Monthly Archives: October 2011

*Well, what do I know?

I’ve decided to start writing more about community management. I’ve been reluctant to do so, but after checking in with a few people who know me, I’ve given myself the go-ahead.

“Why hestiate? There are a ton of people blogging about community management already, and most of them are WRONG,” said one friend, a CM with years of experience. “You’re an expert!”

Watch this space.


*The title of my prospective memoir of a career in the dot-com trenches.


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Filed under Community Management, Internet, Personal

Waving “hello” is not customer care.

Our firm recently moved from an old building with a sandwich shop in the lobby to a 39-story skyscraper that was once the second-tallest building in San Francisco. Instead of walking through a sulfurous onion cloud on my way to the elevator, I’m now greeted by a man in uniform who smiles and says “hello” as I enter the hive.

I find this highly annoying.

This performance is a terrible waste of resources. By my estimation, about 25% of us return the greeting; the remainder breezes past, oblivious to our goodwill ambassador. If building management wants tenant employees to feel good about coming  to work, here are suggestions that might create real value:

  • Buy a few hundred commuter mugs with the building’s logo and give them away with Starbucks gift cards once/week.
  • Contact the businesses immediately adjacent to our building and encourage them to offer us discounts.
  • Engage tenants in charitable activities like clothing and toy drives outside of the holiday season.
  • Organize a group of joggers/power-walkers who’ll meet up a few times each week.
  • Each Friday, visit a different office and drop off a handful of movie passes. Every Monday, surprise a different tenant with pastry and bagels.
  • Hell; just throw up a simple Facebook page to keep us posted on maintenance, improvements and other building news.

These low-cost ideas promote the notion that building management cares about our happiness. Which is the only reason they’re paying someone to wave at me, am I right?

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Filed under Community Management, Internet, San Francisco

My public baritone ukulele debut: “Till There Was You”

I’ve been teaching myself to play baritone ukulele for almost a year; I started with a soprano uke, but my fingers were too large and I felt like an angry, uncoordinated giant whenever I tried to play. Hulk smash puny stringed instrument!

I sized up to a baritone, which is much less plink-y and more like a guitar, an instrument I’ve tried several times. Four strings is considerably simpler than six.

The idea of sharing the music beyond a very small circle is something I’ve talked myself out of a number of times. Not because I’m afraid of your feedback, but because I derive so much enjoyment from playing this damn thing that sharing it with others was barely a consideration. I could totally suck at it, and I’d still be having fun. Happily, I don’t totally suck at it.

Some of the most sublime moments in the last several months saw me sitting at a table while playing the uke and looking up chord diagrams online for songs I heard on the radio as a kid. The afternoon when I figured out the guitar hook from Heart’s “Barracuda,” I broke out laughing. When I found myself playing “Agua de Beber,” I was a little impressed with myself. And the day I played along to “Stairway” and blazed through the final verse, shaking my imaginary mop of hair? I felt like a complete badass.

Although I can sing and play, that seemed a little ambitious for a debut. Instead, here’s Meredith Wilson’s “Till There Was You.”

Till There Was You

I’ll try to add a few more from time to time. Many of the songs I’ve learned are here, but there are others I’m adding to the repertoire. Stay tuned.

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Filed under Music, Personal