Thursday, June 27, 2013

Business Cards — What Do They Do?

I have been collecting business cards for many years. Likewise, I used to give them out like candy, especially before the Internet. I do not have a current business card anymore as the only information on it that is correct is my website and email address.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I look at a recent pile of business cards. I understand the need for business people to have and disseminate their information in an easy manner. Business cards fit that need quite handily. In this age of ever-changing technology, with blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and various other social media outlets, entering into the picture, how much information do you really want on your business card?

I have two three-ring spiral notebooks full of business cards dating back to the 1970s. Do you think I ever use them? Do you think any of them would be current? Before the Internet, I used to refer to them all the time. More times than not, it seemed the information was old and out of date. Telephone numbers were wrong, people that moved on and their information was useless. How did I ever find them without Google?

Yet, I still have not had the courage to throw those binders away. There might be a morsel of information in there I might need. In reality today, I can just Google the individual's name and find them that way. Then, I can simply add their information to one of my databases and not have a tiny piece of paper lying on my desk until I lose it. 

When someone asks me if I have a business card today, I tell them, "Just Google 'Mike Patrick speaker' and it will be the first site to show up."

Now that I have put that information in this blog post spammers, phishers and crawlers will take my information and put it on their list, right along with the NSA.

I find it interesting just how much information people are willing to put on that tiny piece of paper. For instance, it is becoming increasingly popular to put your picture on your business card. People also  will include their advanced degrees if they have one or more. It is common practice for a doctor to include MD after his or her name. I understand that. That makes perfect sense. I have always marveled at some of the initials people place after their name. I even count them. Often times I will read someone's credentials as MS, PhD. That tells me that person has a lot of education! Again, I understand that.

There is an old joke about a person becoming a lawyer and a doctor so he or she can defend themselves in their own malpractice suits. I do not know how many people actually do that, but I am sure somebody has.

I came across a business card a while back that has set the record for me with fourteen letters following his name. They are: LAc.,Dipl.O.M.,M.Ac.O.M. I am positive every one of them mean something to him and the people he gives them to. I know LAc. is Licensed Acupuncturist, and O.M. is Osteopathic Medicine, but I am not sure about the rest. If you know what they mean, please make a comment on this blog. Thank you.

I guess the only reason for this little rant is how are we as professionals handling change and are we doing a good job?

We all know change is inevitable, and how we communicate is a big part of that change we are all experiencing. As a professional speaker and author, I am constantly looking for new ways to find and book speeches and sell books. Therefore, I need my Internet presence with everything bad that goes with it. I am inundated with spam mail they got off information from my website. My webmaster has put up a folder in my email that blocks many of the bounce back emails I receive. That amounts to around one hundred every day.

I have booked speeches and sold books from my LinkedIn profile as well as my Facebook page. I also believe some of my contacts who are reading this blog right now have also purchased books and inquired about my speeches.

I would appreciate any ideas you may have about what you do to handle the spam emails you receive.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, June 21, 2013

Tammy Is Officially A Commissioner

It is official, Tammy Patrick is now one of President Obama's bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration. She, along with the other commissioners were sworn in this morning, June 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Here is a picture of the new commissioners: Tammy is the one wearing the pink blazer as she brought a little splash of color to Washington. Click on the image to make it larger:

It is a pretty impressive group of representatives from all over the country who have been involved in election administration for many years.

There is also a video of the entire proceeding you may watch by clicking here. It is fairly long and does not get started until about minute 18:30.

The Commission is charged with a number of things including:

• To ensure eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their votes without undue delay, which includes management of polling places, poll workers and voter rolls, voting machine capacity and technology, ballot simplicity and voter education, and provisional ballots

• To ensure the experience of voters facing other obstacles in casting their ballots, which includes overseas voters, members of the military, people with disabilities, voters with limited English proficiency, absentee voters and victims of natural disasters or emergencies.

It was fun watching Tammy introduce herself amongst this very distinguished group of commissioners. They start to introduce themselves at about minute 23:00.

You have all heard the old saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." That is very true in many instances in our lives. Having this woman ask to speak to you because of your experience in getting disenfranchised people like the American Indians to enable them to vote for the first time certainly carries some weight in a place like Washington, DC.

If Sandra Day O'Connor asks to speak with you, you are well advised to take the meeting. Here is a photograph taken last year with the first woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court speaking with Tammy and asking for some of her ideas:

Again, click on the image to make it larger:

I can only imagine if people in Washington are telling Sandra Day O'Connor she should meet with you, it probably does not hurt your chances of being named to this commission.

As always, I look forward to your comments.

I am very proud of you Tammy, and watching your career develop.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Kennedy Ng’ang’a Inspires People

Kennedy Ng’ang’a is a true treasure. I first learned of him through Facebook when he sent me a request to be his Facebook friend. Before I friended him, I looked at his page a bit and found an extraordinary individual.

He broke his neck in 1992 diving and has been a high level quadriplegic ever since. He has created quite a career for himself and many people around him through his painting and the foundation he started in honor of his dear mum who passed away two years ago. It is called the Mama Kennedy Fund and helps supply much-needed supplies to people in his community of Mombasa, Kenya.

He has an electric smile that tells me he is happy and enjoying life. Lesa Ann Weller wrote a very nice piece on her blog "SHE WRITES" dated May 30, 2012 you may read by clicking here.

Despite having hired an unscrupulous distributor who stole hundreds if not thousands of his prints and tens of thousands of dollars, Kennedy has forgiven this individual and moved on to create even more wonderful pieces of art.

He is very trusting by nature. You may order his prints or even have a piece commissioned by him by going to his Facebook page and perusing his albums. One thing I found particularly refreshing was the fact you do not pay a dime until you receive your painting. To reach his Facebook page, simply click here. He will ship anywhere in the world.

There is one more article I would like to share with you written by Deborah Davis at You may reach her excellent article by clicking here. She too, has some amazing stories and paintings to share.

I had fun researching and learning about this young man and his story. In one Facebook message he wrote to me, "I was an inspiration to him."

I would like to take this opportunity to reply to that statement and say, "Kennedy, you are an inspiration to me as well."

I look forward to your comments.



Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Dad Would Have Been 80 Today

My dad was born 80 years ago today. He died of mesothelioma on July 23, 2006. The irony of his dying of lung cancer is he spent his entire adult life both in and out of the classroom telling people how bad smoking was for them because it was going to cause lung cancer.

He was a coach, teacher, mentor and father. I remember one day when he was recruiting a student/athlete and brought him to our house. A couple of my siblings and I were sitting at the dining room table having lunch. I tried to get his attention by saying, "Dad," waiting a little bit, and saying again, "Dad," to no avail. It was as if I did not exist. That was until I said, "Coach,"  did I get his attention. I will never forget it. I called him Coach for many years after that.

I had a different kind of relationship with him then did my other siblings, Kathleen, Rick, Vicki, Tammy and Chad. I believe they were mentored more by my mom then by my dad. Yet, as he was nearing his death they all stepped up big time and helped him in many ways I could not.

I was his shadow from the time I was old enough to walk. He had a job where he played for a living and I got to be a part of that. I really had a charmed relationship with him. I had a basketball in my hands before I could walk, and by the time I was five, I was the mascot for his McLaughlin Mighty Midgets basketball team. I was a gym rat. I was following in my father's footsteps.

Many young people today learn dinosaur names to help develop their vocabulary. My dad taught biology and had all of these wonderful charts of the human body. Dad taught me muscle names like gastrocnemius, sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major and gluteus minimus, medius and maximus, to name just a few.

He would take me with him when he went to his classroom on a Sunday afternoon to grade papers. I helped him grade papers and played in his classroom. When we lived on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in McLaughlin, one student brought in a great horned owl, and I remember walking around his cage. The owl would look at me by turning his head almost all the way around without moving his body. Another student brought in a live rattlesnake in a small aquarium. Again, his job was fun for me.

He also taught me how to keep score in basketball and baseball games. Here is a picture of him with the scorebook from the basketball game the night before when we lived in Farmer, South Dakota:

I was not even four years old yet. You can tell there was mentoring and teaching going on there, and I was loving every minute of it. When I was older, I kept score, was the ball boy and bat boy for my dad's baseball teams.

Here is a photograph from the Sibley Gazette newspaper when we were on our way to the District Championship baseball game. Had we won that game, we would have gone to the Iowa Junior High School State Tournament. That was a good team:

Sibley, Iowa was town number seven before I was twelve years old. Dad was always getting a better job so we moved a lot growing up.

Both images will enlarge if you click on them:

After two years in Sibley, he took the track and cross country coaching and guidance counselor job at Worthington State Junior College, just seventeen miles from Sibley. Worthington, Minnesota was the eighth town for me and the sixteenth different location I had lived in before I was fourteen years old.

I am convinced one of the reasons I have been able to deal with all the change I have had to deal with since breaking my neck was because I had to deal with change growing up. I believe that prepared me for handling my accident. My dad and mom were responsible for helping me in that process. My dad was my best friend before my accident and my mom is my best friend now. Both of my parents have had a tremendous influence on who I have become today.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I miss you.

As always, I look forward to your comments.