Category Archives: Lake

Sometimes There is Nothing Quite as Terrifying as Success: Guess We’ll Just Have to Get Used to It

When my business development gig at the big corporate travel management corporation dissolved (there is no more subtle of a hint than when the boss hires his son to do the job you are doing) I decided that it was time once again for a change.  The recession had left the corporate travel landscape less than hospitable for even the most seasoned veteran, let alone a relative newcomer of only 4 years like me.

Having dabbled in email marketing, being responsible for re-designing and keeping the company website up, and a bit of pay-per-click advertisement on LinkedIn, there had always been a side of me that wondered at the other side of what could be done in online marketing.  I went through the job ads and started to detect a central theme of what was lacking in my 20 year marketing skill set.  I began to take every job offer that was not suitable for me and record the exact nature of my inadequacies for each position.  There was a career guidance/coaching site that had some good suggestions regarding certificate programs and it began to become more and more attractive to do some research into the matter. As a matter of fact I found an exact description of my “wish list” in the Master Certification Program in Internet Marketing offered by the University of San Francisco.

I poured myself into the program.  It is amazing when one is paying for one’s own education (Varian was kind enough to foot the bill for my MBA tuition at the University of Santa Clara back in the 80’s) what kind of achievement is possible.  Suffice it to say that my marks were slightly better than passing.  It would have been nice if mom could have been alive to see that, but at least it is hoped that it was of some inspiration to my two (brilliant and perfect in every way) daughters.  The sections on social media and in particular LinkedIn truly caught my attention.  Even back then there was a noticeable trend for professional search, i.e. recruiters and those looking for professional services, to gravitate towards LinkedIn rather than the more general Google, Bing, Yahoo search engines.  The degree being competed there was a long period where my services were volunteered through several mentoring programs, and involvement in the local job search community where my experience in search engine optimization, website optimization, and the integration of interactive techniques and inbound marketing practices into small businesses was getting honed.

Finally after having gotten enough confidence in internet marketing to be dangerous, there were several offers for me to teach LinkedIn as a tool, first for job search, then as a marketing alternative to organic search on Google.  After helping several people with their websites and other projects, I recently had my first big hit on a LinkedIn profile optimization.  Having been a teacher of adult education on the subject, a facilitator at the “ProMatch” job shop, and a mentor for quite a few companies, some of my recommendations began to read “subject matter expert” etc.  That is a joke, as we all know, because the subject changes daily and all one can hope to accomplish is to learn what was happening yesterday.

Among these changes, of which I strive to keep myself abreast by attending several industry webinars and webcasts weekly, was the definite consensus that search optimization and profile development for the professional was decidedly more effective on LinkedIn than the Google type engines.  Without going into huge detail regarding the difference between the selection criteria (search algorithms) suffice it to say that a new entrant into a search arena has little to no chance with Google, and every chance with LinkedIn.

My good friend, and boat partner, has spent countless hours of manual and design labor in the restoration of my 1990 boat and trailer.  It felt only right to offer some token of my gratitude for his endeavor. What my strength is lies in the building of companies, business, and brand recognition.  It just so happens that this efficacy has now expanded to internet marketing and social media.

We embarked on such a mission.  His competitors were researched, and mined for keywords and content.  The keywords were then processed through my proprietary method (largely based on AdWords keyword tool) and a suitable list of 20 words were produced and ranked according to competitive viability and search activity.

The next task was to have him write his own story, using a few of the keywords and optimizing for the content.  He was amazingly cooperative through his whole process, and I had learned lots from other clients.  Give them as little homework as possible, and do everything they will let you get away with, yourself.

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on the creative.  There is the 2000 character summary that has to be written to comply with LinkedIn format. There are several 200 character entries that have to be optimized for your “comments” sections in the groups that you join.  There are keyword lists to be added to “specialties” columns within the profile, and a few other techniques that I learned from USF buddies and the several webinars recently viewed on the subject.

Then came the testing.  How did it go?  At first the long tailed series of keywords was tested, and my man came up #1!  I was so stoked that my wife and then the client had to be called.  Next test was the really much better keywords, with a geographic tag:  Still number one.

There were other things to be done last night, including the previous blog, so that was good enough for me.  The story was going to be written then.  A client that actually listened to everything I had to say, and a campaign that was successful beyond expectations.

There was celebration at the tribal village, some food and sleep.  As is the custom many nights, sleep was interrupted by the “bathroom break” then a period of contemplation while attempting to regain slumber.  This creative period gets more frequent and longer as one ages.  This particular session yielded an enlightened concept:  we are all the way to #3 at the most aggressive of all keywords so far, what if we went to the most coveted keywords of all, for his profession?

It was resolved.  My wife left for work and I scrambled to the computer to see who the people were that were at the top of the entire profession in our geographic area.  Gosh darned, if we could come so far in a day, why not see who was at the top and spend whatever time it took to topple this tycoon of the internet?

I typed in the search words, the area code and maximum driving range and waited.

In less an excruciating lifetime of a second, the results for LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT – 95113- 100 MILES came up with …

MY CLIENT:  Scott Fornaciari – Landarc Associates, Inc. Landscape Architecture, Planning, Project Coordination, and Design: with Green and California Native Plants  check out his work, it IS amazing.

Now what?


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Learning from Others: Finding Influential People When You Are On Your Own

My early years were blessed with always having owned a boat.  These were the frolicking years just after grad school with all the single folks jamming a deserted beach on a far away lake.  Naked waterskiing on a full moonlit night, was followed by running out of gas in the middle of the lake and paddling to shore with a water ski.   Ah, youth.

As the years passed, and children grew the excitement of the boat began to give way to other family responsibilities, and differed maintenance began to accrue.  Time was spent loading the thing with groceries and camping supplies for two weeks in the mountains, feeding 12 kids and 8 adults.  The yearly “tune-up” was accomplished, but little things piled up.  After about 15 years of this, it had come to a point of catharsis.  I was no longer motivated to keep the boat up, the kids were gone, and it seemed to be reasonable to give the thing up and move on.

This is where the power of the pen turned my life around.  In blogging about marketing, it seems to serve well to include a personal story and this was such a time.  Publishing the lament felt as a result of this dilemma yielded an unexpected, but welcomed response.  A good friend read the post and responded with a question as to my willingness to take a partner.

The attraction was immediate, and for a different reason than was later revealed.  It was attractive to have someone else to share the work load, to share in the cost, and to provide some renewed energy towards the project.   What was not yet apparent to me was that this person was my perfect complement.  He has an attention to detail that I don’t exercise.  If asked the proper way to accomplish something it is usually quite simple for me to utter a detailed step-by-step procedure of the correct sequence of activities.  Does this mean that this is the way I would ever proceed?  Hell no!

A good example is the boat trailer.  It has been rusted from salt water, the lights were almost all out, and the surge breaks hadn’t worked in years.  My new partner Scott looked at it and made some comments regarding an obvious course of action.  The wheels needed to be taken off and greased, the wiring repaired, the boat taken off, and the trailer ground, sanded, and sandblasted down to bare metal before priming and re-panting.

Well duh.  I knew that!  Why then was my first conclusion that the most logical course of action was to either buy a new trailer or just scrap the thing?  The most amazing thing happened when we dug into the work.  At first Scott did everything.  Finally the shame was too great and I picked up the wire cutters and pitched in.  Within a couple of hours we were working along side-by-side like the pit crew at an Indy race.  Wheels were coming off, bolts greased, tires changed, new lights installed, road test successful;  all things that I knew how to do, but would never have taken the time to do by myself.

That boat is like a business.  All it took was a fresh perspective to make it feel new again.  If circumstances are such that a “partner” is not the solution, there are alternatives.  I belong to several “success” groups and “Meet-up’s” where we get together with other professionals and share perspectives.  Many ides and disciplines come from these meetings, and they help me not only to see things differently, but to focus on the actions that are agreeably correct, but might not have been my intuitive course of action.  Webinars, podcasts, and YouTube videos are also great sources of educational and inspirational material. I try to schedule at least 2 hours a week in these activities, and then make sure that I document what they taught.

There are several ways to take advantage of the knowledge and inspiration of others.  We don’t have to do this all alone!


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Introducing White Space Links

Blame Seth Godin

The challenge of monetizing the web is a tricky one, but a new venture launched right here and right now is out to solve that problem.

It’s called whItespAcelInks.

There’s all this unused white space on the web. Spaces in between paragraphs or links. Wasted.


Consumers are tired of being overwhelmed by ads and by pages that are stuffed to the gills with ads. What if the ads were invisible? What if we could insert links into the white spaces, links you didn’t have to see but could still be clicked on? What if those ads were carefully targeted, location-based and mobile?


This is even better than permission marketing. It’s invisible marketing.


In one fell swoop (does anything ever happen in two fell swoops?) we can double or triple the ad inventory of any website! And there’s no need for complicated creative, because, after all, the links are invisible.

Some highlights from the funding plan:

  • We will track every user, protecting privacy by never talking about the fact that we’re doing it.
  • We will create persistent browser tools that permit us to generate whItespAcelInks revenue even when you’re not online.
  • There will be no push back from regulators because the links are invisible.
  • Will there be Android? Yes. There will.
  • An iPad app? I can’t believe you even need to ask. In fact, the iPad app will be so appy that people will pay for it by subscription.


First round funding, announced today, is $11 million. We wanted to keep it modest and prove ourselves in the marketplace. The biggest challenge for us going forward is that the service only runs one day a year.



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There is Nothing Like a Good Long Storm to Make You Appreciate The Sunshine

Joni Mitchell was right; you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.  The past couple of weeks it has rained pretty much nonstop.  I feel like we’re back in my wife’s hometown of Hazel Dell, a suburb of Portland.  Never knew how people could live there, too freeking rainy.  The big difference between here (San Francisco area) and there is that we get breaks between showers.  They can go for literally weeks without seeing the sun.

Today we had a break for a couple of hours and I took a walk.  There were kids out playing on their skateboards, women washing dogs, others taking walks or riding bikes.  It was like the old Chicago song:  Saturday, in the park… It felt just like the 4th of July.  All that was missing were the Mexican vendors with their push-carts full of ice cream.  It was T-shirt weather for that hour, even though the temperature read 49’.  In the sun it felt like we were back in Cabo San Lucas.  Funny, when we were down there I didn’t even go for a walk last time.  It seems as though we appreciate things when they are scarce, as the sun was today.

There is much to the texture thing.  Humans often don’t appreciate things without it.  Three years ago who would have thought that we would be ecstatic that the market was back up over 12,000?  When the Silicon Valley was in its “heyday”, a thousand dollar lunch bill just went into the Advertising and Entertainment budget.  Now Mary and I get excited by a free vendor dinner at the Fairmont.  There used to be secretaries and admins to do things like typing and filing.  The internet was a tool and emails were a means of communication, not a burdensome task to filter through in the morning.

Belt tightening can be a good thing.  People learn to do their own typing, publishing, and organizing.  It is a better head space for most of us to be responsible for all of our own actions instead of blustering through the day only to dump the follow-up on someone else’s desk.

Cigarettes used to be 50 cents, gas 29 cents a gallon and what did we do as a country?  More people died from tobacco than anything else, and the average car was a V-8 that got 8 miles to the gallon.  There was no concern for health, carbon footprint, global warming, or anything other than how much steak and potatoes we could fit into our bloated bodies.  Our businesses were every bit as bad.

The new era has brought about many changes:  My car is a Prius that gets 50 miles to the gallon, my office is a converted bedroom in my house, that (the house) is a tremendously downsized version of the one where my kids were raised (but it’s paid for), my business is on the internet helping other folks sell what they do, and my sirloin habit has been cut down from three days a week to once a month.

I actually appreciate it all now.  The walk in the sun, the occasional steak, that I can now type 50 words a minute, all came from necessity.  The contrast in life is what makes us appreciate what we have.


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Puddle Stompin’ in the Rain

I have always been a California boy.  I was born here, went to school here, worked here, and will most likely die here unless I am traveling at the time.

For some reason the women I have attracted have never been from California.  My first two wives were from Michigan and my current (and last) was raised in Oregon/Washington.   My sensibilities tend to gravitate towards football games, hot buttered rum drinks, and over-eating when the rains come.  This is obviously not too healthy, but the “rainy days” are few and far enough between that the lifestyle never gets too sedentary.  Of course ski trips and other “outward bound” trips break up the winter.  My skiing career started when I was 5, walking up the hills and skiing down.  The thing I never really embraced was the all day, grey day in March when there is no Football, Baseball is just in training, and BasetBall and  Hockey are not my favorites.

The  mother of my children, although we split up 7 years ago she is still a dear friend, was one of the Michi’ganders.  She was born in Kalamazoo, which is a name I have always loved just for the sound of it. “Tippy-canoe-and-Kalamazoo-Too.”

We had kidz.  We had great kidz; they were into everything.  They attended Adalante Spanish immersion school, the both got their kiddy black belts in Okinawa Karate, they played some music, held interests in teaching and journalism, partied like their parents, loved and helped people like their pastors, and were generally just great kidz.

This happens to be a very rainy day.  It somehow reminded me of some of the most wonderful things that my Michigan wife and I did with our Kidz.

There was an area down from where we lived in the hills, down by Middlefield “Little Mexico” where the fields were not as well grated, and there were big depressions in the turf, where huge lakes (at least 8”deep) would accumulate during a good rainfall. Kip (Mom) would dress the girls all up in their finest Muck-luk attire (boots, hoods, slickers, goggles, astro-hand-warmers, etc…) and we would head for the puddles.  It didn’t matter if it was raining 1” an hour at the time.  It also didn’t really matter how cold it was outside, but being California, it was usually still mid ‘60’s when we were out.

The real game plan was to totally drench everybody around you.  It didn’t matter that it was cold and wet, the action of the competition and play was such that nobody was ever cold.  There would be the unsuspecting girl (or Black Lab) standing way too close to a 6” puddle, and it was irresistible to jump in with both feet and splash the heck our of everything..   As the exhaustion became an aphrodisiac and the endorphins mixed with the lack of sensitivity to the cold, we became a bit bolder.  What were at first “foot- stomps” denigrated into full body slams into the cold rainwater.  When the splashes were insufficient, there was indeed (hate to say it as a dad) dunking involved.  There were side splashes, back splashes,   back lashes and amazing crashes.  There were times we brought our bikes, walked with spikes, floated tikes, it was all good.

The inevitable end to the day was to throw all the clothes (down to the undies) into a huge garbage bag, pile into the Astro Van (the best family vehicle we were ever exposed to until my wife decided we needed a leather lined Tahoe that got half the mileage and cost twice as much) and as hypothermia was beginning to take control, rolled back into the driveway of our Upland home.

Decontamination was efficient, concise, and incredibly poorly received.   Upon return home after this afternoon of excess mud and clayurnal bliss, the clean-up process at home was not popular.  There was the garden hose for the bulk of the mud, then the total strip search on the porch for the remainder of the mud.  Tubs were simultaneously run, and by the time the girls had recovered from the shock of the hoses and subsequent stripping, and were ready for the hot tub.  Not like we had a “HotTub” but the tub in their bathroom was by then, pretty inviting,

An hour later, dressed in their “onesies” or whatever attire was appropriate for their age, we were all snuggled in front of the fireplace.  We were always resplendent with the memories of the day, the wonderful feeling of having an athletic “outdoor” day, enjoying the contrasts in temperature,  the sheer excitement of the splashing and wallowing, and sharing the “Aprè” experience with our family.

Every time I see a puddle on the side of the road, I have to drive through it or stomp on it.

I love you, my girls!  Kayla, Kelsey, and Kippy


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History of Cabo San Lucas

Before Cabo San Lucas was known as the tourist town it is today, the beaches were inhabited by a nomadic Guaycura Amerindian group called Pericu. The Pericú were hunters and gatherers; the shores around Cabo made it easy to live off of shellfish, small game and wild plants. There is also evidence that they were skilled weavers and potters as well.

The Cabo coastline remained untouched by European explorers until 1542, when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Spaniard, made the first contact with the Pericu people while exploring the waters of the Pacific for the Spanish monarchy. The Spanish forces remained because of the threat of English pirates in the area. The harbor at Cabo San Lucas continued to be used by pirates until the mid-18th Century as a hiding place after attacks on Manila Galleons (you can see a ship similar to these in the harbor). The pirates also enjoyed the many coves and inlets, perfect places for stashing loot. After pirating became a thing of the past, the port was mostly ignored because of the lack of fresh water available there.

More activity came to the harbor at the end of the 19th Century. Baja-californianos began exporting bark from the local palo blanco tree, to be processed and used in leather tanning. This made Cabo San Lucas a main shipping port. With the increase of nautical traffic, the Faro Viejo lighthouse was built in 1890 by port authorities at the nearby Cabo Falso.

The abundance of tuna in Cabo was discovered in the early 20th Century, and in 1917 an American tuna cannery was moved from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas to take advantage of this new resource. This brought a new population that continued to grow even as the native population dwindled. By the 1930s, a small fishing village had developed to supply the cannery. The harbor was then occupied by about 400 people, all of whom were involved in the canning industry. This remained the driving force of the local economy until 1941, when a hurricane destroyed a large part of the factory. The damage was devastating and Cabo San Lucas was all but abandoned during World War II, when Japanese submarines patrolled the coast.

After the war, leisure travel became a popular activity and Cabo was rediscovered as a game-fish paradise. Word of mouth brought a sport-fishing craze to the cape in the 1950s and 1960s and Cabo became a hot spot for catching prize-winning marlin and other swordfish. During this time, the small village grew in size to about 1500 residents (not including the many seasonal fishermen that were brought in by plane or boat to fish the cape). The slow but steady pace of growth changed in 1973 when the Transpeninsular Highway was completed. This new link by land between the United States and Cabo San Lucas brought even more traffic to the area. The city soon became a popular destination for people traveling by car and recreational vehicle, in addition to those who already came by boat or plane.

Nowadays, the small fishing village has become a bustling tourist attraction. Cabo San Lucas has increased its numbers and now boasts a population of almost 25,000. The majority of people who call this place home make their living from the tourist industry and most of them are recent arrivals seeking work. Many small shops and boutiques line the streets with souvenirs and handcrafted Cabo clothing. Tour guides are ready to show off the spectacular coastline (and the sights under the water too). Affordable boating adventures and tours await those ready to take to the waves and are a sign that Cabo is no longer an exclusive yacht club just for the upper class sports fishermen.

Great fishing is not the only activity that brings people to the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. First class golfing attracts sportsmen of a different kind, while the beaches bring legions of sunbathers each year. Scuba diving is also a popular draw for visitors; the beautiful waters are great for watching exotic, colorful marine life.

Despite deep roots in the past, so richly displayed at the Museo de las Californias, Cabo San Lucas has a distinctly modern feel. It is far enough away from home to be a great getaway, without feeling too foreign.


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Why Would a “White Bread” Ex-Republican Neo-Moderate Like Me Want So Badly To Go To Montgomery Alabama?


It started with the Northern California Folk Rock Festival at the Santa Clara County Fair Grounds in 1968.  This was an event that, for the times, blew Woodstock out of the water.  It was two days of music and love from Country Joe and the Fish, The Animals, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, The Youngbloods, The Electric Flag, Kaleidoscope, Taj Mahal and Ravi Shankar.  There was also an un-announced appearance by a small local band known as The Grateful Dead.  This was my first concert.  I was awestruck by the mixture of love, and music, half naked women, and patchouli oil in the air.  Swept into a “oneness” that would have made the Buddha proud, I found myself wandering through the vendors tent, spinning and whirling in my mind right past the US Army enlistment desk (no joke) to a desk that offered me an alternative to going to Viet Nam to fight an un-seen un-known “enemy” with whom I had no issue.   Although only 16 at the time, I exercised my illegal right and registered with the Peace & Freedom Party (an act that would eventually not escape the personal scrutiny of J. Edgar Hoover himself, nor the ramifications thereof forever effecting my suitability to serve in the armed militia of my country as it chose to hate a particular Indo Chinese group of people who had ostensibly irritated the French enough as to incite us to eventually not declaring war on them as we dropped roughly 5 pounds of bombs on each and every square foot of their land).

Did I mention that I was born in Oakland, at the Kaiser Hospital on Grand Avenue, a poor black child in a white man’s body.  If you have ever seen the Steve Martin movie “The Jerk” I have too.  My dad was quite literally colorblind, a fact that kept him out of WWII much to his chagrin, and I was raised that way too.  I literally had no idea what people were talking about later, that peoples skins were blessed with a greater or lesser amount or tone of melanin.   Of course they were. So what? They had always been.  I’m told I had a black part-time nanny as both of my parents worked.  I was not aware of her blackness until subsequently informed.

At the time that the United States Army wanted to take a closer look at me (my draft lottery number had turned up 17 – the subject of a subsequent blog) I was again summoned to Oakland.  This time it was to the Army Induction Facility.  In my adolescent arrogance and ignorance it was appalling to me that this was indeed not an Army Interviewing and Social Interaction Facility, but that the word INDUCTION was to be taken literally.  If you met their criteria for being fit to travel abroad to burn women and children they put your freeking arse on the bus and carted it off directly to Ft. Ord for basic training.  This was entirely unacceptable and I was sure mother would be quite upset if her baby were to take that minor excursion instead of returning home straight away sans body bag.  I was, however, equipped with a rather damning letter from my Canadian Allergy Doctor ( I shall never forget you Dr. Chardon) extolling in great detail the myriad afflictions of several bouts of pneumonia and asthma that had  rendered my lungs fit for nothing more than keeping my ribs from crashing into my spinal vertebrae.   This, combined with the aforementioned communist affiliation which the Army interrogator was quick to mention as soon as I was officially classified 4F, was enough to have me set on the “group W bench” and marked as unfit.  As my running-mate (thankfully with a much higher draft number) was not similarly dismissed, I was left with the afternoon to kill in downtown Oakland.  With nothing better to do, I settled into the nearest movie theatre to watch the newly released “Super Fly.”  Written around a black pimp/drug dealer, with music by Curtis Mayfield, it felt like home for Oakland.  The fact that I had the only white face in an otherwise packed movie theatre had little or no effect on me, and thankfully no-one else in the place.  I was grooving to the tunes, muttering an occasional “right-on” and generally keeping to myself.  I had a great afternoon, my friend was released and told not to leave the State, and we made it home.  Upon notification of the imminent departure to war that her son had so nearly averted my mother was hysterical.  Upon notification that I had spent the afternoon literally in the middle of roughly 150 urban black folks she merely said “oh, that’s nice dear.”

Next up:   Sacramento and Caesar Chavez, Ronnie and the Dart Board, Willie the Pimp, and the Italians


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