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Social Media Exposure Positive for Valve CEO

June 3, 2010

I was lurking around Reddit this evening to find something interesting to read while trying not to hyperventilate and crumble after my second run in over a month (I’m weak). This headline got my attention (Warning, NSFW comments in the thread): What happens when you email the CEO of Valve Software more than once?

Here’s the email chain that comprises the post, and I think you will agree that it is very positive press for Gabe Newell with his target audience (buyers of his software) and all he did was reply to a couple of emails.

sockpuppet wrote:

Hey Gabe when people email the AT&T CEO more than once they’re sent a cease and desist letter. What happens if I email you more than once?

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM, Gabe Newell gaXXX@valvesoftware.com wrote:

Don’t know. Let’s find out.

My response:

I should warn you my attorney is Saul Goodman. I will vigorously defend myself against your legal threats if required, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

His response:

from Gabe Newell gaXXX@valvesoftware.com

to sockpuppet date Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 12:27 PM

I am looking out the windows of my 10th floor office (the office is the entire 10th floor, if that wasn’t clear, as it needs to be large enough to contain all of my awesomeness). It appears that the hounds have been released, as well as the ninjas (with some of the smaller and more agile ninjas riding on hounds), but no cease and desist letters, so you’re good on that front.

Gabe

What went right here isn’t that the Redditor with the “sockpuppet” email put this online; he was so happy to get such a response from Gabe that he will definitely be one of those “tell three” people…even though sockpuppet told at least 1,117 (the amount of Redditors who bothered to push the ‘upvote’ button on the post). What Gabe did right was engage in like manner with ‘sockpuppet;’ clearly the two emails to Gabe were in good fun and Gabe responded in kind. Had the emails been about business, I trust Gabe’s response would have been…well, businessy.

That ‘sockpuppet’ posted the email chain is free targeted advertising for Gabe, especially when you consider the large population of videogamers like me who read Reddit. Here’s one:

If you’re serious, Gabe is seriously the coolest motherf*&er in the games industry.

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Dennis Blair the Intel HR Mistake

May 24, 2010

“Blair arrived at a DNI that was bloated, with a staff of several thousand, that had already calcified, institutionally, and lacked support and authority. It proved too difficult for him to break apart firewalls.  Certain things did not make sense…”

This is from Thursday’s article in The Atlantic about Admiral (Ret.) Dennis Blair’s resignation as Director of ODNI. While it’s tempting to slam bureaucratic systems for behaving like bureaucracies, my interest in the Blair story is it highlights the recurring problem of selecting folks for jobs just because they were successful at any number of other jobs, setting them (and their organizations perhaps) up for failure.

Ret. Admiral Blair

From what I read in the news and hear from the IC, it sounds like Blair made fateful political mistakes that could have been avoided with better preparation for the job. But it’s not like new government leaders are given in-briefs on how to play nice with Rahm Emanuel. Blair’s mistakes could also easily be blamed on “the system.” But which system, exactly, is at fault?

Blair is a decorated sailor and respected former leader of countless organizations. The phrase I quoted above probably didn’t surprise Blair on his first day when he arrived at NCTC; one can assume that he saw being its director as a fresh challenge he wanted to blow out of the water. But instead he couldn’t make find his way and so quit, something that might be his career first and probably one of the toughest decisions he’s made as a civilian. So I don’t blame him for failing to bring his kid gloves to the CIA and White House.

It is apparent to me that there is some HR lever that allows for the hiring non-bureaucratic bureaucrats, non-political figures to politic. Was it just an inaccurate position description that lured Blair in? Or another decision maker’s bad hiring judgment? More importantly, will it be flipped off now so that the wrong guy isn’t selected for the job again? As a taxpayer and someone interested in the success of the next ODNI, I would like to know who is responsible and what they are doing about the issue of the government system still (consistently, in my mind) not selecting the right people for jobs.

But the Washington Post’s own editorial is titled “Blair’s Replacement has Problems to Solve,” and rehashes some of the big problems Blair wasn’t able to solve during his tenure before he quit/was asked to leave. But show me one organization anywhere that doesn’t have problems. Without problems, we wouldn’t need leaders! The WaPo editor at least notes that Blair had “poor management” and  “was the product of personal as well as institutional failings.” But how about putting that under the headline “OPM, NCTC Still Searching for Capable Leader.” That’s what I wish these taxpaying, government-dissing journalists would chew on for a while.

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Kung Fu Bear w/ Bo!

May 23, 2010


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What I Did on my Sick Day

May 21, 2010

I was laid up for most of Tuesday and half of Wednesday, possibly from food poisoning. I had to lie very still to avoid the stabby feeling in my guts.  I’m all better now and on the good side, I had hours and hours of uninterrupted research time on the Internets.

Here’s what I was up to:

  1. Turning over all accounts and files related to the website I created
  2. Looking into free data analysis and visualization tools and resources
  3. Taking online classes in the C programming language from this guy on YouTube
  4. Fiddling with Yahoo Pipes for a media monitoring effort
  5. Lots of lying and sleeping in the mummy position – Michael called me Paigepalegic

Here’s what I learned:

  1. It’s useful to go through the motions of implementing a business idea just to go through the motions of exiting; my website was literally and virtually a ‘business in a box’ for someone else. Cha$hing! I’ll go ahead and give credit here to someone I learned a lot from in this: Jarom Adair.
  2. IBM sponsors a bunch of cool research geared towards collaboration and visualization. And it makes its stuff easy to find, hoping someone will come up with a brilliant way to apply or reason to further develop protoypes. Check out this site, a NY Times site deployment, this one, and these three Twitter feeds.
  3. C really is a lot easier than HTML or CSS, the two languages I can claim I know other than English and non-verbal body.
  4. Yahoo Pipes looks deceptively easy.
  5. I love being physically active and am thankful that I still have the ability to run, bike and paddle around on this blue-green Earth!
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Obama Commencement Speech Right On

May 9, 2010

I’ve copied and pasted the following from this AFP news release. What I like about it is that Obama is noting to the graduating class of Hampton College seniors in Virginia that their education enhances their ability as a responsible citizen to think critically about actionable information in a time of information overload.

Obama argued that from the days of the pioneer politicians who founded the United States, until the modern day, education and knowledge had been the key to progress and US democracy.

He drew a line between Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and today’s challenges.

“What Jefferson recognized… that in the long run, their improbable experiment — called America — wouldn’t work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn’t have the best interests of all the people at heart.

“It could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged, if we held our government accountable, if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship.”

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Weekend Wrap-Up

May 5, 2010

I may as well start on Friday, when I was duped by a friend into running 3.2 miles under the flag of the Crystal City Friday 5k. I did not know how far 5k is until finishing at around 31 minutes. I walked several times and near the end walked right up to and past a cameraman. I have no pride when it comes to competing in endurance sports.

Within the last mile, a girl came jogging up behind me and tapped my arm and gave me a smile for moral support. She said “Let’s go catch the girl in the pink shorts” (about 10 yards ahead of us). I was so ashamed about not having an excuse to just be slow that I sprinted past the herd as she and others groaned “Oh, come on! Really?!” I walked a couple more times, but never long enough for those masochists to catch up.

On Saturday Michael and I rolled out of bed and up to the roof to catch some rays. I also caught up on my statistics. When we got hungry, we headed to our favorite sandwich place in Clarendon, Earl’s. We used Michael’s iPhone to “check in” on Yelp and enjoyed a Cuban and Italian in the out-door seating on Wilson Blvd.

Shaky due to us moving with the music!

I met up with my mom to catch 70s-inspired rock jam band My Morning Jacket at the Merriweather Post Pavillion with center seat tickets courtesy of a work pal who couldn’t use them. If you think we look alike, you’re wrong.

Sunday was a blur of sleeping in, shopping for kayaking schtuff at REI, Vietnamese fare at Eden Center followed by a food coma, then a couple of episodes of my new favorite show available on Netflix “Lie to Me.” Check it out!

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What’s Funny on the Internet: Chubbles

April 27, 2010

I really hate to do this, but I LOL’d and now feel obligated to spread my shame of cruel humor felt from this Internet meme. For those of you who spend more time sleeping than on the Internet, an “Internet meme” is something – usually ‘annoyingly inane’ – that for some reason or another has caught on with hard-core Web surfers.Meet Chubbles. She’s chubby. She’s running. She’s holding bubbles. And she’s been ‘Photoshopped’ into all sorts of exciting scenes.

Here she is detonating a bomb.

Running from hungry bears.

And here’s Chubbles bonding with the Jurassic Park gang.

Know your memes. Go to knowyourmeme.com.

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