Scarlett of Suburbia

Field Notes from The Motherhood


March 2010

Menu Plan Week 3/29/10 – 4/4/10

Monday, March 29th

Breakfast: Whole Wheat Bread with Butter. Scrambled Eggs. Warm Cinnamon Cider.

Lunch: Fruit Skewers. Chocolate Yogurt. Granola. 

Dinner: Hot Pasta Primavera (alternate version: linguine tossed in mascarpone cheese with veggies on side). Garlic Parmesan Popovers. 


Tuesday, March 30th

Breakfast: French toast w Peaches, Turkey Sausage 

Lunch: Whole Wheat Crackers with Creamy Egg Salad. Baby Carrots. Brownies.

Dinner: Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Orange and Leeks, Saffron Risotto, Italian Carrots.


Wednesday, March 31st

Breakfast: Applesauce bread, Neuchatel Cheese. Milk

Lunch: Lunch Box Hot Dogs, Soft Bun, Edemame. Orange Slices

Dinner: Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze. Broccoli-Cheese Casserole. Ginger-ale Salad


Thursday, April 1st

Breakfast: Seminary Muffins (omit walnuts on half). Irish Cheddar Cheese. OJ.

Lunch:   Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus (blanch first, cool). Apple Slices. Carmel Sauce (for dipping).

Dinner: Mango Chutney Chicken. Carrot Rice. Honey-Curry Bread


Good Friday, April 2nd

Breakfast: Toasted Whole Wheat Soldiers with Marmite. 2 Poached Eggs. Applesauce

Lunch: Minestrone soup and cornbread muffins, Root Vegetable Chips.

Dinner: Orange-glazed Ham. Baked Sweet Potatoes. Spinach & Strawberry Salad and Peach Cream Pie


Saturday, April 3rd (General Conference)

Breakfast: Morning Glory Muffins. Simple Summer Smoothie.

Lunch: Roast Chicken. Tossed Green Salad w House Vinegarette.

Dinner: Grilled Salmon. Asparagus with Pistachio-Orange Sauce. Ginger Soufflé with Rhubarb-Ginger Sauce.


Easter Sunday, April 4th (General Conference)

Breakfast: Food Porn Cinnamon Rolls, Sliced Honeydew Melon

Lunch:  Roast Leg of Lamb. Sorrel Flan. Lemon Rice. Carrots Tossed in Ginger-Honey Sauce. Easter Egg Rice Krispie Dipper Treats

Dinner: Leftover Sandwich Buffet: Ham, Lamb Chicken. Easter Egg Braided Bread.



Charlene Li on social media and leadership | SmartBlog On Social Media

Last week in Austin, award-winning author Charlene Li gave a room full of SXSW attendees a preview of her soon-to-be-released book, “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead.”

A follow-up to her best-selling book “Groundswell,” Open Leadership argues that a new organizational structure is required to accommodate and benefit from the culture of sharing that social media has fueled over the last four years. The information flow we all experience daily can no longer be organized into neat org-chart silos, she posits. Instead, it demands a new kind of leadership — one based on letting go of the command-and-control model and embracing openness and relationship building. 

Information sharing and dialogue, both internal and external, are key to the openness Li prescribes. But how can leaders be open in a world where they need to be in control? “If you think you are in control, you’re fooling yourself. As soon as you start listening, you realize you’re not in control.” Li proclaimed. “And letting go will yield more and better results.”

Here’s a distilled version of the five steps she laid out for achieving open leadership:

1. Have an open — but not undisciplined — strategy. Align openness with your organization’s strategic goals. Examine your 2010 goals, pick one in which both openness and social media can have an impact, and start there.  “Every organization is both open and closed. You must be strategic with what you are open about and not,” Li advised.
2. Understand the upside. Clearly define your goals.  What is the value of an open approach — beyond ROI?  Customer lifetime value, for example, should include the value of new customers that come from referrals, the value that their new insights bring to your product offering and the value of  their word-of-mouth support. New customers who come with valuable networks — which you can then tap into — are the most valuable. The more open and engaged you are, the more you’ll be able to get value out of these expanded networks.
3. Find and support from others who are realist/optimists. Seek out leaders on your team who are open, rather than the pessimists or worried skeptics who are conditioned to default to a command-and-control mindset. The stakes for embracing openness are high, but the costs of not engaging optimistic allies are also high.
4. Manage risk with sandbox covenants. Clearly define the outlines and risks of your experiments so your team members feel secure rather than threatened by change. At the same time, be sure to let them know that these experiments in openness are not going to stay small forever.
5. Embrace failure. In same way you have a success file, keep an accessible failure file.  This is an important way to stay authentic and open to the fact that not everything succeeds.  Team members will recognize that all true relationships involve failure and success.

Presentation from slideshare:


Example of an unusual resume that works – Holy Kaw!

This is an example of an unusual resume that works. Jennifer is trying to get a job at Legoland. What recruiter wouldn’t at least give her an interview? I know I would. Something for job seekers to think about.

Some colleges are also offering optional videos to be included with applications…

Menu Plan for the Week 3/22/10 – 3/28/10

Monday, March 22nd

Breakfast Whole wheat bread with butter. Scrambled eggs

Lunch Sunday Pork Roast, Roast Potatoes, Haricot Vert

Dinner: Pork Sandwiches and Chutney, Irish Cheddar Cheese, Summer Berry Pudding 


Tuesday, March 23rd

Breakfast: Vanilla Smoothies, Blueberry Muffins

Lunch Small baguette served with bibb lettuce and baby shrimp salad. Chocolate chip cookies.

Dinner Nigella’s Kedgeree. Asparagus. Stewed rhubarb and blueberries


Wednesday, March 24th

Breakfast Leftover Kedgeree or cold cereal and milk

Lunch Hard-boiled eggs, celery with cream cheese, fruit salad

Dinner Turkey stroganoff with jasmine rice. Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and Italian dressing 


Thursday, March 25th

Breakfast Toasted Wholemeal toast with poached eggs or peanut butter

Lunch Tuna salad with greens and whole wheat crackers. Chocolate pudding.  

Dinner Pizza and tossed greek salad from Plum Market.


Friday, March 26th

Breakfast Wheatabix or Oatmeal with Milk

Lunch Pasta Fagioli in a Thermos. BLT Wraps

Dinner Grilled Salmon. Asparagus. Gooseberry and ginger crumble.


Saturday, March 27th

Breakfast Fresh fruit and nuts, Vanilla yoghurt

Lunch Tuna mayonnaise on wholemeal bread. Green salad, Orange slices

Dinner Steak with onions and mushrooms. Home made chips/fries. Green salad. Baked egg custard


Sunday, March 28th

Breakfast: Eggy Bread with Macerated Strawberries

Lunch: Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas, Refried Vegetarian Pinto Beans

Dinner: Spring Vegetable Soup. Croque Monsieur Sandwiches


Stop the Whining: How to End Corrosive Complaining

I realized our fatal flaw lay in chronic complaining: We didn’t distinguish between the faults that have to be fixed and the faults you can’t afford the time to fix. The memory haunted me when I started my first technology company. Determined to curtail the whining, I introduced a rule: all complaints to me had to be accompanied by at least one proposed solution.

The rule was a big success. Here’s why:

  • It made people consider why things were the way they were, and what the costs of fixing them might be. Many aspects of a business aren’t perfect but just aren’t worth fixing. The cost, in terms of time, attention and resources, is too high, the return too slight. But it takes time for a leader to explain that, and it’s better if your employees figure it out for themselves. They learn to prioritize, just as you have had to.
  • It helped me, as the chief executive, distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Nothing is more important in running a business than creating an environment in which everyone feels welcome to raise questions, concerns and doubts. If you create the conditions in which legitimate concerns are raised easily, each employee is an early warning system. But you want everyone focused on fixing the faults that have real impact.
  • It generated good ideas. Instead of my software engineers complaining that the sales team made impossible promises, they asked to go on sales calls to ensure promises were practical. That didn’t just save a lot of anger and disappointment; it meant we could also offer easy product enhancements the sales team had never dreamed of.
  • It made every employee act and feel like an owner. They took responsibility for a business they felt invested in, rather than behaving like whining children.

So many companies become the walking dead when they focus on complaints rather than solutions. Does your company have a culture of complaint? If it does, what are you doing about it?

Millenials tend to (whine) and complain a LOT. Some decent management advice.

CMO’s Attitudes about Agencies :: 4A’s

New analysis of chief marketers’ Attitudes on Agencies released at 4A’s Transformation 2010 Conference

In January 2010, Ad-ology Research conducted a survey of chief marketing professionals to study their attitudes about the outsides agencies they employ and to forecast their marketing and advertising plans for 2010.

Among the survey questions asked, “If you could offer one piece of advice to advertising/marketing agencies in general, what would it be”  Here are some of the responses from among 327 chief marketing professionals:

    * Try to become more knowledgeable about the product category than your client.
    * Talk less and listen more.
    * Do a better job with the upfront strategic messaging part.
    * Act as a partner, not only a provider.
    * Know our markets.
    * Know our industry and be willing to offer suggestions not previously considered.
    * Social media knowledge is a must.
    * Simply respond in a timely and professional manner.
    * Do not add too many layers between the client and the creative folks.
    * Be good to your employees – there is way too much turnover.
    * Make sure you have the required expertise in the industry that you are selling to.
    * Talk in plain language and not technical jargon.
    * Hire people based on their passion and work, not just based on the education they have, creativity cannot be taught.
    * Be excited and treat each opportunity with a fresh look.
    * Come work for the company you are representing for a week to get a feel for our values and goals.
    * Concentrate more on ROI.
    * Get Creative! Partner with us – don’t position yourself as the “parent” and we’re the “child.”
    * Over communicate.
    * Be nice.

Other key findings:

    * 19% of companies with marketing budgets less than $1 million say they do not use social media, 34% say the same for online video.
    * Companies with marketing budgets more than $1 million are more likely to have mandates to improve customer insight and retention.
    * Fifty percent of those surveyed plan increased marketing budgets in 2010 versus 2009, with social media, online advertising and online video expected to see the greatest spending increases.
    * After cost, marketers tend to choose agencies based on creative capability and quality of previous work.

“There are three deadly account service sins for advertising agencies: Inadequate communication, relying on the clients for industry insights and not listening,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research.

Source: Fuelines

Seth’s Blog: But it’s better than TV

Broadcast TV was a great choice when a> there weren’t a lot of other options and b> when everyone else was watching the same thing, so you needed to see it to be educated.

Now, though, you could:

  • Run a little store on eBay
  • Write a daily blog
  • Write a novel
  • Start an online community about your favorite passion
  • Go to meetups in your town
  • Volunteer to tutor a kid, in person or online
  • Learn a new language, verbal or programming
  • Write hand written thank you notes each evening to people who helped you out or did a good job
  • Produce small films and publish them online
  • Listen to the one thousand most important operas
  • Read a book or two every evening
  • Play a game of Scrabble with your family

None of them are perfect. Each of them are better than TV.

Clay Shirky has noticed the trend of talented people putting five or six hours an evening to work instead of to waste. Add that up across a million or ten million people and the output is astonishing. He calls it cognitive surplus and it’s one of the underappreciated world-changing stories of our time.

I don’t watch tv either. For exactly the same reasons. And I do a lot of the things on Seth’s list instead of tv.

Far more interesting is the insight from Clay Shirky.

“Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity”

People of all ages care deeply about privacy. And they care just as much about privacy online as they do offline. But what privacy means may not be what you think.

Fundamentally, privacy is about having control over how information flows. It’s about being able to understand the social setting in order to behave appropriately. To do so, people must trust their interpretation of the context, including the people in the room and the architecture that defines the setting. When they feel as though control has been taken away from them or when they lack the control they need to do the right thing, they scream privacy foul.

To get at the challenges around privacy, let’s consider a recent privacy FAIL: Google Buzz. What the outrage around Google Buzz showed us is that people care deeply about privacy and control. Don’t get me wrong – plenty of people will use the service and it will be extremely popular, but this doesn’t mean Google didn’t screw up. They’re taking a hit in terms of trust, because not everyone benefited from what they did.

For the uninitiated, Google introduced a new service called Buzz that is basically a stream (ala Twitter or Facebook’s Feed) with content populated by the people that an individual chooses to follow. The service is situated within Gmail, requiring users to access it via the Gmail interface. When first launched, new users were invited to check out Buzz on the way into Gmail. If they agreed, they were prompted to give information that would result in the creation of a publicly accessible profile, if they didn’t already have one. And they were given a popup of users that Buzz calculated that they’d most like to follow. While any user could be unclicked, the default was that they were clicked and clicking through would result in users automatically accepting these people. The default also meant that a users’ list of followees would be listed on their publicly accessible profile, even though there was an option to uncheck this. Likewise, if the user used other public features of other Google products – such as Reader – these too would be all integrated into a user’s public profile, even though there was always a way to disconnect these sites.

Nothing that the Buzz team did was technologically wrong. There were all sorts of opt-outs available – opt out of Buzz, opt out of the default lists, opt out of displaying the lists, etc. Yet, the service resulted in a PR disaster. Why? I’d argue that Google made a series of non-technical mistakes that resulted in a disruption of social expectations. While it’s easy to blame the users since the technology was fine, I think it’s important to deconstruct cases like this to understand what went wrong and what it tells us about privacy.

First, Google got themselves into trouble by launching a public-facing service inside a service that people understand as extremely private. Gmail seems like a logical integration point because people visit there regularly, but juxtaposing the two services created a cognitive disconnect in users’ minds. The result? Confused users believed that their emails were being made publicly accessible. While this was never the case, the integration confused people and gave them the wrong impression about the service. This created unnecessary panic amongst users, resulting in bad PR for Google that was technologically inaccurate.

Second, Google assumed that people would opt-out of Buzz if they didn’t want to participate. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one because a more insidious framing would be to say that they wanted to force people into opting-in because this makes the service more viral and more monetizable. While I’m trying not to let conspiracy theories cloud my analysis, I can’t help but notice that more and more companies are opting people in and waiting until they flip out to adjust privacy settings.

Many users jumped into Buzz to check it out, clicking through the various pages just to see what it was all about. They didn’t realize they made their content public; they didn’t realize who they connected to. They didn’t yet know the service. We know that most users accept the defaults, especially when they’re trying to login to see what something new is all about. And we know that the defaults matter. When a user doesn’t know the value proposition, they’re going to just say yes.

But once you understand something, having to undo the setup is tricky. It’s easier to flip out. Many users were extremely confused, uncertain of what opting out would mean, especially since it was located in Gmail. I spoke with a few who were afraid that opting out would mean canceling their Gmail account. That, needless to say, made them even more worried.

While you want your services to go viral, help users walk through the value proposition first. Not through a video, but through an experience. Walk them through the steps to build out their network, inviting them to join you on this journey and helping them understand what they’ll get by doing it. Often, it’s easier to start with a blank page that shows an artificial experience and then invite them to replace the artificial content with content from people they know.

Another issue is that Google foolishly told users what they wanted rather than asking them. As technologists, it’s easy to assume that optimizing a situation is always best. Yet, this tends to break necessary social rituals that help acquaint people with a particular social setting. We don’t go through the niceties of “Hi, How are you?” because it’s optimal for communication; we do it because to do otherwise is rude. In digital worlds, people need to be eased into a situation, to understand how to make sense of the setting.

Years ago, a group of engineers realized that people frequently posted “A/S/L?” in chatrooms to elicit age, sex, and location. They noticed that most people responded to this query with information like 32/F/Austin. They thought they’d make people’s lives easier by inviting them to fill out a profile that included age, sex, and location. What they failed to realize was that A/S/L? wasn’t simply about information solicitation; it was an icebreaker. When I respond with 32/F/Austin, it’s entirely appropriate for you to ask, “Oh, do you happen to be at SXSW?” But there’s a big difference between this line of inquiry and you looking at my profile and saying, “So, I noticed you’re in Austin; do you happen to be at SXSW?” The latter feels really sketchy and my immediate thought is: “what are you doing looking at my profile?”

The norm on many sites at this point is to invite users to share their Twitter or Facebook account or to upload their contacts so as to populate their network. There is no doubt that Google has tremendous information about its users’ networks. But instead of asking new Buzz users if they wanted to see who else that they know on Google services might be using Buzz, they pre-populated a list and provided it to them as their default list of friends. This made people feel downright creeped out.

This dynamic connects to my fourth issue: Google found the social equivalent of the uncanny valley. Graphics and AI folks know how eerie it is when an artificial human looks almost right but not quite. When Google gave people a list of the people they expected them to know, they were VERY close. This makes sense – they have lots of data about many users. But it wasn’t quite perfect.

To understand this, you need to know that there’s a difference between what sociologists understand as “personal social networks” and the two kinds of networks known by technologies: “behavioral social networks” and “articulated social networks.” [See more info]

Articulated social networks are the lists of people that you indicate that you know, either privately (like in your addressbook) or publicly (like on Facebook). Behavioral social networks are the networks of people that you regularly communicate with or share space with, the kinds of networks that you can discern from email exchanges or mobile phone records. All of our theories about social networks – weak and strong ties, homophily, etc. – stem from studies of personal networks. While there’s a lot we don’t know about behavioral and articulated networks, we do know that they are NOT the same as personal networks. Google collapsed behavioral and articulated social networks and presented them in a way that indicated that they might be one’s personal network. And for many users, this wasn’t quite right. You may talk to your ex-husband frequently via email, but that doesn’t mean that you want to follow him on Buzz.

Finally, Google assumed that people wanted different pieces of public content integrated together. This causes two problems. First, just because people talk to certain people in one context doesn’t mean that they want to talk with them elsewhere. As Helen Nissenbaum has argued, “contextual integrity” is necessary for people to effectively manage privacy. Dismantling contextual integrity is experienced as a violation of privacy. And second, just because something is publicly accessible doesn’t mean people want it to be publicized. We’ll come back to this one in a second.

As usual, The Onion hit the nail on the head with its satirical article, “Google Responds to Privacy Concerns with Unsettlingly Specific Apology.” Just because people trusted Google with information about themselves doesn’t mean that they want it used in unexpected ways.

I still disagree. Privacy, for all intents and purposes, is dead.

Long live publicity.

Menu Plan for the Week 3/15/10 – 3/21/10

Monday, March 15th

Breakfast: Mom’s Best Naturals Cereal, Organic 2% Milk + Ovaltine

Lunch: Pita-Butter & Jelly, Hard-Boiled Egg Quarters, Yogurt, Grapes

Dinner: Onion Pie & French Canadian Pea Soup, Homemade Marshmellows (family activity)


Tuesday, March 16th

Breakfast: Vanilla Smoothies, Blueberry Muffins

Lunch: Turkey, Cheese & Cole Slaw Wraps, Kettle Crisps, Pear or Apple Sauce

Dinner: Roasted Chicken with Marmalade, Chopped Green Salad,  Poached Pears 


Wednesday, March 17th

Breakfast: Banana Bread with Nutella, Glass of Milk

Lunch: Kid-Friendly Chicken Salad Sandwiches (from leftover chicken), Yogurt

Dinner: Irish Lamb Stew, Boiled Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, Carrot & Honey Cake


Thursday, March 18th

Breakfast: OJ, Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Sausage

Lunch: Tuna Fish Salad Sandwiches, Pretzel Rods, Lunchbox Muffin Mix

Dinner: Wild Mushroom Tart, Pea, Lettuce & Tarragon Soup, Crusty French Bread


Friday, March 19th

Breakfast: Bruleed (Instant) Steel Cut Oatmeal, Organic 2% Milk + Ovaltine

Lunch: Mini Pizzas, blueberries, chocolate pudding 

Dinner: Leftover Buffet, Chocolate Beetroot Brownies


Saturday, March 20th

Breakfast: Croissants, Fresh Organic Fruit Salad, Double-Crème Brie Cheese, Organic Salami Chunks

Lunch: Summer Sausages and Mashed Potatoes

Dinner: Fish Pie, EZ Smores (spread Marshmellow Fluff on a Graham Cracker, Nutella on another, smush and enjoy)


Sunday, March 21st

Breakfast: Eggy Bread with Macerated Strawberries

Lunch: Sunday Pork Roast, Roast Potatoes, Haricot Vert

Dinner: Pork Sandwiches and Chutney, Irish Cheddar Cheese, Summer Berry Pudding


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