The Corporate Ladder: A Quote

You will need to work your way up the corporate ladder. So do your best to enjoy every rung because the journey is what will define you. – Christiane Amanpour 

This line speaks to me because it is so true to where I am at. Sometimes I know I can get a little ahead of my self and let my ADHD get the best of me. But, all in all, I need to calm down and remember that each phase is an important one.

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Pink Betty needs a cleaning

I’m thinking about getting my couch cleaned. Mainly because I read somewhere once that getting your couch professionally cleaned once a year helps make it a happy couch. That probably isn’t word-for-word what it said, but the sentiment remains: I should clean my couch.

This stemmed from me cleaning the house. After finally folding up the blankets that have been on the couch for weeks, I noticed there was a little spot on the middle cushion  To clean it, I just grabbed a washcloth, put a dab of water on it, and tried to rub it out. Well… when I checked back later it was just a bigger spot that wasn’t as dark. I take a lot of pride in my couch, as many of you know, and instead of attempting to do anything with cleaning products, it may just be easier to have someone else, who knows that the hell they are doing, come and do it for me.

Then I went and tried Angie’s List, because I think I hear commercials for them a lot so the name is in my head (damn effective marketing!). But, they charge a monthly fee. How much crap is that? I then went and did my own searching and found a couple local places. And more than just a couple really, I live in Minneapolis. So, I fleshed out the list a bit more and settled on two companies that are also like “green!” and “eco-friendly!” because I’m allergic to every chemical under the sun. I didn’t even click the link for “Chem-Dry” because the name is literally screaming chemicals…

If you have experience in getting couches cleaned, let me know. But, just randomly bring it up.. one might say nonchalantly. Meaning, don’t reference the blog. Then I will get creeped out and it will be funny.

Social Media, Squared?

I stumbled into a marketing summit at aloft hotel yesterday afternoon. By stumbled, I mean, I signed up way ahead of time, but didn’t really know what I had signed up for. Specifically, it was on social media marketing, which I figured was both relevant to work and life outside of work (Girls in Tech, blogging, etc.), so I signed up.

My initial reaction was that I am over sales meetings. The first presenter talked about how awesome foursquare is and how people can use it, and then talked about his company, Shoutlet (the host of the conference). Even though it was sugared with valuable information, I just feel jaded and conferenced out. Maybe it is time for a conference break…

I combatted my distain quickly, realizing there was still tons I could learn. Plus, none of the other speakers were with the company, and I soon realized they were really quality presenters. I kind of like being proven wrong…

Good take aways

  • Checking in (via foursquare or facebook) can have good returns for both customers and businesses
  • If done correctly, it benefits everyone internally (recruiting, communications, merchandisers, etc.)
  • People have begun to instinctively search for an app rather than wait to be told about it. Is there an expectation now that most events will have an app?
  • The Mall of America did a really neat campaign last year that offered parking spaces for people who engage via twitter. Surveys showed great ROI with 60% coming who wouldn’t have, and 30% spending over $300. Great for a campaign that cost very little!
    • As innovative as their social media is though, MOA doesn’t have an app. Knowing this made me think about how awesome an app would be, geofencing (or some other technology that could read my location on a map) would make me a happy camper. Especially because those bathrooms are so few and far between!
    • Great ideas can come from anywhere: “MOA” and “bucket list” are often found together on social media sites. So, why not create a campaign aimed at crossing MOA off peoples’ bucket lists?

Awkward moments

  • Someone was wearing a see-through dress. So, of course I posted on social media about it, asking for advice on how to break the bad news. I ended up wimping out and not saying anything… she had a jacket with her, maybe she already knew? She was very nice.
  • The woman that sat next to me had a really beautiful ring on. I was like a kid in a candy store and couldn’t stop staring. To be fair, it was shiny.

The whole time, I couldn’t stop asking myself if I should be there or not. Or, rather, if I should have been there with “Target” on my nametag. Should I have taken vacation time to attend it? Since it was marketing I thought it would be relevant to what I work on, but now I’m not sure anymore. But oh. My. Gosh. The cupcake frosting was the most amazing part. I can still feel the buttercream frosting melting in my mouth.

Is anyone interested in my dating escapades?

I did months of online dating last year, 30+ dates I would say. I have funny stories, sad stories, and maybe some good advice. Is anyone interested in a short little blog series on my experiences? Is it rude to publicly discuss dates? I wouldn’t use names or anything… but either way I’d love to hear folks’ perspectives on this :)

Volunteerism

Today was my first actual day of the Reading Corps program. I fricken loved it. It may be my most favorite volunteer activity ever and let me tell you why.

  1. I was back at my elementary school where I first learned how to spell “bitch.” I was lying in the nurses office, feeling ill, when I saw it written on the wall. I had never known how to spell it until that moment, when I just knew that’s what it was.
  2. I was “reviewed” by a “master reader” who wrote “perfect” on my scorecard. Brings me back to the good ole days, when I would get grades and stuff.
  3. I got to hang out with a bad ass little girl who was actually kind of cute. Having kids would not end my life if it happened in like, 10 years.

Other random note? A former fling of mine got married this last weekend, and I still continue to be weirded out by that happening (he’s not the first).

Community: Found

Many things came out of this past weekend at She’s Geeky. First, I reinstated my mother’s blog commenting privileges. I took them away when she began using it as a text messaging system (“call me!”), but realized I’m not getting enough comments as it is so I should be thankful for those that I do get. That, and someone in my “I blog… now what?” session said her comments add a dimension to my story, and hey, if it’s what the readers want…

Next, and clearly this is coming up in order of importance, I was offered the Interim Managing Director position for Girls in Tech. I accepted it without hesitation, and am really excited to get started. However, the exchange also marked the second time in 24 hours that I had been labeled “green.” I’m not arguing the validity of the statement, but rather commenting on how it always seems that once you learn a word, it comes up more and more. I suppose the fact that I just learned its meaning adds justification for being labeled so. This is just even more reason to fully take advantage of this opportunity and show folks what I can do :)

Lastly, I met amazing, amazing women. Sometimes I feel that I need to travel to the ends of the country to be connected with people that are truly inspiring and making a difference. Truth is, it’s always in our own backyards, we just have to look. This is the community that I have been looking for and yearning for ever since I graduated from Macalester. It feels so great when everything falls into place… yet a bit overwhelming at the same time. Good thing I also know I’m not alone in that sense too :)

Kate’s Geeky

Today was day 1 of the two day She’s Geeky Unconference. Having just spent the first part of the week at a conference, I was worried I would be a little conferenced out. I also had no idea what to expect – would all the session topics be über geeky or over my head? Am I a different kind of geek that doesn’t relate to other female geeks? Turns out, I’m not, I’m just like everyone else and it is really awesome because they are awesome.

The day started out with short introductions, including reasons each of us considers ourselves geeky. I explained that my action figure collection, including me counting down the days to the Andrew Bell Android Series 3 release, mades me a geek.

Next, the facilitator threw a big stack of construction paper on the ground and told us to go at it. We were to list any and all topics we wanted to discuss throughout the day. I didn’t suggest any topics… mainly because it was my first time and I didn’t even know where to begin.

There were probably about 60 people there. After everyone wrote their topics, we went around the circle and read them aloud. I got really excited super quickly because there were tons of topics that piqued my interest. Android v. iPhone? Table Top games? What to do when you are a female manager with only male direct reports who won’t respect you? How to build a solar usb charger? Let’s just say, I felt right at home and my excitement was growing exponentially (get it? Heh, heh…).

Overall, the day was great. I didn’t mesh with all the personalities there, which is good, because not everyone thinks or acts the same way. I also saw a lot of people that I’ve met from other places, like the Minnesota Bloggers Conference. See, I’m so inspired that I even came home and blogged even though it has been a shit long time since I have done so and I feel guilty.

Tomorrow is day two. I hope I get a really good nights’ rest again because I’m still a little tired from my conference earlier this week (staying up till four and getting up at seven will do that to you). I may even suggest a topic. Maybe about blog writing… or using wordpress :)

From Hot Glue Guns to…

When I was in middle school, I carried a hot glue gun with me at all times. Just before this started, someone had asked if I had one. Being the sarcastic seventh grader I was, I said “oh yes, I have one right here in my back pocket.” I then realized how funny that would have been, and decided that going forward I would never leave home without a hot glue gun again.

Well, that only lasted for about 3 years. I got sick of carrying it with me and never being asked again if I had one. I think word got out and therefore everyone conspired to never ask me for one. Even though the hot glue gun went away, the sentiment never did. Ever since then, I like to be the one that is prepared, thinking of any possible need before it actually arises.

So, after years of questioning why I’ve been moving around a spare keyboard that I asked for for Christmas in 2005 but never actually used, it finally came in handy. I was just a year away from making the transition from desktop to laptop, and haven’t looked back. Yet, the keyboard is actually really cool; it is a backlit keyboard where you can change the color of the backlights (red, blue or purple). You would love it.

Anyway, after months of chomping away on the loudest keyboard in man’s history, Joe looks up and asks “does my keyboard bother you?” To which I replied honestly, “it only sounds like nails on a chalkboard my love.” He was supportive though “oh, I guess I should start thinking about getting a new one.” I blank stared for a while, thinking if I still had it, when I finally pinpointed its location. I knew it was in the basement storage unit in my apartment, and it just happened to be the second tub from the top. We ran down there, and let’s just say, you’d think I’d have gotten him a new Christmas puppy “oh my gosh, I have never had a keyboard this wonderful and new in my whole entire life.” Mission. Accomplished.

A Recap and a Proposition

A couple weekends ago (I know, this is a terribly late recap) I went to the Minnesota Bloggers Conference. I only found out about it last minute and managed to weasel my way in. It was a really great experience. First, it forced me to break out of my relationship-shell and randomly approach people again. I haven’t been in situations to do that lately, and I think I’ve become a little too dependent on Joe for the constant companionship. And: I met some really great people; people that probably work with Joe, people that I may have connections with through rugby (I played at Macalester), and people who I’ve been following on twitter since I started (which isn’t saying much because its only been about a month).

Second, the conference sparked my new love affair with twitter. Before that, I would read it to catch up on news, follow technology trends, and get into the minds of start up entrepreneurs. So how did the conference get me going on twitter? Well, everyone else was doing it. The official hashtag was #MNBlogCon and tweeting during presentations was encouraged. My ADHD ate that shit up – a method to stay engaged while still staying busy? Awesome. It was also a way to connect to the many awesome people I met there.

Third, I ran into Twins Geek (John), probably because he knew I was going to be there. No, he’s actually a completely legit sports blogger that I have been non-intentionally stalking over the last year. Ever since the infamous eve of Joe’s birthday present, we have run into Aaron Gleeman and/or John and his wife a good handful of times: happy hours, fundraising events, etc. Because we ran into each other, I got a good call-out on their podcast from the next day: listen to the 57 minute mark.

Fourth, I found a new obsession: podcasting. The last session at the conference was all about the ins and outs of podcasting: how to start, what to talk about, schedule, etc. I sat next to John for this part, so I got an even better perspective from his insights. I left there thinking “oh my god, Joe and I have to start a podcast.” I brought the idea up to him as soon as I got home. I thought we could discuss movies, and I even proposed the name #officialcouple talk: movies. This way, if we ever wanted to talk about something else, we could just change the end. Let’s just say, Joe was a little less than excited, possibly on the line of apprehensive. He didn’t know if we would have enough to talk about, he thought he might be weird on the air (having it feel staged), and frankly doesn’t have enough time. To give him a spark of encouragement though, I reached out to Aaron when he did his weekly call out for mailbag questions. My question to Gleeman. Gleeman and the Geek answering said question: 1 hour 24 minute mark.

Turns out, I’m not the only person that is considering doing a movie podcast (which conveniently is the theme of this blog). Aaron Gleeman also has an interest in a movie/tv show podcast. Do you see where I am going with this? Yes, Aaron, this is a more public proposition than Joe’s birthday surprise. But just think about it. How awesome would it be? Joe will tell you that I have a unique taste in movies – that I’m impossible to figure out. He also suggested that you and I wouldn’t do well with a podcast because all your fans would hate me and my harsh stances on characters, themes, etc. I don’t like gushy crap (I refuse to watch The Notebook), I prefer action to plot (but need plot with my action), I don’t like stupid funny – it just pisses me off and makes me feel sad about our society, and I prefer to know (or rather, demand to know) if a main character is going to die before I watch a movie.

Why the hell would you want to do a podcast with me then? Because I would bring spice to the relationship Aaron, spice. I’m not a silly sports nut, like some of the people you may know. I cater to a slightly different demographic, and at least you wouldn’t be the hated one with ridiculous movie preferences. I’d be the diabolical antagonist and you would be loved by all. Eh? Eh? No need to answer now… but think on it ;)

Shoyu

Earlier this week, a coworker sent our team an email with a picture of an ipad he stumbled upon. He was at the Minneapolis/St.Paul Airport and a new restaurant, Volante, which put ipads at every table, where you browse the menu and can surf the internet. Being in the digital signage/in-store digital technology field, I just had to check it out.

Good thing I had this trip coming up! My grandma and I met at the airport around 5:30pm for our 7:30 flight to Washington DC. This should have been ample time, however, we were at a gate smack dab across the airport from us. It would have been risky to try to make it there and back, and I didn’t want to drag my grandma on a goose chase. Luck would have it though, that once I sat down, the airline attendant announced our gate had changed. The route to the new gate brought us right past the new restaurant… score!

From the onset, it looked like a really neat place. Trendy/modern with the appropriate flare of technology. We grabbed a table, and a waitress said she would be right with us to show us how to work the ipad. I was a little put off that she assumed I didn’t know how to use it, but was also glad to have someone there to answer questions my grandma had in a more patient manor. It’s nearly impossible for me to understand what it is like growing up without technology.

After flipping through the menu, I got myself a small appetizer (chicken lettuce roll ups) and a Heineken and my grandma a glass of wine (I’m so serious, I have her drinking already!). I’m pretty sure it was an asian fusion type of restaurant. Then, to finalize the order, I had to select the tip amount and scan my card on the little reader next to me.

20 minutes later my food came out, and I had ask the waitress about the drinks. She scurried over to the bar and picked them up. I’m not sure how long they had been sitting there, but I absolutely hate it when I get my food before my beverage.

The food was actually pretty good, definitely a place I’d go to again. The atmosphere was a little difficult though – two minutes after placing the order, I shut my ipad off because the constant attract-loop was, well, attracting my attention. My grandma showed annoyance too, so I shut hers off as well. Ya’ll know I love my grandma, but this woman is kind of short. Beyond us being annoyed at the distraction, due to the ipads, I could only see her eyes from across the table. It didn’t help that they were portrait oriented and raised onto a stand. If I ever go back (and I’m sure I will) I’ll definitely sit at the bar, even if I am with someone else. I think that sitting next to, rather than across from, would make conversations a lot easier.

Other random thoughts:

  • The coolest part of the whole place? The outlet on the table that enabled me to USB charge my iphone while having dinner. I would eat that crap up if USB ports came standard other places. I always loose the adapters, so I usually need to plug it into a computer. Not anymore!
  • I didn’t like having to select the tip amount before I even placed my order. Had I known my drinks would arrive so late, I would not have tipped 18% (my options were 0, 15%, 18% and 20%).
  • I’d create the app differently, but over all, it was nice, intuitive, and responsive. No complaints about how it was created (ignoring the semi-annoying attract-loop).
  • The waitress never even came back after our food and drinks were served. It was kind of awkward, and not a place I would typically expect to tip.
  • Also, apparently the name of the place was Shoyu, thus the name of this post. Not sure if I went to a different place or what.
  • They emailed me the receipt, which was handy (and reminded me of the name of the place :) )

Luckily, I’m traveling two more weekends in the next month – maybe next time I’ll have better luck with the waitress and have a completely refreshed opinion of the place.