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”



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 L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections
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Adam at Sunset

This blog is a revision of a prior post.

#TechNotes: Facebook, Snapchat, and the new new thing


Are we there yet?

I’ve enjoyed reading lots of the analysis out there about Facebook and whether or not their attempt to buy Snapchat is a sign of desperation. Reportedly, an offer of three billion was made by the company and rejected by Snapchat ‘s young leadership. Everyone immediately said Facebook was doomed. Now, snapchat has been hacked and Instagram Direct is trying to fight back, under its new parent of course, Facebook.

A few quick thoughts :
1) I cannot begin to imagine the conversation where I decide to turn down 3 billion dollars but I can understand why snapchat would do what they did. It is entirely possible in this rapid change environment that investors would place value on snapchat that is comparable to the value placed on Twitter . Now, to be clear, I do not feel that the value on Twitter is appropriate nor do I feel that investors would necessarily be making the right call to place such a value on Snapchat. That said, whether you believe it to be a bubble or not investors are putting a significant premium on social media applications, especially those that are highly focused on mobile.

2) Facebook is falling into the trap of many large companies. It is scared to let go. In today’s hyperpaced communication overloaded society, users will flock from one platform to the next with little transition time or switching costs. Perhaps Facebook Inc strategy should be to intentionally kill Build the tool users will go to after Snapchat loses its luster. Building for the future almost means building amazing, but disposable, products for today. This is more than just pushing video ads to mobile phones. If they are good, they should be able to churn out new products and services much faster than competitors. If not, they will cease to be relevant like MySpace before them.

3) Some people are arguing that instagram, including the new instagram direct functionality, are Facebook’s answer to snap chat and their way of the remaining relevant for young people. I’ll offer an alternative theory. The reality is that, like Microsoft has done several times in the past, Facebook bought the popular photo sharing company because they thought it was the next big thing. But was it really the old next big thing? Facebook may have become the “late to the party” juggernaut that it would never have desired to be. Just as the lucrative 18 to 25 market has been leaving Facebook in droves, the same market will begin to leave instagram. Watch TLC, Bravo, A&E, and CNN and note how often they reference Instagram. Face it, when people over 35 start to use something, their children stop.

The bottom line is I don’t necessarily believe the Facebook is in its final days. I do believe, however, the company must drastically rethink their strategy and consider alternatives for growth in the United States. If they truly believe that growth in other markets will counter dramatic drops in USA, I believe that is misguided. Other markets will eventually follow the same path of the United States. Younger users will leave; older users will join the platform at a much lower level of engagement; upstarts will create the next next big thing and advertisers will be tempted away.

For now, I have sold my Facebook holding and bought a small Twitter holding so I can enjoy a brief ride on the wave of the current big thing. And I patiently await the next next big big thing. Oh wait! There it is….

Note: I am sure there are lots of Facebook fans out there that would tell me that I have lost my mind and perhaps I have. But, of course, I’ve heard that before. Post your comments below. I would love to hear from you.

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


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My soapbox: Aim for life connections instead of networking


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.


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My Soapbox: Take talent personally

Talent should be on the agenda and objectives of every leader at every level, every day, and in every organisation

Talent Matters.

I recently went on the soapbox when a conversation was started about forming a committee to work on ways to identify and develop strong talent. It’s clearly not because I do not find the goal relevant. In fact, I think Talent should be on the agenda and objectives of every leader at every level, every day, and in every organisation. That is the only way to be successful. Committees formed formally to focus on talent, regardless of intent, simply do not work without concerted action and interest from leaders with true desire to manage and grow talent. And, worse, the experience for those on such committess can be downright disheartening if they feel they are part of an academic exercise that in the end does not matter. Talent matters!

I want each of my leaders to feel excited thinking about what they are doing for their teams. What opportunities are we finding for them to stretch and be rewarded? To train them and coach them? To sell them for career enhancing roles with peers and other teams (or even other firms) even if it means losing a critical resource in our world? Talent matters!

I view every top performer in my team as a future CIO, CTO, or executive. I LOVE being able to share stories of individuals who worked with me at some point and rose through the ranks to take on major leadership roles around the world. Love it! And I firmly believe that the only reason I have been successful (or recovered quickly from failures) is because I try desperately to hire strong, develop well, and appreciate greatly. Talent matters!!

Anyone that knows me recognises that I tend to hate governance and I disdain committees. I frown on talking and planning talent development “initiatives” unless I see the signs of true interest and passion. Because a committee or initiative without passion is …. sadly, like many many many leadership teams in the corporate world … just bureaucracy.

Just my soapbox for the week. Thanks for listening. And, one more time, as I hope you’ll agree … Talent Matters!!

Be Well. Lead On.


I pledge to listen harder.
Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

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Apple iOS 5

#TechReview: Initial thoughts on Apple iOS 5

IMPORTANT UPDATE: No features, no matter how great and wonderful, can make up for a crappy battery life on mobile devices. I am now contemplating rolling back to an older backup. This stinks! I RECOMMEND WAITING FOR APPLE TO FIX.

200 new features? Should I care?

Update 10/16/2011 POST UPGRADE OF IPHONE
Honeymoon is winding down and I am finding the pet peeves and some confirmations of love.

Syncing Joy
I just added a record to my iPhone via Card munch, yet another LinkedIn app made for iPhone but not iPad. The entry was updated in iPhone then immediately synced to iPad vi the iCloud. Awesome. Of course blackberry did that five years ago and Microsoft windows mobile does it as well but …. Better late than never.

Syncing issues
roh!!! iCloud resulting in duplicate everything. I am now paying for the workarounds I had to do while unable to sync to the cloud. iCloud is not smart enough to see that the calendar on my iPhone is exactly the same as the one on my PC and thus exactly the same as the one on myiPad. Thus, most entries appear in my calendar THREE TIMES!

Splitting Keyboard is obnoxious
Annoying and strange. The device is till way too big to hold in your hands like an iPhone so the split keyboard functionality makes no sense to me. I also keep accidentally splitting the keyboard which is VERY ANNOYING!!! I cannot overstate how much I DETEST the slitting keyboard. In the midst of this update, my keyboard has split three times.

Update 10/16/2011
I still like the update a lot and am now ready to take the risk with my iPhone. I am more excited than before about the syncing. It is great to buy an app on either device and it magically appears on the other devices and on my PC. I am becoming less of a fan of the notifications. I think Apple should have made the default NO notifications and allowed you to add as you wish. It starts out REALLY annoying and you have to go app by app to customize and turn things off. And there are so many options, you think you have turned everything off and then up pops another notification.
I also have found several apps have made pretty cool updates for the new iOS, a nice touch. I thought I would like the “When I leave” functionality more but now think it will be a novelty more than anything else and I will use Wunderlist for reminders and tasks. I need to experiment with the Reader a bit more. Still seems cool but I have yet to fully test it out.
Day by day I get more annoyed by Newstand and the fact that it is so hard to get rid of the darn app and icon. I DO NOT WANT YOU Newstand!

Original Post 10/14/2011:
As I tweeted earlier this week, I am testing the new iOS 5. Testing on iPad first. While I can do without my iPad, my iPhone is indispensable so i will try to test it for a few days before upgrading the phone. I will update this blog post as I discover new features I like (or do not like) as well as when I finally test it on my iPhone.

Things that I like thus far:

Nothing annoyed me more than having to leave my iPad attached to my PC patiently waiting for the newest iOS upgrade to download and install or to sync my contacts, apps, and music. Sync via WiFi will allow me to get rid of some cords attached to my PC. (yes, I have a Win7 PC…)

Also, I can finally sync my calendars. Up until now, I would have to accept an invitation on one device, sync that to my PC via USB, then sync my other device to the PC. I opted to use gmail calendar but did not want to have to use that generic email address instead of

“When I leave” reminders
AWESOME!!! I typically try to add todo items to my calendar at times I expect to leave the office. I HATE having to put “pick up eggs, go to drycleaner, stop by H&M for boxer briefs” in the calendar my assistant and many team members see! Until now, however, the reminder function was weak in prior versions of the iOS.

Safari Reader along with twitter integration

Safari Reader

Safari Reader

Yes!!! The ability to find, read, and share content both between devices and with connections on Twitter is greatly enhanced by the new Safari Reader (sorry Google) and native Twitter support in the new iOS. I love that they connected Twitter to my contact book and I was able to search my contact book, and add twitter handles and photos automatically.

A helpful guide I found online for using the new Reader is here >> Safari Reader

Notifications in iOS5

Notifications in iOS5

Notifications and Banners
I like the new notifications center. This was a function on my Droid 2 that I actually liked. It was great to be able to see at a glance all that was going on without having to open each application. The iPhone version, better than Android if I recall, allows you to customize which apps are shown, how much, and in what manner. In the prior iOS, it was annoying that some banners would pop up and you had to act on them to close the message. With the new version, you can choose to have a banner appear at the top and simply disappear with no action required. If I leave my iPad laying in the kitchen locked, its nice to have Facebook and Twitter notices show up but it was really unnecessary to have them stay there until EVERYONE that enters my kitchen can read them or I close it. It’s also nice to decide which notifications can be seen when you are away from the iPad and it is locked and which only show up when you are active.

Moderately useful …

Photo Editing
When I take a photo and want to share it on Facebook or Instagram, I often have to paste without cropping, and often the photos have redeye. When I get home, I then edit the photo and reupload it from my PC. The fairly basic editing functionality built in to the new iOS helps reduce the bad photo posts. But, it is VERY BASIC. You can crop, you can remove redeye, and they have an autofix that as far as I can tell makes your photos worse everytime.

Now, what I will likely NOT use…


imessage_iconThis feature has been touted for so long that I almost forgot it was coming. It was promised to be what ends all text messaging and loses millions in revenue for AT&T and other iPhone partners. Not so sure. With AT&T I pay a flat fee every month for unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling and unlimited texting to anyone on any network. I do not have to know whether my friend has an iPhone, Droid, or Windows phone when I want to send them a text or photo. I just do it. I have zero interest in using this new tool if it only works if the person on the other end has also set up the service on their iphone. I can also do the exact same things with Facebook, whose app already works fairly well with the iPhone and iPad.

Like iBooks, an also ran to Kindle, completely unnecessary with Kindle or even Safari access and individual apps for the newspapers I want to read. I am annoyed they make it so hard to delete the icon or put it into groups with other icons.newsstand_icon

Sounds ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC but is only available with 4s phone. I will not be buying the new iPhone until my iPhone 4 is end of contract with AT&T so will miss this smart voice recognition feature. Interesting that in this case, Apple is stealing thunder from Microsoft’s mango software on the Windows Mobile device.

Find My Friends
If I want you to know where I am, I will let you know. This new feature creeps me out and I imagine it will be featured on episodes of “Cheaters” or “Spies like us” as people take advantage of people who neglect to appropriately filter this feature. Not everyone in my Contact book is a “friend”.

Must wait for iPhone to test…

Custom vibrations and ringtones
One of the few things I miss about my BlackBerry is the ability to create VIP contacts thT ring differently AND can have different vibrations (for example:1 vibration for annoying people, 2 for my team, 3 for my boss and family). The LED blinker and this custom vibration will be great for me and other former BB users. The ability to customize text message ringtones ROCKS so I’m excited.

Still missing …

Photo Sorting and Folders
I hate that I still cannot move photos to different folders on the device, and that the only photos I can delete are those that are in the camera roll. I have created folders of favorite photos on my PC. They are synced to the device. When I take a photo on my iPhone or iPad, I would like to be able to move them to these special folders. Instead, I have to RETURN TO THE CORD. I have to connect to my PC, copy the photos from the device, then paste them into the folders for another sync. Annoying.

More to come….



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