Owning a Tablesaw Doesn’t Make You a Carpenter

The current Hammock Idea Email uses several analogies that remind us of something we should all know by now, but keep trying to convince ourselves isn’t true: that “tools” are only as good as the people who use them. Don’t just “get” tools. Learn how to use them.

What “desktop publishing” was to the 1990s, “content marketing” or “social media marketing” can be to today. As with the desktop publishing myth, a company can purchase all of the software and mine all the data, only to discover that it is the talent, experience, creativity, skills and intelligence of the people using those tools that will determine the success or failure of an organization’s marketing.

(I encourage you to read the rest: “Great marketing isn’t the result of the tools you use. Great marketing is the result of who’s using the tools.“)

The Confederate Flag is NOT a Part of Who I Am

By birth, choice and the grace of God, I am a Southerner.

I grew up in Alabama and have spent most of my life in Tennessee. In other words, I’ve lived all my life way down yonder in the land of cotton. My love of the South is about home, family and place. It’s about language and literature. It’s about football. It’s about the creativity and cadence found in the way people paint pictures when they recount even the simplest of stories. It’s about food and the aroma of the places where food is prepared. It’s about music. It’s about so many of the people I love. It’s about those things, and so much more.

But my love of the South has nothing to do with the Confederate flag and the racism it so thoroughly symbolizes.

In the wake of the Charleston Church killings on Wednesday night, the state of South Carolina should stop flying the Confederate flag on the grounds of the state capitol.

But let that be just the start. Get rid of the symbol from any state flag or any crest or any shield from any state. And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that states can deny Confederate flags from being on vanity license plates, those states that have them, starting with Tennessee, should get rid of them as soon as possible.

I am NOT suggesting the purging of history. I am advocating the purging of the glorification of a mythological history that never existed.

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Every Post About Leadership on LinkedIn Sounds Just Like This

Apparently, someone has been telling business executives they need to become a “thought leader” by posting a “thought leadership” essay on their LinkedIn account.

They apparently are confused by the challenge, thinking they are supposed to write about leadership. Being leaders, they assign the essay to a summer intern, as, well, summer interns are experts on social media, right? And therefore, they know about LinkedIn, right? So who else should write an essay about thought leadership?

Or, at least, I hope that’s the reason every essay about leadership on LinkedIn sounds this bad:

Thoughts on thought leadership

According to the Oxford Dictionary, leadership means jumping in at the front of the line right before it starts moving. Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mark Twain and Richard Branson all said something about leadership. Especially, Richard Branson.

Perhaps one of them said one of these. If not, they should have.:

It’s not the journey, it’s the destination.
It’s not the money, it’s the stuff money buys.
Always be agile, bold and people-focused.
And get a mentor.

Be like Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. But for some reason no one has quite figured out yet, especially be like Richard Branson.

And don’t forget: You’ve never heard a successful person on their deathbed say, “I wish I’d spent more time in the office and less time with my children.” That’s because they’re unconscious and on life support. And, come to think of it, how many successful people have ever invited you over to hang out with them while they’re on their deathbeds?

That Buzz You’re Hearing in Music From Nashvile Isn’t Static

A couple of months before it opened in 2013, my cousin’s husband (my first-cousin-in-law?) gave me an incredible tour of Nashville’s impressive new convention center, the Music City Center. (He was a supervising engineer on the project.) In the album of photos I posted on Flickr, I included a shot of four acres of its roof planted with prairie grasses; a part of its water collection system. (There are many more acres of solar panels and other green-things, also.)

music-city-centerEarlier this week, I heard this story on Nashville’s public radio station, WPLN, about a volunteer beekeeper who has helped install and is managing honey bee beehives on that roof. The hives were an idea the center staff borrowed from a convention center in Vancouver. (Sidenote: My suggestion for something else Nashville should borrow from Vancouver: Their understanding of the importance of bicycles in urban planning.)

bee-keerperAccording to the story, the Music City Center’s roof-bee population has quickly grown to 200,000+ and the honey they will produce (about 350 lbs. a year) is being used in the Music City Center’s kitchens and as part of the center’s marketing efforts.

Most surprising thing in the story: there were over 20 million bees in downtown Nashville already, even before the arrival of the Music City Center hives.

Continue reading That Buzz You’re Hearing in Music From Nashvile Isn’t Static

Three things I’ve learned from blogging for the past 15 years

These things also come from just being around for a lot longer than 15 years.

I post them today after seeing reports of a controversy that is strange, only because it’s in Nashville, my home for the past four decades. Dueling tech conference organizers are quite common in other places.

While I am not attending either conference, in brief, here’s what happened. A locally organized conference was the scene yesterday of some trash talk by a country music star (who is very smart and is a savvy business person, but whose schtick and music is of the bro-country genre) and a successful tech entrepreneur who loves to shock people by using lots of profanity when speaking before groups (disclosure: I like this person, but don’t endorse his approach to panel talk).

As the target of the trash talk was a Tennessee native who is now a well-known tech journalist and media entrepreneur, it didn’t take long for her to let the dogs out.

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