Pearl's Paradise

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled teams yearning to breath free…"

June 8, 2015
by Steve Pearl

Apple WWDC 2015 (Sort of) Live Blog

Okay, so it’s not exactly a “Live Blog.” It’s more like…

“I recorded the WWDC 2015 Keynote address, came home after work, grabbed a glass of orange juice, put my feet up, watched the festivities, and decided to write down my self-consciously witty thoughts.”

By the way, you wouldn’t believe it for all the snark I’m about to drop on you, but I’m a huge fan of Apple. 2/3rds of my computers are Apple products. (Sorry, no iPhone. Too limiting for this geek.) Then again, I can’t stand it when anyone purports to invent a solution that someone else has already invented.

If you just want the Cliff’s Notes version, here it is…

Apple has lost its innovative edge. Oh, Apple is still phenomenal at waving its hands mysteriously and pronouncing, “It’s magical!” to astonishing, crowd-rousing effect, but with few exceptions, WWDC 2015 took the shine off the big red fruit from Cupertino.

Have fun!

0:00:   Bill Heder is still one heck of a funny guy. Love the intro bit!  If you haven’t seen it, find it.

0:10:   Okay, it’s not really a “Live Blog,” ‘cuz I’m not using any live blog technology. And I’m not even watching it live. Ah, what the heck. Here we go.

0:10:   How magnanimous. Giving a bunch of rich schmucks tons of free Apple product just ‘cuz they held a baseball hostage.  I’ve seen some dud stunts before, but giving a bunch of overpaid baseball players free Apple product seems a tad self-serving, n’est pas?

0:10:   Fanbois unite! Cheering for more Watch apps. Woo Hoo!

0:11:   Yosemite. “Beautiful” release. Uhhh… Looks like one of my kids old coloring books.  Mavericks, cool.  Yosemite, meh.

0:13:   Nice dig at Windows 8 adoption rate. 8.1 @ 7%. Very cool. (For the record, I’m writing this on my Lenovo Yoga laptop under win 8.1, watching the recording on my Macbook Air 11.6.)

0:14:   OS/X “El Capitan.” What? No kitty cats? No National Park names? Way to go, ya self-consciously hip California surfer dudes.  “Duuude, let’s go do El Capitan!”

0:15:   Wowzers!  Apple adds side-to-side gestures in Mail inbox. Android much?

0:16:   Wait…  Safari what? They still use Safari? Does anyone really use Safari?

0:16:   Uh, Google Chrome has had the sound icon on tabs for about a gazillion years. Way to innovate, Cupertino.  About the only thing Apple’s mastered is muting the audio from the address line.

0:17:   Okay, I have to give them this. Spotlight is still the slickest fully integrated search going. Microsoft might catch up some day if they can figure out how to beat Apple and Google at the Siri/Google Now game.

Click to continue reading “Apple WWDC 2015 (Sort of) Live Blog”

June 27, 2013
by Steve Pearl

Windows 8.1 – Proof that Microsoft Still Doesn’t “Get It”

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="305"] Announcement for Microsoft Build 2013[/caption]

You can call me obsessive if you like.  I prefer to call myself a stickler.  Certain microscopic pieces of grit get into my shoes and I just can’t walk another step until I remove them.

Such is the case with the Windows 8 “Modern” interface (the artist formerly known as “Metro”) and Microsoft’s stubborn insistence to reject user community outcry.

Ohhh…  Not true, you say, you who have just witnessed Microsoft’s keynote speech at Build 2013.  You had the distinct pleasure of watching – either in person or streaming live – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his merry band of lackeys tell you that Microsoft “gets it.”  Microsoft understands your pain.  

Microsoft is about to make everything that is wrong about Windows 8 right with a wave of a magic wand.

Click to continue reading “Windows 8.1 – Proof that Microsoft Still Doesn’t “Get It””

September 18, 2012
by Steve Pearl

Matthew Perry Hits Home Run with “Go On.”

I pretty much wrote off NBC.  I'm still not sure what I think about a network that airs insipid, deliberately offensive comedies like, "Animal Practice."

But tonight, I saw a gem in the making.





Matthew Perry is one of those actors I "want" to like.  He "seems" likable.  He "plays" likable.

Tonight, I liked Matthew Perry.

"Go On" is a new half-hour sitcom by NBC that revolves around Perry's relationships in a bereavement support group and his life as a radio sports personality.  From start to finish it had laugh-out-loud moments, deft, intelligent acting, and characters with some nuance.  Yes, it was absurd at moments.  Aren't all sitcoms?

But there was something about the show that reminded me a little bit of one of my favorites from the 90's.  It felt like an updated version of "Mad About You," minus Helen Hunt and with an ensemble cast that drew the whole thing to a touching, logical conclusion.

I'm watching again.

You should, too.

Matthew Perry may not be your cup of tea, but perhaps…  just perhaps…  "Go On" is.

November 4, 2011
by Steve Pearl

“Making Meetings Matter” Series Returns in Three Weeks

Editor's Note…

It's time for one more side-trip, friends.  I apologize.  

I normally don't like side-tripping during an extended series, and our "Making Meetings Matter" series seems to resonate with many of you.  I have received several positive notes from readers who stumbled upon it, liked it, and are waiting for the next installment.

The next installment in the MMM series, by the way, is, "Planning Matters." Better meeting planning and putting a little work into better meeting execution will take you one step closer to unleashing the creative power of your team.  We are proud of the impact this series is having, so we are eager to get back to it.

Recently, though, I have watched helplessly from the sidelines as organizations I know and support have faced life-and-death crises.  I'm talking about the kind of crises that can take an organization to its knees, leaving it fighting for survival.  Such crises expose the urgency to craft high-quality "Crisis Communications," including practices, themes, and messages that connect at emotional and intellectual levels with a community or customer base in turmoil.  

Crisis Communications are far trickier and more delicate than day-to-day organizational communications, often outstripping the capabilities of otherwise gifted communicators.  A seasoned communicator can come off looking like a bumbling rookie in if they lack awareness of the difference between crafting largely one-way communications designed to "sell" a product and communications that are designed to open a deeper "conversation" with a doubting customer.

So, for the moment, more so even than helping you with "Make Meetings Matter" it is important that we talk about how to do effective "Crisis Communications."  As you will soon see, the issue is not "if" you will one day face an organizational crisis, but "when." 

Prepare yourself with better communication tools now and you will increase your organization's chances of survival when a true crisis strikes.

Let's dig in…

October 7, 2011
by Steve Pearl

Phillies Lose. Time to Retool Offense.

No, this is not going to be a long editorial on the tragedy of a dream season suddenly come to a screeching, horrible halt. The Phillies set two records along the way to crashing and burning in this 5 game series with St. Louis. They won more games than any other Phillies team in history and Charlie Manuel became the winningest coach in Phillies history.

Overall, it was a magical season. I'll never forget it.

And then, you have tonight.

Click to continue reading “Phillies Lose. Time to Retool Offense.”

September 15, 2011
by Steve Pearl

Never Underestimate the Importance of a Great Editor!

Side trip time, friends. 

We take this momentary diversion from the "Making Meetings Matter" series to address a huge faux pas on the part of the HF Consulting and Coaching team.

<p><a  data-cke-saved-href="">Image: href="">Image: Pong /</a></p>When you run a web site you often fall prey to the, "I can do it all by myself" syndrome.  You write.  You edit.  You post.  You comment.  You tweak the web site for appearance.  You juggle running chain saws with your feet.

Uhhh…  Wait a second.  Let's step back for a moment.  "You edit."

No, you THINK "you edit." What you are in fact doing, if you edit your own material, is nothing more than making the piece a little less crappy.

Such was the case with our last posting, "Making Meetings Matter: Pt 3."  I "thought" I did a decent job of editing that posting.  I cleaned it up, polished it, and "thought" it was ready for prime time.

BOY was I wrong!

Click to continue reading “Never Underestimate the Importance of a Great Editor!”

August 6, 2011
by Steve Pearl

Making Meetings Matter 1: “The Fly On the Wall”

"Don't you wish that you could be
A Fly on the Wall
A creepy little sneaky little
Fly on the Wall
All my precious secrets, yeah, 
You'd know them all
Don't you wish that you could be 
A Fly on the Wall"

(Miley Cyrus, "Fly on the Wall")

Being the "Fly on the Wall."

"How" we meet has an enormous impact on the success of our teams and our organizations.  Judging by what I have seen over the years, we are not equipping tomorrow's leaders to "do" meetings.  More often than not we set our meetings up to fail by failing to set them up.  This cycle of failure starts with a lack attention to the subject of meeting planning and leadership in college and persists as bad habits are amplified in the high-stakes environment of the corporate boardroom.

Colleges and universities make Camus required reading, a subject that most students will forget the day they leave the campus with their diploma.  Why do we put them through the exercise?  Reading the works of great authors allegedly broadens the student's mind.

Most colleges won't, however, require even a one credit workshop in a subject those very same students could use every day of their professional life; planning and leading an effective meeting.

Go figure.

Click to continue reading “Making Meetings Matter 1: “The Fly On the Wall””

July 24, 2011
by Steve Pearl

Yo Disney! Thank You for Great Comedy!

Yes, I am admitting that this middle-aged husband and father of three watches the Disney Channel.  Truth be told, I am having more laughs watching the Disney Channel than I get watching just about any show on the big four networks.  Wanna hear another confession?  I even watch this stuff when my kids AREN'T in the room!

What's up?  Why am I admitting this weakness?

'Cuz it's time for someone to praise the Disney Channel for producing some of the best sketch and sitcom shows on TV.

Click to continue reading “Yo Disney! Thank You for Great Comedy!”

June 1, 2011
by Steve Pearl

The Language of Leadership: “Thank You!”

The smile on his face caught my attention.  As an associate at the local WaWa convenience store was heading his way out the front door to do clean-up duty on the gas islands, the assistant manager behind the counter shouted over…

“Hey, thanks man!  I really appreciated your help!”

I don’t know what the man heading out the door had just done, but I knew the words he heard made him feel like it was worth the effort.  He might have mopped up a spill, counted out a register, stocked a shelf, or even just sliced up some extra ham for the next hoagie heading out the door.  It didn’t matter.  That manager made sure his employee knew he appreciated the effort.

Click to continue reading “The Language of Leadership: “Thank You!””

September 5, 2010
by Steve Pearl

“Where There’s Smoke…” The Long Overdue Conclusion

Introductory Note…

It's apology time, friends.  I accidentally hit the "publish" button on my blog when I wanted this final post of the series to remain in draft form.  WHOOPS!  I didn't realize the incomplete version was up on the web until I went to upload this finished version. 

Now, on to the blog…

“I've lived long enough to have learned
The closer you get to the fire the more you get burned
But that won't happen to us
Because it's always been a matter of trust”

Billy Joel, “Matter of Trust”

Parachuting Into the Wildfire

There is an age old saying out there that I am sure you have heard somewhere along the line.  It’s only five words long, (seven, if you expand out the contractions), but it’s chock full of read-between-the-lines implications.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Here’s the translation.

“You are presumed guilty until you prove your innocence.  Even then, I probably won’t trust you.  I just got a whiff of suspicious, stinky smoke coming from your direction and…  well…  you know what they say…”

Some people call the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” approach to social inter-play “healthy skepticism.”

I call it silly, unfounded fear.

Click to continue reading ““Where There’s Smoke…” The Long Overdue Conclusion”

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