February 28, 2007

Get Networked!

"Your network is your net worth."

This is a quote from Tim Sanders book Love is the Killer App, and it's been something on the for front of my mind. I've been working on actively building my network recently, and it takes work. When you see it in a book, and talk to people about it, it seems easy. But what I'm realizing as I go through this process is Tim means more than just getting connected with all the people you know. I've been working on building my network with people I trust, share passions with, and feel that I can help me and that I can help. And that's the escense of the hard part, because the second really has to come before the first.

When adding people into my network, the best way to have them become a part of my network is by first giving of myself in some way...and that takes work. I'm already busy with work, with family, with fixing up the house, and living life in general...so it's hard. But I'm also finding that it's worth it, because it really does generate a return. Recently the people in my network have been sharing new ideas with me, and giving back.

One of the recent examples of this was feedback that was posted on my LinkedIn profile (I was working on my profile this week because of entry on Guy Kawasaki's blog about giving your LinkedIn profile an extremem makover). As I was making over my profile, I asked two people that I respect to leave feedback on me. Not only did they leave feedback within the same day, but the feedback was more than I could have ever expected. Here are both of them:

“Kevin was a senior Systems Engineer and was designated project manager for a major system installation at one of the country's largest indoor arenas. The project was technically complex, and the customer was challenging -- in part because it was really two customers, both a hockey team and an NBA team. Kevin managed a large team that numbered 20 or more at its peak and completed the project on time and within budget. He dealt with all of the extraordinary customer challenges as well as with what was then the largest ASP installation of point of sale in the world. Kevin's success led to his subsequent appointment as Field Services Manager, responsible for a team of nearly 50 people who installed the company's systems throughout the U.S. and the world. In this role he had four to six direct reports whom he had to lead, challenge and mentor. He quickly earned the respect of all who worked for him as well as a large customer base. Kevin is an intelligent, dedicated manager with an extraordinarly strong sense of responsibility. He gets the job done and wins the respect of customers and co-workers in the process. He is a man of exceptional character, and that character quickly becomes apparent to all who work with him.” February 27, 2007
Karl Willig, President & CEO, InfoGenesismanaged Kevin indirectly at InfoGenesis

“Kevin is a true subject matter expert in point-of-sale as it relates to the hospitality and food service systems management market. I have nothing but positive reviews to give in all aspects of our business relationship with Kevin, and would retain his services again at any time, without hesitation. Kevin consistently gets things done, and works well with our customers and clients. He has the experience and knowledge to overcome almost every obstacle that we encountered with client sites and difficult customers. I have never known Kevin to mislead either his customers or clients, nor his employer. He is honest and truthful to a fault, which is rare in today's business climate, and his ethics are beyond reproach.” February 27, 2007
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
Ken Davishired Kevin as a Business Consultant in 2004, and hired Kevin more than once

Karl and Ken are two people I respect highly, and value their opinion and insight. So these were both recommendations that I am really grateful for.

Yo, Get Networked!

February 26, 2007

Road Show

I was just perusing this blog from a guy I know, Deyl, and found this cool website called TravBuddy. It highlights all the places you've traveled to, and lists the percentage of the world that you have traveled to.

I feel like I do a lot of traveling, and seeing that I have only been to 7% of the world makes me want to travel more.

Here is the list of places that I would like to go, and continue to update the places I've visited. These are in no specific order, as that order generally changes depending on the time of year and time of life.

1. Costa Rica
2. Brazil
3. Argentina (summer skiing)
4. Switzerland
5. France
6. Spain
7. Italy
8. Greece
9. Czeck Republic
10. Isreal
11. Egypt
12. Kenya
13. South Africa
14. Japan
15. Denmark
16. Russia
18. Ireland
19. Thailand
20. Botswana
21. Australia
22. New Zeland

I guess i better get going, because there are a lot of places I want to go!

February 20, 2007

Snow Day

For President's Day weekend Chrystal, Brody, and I went on our annual ski trip to Utah. My college buddy David has family in Salt Lake City that we stay with - which is great because it means we don't have to pay for a hotel. His father-in-law Frank also feeds us like kings every night, which is pretty awesome. The last night we had elk loin, which was so good. I'd never had elk before, and it very tender and flavourful.

We had another dream ski day this year with fresh powder. The white stuff fell all day long, so the snow stayed fresh the entire day. Check out the video of us shredding it up. The order of shredders is David Wold, Jeremy Wold, and then me. David turns into a "super-shredder" when the video camera shows up, and I turn into a wanna-be super-shredder. I had a few slide outs on this run, but had a great time. If you watch closely you can also see Jeremy's friend Lucas take a little jump off the side of the screen. The video was taken by Matt Miller, which means he didn't get on camera...which is a shame because he's a bad boy on the double planks.

Of the four of us, I'm definitely in the worst shape and the least talented skier. But, the three of them are nice enough to wait around for me when needed and tolerate my incecent "holy crap my thighs are burning" comments. Every time we go skiing it makes me wish that we lived closer to the mountains so I could do more skiing. It's one of those sports that I really do love, but only get to do it once a year...maybe twice at most. Some day I hope to ski 20 to 25 days per year...one can dream!

February 14, 2007

Okay....so I really have sucked at my initiative to post regular blogs...sorry Andy. I'm still committed to trying to be better at it, so we'll see how it goes.

Happy Valentines day by the way! I didn't do a very good job of planning for Valentines this year. And to break the stereotype, I usually do pretty well at planning a fun and unique outing with Chrystal. But, this year I just was not on top of it.

My Valentine (aka "My Wife") came up with a great plan and we had an awesome time together. We both had a normal work day, outside of closing up shop at about 3:30 pm. As we are always trying to figure out if we are going to stay in Santa Barbara or leave to move somewhere else, we try and do fun "tourist" things when we can so that if we ever do leave it won't be the with the regret that we did not do SB. With that said, we did a very touristy thing today by taking the Santa Barbara Trolley Tour. It was crazy because we were running late, typical, and had to call the company and ask if the trolley would wait for us. Les from the trolley company was nice enough to have the trolley wait (which we quickly learned meant come back for us).

When Larry the trolley driver picked us up we realized that we were the only ones taking the 4:00 pm tour, and basically got a private tour of Santa Barbara. Larry was awesome, and gave us a great tour of Santa Barbara sharing all sorts of fun tidbits of knowledge about local places and local celebrities. We started at Stearns Wharf and stopped at many sites in Santa Barbara and Montecito. The trip was about 40 minutes, and I learned all sorts of new SB trivia. Larry also learned a few bits of trivia from Chrystal and I...which either makes us helpful or annoying...I'll leave it to Larry to make the call. It is amazing that you can live in a place for 12 years and not know some of the basic local history! For locals or tourists I would recommend Santa Barbara Trolley Tour as a fun outing.

After finishing the trolley tour, we met Cara and Brody for dinner at Rusty's Pizza for a heart shaped pizza. Seriously, we had a pizza in the shape of a heart. Chrystal and I then displayed our skill on two player miss Miss Pacman, which is a ton of fun for only 50 cents. Gotta love that inflation hasn't yet made it's way to vintage video games.

Since my awesome sister-in-law Cara took care of Brody for the night, my Valentine and I went to Coffee Cat and worked on a business plan for her new business idea. We had a great time and got through two pages of brain dump on the plan, goals and vision, key market segments, and growth potential. I get a kick out of doing that for projects that I'm passionate about, and this idea is one of them. I let you read her blog to find out what it is, assuming she blogs about it at some point. Anyway, we ended that night at Coffee Cat and just came home to be together. Though not an extravagant Valentines Day, it was a fun memorable one (and low cost which is important for us right now).

Thanks hon for the great night, and for taking the time to think of a fun family filled Valentines Day.

Hope the rest of you are as lucky as me.