Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Business Lessons From Bloggers on USS Nimitz

When I first read this article (http://www.damniwish.com/uss-nimitz/), several things came to mind.  First, holy crap - they let 16 bloggers loose on the Nimitz and let them blog their experience? The US Navy is more open that I thought.  I wonder what they had to do for clearances!  Wow I'd love to get in on this!  But all of these reactions are small potatoes when you read the content.  This first blogger details four best practices that would work in just about any business. 

    1 - Keep it simple; it's not about the technology.
    2 - Helping people be good at their jobs.
    3 - The power of complete openness.
    4 - What appreciating our troops really means.

If you're more into pictures and video, head over to Guy Kawasaki's blog about the same visit (http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2009/06/24-hours-at-sea-on-the-uss-nimitz.html).

Let me give you a few quotes from Sernovitz:

    What would happen at your company if you let 16 bloggers talk to anyone they wanted, including the CEO? (Besides needing to send an EMT to resuscitate the panicked PR team?)

    Do you have a culture of openness and trust?
    Do you have something to hide?
    Do you trust your people to know what topics aren't appropriate to talk about publicly?
    Most important: Do your employees have the pride in their work necessary to happily represent you to the world?
    1. Details matter.
    2. Everyone knows their jobs.
    3. Special places matter.
    4. Proven is better than newer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fredstock '09

Yet again this year an event almost slipped past without any major advertising. Fredstock happens this weekend. See the Weekender story for more info.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who is really the Consumer

At tonight's Fredericksburg City Council meeting, there was a discussion about taxi surcharges. Last year they revisited overall rates with taxi drivers and owners where the industry said they liked rates where they were. Consider, the discussion was actually about whether to go to meters. So of course they are going to choose to keep the existing fares and formats. Plus using a 'fuel surcharge' further obscures the true taxi costs for riders.

So as is common lately, in the rush to complete the meeting, a council member was cutoff and a statement was made about how the 'consumer is happy the way it is'. Whoa, wait a minute, since when is a taxi owner or the driver the consumer? I always thought that would have been the rider/user/payer. But I guess in this new form of government, consumer is up for redefinition.

City Taxes Going UP-UP-UP

For those of you that vote in Fredericksburg VA, here's who you can thank for higher real estate taxes.

Councilwoman Greenlaw made the final motion to raise the rate to $0.705 of every $100. That's almost 26% percent. It was seconded by Vice-Mayor Devine.

Councilman Kelly put forward an alternative $.68 of every $100. It was seconded by Councilman Ellis. The caveat is that the meals tax would have to go up a penny. Solley changed his mind from the first vote and supports the meals tax. This lessens the commercial real estate tax, and someone moves that to the restaurant business. However, in my case it also frees up significant money to actually go out and eat.

Just for reference - 1 penny on real estate = $340k
Meals tax increase 1% = 800k, offset somewhat by having to delay implementation August (100k). Yet another issue with council waiting until the last minute to approve budget.

Mr Kelly mentioned cuts to consider to make up the 100k - continuation of hiring freeze, limiting city manager salary (not filled at the moment).

But in the end, Solley, Greenlaw think this is a bare bones budget. So I ask it in public, why does the city maintain TWO parking decal authorities? Why do we continue to fund a money loosing VDOT express? What was the priority for outside agencies when you blanketly levy a 15% cut? Greenlaw justified this somewhat by saying that by 'making the list' they are priority - OK, I'll accept that. What do we save by going to 1 day trash? What did the extra $300k get in the schools?

Devine gave a speech about all the calls she gets about people wanting extra things in the city. That's fine, good managers have to know how to say NO. Yet in the end the city only took a 5.2% hit. FIVE-POINT-TWO PERCENT, with no clear vision about where we're headed. Devine 'we're wringing our hands'.

Kelly responded with 'we cannot be a burden on those people that depend on us' and 'we're beginning to hurt people we serve'. Mr. Kelly finally got my point, some savings might be only a few dollars, but all that funding adds up!!!

In the end, it was tabled, but I BEG you to think about who is running your city and how they are voting. It does matter. Renters residential or commercial, consider that every dollar your landlord has to pay in taxes is going to come out of your pocket in higher rents.

ps, they also are considering a 14% increase in the car tax, on top of water, sewer and utility taxes approved last month.

Special "Find a Patriot" day 6/12

Just received this email that I thought was particularly interesting.

The Mine Run Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution is having a "Find A Patriot" meeting, open to the public on June 12th, Friday evening from 5:30 to 7 pm at the Chancellor Ruritan Building 5994 Plank Rd, Fredericksburg, VA.

Please bring the names of your grandparents, dates and places and we will look for a Patriot ancestor. We also sponsor a Children's chapter. For more information or alternate dates; call 540-854-6700, Debbie DeHart

It's particularly interesting to me, having found that I am related to Charles Lee, brother to the more famous local Robert E. Lee. My father took up some geneology searches in retirement resulting in some interesting adventures. One was to find my great-grandfather's name on the National Law Enforcement's memorial in DC.

Smith Point Rescue Fishing Tournament

Local columnist Rob Hedelt writes in today's paper about a great organization, smith point sea rescue. http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2009/062009/06092009/471878

We sometimes spend the weekend in Fairport, just across Cockrells Creek from their main rescue boat. This fishing tournament this weekend is always a huge hit with locals and visitors alike. The activities are nonstop, but if you can break away I suggest eating at The Cull Ring at Fairport Marina for a taste of good local cooking.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eating For A Cause

Just received this from Paul Lewis of The Fredericksburg Athenaeum

Every Thursday in June, Capital Ale House is giving 25% of your food tab to the film festival. All you have to do is print and present this coupon and eat a good meal. Thank you for supporting your community by supporting RIFF and our efforts to sustain an active, vibrant downtown. Hope to see you there!

Celebrate VA Live rain out Alternatives

If you don't know yet, Dark Star Orchestra has been postponed due to wet fields at Celebrate VA Live this week. The good news is that First Fridays is happening downtown and there should be good food and art all over! We are calling the baby sitter and headed out for the evening. You might find us at the museum courtyard listening to the local band playing for free.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quarter Hail vid at Golds

Didn't catch the start, but eventually the pounding on the roof made me go check it out.

Storm over Fredericksburg vid

Is this what they mean by rotation, not too long of a video, decided it might be time to get on home.

Stories From Other Blogs