing the referring. If it is the other user that is speaking, then they would refer to themselves as Me but if I was doing the referring, than I would be the Me. Me is always me. But then how would I refer to the other user? To me, it seems pretty straightforward. And it leads us to our second reference term for identifying people.

This second term identifies someone that a Me is connected to in some way. It could be a Me’s friend on a social media site. It could be a Me’s co-worker. It could be someone a Me is playing an online game with. Basically, it’s anyone that a Me is connected to directly via whatever mechanism they are using.

Now, some hints about the beloved but unknown second term. Similar to Me, it’s a word that the general population is already using, very frequently I might add. It’s short in length, long in meaning and its participants come only from the second half. It can be shortened (even further) and when shortened, it’s present only in the fourth quarter; and it’s the last third. Finally, in its short form, it’s straight and curly; in its long form, it contains something very few of us will ever be able to recreate manually in our lifetime.

Stay tuned for the answer!

Simplicity. Efficiently defined.

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Word of the day

Why is the population not defined in a way that allows easy reference by others. This affects us in so many ways, but especially when we try to explain a process that involves multiple users that can play multiple roles. If I am the user and I interact with another user, how do I describe what the other user sees, after I have performed an action, in a simple and concise manner (as if they were the describer or put another way, as if I were them). What words would everyone understand? Do they already exist or are new ones needed? (Hint: partial new ones are partially needed). It’s actually fairly simple. Everyone has heard of the six degrees of separation (apparently down to 4.7 according to the most popular social media sight). In keeping with that them, we believe there are only four words that need to be known to describe the entire population and how it relates to any individual, from that individual’s perspective.

The first word is a popular one that we’re all familiar with and we should all love what it describes. It’s short (not in height but in length), uses both forms of letters (capital and lower case), uses both types of letters (consonants and vowels), and is very curvaceous (when printed). Any guesses? Come-on, you should be able to figure it out.

You’ve been using it all your life. It’s a simple word. Said backwards, it’s a slang question (a bit of a stretch), a comment and a short form of plurality. And it’s the most important person in the world (when seen from your own perspective).

Give up? Stay tuned for the answer in the next few days. And the oh-so interesting description of word #2…..

Simplicity. Efficiently defined.

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Required?

Why can I not search for what I want to search for? Why can I not see what my friends are saying? Why must I be subjected to results and information that are filtered and are not necessarily reflective of what I want to find? In an effort to organize information for the masses, the thrill of finding a lost nugget has all but disappeared. How often do we seek and truly find what we desire instead of what someone else has paid for us to see?
Technology has progressed sufficiently that information should be readily available to us based simply on what we are looking for. That is not the case. We are no longer able to determine relevance by ourselves. We are no longer able to decide what matters to us unconditionally. The promise of the web was information to the masses. But what have we really received? Complex algorithms that determine we have incorrectly spelled what we are searching for (even though we haven’t), that determine we are really looking for the highest paying advertiser or that just plainly seek to promote what it believes is relevant. I know what’s relevant to me as I’m sure you do. Why is that ignored?

Give me functionality that performs as promised and that is easily understood. The less strokes, the better. The fewer clicks, the better. Minimal random noise is preferred. If I want to see the weather, show me the weather. If I want to search for a car dealer, show me a car dealer. But don’t show me a car dealer selling and AWD car just because I checked the weather and it’s supposed to snow. Let me determine what I see. Let me be the filter. Let me decide!

Give me functionality that’s lightweight, simple and fast and that’s representative of my true requirements.

Simplicity. Efficiently defined.

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