Monday, February 17, 2014

New Frontiers

It's been so long since I posted. I've just been so busy.  I quit my 'real job' back in mid-October to recover and somehow, I've ended up busier than ever.  But it is great - truly great.

What I'm doing right now is consulting. I never cared much for consultants. They seemed to be so much like perpetual sales machines that add little to no value other than to facilitate discussions and tell you to do things you've already thought to do...and in the process find something else you already know you should be doing and tell you to do that so that they might sell you more work.

But what I discovered over the last couple of years is summed up below in a few meta-level points:

  • First, consulting doesn't have to be this way (read: icky).  Some of us genuinely really, really like helping people and businesses with awesome ideas become amazing dreams-come-true.  I'm one of those people!  I really love talking to people with business ideas, businesses with great customer experiences/propositions, and companies with such promise who are just looking for another perspective, a little bit of help, some reassurance and a strategy to really blow this thing out of the water.  It's energizing.  It's fulfilling.  And I like to think that I'm doing a little good in the world, even if it's not curing cancer.
  • I have a crazy array of experiences.  With my education (operations research, engineering, business, foreign language, logistics...with masters degrees a-go-go), the world-class companies who have taken me onto their teams, given me awesome challenges and mega support, and allowed me to learn and contribute, and my ability to think in systems and feedbacks and prioritization and ways of failing gracefully, I have a set of 'stuff' in my brain that isn't normally found in one person.
  • Operations is not the area where super smart people stay or where super smart people tend to be valued.  I think this comes from the fact that for those 'outside' of operations, it seems dirty, unglamorous, and mostly devoid of any real kind of strategic advantage or meaty intellectual problems. It is the area you can 'fake it until you make it' to get through a start up, etc.  Anyone can pick things off of a shelf and put them into a box, right?  Because of this, it's under-valued at most companies...until it's a problem.  And then it's a real problem.  But even an OK solution is just fine...only a select few really understand how elegant, smart operations can really change your business.  I have been extremely fortunate to work at companies where this is the case.  But it's hard to find great software to optimize your supply chain that has great world-class know-how in it.  It's tough to find highly functioning operations teams where they are great people leaders and great analysts - what I truly believe it takes to have a world-class operation.

Learning these things, I got the bug to:
  • HELP: for those companies who are in a tight spot where strategy, end-to-end consistency of vision/execution, org structure, processes, operations, supply chain, logistics, or any number of other things need to come together, I want to be there.  I love it. I really can help. And everyone wins.
  • CONTRIBUTE: I'm going to try to start writing more. I would like to do workshops and teach. I would like to write something someday.  (Oh boy, I'm going to be another one of those people with 'write a book' on my bucket list.)
  • LEARN MORE: the more I get exposed to different companies, different challenges, different business models, different people, and different products/industries, the more I can learn, which helps me HELP and CONTRIBUTE even more.  And it's really personally gratifying.  

So, welcome to my journey.  I'm sure it will be ugly and messy...but also speckled with a few keen insights here and there...


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

more blogs? any advice for segmenting your online life?

Wow.  It's really been quite some time.  I'm starting to crave writing again, so I'm going to try to get into the habit again.  There is a lot going on with life these days, so I can't promise to be prolific, but it won't be years between posts.

I'm actually considering starting additional blogs.  This one is my sort of personal musings, random thoughts, and whatnot.  But I do dabble in a few businesses and have considered amping up my "cred" in these areas. Seems like everyone today has a blog and is an expert...why not me?

Has anyone managed multiple blogs?  How do you separate out the subject matter, keep up with them all, make it all make sense (in terms of payoff for the time - I mean, I'm OK to use this time as my own personal therapy, but if I start trying to seem like an expert in something, there should be some reason I'm doing it...if even to really help at least a couple of people every once in awhile).  I'm super curious, so if you have any advice, please let me know!

While I'm at it, I have twitter accounts and facebook accounts, and all of that good stuff...and those can be overwhelming as well, given that I have several small businesses and different "personalities" or topics/collections and reasons for having each.  Would LOVE advice...anyone??

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


i woke up this morning at 3:30 am, and i couldn't fall back asleep. i know this sounds like a normal occurrence, but if there is one thing i am not is an insomniac. i plain excel at sleeping.

but there i was. after 30 minutes of of lying there, trying to relax and fall back asleep, listening to the incessant humming sound of the air in the vents, trying to figure out what the different lights were outside my window, and thinking (kiss of death, if you are trying to fall asleep), i got pretty uncomfortable. there is a lot on my mind, no doubt. many things have changed lately, and more are about to change. all of this is good, though - so why the hell am i up when i should be sleeping?!?

i think this change is causing me to reflect (gasp!) on where i am. the last eight years, have been incredibly eventful - graduated from a school i never thought i'd get into with amazing classmates after two years of intense, fun, and sometimes even educational time, moving across the country to an awesome city where i knew almost no one, re-lighting my creative pursuits - one new (acting) and one old (music), getting married, having my sister move close to me for the first time since college, all the while doing incredible things at work - quite successfully, i might add. but taking stock of where i am - while i am incredibly blessed, lucky, fortunate, or whichever term speaks to you about the fact that i have absolutely nothing to complain about and should (and do) thank the universe for all that i have - i'm still a bit more, well, average, than i ever thought i would be. i'm sure i'm whining and under-selling what i have accomplished, but wait...there is more...

to make matters worse, as i started thinking about friends and acquaintances and inevitably and nearly ridiculously comparing my successes to theirs, i started thinking about dreamers. i know that it takes a lot of different things to make a dream come true. luck is not completely out of the equation...but waking up and getting to work also has a lot to do with it. as i laid in bed listening to the heating vent, i thought 'i should get up and do something.' and the most disturbing thought came to mind - i have no idea whatsoever what i would do.

i can get jazzed about a ton of, fashion, food, working out (at least for spurts of time), wine, cars, technology, business strategy, art, acting, tennis, photography...the list goes on and on and on. but i feel like i have no 'best of' skill in any of these! and what's worse - i used to be damn good at stuff. where'd all that talent go?

before you dive into an eye-rolling depression, let me say this...i have perspective, but i want more. and i need to figure out how to get it. i know it will take hard work, a little luck, a good attitude, and maybe a little inspiration. let's see what we can do about that...

Monday, February 14, 2011

february 8

today we bought a house. gulp. i've been pretty responsible with money my entire life. i haven't had to worry too much, so this seems insane. but it's awesome, and i think it's going to be a great purchase. but i am nervous. very nervous. because my husband is out of town, i am spending a little more time in the car commuting...and i'm much more focused on the radio than normal. today, i had this idea. so let's try it out.

red hot chili peppers: under the bridge
the first thing i should say (because it's going to come up again and again) is that i started playing the violin at age 4. my parents took me to the symphony when i was little and thought i would eventually play the piano. that was the plan. so they enrolled me in a class at detroit community music school called 'orff.' per wikipedia: the orff approach, created by carl orff (of carmina burana and also sprach zarathustra fame), combines movement, music, language, and drama into lessons that look like child's play. basically, we used xylophones and tambourines and clapping and singing to learn the basics of music. it was great fun, and it was supposed to provide me with a basic foundation before piano lessons. but everyone in the class had a violin group lesson right after my saturday morning orff class. i was the only one without a violin. showing an early inclination for competition, i could simply not be the only one without. so i talked my parents into enrolling me in violin group class...which i surpassed...and so i got private lessons...and kept on, with lessons, quartets, youth symphonies, bands, school orchestras, pit orchestras, studio recording, score creation, weddings, and on and on...until well, forever. i'm still doing a bunch of these things.

but back to my point. i started violin at age 4, so music has been a part of my life consistently. i don't remember a time before i played music. reading music is not unlike reading words. i just know how to do it. it's defined me...or i've defined it. but it's a part of me. so what does this have to do with red hot chili peppers?

well, this song was all the rage while i was in high school. i'm sure high school is traumatic for all girls. but growing up playing the violin instead of soccer (the two conflicted - my youth orchestra was at the same time as soccer games), having red hair, placing into AP classes, and generally being pretty shy didn't help high school become less of a consistent fear fest. at the height of popularity for under the bridge, i was a junior in high school. and i was just starting to see the light of a time when i might appeal to boys and cease the constant worry i carried around about popularity.

just around this time, we took an orchestra trip with the other high school in my home town. i have to admit that having started years and years before most of the other kids in high school, i was a bit of a rock star in orchestra. it was my one haven of near-coolness. and for the first time, someone i hadn't known forever was enamored. i remember this trip and this guy...derek, maybe? we took a bus out somewhere...stayed overnight...and then came back on a bus. listening to the radio the whole time. i'm sure we played something wonderful somewhere...but i remember the trip and this guy who wanted to talk to me. a lot. he went to the other high school and was older (a senior!).

the vision that comes back when i hear RHCP is a sunny spring day at my friend, joanna's house. it was my home away from home - she calls my mom "mom" and i call her mom "mom." it's just like that. well, joanna, me, and some other girl friends were hanging out at her place and (let's just go ahead and call him) derek shows up. bleach blonde hair. white teeth. football jersey. somewhat cool, right? and he wants me to go to his prom.

of course, i say yes...right!? but i didn't. i remember being really scared of this person whom i didn't know and who was suddenly paying me all of this attention i had never experienced before. and so i said no. i'm sure i was really wishy washy about it, but basically, i said no. and he came over to joanna's house to try to convince me. i can picture us out in the street talking. i have no idea what sort of explanation i gave...but i know what i was feeling was a new kind of fear. so i didn't go. but i remember this song playing throughout our extremely short courtship and in the time after i disappointed him by refusing to go to his prom. and i remember thinking that the song was somehow very grown up. first off, it was off of an album called blood, sugar, sex, magik which was blatantly all sorts of subject matter that i hadn't experienced first-hand. but also, it was a was about really being alone and using drugs.

now that i think about it, i probably used some vague excuse about my other junior year was all about finally being noticed by boys - even if they were all from other schools. and it was this next summer where i spent one of my loneliest times. i learned a ton about myself that next summer, and it had to do with being alone, falling in love, losing friends, and starting to worry about a whole host of new problems...growing up...

but that's a story for when i hear some elton john. sigh. i know that's going to be a rough entry.
i've listened to a lot of music. i've played a lot of music. i've read about it, studied it, and generally let it define most of my life. of course, i know this about myself, but it struck me one day as i was driving life sort of had a soundtrack. i didn't realize it at the time, but now, when i hear certain songs, i get super intense, incredibly vivid memories. i can picture people and tell you just enough for the story to feel real again. often the details are gone, but there is something about it that puts me right back where i was for the 3 and a half minutes of the song. if ever i were going to write an autobiography, i would only be able to do it by listening to music and piecing it all together. so that's what i'm going to do. every night, as i drive home, i'm going to listen to the radio. when i hear songs that transport me back, i'll write about the song and what was going on. maybe this will be interesting...maybe not.


the other day, i had an idea for a book. i think it might actually be a good least for those who, like me, have always had music as a part of their lives. i think i'll start by doing a few blog posts to set it up and write a few 'entries.' we'll see if this comes together...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


i spent a little time reading blogs today. it's funny (still!) to me that people are so successful with blogs, but i kind of get it too. my problem is focus. i have so many things to write about and so little time, i can't get anywhere! story of my life!