Friday, December 16, 2011

Your Dinner's Dad

Be careful to manage your brand appropriately and concisely.  Brand management is essential to personal and professional success.  The biggest fear any business or individual may have is becoming irrelevant or unfavorable.  Evading these ghastly outcomes is a culmination of how one manages their brand. 

Determining what a brand is and how that term is relevant to individuals would be a great way to start.  But instead I’ll start with your dinner’s dad, a Cow.  Farmers brand their cows as a way to identify them.  They take a hot iron twisted and manipulated into some form and sear the flesh of the cow.  This is an easy way to encompass identity.  This farming term has been translated into the business world as a way for an organization to establish their identity.  Branding should not be limited to business and farming.  Branding is essential to personal success as well.  Professional and personal success may look a bit different, however, have a similar adversary.  Individually and professionally becoming irrelevant or undesirable is the dark place no one wants to visit. 

How does this happen, how does someone become irrelevant or unattractive to others?  It begins by understanding branding and, that even if unintentional, you are a brand.  Most often those who do not pay any attention to their brand become something they did not intend.  I addressed personal responsibility for what we produce for others to experience in my last blog.  To build upon that, once one accepts the responsibility for what they are putting out there they can then focus on the result they desire. 

If you are trying to start your own business you should create a brand, separate from your personal identity.  Your friends and loved ones support you, however, do not want to be bombarded with irrelevant content.  This does not mean your content is not good or that you are bad in some way, it just means our culture is all about relevant content; we don’t like content that is not directly relevant to us.  It is beneficial and more effective to focus on the brand you want to create. What message are you intending to sell?  Who is your audience?  What’s the desired outcome?  By focusing on these questions you can be concise in your approach of promoting your brand.  I made this suggestion to a good friend of mine recently.  I am a friend of his on Facebook and am genuinely interested in what is happening in his life as an individual.  I am not interested in mixed martial arts at all.  The advice I offered was to create a separate Facebook page for his mixed martial arts hobby.  This way he can post content that is relevant only to those who are interested in MMA.  His audience is focused and message is clear.  In branding it’s all about being concise and focused.  You must be clear about your identity.  Professionally and personally mismanaging your brand could turn you into content that is glossed over and not paid any attention to. 

Cows are uniquely identified by their brand.  It is important to farmers to clearly know where there cows are.  We have the same responsibility for our own brand; we must be intentional in how we identify ourselves to others.

Judge That Book

My entire life I’ve heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  My entire life I’ve nodded my head and smiled like a programmed robot.  My entire life I’ve always felt uncomfortable with how this is universally accepted and applied carelessly.  What I mean by that is I do not think a person should be judged by the color of their skin or any obvious superficial things that they have no control over, blue eyes, brown hair, etc.  Furthermore and however (which I am enthused to use together because I’ve never seen it done) I do think books are judged by their covers and at times this age-old mantra should be thrown out the window.  Again, and hopefully this will not be glossed over because I am saying it twice, I do not think anyone should be judged by exterior appearances they have no control over, like race, hair color, eye color, etc.

Every time I fly I have a tradition, one I’ve kept since I started flying solo, buying a new book.  I am so involved and engaged in everything throughout my everyday life that I am always intentional and trying to grow and learn.  So, when I get the chance to unplug and take some time off, while on my way, at the airport, I don’t allow myself to be so planned and on point.  My long held tradition has been buying a random book based on its cover.  I have found some grossly underachieving books and many deeply cherished paperbacks that I hold dear to my heart.  Point here being, judging a book by its cover is something everyone does and at times it can be a good thing.  The good and reality of judging a book by its cover is that one can trust in his or her intuition.  Intuition and hatred are very different and can be easily identified.  I think the liberal application of a well-intended mantra has done two things; 1, undermined trust in intuition and 2, created easy escape routes for personal responsibility.

Gut feelings can be accurate if held accountable by reality.  Running around having feelings of grandiose outside the boundaries of your reality is not what I am talking about here.  Gut feelings should be questioned with logical reasoning.  While walking to your car at night in a dimly lit parking lot being followed by a man in a dark hoodie should give you a gut feeling that something is about to go down or that you could be in danger.  Let’s hold that intuitive thought accountable with reality now.  It is night and you are alone.  The parking lot if not well lit and you are alone.  This guy has been following you with his hood on for 2 blocks.  It makes sense to feel uncomfortable.  If any of these factors change, say it is the middle of the afternoon and you are walking downtown at lunch surrounded by thousands of people, then reality would squelch this gut feeling.  If your gut feeling or intuition is contrary to reality then I say dismiss it.  However, if you have an intuitive feeling about something that is supported by reality and reasoning then you should trust yourself.  Not judging a book by its cover has minimized the importance of intuition.  One should not feel wrong for having a gut reaction to something because they have this burden of not judging a book by its cover.  If the cover has a picture of a vampire I doubt it contains content about accounting for stay at home moms.  If something smells funny you don’t eat it, unless it is a delicious gourmet cheese, they always stink but man oh man are they pleasing to the palate.  My point here is where you see smoke there is fire and if a situation adds up to make you feel a certain way and your reasoning is logical then you should trust your intuition. 

Personal responsibility is avoided quite often, especially in social media because people think they shouldn’t be judged by their cover.  It’s almost as if the “don’t judge a book by its cover” has been abused and is now a way for someone to say they are not what they express, but something different.  Profile pictures, status updates, and tweets represent who you actually are.  If an employer finds your Twitter account and begins to read your feed and discovers you are always degrading women you should not be surprised to not get hired.  You can at no point say, oh that’s not really how I am and beg that they not be so quick to make a judgment about you.  Unless you are bipolar or have multiple personality disorder then what you produce, whether it be tweets, status updates, comments made, art, etc., you are expressing what lies within you.  Each of us (outside of race and genetically predetermined features of our “cover”) is responsible for our cover. What we represent ourselves as is our responsibility.  I often tell young guys I play basketball to be careful about how they represent themselves online because employers and the rest of the world are watching and have access to these things.  It’s easy to point the finger at the world for judging you, but any content that you produce is a direct representation of you and much like an apple tree you are identified by your fruit, what you produce.  Judging is not bad, unless it is filled with hate or hypocrisy, we all judge, daily we make judgments based on what we experience.  Escaping responsibility by asking people to not judge by what you produce is weak and delusional.  We are responsible for what we produce and should be held accountable for that, individually. 

 The cover is the best short representation of what lies inside a book.  Old parables reference agriculture to address this book cover ideology often. It’s a simple idea, apple trees produce apples.  Pear trees do not and never will produce watermelons.  A tree is identified by its fruit.  This same principle applies to how we as individuals represent ourselves; our book covers if you will.  This whole don’t judge me by what you see should be thrown to the wind and individuals should be held responsible for what they present to the world.  Again, I clarify and want to be clear stereotypes or racism or any other kind of hate is not what I am talking about.  Hate is bad, sound judgment is good and there is an obvious difference between the two.  Making sound judgments on what you see is absolutely appropriate.  What’s inappropriate and downright careless is to avoid personal responsibility by asking others to not consider the content you put forth. What cover are you putting forth?  Does your cover represent what you’d like to be seen as? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Understanding Understanding

There is peace in understanding.  Where there is peace prosperity follows.

Isn’t much of life over complicated by our lack of seeking understanding rather than thirsting for precision?  To clarify what may seem like cryptic rhetoric what I mean is we walk/run/float through life daily and most have experienced people trying to convert others to their way because they know what’s best.  This leads to all sorts of conflict and damaging scars.  Method A is the way to get there and it is my responsibility as an advocate for Method A to convince everyone of its and my validity.  You see this kind of behavior and underlying thought processes in politics, religion, business, science, sports and a myriad of other subjects.  The Republicans know what is right so the Democrats are clueless.  Creationist seem foolish to evolutionist scientist.  Chest passes are better and more accurate than behind the back passes.  Christianity is the only way to enlightenment and all the other religions and zealots of the world are out rightly wrong.  We live in an us vs them society.  This is unhealthy and polarizing.  As a society, personally and professionally, if we focused on understanding others more so than changing them we would flourish at anything we set our minds/efforts to.

Personally seeking to understand others rather than agree with them has a twofold benefit.  First, the seeker automatically becomes a great conversationalist and immediately likeable.  Carnegie’s classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People talks a ton about making people feel important by asking questions.  If someone talks about themselves a lot in a conversation they walk away thinking you are a great conversationalist.  If you don’t know what I am talking about because you have never read this book I suggest it highly as something that will change your life for the better.  Secondly, any opinion you may have that could or would cause conflict is neutralized because you are no longer worried about being right, but are actually interested in understanding another’s’ opinion.  Even if you disagree you understand, which is better than incongruity.  At my core I am about certain principles and those principles are not going to be changed by anyone externally making an effort to do so.  Any change an individual makes must be one they decide upon.  This decision is made by understanding.  Take the painfully interesting show Intervention. It gathers a substance addict and their family in a room to help the addict understand how their addiction is affecting everyone else.  Have you ever tried to tell someone they will stop being addicted to a drug?  It doesn’t work.  The family explains to this person how they feel about all this.  The addict can understand how his actions are hurting those he/she loves and is inspired to change.  The decision is made by them and isn’t one forced upon them.  It is not about telling the addict how bad they are hurting themselves or any other form of prescriptive banter, it is all about understanding.  Political conversations/arguments could be a lot less volatile if individuals sought out to understand why another holds to a certain viewpoint.  Often times I have found that by engaging in conversations where you seek understanding it becomes clear that the person actually doesn’t understand their own views.  Sometimes seeking to understand someone else unveils their own lack of foundational knowledge to hold to such a belief (in whatever it is they believe).  This miraculous unveiling inspires them to reconsider their position.  Maybe they come to agree with you, but maybe they don’t, either way it is better that they and you understand the position even if it’s different.  Understanding another helps you respect their position, even if you disagree.  Imagine the great amount of peace that would abound if we all sought to understand each other.

Professionally seeking understanding makes you teachable, a good listener, and smarter. These three qualities alone set a person or their business apart.  Professional “understanders” are in marketing.  My particular world view and belief in seeking to understand others makes me a great fit for marketing and if you’ve been keeping up with me personally as of late you know that’s the path I’m aggressively pursuing.  You have marketers and advertisers.  I think these two often get used interchangeably which can be confusing.  Marketing is seeking to understand a business’s needs or helping consumers understand your product/business.  Advertisers seek to sell by tantalizing senses (generally speaking based off my experience).  Advertising seeks to sell in the way that can be off putting.  You need this, you’re not cool without this, we are better, etc.  These are all prescriptive methods and much like arguing different opinions typically don’t have lasting outcomes.  I will never ever buy a vehicle from anywhere but CarMax.  This bold statement has to do with marketing vs advertising, understanding vs conversion.  Pulling up to the dealers lot you often times get made to feel like a wounded animal surrounded by sharks ready to attack their prey as soon as you open that door.  They go on and on about why you should buy here and NOW all the while making the customer feel uncomfortable and pressured.  I’d imagine a lot of impulsive decisions are made on the stereotypical car dealer lot.  You pull up to CarMax and are greeted and then assigned a sales person who basically just helps understand your needs, makes suggestions, and allows you to make an informed decision based off your needs, not their commission.  It was easier purchasing our vehicle than it was our couches.  CarMax gets marketing, CarMax gets understanding people.  As a business when you can make your customer feel like you are interested in them and trying to understand their needs you automatically get a fan and potential client.  No matter how good a product is if I am made to feel uncomfortable or like that company isn’t interested in meeting my needs then I am unlikely to patronize that establishment.  Seeking to understand people is what business is about at the essence of any issue.  Someone along the way understood a group of needs and saw they could make money by meeting that need, thus the birth of a profitable (hopefully) business. 

Understanding cannot be overlooked or minimized.  To succeed one must understand.  Understanding brings peace and where there is peace prosperity follows.  Do you seek to understand others personally?  Do you seek to understand others professionally?  Would people describe you as a person who truly is interested in understanding them?  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Churchhill, Jesus, and Glee

“If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”
-Winston Churchill

Last night I had a very interesting conversation with a very wise man. No, it was not Winston Churchill because that would be really odd, being that he died over 40 years ago.  We were discussing the possibility of deflation and the world economy.  It culminated in a discussion of how the church has so strongly influenced the ideology behind some of our politics and even the economy as a whole.  This morning a friend of mine laid down this sweet little ditty of a quote by Churchill on me which further goaded me to write and think more critically about this issue and the implications it carries.

Deflation is the new buzz word in the economist realm.  The idea at its most basic level is that as more and more globalized competitors arise that the price at which the wealthy operate will have to decrease or cease to have income.  A better stated definition and explanation can be found here. (http://economics.about.com/cs/inflation/a/deflation.htm).  The supply of money goes down and the demand for other resources increases.  These other resources are people.  As the demand for supplies increase at the same time the economy is continuing to crash.  So supplies are needed yet capital remains aloof.  The answer to this problem is logical; continue to get supplies desired with less money.  Outsourcing is no longer a theory, but an inescapable reality.  Globalization and a world economy is truly putting our “American Dream” at risk.  The days of making a good living for doing a certain profession are in there dying stages. No longer can an x-ray specialist in America charge outrageous fees.  The demand to have these x-rays analyzed is not the issue though.  The issue is found in globalization and a world economy. With the rise of educational institutions and the ease of access we are now seeing an unprecedented world-wide educated population. With technology and the internet anyone with the motivation and money can get online and get the same degree we get in America. So you have doctorates in India, where the cost of living is super low which does not necessitate a high income level, able to do the same job as an American for a third of the price.    As the companies make less and less money they are looking for ways to create or maintain profit margins.  It makes sense that a company would want to pay less for a product or service.  If that same product or service can be offered at a fraction of the price and quite possibly be better quality then a sound decision is made.  The opportunity or scary part, depending on how you chose to perceive challenges, of this reality is that trades and professions that can be reproduced for a lower cost will eventually have to operate at the same costs of their overseas competitors or be forced to settle for government support. Government support is funded by taxing those who make all the money.  If those who make all the money no longer have the high income to tax in order to support these programs then how are they funded?  Seems like some kind of sick cycle to me.  I suppose this reasoning led Churchill to his famous quote.  As a young person who doesn’t make much money it makes sense to tax those who do to support the have-nots and such.  As the young person becomes the one getting taxed the ideology and passion becomes more practical and conservative.  That makes perfect sense to me!

Tax the rich to support the poor.  This is the way our government operates.  My question is why and when did this mentality begin. This brings me to the church.  This is not meant to say it is evil because obviously I am part of the church at a universal capacity. This is to point out what I think are the beginnings of a mislead thought process and theology deeply buried by years of practice.  In his ministry Jesus is always talking about the poor and how we should treat them well.  I think the direct application from Jesus speaking to a Jewish society to ours with no interpretation or translation of principle is dangerous though.  God does have a huge heart for the oppressed, but it is what we define as oppressed or poor that leads us down a path with a dim future.
  
The Christmas special of Glee aired last night (13-Dec) and inspired me to finish this writing I started two years ago.  Amazing how little things inspire you and connect old thoughts with new ones.  I had 2 reactions to the episode initially.  It was very ballsy of the directors to have one of the characters to read the Bible on the show.  Not saying I was offended.  I actually think that Christmas should be remembered for its original meaning and celebration.  I am sure many will cover the religion and outrage over the reading of the Bible from this episode on the internet this morning so I’ll leave that to them.  The second reaction I had was one of disappointment.  This reaction reminded me of my thoughts on the economy, poverty, and what helping the poor looks like that I started 2 years ago.  It is important to analyze our impulses.  Our reactions to external factors or foreign environments are direct reflections of what lies deep in our mind and soul.  In a touching move last night the Glee club met Ms Sylvester at a homeless shelter to give back. One of the many story lines in this episode was several characters reflecting upon the true meaning of Christmas in comparison to the consumerism they were experiencing.  I think it is nice to give back and essential to the world spinning.  I am moved to tackle this sensitive issue because every year I see this movement to give back to the poor and I am always left a little disappointed.  Disappointed in the assumption and general definition of poor or oppressed.  Yes, Jesus was all about the poor and oppressed, but that was in a very Jewish culture several thousand years ago.  Many well-intentioned people feel burdened every year around Christmas time to give back to those less fortunate, which is always reduced and limited to homeless folks.  I think it is very limiting to see homeless people in America, for the most part, as the only expression of poverty or oppression.  Homeless in a thousand year old Jewish culture, oppressed in that same culture are very different from those categories in our culture.  In my experience most on the streets of Indianapolis choose to be there.  Maybe I’m a bad person, but when I hear these “sad” stories on radio and news stations about the amount of homeless people sleeping in 17 degree weather I kind of roll my eyes and don’t feel sorry.  There is a winter contingency plan in place that demands any shelter make room for anyone when the temperature is under freezing.  There is no such thing as a full shelter during the winter.  I’ve spoken to many of the homeless in our city and asked why they do not use a shelter and a lot in my experience have just not wanted to deal with the rules. 

Poor isn’t a problem that can be fixed with money.  The government tries to throw money at poverty and we all see how successful these program are (note the sarcasm).  Money is a tool to be used mismanagement of the tool is behavioral and psychological.  Addressing the tool is a very shallow perspective.  The tool isn’t the problem, the use is.  Rather than being so concerned with helping someone one time with a tool handout wouldn’t it be so much better to teach them how to manage this tool?  As Christmas season continues to build and emotions are tugged, it is of most importance that we consider our impulses before acting upon them.  Is there anything wrong with showing up to make the poor smile? No.  Is there anything wrong with serving people in a homeless shelter? No.  Is there something wrong thinking that is the expression of poor in our society? Absolutely!  As the kids ran around smiling and singing in that homeless shelter last night I could only think that the rest of America was being inspired to reproduce these expressions of giving to those less fortunate, remembering the poor like Jesus, and my heart sunk a little thinking of how many other great needs go unnoticed and unaddressed because of how poor has been traditionally defined in our culture.  I challenge anyone considering giving back to truly reconsider their definition of poor, the poor Jesus addressed and had a heart for had much less to do with cash and more to do with cultural dilemmas.  I applaud all who seek to be generous.  I do not want to see generosity only lavished into one area when so many other needs exist.  Furthermore, how does this sudden stroke of inspired generosity carry on into the next day, next week, next month, etc.?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Faith And/In Business

I may have misled or confused many of my old friends.  I may have somehow allowed some to think I’ve left my faith in order to focus more on business.  I wrote my first blog on July 17, 2007.  Between July of 2007 and today there is a noticeable difference in my content.  If one were to take the time to read every post chronologically the maturation of a man would be seen.  The content has changed most recently and my focus has been less on faith and more on business.  The noticeable change in subject matter has caused some to question my faith, which is interesting to say the least.  I decided to not pigeon whole myself into only writing about faith because then my network would be filled with only those interested in reading about faith.  I did this intentionally because I am more than my faith.  Actually I am my faith, but it expresses itself in many more valuable ways than only theological discussions or religious prescriptions.  It all started innocently enough but through maturation I’ve learned that my earliest writings were full of you ought tos and things should be this way.  I really thought I knew the answers and what was best for humanity in specific areas.  The problem was my micro-level arrogance.  What I mean by that is faith covers a large area and for the most part is broad in nature.  It doesn’t touch specific issues like political affiliation, how to deal with being pregnant after a rape, or any other hot topic in a modern society.  Most faith is ancient and originated in cultures much different than ours, cultures we really can’t imagine.  This reality drove me to Bible College.  I wanted to learn more about this ancient faith I said I believed in and held to so zealously.  My favorite aspect of my time at a Bible College can be summed up in one word, context.  I absolutely loved, and still do, studying the history of the text we were studying.  Who wrote it, who was the audience, where was the author when they wrote or spoke this, was it intended for a person or persons, etc.  These questions are essential in reading ancient texts.  The danger is applying principles intended for someone else directly to yourself and I quickly found myself in this boat and unfortunately have said and written many things I’d now never write or say.  Some saw this zeal as an asset and strength while others saw it as a downfall and flaw.  The nuclear separation on sides and opinions is dramatic because we are all too busy seeking agreement and conformity.  Faith has become such a hot button that I’ve stayed away from covering it at all.

My natural strengths and intuitive habits align me to best fit within the marketing area therefore I completely submerged myself in this arena.  I’ve surrounded myself with books, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, local business associations, and anything else that would connect me more into the marketing world. In doing so, I’ve focused solely on writing about that and my journey to wherever I am headed.  I’ve applied the very same principle of pigeon holing myself into one area of subject matter again.  My blog has evolved and changed so much that some would claim that my faith is not clear or that I am nebulous and elusive when it comes to really knowing my faith.  I challenge this opinion and actually challenge my own thought process of creating a dichotomy of faith and business. 

I’m not implying in any way that we should all adopt Tim Tebow’s outspokenness on faith issues.  (Insert disclaimer, I don’t really care one way or another for Tebow personally because I don’t know him, I think he is a good player nonetheless)  I personally think faith is deeply intimate and personal and is best and most appropriatley shared with deep relationships, unless out rightly questioned.  If someone inquires to my faith or asks me specific questions I am not saying I should not answer, I am saying basically keep it to yourself unless you have the relationship to support such deep talks or are being asked directly.  That’s to address one end of the prism, but I’m interested in addressing the other position as well.  This position holds that one can successfully and should separate their faith from their business.  This is an unhealthy and impossible separation.  One’s faith is a personal belief in something.  This effects and changes a person at their very core.  The metaphor used mostly has to do with agriculture.  Trees produce fruit depending on the type of tree they are.  Apple trees produce apples, etc.  You’re not going to get a pear off an apple tree.  That’s simple, yet people forget that very same logic when considering professionalism.  I think the major flaw in the professional world is that we hire people as if they are machines.  We assume there is some internal switch our employees can turn on or off when they hit the office concerning their faith.  This basic, unspoken, belief has us focus on things that are truly not the importance of how a business successfully operates.  Success can be seen in revenue brought in or how effective a business operates within.  This success is driven by what?  Success is driven by people.  Business is all about people at it’s very core.  Someone sees a need and knows they can fill it, they charge money for that.  It’s still about meeting people’s needs/desires at some level.  We fill our walls with people but treat and interact as machines.  In interviews no one asks how you treat people or view authority or how you have matured over the past several years, they ask how you can put a square block in a square hole.  Most interviews don’t ask anything more of someone than answering the questions correctly.  I recently met with a person who was actually interested in hearing about my experience with starting a church, what I learned, how I’ve grown, etc.  They were interested in me, as a person, my faith, what makes me tick.  This challenged my thinking that faith and business do not dance together well because honestly I cannot be me without it.  Employers hire people who have faith and that faith dictates how they live.  I’m not talking about someone’s faith that they verbalize, but one they actually believe based on their actions.  Faith is deductive and one’s faith is about how one acts and can be traced back from there, not the other way around. 
What I am saying here is that it is important that a person not attempt to separate their faith from their work because doing so makes them a machine.  Employers should be interested in the person that will do the functions of the proposed job, not just how they can and will perform.  Performance can be addressed and changed; a person at their core is much harder and less likely.  

There is no separating a person’s faith from their business because how they do business is a direct reflection of what they are all about, so why not learn about what drives a person?  Do you find yourself making this costly separation often?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Occupy What (Finale/Part 6)

Final question in the series, enjoy!

Q&A with Camile Graves (Ryan Graves sister)- Occupy Oakland
6. Does Occupy have organizers with goals and strategies in mind?
That's a funny question, because we do have goals, but each person is different, just like each Occupy location is different. Oakland has local concerns, such as addressing police brutality, but we also share concerns about things like electoral reform and job creation with Occupy movements across the country and across the world. We all have different strategies too, but we often act in solidarity with each other. Oakland is currently organizing a mass day of action with a big march and a rally. We have other stuff in the works, and I think this stuff will get more sophisticated as time passes.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Occupy What? (Part 5)

Greetings again, here is part 5 of 6 in my series of interview questions to two Occupy participants.  I hope this has helped you get a little more information on this movement.  Let me know what you think.

Q&A with Leeza Faziolo (Steven Cooley’s friend)- Occupy Indianapolis
5. How can your average citizen get involved?
I see constant polls about who supports the Occupy movement and who does not fluctuate every few days, which is an inappropriate style of media coverage; this is not a presidential election. And this may change even more as more lobbying firms and public relations firms are signed on to change public opinion. But I could care less whether the public casually supports the movement or not, I want the public to either be A PART of the movement or be against it. Our culture is changing as society is forcing us to look at these issues, and honestly, it’s time to pick a side. To me, this movement breathes similar to the civil rights movements and times in our history where we have protested race and gender issues. And when we became conscious of these issues, it became time to pick a side. Either you are okay with oppressing persons based on their race, or you were not. Either you are okay to oppress persons based on their gender or you’re not. Today, you are either okay with oppressing persons based on their class or you are not. It’s time to pick a side and choose where your values are. And the simplest thing anyone can do is to support the movement is to simply voice which side they are on. When anyone; co-workers, friends or family members make a snide comment, let them know where you stand.

Q&A with Camile Graves (Ryan Graves sister)- Occupy Oakland
5. Can you tell me more about your arrest?  What were the charges against you?  Did you have to stay in county jail at all?  How did it come to getting arrested?
I was arrested because I just decided that I couldn't abandon the plaza. So I just sat down in the middle of this stage where we'd hold our assemblies, and these two guys came and sat next to me and started meditating. We sat there not speaking for several hours. The police came and surrounded us, and they asked each of us if we knew we were going to be arrested. I said I knew but that I didn't think what I was doing was illegal. It didn't happen all of a sudden. I actually watched the police loosen up and chatter for about two and a half hours before they started dismantling the camp and arresting people. I don't think they even wanted to arrest us, but they had to because we refused to move. I was held in custody at the county jail with seven other women for ten hours. We were charged with disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, and loitering.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Occupy What? (Part 4)

Here we go again folks.  Part 4 of 6 in my series of Q&A with Occupy participants, one form Oakland and another form Indianapolis.  I found myself overwhelmed and annoyed at the amount of news coverage and how frequent the reports are with the Occupy movement so stopped paying attention all together.  In an attempt to be a little educated I decided to interview two participants.  I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.  Yes, if you have additional questions please let me know and I assure you they are more than willing to oblige.

Q&A with Leeza Faziolo (Steven Cooley’s friend)- Occupy Indianapolis
4. What challenge would you put out there for those who oppose the occupy movement?
I would challenge persons to ask themselves if they oppose the movement because they have a poor sense of self. Do they see members as jobless hippies or trendy hipsters and not wish to identify with that type of person. I would want them to ask if they oppose the movement because they are romantics or narcissists, idolizing the dream that one day they may be so exorbitantly successful that they would not want to answer to government themselves. I would want those on the cusp to ask if they feel unmotivated to pursue change because looking at change on this great of scale challenges their world view and concept of control making them feel impotent. I would ask confident and insightful people who stand in opposition to this movement and sincerely prescribe to a conservative agenda and the benefits they believe conservatism offers to our nation, to question whether or not the desire for a true representative democracy is really in opposition to those beliefs.


Q&A with Camile Graves (Ryan Graves sister)- Occupy Oakland
4. Tell me about your experience, has it been exciting, what type of things have you done, have you camped out, etc.
It's been very exciting! I've met a lot of people and heard a lot of interesting and touching stories! I've participated in marches and sat in on a lot of meetings where people circulate some really great ideas that will hopefully be acted upon soon. I haven't actually camped out because I don't have a tent, but I have stayed there overnight a few times just hanging out and chatting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Personal Work Time

$759,000,000 was lost by companies because of employees using the internet for personal reasons during work hours. 


At first glance that is a horrifying loss of potential income.  This morning I ran across this info-graphic about howmuch time is wasted by the average employee and how much money it was costingemployers to potentially be losing.  Dramatic? Yes.  Accurate? Maybe. Relevant? No.  Simply providing data without diving deeper into the reasoning behind how the data came into existence seems a bit shallow at best.  I’m more interested in approaching this cognitive path from the other end.  One statistic is, “the average worker admits to frittering away 3 hours per 8 hour workday, not including lunch and a scheduled break.”  Let’s do some math then, 8-3=5-1=4-:30(2*:15)=3:30/3.5.  Instead of doing 8 hours of work the average worker admits to only doing 3.5 during “normal work hours.”  So what is “normal” and why are those hours chosen?  Is the logic that lead to these normal hours even applicable to our culture now?

These normal working hours are referred to as the Eight-Hour Day Movement.  It all started because working conditions were unregulated in Britain during the Industrial Revolution when large factories were booming.  It was a mechanism to limit abuse of laborers and children from working 10-16 hours a day.  The International Workingmen’s Association took up the demand for an eight-hour day at its convention in Geneva in August 1866, declaring The legal limitation of the working day is a preliminary condition without which all further attempts at improvements and emancipation of the working class must prove abortive, and The Congress proposes eight hours as the legal limit of the working day.  1866 is where this all started.  When this eight-hour day movement was being initiated it was to protect workers from being over worked in factories because they were production-based jobs.  You could spend endless hours on an assembly line or in a factor, so it makes perfect sense that this was a logical and humane course of action.  We don’t have many factory jobs anymore, we have moved on from the industrial stage and working looks a lot different today than it did even 20 years ago, especially different from 1866, 145 years ago.  Is it not a bit odd that we still use a system suited from a 145 year old culture?  I’m about progress and don’t think much can be made without challenging or at least intellectually considering current systems. 


Considering how much the working culture has changed then it seems unrealistic to even expect someone to sit at a desk for 8 hours fully focused on one project or task.  The idea of multi-tasking was foreign when the eight-hour work day was established.  For a person to be unable to multitask at work now is a downfall.  Multi-tasking is something asked about in interviews and is a quality highly sought after by recruiters.  With the advancement of culture, most specifically, social media and how we communicate, there are so many tools out that we naturally multi-task, without being paid.  We tweet, update status, post pictures, check-in, change our profile pics, and wonder who the mayor on FourSquare is all while waiting in line at the BMV.  With the large amount of resources on the internet now, being on Facebook and Twitter actually may help a worker.  I recently invited my boss to a business webinar I found on Twitter.  I found this on twitter during normal working hours because I use this social media for work and personal use.  I think that the separation of work and personal has become skewed because availability of resources at a non-stop frequency.  I know that I am working this weekend to provide some coverage for a big storm that hit in California, but I also know that I am not going to stare at my laptop for 8 hours.  When I see something that needs ot be done or can make something better I will do that, however, just sitting still because it’s what I’m supposed to so even when nothing is going on is something I think my culture struggles with often.  Because we are a culture of constant communication via social media and multi-tasking focusing on only one thing at a time for only a set amount of time is counterintuitive and archaic.  We are no longer in Britain in 1866, but still operate under a system built for that place/time.  It’s obvious progress is needed in this area, but the challenge is what do these changes, that are so desperately needed, look like?

Professional Judgment

My ears burn before my fast is broken, all before 8:00 a.m. most days Monday through Friday.  I’ve played through almost every album I own in attempts to drown out sounds of the volatile collision of immovable objects and unchangeable people.  Complaining, whining, moaning, groaning, call it what you please, but the reality most can experience in any office building across the world during business hours is employees expressing their extreme displeasure with something, or nothing in some cases, within their organization.  I’ve previously written about how each day you choose how you interact with external stimuli and the ultimate responsibility for your good or bad day lies upon yourself.  My focus now shifts to moving beyond just choosing what to think or feel and actually naturally accepting things more peacefully that our out of your control.

The interesting thing about comments I often hear or conversations (monologues really) I get drug into is that they all come from those in positions who do not have power or position to change anything.  Never, not once, have I heard anyone consider that maybe they are wrong and instead of focusing on how wrong others, especially those above them, are aiming their energies on positioning themselves to get to a place where they have control over decisions directly.  This is an entire topic of its own, but it is interesting that the worker bees always think the queen is not right, but obviously she is because she is the queen and has done something right to get there (in most cases).  I digress, however, to return to the topic at hand, accepting that which you cannot control. 

This has huge implications to your personal and professional life.  I don’t think the personal and professional life can be separated however; no one can live a duplicitous life.  Character revealed at work through a set of expressions is the same character that lives outside of work.  Employees are people and people do work, so really, this is all about people.  It happens in religion a lot too, intolerance and judgment, which is easy to call out, but I think judgment is the key factor behind behavior like those mentioned above.  The complaining of how things could be better and all the other things said that just sound like I’m in an episode of Charlie Brown are direct expressions of some form of arrogance and judgment.  What is judgment, in the context I am referring to?  Judgment is when an individual values their own perspective above all else.  Judgment is when an individual is convinced they are correct.  It is only when one is convinced of their own superior opinion or method when others seem so little and invaluable.  When someone does what an individual sees as correct or right because they are so convinced of their self it then becomes their dilemma and mission to change the dissimilar thought/opinion/method. When they fail in their mission they become frustrated because they cannot convince someone who is wrong of what is right, because in their mind, they have it figured out. 

This loss of control is maddening and is what leads to early morning rants at work, persecution, judgment, nit picking, aggregation, etc.  We end up behaving like the little snot nosed kid at the super market throwing a temper tamper over not getting the latest and greatest gadget they just have to have.  I am suggesting that if we do not consider ourselves right and think we must win in one form or another then we can begin to accept what we cannot control.  I cannot control anything but myself ultimately (and even that’s debatable) so why spend so much energy lamenting over things/people/work that we cannot control?  I’d like to think most would agree with this on a personal level, but doubt many would see its relevance to the professional world.  Professionally it matters because you see judgment causing havoc everywhere.  Go to any happy hour atmosphere any day of the week and just watch and listen.  Everyone is just complaining and gripping about this and that.  Truth be told what they are really saying is, “I am right, they are dumb, why can’t they see that?”  Wouldn’t things operate so much smoother in an office if people started just accepting things instead of judging?  This is not to say suggestions on improvements shouldn’t be made, however, constructive input is much different from destructive banter. If professionals learned how to accept things and tried to get involved instead of taking a back seat and complaining wouldn’t we see more production and less wasted talents?  Morale would sky rocket and efficiency would increase, all in all making that ever so cherished revenue boost. 

I speak of “professionals” and “they” a lot here, but do not at any point want to imply I am not included.  This is a daily challenge I take to work on.  I bring this up because I can see the benefit it would and can provide employers and employees.  But then again, maybe I should just accept that they don’t and keep it moving right?  Do you have a tough time accepting?  Would we be willing to candidly consider ourselves wrong, ever?  Isn’t acceptance better than arrogance and judgment?

Occupy What? (Part 3)

Day 3, and only 3 more to go, but here are two more questions and answers, one from an Occupy Oakland participant and one from an Occupy Indianapolis participant.  This series has been an attempt to clear the air for those of us that have lost interest and no longer give our attention to the news coverage of the Occupy movement due to being overwhelmed and burned out by the frequency at which they report.  I hope this is helpful and as always please let me know if you have any additional question as both ladies are kind enough to take on more.  Read on.

Q&A with Leeza Faziolo (Steven Cooley’s friend)- Occupy Indianapolis
3. Is this Occupy movement the next gen tea party?
The tea party participants and occupiers are upset about many of the same problems. I love to hear stories where occupiers and tea party participants come together to share in a respectful dialogue and focus on their similarities. However, conflicting ideologies may not ever allow liberals and conservatives to see eye to eye, but I would encourage conservatives and everyone really to pick out parts of the movement they support. I don’t like to see this movement as the Occupy vs. the Tea Party, because this is not about officials, about the left or the right. It’s about the fact that our government is bought out and our voices are not being heard. So if these voices want to say liberal, conservative or a third party, it is really irrelevant because our official’s operate in a system where they have to do whatever the person with the most money tells them to do, it becomes confusing when that person happens to support a conservative agenda and now it looks like a left and right issue again. But it’s not supposed to be about that. This is another stand most cities support, that we do not affiliate with any party. Our agenda is not to get a person in office, but rather just change how the office operates, change the system which right now isn’t working. 

Q&A with Camile Graves (Ryan Graves sister)- Occupy Oakland
3. What has been your involvement with Occupy?
I'm on several committees, most notably the media committee. We're still a very new movement, but we're building infrastructure. The media committee mostly fields interviews from outside media, does our social networking, captures footage of events and General Assemblies, and we just started a blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Occupy What? (Part 2)

In continuation of this series of questions that will hopefully clear some questions I have had about this Occupy movement you’ll find below two more Q&A from a couple of young ladies I had the good fortune of interviewing.  They are very kind and open to additional questions if you can think of any.  Again, I am looking to help those of us who have become tired of the news coverage and stopped paying attention come to a better understanding of Occupy from an internal perspective.  Enjoy.

Q&A with Leeza Faziolo (Steven Cooley’s friend)- Occupy Indianapolis
2. What are simple facts people should know that are no longer keeping up with the media coverage?

I understand being exhausted by the media, our style of reporting in the U. S. can make you feel that way. But this is pretty important stuff, I would ask people not to let the circus reporting aggravate you, but to seek the truth and you will find it. A good place to start is occupywallst.org. Some facts to know about the movement; There are calls to action, look out for these and participate however you can. Bank Transfer day sent a message to banks who acted unethically during the housing crisis, and now they stand to lose an astronomical amount of money in city contracts where citizens are pressuring cities and businesses to keep their money out of these banks. Something to know is that Clark Lytle Geduldig & Crandford proposed lobbying efforts to undermine the movement to prevent this feared loss of bank transfers.

Are the different city movements different in goals? My understanding is that the movements all stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street though some may wish to show their solidarity in different ways. Growing fear of police brutality has caused some members of the movement to opt out of an occupation and replace it simply with working groups, calls to action and marches. Indianapolis is one city where members are still figuring out how they wish to show their support. For the most part all support the notion of non-violence, though many are not against civil disobedience (I.e. illegal camping). All choose to stand as leaderless movements and adhere to the process of general assemblies.


Q&A with Camile Graves (Ryan Graves sister)- Occupy Oakland
2. For those who have gotten lost in all the media coverage of Occupy movements, can you give us an idea of what the gist of all this is about.  Are there specific items being protested or more of a ideological/system issue?  What's a brief description of what Occupy is all about?

In a broad sense, Occupy to me is about giving a voice to the voiceless. For too long middle- and lower-class Americans have seen their participation in politics dwindle at the same time that corporations gain more and more power and politicians have less and less accountability. Big bankers and businesses caused the economy to collapse, and yet they were bailed out without there being any consequences for what they'd done. No new regulations, no new government oversight. Unemployment is still high, but these businesses we bailed out still won't create new jobs in America. They say they can't afford it, yet CEO pay has increased since the beginning of the recession. In addition, last year the Supreme Court ruled that a corporation can donate as much money as it wants to a political campaign, which makes elections completely unbalanced. There are also few restrictions on corporate lobbying, so you get a revolving door of lawmakers turned lobbyists and vice versa. All of this means that the interests of companies with a lot of money are more important than the basic needs and rights of ordinary people. It's about more than jobs, adequate wages, pensions, and things like that. It's also about transparency and safety. American businesses are exploiting the third world, and they're exploiting us, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Business Hipsters

Are the communication agency folks the business world hipsters?

I think I’ve found my niche, my groove, the area where my strengths focused would be used most effectively and constructively used.  That place is in advertising and marketing, yes, I realize that is a super broad umbrella.  What I mean is that based on what I’ve learned and am learning about myself my strengths are best used to connect people with stuff that will help them, specifically help them succeed.  I’m meeting tons of new exciting people and am eager to learn and get into this arena soon.  I was talking with a buddy of mine and he says that recently he met with a client who thanked him for dressing appropriatley.  This is funny because it truly is not what you think, in actuality it is more the inverse.  He was thanked for dressing appropriatley, so what was he wearing, how was he being appropriate?  He was wearing a pair of jeans, some chucks, and a casual button up shirt.  This person met with a guy earlier that showed up in a suit and tie, which is apparently inappropriate.  This is a humorous paradigm shift in the business world.  I think we all have different styles based on our upbringing and personality types.  I’m young and I’m pretty hip, at least the man in the mirror says so.  In spite of this I also enjoy good fashion, GQ and Esquire are my “under bibles” so I’d prefer a nice suite to jeans, a deep-v, and some chucks.  There is nothing wrong with either to me and I wear both at times.  Professionally I was always taught to dress for where you want to be.  That melded together with my sense of style I often find myself at work in suits, vests, ties, and awesomely loud dress socks. 

With all that said, I now find myself in an odd position.  I like dressing up, I like looking nice, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot when meeting with agency type people.  At the same time, just like I refuse to wear skinny jeans and vans while riding around my fixed-gear bike, I’m not sure I’d ever show up to anything professionally looking the new business hipster style.  Sure, I’ve got a sleeve of tattoos, grow one mean 5 o’clock shadow, love v-necks, rock retro plaid shirts, and all in all have all the essentials to pull off the “appropriate” look.  My dilemma lies in the irony of being appropriate or dressing the part within the agency world.  Advertising/marketing is all about creativity and brand management right?  Is it not more than ironic that there is a homogenous type of appropriate dress then?  I’d like to go on the record here and formally request that we all be a little open and stop stereotyping what is or is not appropriate.  There are my 2 cents on a random thought. 

Occupy What?

We are all creatures of habit, at some capacity.  NPR is the soundtrack for my morning commute.  After numbing my mind a bit by pulling my morning reports at work I find my solace in reading international, national, and local news.  I’ve come accustomed to seeing any and everything Occupy as a headline.  In fact, it has become common practice to capitalize Occupy as it is no longer a verb, but has evolved into proper noun.  Heck, even Miley Cyrus and Occupy made newsrecently!  Being transparent, I must admit that my eyes gloss over a bit every time I see an Occupy story because the media is reporting so much that it is overwhelming.  Frequency breeds inattention in this case for sure.  Rather than allow myself to hold onto any opinions I may have without treading through the vehement seas of the news media I decided to reach out to those actually involved to get there thoughts on a couple questions that I thought would be helpful to me and maybe even others.  I had the good fortune of meeting two ladies involved in different Occupy camps, one Oakland and the other Indianapolis.  Camile Graves is involved in the Occupy Oakland movement and most recently had her pretty picture taken by the media after being arrested.  I was excited to get to hear from her after her brother and my good friend, Ryan Graves gave me her contact info.  Leeza Faziolo was referred to me by a mutual friend (and great musician), Steven Cooley and she is involved in the Occupy Indianapolis camp.  I’ll be posting a question and answer from both these ladies for the next 5 days on my blog in hopes to offer some clarity for those of us fed up with trying to drink water out of a firehouse when it comes to the news coverage of Occupy.  Please feel free to comment and send some additional questions as they have both expressed interest and been kind enough to take on additional questions.  Enjoy!

Question 1 (Occupy Indianapolis/Oakland):

Q&A with Leeza Faziolo (Steven Cooley’s friend)- Occupy Indianapolis
1. What is the ultimate measure of success the Occupy Movement would achieve? If it could achieve everything it wants what would that look like? Is there an ultimate goal? 
First off, I can only speak for myself; I am not a spokesperson. But in my own words I believe this movement is very insightful and we understand we are in our infancy. We’re coming together to say something is terribly wrong in our country. Some have specific suggestions for how it can be made right, but for the most part people are not giving out concrete demands because the truth is were figuring it out, together, which is in essence the true spirit of democracy. I have heard members argue this is not a protest, but rather, a process. The movement is still evolving and when the time comes for the specifics they will be known. To draw a picture of what things will look like is a bit premature. I see the end result as the ceasing of oppression and marginalization of our people. The end result would be a change of the system which favors the hegemonic class. I would like to see corporations pay their fair share of taxes and hold them better accountable, for banks to be better regulated and a drastic change in how lobbying is done in our country. I can’t say what the ultimate measure of success will be, but if the movement were to cease in this instant, it has already been wildly successful. Awareness has been raised into the gross inequality in our country and the disappearing middle class, and citizens have joined together in working groups to set up medical tents, to feed and shelter our homeless, provide legal groups to teach citizens their rights, education groups to keep the public informed etc. That is the success has looked like thus far in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Not to mention the social responsibility individuals have taken on with this new found knowledge. 


Q&A with Camile Graves (Ryan Graves sister)- Occupy Oakland
1. You were involved in Occupy Oakland right?
Yup, I've been involved with Occupy Oakland for almost a month now. At first I was skeptical, but I went to the camp out of curiosity and was surprised to find a lot of really friendly, passionate people. I was also really impressed by the voting and consensus process, which is our way of getting everyone's input on planning and organizing events and directions the movement should take.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TV Vampires & a Little Blue Bird

“You hear that swoosh, that was what you just said going right over my head,” a friend of mine laments after I give him a brief summary of twitter and some simple reasons for him to join.  I’m still laughing a little about how our conversation ended though, this was all done via an instant messaging program, after I explained what a hashtag was, “#imallconfusedandshit”

I can sympathize with his plight here.  He is about 8 years older than me so I can understand him not wanting to adjust to the change or even having a hard time if he wanted to.  I was driving a couple of guys I play basketball with downtown yesterday to play at NIFS (facility on campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis).  Side note, it was amazing to play on the old Market Square Arena floor (old NBA Indiana Pacers floor), man are those NBA floors long.  I realize my age when I am surrounded by younger guys, in basketball and in other areas.  Specifically I find myself saying, “Oh yea, I have that CD,” when having conversations about new music.  Truth told I don’t have any CDs, but because that’s my era I think music, I think CD, which causes them to laugh at me.  Adjusting to change, especially as you grow up and mature is difficult, but necessary at some point, if you desire to stay relevant.  Some are ok with fading into irrelevancy, like my grandma (Nana) who doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer, much less use one.  If you’re not looking to be like Nana, then you may want to at least understand the logic of twitter because I believe it will and is changing marketing/advertising all together, which will eventually take over television.

I’m sure I’m not smart enough to be the first person to think of this idea, but in an effort to not extinguish my cognitive juices here I didn’t bother to even look.  The big idea is how the general feel of twitter will be what television looks like soon, in my opinion at least.  I had huge gripes about twitter and rigid views about not joining.  I never wanted to be able to say I was tweeting.  I suppose my standoff with this social media giant had more to do with what I didn’t like more than what I understood, which I suppose is true of most people my age and older.  I don’t care what celebrities are doing or how standing in line at Wal-Mart is annoying to you.  I don’t care that you are eating at McDonalds or that you are wearing a retro pair of Jordan’s.  I don’t care for that kind of tweeting because it seems to add no value to me, which, let’s be honest, we are all looking for things that are of value or add value to ourselves.  That’s human nature and everyone is about themselves (not saying selfishness), so unless you’re a robot or vampire, the truth remains, we are all looking for things relevant to us.

Since we want to see only things relevant to us in times past we simply muted the TV during commercials, walked away, or turned the channel, in spite of the “don’t change that channel!” charge.  With Twitter users are given the capability to control what content is coming their way. I don’t have to read any famous socialite heiress rant about her latest meaningless (to me) ventures or be concerned with what Tommy from Boston likes on his gyro.  I try to tell people my age that Twitter really has been a great tool to filter the information I read, and brag about not ever having to go out and get the news because it comes to me.  I like Twitter now, even in spite of my wife’s slight poking fun at me, it’s been a useful tool for me.  I’ve been able to meet quite a bit of great folks that are relevant to me on many levels.  Again, the logic is pretty simple and understanding that logic has been helpful venturing into the Twitter world.  The logic is that users dictate what content they see.  This same logic can and will or should apply directly to television.

My wife and I record all shows we watch.  We never watch live television.  We don’t want to deal with the commercials so it is easier and more fun to just record and fast forward.  If we don’t record it or are into shows the other may not be into we watch Hulu which limits the interruptions with very short commercials.  I think a merger of the internet, television, and Twitter could change the way anyone experiences shows all together.  If every user had to create an account to watch this said new-fangled television then the commercials could be only applicable to those interests selected with each users’ profile/account.  I’d never have to watch a woman in all white run down a beach to promote a tampon again, of course because my profile would say I am a male and like sports.  Maybe it’d be different if I was watching a show with my wife and it somehow would fuse our profiles together to make a mutually relevant commercial selection, but generally speaking commercials would only be relevant to the user watching.  All in all that is my 2 cents on all this social media and a possible direction of change for a familiar form of entertainment.  Maybe one day you’ll be like me and instead of bragging about your newest CD you bought (which is actually a mp3/4 album downloaded) you’ll talk about changing channels to which your children will scowl and laugh at.  Cheers to progress, at least I hope so, because it’s always nice to say, “I told you so.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

McQueary Milgram and Nazis

"The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act." –Stanley Milgram, 1974

The Penn State controversy has taken off and media coverage is rampant.  Everyone has an opinion, passionate response, and reason why things would be different if it were them involved.  I’m dissatisfied and somewhat troubled at what I read and hear, as I have yet to see a certain perspective discussed.  I’ll go ahead and call this the McQueary Angle. 

Who is Mike McQueary?  Mike McQueary is at the center of this whole Penn State Scandal involving a very sick man, Jerry Sandusky.  By all counts Sandusky is and always will be a pedophile.  Some psychologists hold to the opinion that there is no help or cure for pedophilia because they will continue with the abuse.  Everyone and their mom is covering the story from the pedophilia point of view so if you’re interested in that or more information on it, there are tons of resources out there and plenty of news coverage.  McQueary was identified as the key witness in the ongoing Penn State sex scandal.  Grand jury testimony alleged McQueary reported to head coach Joe Paterno of witnessing Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy in a campus locker room; McQueary first told his father about the incident, then the next day informed Paterno, and then ten days later informed other university officials.  According to investigators, McQueary did what he was legally required to do, and was not implicated in any wrongdoing.  He was criticized for not intervening to protect the boy from Sandusky, as well as for not reporting the incident to police himself. McQueary later said he made sure the observed assault stopped before leaving, and that he discussed the incident with police; Penn State and State College police say they have no record of it.   Days prior, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, who as state attorney general opened the grand jury investigation, said that McQueary "met the minimum obligation in reporting it up, but did not in my opinion meet a moral obligation that all of us would have (Wikipedia).”  

The largest majority of the general populace has critiqued McQueary for not doing enough, understandably so.  My angle here is considering why McQueary did or did not do certain things and my challenge, which will be met with some volatile self-righteous disagreement, is, aren’t we all Mike McQueary?  Stanley Milgram would undoubtedly agree, yes, or at least say we all have the innate capacity to do so.  After much research I would agree with the words of Dr. Greg Sipes, “Any or at least the vast majority of us would have done the same thing as he did if we we're in the culture he was in. There is a lot of self-righteousness in the air right now; especially as it relates to this young man. Maybe the older guys with the power should have spoken up but the younger guys had a lot to lose and were in a culture of authority and power to which they conformed.”  Now, before you go crossing your arms and locking yourself in a self-assured chamber of self-righteousness declaring you would have not cared and done the right thing, listen to the data and dare I say try to empathize a bit.  Empathy does not justify, it simply dilutes self-righteousness.  I do not condone nor support any of Mike McQueary’s actions or inactions, much like I still hold a passionate disdain for the actions of the Nazis.  This experiment done by Milgram simply exposes that people who do awful things sometimes do them under authority even if those actions fly in the face of their own morality.  The experiments began in July 1961. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: "Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?" In other words, "Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?" Milgram's testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs. The experiments have been repeated many times, with consistent results within societies, but different percentages across the globe. The experiments were also controversial, and considered by some scientists to be unethical or psychologically abusive, motivating more thorough review boards for the use of human subjects (Wikipedia).  I watched a TV program several years ago about the Holocaust that focused its attention to the Nazi soldiers and their personal life.  It read through journals, looked at old photographs, and learned that many were family men who valued similar things that their victims did.  It is easy to see these people as monsters; their actions were monstrous, when in actuality they were the majority revealed by Milgram’s experiment.  For more information on Milgram’s Experiment please go to any of the below referenced sites.  Also, here is a video referencing theexperiment.

Allegedly McQueary witnessed Sandusky raping a 10 year-old boy in the locker room, but failed morally and ethically to act appropriatley.  This caused great controversy and judgment by the general public. Why though, why did he not act appropriatley?  I asked local behavioral psychologist of Indiana Health Group Dr. GregSipes a couple questions in regards to this idea.

Q: As this Penn State drama unfolds there is a perspective I believe that is being overlooked and not addressed as it should be.  Those who witness the offenses and either do not report it, turn a blind eye, or help in the cover up, how and why do they end up in the positions they are in?
A: It's the culture of power, big money and absolute, unquestioned authority. See Milgram experiments

Q: Why do people not report offenses like the Sandusky deal?
A: In a few words, too much to lose. The culture is to, at all costs, protect the program/culture.

Q: We all tell ourselves we would have done differently, what would be your response to those who say this?
A: It's easy to sit in judgment when you're an outsider. But think about this. This kid,  Mike McQueary, is a big kid, a former starting quarterback at Penn State. Certainly not a wimp. But for some very powerful reason he was unable to confront this obvious atrocity. Of course many German's participated in the killing of 6 million Jews. I think rather than be critical we ought to remember what Milgram taught us in the wake of WWII when the world was up in arms about the compliance of so many Germans. He showed that, with the right social conditions, People will do what they don't believe is right (in their heart) because they apparently believe they have too much to lose. 

This issue is large, too large to fit your arms around in one sitting and something that should be reflected upon regularly.  As we watch these unfortunate circumstances unfold I believe it is most important to be sympathetic to the victims, but also, not to be so quick to judge and sit in self-righteousness of those who did not report what they saw because evidence strongly points to the reality that if put in the same position we’d do the same thing.  Have you ever succumb to the pressure of authority or fear of losing something and done something or not done something that you’d normally do or not do?  If you were McQueary and walked in on Sandusky and were faced with the challenge what would you do?  Lose all you’ve worked for and tarnish a national treasure of college football (at the time at least)?  What makes us any better than empirical data and ugly history?  Given the right set of circumstances aren't we all the McQueary kid?

References
  1. About.com- http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/milgram.htm
  2. Berkeley University- http://cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7article/article35.htm
  3. Wikipedia1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover-up
  4. Wikipedia2- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_McQueary
  5. Wikipedia3- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
  6. Dr. GregSipes