November 28, 2009 Leave a comment
You must read this though it is before the book tour began so there is so much more to be said.
Observing the many facets of people and their world
November 26, 2009 1 Comment
Real things said by real people and too good not to share.
I wanted you to first read them straight. Here is where they came from.
November 22, 2009 Leave a comment
This week I had the opportunity and the joy of reuniting with former long-term colleagues. I was in NY Monday night for a meeting the next day. Two of these former colleagues were to be in the same meeting. They and four others just left their long time employer and started up a new company. I had not seen any of them for close to 5 years which is when I had left the same long time employer but I had known some of them for over 20 years. In many ways we grew up together professionally. So I invited as many as could come to drinks and dinner.
Three came. Peter T showed up first. Peter is one of the top in his field. Most top people in this field have egos the size of football stadiums. Not Peter T. He is a great guy. Passionate about providing excellence to his clients. Has that classy-guy-on-the-street personality. Great to be with. Hard to get his time or attention if you are not a client or working with him on a client. We have known each other for 29 years but until a few weeks ago when we spoke about our mutual client I had not heard from him in almost 5 years.
For me, once you are “family” you stay that way. I have several friends that I no longer get to see with any kind of regularity. But if we share some History and we were close, we remain close as far as I am concerned.
When Peter T arrived, he was friendly. We shook hands. We had about 30 minutes together before others showed. It was good to have his undivided attention. He continually asked what was going on with me as I probed for information regarding his separation from our former firm. (I actually was hoping for detail and dirt but unfortunately Peter T is too classy to go down that road.) It took awhile for us to get to that ” it was like I had just seen you yesterday” feeling but we got there.
We were eventually joined by Rosie and Dan. Rosie and I also go back over 25 years and we had spoken several times since I left the old firm. Rosie is my favorite New Yorker. First, she sounds exactly like a New Yorker is expected to sound. She can be brash and tough but has a heart of gold and is one of the warmest people I know.
Dan is younger. I met him maybe two years before I left the old firm. He and I had the chance to bond on a couple of internal projects. He is bright and full of that youthful enthusiasm that is but a dim memory for me. The best thing about Dan, OK not the best but I am excited, is that he recently grew a beard. There are very few people with beards in our profession. It may only be Dan and me for all I know. We deal with heads of corporations and boards of directors. They tend towards the conservative. I grew mine in the late 1980s when business people wore suits and ties every day. I have been waiting for 25 years for someone to follow my lead. Thanks Dan.
Over a beers and cheeseburgers we caught up on current life and shared memories of old times and people we knew. It was great. It was one of those nights that makes one remember why you liked these people so much in the first place. I believe they felt that way about me as well.
At the end of the night I got a big hug instead of a handshake from Peter T. Hugs all around.
As an added bonus Peter and Dan were part of my meeting with the client the next morning. Seemed just like old times.
November 22, 2009 Leave a comment
I stayed in two Waldorf Astoria hotels on consecutive nights in two different cities.
The Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in NY is famous. But did you know the following (taken from the WA website):
William Waldorf Astor, heir to John Jacob Astor III, built the original 13-story Waldorf Hotel on the site of his Fifth Avenue mansion. Opened in 1893, the Waldorf immediately became the gathering place for the world’s wealthy and society’s elite.
Four years later, Waldorf’s cousin, John Jacob Astor IV built the adjacent 17-story Astoria Hotel. Separate, yet equivalent in grandeur and prestige, both The Waldorf and The Astoria were designed by acclaimed architect, Henry Hardenbergh, who in an act of great foresight added a three-hundred-foot-long marble corridor connecting the two hotels. This corridor, built to connect the two buildings, became an enduring symbol of the combined Waldorf and Astoria hotels – it is represented by the “=” in The Waldorf=Astoria.
For years I had the privilege to stay at the Waldorf 2-4 times per year because it was close to the NY headquarters of the company I worked for. It has been awhile.
For those who have not been there let me share a picture. It defines old world elegance, not opulence. Not that it does not have a feel of opulence but it is also understated in its show of riches. Toward the Park Ave. side of the lobby frescos grace the walls just below the incredibly high ceilings. Marble, dark woods luxurious carpet surround you. The main floor lobby is enormous.
I arrived Monday night. As I walked the lobby it felt as if the Waldorf was its own little world. The bustle of well dressed people was palpable. By well dressed I mean both dressy and casual chic. The service staff was friendly without being intrusive and was everywhere. They make you feel as if you are one of society’s elite even if you are just a guy from Chicago.
Check out the picture gallery for the Waldorf=Astoria here.
Tuesday I flew to Orlando, Florida. (Two planes, 8 hours but that is a story for another time). The Waldorf Astoria website lists 20 properties under the Waldorf Astoria corporate umbrella. Only one other uses the Waldorf Astoria name. It is located minutes from Disney World. Go figure. After over 100 years I cannot fathom why the only place beyond NY would be Orlando.
Having said that the hotel is beautiful. It is new world elegance but elegance nonetheless. The decor is more modern but not modern in that W Hotel kind orf way. The colors, the artwork, the wood trim all let you know that this is a Waldorf. The hotel is new having opened about 6 weeks ago.
I had a two room suite with a small kitchen area as well as a living room and bedroom. There was one flaw. While the two closets in the living room were spacious and had an umbrella as well as the usual iron and ironing board, there were no hangers. None. A quick call and more hangers than I needed were rushed to the room. The bellhop rang the doorbell. Each room has one of course.
While the design of the two Waldorf Astorias differed the feel was similar. Still one must continue to question why the second Waldorf Astoria in the history of the world is down the road from Disney. One would think that the answer to the question “Where’s Waldorf ?” would be a more urbane city.
November 21, 2009 Leave a comment
Tinley Park is a suburb located south-west of Chicago. I am not sure that I have ever been there despite living in the greater Chicagoland area all of my life.
Recently Tinley Park has been in the news. Good news and bad news. Even towns have facets.
First the good news. Tinley Park received kudos in the November 17 issue Business Week as “America’s Best Place to Raise Your Kids” . Not one of the top places but THE top place. Pretty special.
Then in the November 19 edition of the Chicago Tribune this headline appears.
Best place to raise kids and an atmosphere of intolerance that leads to hate crimes. Sounds a little schizophrenic to me.
November 9, 2009 5 Comments
I was at a party last Thursday. A celebration. Celebrating the latest big step in the life of someone who takes chances. She is now the VP Human Resources of a major corporation. Pretty cool.
The people invited to this celebration were the extremely bright and chance taking people she knows. Many of these people she hired at one place or another. They made her look good. In return she made them better. They are off doing great things. Some running their own business and others with much bigger jobs than before.
I have one foot in this group. I am fairly bright and while maybe not the highest IQ of the bunch, I can hold my own. Risk taking however is not what I do. Not the big ones anyway. At least not often.
I get inspired by my friend, what she has achieved and by this group of people. They are special.
But taking a change is not only about making the Big Bet. It is also about the little ones. The ones where you could call it a night but you take one more little chance. The ones that lead to pleasant surprises. That lead to smiles.
The topper on this night of great conversation with amazing people happened at the end. Many had left the bar where we were celebrating but a small intrepid band was not done for the night. I let my self be cajoled into checking out the band upstairs.
There I discovered the Neverly Bros. Band. Three 40 something guys, rhythm guitar, stand up bass and stand up drummer. They played early rock and roll and British Invasion music. For just the three of them the sound was rich and full. This was fun. I do not get enough fun.
So I took a small chance and won. Thanks Sarah and Agent 94.
Between being inspired by these people and some changes at work, I am seriously considering taking a big chance. New job maybe. Maybe. I know that I should. I should take a chance.