Archive for October, 2010

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REFILLING THE IDEA BANK

October 19, 2010

It’s over…I think.

The billing is done; the debriefs have happened; the last payment arrived yesterday and was distributed to three vendors waiting patiently; and all the papers and to-do lists have been dealt with. Only two banker boxes remain – waiting to take that final trip to storage.

—But not so fast! I may need them as reference going forward as this week I started the site availability search for CRV 2011!

I am determined not to follow the same model we experimented with so successfully this year; but to look at all the things we didn’t try or do and incorporate some of them as we continue to assist the positive movement forward for CRV.

So now I have justification to devote time to all those new books on the corner of my desk, and to peruse that great resource of new trends-the Shanghai Expo of 2010! Today I watched a 3d Projection Mapping event sponsored by Sensodyne and read the latest take on QR codes on Tech Crunch.

After all, I have just a couple months available to refill the idea bank and explore possibilities before we will have to commit to a new course of action!

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MIGRANT MOOCHERS

October 10, 2010

Finally, a particular touchy situation has come to the fore in this election cycle in Minnesota. Some have actually publically raised the issue of Minnesota Snowbirds who carefully stay out of the state one day more than 6 months so they can avoid paying taxes. Now open for discussion is that topic our Minnesota Nice attitude has sheltered and protected for years. We no longer need pretend this is acceptable behavior. But as I have listened to the discourse, and read the spot-on Letters to the Editors from Michael Schook and Craig Brown in the STRIB this morning, I feel we are still tip-toe-ing around some of the most despicable aspects of this issue.

It has been my observation that these “entitled” citizens are active and tax-paying Minnesotans for 20-30 years as they take advantage of an environment conducive to amassing their fortune in an atmosphere they deem anti-business. Just think what they could have made had we been a state friendly to their endeavors! And did you ever wonder why they did not move away during those years if our taxes and investments in the state were so harmful? Or is it simply their nature as the entitled moochers to feel they deserve more?

Yes, I have some bias. These are the men parodied on MAD MEN; these are the good old boys that tried hard to protect their privileged worlds in the 60s and 70s – and keep women in their place at home. These are the men that reaped the rewards often earned by underlings. These are the men that most of us learned were not quite as smart as their facades. These are the men that see no reason not to hire illegal immigrants and migrant workers; after all, it saves them money so they can become migrant moochers. These are the men we may all know and love for their good hearts; but that does not excuse their attitudes.

But I digress – my actual issue is that after that short period of time investing efforts for a good return, these folks then become part time moochers for another 15-25 years. Each year, they return to Minnesota for that one day less than 6 months – in spite of it being such a bad place…and while they are here, they use the roads and infrastructure, expect police and fire protection, tap into local medical services and generally are fairly vocal about what needs to be changed. And somehow, they feel they are clever for beating the system; and feel justified to do so–despite not paying their fair share.

So every winter, like the robber barons and landed gentry of times gone by, they invade the tranquil, sunny regions to our south, oft times full of disdain and fear of the local inhabitants of the playgrounds and gated communities to which they escape. There, they surround themselves with snow “birds of a feather”, and try to recreate mini-Minnesotas of which they dream – frequently destroying the ecological balance of their half time homes.

But even this seasonal migration of the moochers might be tolerable except that many, as they continue to age, tire of showing off accumulated wealth, have satisfied their wanderlust, develop health issues that make it more difficult to participate in the migration ritual, or simply want to spend their last years with their family, so they migrate one last time – back to Minnesota.

Oh please, spare us! Unfortunately that means they are back for another 10-20 years-often with less net worth upon which to be taxed-much of which has been gifted, protected, or spent, but still expecting all the services and support of the state….yes, that same state in which they don’t feel they need to invest but certainly want a voice.

I doubt we will settle this issue this election cycle, but thank you to those that have allowed it to surface. It gives me hope that sometime in the future, Minnesota will pass our own style of targeted Immigration Laws to control these migrant moochers from robbing our state.

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TIMING IS EVERYTHING

October 7, 2010

This may be my favorite TIME of the year, but over and over again in the past month, I have been reminded that TIMING not TIME is what is important.

In June when I got a new contacts prescription, I didn’t have time to get new glasses as well – so after CRV, I dutifully returned to the optometrist and learned I had had a 50% vision loss in two months. Test after test found no basis for site loss but each raised the level of anxiety, as each scheduled exam searched for a progressively more serious cause-and cost more money. But after a month, the sight is improving on its own-still without a reason which only convinces me my instincts were correct – it was simply eye-strain from the demands of the summer project. Had I had time in June to get the glasses, I would have saved $1000s of diagnostic expense. Hopefully, I will be dismissed next week after the next appointment.

And if I am not, because I am still a “Rochester-ite” at heart, I am going to “the clinic” (Mayo to the rest of the world)–which brings up another TIMING problem.

I have a significant birthday approaching in a couple weeks so through the summer, the pile of papers grew under my desk – all pertaining to Medicare and Supplemental Healthcare options and prescription drug options. I began to feel the pressure in August, as I needed to enroll so that I would be covered November 1. All those friends who have gone before me in this ritual kept warning – you have to do it three months before your birthday. Well, it didn’t happen in August, and in September I, too, learned what is no secret – the literature and instructions are almost impossible to understand. Further, wading through it all, I discovered that most of them are based on the premise that you have an on-going medical issue(s) to insert in the comparison charts to help you decide the best coverage for someone of your advanced age and deteriorating health.

Unfortunately, I had nothing to insert in the charts so instead of spending all the time I invested, I could have saved time and just picked the Senior Option with the provider under which I was already covered. At least over the years, I have learned what they allow and don’t allow. And so, in the end, after much angst, that is what I did.

Little did I know that enrolling in a new plan with a provider I already had a policy with would automatically trigger another whole onslaught of literature and messages and letters warning me of consequences of having two policies at once. I’ll spare you from those details, but know that only yesterday, did I get all that cleared up- after many more hours on the phone and another trash bag full of useless paper. Am I the first one in the whole country that has elected to stay with their existing network?

Like I said, TIMING is everything.

Because this morning I learned that the Mayo Clinic has just entered into their first national contract with a medical network and in so doing, for the first time ever, those in that medical network will realize significant savings over out-of-network costs normally expected when one goes to Mayo. And, yes, you guessed it – that medical network is NOT the one I chose and finally got finalized yesterday. Finally, I found a differentiator that was important to me, and I am one day too early.

There is also a timing problem inherent in the site for the Catersource/Event Solutions Conference in 2011 that led me to agree to assist with load in/out schedules for the conference. I know I was crazy when I consented to take on this awful task, but there is a definite need, and so I said yes, and hopefully I can positively influence what could be a bad experience for show owners and for vendors delivering and picking up materials and products at the about-to open Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. The timing makes it worse, as the property does not open until December 15. Not only do we violate that ironclad rule of never, never use a new property before the 3-6 month shakedown is completed but equally scary, we cannot do a site visit until after it opens. So, despite knowing the hassle, off I am going on December 20 to LAS of all places, returning on the 22nd and rushing to Rochester on December 23 for the holidays.

That creates sufficient issues in itself, but only this morning did I recognize tentative plans for winging to Hawaii between Christmas and New Years for a real live vacation will have to be revisited.

It’s that “timing” thing again but sometimes it has a positive outcome. You are in the right place at the right time and good things happen. For instance, this morning, the Strib featured an article in the Taste Section about homemade sauerkraut – triggering comforting memories of my mom grating mountains of cabbages from the garden, filling those huge Red Wing crocks and then after days of awful smells coming from the basement, transferring the results to two-quart Mason jars stored on dusty shelves (with spiders!) –waiting to be transformed over the winter into spare ribs and sauerkraut for our supper.

Somehow that memory morphed to another basement experience-this time, picking grape stems for homemade wine…and someone telling me David (the first of the grandchildren) had a new baby sister named Lisa Kay. And I was sooooo excited. Surely, a GIRL would be more fun to have around than the rough and tumble David- by then affectionately called Dynamite by all. Lisa’s birthday is next week. Without the Strib, I most likely would not have been reminded of that, and would have missed getting a card and best wishes sent off to Portland. I need to let her know that yes, she has been more fun and we so appreciate all she does for our family.

Like I said, timing is everything.

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AN EPIPHANY

October 6, 2010

Yesterday, as I posted the Designer’s Handshake, I was repeatedly reminded that I have an open vendor issue waiting for resolution – at least in my own mind. Enough time has passed to lesson the anger I was experiencing at the situation, the vendor reaction, and the insidious means chosen to express that reaction within our small event community here in the Twin Cities.

Each Design Principle I listed forced me to review the steps I have taken to understand and repair, to forgive and go forward – as well as steps I could still take in this situation. And yet, with each thought I wrestled with the reality that this was not the first incident in our vendor-client relationship.

There has been one “dust-up” after another through-out the past decade – one very hurtful personally when I was recovering from a fall and three back fractures early in the decade, to several issues professionally-not only with me, but with friends and acquaintances in the industry-as well as a long history of “what’s in it for me” not only when approached to collaborate on a project, but to support industry associations and trade publications. The constant challenges rob energy from all of us that could be better applied elsewhere.

And yet, like the battered-woman, many of us return again and again – only to be subjected to more of the same-because his company has a good product and good people work for him. Somehow, we accept that we, the client, are subservient to the vendor and need to accept how we are treated – or we will be removed from the list of the “chosen”.

And then, as I listed the eleventh principle, “To Do Good Business with Good People”, I had my epiphany. I have pledged to do my utmost to be honorable in business and partnerships and to align myself and work with individuals and groups who have the same values as I do.

This is not a question of who is the wronged party in this latest manufactured incident. It is merely a difference in values. And, simply put, our values do not mesh. If care and feeding of the vendor trumps my client commitment to deliver the best services and products to further their message – in a cost effective and efficient manner – then it is time to evaluate the worth of that vendor relationship.

GOOD BUSINESS does not necessarily follow GOOD PRODUCT and GOOD FRIENDS. I shall move on in search of vendor partners that more closely align with my values and work ethic. THAT’S good business.

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THE DESIGNER’S HANDSHAKE

October 5, 2010

For the last six months, I have shared the Designers Handshake principles of design from Pilloton’s DESIGN REVOLUTION on my Facebook page and as part of my signature on e-mail correspondence. Today as I posted the last one, it seems worthwhile to restate them all together here. The process has given me much to reflect on and hours and hours of food for thought. I’ve made good progress, I think, but recognize there is a long road ahead yet to be traveled. I can only hope my promoting of this handshake reaches others as well and directs them on their own rewarding journey.

“I, Cheryl Kranz, as an individual engaged within a greater design community, promise to try, to the best of my ability, to commit and adhere to the following principles within my work and life as a designer:

To Go Beyond Doing No Harm: …I will engage only in design processes that are respectful, generative, catalytic, and productive.

To Listen, Learn, and Understand: …I recognize that every client, partner, or stranger is someone to learn from. I will listen before assuming. I will seek to understand…

To Measure, Share, and Teach: …as appropriate, make my best practices, successes, tools, and failures available to colleagues for community-based learning.

To Empower, Heal and Catalyze: I will use design as a tool to empower people, to make life better, to bring health and improve life, and to enable users to help themselves…

To Be Optimistic but Critical: I will employ perpetual optimism as a design and business strategy but will apply the same critical evaluation toward…design work that I would any other product…

To Think Big and Have No Fear: I will take calculated risks and not be afraid to use design as a tool for change. I will explore new models for how design can have the greatest impact for the greatest number.

To Serve the Underserved:

To Not Reinvent the Wheel: When something works well… I will use what is available to me and look to local resources, skill sets, and materials.

To Not Do What I Don’t Know: I will acknowledge the limits of my expertise and I will…pass projects to another designer who may do a better job.

To Always Put the User First: …I will consider human value, experience, and consequence above all else.

To Do Good Business With Good People: I will be honorable in business and partnerships…I will align myself and work with individuals and groups who have the same values as I do.

To Own Up and Repair: I will take responsibility for any failures or mistakes I may make and take measures to repair and understand my errors.

To Be Part of a Greater Whole: I will remember that I am part of a system and a community of designers, users, clients and global citizens…and that I have a responsibility to contribute productively.”