Bad Automation – It’s Here

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Automation is Here

Go to a movie theater,  an airport, or an amusement park and you will experience more interaction with machines and less with human beings.    This may on the surface seem like a good thing but in terms of personal cost and experience, I believe it is harmful to customer experience and limits our ability to make choices.

Do you push or say “operator” when you are calling a company?

Most people when asked dislike dealing with machines vs talking to a human being. See http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-tips-to-reach-a-human-operator.html.   Nigel Clark even created a consumer business around this concept called http://www.pleasepress1.com.

Companies continue to use these services because most customers simply deal with it.

  1. The overall costs are lower or seem to be lower in the short run.
  2. The percentage of customers that get frustrated and leave may find that they have no place to go because many companies have gone to robotic services.
  3. Machine services are getting better and some people today may not even realize they are speaking to a machine.

From the business side of things, it makes sense and it makes the “board” happy to see operating costs decrease.  From the consumer side,  I argue that good customer experience is decreasing over time and that consumers are simply getting used to being treated like this.   Consider what you do in your life and how you deal with these situations.

From here,  I will just provide a few short examples of why automation at this time is bad for consumers and customer experience.

Air Travel

Airline companies have pushed customer experience to the brink.  They have pushed people so far emotionally and economically that they don’t want to fly.   When I was a child, my father would take me to the airport to watch the planes take off.   We would see people get dressed up to fly.  It wasn’t a bus service it was an experience .   When we did fly, it was fun and felt like an adventure.   I recall people clapping when the plane landed.   The pilot was a person that you would admire.

Today,  flying is miserable.   Consumers must deal with micro-transactions, unfair practices and treatment of passengers, limited choices and being forced to be physically and emotionally uncomfortable through the travel process.  On top of all of this,  since our world is increasingly unsafe,  consumers are forced to deal with being dehumanized and embarrassed as they line up as cattle to be inspected as they seek to get to their gate.

Automation is all over the airlines

  1. While choosing an airline or flight, it is very likely that you are dealing with a machine.   This is very normal today and the reason it is bad for consumers is because we are presented with choices and there is no negotiation.
  2. Once a consumer makes a choice and locks in, micro-transactions can begin to take place and consumers now only have two options,  choose to continue or choose to discontinue the overall transaction.  If they choose to discontinue the overall transaction,  there may be a fee (most likely).
  3. Through the process of physically getting a ticket,  confirming a seat,  tagging baggage more recently weighing baggage, it is likely that a consumer deals with a machine vs a person.

Why is this a problem?

On recent travel,  I had a problem confirming my flight on the website and application.   When I called the airline, I had no person I could talk to and the machine just kept telling me that I had to solve my problem at the airport.  I spent a lot of time going back over my information to make sure, I didn’t miss anything.  I also kept going back to the website to continue trying just in case it was a technical issue or a timing issue.   After many attempts over time, I was able to resolve the problem but I am not sure how.  I just kept trying.

When I got to the airport,  there were several lines but I couldn’t tell if I needed to get in line or not because I had already confirmed and simply needed to drop off a bag.   Asking another passenger a question is the natural thing to do because maybe they know something I don’t.   Of course they don’t know, they are just guessing like the rest of us.  So,  I took a chance and went to the short line where they receive baggage.  Luckily, there was a person there and she took my bag.   Other passengers noticed my “airline courage” and followed over to the short line.    When the person took my bag and placed it on the scale she said “It is 2 kilograms over, please be sure to take something out on your way home, I will let you through now.”

I was thankful that she took the bag and didn’t make me open it or pay $300.00 more for 4 extra pounds.   Here is the reason why she told me to be careful on the way home.

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On the way home, there are no people only machines.   We are to tag and bag our own baggage and if it weighs more,  you pay.  There is no negotiation and no discussion only 0 or 1.

As a side note,  over 90% of the trip home including security was automated.  There were only 2-3 times that we interacted with a person.

I am not inclined to take a trip like this again as I felt like a unique id being fed through a physical manifestation of something digital.

 

Movies

There was a time that parents would hand kids a few bucks and drop them off at the movie theater.  The movies represented a lot of things, it was a way to get out for a little while and immerse yourself in a new world.  Maybe we would go on a date and share some popcorn or even take the whole family.

Today going to the movies is a whole production in itself.   The experience in the theater is one thing but the experience to get the tickets is a whole ordeal within itself.   We can use services like Fandango to buy tickets ahead of time.   Print the tickets or use an app.  While this seems convenient and practical it is very expensive.  An average trip to the movies for my family is over $75.00 between tickets, popcorn etc.   Automation has made things worse.

On a recent trip to the theater,  I decided I would go directly to theater with my family because it is likely that the theaters do not put special pricing on sites like Fandango.

“The availability of military and student discount tickets is controlled by each individual theater, not by Fandango. To see if any discounts are being offered for your theater for purchases made via Fandango, click on a red show time to begin the purchase process. All available ticket categories will be displayed on the subsequent page. Look for ticket categories labeled “military discount” and “student discount,” or similarly named categories which would indicate a specially priced ticket.

Please be aware that not all theaters make student and military discounts available through Fandango. Many theaters offer these discounts exclusively at their box office. We suggest that you check with your local theater for their military and student discount policy and availability. Individual theater phone numbers can be found by clicking on the corresponding blue theater name.” http://fandango.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/144/~/military/student-discounts

When I went to my local theater,  I had the expectation that a person would be at the window and that I could get the discounts that I had expected before.  What I found was a kiosk.

Ticket-Kiosks

When I walked up to the kiosk,  it said “Welcome Mr. Cohen, so happy to see you, Alexa told us you would be here and we tracked your vehicle and estimated your arrival, based on your previous movie choices, we believe that you, your children and your wife would like to see Spiderman.”   Just kidding, it didn’t say that but I tell you what it didn’t say “DISCOUNT.”   There were no discounted tickets and the kiosk itself has a service charge.  Technically,  you can pre-order popcorn or whatever else you want on there as well but choices are limited.

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Combine the “decoy effect” with automation and you have a perfect opportunity!

We always have the choice to stay home or pay the extra money,  what I am talking about is the experience.    I enjoy talking to the young kids at the counter that are working their first job.  I enjoy asking for other options.

Where else?

Home improvement stores,  Pharmacy (they hand you a paper and you may not even talk to a pharmacist any longer),  Doctors office,  grocery stores,  bowling alley, gas station, and work.   Automation and the reduction of people in the workforce is accelerating day by day.    Some of this is intelligent but most of it is not.    Consumers are constantly getting hit with less choice, no opportunities to negotiate or discuss, less opportunity to interact with human being and less opportunity to benefit from a transaction.

Most people are asked to agree to things electronically that are overwhelming thought automation as well.   People are so used to hitting electronic licensing agreements that they simply don’t read, they just say “yes.”   Recently,  22,000 people agreed to scoop poo and clean toilets for free wifi. Free Wifi.

Summary

Maybe this was a little long but I hope you realize that this impacts you and it is important to understand what is happening.    It will only get worse over time as we become more numb and tolerant to automation.

Recently a television commercial for a security system has a woman calling asking for help as someone just broke into her house, the machine answered and told her that she was in the wrong department.

Automation is here and it is advancing too quickly.   What happens when your mother receives a robocall from the lab diagnostic services.  “Hello, Mrs. Weaver,  we hope you are having a wonderful day, your lab results are in and they are x,y,z.  Your death is estimated in 5.35 weeks, 2 hours and 3 seconds.  If you have any questions about your results please contact our lab health center or find us on line at http://www.fastlabz.com.”

Consumers are being treated like unique identified targets vs customers.   Analytics is replacing the idea of individual interaction.  Customization is really about the presentation of limited options that are terminus as opposed to having room to move in directions that are not prepacked.   As more companies go down this road, consumer choice will actually continue to decrease over time.   This impacts work life and home life and it impacts the quality of an experience.

If you disagree please like this post, if you agree please like this post.

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First 100 Days

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Recently,  I went over the steps I took as I started my job at Chubb Insurance.  I was brought in by senior IT leadership to address challenges of transformation and change using tools, techniques and practices derived from Knowledge Management.

I quickly realized on my first day that I would need a consistent approach to gather information, listen, learn, think, engage and share with peers, team members and leadership.

Mark Friedman is an Executive Coach and Leadership Development expert.   I worked with Mark all through the hiring process and I asked him if he had advice for my first few weeks on the floor at Chubb.   He helped me think through a comprehensive approach and provided some tools to use.

There are many things to do on the first 100 days but I found a few simple steps most helpful.   I was able to determine quickly who would help me and where there would be some challenges.   I modified the worksheet that Mark provided to me for my own use.  I simply started at the top and worked my way down.


 100-day checklist

Stakeholders:

Up: _____________

Across: _________

Down: __________

Discovery:

Personal set up:_______________

Meet live:   ____________________

Phone calls: ___________________

 

Info/Documents: _____________________

Day One:  ______________________________

First Week(s): __________________________

 

Strategic Capacity

Mission / Vision / Scope and Organizational| Business objectives

Tactical Capacity

Building Blocks:

 

How:

BURNING IMPERATIVE in place (by day 30): _____________

MILESTONES set (by day 45): _____________________________

Team ROLES assessed & aligned (by day 70): _____________

Team CULTURE/Communication steps: ___________________

 


I wrote up an interview template and set up introductory meetings that were designed for 15-20 minutes.

My biggest advocate and supporter was the Global CIO.  I sought advice as I ran into challenges and started developing a map related to the questions of the first 100 days.

Organization


There were many opportunities created through this activity.   Building relationships and listening were key factors.

The first 100 days helped me understand where I fit in the organization and the challenges I faced.   This activity helped me determine where I needed to start and it was a driver for me to make the phone calls and sit with people all across the company.   Most of the best information and guidance came from the Executive Assistants.

If you have questions, or want to see more of the tools I used and examples of products I produced, please let me know.

100-DAYS-WHITE-PAPER (Here is another useful guide from intelligent executive.com)

Why Every Leader Should Build a RetroPi

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It is estimated that the number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019.   The level of interaction with technology creates an illusion of understanding.   Expert users are not expert technologists.

Many senior leaders don’t claim to be expert technologists but when it comes to technology decisions it has become much easier to have an informed opinion on technology whether for design or desired outcome.   This has put a great strain on IT because technology while magical is not magic.   It takes hard work,  a great deal of thought and planning.   Even if agile methodologies are applied,  requirements matter.

In this world of 140 characters or less,  it is safe to say that some folks reading this blog if uninterested would have disengaged about eight sentences ago.    The expectation today is that everything will happen quickly and it will be exactly what was expected or we disengage and find something else.   This is one of many reasons that IT is suffering in large companies today.  CIO’s are fighting subscription or licensed services for solution delivery.   It is true that cloud services and licensed subscription models have great benefit but acquisition of these services still require strategic thinking.

A simple exercise in building a small and usable gaming system will demonstrate end to end implementation of easy to acquire technology and show how important strategic planning and understanding of technology is relative to projects small, medium or large.

Many leaders in industry are walking away from IT and looking to make IT decisions on their own.   They can use their own budget and solve their own problem without IT.  In some instances where risk is low, they can do this with very little impact.  In most cases, they find a need to bring IT in at either the end of the purchase or when they need to actually implement.  This creates contention and can impact their ability to get the software or services they wanted in the first place.   The underlying question is “Why can’t I do here what I do at home”?   Anyone feel free to comment on this .. but the various reasons should be addressed in another blog at some point.   

If industry  / business leaders want to make decisions in technology, they should become familiar with what it takes to compose and implement solutions.  I am not saying they should become IT experts but my contention is leaders should know their desired outcome relative to the environment they are in.    An info-graphic on AI can drive me to put Alexa in my home but this is very different from me deploying Alexa in my company.   As a leader, I need to understand the differences to make an informed and economically sound and viable decision.

Making it Real

The Raspberry Pi is a small computer that you can purchase for as low as $10.00.

The Raspberry Pi has free open source operating systems that you can download for many uses.   One of the operating systems available has software called RetroPi.  With RetroPi you can build a system that plays thousands of games from many of the older popular gaming systems.

You can get as fancy as you like depending on your desired result.

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or you can keep it simple

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Either way,  it is learning experience that incorporates some very basic skills using technology to accomplish a relatively simple goal.

Leadership that seeks to use technologies to enable and grow their business should have a tacit understanding of this kind of project.

Some factors to consider here are

  1. Instructions are readily available both written and video (Build a Pi)
  2. The operating system is no cost and easy to install
  3. The software is pre-configured and highly intuitive
  4. The estimated time to completion is 10 minutes (That’s fast)

Results May Vary

Here we have a simple project that should take 10 minutes to employ.  It will result in countless hours of fun and entertainment for the family and for those who enjoy retro games, it will save hundreds of dollars in purchasing a retro console.  It meets most of the criteria asked from technology companies and IT today.  It has the makings of a perfect simple technology implementation.

Side note, below is my machine that I built..

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Innovation in Iceland

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Geothermal Energy ~ Relaxing Spa

Iceland is powered by an endless supply of heat supplied by geothermal energy by volcanic activity.    It also has a geothermal energy plant with an adjoining resort and spa.

Hidden away across a landscape of lava rock and a sea of smoke billowing up from the ground,  is a geothermal energy facility.   According to Wikipedia “The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland. Bláa lónið is situated approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the Keflavík International Airport and 39 km (24 mi) from the capital city of Reykjavík, roughly a 21-minute drive from the airport and a 50-minute drive from Reykjavík.”

The water is renewed almost every two days and stays between 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit or 37-40 C all year round.

The plant produced “waste water” that appears blue due to the silica and minerals in the water.   At some point between 1976 and 1981, someone decided to go into the waste water and bathe in it.   Most people overlook this fact.   Someone at some point in time traveled to this area literally miles from everything and decided to take a dip in electric blue hot waste water.  

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Perspective

The blue lagoon is so popular today, if you don’t reserve a spot there is a good chance you will not get in.   The prices range from $61.00 to over $500.00 just to get in and have a dip.    The place is jam packed and open until midnight in the summer time.  Since Iceland has perpetual light in the summer time,  it is bright out and inviting through the whole day.

The place is growing as well.  They are building private areas and expanding the hotel and luxury environment.    This has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.

The blue lagoon even has science to back their case the-history-of-blue-lagoon-in-svartsengi

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  • The electric energy created from the plant is produced through the costs of maintaining systems that capture the heat energy from the ground water.
  • The waste water is discharged into pools that create new revenue by tourism and those seeking the “healing waters” of the silica and minerals produced by the plant.
  • The ecosystem of revenue and commerce this energy plant / spa is producing is limitless.
    • Food and beverage
    • Hotel
    • Car rental
    • Expanded travel

This growth and expansion is based on waste water.   As tourism is increasing in Iceland in ways that their current infrastructure has to grow exponentially to support, there are more demands for energy as well.   This system is feeding itself and growing.   Iceland is becoming a very popular travel destination.

Something to note, at any given time over between 20 and 40% of the people in Iceland are tourists.    Iceland is also getting heavily involved in cloud computing.   Think about it,  low power costs,  low costs for cooling data centers makes for low cost data centers.

Bitcoin farming / mining is cheap and since the infrastructure already exists,  this place is primed for the future.

Icelandic people are also innovating in other ways.   People are starting to use electric cars and they also charging for micro-services including in some places charging for the use of a bathroom.

I think Iceland is country to watch.   I don’t have any predictions but as one European tourist said to me in casual passing “Howie,  we came here because we think this is a great place to go with very little chance of terrorism.”      Seems like Iceland has many appealing qualities including safety, openness for sexuality,  growing infrastructure and they are innovating to make the country perpetually attractive.

Now the only thing left for them to do is keep the ISK in check ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

War for Talent #Perspective

AI Recruiting ~ For The Lotus Root

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To date, the Lotus root cannot be holistically cultivated by a machine. It is true that at some point in time, machines will be able to replace humans but at this time, it is not possible.   The root cannot be broken or damaged as it is extracted from the field.   If it breaks it becomes contaminated.

Recruiting in concept should be similar to gathering the delicate Lotus root.    They should

  • Have a clear idea of what they need
  • Have identified resources and complex networks to use
  • Understand how to talk to people
  • Understand how to work with others
  • Understand ecosystems and nature

In reality, recruiting today is more like robotic fishing.

  • High usage of automation
  • Filtering through technical netting
  • Lack of understanding of the environment and impact on harvesting
  • Lack of sensitivity to the larger ecosystem
  • Lack of common respect for the environment

War for Talent is a War on Talent

24. WAR IS A MERE CONTINUATION OF POLICY BY OTHER MEANS.

We see, therefore, that War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means. All beyond this which is strictly peculiar to War relates merely to the peculiar nature of the means which it uses. That the tendencies and views of policy shall not be incompatible with these means, the Art of War in general and the Commander in each particular case may demand, and this claim is truly not a trifling one. But however powerfully this may react on political views in particular cases, still it must always be regarded as only a modification of them; for the political view is the object, War is the means, and the means must always include the object in our conception. – Source: Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Col. J.J. Graham. New and Revised edition with Introduction and Notes by Col. F.N. Maude, in Three Volumes (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & C., 1918). Vol. 1. Chapter: CHAPTER I: WHAT IS WAR?

Topping the list of concerns of CIO’s is this idea that they can’t find the people they need to work on complex tasks.

Why can’t they find the people they need?  

The reason they can’t find talent is because they

  • don’t know what they need
  • don’t know what they are looking for
  • tracking a moving target
  • are transforming
  • are busy
  • believe they they know and don’t like the choices or answers provided

Subscription Workforce

This idea of war is interesting.   Leaders are often driven to war and fighting concepts as opposed to peace and unification.   A large contingent of these leaders have no understanding of war.    The lifetime of a war-fighter is not shaped only by her knowledge or experience; it is shaped by her drive, motivation, curiosity, passion and underlying commitment to the cause.   This is true but it is also true that war and war-fighters are driven by contract and cash flow “In all countries engaged in war, experience has sooner or later pointed out that contracts with private men of substance and understanding are necessary for the subsistence, covering, clothing, and moving of any Army.” ¾ Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance, 1781

It is a subscription model of man, material and machine that has perpetuated and supported the mechanism of war for many in human history.  The relationship is complex, dynamic and fluid.

The government understands this model and has used and applied it for many years.  Many government civilians exchanged their military uniforms for government jobs in order to continue their service.  Many contractors or consultants are also from the ranks but there were opportunities for those who could not serve or who chose not to serve.   The complicated nature of this model is a high transaction expert workforce with continuity of mission, vision, purpose, scope and objective as executed by the demands of policy extended though defense and war activities.  The catch?  It costs a lot of money.

A subscription workforce model in the civilian world is also not a new concept.  The technologies are newer along with global reach, virtual workforce and demand management exponentially.

The subscription workforce model is moving towards fast micro-transactions with a floating contingent workforce.   This introduces a lack of certainty but with the demands on CIO’s to lower cost of delivery and support, this is the price companies are willing to pay.

 

The Grid ~ Network, Relationships and War

The “War for Talent” is a “War on Talent.”

Companies can’t find the talent they need to get the job done. 

Imagine you are a chef, the phone rings and you are asked if you know how to make soup.  Let us assume you have 20 years of experience including many years of soup making.  You tell the recruiter that you are an experienced person and you have the ability to “hit the ground running.”    The recruiter takes a 5.5 second look at your resume and determines you would be a good candidate for the job.   She passes your name to the hiring manager or corporate HR person for consideration.   The hiring manager looks at your resume and without discussion makes a determination that you can’t make the soup they are looking for.   End of story.

In another scenario,  the hiring manager says they will “talk to the person” and through discussion never asks about what the person (you) “can do” only asks what the person “does or did.” End of story.

The hiring manager or representative from the company may not even understand what the person should do.    They don’t know.

The focus is on experience as listed on a resume, a lack of understanding around what is actually needed,  a lack of understanding of human factors and the idea that people only matter at the particular moment that they individually represent the “most value.”

The basic foundation of success in war is “clarity.”   Even the bad guys in history were consistent in their vision.

Today, it is more likely that a person will get a job through a relationship.   This relationship is a token of trust that is passed on from a person to another.   The burden of building trust through a document or LinkedIn or an electronic system is so high, that the likelihood of success in gaining a great resource or employment is low.  Yet, companies are spending more dollars on technological systems in order to pipeline more options and perform analysis on these.  All in order to find the “right fit.”     What that means is an enigma.  If you break the code or understand it,  you could get in and/or be accepted.    The result is a breakdown of trust in the market.   To compensate for lack of trust,  companies have to entice people with benefits or money.   This has created a break down in communication and results in increased risk on delivery.

Companies can’t deliver on promises.   They have to buy solutions to deliver.   What they lose in consolidated cookie cutter solutions is differentiation, diversity and market position.   In fact, the more companies look like one another because of these behaviors, the less attractive they become to the workforce and consumers.

The reason why companies can’t deliver or find the talent is their lost motivation to focus on trust, integrity, respect and clarity of concern for the people they are looking to serve in all directions.   An H-1B visa won’t fix that and Watson, Alexa or OK Google won’t fix it.  It is a core value that when damaged, creates a vacuum.

Seven Months

For these seven months a year men and women go to harvest the Lotus root. 82101452162877

The Lotus root is valued at about $3.80 USD per pound.   The per dollar cost of a consumers food dollar is close to

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If this were a technology market,  we would automatically look to disrupt labor, after all it is the highest cost.   The problem for US based companies is they have very little time to understand what is happening in this band of labor, they are just under pressure to reduce.

The outcome is simple; damage the root as it comes from the earth and the product is devalued.  As you push harder to introduce new ways to extract the root,  you damage the ecosystem and your brand.   All this starts to feel hard and confusing,  you seek easy answers.   Easy is lazy and less thoughtful, it makes things worse.  It starts to feel like pain.    Pain turns into need and need turns to knee jerk.  This continues and creates an illusion of market scarcity.    Market scarcity in required labor to support and deliver creates a real need to leverage consolidated services.    Brand is diminished and…  you know the rest.

Let us start with honesty, build trust, show integrity and respect.    Let us work on the fundamentals of basic humanity.   Real change and real disruption starts with a clear effort to focus on workforce engagement.    If companies are know to love, honor and respect talent,  they will never have a problem finding it. 

  

Categories KM

5% Comment on Hate and Bigotry

Do You Know What a 5 Percenter is?

I grew up in Co-op City located in the northeast section of The Bronx.   When I was a teenager I had a good friend named John who lived in the building next to mine.  John was a nice kid and  we had a lot of fun hanging out and running around our area which was called “Section 5.”    One day,  I was walking out of my building and I saw John from a distance,  I waved hello and he put his head down as if to avoid seeing me.   I started walking toward him and he ran into the building and disappeared.

A few weeks later something similar happened and John avoided me.   I couldn’t understand what I did or what was going on and I was confused.   I was walking past our shopping section and John was there hanging out with a bunch of other kids.   I waved and said, “Hello,” and he yelled back, “Devil.”    I thought he was joking around with me so I just yelled back at him and laughed it off.   That didn’t work out for me.    You see, John and his new friends ran down and cornered me.   He said “My name ain’t John … it is Justice and we aren’t friends.. Devil.”    I told him that I didn’t understand, we were friends growing up all these years in the same section.  We ran to Mr. Softee together and played in courts and..

Because I was his friend at some point,  he asked the other kids to let me go without beating me to a pulp.   I was lucky that day, but he told me to stay clear of him and know that he was a G-d and his friends would kill me if needed.

Lasting Memories of Pain

I was walking out of school through the backdoor and my friend Sean and a few other kids were walking out behind me.    I heard, “Hey, Devil! You know what you did to the slaves, Devil?”   It wasn’t long before a few kids turned into 12.   I was about 125 pounds soaking wet and carrying a back pack that was as heavy as me.   A few girls that I was close friends with saw what was going on and ran over to stop whatever was about to happen.    It was too late.   It started with words and one kid that was of Spanish decent started to charge me and circle me like a vulture.   They slapped my bag down and started shoving me.    I was scared, but at the same time, I knew that no matter what I did, this thing was going to happen.   I said, “I’m Jewish, I had nothing to do with slaves.  In fact, my people were slaves too.”   Sean looked at me with great sadness in his eyes and said, “I’m sorry.”  He didn’t hit me, but the fists where flying and all I could see was a mix of hands, light, dark, and … nothingness.    I think sometime during a beating like that,  you go into shock and pain stops.   Everything slows down and you are just living in the moment of trying to figure a way out of the situation or just survive.   The girls were screaming to get off of me, fighting back for me stopped after I realized that I couldn’t hit anyone.   There were just too many people hitting me.    I remember when it stopped and the girls walked up to me as I was laying on the ground trying to get up.   Remember, there were no cell phones, no pictures and no cameras outside, just me and a bunch of kids kicking my ass.    The girls got me to the bus stop and I took the bus home, I must have been in shock for a long time because I didn’t feel pain for a while.   When I got home, my mother took me to the hospital.   My tailbone was damaged and my back was pretty hurt.    The back pain and pain in my tailbone never went away 100%.   I have a reminder of their hate for me and the person they think I was every day.    They were indoctrinated Five Percenters and wore the symbols and changed their names too.    I don’t remember the name Sean took, I was just thankful that he didn’t hit me and sorry that he submitted to it.

The Scars

Growing up in NY,  people were pretty tolerant and generally most people respected each other.  The kids used excuses to hurt each other and hate just needed a reason.    My parents grew up in The Bronx and never did in my entire life did I hear anything negative about a type of people.   In fact,  I learned about hate from people sitting in lawn chairs lined up across the building as I would walk in.   People would call me over to talk and I would listen.  It was Holocaust survivors sitting with Cubans who escaped or WWII veterans and others.    It was black men and women just sitting in the chair enjoying the afternoon with others, willing to share a memory.    It wasn’t long into my teenage years that I started to experience hate against me, however it was the Navy that taught me how much I am hated as a Jew.    I dealt with religious people from different groups telling me how bad I am and how evil the Jewish people are.   I had my sheets cut up and swastikas drawn on them.    The assumption that I have a tail and horns was something that people believed and asked me about.   On my ship until I made a name for myself,  the only group of people that would even talk to me were kids from NY.     I was very alone and the Navy at the time had less than 1/2 of 1% of sailors of Jewish decent.   Let’s say that the chaplain was not a Rabbi.

Pain On

I have pain today from getting hurt and fighting mostly to protect myself from others.   I have pain from stuff I did in the service as well, but mostly beyond the physical pain,  I am sad.    Our world is a beautiful place that we are destroying and we are fighting with each other and creating more division between us than ever.   We are going to a place that we can’t come back from when we kill people.    I imagined a world with much more tolerance and respect, not this.     When I think about people and the world we live in,  I think about how I grew up in Co-op.   I think about my friends in my childhood before I was 13 and how we played and how we didn’t care about color or race or religion.   We just had fun and played or fought because of something stupid, but we worked it out and played again the next day.     I went to high school where I was 1 of 5 kids that were white and I am sure I was the only Jewish kid there.    I was accepted and it wasn’t always easy, but we did it.   The complaint back then as I remember and the quote, “Black on black crime, was way before our time, we need to reach for the heights.”     The name of the school was University Heights.    As I think about how we have created ways to hurt and hate throughout history,  I realize today that there is very little hope for peace.  It will be an act of G-d that will bring us together or destroy us all.   It may very well be that the acts of man will destroy us or our children before then.

As I go through my daily routine reminded by the pain in my back and tailbone of the children that hated me for something that I was not, I think of the only things that I can do to make things better.

  1. I look to do at least one good thing in a day.
  2. I teach my children about reality and how they need to behave better and aim to do what is right even under harsh conditions.
  3. Practice kindness even in the face of those who hate me.

Very Little Hope

I said there is very little, but there is hope.   Even if it is a sliver of a slice,  I will hang on to it.   I hope that Justice / John has changed his mind about me and realizes that I am not a “devil” and I hope that we can find through acts of kindness as individuals the pebbles to fill the jar of love for humanity.     If we do, we can turn hope into a reality.

Talking About Generations

This was a parody but it reflects a lot of discussion.

The Trouble with Kids Today

“A PROGENY YET MORE CORRUPT”

In Book III of Odes, circa 20 BC, Horace wrote:

Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires’. We, their sons, are more
worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more
corrupt.

In your face old man…  Our history says that each generation historically complains about the next younger generation.   We are no different with the millennials, generation c, z, next 2020.

The difference today is that we are now going well beyond complaints and into madness.

Of course there is a “comedy response”

While this all seems funny .. sort of.. the traffic keeps flowing on how we need to understand this generation and accommodate them.   We literally assign behaviors to generations.

I think this is a symptom of a larger problem.   We seem to have a strong desire to separate people into groups, it is almost as if we can’t help ourselves.   Our understand of individuals is overtaken by our belief about the group.    What we are failing to do is respect people as individuals.   It is true with no question that people in different age groups have different experiences during their time growing up.   It is true that due to environment conditions and other factor that people in these groups have perspective relative to their experience.   Isn’t that true of everyone?

 

Pull it Together..

We simply need to stop doing this and turn it off.  It is harmful to the people we work with, it is harmful to this generation and will hurt our younger generations behind them.   This is not helpful to anyone and companies generally spend money on these concepts only to find out that they got it wrong.    What we need to do, is focus on actions and activities to truly engage employees.

Dale Carnegie Tips and Guidebook is a good place to start http://www.dalecarnegie.com/assets/1/7/ee_tips_guidebook_blue_061813.pdf

If we keep up the generation madness we will have to start sub types.

Millennial generation born between x-y , comes from the north east, mixed parents,  went to school in district 9…  then we can find common things about them to make videos about..