Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Blogful of Thanks

While frantically working on the next installment of “Reverse Engineering NPV”, which I am sure everyone is anxiously waiting for, I realized that with Thanksgiving coming up, this will be the last business day for many, so if I were to wish everyone a happy holiday it would best be now (and don’t worry, there will be a second installment of Reverse Engineering NPV coming soon!).
Regular readers know that while I might mention a personal experience here and there, for the most part I focus on topic. Very rarely is that topic me...yet oddly enough, even this one is really isn't either.

For Those Who May Not Know
In the US, the fourth Thursday in November is called Thanksgiving, and it is one of the national holidays. Wikipedia can explain its history better than I, but essentially its roots are in harvest festivals that many cultures hold.
Nowadays it is a holiday where families get together, often traveling in order to do so (in many US airports the busiest travel day is today), eat a large meal, watch football, and in general just hang out together. I like it because of the low-key nature of it. There are not rows and rows of merchandise in the stores or anything like that, though grocery stores stock up on turkeys, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie among other things.

A Time For Gratitude
The primary emotion of Thanksgiving is gratitude. As a matter of fact, I just heard on the radio this morning that feeling gratitude is critical to mental health and happiness.
Thinking about this in relation to the Treasury Cafe blog, there is a lot to be grateful for. Let me tell you all about it.

Inside the Mind of a Blogger
A new blogger’s primary fear is that we-will-write-it-and-no-one-will-come. Writing that first post takes a lot of time, effort and thought, for several reasons. First, we haven’t done it before, so it is more conscious (think babies walking for the first time). Second, we don’t entirely know what we are doing, so there is little anxiety and concern. Third, there is the technology aspect, which is all new as well, so it compunds those feelings.
So once the “Publish” button is hit, we kick back for a second and go “ahhh, I did it”. That gratifying feeling lasts all of about two seconds, and is then swiftly replaced by a nagging question – “Is anyone going to read this?”
All of a sudden we are no longer in control. Some of us might call friends, or post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But the ball has been passed, it is in the potential reader’s power at that point. We are at the mercy of the audience.
One of the most comforting things, then, is to find out real people in real places are reading what we have posted.

The Founders Circle
When a new institution is formed, those who created it are called “founders”. For Treasury Café’s “firsts”, that is what I call these folks:
So, for the first comment ever received on this blog, I am grateful to “fatgreta”. No blog, no website, but I can tell you he makes a great Best Man! (As an aside, because I know him personally, I immediately called to mind all the admonitions you hear about “make sure nothing is out there that employment recruiters might not like” - we were not in a fraternity together, but still…!) Thank goodness “fatgreta” has a sense of discretion (either that or I am to get a request for money really soon!).
The Blogger sites allow you to become a “Blog Member” – my first one was Rene Michau. He is a banker at ANZ, very passionate about treasury management and products and the industry. He publishes a blog - Cash Insight ( http://cashinsight.blogspot.com ), as well as a daily paper, also “Cash Insight” (http://paper.li/renemichau/cashinsight ). He is also active in a program that helps veterans. Thank you so, so, so much Rene. If I ever move to the Pacific Rim you know where I’ll be opening an account!
Most blogs have a “blogroll” (as do I) that provides links for readers to other blogs that are either similar to the bloggers, or well-respected by the blogger, or are interesting in some respects. Adding a blog to a blogroll is a sign of support and respect. We stake a slice of our identity and reputation with it. It’s essentially our word that “check this out, it’s good, you won’t be sorry”.
Getting on these blogrolls is great for someone worried that nobody is ever going to read what they have written, and Treasury Café’s first appearance on a blogroll was….(drumroll, please!)…Rene Michau, again! Thank you, Rene. Did I mention I am going to open a bank account at ANZ if circumstances allow?
In addition to blogrolls, another way a blogger gets feedback that others might think what they’re doing is worthwhile, relevant, or at least entertaining, is to be cited and linked in somebody else’s blog. Treasury Café’s first link was with Wally Bock’s Three Star Leadership blog ( http://blog.threestarleadership.com ). Wally’s blog provides excellent daily leadership tips in very consumable quantities (often two paragraphs tops), interspersed with longer, in-depth, informative posts, coupled with a great survey of other information currently available on the web (blogs, book author’s posts, etc.). In my experience his posts always strike the hit- your-forehead-“darn, I knew that” response, even though we haven’t actually thought about the subject for months!
Finally, another way a blogger knows that they have actually communicated with another human being is to trade emails and begin a normal interaction (assuming email interaction is within your definition of “normal”).
My first E-mail dialogue was with maddie. However, to say that she was my first blog-generated e-mail correspondence really does her a disservice, because no matter what happens - in all the rest of my life - I will always have a special place in my heart for maddie.
I ran into maddie by way of another blog. Through that blog, she reached out to me with the wisdom and advice of someone who has “been there, done that” and really took me “under her wing”. maddie is really the first one, who provided the “somebody believes in me” feeling with respect to Treasury Café. And I tell you what, during the first couple months of blogging, you need that feeling! Thank you, maddie!
Maddie has a blog of her own – http://www.thekidsatemyhomework.com – and she is a great writer, effortlessly (or so it seems) communicating serious points while simultaneously being funny. She is a vet of corporate IT and has a penchant for seeing the world from the real world point of view (i.e. not from the Four-Seasons if you know what I mean). I think she has been everywhere. “Nomad” is a very complimentary term in her world.  

Key Contributors
There are a couple of ways that bloggers get feedback that the topics they are discussing are relevant, considered, and meaningful. These are blog comments and other forms of interaction.
For these activities, I am very grateful to:
Comments by Barbara Swafford – her blog is http://bloggingwithoutablog.com – and if there was a dictionary definition of the communities bloggers are able to create, this blog would be it. Barbara’s blog was the one through which I met maddie, by the way.
Comments by Tim Johnson – his blog is http://magic-maths-money.blogspot.com – and from the moment you first read it you know this is one smart guy who knows what he is talking about…and is willing to share it with you!
Comments by Mandy Kilinskis – her blog is http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog - and this site is, if not the archetype, a prime, prime example of good social media strategy by a company. They won the Chicago Most Valuable Blogger contest, by the way. While I would have liked to have been the recipient of that title, having been to her site a number of times, I respect the decision (my only caveat is that there is more than one blogger there, so it is a little unfair – 4,5,6 to one!). If ever I am in the market for stress balls or other similar items, this is where I am going to go.
Off-blog interaction - Allan Engelhardt – his blog is http://www.cybaea.net/Blogs/Journal/ . I have written several times about “Big Data”, and Allan’s firm is one of the pioneers and experts in this field. I can’t wait until they open a Chicago office!
Off-blog interaction -  Tom Brakke - http://www.researchpuzzle.com/ .  Tom is a guy you want on your research team when considering investments, because he has the analytical tools, combined with the common sense, along with the ability to explain it all in a way that makes sense. That is a rare combination!
Off-blog interaction - Nicholas Cardot - http://www.sitesketch101.com . Nicholas is someone who understands what is important when it comes to blogging, and what is transitory, faddish, or otherwise not worth your time. He also responds to every comment on his blog, which is in the Blogger Etiquette Rulebook but very few actually do.
Off-blog interaction - Lee Crumbaugh (http://leepublish.typepad.com/strategicthinking/ ) has helped promote Treasury Café through his Twitter activity. He is the only one I know who, whether the topic is diapers, global famine, or anything in between, his immediate response is to think about the importance of strategic scenario planning (which I love to talk about as well)!

And Finally
Thank you for reading this blog! One of the things that I have been most proud is the fact that Treasury Café has been read on every continent except Antartica (if you know someone there, please get them to visit!). Web 2.0, or my euphemism wikifinance (for the finance folks!), really does have the capability to reach everywhere. It is amazing!
I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you visit, and you come back. It really does help me persevere. Writing this post, thinking about you, and those who I mentioned above, makes my eyes tear up. I am very lucky to have you and to be living in these times. Hopefully I have communicated that through this posting.
Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving.
Questions
  • What are you grateful for today?

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9 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the amazing shout-out, David! I speak for all of our bloggers when I say that we enjoy having you as a frequent commenter. We really appreciate knowing that our blog posts are reaching a wider audience than just our office, and we're glad that the content interests you enough to comment on it.

    I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  2. Mandy,

    Thank you for stopping by from time to time and leaving comments, for the same reasons - knowledge it is reaching an audience.

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  3. Thank you David for the wonderful mention! I'm proud to have you on my blogroll!

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and remembered to eat an extra piece of pumpkin pie for me. drool

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  4. Hi David,

    Thank you so much for the link love. I truly appreciate it, plus your sweet words.

    I know exactly what you mean when you said, "I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you visit, and you come back. It really does help me persevere." As much as us bloggers enjoy the process of writing and sharing, knowing others are reading our work is like the icing on the cake. Comments and correspondence of any kind make us feel validated and heard.

    I wish you well on your blogging journey, and again I say "thank you".

    Happy Blogging!

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  5. Barbara,

    Thanks for the comments! If I get anywhere close to what you have accomplished it will be a great success!

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  6. Maddie,

    I did have an extra one for you, and also for a bunch of others I think! Safe travels!

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  7. Hey best of journey and enjoy your travel.

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