Friday, December 18, 2009

Year in Review 2009

At the beginning of this year and then halfway through it I promised I'd blog more... well, I didn't. And that's OK.
As my friend Marcos said, as long as I don't post that I will post more often, it will all be OK.
On that note I wanted to write down some of my thoughts on 2009.
  1. 2009 sucked!
  2. 2009 was ok.
  3. 2009 was Awesome!!
I guess that pretty much covers it then...

Looking back this was a year with ups, downs and all around.
The year started coming out of a bloody economic beating with a lousy job market full of storm clouds. Some mild depression on the overall world situation and no signs of improvement.

A third of the way through, the year started improving. New managers, some travel to places like Alaska and Miami to keep myself entertained and some very interesting career opportunities came up that were worth a second look.

The last third of the year was probably the best on a professional level. One of those opportunities DID work out and thus I moved from an operational role, where I felt like I had seen it all before to a very exciting new role in the company's marketing team for Latin America. The past 4 months have had me learning a lot about our business and teams in the Latin America regions and getting to travel enough to keep my wanderlust in check. At the same time, there's a bunch of good things going on with the rest of my family, since my dad and wife both got new jobs that have provided them too with new energy.

As the year comes to a close, I am looking forward to 2010 since it promises some very interesting challenges and new opportunities... It's not 12/31 yet, but I think it's time to start popping the cork on some bubbly...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A New Hope

After a VERY long absence from Blogging I'm back. During the past few months I got the opportunity to do a lot of introspection and examination of my choices so far.
During that time I didn't feel like blogging about it, but after some time I am feeling a lot better about everything.
I have changed roles and found a place where I feel much happier about my work and what I'm doing. I'm meeting a bunch of new people that share parts of my background and am also getting to spend time traveling outside of the office, which keeps me energized.
Overall I will try to keep up more with my blogging and write about my travels and places I get to visit (especially where I get to eat at and visit).
As the year winds down, I'm very upbeat on 2010.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Creative Destruction: Executive Job Edition

As we hear of the growing unemployment in the country one thing that I have been noticing lately is that in the large numbers of jobs disappearing during the past few months, the majority of these jobs have been from within the rank and file. It's possible that one more reason we find ourselves in the terrible economic situation we're in is that not enough Director and VP level jobs have been lost in large companies (at least that is until now, since companies are now having to start cutting more across all levels).

The reason I believe this has been an issue is that during the last few years VPs and Directors at most large companies have been very handsomely rewarded for riding out a growing economy that provided positive results overall. This made it easy for them to keep a high paying job that became comfortable for them. In some cases Senior VP's are compensated even higher than the CEOs of the companies they work for, prompting them to stay put and enjoy the ride.

As the economy started deteriorating these same executives made significant cuts in their teams that allowed them to keep their large bonuses. This reduction showed positive short term results, while hamstringing the company in the long run. Now, as the companies are forced to realign once again, we are starting to see some of these execs leaving the company voluntarily or involuntarily.

The key thing to consider is that I have rarely heard of a good executive remaining unemployed for longer than 3-6 months (unless they chose to take a break). In many cases executives with proven track records get hired to lead larger organizations and continue to develop their skills and grow existing businesses. But probably the most important piece that we now require are those other executives who decide to start their own business.

These newly "promoted" CEO's are what we need more off in today's economy. As they develop a new company, they require a new batch of managers and executives to help them run the company. The best place to find them is in their old company or in the large group of recently laid off employees out in the marketplace. As the company grows these new managers and VP's need to build teams below them. This "circle of employment" is what will help us leap out of the current recession.

Companies that have laid off employees from their middle layers will struggle to come out of the downturn, since they will face a serious lack of future leadership. While in turn, companies that have made cuts across the board will generate new businesses from their alumni and continue to provide growth and opportunities within the company, by vacating senior and executive positions alike.

As I look at some of the new legislation coming out of Washington, I hope to see pieces in it that will help small businesses to grow stronger. I also hope that as companies are forced to cut their workforce, more of these cuts will impact the executive suite in turn providing opportunities for new leadership to drive us out of today's mess.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Start Me Up: iTunes/iPod Shuffle Psychic

Found this, while surfing a blog and thought it'd be fun to do:
1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the 'next' button to get your answer. (or listen to each song, like I did.)
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.

1. What do your friends think of you?
Drive in Drive Out - Dave Matthews band
(I guess I'm not as good a friend as I thought :))

2. If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
We Never Change - Coldplay
(That is probably the most Zen you will hear me be)

3. How would you describe yourself?
You're the Inspiration - Chicago
(Yep, that sounds like me... egocentric as can be)

4. What do you like in a guy/girl?
Breakdown - Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers
(Don't even know where to start on this one)

5. How do you feel today?
Lo que el Viento se Llevo (What the wind took) - Diego Torres
(Ok, I could see that. It's been a slow day)

6. What is your life’s purpose?
Jive Talkin' - Bee Gees
(Now THAT explains so much)

7. What is your motto?
Superstar - Andrew Lloyd Weber (from the Jesus Christ Superstar Soundrack)
(I guess my iPod thinks I really love myself too much!)

8. What do you think about very often?
Ticket to Ride - The Beatles
(Isn't the economy on all our minds these days?)

9. What is 2 + 2?
Dick Almighty - 2 Live Crew
(Ok, no comment... at least this didn't come up in the next question. That would have been bad!)

10. What do you think of your best friend?
Cherry - O - Urban Roots
(Cherries are sweet!)

11. What do you think of the person you like?
Interlude -DJ Logic
(Not sure what this means exactly, but I'm going with it. Wondering if things are off by a song)

12. What is your life story?
Could we Start Again Please - Andrew Lloyd Weber (from the Jesus Christ Superstar Soundrack)
(Hmm, VERY interesting! I didn't think it was THAT bad.)

13. What do you want to be when you grow up?
No One Needs to Know - Shania Twain
(I hope that at least I find out... but in the meantime, I fully agree)

14. What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Too Marvelous For Words - Frank Sinatra
(Awesome match!)

15. What will you dance to at your wedding?
Starlight Express - Andrew Lloyd Weber
(Since I already danced a different song, I was wondering how close this would be... pretty far unfortunately)

16. What will they play at your funeral?
I Can't Tell you Why - The Eagles
(Hmmm...)

17. What is your hobby/interest?
If - Bread
(Guess the question should have been IF I had a hobby)

18. What is your biggest fear?
The Book - Sheryl Crow
(Hmm, I have a lot of books... wonder which)

19. What is your biggest secret?
Why Can't we be Friends - War

20. What do you think of your friends?
Fanky - Charly Garcia
(Maybe he meant Funky... that would be accurate)

21. What will you post this as?
Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones

Your turn - hyperlink your post in the comments. And...GO.

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Random things about me

This is based on the Facebook "viral" get to know me campaign.

1. I feel lucky every day to wake up next to my wife and notice that I'm blessed to have her in my life.

2. My family rocks. I learnt the value of hard work from my dad, how to be a good person from my mom, and sharing from my sister. Most of all, my grandparents taught me the most important lessons. Humility and love are the key to a good happy life.

3. I'm an impatient person. I have to consciously force myself to wait for things when they take too long.

4. I love having long dinners with good friends and family. It's not done enough in the States, but a 2 hour dinner in good company makes for a wonderful night.

5. I believe in actions. Words are very easy for people to say, but most often their actions don't match the words.

6. I think that Free Market Capitalism is the best economic system available. I am reading Atlas Shrugged for the second time to remind me why this is true, no matter what the people in the media say.

7. The TV Media sucks! Only news program I can tolerate to watch is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Also, News 8 Austin is a channel I appreciate because of the focus on local events, including the good things in town, not just the sensational, gory stories.

8. I pull band aids off very quick and dive into the pool when the water is really cold just to get it over with. I hate to draw out suffering. It's easier for me to get something bad over with and just move on than it is to delay pain.

9. The toughest times in my life are what have made me the strongest. Moving to Mexico when I was young, and then getting laid off from my favorite job were the 2 toughest moments that I can recall. They are both the best examples of dealing with adversity.

10. Living in Montana for 6 months during the winter taught me that I can adjust and enjoy anything. Even the cold of weather. I had some of the best 6 months and met great people, while there.

11. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I figure I'll discover it when the time is right. In the meantime, I'll continue doing what I'm doing.

12. Life is too serious to be taken seriously. Laughing at it is one of my biggest joys.

13. I wasn't a cat person until Fletch came into my life. Now, as much as he can annoy me sometimes (like at 5 am when he walks on top of me), he's made me discover how awesome a cat is.

14. I still want to get a dog. I read Marley and Me and saw a lot of episodes of "It's me or the dog" and the thought that kept running through my mind was 'I want one!'

15. I can't wait to be a dad. It terrifies me, but I feel that given my awesome family I should have a good recipe in my hands.

16. I love discovering new places, I hate sitting in planes or cars waiting to get there. (see #3)

17. Only exception to #16 is traveling on a cruise ship. It's impressive to feel like I'm in a moving city.

18. I was really disappointed when I was coached at work on being less passionate about what I do. I think passion should be in everything we do for it to be worth it.

19. I think Suburbia is overrated, but at least it's priced accurately for what it is. I'd rather live downtown, but can't justify it.

20. Only tool I know how to use is a hammer... Did you know you can put screws in with a hammer too?

21. My biggest fear is to live with too many regrets.

22. I love to cook for other people, but I'm usually afraid that my food will be inedible, so I only experiment on my wife.

23. I want to live in Hong Kong some day and learn to speak Cantonese.

24. I was afraid of speaking in public until I got to translate a speech for the Argentinean Delegation of a Youth Forum at the United Nations... I was sick to my stomach for days afterward, but looking back it was a great experience.

25. "Walk hard down life's rocky road... That's my creed... that's my code!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My favorite Austin reporter has moved on

For those of you who live in Austin and have Time Warner Cable, I would be surprised if the name Amy Hadley didn't ring a bell.

Amy has been for the past 5 years or so one of my favorite news reporters / anchors on News 8 Austin. The channel is usually one of the 2 we watch at home on a regular basis (the other being Comedy Central).

Lately I'm extremely critical of the news media, since I believe they're extremely biased, sensationalistic (is that even a real word?) and inaccurate, but I'll leave the soapbox for a different post.

What made me a big fan of News 8 was their constant focus on community news and even looking for ways to bring stories that showed there's still good people out there. Out of all their anchors, Amy Hadley was probably our favorite. She has the most adorable smile and seemed to be always in a great mood and loving life for all her stories. From her segments on Forever families, making foster kids shine for their inner greatness to the high energy "Fit for Friday" pieces that had her doing everything from boot camp routines to ice skating to rock climbing to even crazier activities.

We will really miss seeing her on News 8 Austin, but are sure that she will do great in her future activities, and hopefully we'll see her lighting up living rooms across the country in the near future.

Good Luck Amy! And we can keep up with her adventures on the following address:

http://www.amyhadley.com/blog/

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 New Year's resolutions

Now that the New Year's eve party is over, and the house has been cleaned up (at least enough to continue living in it...), the damage has been fixed and the year is back into gear. I thought I'd write down a few resolutions for 2009 that I hope to continue to work on.
  1. Work on something I'm passionate about: I started trying to find more meaning in my work last year, and I feel like I have gotten closer. As 2008 came to a wrap I was able to discover more and more what makes me tick. I will continue to search for this during 2009, even in a tough economy I believe I should be able to find something that will excite me in the mornings.
  2. Exercise more / Lose weight: Ok, this is on every year's list, but I still want to keep it as number 2 for me. I'll be signing up tomorrow for a gym that's close to my house to avoid the common (and bad) excuse of "it's too far". While diets provided some weight loss last year, none of it was permanent enough. Besides working out does make me feel better (after the muscle pain goes away!)
  3. Blog at least once a week. I wonder who reads this most of the time, but I mostly write this as a reminder to myself.

I'll start out with these 3 and if I really make them all happen I may add more, but in the meantime I'll have something to run to.

Happy 2009!