The Katana: Randy Pausch and Basketballs 12/21

Basketballs For Chinatown Rec Center!

Randy Pausch made a difference.  He was a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon who died of liver cancer at 48.  Before he died, Randy left a heartfelt video full of inspiration for us all to appreciate.  More importantly, however, was his message to his wife and three kids.

The most memorable quote from the video is when people ask Randy what’s his secret to obtaining tenure so early.  Randy responds, “Call my office at 10 o’clock on a Friday night and I’ll tell you.”

Why more young folks don’t come in first and leave last I don’t understand. If you’re not showing your work ethic and inquisitive spirit from the get-go, you aren’t going places.  Unless you know everything, work longer than everybody else, work harder than everybody else, succeed like nobody else!

Thanks to reader suggestions, we’re spending the $500 on more kids, rather than less, and in piece-meal amounts.  Our local recreation director mentioned they just got a $1,000 grant and suggested we look at a higher traffic center such as the one in Chinatown, so we did.  $200 down, $300 to go!


Someone Has To Give Birth! Why Women Shouldn’t Be Penalized For Being A Mom

Swans And Their BabiesI was at a cocktail party the other night, and after several stiff vodka tonics, a female manager-level friend, “Julia”, began complaining about one of her staff.

She came up to me and said, “Sam, what am i going to do?  Nancy keeps getting pregnant!  She’s having her third child in the past 5 years, and now I’ve got to find cover for her again!” After Julia’s rant, she twirled her way to a slick looking fella at the bar and began chatting him up.

Initially I tried empathizing with Julia, given I do remember the feeling of having to cover for someone when they’re “sick“. But Nancy’s case is different.  After all, someone has to give birth, and after seeing one too many sex ed video’s from the 9th grade with images of globulous placentas seared in my mind, i’m glad it’s not me!  The Europeans would argue a 3 month maternity leave is not long enough given they practice a 6 month healing process.

Julia’s complaint brings us to the great debate:

Is it fair or even true that women are discriminated against and make less money than men on average?

Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating

As soon as I got into work one morning, my female colleague blurted out, “OH MY GAWD! GUESS WHAT?!

“What? Hrmmm,” I replied as I was still groggy eyed after last night’s client dinner.

“I was on the same plane as Gavin Newsom (Mayor of San Francisco) and he sat in economy with me!  He is SOO cute and yummy!  So tall and handsome, he’s going to do great things for California and our country!” she gushed.

The funny thing is, she was complaining just earlier this year how bad the “Care Not Cash” legislation turned out, and how he was contributing to the big overspend problem we have here in California (we’re broke).  I can still clearly remember how mad she and her friends were when the story broke that Gavin cheated on his wife with his campaign manager’s wife! YOWZA!  Gavin was the next Bill Clinton!

Phrases such as: “Men are pigs!” “Men only think with their smaller head!” “You guys disgust me so no, you can’t have some of my salad!”, were bantered around the office for weeks.  My friend was a hater for life!  Even the guys on our floor, who usually joke about stuff like this were shocked.

So what really happened between now and then, to make my colleague fall head over heels in love with Gavin Newsom?  Furthermore, how is it that after violating a key “MAN CODE” (don’t sleep with your friends girlfriend/wife) does he get re-elected soundly, and has a popularity rating higher than ever?


Use The Sandwich Method To Provide Constructive Criticism

A Reuben, My Favorite!

A Reuben. My Favorite!

There’s a fine line between being a jerk and being constructive.  As a parent, manager, spouse, or friend, most of the time we just want what’s best for others.  The problem is, we’re afraid to offend and we therefore lose any ability to help.

There’s no better reward than advising someone how to improve, and then watch them flourish.  Push the person too far, however, and you’ll engender resentment.  The Sandwich Method is one the best ways for delivering constructive feedback.

SCENARIO: Your friend Sam comes up with a corny idea for a website called “Financial Samurai.”  Sam thinks it will become a Top 25 personal finance site in the world one day and thinks the tagline “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries” is catchy.  He thinks he’ll be able to retire off the advertising revenue and is already thinking about buying the latest Audi S5 and quitting his day job with his expected income.

You know better because there are 50 million active websites out there (200+ million total), and only the top 100,000 (0.2%) sites earn 74% of all the revenue according to Alexa.  As a friend, how do you knock some reality into Sam, without crushing his enthusiasm?


Everything Is Relative Superstar – Being Happy With What You Have

Last week was pretty busy.  I traveled to three cities and saw 10 different clients with one of my senior colleagues, Jim.  Jim, aka Superstar, is 45 years old, has his PhD in Economics, and could probably retire now if he wants to.

Jim is a great speaker who engages his clients with insightful anecdotes.  At 5 foot 5 inches tall, Jim stands more confidently than his stature would suggest.  With a staff of 30 people serving his every wishes, Jim never has to worry about not getting his way.  He’s a meticulous man with particular demands, which leads us to our little adventure.