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My Soapbox: Trust, Accountability, Empowerment: All that matters

Building relationships based on respect

People who have worked with me before have heard me on this particular soapbox quite a bit and for those I will suggest maybe they don’t need to read this particular blog. There will be nothing new here. That said, it is perhaps because I continue to hear stories from great talent I have met around the world that are working with people that still do not get it.

It is for these people that I write this blog.

Executives get busy and they get stressed. Markets start to squeeze and pressure mounts, causing many to revert to the old command and control techniques they used in prior decades. When the kitchen heats up, they forget the basics. I believe some need to be reminded of a basic principle that should be obvious to all: Organizations are successful when there is a strong relationship of respect among leaders at all levels.

Now, before I go further, let me be absolutely clear: effective leadership requires adapting your style from time to time to appropriately handle a given challenge. There are times for diplomacy, inclusion, and democracy (e.g., complex problem), and there are times for command and control (e.g., during an urgent crisis). However, underlying your leadership style, and regardless of the type of problem, the relationship of respect must prevail.

A relationship of respect requires three key elements: trust, accountability, and empowerment.

Every team that has worked with me over the past decade will have heard me speak explicitly of the three simple things that I feel are the most important elements of effective, increasingly global, teams. I sincerely hope that those that worked with me before that will see in this blog some of the elements of our team work that worked best even if we never put it to words.

Trust. Accountability. Empowerment.

You will notice that none of them involve bureaucracy, centralization, or added layers without added value! It also does not require being “nice”.


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Trust: We must build and maintain levels of trust across borders and business units, recognizing the unique strengths and backgrounds of each individual. In companies that are complex, especially with multiple business units and geographies, the absence of trust can cause money, time, and valuable resources to be wasted on duplicated efforts.

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Accountability: We must be a respectful organization and a collegiate one, but all of us must be held accountable as well. Accountability goes hand in hand with trust. When we all understand each other’s respective areas of responsibility and accountability, we create a culture of trust, and we can focus on the services and solutions we deliver and the goals we want to achieve without distraction.

It is important to note that accountability is as much about what is accomplished as it is about how it is accomplished. If you’re an a-hole, regardless of your delivery skills, people will find it hard to trust you and the relationship of respect will be difficult.

Empowerment-Zone.jpg.728x520_q85Empowerment: People must be allowed to make decisions and drive change without being micromanaged and without needing to get multiple approvals; they must be allowed to be leaders. Just as importantly, we must enable those whom we empower. Power without training is not a formula for success. Empowerment is about giving a person the ability to manage something tangible that adds value, but also about working with that individual to help him or her succeed.

Leadership is not easy, and successful teams are elusive to many people. But, with some basic focus on respect and these key principles, you will at minimum have the right foundation for success.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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Ready. Aim. Do it.

A New Beginning

Every day is a new beginning. All of life provides opportunities for new beginnings. Whatever has gone wrong, or right, in your life, you can begin again.
Jonathan L. Huie

New beginnings can be nerve wrecking. You spend years building a team, finding the people you can trust to get things done and do so in a values based manner. You drive strategy and create value for shareholders. And you check off so many boxes, proudly getting to a point where you can finally rest and look at the great things you and the team created …. and then you move on to the next challenge.

YIKES!! So much for resting.

“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time” Arnold H. Glasgow

If I’m honest with myself, I will admit that I will likely never get to truly resting until retirement (target TBD). The fact is, I love gnarly, complex, global challenges and am thankful I have found that in my new role.

Leaders at All Levels

Top 12 Quotes on LeadershipI am incredibly excited about this new adventure and will enjoy getting to meet the new teams around the world. One concept I have constantly addressed that I expect will be highly relevant here is the fact that everyone in today’s technology organizations must be leaders. From time to time, everyone will be called on to make decisions, act independantly, and respond to crises without time to go up the chain for days.

You can’t always wait for the guys at the top. Every manager at every level in the organization has an opportunity, big or small, to do something. Every manager’s got some sphere of autonomy. Don’t pass the buck up the line.
Bob Anderson

I blogged about this a while back with “Leaders at All Levels”

Chicago

Chicago

I LOVE Chicago, the place I have called home for so many years. And I love having the opportunity to give back to the community in which I love. Living in London over the past two years was an amazing adventure, the opportunity to more deeply explore another great city, and to work with colleagues in other European cities. While my prior role required that I moved to London for a while, I am confident that the relationships I built in Chicago will continue to grow. And, of course, I hope to see many of my friends from London throughout the year. Visit!!

As Marilyn Monroe said, “A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” So I expect my friends to trek on over to see me from time to time, share a lager or a cup of coffee, and warm my heart with their presence!

Let’s Go

Two great quotes come to mind as I contemplate the week ahead and my new adventure:

“If your work is becoming uninteresting, so are you. Work is an inanimate thing and can be made lively and interesting only by injecting yourself into it. Your job is only as big as you are.” George C. Hubbs

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” Henry Ford

I’ve enjoyed my time to reflect on the good and bad aspects of my prior leadership role, and the opportunity to give back via non-profit and civic consulting. But it’s time to go back to corporate, tackle this new and exciting challenge, and meet a new batch of great people with whom I hope to build something great.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections
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Adam at Sunset

This blog is a revision of a prior post.

#Foodie Review: Grace (Chicago)

Clearly I love food. Anyone that follows my blog or my tweets on Twitter understand this more than most. I love to eat, I love to dine out, and I love to experience new cuisines and restaurants. I have a low tolerance for bad food and no tolerance for bad service. Of course I can’t write a blog for every restaurant that I visit. So I’ve decided to do a series of comparison reviews. In some, the connection will be obvious. In others, perhaps less so. In the first of the series, I set out to find two restaurants that were of similar quality in food, decor, value, and service albeit different cuisines. In this case, also looking for strikingly different levels of activity and, likely, different levels of competition and long-term success. For the first pairing, I chose two upscale restaurants.

Today I focus on the first of the upscale restaurants, Grace, one of the West Loop’s premier dining establishments. As a comparison, I dined at Acadia and will subsequently do a full review of that South Loop spot.

A tale of two city restaurants … Grace and Acadia

Part 1: Grace

Grace
652 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60661

Summary: Recommended / Special occasions only.

This is one of the restaurants I have wanted to visit since moving back to Chicago. Everyone has heard of Chef Duffy’s fascinating and tragic history and rise to where he is now. You kind of want this place to thrive. But, this is Chicago, so backstory or not, the food and service must be stellar. And I was impressed. The food was spectacular. It was showy without being too over the top (I don’t really want a pillow on my plate). And I left more satisfied than when I dined at Alinea, albeit less so than L20 or Everest.

FOOD: 5

Very interesting presentations of each course. We all had the menu with meat and lots of it. We loved the heirloom tomato dish with a delicious whirl of sauce.  There was an amazing oyster dish that my friend Sherry thought was superb.  An artichoke dish could have been skipped but the meat dishes were amazing, including both lamb and beef. Wine pairings were good but not great, and I have yet to find a wine guy as good as Dan Pilkey, formerly of Ria. It is perhaps because of him that I find so many not up to par. (Let’s be clear here, I am not an expert and they certainly know more than I do, but the good ones bring you along with them and the wines fit perfectly with the meal.)

When I dine at these showy places, I often worry that the emphasis will be so much on presentation and flare that the food will be bad. Or, that the temperature will be off. That was not the case at Grace, and all of the dishes came out at good temp and high quality.

SERVICE: 4

Service was exceptional and well coordinated, albeit a bit practiced and “obvious”. My friend summarized service as “quite good but a little bumpy given the prices.  Could have been more precise.” I agree. At Les Nomades, service is amazing and the servers are there when you need them and almost invisible when you don’t. Here, and maybe this is more due to newness of the restaurant, the service seemed too much like they practiced and wanted to get it right like a routine. I kind of want them to seem a bit more like they are simply happy to serve us.  Overall, I think service was great. Nothing we needed was ever held back, transitions were smooth, and timing was on point. If I felt they were happy to be hosting us, I would have felt a tad better.

One note: The sommelier, as I mentioned above, was good but not the best. IMHO, she needs to learn to be less intrusive and a bit more nuanced in her interactions with the diners.

DECOR: 5

This is a beautiful, understated, classy establishment. I love the open and airy kitchen with bright woods and colorful spices on display. It’s fun to watch the activity in the kitchen without being overwhelmed by it as can be the case in some restaurants (I sat sweltering in front of the kitchen of Little Goat recently.) The room is small and thus not many patrons. You can have a conversation without screaming or worrying that your neighbor hears every word. Everything is tastefully presented.

VALUE: 3

This is a very very very expensive place. And I knew that of course before dining. It is in line with most places of this style and caliber but I still feel it is pricier than it needs to be. One caveat is that it has been a few years since I dined at Alinea and thus cannot vouch for whether that place and others have also gone up significantly. But, you get what you pay for and Grace is an experience more than a meal.

OVERALL: 4

Grace is a great addition to the West Loop culinary scene and its nice to have another high-end restaurant over there versus in the Gold Coast / River North area. Grace is ideal for a very special date, not business in my opinion. More for celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary. Given the prices, this clearly could not be a regular dining spot for most people and I personally would not see myself returning anytime soon given the tremendous number of other choices in Chicago, many of them significantly less pricey. That said, the chef’s story, the great food and tasteful decor, and the strong level of service make this highly worth trying if you are a foodie.

Stay tuned for review of Acadia in part 2 of this tale of two city restaurants.

More on the chef >> http://graphics.chicagotribune.com/grace/

Chef Curtis Duffy

Chef Curtis Duffy and Adam Stanley

In relationship with #foodies,

Adam

Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

For more reviews, go to my yelp profile here or find me on TripAdvisor with username ALSWharton.

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My Soapbox: Life is an echo

Karma

When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
Harold Kushner

Life is an echo.

Christmas is often the best time to see the true character of people. You see the good and the bad. You see those who find great joy in giving to family, to friends, and to those in need. You see those that seem to take joy mostly in receiving from family and friends. You see those that love unconditionally and show that love through physical and verbal manifestations of caring. And you see those that truly don’t seem to have an ounce of caring inside. Yes, the negative of Christmas is that sometimes it brings out the very worst in people or at least makes the bad that’s already inside much clearer. It highlights the negative like the bright lights on Michigan Ave in Chicago highlight the stores or the shiny garland and ornaments highlight Christmas trees.

Today, my soapbox message is a simple one and it is a message that has been delivered through centuries and ages. From spiritual leaders and deities, to actors, comedians, and politicians; and everyone in between. It is this: Doing good feels good. Loving feels good. Giving feels good. Supporting feels good. Commiserating feels good. Forgiving feels good. And, even better, in addition to feeling good you have the additional benefit that people return all of the above right back to you. Yes, absolutely true and proven time and time again is the Golden Rule that one does unto others as he or she wants done unto him; Do good. Feel good. Receive good.

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This is the time to forgive. This is the time to perform a random act of kindness. This is the time to love. This is the time to understand and ask questions. To listen. It is not the time to hold grudges or seek revenge. It is not the time to be angry or jealous. It is not the time to fight over material things or hurt feelings.
I’m posting on #karma today on my facebook page, LinkedIn, Instagram, and twitter. If you follow me on all, you will see several thought provoking images. Confucius, Jesus Christ, Buddha and several other great thinkers and spiritual leaders all seemed to believe that what goes around comes around and it is better to do good thing to do ill.

Thanks for reading another soapbox rant. Smile. What are your thoughts on karma or The Golden Rule? Have you experienced personally or through someone else the results of bad Karma? Seen someone blessed beyond imagining after doing good and giving sacrificially? Share below please. I would love to hear what you think.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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#Foodie Review: Sumi Robata (Chicago)

Summary: Not recommended / Needs to work on service.

I really really want to like this place. The food was tasty and flavorful. The drinks were innovative, unique, and well presented and cute little bottles. The location, on North Wells in the midst of lots of other great spots, was also appealing. However, something just was not right about the place. Worse, observing the staff and chef, I walked away with the general feeling it will never change. And thus, my initial thinking is that I would not recommend this restaurant. There are simply too many options in Chicago and, in my opinion, restaurants rarely get a second chance. That said, I will be watching to hear of improvements and focus on service to make this good restaurant great.

Sumi Robata
702 N. Wells
Chicago, IL

Sumi Robata Chicken

FOOD: 4

Food at the restaurant would most easily be described as tapas. Japanese tapas. Lots of grilled, some fried, and all very well seasoned items on the menu. Their twitter feed describes it as “A traditional robatayaki from Chef Gene Kato. Sumi, which derives from the Japanese word for charcoal, focuses on the tradition and skill of robata grilling.”

With four or five friends, you can easily sample the entire menu and taste all of the different flavors in foods that are available. The actual variety is a bit misleading, however, as there are several that to me seemed very similar. For instance, there are three or four  chicken dishes on the menu that all are presented quite commonly with very little difference between them. But, let me be clear: I do feel that the food is fantastic and nothing I am saying is meant to take away from the assessment of quality of the food.

SERVICE: 2

Service is the greatest problem with the restaurant and its not simply with the actual server that was assigned to our table. Rather, it was the experience. It was the pace, the timing, the way in which the menu was explained, and the overall experience dining at the restaurant. It felt, frankly, as if I was dining at a very amateur restaurant. A restaurant that was owned by someone who really loves to cook but has never been involved in actually running a restaurant. I felt as if I were participating in a Top Chef competition very early in the season. Lots of businesses started by ambitious entrepreneurs with amazing ideas but needing a little business acumen come to mind.

Back when Chicago was basically a city of steak and potatoes, menus were fairly straight forward. As food options expanded, great servers and hosts find ways to unobtrusively explain the concept to new diners. On my first visit to Girl and the Goat, seemingly eons ago, I keenly recall how the server went through the menu, gave us a sense of how many items to order, and gave us time to process the menu. This was not the case here. This place is kind of tapas style but uniquely so. Because Japanese tapas is a relatively new concept in Chicago it is very important that they explain to patrons what the experience might be like. We had a couple of awkward moments when orders were brought out and not explained. One of my guests waited patiently for her lamb while another enjoyed his plate with two pieces on it. Little did he know that he was eating both the lamb he ordered and the lamb she ordered. They had been combined on one plate. Ok, makes sense, but who knew? If I’m not clear, you understand how I felt at the restaurant!

DECOR: 2

In this area, I am told perhaps I did not experience the best of the restaurant as there is a space downstairs that is roomier. As it stood, the upstairs area reminded me a bit of a Chinese takeout restaurant with a few tables, or a Pret a Manger franchise. Basic wood tables, not much space. Nothing fancy or memorable. As I have said before, however, decor alone would never keep me away from a restaurant. Nor would it keep me from recommending. All other things being equal, however, I prefer a nice ambiance with my good food. And less noise.

VALUE: 3

Based on the good quality of the food, and considering the neighborhood, I would say this place is about average. As long as you know what to order based on your party, you can have a reasonably filling meal for less than $50 per person including a cocktail. Given I know that I could have had the same or better meal at other Chicago restaurants with better service and decor, I’m giving a 3 for value.

OVERALL: 3

I would not recommend this restaurant but would not turn people away from it either. There are too many nice restaurants in Chicago for me to tolerate average, but if I lived in the area and wanted a good, flavorful meal without having to get dressed up or impress anyone, I would certainly visit this place.

In relationship with #foodies,

Adam

Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

For more reviews, go to my yelp profile here or find me on TripAdvisor with username ALSWharton.

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ALS

#Foodie Review: TR Napa Valley (Chicago)

Summary: NOT Recommended / Needs overhaul or closure.

This review makes me a bit sad. I really want this place to succeed because Chicago needs more wine and cheese spots. Having just moved back here from London, I was excited to see this spot right across from high-end Oak Street shopping like Prada, Barney’s, and Tod’s. The street and area need more upscale coffee, wine, and “drop-in” dining spots for heavy shoppers (I am not one, but my partner is..). The first time I tried to go to TR, there seemed to be no one working there. I walked in and looked around and there was no one. Odd. The second time I went, we had decent glasses of wine and pitiful service, The third and my final attempt was last week. There was an incredibly friendly young man there who greeted me and brought me wine list and menu. I don’t remember his name but I do know that he was not the owner or sommelier and his knowledge of wine was fairly limited (kind of bad for a wine bar, but forgiven because he was very professional, courteous and friendly). While he tried his level best to make the experience pleasant, I remain hugely unimpressed by this place and suspect it will close.

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TR Napa Valley
61 E. Oak St
Chicago, IL 60611

The Good. The Bad. 

Good:
– Wine flights are generous pours and well worth it for the price of around $28 for three wines in a flight, about 125 ml each.
– Server guy was friendly if not overly knowledgable about either wine or cheese.

Bad:
– Individual glasses of wine are strangely RIDICULOUS. I mean like prices I saw in London at some of the private clubs like Annabel’s and Arts Club. The least expensive GLASS of wine was $24.
– Apparently only the owner really knows about the wine on offer and he does not seem to be there very often. Or at least, the three times I have tried he was nowhere to be found.
– they served Carr’s table water crackers with cheese, along with fig and other accompaniments that looked like they got them from Jewel’s or Dominick’s. Not to be a snob, but when I go for wine and cheese, I want something a bit more upscale than aisle 3 at the local grocer.
– hasn’t been there for long, but it is already looking dated. The flowers were dried out and looking sad. The paint was chipping.

Predicting this place will close soon unless the owner is independently wealthy and does this just for a hobby. I did hear there is a private club that is “invite only” with costs to rival the best clubs in New York and London. Good luck with that.

In relationship with #foodies,

Adam

Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

For more reviews, go to my yelp profile here or find me on TripAdvisor with username ALSWharton.

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ALS

#TechNotes: Adventures with LinkedIn

Alternative Title: How a phone “user error” resulted in great conversations

LinkedIn on AndroidScreenshot_2013-07-23-12-13-07

As you may have read, I purchased and now love my new Samsung Galaxy S4. I cannot see returning to the iPhone at this point and only really use my iPad for playing Clash of Clans (I admit it.) As with many men, when I first setup my new toy, I had to try everything. I went app by app and installed every app that had been on my iPhone, noting key differences between the iOS and Android versions.

After I installed LinkedIn, I was presented with all kinds of screens and options for easy setup. Two of them are shown above. One allows you to sync your contacts with LinkedIn so that all of your LinkedIn contacts can easily be communicated with through your mobile phone. Great. I did that on my iPhone as well so no worries. The other option, however, was an “Add Contacts” tool. This setup step, as I learned only after pulling the trigger too quickly, sent the 512 people in my address book with whom I was not connected on LinkedIn an invitation to connect. Indiscriminately!

Let me repeat that. EVERYONE in my address book not previously connected to me on LinkedIn received the same generic “please add me to your LinkedIn network” email.

Pause. Open your address book and scroll down. If you are like most people, by the 15th entry MAX you will reach someone that might be a fantastic person but clearly was never meant to be a LinkedIn connection. Here are a few examples which may or may not have been in my address book:

  • Doctor or dentist
  • Roadside assistance AAA
  • Caterers and servers from prior events
  • An ex partner!
  • The home security company
  • Massage therapist
  • Housekeeper
  • and so on ….

Needless to say, I was horrified when I began to receive dozens of invitation acceptance notifications. Within a week, I had added 80 new connections, and after two weeks I was up to over 200 new adds. But, I must admit, despite the fact that it was a mistake, I am glad I did it. Because, I ended up reconnecting with lots of really cool people.

Among the throng that received the email were a few amazing people I had met on flights and exchanged cards. You know the ones: you sit next to each other for hours en route to somewhere or another and talk about everything. The conversation is so enjoyable you know you must stay in touch and thus exchange cards before rushing off for your next connecting flight or meeting. And, of course, you never actually get in touch. My accident allowed me to reconnect with a couple of those types.

Old friends that had lost touch were pleasantly surprised I reached out (they may now learn that it was an accident, but the ends justify the means?) and have now scheduled lunches and coffee catch-ups. A former server I hired for a party has now started an organisation and is quite the online activist these days. Vendors that worked with me years and years ago have now moved on to new companies and are doing fascinating things. And my MOM joined LinkedIn! Who knew??

Another amazing thing I discovered is how many of my new contacts were connected to each other, yet had no idea they shared a relationship with me. The world truly is a small place.

All in all, whilst my error resulted in a bit more spam than I feel comfortable sending out, the result was that I reconnected with cool people, found out more about my “network”, and got a few big smiles when an old familiar face popped up in my notifications.

Would I recommend you do the automatic send thing? Not at all! But I would encourage you to scroll down through your address book from time to time. Don’t just look for someone interested in potentially buying your services or products. Look for the first name that makes you struggle a bit to remember how you met. Send THAT person a request to connect on LinkedIn. Find an old friend that may have fallen out of contact for good or bad reasons. Send THAT person a request to connect on LinkedIn. The ex-partner? Maybe skip that one for now. But pick a few random people.

Life is about connections; some that come by planning and strategy, some through work or family links, and some that come because you happened to go to the car wash at a particular time of day. All have meaning of some sort and all have the possibility of changing your life in ways you may just never know.

Be Well. Lead On. 

Adam

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#LifeNotes: Special note in memory of the cute little kitten

I wanted to post a quick blog on something completely unrelated to my normal topics. I typically talk about leadership, technology, life, food and wine. So, this is completely random and it will be very brief. So thanks in advance for humoring me and reading.

Today, I delivered a stray kitten that had been left under my back deck to the Anti Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago. I found the little guy yesterday and knew immediately that he was too young to have been left alone and that he was likely going to die if he did not receive urgent care. Further, I suspected that having been abandoned by a likely nursing mother, it would be difficult for the cat to survive even under the best of care. That said, I still had a little glimmer of hope that if I were able to deliver the kitten to the society something would be done and he would have a chance.

Unfortunately, that was not the case and as I delivered the cat, I was told that he would have to be euthanized because at two weeks old there was no way he could survive without the mother. I looked into the cute black eyes of the teeny cat that I had grown fond of in such a short period of time that he was in my care and I said goodbye and wished him peace. I do know that had I left him outside he would have died regardless and would have died alone, hot, and uncomfortable. Now, a very simple and painless procedure will be performed and he will fall asleep and rest for good.

My little furball that I had for just a day will be gone before the next 12 hours pass.

So, why did I put this into a blog and what should it mean to you? Well, if nothing else comes from this, hopefully I can share the information that I received from the anti-cruelty society.

First: if you have pets yourself please spay or neuter them. On the off chance that something were to happen where they were lost or somehow out of your sight they could produce children that could be abandoned like the little kitten that I found.

Second: most large cities have programs whereby you are able to humanely trap feral cats or dogs and bring them to the city or to the local Cruelty Society. They can be spayed or neutered for free, then released back if necessary into their outdoor environment. I realize that everyone is not able to or interested in adopting a pet, however we can control the pet population and help avoid abandonment and unloved animals with these types of programs.

Finally, if you do have room in your home or in your heart for pets, I absolutely believe they can bring joy into the most dower household. Therefore I encourage you to consider adopting a pet or making a donation to your local animal welfare or adoption center.

I wasn’t able to save the cute little guy that I found under my back stairs but I hope that we can save another little guy, control the pet population, and perhaps bring a little joy to someone’s house while providing love and shelter for a little kitten.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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#TechReview: My Samsung Galaxy s4

I made the switch … again.

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Samsung Galaxy S4

I have only had the device for a couple of days and must say that I’m already falling in love with it. I’m not going to do a full review but I will post some of the things I really like about the device.

Now I do realize that many of you read my blog when I reviewed the BlackBerry z10 and was so excited about that device. It is possibly true that in my desire to finally move on from the iPhone I did in fact latch on to whatever option was available. So in reviewing the samsung galaxy s4 I will both compare it to the iPhone as well as to the BlackBerry z10. I will say that the reason I have not given the blackberry further consideration is that the application store is still incredibly lacking in options. Availability of apps,  movies, and music is still too limited for me to give the phone serious consideration. I will also add that this is purely a personal review and is not necessarily imply I would support deploying the S4 in a corporate setting.

Voice recognition
One of the things that I immediately like about the Samsung is the ease with which you can speak to type. I am currently using  this functionality and I am amazed at the ease with which it captures my words. I type them immediately and it does not need to have all of the user interaction that is needed with Siri.

Applications
As I mentioned before the apps available for the BlackBerry were pretty sad. I had heard that the Android pad even more apps than the iPhone and I am pleased to say that so far that does seem the case. With one relatively minor exceptions all of the applications that I used on my iPhone 4s I have been able to download the exact same application or quite comparable substitute on the s4. Even better certain applications are easier to use of a better interface on the Android OS for device then on the iPhone 4s. The large screen also makes viewing several of the apps a better experience.

Apps that are better on the Samsung Galaxy S4:
1) Whatsapp – great communication app that works whether your friends have blackberry, Android, or iOS. The interface looks better and the options are broader on the Android.
2) Photos and folders. Transferring pics from PC to phone is so much easier.
3) Creating folders of similar apps is better. on iOS, there is a limit in the number of apps you can group.
4) Google maps of course comes native.
***Updated 22 July 2013. stay tuned for more.

Power and charging
In the grand scheme of things this is a very minor and petty item however I am happy that I can use the same charger that I use for blackberry when I charge my S4. The battery life is said to be better on the nee device but I have yet to actually notice a major difference.

Controlling television and DVR
Oh em gee! of all of the features on the phone, this one has to be one of the coolest. Someone out there will have had a Samsung for quite a while and think that this is old news. However the ability to set up the phone to serve as a remote control for any television in your house is absolutely astounding. I tried it with one of mine televisions and I am not exaggerating when I say that it took 20 seconds. It is easy, fast, clear and does not require purchasing or installing a side application. In fact, I had previously installed the Xfinity application from Comcast and will keep that but it is absolutely secondary. If you just want to flip channels and control remote like we did in the old days, all you need is the Samsung.

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Notifications
The last time I tried Android I hated the notifications and I still do. They are too hard to customize to turn off or to minimize. Unlike with the iPhone there is no central place where I can go to turn off notifications by application. I also have no way to specify what type of things I want to be notified about for applications.

Making the switch
Understandably, one of the biggest challenges in making the move from one mobile platform to another is the switching. This was certainly the case with me and perhaps one of the reasons that I stayed with iPhone for so long. In fact, my partner made the upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5 and within hours was up and running as if no change had been made. Even if simply going from a non smartphone to an iPhone 5 the transition will be so much easier and one of the benefits of the iPhone remains its tremendous ease of use.

For me, making the switch turned out to be relatively easy although three or four days later I continue to tweak my new phone. For syncing my contacts I chose to use music application cost approximately 3 bucks and make the transition quite easy. For anyone who is not completely sold on Android that would still like to stick with the iCloud environment smoothsync is probably the best option. This is also a good option for those who have, like me, multiple devices across both platforms including, for instance, an iPad.

I also signed up for a Samsung sync and transfer application called kies. However, I am not sure how much I will actually use it as I would prefer not to move from one data hostage taker to another . While I do like the Samsung device the question for me is more about platform and applications and I might move from Samsung to something else at any point.

Things I do not like
1)On the iPhone, you can receive an email with a date and contact information in it and automatically convert that into a calendar entry. You cannot do that on the galaxy unless I’m completely missing something.
2)Storage absolutely sucks on the phone. You buy a device that allegedly had 16 GB of memory. You quickly realize it really only has half of that because of the bloatware you can’t remove.

Overall, I must say that I really like the device and I think that it will last beyond the 14 day trial offered by AT&T. I do have to get use to some of the new quirks, for instance, the cut and paste functionality. I am also somewhat frustrated by the navigation between apps and the notification system. However, I suspect that the majority of my problems with the phone are more related to a learning curve and the fact that I have had an iPhone since the very first one was issued several years ago.

If you have tried it out, I would love to hear what you think! And I am sure there are lots of iPhone fans out there that would tell me that I have lost my mind and perhaps I have. I also have one friend who was told me that the iOS 7 will change everything. But, of course, I’ve heard that before. Post your comments below.

Be Well. Lead On. And may the consumer be the ultimate victor of these fantastic #techwars.

Adam

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My soapbox: Aim for life connections instead of networking

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Networking or making life connectionsI met someone this afternoon with whom I truly felt an immediate connection. It was scheduled to be a “career conversation” but instead was an open introduction, over tea, and very casual. The conversation reminded me of a question someone asked me recently: “How can I get better at networking like you?” Those who truly know me realize just how much this question disturbs me. But to many, this would be considered flattery. I do not consider it so at all.

The fact is, I am not a networker. In fact, I detest networking.

Networking is to me a very clinical term, and reminds me of the technology of networking. I know that like various applications in a bank, I am connected to various people. Some linkages were planned and chosen carefully, others stepped in to a role that was by default in my network. Within a network, we depend on each other to work and do our part, and if one portion of the network is significantly damaged, the rest of the network is damaged. I know that to some extent, my success depends on others in the network being able to carry something from me and me in exchange carrying something back. Networking is a fact of corporate (and community) life. However …

I am not a circuit or a router. I am a human being.

When I am in my final minutes of life, perhaps I will think to myself, “If only I had made that one additional link that would have opened up my network to another dimension!” Of course not! I like people. (Of all types! Really! Click here for a blog I wrote on the topic, noting that yes, I even love jerks and *€$holes. I just don’t necessarily want to work with them.) In any corporate network, there must be someone that is necessary but not wanted. God, I never want to be that person.

I prefer to make life connections.

Life connections are not always about business. Some examples:

– Getting to know all of the bartenders at the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London. Learning how each came from their home countries of Italy, Russia, and elsewhere, to London and why they are so passionate about cocktails. Enjoying a laugh or two whilst enjoying a cocktail or three. Side bonus: I have been introduced to a popular chef/mixologist in my hometown of Chicago for when I return. Plus, the Artesian has become a great place I can bring clients, colleagues, and other connections.

– Building a relationship of trust with my vendor partners and colleagues whereby they share personal details of their lives with me and allow me into their world. Sharing a good meal and a great bottle of wine with no talk of contracts or issues. Side bonus: we find connections we did not know existed and ways in which we can help each other out in so many more ways that traditional sourcing relationships. And, as we move to different roles in different organizations, we can call on each other for advice and support.

– Introducing two people, not because I think they can help each other, but because I just think they are both just really really cool people. Watching them get to know each other and become friends. Side bonus: people have done the same to me, bringing some of the most wonderful people I currently know into my life.

– Having a cocktail party at my house with a mixture of people I have met through work, the neighborhood coffee shop, and other connection points. Looking around and seeing there are people from five different countries with incomes and careers as diverse as chalk and cheese. Witnessing how they all learn from each other: new recipes, fashion styles, tax policy changes, technologies, dating schemes, relationship tips…. Side bonus: Learning myself about all of the above!

Many people will classify the above as examples of networking, and perhaps they are. And, to be clear, I’m not necessarily against networking entirely. I just think it is critical people start with the right perspective. And be honest! If you really just want to meet me for what I can do for you, or who I can introduce, just come out and say it. At least you will save some time! But, I encourage you to take some time to get to know yourself better, enjoy meeting people just because, and see the amazing things that will come out of your connections forged by respect, trust, and integrity. It is amazing how much more one can get from a relationship when he leads from the heart and the mind.

Enough! Off the soapbox, here is some reading …

For those of you who REALLY want to get good at Networking, especially the shy ones, here is a decent CIO magazine article on the topic.

For those of you who like me want to learn how to be a better person and know that success that comes from good just feels better inside, there are a couple of good links for you. Yes, they are a bit kooky. And there will be some who succeed despite being downright bad people (I can name a few.) But, I choose to succeed, or fail, with my values intact. Here are a few links for you:
24 ways to be a better person
How to be a good person in 5 steps

And for those few out there (certainly not a regular reader of my rants) that are downright sinister and yet deep down feel they want to be good, there is even some help for you. I found this one both intriguing and humorous.

Thanks for reading another soapbox rant. I would love to hear what you think about networking and making life connections.

Be Well. Lead On.

Adam

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