I would rather …

I would rather die of passion than of boredom — Vincent van Gogh

March 30, 2014 marks Vincent van Gogh’s 161 birthday. March 29 marks my considerable lower number birthday. I

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

didn’t know that van Gogh was also a “March Baby” until I was doing a bit of research about him after being taken with the quote which prompted me to write this post. But the timing, coupled with the inspiration, seemed an appropriate opportunity to write.

Dear readers, if you’re still there for me, know that in my absence I have been working hard to come up to speed in my newest endeavor. For those of you who may not know, I’m honored to be working with the Salesforce Foundation supporting the world’s best nonprofits and higher educators with their digital and social media programs. My only purpose at the Foundation is to help organizations – amazing, inspiring, and excellent organizations – be even more amazing, inspiring, and excellent.

I’ve had many “I can’t believe this is my life” moments in the short time I’ve been working with the Foundation, and the promise of many more to come. But here’s the thing, I am also getting to feed my customers’ thoughts, challenges, and feedback to the incredible product team who is equally up for the challenge of building the future. It’s a thrill ride. It is the junction of my passion and my skills.

It is – simply – a #DREAMjob.

My involvement with my customers has already profoundly changed the way I view time. I’ve never had more to do – never – and yet I feel more invigorated than ever. Somehow, I’m also finding the time to give back to my community more than ever, taking up hobbies, learning a language, and enjoying my family deeply. Time has expanded in this even more deeply passion-driven version of my life.

In previous (and also awesome) roles, I was always busy. Hell, anyone who knows me knows I prefer to be at least a bit over-committed in my professional life. But this is a different level of busy, this is the kind of busy that is impossible, but worth trying. Worth really, really going for it. Why? Because I get to work with the people who are literally building the future.

I am honored. I am challenged. I am up for it.

Happy Birthday, Mr. van Gogh. And to you, whoever you are, may your day shine brightly and your talents expand to reach the challenges in front of you.

Learn more about the Salesforce Foundation, their 1/1/1 philanthropic model, and how their customers rock it out. And then spread the word. 

Have a thought, feedback, inspiration, or comment? Do tell!

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March 26, 2014 · 7:13 am

Today’s Goal: High Fives All Around!

Today, I’ve got some really juicy puzzles in front of me. And a big block of uninterrupted time to focus on how to re-engineer wonkiness into efficiency. Will I rock it? That’s the plan. And since today is National High Five Day, I hope you’ll all be available for a #VHF (virtual high five) when my work day is done to celebrate a day of puzzles solved, improved margins, and happier customers.

While you’re feeling the camaraderie, might I suggest that you consider supporting the American Red Cross today? Giving to those in need is the sweetest type of #VHF!

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Did I mention I…

Did I mention I love this stuff?

I woke up this morning with this thought in my head: My. Job. Is. AWESOME. I get to play with the coolest toys, help amazing companies be even more amazing, and learn something new every day. Life is GOOD. 

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March 28, 2013 · 9:36 am

It’s About You and Me and the Newness [MiniPost]

Meeting new people is a gift.

Figuring out the ways you connect, your similarities, detecting differences, and considering how your future may change as a result of this catalyst can be exhilarating. In those same initial moments, you may also be confronted with your own shortcomings from a completely new perspective. This mirror-view is made possible by the unique chemistry created by the newness of the connection in front of you.  These new connections tend to shed light on the best parts of yourself as well as your opportunities for improvement.

Why the MiniPost?

Well, recently I’ve been lucky enough to get to hang with an entirely new bunch of people. Because I’m a consultant, I do get to meet new people pretty frequently, but it’s rare to have any significant amount of time with the people I meet to simply ‘hang’. So, when given the opportunity to connect in real life to new people, I’ll take it  – with a vengeance!

We started out a group of strangers, and over the course of just a few days working, eating, and socializing together we came to genuinely know each other. And – for my part – I really liked the lot of them.  But just as fascinating as it was to meet a completely new bunch of people who I respected and enjoyed, it was almost as if I was “re-meeting” myself. It got me to thinking:

novelty breeds clarity.

In this clarity, I remember things about myself I’d forgotten. Good and Bad. It’s in those moments of newness that each of us have the opportunity to reflect and refine who we are. As individuals and as organizations, we should take it.

Even though some of the realizations this clarity brings may be unpleasant, or less than flattering, isn’t it our responsibility to ourselves to relentlessly pursue the very best version of ourselves? By setting this pursuit as an unflappable goal, we then remove shame as an option when realizing there’s an area ripe for improvement. In fact, it makes that discovery rather exciting!

Thank you to my new colleagues and friends for reminding me that life is evolutionary. And that I still have plenty of room to evolve. May you find your own evolution just as exhilarating a proposition.

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This is very exciting [real edition]

Photo Credit: BeautifulPeopleATX [Flickr]This week marks a milestone for me. One year ago, I officially moved from being an “internal resource” and became “A Consultant”. Those that know me well know that I agonized over this decision before taking the plunge.

My previous gig was awesome. I had cool puzzles to solve, an expectation to be creative and the trust of leadership to do my things my way. Mostly, that’s a rare and beautiful thing, especially when you get all the best tools to play with. Add to that the fact that I was lucky enough to have some really passionate and dedicated folks on my team and, well, you’re in a post that is (if you’re like me) hard to abandon.

Esteban Kolsky was right

But I went for it anyway. And here I stand one year later absolutely certain that it was the best career move I’ve ever made. I love consulting. I love my clients. I love the insane deadlines and my new-found ability to rock a presentation that didn’t exist like 15 minutes ago. I love having (even more) of an inside scoop on what’s going on in the industry. I adore working with the analysts, bloggers, and product developers who are – literally – shaping tomorrow for the rest of us.

While at a Social CRM conference in Silicon Valley last year, I asked Esteban Kolsky how I’d know if “Going Consultant” was the right move for me. I was feeling very fragile as this was in the first weeks of having made the move. I probably looked like a human version of a newly hatched bird experimenting with its wings for the first time. Sad. Uncertain. Needy. Gross.

Anyhoo, Mr. Kolsky looked into my eyes and said (essentially): Give it a year. You’ll never look back.

On Going For It

I’ve given it a year and I’m not looking back. I love the velocity of the SCRM industry. I an thrilled to know and to meet and to work alongside the incredible people who are making magic happen every single day. I love that this community is so connected that in almost any city in almost any country I can reach out to folks I’ve connected with through our shared passion and have lunch, dinner, or coffee with a friend.

I’d wager Mr. Kolsky doesn’t remember this exchange. However, I won’t forget it. His (probably polite) encouragement coupled with my desire to strike out into new frontiers and the support of a truly amazing mentor all helped me to quiet the monsters of doubt. These monsters were the voices in my head who derided me for walking away from the Corporate America sure thing on the fast path to VP-dom. They’re silent now.

Have I been too busy this year? You bet! Have I (still) been a workaholic struggling with work-life balance? Absolutely. But I’m working on it. I really am. And in the meantime, I just love this stuff and I  can’t wait to see what the next 365 days holds.

Next Stop: The Hat Store

To those who are on this ride with me: thank you. For your support and encouragement and patience. You know who you are (and if you don’t, I’m taking the next week or so to let all of you know!). Without you, I’m nothing. Really.

So, what do the next 365 days hold? Who knows! I can wager, and I know what I’m excited to work on…but the industry is accelerating and life just isn’t guaranteed. My goal: hang on to my hat and swing for the bleachers. 

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July 9, 2012 · 9:03 am

Yeah, I Love This.

This weekend we held our third Annual Florida Salesforce.com User Group Event, “Dreamforce to YOU – Florida“. It was our most ambitious effort to date, with 12 sessions spanning from Project methodologies to a highly attended Developer Deep Dive session. We had two guest speakers this year, and with them onsite, it brought our Salesforce.com MVP count up to 4 – I speculated that meant we were likely the highest MVP count per capita on Saturday ( I could be wrong, but it was fun to think so!).

But the BEST thing – the most exciting moment – for me was when attendees stopped me in the hall and said things like, I can’t WAIT to try the new formula I just learned! or I think I may have just found a job!. That’s what this whole Community thing is about, really.

How did this happen?

I started attending the Salesforce.com Orlando User Group over 4 years ago out of desperation – I needed to find employees who were creative, passionate, and really really into Cloud Computing. I was having NO luck through traditional methods. Cloud computing was then (as it is now) a hot profession, and talented folks weren’t just sitting about hoping someone would call. So after trying to get my HR department fired up to help me (no luck at the time) and then outsourcing through local headhunters, I faced the hard reality that it. Just. Wasn’t. Happening.

My last ditch effort IMMEDIATELY paid off. I met my first hire at that first meeting. He was a super star (still is!) looking for his next new challenge. He was just the guy I was looking for: smart as a whip, creative as hell, and looking for a tough puzzle to solve. I had a really tough puzzle and we made it official as fast as I could get the paperwork pushed through. That was the beginning of a great era: the era of getting things done.

I credit the Salesforce.com User Groups for making that year ‘happen’. I know I’d never have been able to push the ball as far down-field without the Community.

From there, the User Group and the extended Community has personally brought me friends, new skills, creative ways to attack my org’s issues, camaraderie, and the constant drive to do better. I’ve connected to some of the smartest people I’ve ever met (and that, my friends, is saying something!) through this Community. I was happy to become a co-leader of the Orlando User Group when there was a need shortly after I joined the User Group. Since then, we’ve had three Dreamforce to YOU events, many local User Group meetings, socials, and impromptu meetups. It’s been a fabulous ride!

Why is Community #AWESOME?

The idea for Dreamforce to YOU was simply to bring a day of content and collaboration to our Orlando User Group members. Co-leader Joshua Hoskins and I had just returned from Dreamforce 2009 and were totally

out of our minds with enthusiasm. What struck us then (and still gets me now) was how quickly things were accelerating in this space. We thought our members would probably take a Saturday to get together to talk about it. We were right! The first Dreamforce to YOU has very little resemblance to the event we put on this year – but the bottom line is the same.

It’s GREAT to have the camaraderie, connections, creativity, and collaboration an active Community brings. If you have a passion, and want to surround yourself with the people who can help you become the best version of yourself in that space, search for an organized community. There are Communities for just about everything now … and thanks to the little ol’ interwebs, a quick search gets you all details you need to jump in.

Find YOUR Community. Then Jump In. If you do it with a vengeance, it’ll pay off in spades (for you and for the group). I promise.

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Filed under CRM Evangelization, Service, Social, User Group

Did You Need One More Reason to Get Hyped About Dreamforce To YOU – Florida 2012? You’ve Got It!

CRMjen:

We’re breaking out the big guns this year: MVP-led sessions, content galore … and TWO community members will win Dreamforce Global Gathering conference passes. I must say: that’s #AWESOME! Thanks to the rest of our incredible Event Team for their tireless work – working alongside you is a true joy. I can’t wait for Dreamforce to YOU – Florida!

Originally posted on Dreamforce to You - Florida!:

Are you STILL on the fence? 

We’re so excited to tell you that two (VERY LUCKY) Dreamforce to YOU – Florida attendees will win a conference pass to this year’s Dreamforce (Salesforce.com’s AMAZING Global Gathering) courtesy of our Platinum Sponsor, Silverpop. Yes, that’s right! We’re giving a conference pass to the Global amazing-ness that is DREAMFORCE (‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ here aren’t really considered over the top) to two of the Cloud enthusiasts attending Dreamforce to YOU – Florida. Of course, there is some fine print, but all of it is created to ensure we’re sending the folks that this event is intended to support – our Florida Salesforce.com Community.

You may be asking right about now: “How do I win?” 

That’s a fair question. You get a ticket to Dreamforce to YOU – Florida and show up on March 31. That’s about it. So long as you are eligible to win, you’ll be automatically…

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