Howard’s Holocaust

The Most

I have been writing and posting now on this WordPress site for about three years.   Most of the things I write about are a little generic.   In a sense, I have sought out ways to help people by looking to subject areas of interest and providing some insight and maybe a little abstract thought.  Today I am doing something different.

I lost most of my explicit memories in a tragedy of significant  proportion.   On more than one occasion, pictures, videos, music and writing that I had saved was lost.   Most of this was out of my control but some of the loss I did to myself by not taking action.  This very weekend I was driven to clean out some of the things that I did save.   I have very little from my youth and when I find something, I normally examine for a hint of who I was.    As I have written many times in the past, I am a kid from The (DA) Bronx.

The Bronx offered an intercultural, wide variety of ethic diversity.   It was a place that represented the best and worst of blending communities.   In my youth, my ignorance was learning about what made people different as opposed to why we should focus on our commonality.   In high school, I was a white Jewish boy with mostly black and hispanic students (friends).   There was hate and there were trials but in person these challenges were overrun by teachers and other students that could see through the color of our skin and reach into our hearts.  In other words, we always focused on building a community of acceptance.   I am not the person I was then but the kid I was still lives in the background.   I don’t look at people as a kind or a race.  I look at people as individuals and judge them by their actions.


Today we are facing the same issues that we did over the history of our country and human kind.   This weekend in particular I have seen a lot of people writing and speaking of the past 50 years of civil rights.  While reading this and watching the news I was sorting through old tapes that I managed to keep.  I found one labeled “Howard’s Holocaust.”   I had no memory of this tape.  Even when I found a tape player to put it in and heard the sounds of a younger me  I didn’t remember this conversation.

The recording was made sometime between 1987 and 1989, most likely my second year at University Heights High school located in the Bronx at 181st and University Ave.  As a Jewish kid, I understood the Holocaust from a culture of remembrance and an integration of pain and suffering into the daily vernacular of my people.   That being said, I was emotionally disconnected.   I had seen the branding serial numbers etched into the arms of my neighbors.  I had seen and heard the stories of people jumping from the trains.   I had lived with a man whom I love that was buried at night as a child to protect him from the Nazi’s.   All those things and I was still not connected or maybe partially connected.  Not in the way that it would rattle my soul today.  It was an immaturity that was innocent.   I was honestly incapable of connecting the dots in a way that deeply allowed me to better myself as a human.

I understood what things meant, I think that I just didn’t allow myself to live in my understanding of this history.  In fact, I didn’t know that I was myself living in history just by interacting with witnesses and victims of this great inhumane and painful series of events.  Someone tried to wipe an ethnic and cultural line of people from the planet.   This within itself doesn’t take anything away from any other tragedy or traumatic events of our time but it is a stain that can’t be washed away.   What pains me the most is that we still allow genocide and the young disconnected me knew that it would happen again.   I knew as a disconnected child that our world was not healing.

From what I can tell, I was asked to read a book by Elie Weisel that had to do with the holocaust.   Since I don’t remember what I read or didn’t read, I can only guess that I did a half ass job of reading.  I didn’t have a keen interest in education as teen.  I became much more passionate later on.

There is an interesting ignorance as well that is wrapped into the conversation.    This is probably the most revealing post I have ever made.   It deals with the fact that as a youth I had values that were similar to my values today but I was lacking in information and ability to rationalize what I didn’t know.    I am sharing this today because I think generally the public is doing the same thing.

We make statements and assumptions on areas of complicated matters that we have trouble deeply understanding.  The facts alone are not enough information to provide good insight.   It also points to something else.   We need to take personal responsibility to help each other and learn about each other.  We can’t know each others pain but we can mirror and reflect our understanding to get close enough.

I am sharing three audio files, each are about 15 minutes long.  I tried to clean up the audio a little but I didn’t edit the content.  For me personally there was a story at the end that I didn’t truly understand then (age 15-16) that I deeply understand and associate with now.   Most of the audio is the teacher interviewing me on what I think about the holocaust with some role playing.


Howard’s Holocaust Audio

What happened to the generations since WWII? Ron

What happened to the generations since WWII?

Ron Batdorf                                                             4 July 2013

My dad would say that it seems that ever since the end of WWII that there is an attitude change in this country he called “hurrah for me and the hell with you”.  As a kid I didn’t understand what my father was really talking about and kept pursuing my own ambitions and goals but as I have gotten older; I started to realize what my father really meant by this social change after WWII.  Maybe this attitude was the result of our dropping the atomic bombs on Japan.  It was an all-out effort to stop the war and it was not the first time total destruction was used in warfare; but it was the first time such indiscriminate use of total warfare was exercised to the point of knowing human’s total eradication was a possibility.  This decision to drop the atomic bombs wasn’t taken lightly but it was an ultimate position that our leadership at the time felt had to come in order to stop much more bloodshed down the road.

Since WWII we have turned into a society that seeks self-gratification above all else and this has reached a pinnacle in our rights as humans to have freedom of any thing that gets in our way of pursuing this self-gratification of the individual.  We rationalize everything in today’s society for these individual rights as the new definition and baseline for the term “freedom”.  And this freedom has come to mean we are not encumbered by moral or religious convictions because they limit this definition of individual freedom.  The fact is if you read the Declaration of Independence of this country we already had a definition of “freedom”; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These unalienable rights mentioned as God given; not man given.  This means that we have rights as long as we are abiding within the natural laws that God has established.  Our forefathers knew this as they fought for this freedom and way of life so that the next generation could enjoy this freedom; but today it isn’t about fighting for life and a better world for our children but how we compromise ourselves and our next generation and allow obsession with death and how we have these short term self-gratifications to guide us in our freedom; thus taking the burden of this freedom away from our own doing and placing it on our government.   Since death is so fleeting in today’s world; we only think how do we dodge the bullet; but don’t care if our neighbor can’t dodge it.  It is like the mouse that the cat didn’t catch; saying boy I am glad it was the other mouse instead of me.  So this gets back to my father’s feelings about attitudes that shifted since WWII ended. 

Rights of individuals only come if we follow what God has established for us.  When man thinks he or she can establish these rights; we think we know better than God and this pursuit of our happiness has nothing to do with others but our own plight.  Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs which meant that our founding fathers believed in one God of all peoples which then allowed them to even suggest these undeniable rights within our declaration of independence because we are all equal in the eyes of this one God.  Without this belief we could not have this form of government and the laws that were originally established.  But today; we want to eliminate all issues that might restrict our thinking about our individual rights as humans because this limitation is not shared by other people of different faiths or of no faiths and different cultural backgrounds.  Having freedom of religion means even free to live a life in this country without having any belief at all; but our founding fathers didn’t conceive that this meant we have to accept zero standards for preserving life and equality for all members of our society even the mothers with child.

Life is a gift from God and He knows all of us in every detail; so He asks us to honor Him by allowing life that He created to continue as long as possible with loving and caring until we pass to the next world.  His declaration of independence for us is that we love each other and that requires we honor and support not only our lives but the lives of the next generation and that means sacrifice as necessary to preserve life to its fullest; with taking care of the earth and the people in it.  What we need to do in this country is to remember our roots; and it was and still is these roots that attract people from all over the world to come here to this country to find the freedom we have.  Let’s don’t change the meaning of that freedom or else we will lose our ability to be great and blessed by our Creator and the buzzards will circle and before long we find we are a decaying carcass of humanity.  Remember that Harrah of me and Harrah for you were and still should be our motto as we celebrate this Independence Day.


Excuse Me .. You Have Something on Your Face..

J-DuB asks– How do we fix the problem of people SAYING they want to INNOVATE and DOING nothing BUT Innowasting Time & Effort?InnovationToday.jpgBeginInnovation.jpg

Good question sir.. today I am going to talk a little about innovation in plain speak for people who “get it” but don’t “get it” or really don’t “want it.”

Crazy post..?? Yup..:

Dear Leadership,

You asked me to tell you what we could do better.  You told me that I am important and that I matter to the organization, yet.. when I answered you.. (*sniff*) You smacked my words away as if they were an annoying nat buzzing around your ear.  You called me to sit and listen to your two-hour talk about needing to blah, blah, blah-ovate and blah, blah, belm-ovate.  Does this sound familiar?

You are not only our workforce of today!  You are our workforce of tomorrow.  We… no.. I am counting on you to help take our company into the future.   We are facing new challenges with budget constraints and time, and customer issues and..

…it is critical that we crowd-source our best practice lessons learning into a web service (SOA) offering that cloud enables our capabilities to perform predictive analytics on BIG data!  We are leaning forward and all pulling in the same direction.   I need you.. your thoughts .. your ideas.. WE NEED TO INNOVATE.. **pant.. pant..pant**

As I look into the crowd… **pause** (looking forward) I see our best and brightest!   I see the future and the future is YOU!   I need to know what I can do to make things better for you!  I need to know what I can do to ENABLE you!


Sir.. remember when I raised my hand?  Do you remember when I said ” we know how to help and we will help if you let us?”  What happened?

Where did you go when you stepped down off the podium?  Where are you now?  We needed to tell  you that you have something hanging from your nose and it is not pleasant to look at.   Oh, no it isn’t something disgusting and physically embarrassing.  It is worse than that sir.  It is an untruth.


Your Staff 

Leaders: Yes, Something is ON YOUR FACE

It is really a shame, all that energy and potential just sitting in a box (cube), ready to explode out and create.

Trim a tree but do it well and it will grow and blossom! It can be shaped, it can be bounded and it could be beautiful.

This untruth is bold and clear, it is not hidden and that is why we can say that it is on their faces.  We all know it’s there but we play pretend like we don’t see it.  It is that organizational leaders are far removed from the thick of the work.  They tend to the sheep through the spreadsheet and the Powerpoint.  The problem is that today our generation x’rs and the millennial workforce that is taking hold of business doesn’t tolerate this behavior.  They were told that each and every person can make a difference.  They were told that they individually are special.  They believe in taking action and they believe in being empowered.  I can tell you that I have seen and heard stories (over and again) on how the workforce is changing.  The costs associated with ignoring this truth is astronomical.  It can and in some cases will put businesses out of business.

There are many dynamics to this but the key here is (TRUST).   Trust and honesty the fundamental core of credibility.  When leaders are telling stories and lies in plain sight, it destroys and diminishes the ability of the organization to move in one direction.  It becomes a bounded box supercharged with shards of fragmented people pulling in multiple directions.   Well, it is bounded.. cause umm .. some people still have to work, they just aren’t as motivated and maybe they are looking elsewhere for something that they aren’t finding back at the ranch.

What the.. does this have to do with innovation?

Before you innovate, you have to motivate.   It is that simple and that clear.Findx2013.jpg

Process List:

  1. Motivate ✓ – Help people find PURPOSE.  Understand the truth about the organization.(Who are we and what do we do?, What did we do?, Why we don’t do dat anymore?)
  2. Share (OUR) Purpose✓ We have been in this business for 10,000 years selling caveman clubs.. but ya know… people don’t want clubs anymore to bonk stuff, they want clubs to smack balls in tiny little holes on a beautiful grass field.   We are changing our business!!! We are going sell small exotic metal clubs to make people happy!  (Our purpose is to make people happy!!)
  3.  Share the mission✓Be honest now.. what are we really doing?
  4.  Share the vision✓ How are we going to get there?  Oh.. you don’t know and you want help to figure that out? (more to come on this below)
  5.  Share the scope of work✓
  6. Share the objectives✓
  7. Tell the story of where we are now and why things are changing and why things have to change✓ (How about a little ownership on change?  How about you tell me that I have a stake in this and that I can help make things better?)
  9. Ahh that’s enough .. you are probably bored.. 

Ok.. so now I have said what needs to happen but we all know that it doesn’t happen this way.  We know that leaders are afraid of the truth.   We know that they are afraid of change.  We know that large companies are changing all the time but big changes happen like tectonic plates smashing into each other.   To shape a large corporation quickly, big things have to happen.   That is the reason innovation doesn’t jive well in large organizations.

SO, how do some companies get around it?

Well, there is a saying in our industry called “guerrilla IT”  it happens in organizations when the superusers go rogue and duplicate or create new technologies to support themselves.  Companies were against it for a long time, until recently.  They figured out that people will take care of themselves and those around them on behalf of the company.  In a lot of cases, they will do it out of their own pockets.  (BYOD anyone??)means bring your own device, if you aren’t cool and into the new lingoes.

Say What?.. innovation is the same thing.. people are innovating all the time.  They are just doing it in secret.  They are doing it in pockets of space between tasks and they are doing it at home.   When they bring their innovative ideas to the workplace, if they have autonomy there is no problem.  Of course, someone may find out later but  …  the difference is that people will do what they enjoy regardless of what the leadership in the company says.  What leadership needs to understand is that if they don’t help people find purpose and help them align their motivation to the organization, their innovators may be just innovating for themselves.  That means they become some cost to the organization that really can’t be accounted for.


We can certainly talk more about this topic but I am making a few points here. Doesn’t look that great so far … BUT


First,  leaders need to face the truth about what they really want. Specifically in terms of the health and well-being of their company relative to the risk they are willing to take on by ignoring their true innovative catalysts.  Once they figure out what they want, they need to be honest and build trust with their staff by becoming “ENABLERS” and “SERVANT LEADERS.”


Second, leaders need to face this little reality (people will innovate whether adjacent, transformational, break through, sustained, disruptive, basic, etc.  People that have fire in their bellies and passion in their hearts will find things to do. They will innovate and they will do all sorts of cool things and great things…

it just may not be for YOU!  It may be that J-DuB just built the best steampunk lego device of all time.

What could he have done for you?

Just sayin..

Do you need a towel to wipe that off?

finIllustrations provided by the artist formerly known as Bryce..