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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Indisposed this evening…

16 Aug

I stumbled upon a show on Netflix called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond.”

Given that I was born a Fleming from a very long line, I had to start watching it. I had no idea how much he was really like his character James Bond.

I guess there is just something in the genetics that makes us bold, audacious, somewhat creative and a taste for a little adventure.

After 15 years of writing this blog, if your an avid reader you know some of which I am referring.

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Design Wonderlust…

14 Aug

It was a normal kind of day where I have to start driving traffic to a web site. It’s a numbers game. So you start implementing the next phase of the strategy. I analyze the numbers for how much ground did I cover recently, where do I need to make adjustments.

You know I love the design side and lately it’s been a lot of coding, numbers and analyzing. Which I’m good at but it’s like a procedure. The technical side is just easy and old hat for me. I know what to do, when to do it and how to do it.

The good news is that we’ll need a new a photo shoot for the high end luxury items and then I can design the spread for Rolls Royce Magazine. I’m looking forward to that…And true there are new pages to design and I’ve been waiting on the inventory to get into the system but I’m just going to have to jump the gun and start adding the big diamonds…

People are searching for diamonds and I need to give it to them.

My passion for design is feeling a little neglected these days because of my other assignments. I need a piece of merchandise, a piece of real estate, a yacht – I don’t know something to design. The Rolls Royce piece will at least something.

Call it Design Wonderlust…you know it’s like when you have a craving for something sweet and delicious.

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How’s the diet and the self “improvement” going?

13 Aug

I’ve been at 124 lbs for weeks now. That seems to be where it wants to stop. I’m 5′4″ so 124 is not a bad weight for that height. A lot of people think I’m taller but that’s just an illusion because I have really long legs.

All I really had to do was start behaving myself for my age.

But I’ll be glad when the self improvement plan concludes in Late December/Early January.

Why January? Because that’s when I’ll be done with the clear aligners that are moving my teeth back to where they shifted from. I had no idea what I was getting myself in for when I started doing this. You can’t see the aligners when I have them in. But when we started moving my teeth, it screwed up my inner ear.

I’ve never in my entire life ever had a problem with motion sickness. I could fly upside in a roller coaster, a flight sim, do gymastics, boats, yachts, cruise ships – you name it I’ve done it. No problem. I played 17 sports growing up. I used to be cheerleader who could fly through the air backwards. People that have motion sickness problems cannot do that kind of stuff. The only reason I quit was because I played basketball for 11 years as the point guard and the schools got to the point where they wouldn’t let me be both a cheerleader and basketball player because I wouldn’t be available to cheer for the girls. So I chose basketball. My flexibility and speed is in part what made me a good player.

But when we started moving my teeth, I threw up all over my car. I threw up when I got to the office. I had the worst headache. I was motion sick.

I struggled with this for weeks until I finally went to the doctor and got prescription version of Dramamine. As long as I take the Dramamine, I’m fine. But there’s no way that I am going to attempt to do something like fly a plane or board a cruise ship until this is done. I could fly on a plane but it wouldn’t be wise to be the pilot. It would look really bad if the pilot threw up all over the plane. Let’s not do that.

In June I set out on this plan to fix everything I didn’t like about myself within a reasonable amount of money – hence the self improvement plan. We worked on my teeth, my jaw, my diet, my hair, my waist, my skin…there was a huge list. Over time I done things simply out of a force of habit – like automatically putting my hair up, when I actually had very long pretty hair and I just needed to take it down. You begin to notice these things when you’re in the business of image. I’m one of the world’s greatest spin doctors. It does’s matter if I make a web site, an advertisement, in store display, trade show booth – it’s all about spinning the image and what gets said the right way. The parts of what I do that aren’ spin are when I have to secure or setup the server and fend of hackers. There’s no spin there. But overall, it’s my job to make people, companies, and things look good. I should do the same for myself.

I’ll be really glad when this over. I think I took on too many things all at the same time. For June and July I didn’t feel like I had a handle on my life. Now that we’re into August I feel like I have a handle on it again. It’s gotten easier.

I’ll say this, the teeth are definitely moving and they look better than they did. They were just slightly out of alignment but enough so that you could see in a few years, this would hard to correct. Yes, I wore braces as a kid. But sometimes as you age, they can shift. That’s why the plan for moving them would only take 6 months.

You have to understand that I work with models. They’re all beautiful. So when I look at them through a camera I thought, ‘I should fix this. I have to fix that…” After all, they’re looking at me all day. Fair is fair, right?

I do the same thing if I discover that there’s something I need to learn. “Oh, I don’t know how to do this, let’s fix that.”

That’s just the way I am.

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What did I think about the stolen airliner?

12 Aug

You cannot learn to fly a plane from a video game and expect to survive.

A video game is not an adequate substitution for a flight simulator. Pilots use simulators but then they are required to have so many hours of training behind an actual plane. And just because you know one plane doesn’t mean you know another. A simulator doesn’t give you a good feel for the kinesthetics of the plane or the issues a particular plane may have. Flight training programs tend to use PODS where the cockpit of the plane moves with the controls. That’s the next step after a regular computerized simulator. The majority of pilot training time is spent on what can go wrong but with an aircraft, a lot of things do go wrong. Your survival is based on your problem solving abilities.

When I’m flying a different plane for the 1st time, I always tell the instructor to assume nothing. Tell me everything. Tell me exactly what you want me to do.

I’ve seen grown men get on yachts and think that just because they know the controls of one boat, they will be the same on another. That’s not the case either. Planes can be the same way – very different.

But no one, absolutely no one should think that they know how to fly a plane based on a video game. You know years ago I used to teach game design as a professor, I also did some contract work making pilot training materials and if you follow the blog you know I fly planes. So I feel like I am an appropriate person to tell you that a game is not a substitution for the training that’s required.

And no one should ever think that being a pilot is easy or is simple. That idea is beyond foolish.

Just a few weeks ago there was a helicopter that crashed at the airport right outside my gate. And that was an experienced pilot.

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So how did it come out?

12 Aug

I’ll show you the finished first and then the before.

This is the finished table. This is just a little area of my home where I hand some of the artwork I did previously (piece for Gibson Guitars for the Gibson Store at Hard Rock Park, Jimi Hendrix, Maude & Claude, The Led Zeppelin Coaster and on the table is a recent back cover ad I designed). Then I have the conversation pieces – the cat and dog. They belonged to the previous owner and I ended up with them when I bought the estate out of probate court. I didn’t seem right to get rid of the cat and dog. I’m allergic to cats. I named the dog statue, “Nigel.”

This was the piece before I redid it. The cabinet is actually useful.:

I had already done another piece and this time I was just matching what I had done previously. I will say this – that metallic paint is really, really, hard to work with – any paint would be easier than metallic.  Metallic is good for paint that can be sprayed but even then if it’s not silver, it can be really difficult.

This was the piece I did previously. On that table is the chess set I brought back from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The signed artwork is also from there. I keep some of my design, aviation and yacht magazines below. If you are going to use this kind of paint, you have to have glass tops on the tables.

So how does it fit in the room? Like these photos below. It’s getting ready to storm here that’s why it’s so dark.

I have another room setup to be used as an office, but I never go in there. I tend to park my laptop at the bar. This is the view from that angle.

When I bought this place, the kitchen was half of this size. Where the drum light above the bar is now is where the dining room used to be. I took out all the walls. Where my dining room is now, used to be a walled off sunroom. I took out that wall and moved the dining room to be next to the view.

Sorry these are bad iphone photos but my professional camera is at the office.

Did I carry the colors into the bedrooms? Yes.

My taste for bedrooms is solid colors that coordinate with the rest of the house. I prefer simple.  For myself I always design everything with ocean colors. This is the master:

The gray floors are continued throughout the house. The counters in in all the bathrooms and kitchen. Certain design elements unify the design.

The guest bedroom linens are a light blue with shell pink pillows.  Matches my Shell Pink Fender Stratocaster…which is pretty much decoration now. The guest bedroom has really modern, shiny white furniture.

What can I say, I still have projects. Who doesn’t?

What are the views like today? The lake looks dark because there are storm clouds above but the sun is trying to peek through right now.

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It was a project day…

11 Aug

I knew it was going to rain this weekend and it did.

So today was a project day for me. You know how I love to create things, remake things, etc. I painted two small tables today. One is a metallic aqua (it matches another piece I did) and one is grey with a marble top for a bathroom.

I’m still working on my project list from when I bought this place in January. All the major stuff is done but now I’m down to cosmetic last few items.

We’ll see how they look tomorrow when they are dry and glass goes back on top and the hardware goes back in place.

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It appears I’m going to have to make a trip to South Carolina…

10 Aug

It;s not that I have time to do this or want to do this -

But I was notified today that they want to depose me in Beaufort County Court in the case where the vehicle broad sided my Porsche. They’ve already decided that it was 100% the other driver’s fault, but her insurance company didn’t cover my medical or finish fixing the Porsche. I ended up eating some money.

At any rate they want to depose me. This accident happened years ago when I had the business on Hilton Head. Beaufort County Court is just this slow that the case is now going to court years later. I don’t know it’s been 4 or 5 years???

I’m thinking that I am going to try to schedule it for a Friday and I’ve leave the office on Worth Ave on Thursday after work and drive there and testify the next day and come back on a Sunday.

The Porsche is no more at this at this point. I had it fixed and then drove it a couple of months before it lost the engine. I fixed it and sold it. But that was the car I redesigned.

I’ll talk to the attorney about it tomorrow.

I had a neck injury before the accident. But let’s put it this way, the accident didn’t help matters any.

Remember this? It was my phone that was inside the door pocket.

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Contemplating my weekend plans…

10 Aug

It doesn’t look like the weather is going to cooperate with anything I normally would like to do.

Therefore, I am contemplating doing 2 small projects in my home that require some of my artistic/design skills. I’d really like to get these done.

When you can’t buy what you want, sometimes you have to make it or remake it. And you know how I like to remake things….designers love to mess with everything.

I don’t know what else the weekend is going to bring at this point. I’m not sure yet.

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More and more concessions…

09 Aug

It seems like every time I turn around I’m being asked to give something else up.

I’ve had a neck injury for 20 years and there’s been a few events in my life that made it worse. It used to be I had to go every 3 months to see the “neck” doctor. It’s been every month for many years now. I’ve lost count on the painful procedure part that it takes so I can function like everyone else.

You see the first thing I had to give up several years ago because it was too hard on my neck. My don’t they look pretty sitting there (the guitars…) At least they are highly collectible…

Then it was the fact that when I want to fly an airplane, I have to have another pilot on board because, they can’t and won’t give me a license to fly by myself because of my neck. So I’ve kind of made a pattern of trying new planes that belong to other people so that way I can tell myself, “You have to have someone on board, you don’t know the plane and you’re here to learn.” But that’s not entirely true.

A few years ago, I was told that I could go back to golfing if I did it correctly. But that was a different doctor than what I have now. Today I saw him and he found out I had swung a club recently and he told me not to do that.

I’m thinking, “Not this again. People are always asking me to give up something and they are always things I enjoy. I don’t want to hear this.”

So the best I could do was say, “I don’t want to think about this today. I’ll think about it another day and decide another day.”

I would really just prefer to live my life without any constraints, but it never seems to work out that way. Over time, I’ve been asked to give up what seems like an endless list of things. I hate it. I don’t want to hear it.

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It was a usual kind of day…

08 Aug

I went to work at 8 am. I got home just before 7 p.m. Did my daily call to mother in the car on the way home.

I changed and went to the gym. My neck is still sore from last weekend’s exercise so I decided to go light on what I did with my arms.

I came home and made dinner.

I answered some email. There’s someone who wants me to take them on as a new client.

I got a notice that I am being deposed.

I talked to a friend for a while.

I got my things out for tomorrow. I have my monthly visit to my neck doctor in the morning and then I’ll head into the office.

Just another normal day.

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Dilema…

07 Aug

Well I’ve been put in a situation I would rather not have.

Because of M.’s schedule, she wants me to take a vacation before the end of October. I haven’t taken a real vacation now in a number of years. I work too much and there’s always been an obligation. Part of my reluctance is that I don’t like to take vacation during hurricane season. If a hurricane were to hit South Florida, who would put up my hurricane shutters? They aren’t the kind that are obvious but they came with my home when I purchased it.

If I take a vacation, there needs to be a way to get back to Palm Beach county if there was a problem.

Then the next issue is where do I want to go that’s not too far away? By that I mean that somewhere in Europe is not a good solutions because it would take too long to get back if there was a problem.

I guess I’m going to have to give it some thought but I really hadn’t planned on taking a vacation before the end of October.

It’s a dilemma.

Where do I want to go and what do I want to do?

I don’t have an immediate answer for any of it.

The closest thing I’ve had to a vacation, and it certainly wasn’t a vacation, was when I took up a second residence in New Orleans last summer. Honestly, I really didn’t enjoy New Orleans. It’s not my kind of city. It was interesting and a week would have been fine but 3 months was too much. I was there on business.

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My weekend was kind of laid back…

05 Aug

I did my usual on Saturday morning – clean, bills, laundry, get organized. I met a friend for dinner on Saturday evening. It was good conversation.

I foolishly went to the driving range today. It was really too hot to be out there. I hit one large bucket of balls and I had to call it quits because it was just too hot.

I think the plan for the evening is going to be to swim in the pool to cool off.

It was just an enjoyable, ordinary weekend.

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My life’s work…

03 Aug

It’s so extremely difficult to find someone to date because I need to find someone who appreciates my life’s work. I don’t really want to be with someone who gets nervous or bored or whatever the case may be when they actually see who I am and what I create.

I’m kind of waiting for that person who is awestruck by it and admires it.

Like I said, I’m just not of the retirement mindset because I love what I do. I’ve worked so hard and what I do requires so many skills that I just would like for the person I be to appreciate it.

That’s all.

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15 minutes to explain how search works…

01 Aug

It was a bit of a challenge but I had 15 minutes to explain how Amazon keywords tie into Google Search and how Google Search really works and how an advertising agency knows exactly how many people search for a product. I basically had 15 minutes to explain the key components of the existing algorithms and to what items they are looking.

So I translated it into laymen’s terms.

Sometimes people don’t realize that the things you do are actually very strategic.

Like in design for example – when you design an ad, there are certain basic principles that caught the eye more than others. There’s a certain reading pattern that occurs based on the design. And as much as people like to think that we choose colors based on what we learned in kindergarten, it doesn’t work that way. Each color is assigned a series of numbers. On the web, those number are derived from white light. In print, those numbers for those colors are derived from dark brown (not black). We call it the difference between Additive and Subtractive Color. When Red, Green, Blue is combined on a computer you get white light. When Cyan (Blue), Magenta (Dark Pink), Yellow are combined you get dark brown. CMYK includes K. K is black. Black is considered it’s own color.

Sometimes people don’t understand that a graphic that looks great on a computer monitor, will not reproduce well in print. The reason being is that the underlying science is very different.

So for example on the web, if someone brings me a corporate color of a shade of blue, I can sample the color and I know right away if you want a matching shade of green, which numbers mathematically are the best match. The eye helps you get in the right range, but the numbers help to get you precise.

So after years and years and years of working with this stuff, can I visually look at colors and know which shades mathematically align without even looking – the answer is yes. People ask me all the time, why are you so good at picking colors. That’s why.

We get in the habit of just doing these things and when clients see something that looks simple, like five fields in Amazon wanting to know your search terms, they don’t often know we don’t guess about that, we research it and analyze the numbers.

The same thing is actually true with color. We’re training in color theory and the math behind how hexadecimal numbers are calculated and attached to colors and how CMYK numbers are assigned.

Often designers that come from “art schools” don’t necessarily understand the underlying science. But years ago when I created the college programs for Ohio and WVU and Northeastern, I taught the science behind it so designers better understand why there are right choices and why there are wrong choices. And if you based the decision on science, then the art comes together.

Don’t you marvel at these chef’s who can put something in their mouth and instantly know the ingredients?

It’s really the same thing but with color. It takes a lot of years of working with it to be able to do that without looking.

But honestly, most designers don’t know the difference between base 10 mathematics and base 17 mathematics. But that’s why years ago, I said, “If you want to be really good at this stuff, you need to study both design and computer science.” Very few people are both and it’s really too bad because they would be stronger players if they understood both sides.

It’s like on a software kiosk. People will ask, “Why doesn’t this photo look the same as it does on a computer monitor?” It looks different because that kiosk monitor has a different gamma value than a Mac. Which has a different gama value than a windows computer. In basic terms what’s a gama value? Radiation. The amount of light a device emits. The settings are different for a tv monitor than for a Mac than for Windows than for Unix, etc. This is why adjustments to the images need to be made for each device. One size fits all doesn’t quite work.

I’ve had people ask me”Why do you design all kinds of things outside of advertising and computer science?”

Because in order to do those things, I had to learn the principles of art, the principles of science, geometry, trig, vector calculous (math dealing with points), physics and discreet mathemathtics (used for things like calculating signals in networks and telecommunications). So things like real estate are really easy for me. It’s an inanimate object, it’s easy.

On a boat you have to respect the original naval architect because the design takes into account the weight distribution. I once saw someone move a generator in the engine room from one side of the boat to the other. “Oh, I wouldn’t do that…”

“Why not?”

“Because it weighs a certain amount and the original designer, calculated that and it’s placement. To move it means you are changing the equation. You are changing the weight distribution.”

Why did I do merchandise? Because after teaching video games, 3D is easy. Merch is 3D that doesn’t move.

Why redesign the electronics in a car? Because I understand computers, signals and what makes something more functional.

The knowledge that I taught for nine years as a professor translates to other industries and things and often they are far easier to do. And it’s a change of pace.

To conceive a whole park and how each element moves, sounds and interacts with a guest and to write the business plan and calculate the revenue models – that was a full test of my abilities because it uses all the skills that I have. I did it twice in planning the whole Verve Theme Park and the Florida project – both of which I ultimately decided not to do at the end of planning for different reasons. Florida isn’t off the table permanently but I put it on the back burner.

People look at the list of math and their eyes glaze over but that’s now how I used to teach it. I would teach the math for example by doing it. “If you want to animate this object with code, you take this formula and you do this. Now do it with me as I go.” It’s a new version of applied mathematics. But instead of teaching trig separately, you teach it as they need it in order to build something. Students see the immediate result and it’s fun because they make a product as they learn it. It’s the only way to get people interested in the topic and to see it’s relevancy.

But don’t get me wrong – I don’t recommend anyone sit down with a math book and try to really learn the stuff out of book. It’s boring and it seems irrelevant. It is because they aren’t applying it to what you want to create.

Anyways, that was always my approach in being a college professor, which seems like another life time ago now.

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Funny Boat Pictures…

31 Jul

This is an old post but the topic of funny boat pictures came up today. This is for anyone that wants to see them.

http://laurakerbyson.com/about/?p=1624 I think the “Scott Free” boat in the impound yard takes the cake.

The post is from several years ago. I’ve been in Palm Beach now for several years and this post was made before I made the move back to South Florida.

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Instagram…

30 Jul

I had a complaint that I didn’t have a personal Instagram account. I do them for so many clients, I’ve never made the time to have one for myself.

I tell you what – I’ll think seriously about it.

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It wasn’t the weekend I had planned…

29 Jul

My golf plans were replaced by rain.

And when it started I sat down to make a “To Do” list and then as usual, I decided to start working on the list and before I knew it the weekend is almost over.

I am hoping for better weather next weekend.

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Relationships…

28 Jul

I saw a friend today who was asking, “Did you find a guy yet?”

Honestly, I had to admit that I didn’t start looking until recently. To find someone that I feel is compatible isn’t going to be easy. I don’t want to settle. I’ve done that in the past and it never works out in the long run.

She was asking me what I am looking for in a guy. “Wow, do you really want to know?”

“Yes.”

Ok, here’s the list:

- Must be a gentleman with manners. My pet peeve in life is men with bad manners. In my book, good manners include things like do not insult or say negative things. If you date someone like this, it will eventually affect your life. It’s best just to avoid it from the beginning. I don’t let these people come into my life as friends, let alone a boyfriend.

- Is someone who’s not intimated by a smart, successful woman. Translation – they need to be secure enough to not make insulting comments about my success in order to try to make themselves feel better. This trait is a relationship killer for me.

- Appreciates a well educated woman. And I look for that in a man as well.

- Should have business experience. I spend my life doing my profession. Like anyone else, I like to talk about my day. For me, retirement is for people who hate what they do for a living and that’s not me. I have found that people who don’t want to hear about your day and don’t talk about their day are generally just doing a job to do a job. That’s certainly not me.

- I don’t like people who judge me without ever meeting me. You will not learn that much in a text conversation with me.

Here’s my big no list:

- No motorcycles. I don’t date men with motorcycles because sooner or later they want you to ride one and I have far too much invested in my head to ever want to do that.

- No pets. I have brand new floors and white leather furniture in my home and I’m allergic to cats. It wouldn’t work very well if I were to invite someone and tell them to leave the dog home. That doesn’t work for me.

- No children at home. I’ve been there and done that and I don’t want to do it again. I am in the stage of my life where I enjoy my life and my freedom to do anything I want very much. I don’t like things that tie me down. When I was married 17 years ago, I was the second wife and children came along with that deal. I enjoyed the time we had but now that I’m older, I don’t want to do it again. I’m in a different stage of my life. And I don’t care to get attached to someone else’s children.

- Should not read too much into things that you look up on the Internet. For example I got into a conversation with someone and I know he looked up the property record for my home. And I think he immediately jumped to a conclusion that he shouldn’t have. “Oh look at this property when she bought it. It’s a rat on the inside…” No, what the Internet won’t show is, “Look at how she gutted the property, redesigned it and look how gorgeous it is now.” In real estate when you’re making an investment, it is often beneficial to buy properties that haven’t been updated in years and gut them and start over and get what you want. The property has a spectacular view and it’s inside a country club. It think it was stupid for someone to jump to that assumption. It’s like when they see the photos of the Porsche. That car was a piece of my work. Yes it was my car and I ripped all the electronics out of it and designed the car the way it should have been done and I put larger Italian wheels on it. After seeing cars like mine, Porsche does all these features today. I sold the car because I lost the engine out of it. From my standpoint, I paid for two cars after I fixed it and sold it. It was beautiful but not reliable.

People need to understand that I’m a designer with a computer science and business background. I design all kinds of things- merchandise, software kiosks, advertising, web sites, yachts, real estate, theme parks, cars. You name it and I’ve designed it. But I’m a true professional at it. I’ve made my living at this for a very, very long time.

But the old adage is true, when you assume something you make an ass out of you and me.

- Don’t assume because there are some casual shots in jeans that that is the way I really am. I used to do things like helicopter shoots and shoots with small planes and for those occasions, often the safest thing is jeans. But 98% of the time in life, I’m wearing a nice dress. I dress up every day. That is really my personality and always has been. If you were to ask where do I prefer to go out, I would say The Breakers. I go on a fairly regular basis. That’s the kind of place that suits my personality. During the day, I represent luxury brands. I like beautiful things and when I go out, I like to see beautiful things. Silicon Valley never appealed to me because of the way they dress and act.

- What are my interests? I like to golf. I would like to find someone who does. I swim. I exercise. I walk on the beach. I enjoy aviation and I’m offended by men who think that isn’t feminine. I think that’s a very sexist opinion. For anyone that actually knows me and sees the way I dress and how my home is decorated, etc. I am obviously very feminine. But just because I enjoy things that have to do with engineering, does not make me masculine. I just find that opinion so offensive. I feel like the guys who say that stuff are very insecure and I’m not looking for that. I’m a designer but I’m also an engineer by virtue of what I do in computer science, hardware, etc.

I work on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. I also own some businesses. It is a fit with my personality and it’s a fit with what I do.

It’s like I was telling my friend. I would rather be alone than be with the wrong man. And that’s why it’s been a number of years now. I’m looking but I’m not going to settle. I’ve done it before and it wasn’t worth sticking it out.

I have a really nice life and I’ve built a very successful career. I’m not looking for someone who wants to derail it, is jealous of it or threatened by it. I’m looking for someone who understands it and appreciates it in a woman.

I’ve haven’t looked that much but I’m going to start looking. But finding someone that fits with the list is harder than you think.

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Looking forward to Rolls Royce…

28 Jul

We’ve decided to do a 2 page spread in the Rolls Royce Magazine that comes out around the first of the year and stays out for 12 months in Palm Beach.

I can’t wait to put that together.

We were also offered a spot in the Houston Rolls Royce magazine. That dealership is owned by Tilman Fertitta. I love his show. We might have to do that magazine too. Our clients exist all over the world.

Years ago when I started my advertising agencies, I started specializing in luxury brands. Obviously, Kaufmann de Suisse takes the majority of my time these days and we are definitely a luxury brand.

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Time for golf…

27 Jul

I think I want to hit the driving range this weekend if it doesn’t rain.

I have several clubs that need attention and practice.

It was a hectic but very productive week. Overall, M. and I are vey satisfied with everything that got accomplished. Unfortunately, it was another week of sacrificing personal time to deal with business issues, but that’s the nature of the game.

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Hacker and/or crazy guy…

26 Jul

Who knows for sure yet…

I received a call this morning from a medical facility that wanted to make me aware of the fact that someone was intentionally making a target out of me.

They have an online portal where patients can book appointments. Someone went in and booked over 100 medical appointments for me and the staff would delete the appointments and then new ones would appear again.

It kind of sounds like a hacker with a bot. But then again it might be that crazy guy I had to deal with a few weeks ago. The guy was definitely harassing me. He would call every 30 seconds including late hours. I ended up blocking the number. I’ve never met the guy in person. I think he definitely has some mental health issues.

I feel bad for this medical facility because they told me, all this nonsense is taking up appointments that real patients need and it’s tying up their web site.

The problem with being a well known web developer and business owner is that you do become a target for hackers. Obviously, I’m a designer as well (graphics, merchandise, real estate, yachts, cars, etc.) I’m never a target because of the design work.

This blog is a popular one and through the years it’s attracted a wide range of interactions – business propositions and deals, opportunities, stalkers, marriage proposals from people who’ve never met me, and hackers. Friends and business associates read it. People read it for different reasons. It’s a very diverse audience.

But like I said, I don’t know if it’s a hacker or the crazy guy or a new crazy guy. Who knows? But what a shame he’s bothering other people.

Only the medical facilities server admin can tell them if it’s a bot someone’s written or a real person doing this in real time.

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There’s a first time for everything…

24 Jul

Honestly, I had never seen anything like it. It was a technology disaster like I’d never seen before.

I had everything perfect on the new server on Saturday for a client. It was the most difficult type of server transfer you can do but I’ve done them before – new server, new os, new domain name, new web site, new database, new email server, new SSL, etc. etc. And it all worked perfect on Saturday.

Then on Sunday, Godaddy had a catastrophic hardware failure – translation – the hard drive in the server died. So the first backup system was enacted. Monday morning, I see it’s clearly not the right backup. It was all there in the notes where I asked them to snapshot the server and make sure the backups were done before we transferred servers but when we logged into the panel, the last snapshot was taken over a month ago.

I’m thinking, “Ok, this is what the second level backups are for – begin those backups.” They did and it failed the first time. I said, “Do it again.” The last date on the second level backups was supposed to be Saturday. They kept telling me it was, but after the second restore, I could see that the backup it restored was from Wednesday. That was way before I transferred the domain name and put the new database into place.

So I left very early for the office this morning and I said to myself, “We’re going to do this my way. This is the first problem I’ve had with them in 15 years of doing this. Even though I pay to have them maintain all this, clearly this is a disaster and the disaster recovery options are failing.”

This is a good lesson for every developer. So how did I solve it.

I had a copy of Saturday’s database on my computer at the office. When I got to the office, we put it in. Then we had to redo the SSL, create a new cpanel all over again. Create all the mailboxes and then I asked them to restore what mail they could restore.

If the restore had been from the correct day, we wouldn’t of been missing mailboxes or cpanels. Luckily the new site and the database were pieced together again.

But you would have thought that two sets of backups (one on site and one off site at Amazon) would have saved the day.

No.

It came from the files on my computer. Developers don’t normally save the database to their computer. But I just happened to do it because I don’t really trust people and I’m the one that rewrote all the new URLs for the new database. If I hadn’t of done that, we wouldn’t have a copy.

I felt like a major disaster was averted by the skin of my teeth. We did however, lose two days while they tried to restore backups and fix it themselves.

This morning I thought, ‘Ok, times up. Now we’re doing it my way.”

Who would have thought that the server and two backup systems would all fail at the same time. I’ve never seen that happen and I’ve had a very long career. The second system technically worked the second time but it restored to a point before the work was done. Not good…

It was almost a train wreck and none of it was my fault but of course the cleanup and aftermath would be my job. Afterall, I always recommend this team because up until now, we had a spotless record.  I think my team in Arizona forgets what I put on the line and who has to deal with things when things go wrong.

The little fiasco has kept me busy for a few days. Live and learn – always keep your own copy of the directory backup and the database backup on your personal computer. You can’t keep the snapshot of the server on your personal computer but you can for the other items. Thank God I followed my own advice.

Like I said before in another post – server transfers are like planes. If something is going to go wrong it’s most likely to be on takeoff or landing.

————–

What did I think about the hard drive failure? That didn’t surprise me because we don’t make hard drives in the U.S. anymore. It’s all cheap imported crap now. The hardware fails all the time.

Back when I lived in Florida the first time, Quantum was still around making hard drives. Motorola made cell phones here. Nothing like that is manufactured here anymore. It’s all overseas. And it’s not reliable. The server was less than six months old.

I used to be the editor of a computer magazine because we had a real computer hardware industry in the U.S. back then.

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I meant to tell you the interesting parts…

22 Jul

When my mother was down to visit we were talking about ancestry because she’s into that kind of stuff.

So we were online researching when we discovered that I had 2 relatives with my maiden name onboard the Titanic and there were two of my mother’s relative onboard the Titanic. So I had four relatives on the Titanic. How interesting….

Both of my parents families are of English and Irish decent. My family has been here over 25o years. Recently my mother did the “swab test” for ancestry and we were still 81% English. Go figure how that one happens after 250 years.

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I’ve been talked into something…

22 Jul

One of my friends has talked me into doing something I normally would not do.

I am sitting her thinking, “She only suggested this because she thinks it will be good for you. This is what friends are for…”

I’ll explain later. Much later.

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So was I right?

21 Jul

Of course I was. Would you even need to ask that?

I was completely correct in that the settings of the two servers were identical.

What’s the backstory on the issue?

I took over a client (the jewelry stores) that had a server and web site with a small Canadian server. I setup a new dedicated server in the U.S. with a development domain name. I setup Amazon S3 bucket as an off site backup, full snapshots on the server as well as 30 day directory backup.

Then it became time to transfer the domain names to the dev server, point the records and rewrite the database, drop the development database, insert the new database with the real domain name, provision and attach the new SSL, make sure the new email server runs and hook up the e-commerce.

Basically I had two servers, two different domain names, two different web sites, two different email servers and two separate SSL certs. And at the end it all needs to be married into one.

So I did everything in the process that I normally do, the email server worked for a day and then the email server wasn’t delivering emails to company computers on the second day. Big question was why?

When I logged into the Canadian panel a second time, I see that they were sloppy to begin with and in repointing the records, we basically copied the slop. Their MX record was a CNAME. It should have been an A record. I changed it. And then someone proceeded to argue with me that I needed to change all the settings on the client’s email clients. I was absolutely sure that not only was this not the case, doing so would cause additional problems and considerable time and expense.

When you change a mail record, you are at the mercy of the Internet. Go home and go to sleep for 24 hours. It’s a proprogation issue. You can’t solve it for 24 hours. It was a little annoyed that the team missed the CNAME record problem as we were going down the initial checklist. They knew and they thought it would be ok. It’s not and it broke. But I also knew that after I fixed the record, there is nothing I can do but sit and wait.

I’ve been doing what I do for a very, very long time. I worked 30 years. The Internet became my business when it was first invented. I spent nine years as computer science and design professor. I own Carolina Web Development and Florida Web Development and those companies have represented many big names and brands some of which I don’t even list on the web site. If I tell you I’m right about something. I am. No one should argue with me. If I’m not sure about something I’ll tell you that too. But make no mistake, I do know my stuff.

Server transfers with new web sites with transferring domain names with replacing databases and with provisioning new SSLs is about as complicated as it gets. It’s just like a plane. Most of the things that can go wrong are on takeoff and landing and that’s what you anticipate and you work down your troubleshooting list.

But honestly what really made me mad was the weak link on the team was another woman. I work in a man’s profession and I have their respect because I am very, very good at what I do. I don’t like it when women are hired as tokens but they aren’t as good as the men in the department and their skills are not at the level I expect of myself. As far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t help our image as women in the computer science industry. I don’t care if it’s controversial. That’s how I feel about it. I’ve earned the work. I’ve earned the clients and the other woman has not. Don’t argue with me. I’ve spent enough time with server admins and had to be the server admin over the years that I know that part too. I’ve worked with plenty of men who view my knowledge very suspiciously until they get to know me and work with me. i hate it. But that’s why I get treated that way initially. Because there are women out there who don’t know their stuff well enough.

The bottom line is that this field requires really good problem solving skills.

So that was my point and that’s why it got 15 degrees hotter in another state. I’ve said what I have to say and I’ve requested that she never work on any of my accounts or servers again.

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I’m not happy about it but this will be my day tomorrow…

21 Jul

I’m sleeping in and then I’m going to breakfast at the club.

Then I’m getting dressed and going into the office for several hours to handle a problem.

It’s one of those days when I’m sure the sound of my heels will be heard all the way down Worth Avenue.

This is how I feel about it. Myself and my clients pay a certain team of people to handle certain delegations that I deem are necessary. I’m a far greater expert than some of those team members. But I have other responsibilities to attend to in my work.

Some time back, the team hired a weak link. And every time that weak link gets a problem to solve, it just seems like something gets screwed up and I’m asked to solve the problem. So now on a Saturday I have to step in and troubleshoot something because somebody can’t pull their weight and problem solving skills are inadequate.

I never leave a problem unsolved. Of course I’m going to address it. And then I’m going to suggest that they fire the weak link because I’ve had enough. I pull my weight. They should have to pull theirs and they need to clearly understand who they work for, period. No mouth and no arguments. Today was a heated conversation. I imagine that it’s going to raise 15 degrees in another state tomorrow when I’m done.

I’m not pleased.

And after I deal with that, then perhaps I can enjoy the rest of my weekend.

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How was my birthday?

19 Jul

It was fabulous.

For beginners, a bank that I’ve had a very long relationship with because of my companies’ business, gives me money about every three years for my birthday. This year it was $1250. The only stipulation is always the same, it must be spent at Disney.

So my mother and I went to the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. We had lunch. Then we had signature massages where they brought a couple of glasses of Chardonnay. Then we had Signature Pedicures that lasted over an hour. My manicurist turns out to do a lot of famous magazine work and she was just in Palm Beach doing work for In Style magazine. They brought us more Chardonnay.

Then we went to dinner at The Turf Club and I ordered something that I only order once every three to four years – Prime Rib and mashed potatoes. Again we had cocktails. Then they brought me cake and a very, very nice card that was hand signed by a slew of Disney employees with of course, a nicely framed photo of Minnie Mouse. It was delightful. We had a gorgeous view of the golf course for dinner.

My room had a kitchen, living room, jetted tub, separate shower and beautiful patio and view of the golf course. It was very comfortable.

I saw a bag I liked in the gift shop because it’s my colors, has Palm Beach on the map and it’s a Spartina bag. I was a designer on Hilton Head when I met Kay Stanley who owns Spartina and is a designer on Daufuskie Island right across from Hilton Head. So this was a nice gift for me. Isn”t it cute? It’s my new computer bag.

The next day we had breakfast and lunch and we went for a surrey bike ride, swam in the pool and sat in the hot tub before coming back to Palm Beach.

Monday I went to work and Monica had baked her grandmother’s chocolate raspberry cake for my my birthday. It was so, so good. Words can not describe how delicious it was. When she met my mother, she said all kinds of nice things about me. It was very, very sweet. Everyone signed a card and sang and surprised me with the cake in the back. Then I went to lunch with my mother at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach. We sat out by the pool for lunch and we felt very “fashionable.” It was very nice.

M. had said not to come to the office on Tuesday. Take a day off…So I did and we golfed 18 holes at Atlantis Country Club in the course across the street. Atlantis actually has 4 golf courses. I live directly on one of them but I didn’t care for that course when I golfed it. The course across the street (the one the country club is on) however, has these gentle rolling hills if you will.  That course is now my new favorite. I used the first 9 to warm up and then I did very well on the back nine. I was very pleased with my progress and I won the round of golf. Look at these interesting trees on one of the holes…the course is so beautiful. I just loved it. Then we swam in my pool in the evening and had a bottle of champagne.

It was a fabulous birthday. I feel very fortunate to have such a nice life and I really enjoyed it.

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No posts this weekend…

12 Jul

My mother is coming to visit for a week because Monday is my birthday.

We’re spending this weekend at a spa in Orlando.

I’m sorry I will be busy but I will tell you about it later….

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It was the FUNNIEST thing I had ever seen…

10 Jul

I couldn’t stop laughing. And they just looked at me…

I was at The Breakers in Palm Beach this evening with two lovely ladies who are my friends. I drove. Of course, I valet. I always do. I am a regular and a local resident and business woman of Palm Beach county.

And we walk out the front door to collect my car and as soon as we walk out the front door, I see my car parked front and center in the “row of respect.” You know what that is – it’s the row that hotels and restaurants use to showcase expensive cars like Lamborghinis,  Ferraris, Porsches, etc.

But here’s what was so funny. I used to own a very decked out Porsche. It was a custom color – navy blue. I bought it to rip it apart. I put expensive Italian, 20 inch wheels on it. I ripped out all the electronics to do them properly and people marveled and complimented the car to no end. When I stepped out in high heels at night, blue lights lit up the underside of the door. That car received endless respect at the best restaurants in Hilton Head, Savannah and Palm Beach. If you ever want to see that beautiful beast that broke my heart just google the words, “laura kerbyson porsche” and click on the images tab.

Then why was this so funny? I don’t have that Porsche anymore because at 60,000 miles I lost the engine. All the fluids drained from the car and I had to replace the engine in order to sell the car. I bought the car twice. I was so mad…

So what was so funny? It was my Volkswagen that they parked front and center in the row of respect.

I couldn’t stop laughing. My lady friends said, “OMG look at that, you’re front and center.”

“Wow that’s some respect.”

To which my response was, “No, I’m sure it’s because we are the last car in the parking lot.”

They turned and looked at me.

“I am sure I can picture that conversation now. It goes something like this – ‘Head Valet to the Valet – Bring me a car. A Lamborghini or something.”

“We haven’t got any of those left. No Ferrari’s or Porsches either. No Maseratis.”

“What have you got?”

“All I’ve got left is a Volkswagen.”

“Bloody hell, well then bring it up. We have to have a car parked out front.”

To which one of my friend said, “You just made Volkswagen fashionable in Palm Beach.”

“No, I’m sure it’s because we’re the last car.”

I turned to the Valet station at The Breakers and said, “You know that’s a Volkswagen don’t you?”

“Yes, Miss Kerbyson.”

When I bought the Volkswagen my mother said, “Don’t you know that Volkswagen owns Porsche?”

“Of course I do! But those bastards just don’t have ENOUGH of my money at this point. Besides, Mother, unlike the Porsche – it’s RELIABLE.”

I still couldn’t stop laughing as I watched them bring the car up.

It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. A Volkswagen given the highest spot of respect at The Breakers Hotel.

One of my friends says, “I guess the row has nothing to do with respect for the car, maybe it’s respect for the owner.”

“No, I really think it’s because we’re the last car.”

And I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Can you imagine, a guy brings you here on a date and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on a car so he can end up in that row to impress you and I say, “Yeah that’s nice. They parked my Volkswagen there last week.”

The guy would think I was the world’s biggest liar.

———

What kind of Volkswagen is it? It’s a Passat.

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Today’s fortune…

09 Jul

How appropriate….

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It started off as an innocent enough question…

08 Jul

The good friend (girl friend) I was having dinner with the other evening wanted to know who’s my idea of Mr. Dreamy. Like, if you could pick any type of man who would you pick.

I didn’t immediately have an answer for her. And then i was at the nail salon today and the manicurist and I were having a similar conversation. I was, sitting in the massage chair, getting a pedicure and reading Vanity Fair magazine when I flipped the page and then read an article and saw a photo of my idea of Mr. Dreamy.

“Oh, there he is. That would be my idea of Mr. Perfect. The problem is half the world thinks that too.”

“Who is it?”

“Timothy Berners-Lee. He’s good looking, intelligent and right up my field. And I’m sure he’s got a wife or girlfriend and thousands of women think he’s Mr. Perfect.”

“But that’s your idea of Mr. Perfect.”

“Yep. I would say so.”

‘But I’m not one to pine after something I can’t have but at least now I have an answer for my friend.”

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It’s Sunday…

08 Jul

It’s time to get my hair done, my nails done and go to lunch.

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Security Issues…and what I would rather be doing

07 Jul

I’m sorry to complain because you know I don’t usually – but this is where my time has been going.

I don’t have time for stupid monkey business but this has been the weekend and week to deal with security issues.

I can’t believe how bogus some of this stuff is getting to be. Last year I went through a client’s LinkedIn problem because they shut down the account because we were doing business in the Middle East and they claimed the account was hacked. I never saw any evidence of that but it took us months to resolve it before the account was active again. The client had done nothing wrong. In my opinion, LinkedIn should of had better security. I told Microsoft that directly. The fellow I dealt with was extraordinarily nice however.

Now I’m getting what look like bogus emails that they are going to restrict my account. I’m thinking, “Oh not this again.” Why because I have clients who do business overseas? We aren’t using my account for that purpose. And those were legitimate business discussions. All you can do is report it and ask, “Is this legit or bogus?” Honestly, this looks bogus but last time it wasn’t. So therefore you have to make an inquiry. I haven’t touched my LinkedIn account in a long time.

Then I had a problem from the business dealings I had in Louisiana last summer. I finally turned it over to the Louisiana Department of Justice to ask them to intervene because I am tired to trying to resolve it and getting nowhere.

Then as you know my least favorite server company is Network Solutions and they were up to their old tricks again this week. Every few months they call me with scare tactic phone calls trying to sell something. It’s so unethical. I’ve asked them not to make sales calls to me. This time they were trying to tell me that I had malware one of the old servers. I had to tell them, “That site has had no new software installed in five years. If there’s malware on that server, you’ve had a security breach. When you have a client on an account on a shared server, the security for the server is the responsibility of Network Solutions. Shared accounts are not given site scanning or server scanning tools. We are not the admins of the server. Don’t come crying to me if your server has a problem. That’s your job. Not mine.” I’ve got numerous dedicated servers at Godaddy and you do get tools for maintaining the security of the server and you do have admin rights on those servers.

In all my years of dealing with Godaddy, they’ve never given me a scare tactics phone call. That’s just not their style of business and thank God for that…But I can’t tell you how many times, Network Solutions places those calls in order to sell you something. I have zero trust in that company because of their tactics. I once wanted to copy my own database and they wanted to charge me to unlock it because they locked so that they could charge me if I wanted to move it. It’s totally unethical. I’ve never had a server company do that to me. I hate the fact that I have some old stuff still on their servers, but there’s never enough time or energy to move it all to another server. I’ve told them, “Don’t call me with this B.S. You’re wasting my time.”

Dealing with security problems on the Internet and data breaches at companies that store your information and erroneous data and the dumb things people attempt to do with it. It’s too frequent and it sucks up too much of my time. You know my passion is for design and business.

I was a little offended the other night when a member of our party said to me, “Why would you do something stupid like redesign a Porsche.”

Because that’s what I love to do. I redesign all kinds of things to make them better – real estate, cars, yachts, products, web sites, advertising, branding, companies,  myself – when it comes to the things I like to redesign, nothing is sacred. I just need a person in my life that understands me and why I do what I do. I’ve always said that I will know the right guy when he’s a fan of my work. Because I love the things that I do. I don’t necessarily do them for the financial gain. I do it because I like it. I want someone to respect that. I’ve never had a self respect or self esteem problem because I pursue creative endeavors. For me life has to be more than just about the party it has to be about the pursuit.

But occasionally, I have to take a day to deal with all this petty security crap.

Unfortunately, when you own technology companies, there are people in this world who want to spend their time trying to take you down.

And now I’ve a got a guy who I’ve repeated asked to not contact me and he keeps calling my phone over and over again, texting me, emailing me. It went on until 1:40 am last night and he started it up again today was calling every 30 seconds before I put a block on it. It’s insane.

I should not have to deal with stuff like this. I spent today dealing with it and now I’m not going to do it anymore.

I hate that people come to me for security advice because I am the most technically competent person that they know. But you know that I would much rather be spending my time in other things and facets. I do it when I have to but it’s not my favorite thing to do. It’s just become a necessary component of business.

But then I have to eat my own words because I just had to explain to someone this week, “You know in business we all have to do things we don’t like to do. If I were you, I would quit complaining about it and just do it. This is the nature of business. You have to take the bad with the good.”

It was like a few months ago when M.’s house was broken into and they stole her laptop. She was initially convinced that the laptop was stolen to sell. “No. That old piece of junk was worth less than $50. They wanted the data that was on it. And that’s why they stole the mouse with it.” Then shortly after we changed all the locks on the stores and I had to put the highest level device on my home. Why chance it? Just lock everything down and move on.

And so I guess I’ll have to follow my own advice. Now, you’re free to smack hand over complaining.

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We had an interesting conversation about “the book”…

07 Jul

At dinner the other night, we had a interesting conversation about the book I had promised someone I would write years ago but haven’t done it yet.

It was Irene Hudkins who made me promise that someday I would write a book on my career. I was 19 when she made me promise this.

My dinner guest and I were having a conversation about some of the more interesting bullet points. So we talked about the story of how it all got started many years ago.

I started at 16. I was co-editor of a high school newspaper that won a major award from one of the top ivy league universities. I had no desire in wasting my time flipping burgers as a teenager so I went down to the newspaper and asked for a job as a reporter. They gave me a job writing obituaries and making coffee. I worked my way though high school and gifted program doing this job. Eventually, they gave me little stories. Then bigger stories. Then one day the editor said, “The Beach Boys are coming to town. I’ll give you 8 pages of this newspaper if you think you can fill it.” And I did. It was The Beach Boys special edition.

Then the editor called me in his office one day and said, “United Press International called. They need a stringer to cover the governor of Ohio. For God’s sake, don’t tell them you’re 17.” And so I covered the governor of Ohio and my stories went all over the country. I racked up a slew of journalism awards and landed 13 scholarships to go to college. I talked my way onto my first helicopter to shoot as a photographer when I was 16.

The editor of the paper used to say, “You’ve got talent, brains and balls and that’s going to get you somewhere kid.”

But to pay for living expenses in school, I need more money. I needed real money. My family had plenty of money, but I wasn’t one to ask for it. I wanted to earn what I had in life. First I applied to the third largest ad agency in the country. It was called Fahlgren and Swink. The Vice President was Tom Crooks. They stood me up for my interview. And so I knocked on the door of a General Electric company and asked for a job in marketing. It was one of the agency’s largest clients. I told them I could save them $250,000 from their advertising agency if they hired me. I told Irene who at Fahlgren’s just stood me up and that I wasn’t the kind of girl to sit back and take it. She laughed and she smiled. And she hired me.

And that’s how at 19 years old, I got job four deep from the CEO of General Electric. At the time when I joined their plastics, we were the third largest plastics company in the U.S. We were a little scrappy team.

Irene used to say to me, “You’re 19 and you have the resume of a 35 year old. You’re 4 deep from Jack, someday you promise me you’ll write a book on your career.”

One day they came to my office and said, “We’re buying a company in California. This merger will make us the largest plastics company in the U.S. You, Irene, the CEO are going to New York and you’re going to announce this acquisition to the national press core. You’re a good writer, you get to rewrite the speeches and help plan the event. Make sure it’s a good strategy. Congratulations, because Jack Welch will also be speaking.”

And so we planned a press conference at the 21 Club in New York. And part of the justice of it all is that the VP of Fahlgren’s had to fly on the company plane and attend the event with us. When they told me I would get to fly on the company plane, I was a little shocked when it turned out to be six seater. It was tiny.

We all went to dinner at the 21 Club in New York the night before. And they ordered wine for me. Irene was the only who knew I was 19. “Drink it and don’t say anything,” was her advice. And so I did.

And at four o’clock in the morning before the event started we got a call saying the deal hadn’t closed. Then we got called to a hotel room and told, “You’re going to tell them it’s closed anyways.” And thankfully, the deal closed minutes before the event. This is where I learned to fly by the seat of my pants if I have to.

And after the event, we all went to the hotel bar and it was Jack who would forever teach me a valuable lesson. He looked at me and said, “If what you did was good today, you’ll see that price (stock price) go up. If what you did was bad today, you won’t.”

And so we watched and waited. And the price went up. And he had no idea that I was 19 years old. I was just one of the people that worked for his companies.

And when it was all said and done and General Electric sold the plastic’s division a few years later. They sold it for $11.6 billion dollars. It was one of the largest price tags they would ever get for a company. When they sold General Electric Appliances, they only got $5.4 billion for it. We were worth twice as much as appliances. And as executives we only occupied two small floors of offices in a bank building. I doubt many people even knew we were there.

And so when we flew back from New York from the event, all six of us were almost killed in one of the worst lightening storms you can ever imagine. We left LaGardia after being grounded on the tarmac for six hours. We never should have taken off.

I didn’t get back to Ohio University until 4 a.m. I had a 8 a.m. economics final. I tried to explain to my professor about where I had been.

He looked at me said, “We kind of hope that students with degrees and 20 years experience land the job you have now. You’re only 19. But you’re just going to have to take the exam and get whatever you’re going to get, because that’s life.”

True, it wasn’t my best grade but I still finished college in 2 and 1/2 years and graduated with honors. I would later graduate graduate school with a 4.0 GPA.

But the point of the story is that I learned very early on that if you want something in life, you have to knock on doors and ask for it. No one will hand it to you.

And my career went on to include many, many crown jewels and gems. Before I decided to go into design and computer science my writing career would include The Columbus Dispatch, UPI, The Miami Herald. I would cover NASA, legal issues, science and technology. I was the editor of several magazines. Then I decided that it wasn’t enough of a challenge for me and I wanted to switch over to design and computer science. I was highly decorated in the academic accomplishments because I knew how to work hard.

But Karma wasn’t done paying back those guys at Fahlgren’s who stood me up. Years later when I would become the Kickass Web Mistress of Hard Rock and help build a $600 million dollar theme park, they sent me to Orlando to meet with management when we were building the park. They said, “You know, you’re going to need some help. You’ll need some advertising agencies to assist you.”

“True.”

“You don’t by chance know a guy named Tom Crooks do you? What do you think of his new agency?”

“I like Tom Crooks but unfortunately he stood me up years and years ago and I’ve never quite forgotten it. So if you don’t mind, we’ll be using other agencies.”

And so he didn’t get the account. We hired a couple of agencies. One from New York and one from Tampa. And I went from that to being able to get $750 million dollars to build my own park if I choose to do it. Twice, I’ve planned my own park, only to find risks that would take serious mitigation. I only wanted to do it if I knew the conditions were right.

And 2011 I started my own agencies. Obviously, in the modern era, they aren’t just advertising agencies any more – they’re technology, media and advertising companies. And my companies have had many prestigious clients since that time.

But anytime that someone didn’t show faith in meeting me or my abilities, almost always later in my career would come a day when that person’s name would come up and it was a chance for me to throw them business. And I don’t for a reason.

Why should I have faith in them, when they didn’t have it in me? At every step in my career, I delivered results. Why should I invest in people who are a bad judge of character or who simply didn’t take the time to meet me? And so I don’t.

I never planned it that way, but it’s always managed to work out that way.

So today, I own the companies and I fly the airplane. And last week after 111 years on the Dow Jones Industrial, General Electric was delisted. And I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but they hired morons who drove one of the world’s greatest companies into the ground.

At any rate, Irene was right. I should write the “book.” It’s been the story she thought it would become. She wasn’t wrong. And I owe her a lot for believing in me but she was always a smart cookie.

But that’s how the whole story starts and it continues to gets very, very interesting.

But I’m not serious about writing the book yet.

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So what happened to the deal?

06 Jul

Remember I told you that when you are doing a deal for a very large sum of money, the interested party doesn’t always pass the vetting process.

During that process, they stumbled and as far as I’m concerned gave away their cards. I’m a very intuitive woman.

There are also certain countries and or people in this world that don’t respect American companies and women executives. I think we had had our fill of disrespect. And when you own the asset being sold, you don’t have to put up with that kind of treatment because guess what – we’re the ones holding the cards.

I thought we should walk away. And so did she and we did.

There will be the right buyer at the right time and I never felt like this was the right buyer.

But I said it before and I still think it – this was a dangerous, dangerous deal right from the start. It’s why I said after everything was getting disclosed, “I’m not comfortable flying into that airspace and if we do, do this deal – I think it needs to happen on U.S. soil.” It’s restricted airspace. My radar was also up because I felt like this could be the biggest setup in the world and we need not be stupid about it. We’re two highly educated and experienced women. Money is money but you life is the only one you have. It’s not worth risking it for cash. And this was getting dangerous for a lot of reasons.

If you want me to be explicit – only because I don’t think we should attract this kind of buyer – there are a lot of people who feel very strongly that this buyer gives a lot of money to terrorists. And as capable and as tough a business woman as I can be – I think someone was over estimating my abilities that I could fly through restricted airspace, unarmed, land and complete a deal with a bunch of terrorists. That’s asking a lot, a lot, a whole lot of my abilities. We have something that no one else in the world has but we just need to find the right buyer and for me, that kind of deal needs to be based on trust.

Some deals in business aren’t worth doing. Last year, I walked away from taking $750 million dollars because I would never take that money unless I was absolutely sure, I could pay a big return on that investment. One of the players I needed at the table, lost my trust and certain elements came to light that would never work. So what do you do? You walk away because decisions that you can live with cannot be based off of greed.

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