Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Forget the [Infographic]

Posted on May 25, 2012 in Family and Friends, Featured |

Forget the [Infographic]

I love Infographics — quick little pieces of information, quirky and clean. There’s always something more interesting about data when it’s wrapped around pretty graphics and bold statements. For believers like me in first impressions, five-second-glances and elevator pitches shorter than a trip to the first floor, Infographics make marketers lives full of yummy nothingness.

But the problem with Infographics is simple: They don’t say jack. They don’t do jack. They don’t sell your brand or your story. What they do is entertain. Unless I missed the marketing class on entertaining consumers with nothingness, Infographics don’t belong in a marketing plan, they belong in marketing materials. Infographics are take-aways — think of them as eye candy for your message. Does eye candy sell?

Show me an Infographic that sells a brand and you’ll find a convert in me. Data Visualization has been around since long before I cranked-up my early Power Point templates, but the difference is the spend. An Infographic requires marketing spend that startups just can’t afford. Show me a startup that extra funds to support data compilation, graphic design, print costs, social media distribution and I’ll show you a startup that’s got questionable spend.

My Pinterest of Infographics here: http://pinterest.com/samanthafein/ — I didn’t say I wasn’t interested in them, just that I wouldn’t waste my startup marketing budget on creating visual displays of randomness.

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That Old Poster from the 80s

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 in Family and Friends |

… I wanted to see it again.

Desiserata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

“”
Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”.[1]

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My Facebook Login, My SS and my Rx Prescriptions

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 in Politics and Rants |

Letting it all hang out online?

I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks about employers asking for candidate’s Facebook profile information, and watching the “WHA?!” response from the online community as a whole. I’ve got some thoughts on the matter, and more than that, some tips:

1. Your online persona is completely transparent, even if you think it is not. Period. If you look me up on Facebook, I’ve got pretty good privacy settings, but that won’t keep you (or anyone else) from somehow finding out that I went off on a tirade at my kid’s third grade teacher after he went missing for 40 minutes last month. When the teachers’ union came to me asking me to take down the post, I refused. But I was also reminded that, privacy settings or not, your posts are not private. Not a one. Even the private ones.

2. You have a right to your online persona and no employer can make you give up your private information. Unless, they do. If you’re a public person or a face of a brand or the name behind a brand (even more so for us entrepreneurs) your employer, in my opinion has some right to be concerned about your public persona online and offline. I can hardly be a coke-head stripper by night and be the face of BabyCenter in the day. I get it.

3. Check yourself. No, really. Run a Google Search on yourself frequently, or better yet, set up a Google Alert for your own name (sorry if your name is John Smith, that might give you some inaccurate results). Look at photos of yourself online, make a policy about photo sharing, tagging and blogging and stick to it. I have a strict policy about my kids online. You might want to, also.

4. The world of online communities dates back to CompuServe days and days when we used AOL accounts to troll around chat rooms. Its very core was the ability to communicate from our pajamas with people anywhere in the world, empowered by our ability to speak freely and anonymously. I recall in 1996 when someone in a chat room I used on AOL turned out to be questioned in the disappearance of another woman from our chat room. His name was revealed, unraveling, for me, the mystery of online communities. There is a name — yours — behind every word you say online.

5. Believe in transparency. I believe deeply in transparency online. From a brand perspective, transparency is known to deepen trust between people and products. From a personal perspective, I want to drop-kick the blogs that discuss how perfect life is — as though life is a perfectly set Instagram photo. The ups and downs of our lives are what make us as people, and as brands, humanized.

Should employers be asking for Facebook logins? Not a chance. Should candidates be aware that what we say online is fair game for judging your character? Absolutely.

To save you the five minutes, here is what the Internet says about me… there is comfort in transparency.

Samantha Fein: Google Search

On Twitter: Garza Girl

On Facebook: Samantha Fein

On LinkedIn: Samantha Fein

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Susan’s Moon

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 in Family and Friends |

All that survives after our death are publications and people. So look carefully after the words you write, the thoughts and publications you create, and how you love others. For these are the only things that will remain.
–Susan Niebur

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The Santa Moment

Posted on Nov 22, 2011 in Featured, Holidays |

The Santa Moment

If you’re a parent, you don’t need to read the rest of this story.

It’s the story of the kid and the Santa jig, and the jig is up, and you are left as the grownup fool telling your kids for the past eight years that a giant fat man breaks into their house each year. If you’re already a parent of a kid older than mine, you know the sock-in-the-gut feeling of your baby’s childhood blinking away.

Today was that day.

I picked up my sweet Thing 2 from school, a rarity since returning to work. I took her out for a special treat (curry meat pie — my girl is special) and we spied friends outside. While we were chatting with them, our favorite toddler boy, Teddy said, looking at his hand-me-down pink tricycle, “Dis bike too small fo-me!” And his parents replied, “Well maybe you.should.ask.for.a.new.BIKE.from.SAN.TA!

And that was it.

She got it.

In one sentence. It was over.

She looked at me, took my hand, squeezed hard, and said, “Yeah, ‘Santa, or Mommy and Daddy.”

Stunned, I took her by the hand and walked away. I stared at my buddies with that Oh-Holy-Crap-That-Just-Didn’t-Happen eye stare. But it had happened. And there was no going back.

I tried to undo-the-undoable. I told her that our friends were trying to talk their son into asking for a bicycle from Santa instead of from their parents because bikes are expensive. And parents can’t afford bikes. And Santa helps because he can. And, you know, wink, wink, wink.

She didn’t buy it.

She rolled her eyes at me.

So I took her for a fancy haircut at a grownup hair salon to distract her.

Or maybe, to distract me.

She got a bob cut.

It made her look young.

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I Feel Bad.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 in Family and Friends |

It’s not because I’ve got a blazing fever and terrible cold that finally stuck me in my pajamas today. It’s not because I’m tired from a rough product launch. It’s not because I barked at everyone yesterday. I feel bad because I can’t do everything I promised myself I’d be doing this week.

Friends, family, school parents have had to save my butt for volunteer work, school events and personal schedules. I’ve had my tail between my legs for weeks while hours go flying by at work and at home with not.one.moment of respite. I feel terrible. I’m the one that gets it done. I don’t like this phase — the one where I have to be the one who’s ass gets saved.

Boo.

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Like it or not…

Posted on Oct 23, 2011 in Family and Friends |

Like it or not, I would work longer hours if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, I’d be less efficient if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, I’d be skinner if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, I’m healthier because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’m more emotional because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’m less emotional because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’d have more time for friends, if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, the friends I have are vital and precious, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’d be less tired if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, I’m more awake and alive because I have kids.

Like it or not, I am a less creative marketer, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’m a better marketing leader, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’ve got less time for my parents, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’ve got endless respect for my parents, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’m less passionate about my career, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’m more passionate at the work I do choose, because I have kids.

Like it or not, I’d be so much more wealthy, if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, I’m more driven to be wealthy, because I have kids.

Like it or not, my life would be more free, if I didn’t have kids.

Like it or not, I’ve never known life, before I had kids.

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Thing Family’s photostream

Posted on Oct 16, 2011 in Family and Friends |

Whack-a-MoleHome Depot ChampMy First ThingThing 1 smileChillin' in Campbell
Making TilesFull of ColorPaintRidingDrive
DancingLotsa ColorGood Morning!HeadshotPig Roast
Pig Roast PartyPigHomemade butternut squash soup IMG_3622.jpg

A full, happy, kid-filled weekend.

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