blogitto ergo sum

April 25, 2017

#227 – iRecommend

Filed under: #work #career,absorb,connectivity,life matters,Opinionated — yael [ya-el] wagner @ 19:06

A friend or a colleague gets laid-off. You worked together for a while, and you want to keep in touch. You truly want to help.  You care for the guy, you enjoyed working together, you even learned a thing or two from him.  Or her.  Women got a lot to teachSupportLIKEaBRA and share.

What you do? LinkedIn is the obvious answer.  Of course.  Request is sent, accepted, are we done?  And I thought you cared.  You tell yourself you care.  So, now what?

For many, this is as far as it goes.  Let that guy ask for help; we are connected, I’m available and done.  Hmmm, not so fast; not so done.

What does your buddy really need?  Support, mostly emotional, not to feel deleted or erased.  Don’t avoid her or him due to your “survivor’s guilt,” nor go the other extreme, telling yourself, “He was RIFed, therefore he deserved it.”  Don’t become a stranger.  You are better than this.  I know you.

Connecting on LinkedIn is great, meaning a great start.  You however, are going to do more.  You are that kind of a person.  So, in addition to your friendly [read: emotional] support, take the initiative and write a recommendation; endorse a couple of relevant skills.  Don’t overdo it, it’ll backfire. Don’t endorse me for algorithms.  Knowing what they are, their value, and what they do, understanding the philosophy behind them, doesn’t mean I can write one, right?  Yet… All of us can write a recommendation, regardless of training and title, what are you waiting for?!


Last night, as I was getting ready to publish this post, i took a quick detour via LinkedIn. It paid off.  I came across a great advice from Gail Houston, and today I got her permission to adopt and use it here.  When listing accomplishments, “think about the biggest impact and list that first. “Acquired 20k new customers,” “drove cultural change increasing employees engagement level and increasing company’s presence on social media platform,”  “led a deal of $25mm in revenue”… These might be a lot more important than saying that one launched a product on time. It is all about getting that hiring manager / recruiter’s attention early – so they slow down and keep reading or pick up the phone and call. Thank you, Gail.

You shift position uncomfortably.  You never embraced all that stuff about investing in your LinkedIn profile, personal brand, and network. Having a coffee or a drink sounds great.  But, in a global company such as yours, your buddy may be in a different campus, state, or country.  WhatsApp, FaceTime, and SMS may do it, but what with that time difference?  And you never actually met outside the office other than for work-related stuff [and PIVO, but that’s a whole different story].  What should you do?  Think.

Your network may be small, but your heart is big.  And, anyway, right now it’s on the job seeker to expand the network.  But you?  You can help making that LinkedIn profile shine with recommendations and endorsements.  Even you who struggle to put together 140 characters for a tweet can help.  Yes, you can!

Think about your friend, the accomplishments, things you value, impressed with, what special sauce he added to the team, what difference did she make.  Make a short list.

Now, and you may find this a little challenging, what kind of job or a role your buddy is looking for? What qualities, skills & knowledge, experience, and achievement are relevant to those jobs?  Sort the list, scan it against those jobs. Not sure yet? Give your buddy a call.  they’ll appreciate it.  I promise.

Not there yet?  Reflect. Think of something he helped you figure out. think of a time that she pushed you,  you didn’t like, but then you did it.  Recall how he killed that bug, delighted that customer… Think of that sticky situation you resolved together with a smile, leaving the customer and the team happy.  Think of the person, the values, future roles. What would a hiring manager and recruiters want to know?  Don’t forget to mention the nature of the relationship.

Now stir.  If your time is limited to two olives, drop the personal memory.  You’ll have time for that when they call you for the referral.  Drink.   You are a good friend.


February 27, 2013

#212 – if snails could fly. Oh, now they can

Filed under: connectivity,see, absorb, enjoy — yael [ya-el] wagner @ 01:44
Tags: , , , , , ,


it rained; i love rain.
the little snail picked that day to expand its horizons, and was captured through the lens.
“extras” are thanks to Pic Collage

it was December.

I’m endlessly impressed with how the continually improving integrated [mobile] cameras change the way we share. when was the last time you went to the shop to pick up the AMAZING photos of your unforgettable vacation? nowadays, everyone can see the photos of your last supper, long before you made it to dessert and digestif.
and it’s not because it’s good for the trees, and reduces the use of less than healthy chemicals…

click, treat, post.  i may have strong feelings against fast food, but when it comes to fast post… I’m all in.  the click is almost the same click.  the “treat” though, is easier than ever.  i love the treat part.  for example, treat this…

Edna - a story in blue & Greenbefore

Edna – a story in blue & green

and, with a little from Pxlr-o-matic, got this:

Edna - a story in blue & green

Edna – a story in blue & green

and, the sharing.  photo sharing, more than literal updates, more than free IM-ing, more than witty bursts on Twitter, bridges time and place gaps.  a new haircut, a move to a new home, sending one’s kid off to the army, university, a bat mitzvah, a trip, first snow, flood, spring bloom…
all of the above have been recently shared by friends via FaceBook, allowing me to be in two or more places at one time.  funny, when people talk about losing privacy as we knew it, they forget about the extra privacy that many don’t enjoy.  instead, they feel lonely, disconnected from the life of those they love and miss.  the new dish you cooked for Shabbat – i want to taste it, from over 5,000 mile away, the Purim costume my brother’s daughter had this year, that i could compliment her about, and you telling me how stupid i look with a fake fur hat…


no more snail mail with printed photos, now snails can fly.

hey, thank you for sharing.

June 3, 2012

#208 – smartool or smartoy?

i miss my BlackBerry; more so on weekdays.  after weeks of Android and months of iToy, i know what i want and can’t have.

i want a phone that is smart enough to be my best loyal assistant, always available, ready, with my meetings, contacts & friends, emails, reminders and the rest of my life.  i want to prioritize, sort and group my contacts and emails in a click or a touch.  i want to be able to assign a unique ring, vibe and volume to certain people and events, and totally ignore others.  i want all of the above to transparently sync with all my devices; all EIGHT of them, including laptops and desktops,  iToy and my designated international SIMs phone. i want a GPS that connects in nanoseconds, not minutes, and always knows and tells me where i am and where i need to go, BEFORE I missed the turn.  i want a browser that shows me everything that i am looking for, not a skinny version that forces me to look for an invisible “go to full site” button. i want to stream music without having to wait between verses or songs.  i am OK with using an app for each need, but i don’t want to have to look for it among 100s of apps.  i want text-to-speech and speech-to-text.  i want a real QWERTY and a great touch screen.  And before I forget, I want to make and receive phone calls with GOOD voice quality, not from the depth of the deep sea, with low sensitivity to the wind and background noise and lab-type sensitivity to conversation.  Lastly and critically, i want a battery that lasts as long as i do, and is happy with as many [few] recharge hours as i do.

WHERE IS THAT PHONE?  Take me there.

Snow Covered Tree Trunks, Waterloo, Ontario.
Copyright: All rights reserved by jgljgljgl

i didn’t forget the games.  However, for a phone that will do all of the above, i will happily go without any game.  i wasn’t kidding when i said i miss my blackberry.  for a long time, it delivered on over a half of the list above.  sadly, it neglected to progress with the market, and stopped to deliver on the missing items, nor improved on the performance of the already existing part.  The Waterloo-based innovation that started RIM, froze in the Canadian winter, and the innovation that bloomed in the valley and changed the mobile world was not listened to, not considered a game changer or a threat.

I am a happy first-to-admit that no tablet, no device i tried, is better than the iToy when it comes to content consumption.  any content i can think of.  weather, news, travel, entertainment, edutainment…  it’s a truly sweet fruit to eat, but far from being enough for a perfect diet.

i am happy to admit that the number of apps available for both my iToy and Android phone is mindboggling compared to the pathetic offering from BlackBerry.  i love that i now have not one, but FOUR portable SONOS controllers, one original, 2 Android phones and one iToy.  the original controller cost $399 [now $349].  all the others require is a free app.

i am happy to admit that finally i have a couple of games that i do play and even enjoy, the last one being 100 Floors from Tobi Apps Limited [don’t bother to click.  Last I’ve checked it was an empty page.  Am happy to wait as they add more floors]

but… i am extremely FRUSTRATED with the pain called managing my calendar and address book across my devices.

Bye Bye BlackBerry?

Google calendar outlook sync works on two computers, but not on the others.  contacts sync is a one way street and it’s not a true sync, and i can’t find one that will sync all devices.  outlook/blackberry sync required a cable and a PC in the middle, but at least it WORKED.  and i had support when needed – thank you RIM.

so, after a couple of months of BlackBerry no more, here i am, wishing for a phone that i’d be really passionate about, that I’d be excited about using and telling you about it.  and there’s none.

tool or toy

i think of my mobile smart first of all as a tool, a productivity attachment if you will.  this is the part that RIM got right.  and a good tool should easily fit on your tool belt.  it’s not a coincidence that BlackBerry was the only smartphone that shipped with a carrying case by default.  and it wasn’t a fashion statement.  it was black, functional and mostly ugly.  AND useful. i can’t find solid data re the size of the Android and iPhone cases and protectors market.  must be millions, with items going for anything from $8 and up, up, up. in 2009, TechCrunch estimated the mobile accessories market worth at $63 billion, and the average mobile phone owner spends roughly $60 on accessories over the life of their phone.  it takes no genius to assume that iPhone first and Android lagging behind are the pampered devices and that the market grows as fast as the devices market or faster.  after all, it’s not a far fetched idea  buy shoes, bag and a matching phone.  a fashion statement case or designer speakers cannot compare to the utilitarian accessories BlackBerry had.

fact: iPhone is becoming the dominant device among the working geeks, nerds and everyone else.

fact: i enjoy 100 floors, where’s my water and probably the next game one of you will recommend

and sad fact: the more sharing among you admit how less friendly and much harder it is to do your emails on these toys, compared to BB.

May 13, 2012

#205 – i’m gonna let you go

ok, gonna let you go [shopping goes on]

this is NOT about any broken heart.  no Kleenex required. and under no circumstances may you take this personally.  repeat: you may not take this personally.  period.

a couple of weeks ago, over a warm latte and a cappuccino, Eran and I were discussing communication.  you’d expect that sharing the same language and culture, miscommunication will never join our conversations.  and you’d be wrong, very wrong.  experience has taught us that trouble-free communication is much harder to maintain than one would imagine.   that old practice of repeating what you think the other said is invaluable.

our discussion however, was about passive-aggressive practices that have become standard in American culture, as experienced by us.

I’m on the phone with a friend.  we have covered the catching up, the lows, the highs, the ups and downs since we last talked, exchanged ideas, encouraged each other where needed and we are done.   and i can’t wait for the inevitable “…OK, i’m gonna let you go now,” and i find it well, I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T-I-N-G.  we both do.

i wonder what’s wrong with:

  • talk to you later
  • hey, got to go back to those slides/laundry/report/mess i  call my desk…
  • so happy we caught up
  • my ear is burning, sorry
  • we need to do this more often, i’m sorry i didn’t call sooner, time to go
  • so when will we meet?
  • break is over, time to dive in this #$%@ again
  • sorry, it’s gonna get noisy here, need my next latte now
  • i’m so happy you called, i should do it more

there’s endless number of possible endings, and yet, we get the “I’m gonna let you go.”  or, sometimes, we get its close relative, namely, “you must be very busy…”

can i go now?

come on.  what are you really saying?  if you need or want to go, just say so.  I’ll take no offense.  promise.  but please don’t use me as your excuse.  passive-aggressive means using indirect aggressive behavior instead of direct aggressiveness.  so you think that sending me off  when you are the one who wants to go is not passive-aggressive?  think again.  or… you could wait a minute, as I also am probably close to having enough of you; so let me end it, directly and promptly, if you can’t do it.  i respect you enough to do that.

“i’m gonna let you go, now.”  really?  and do i need to point out the similarity to the workplace’s “i’m sorry, we gonna let you go?”

first of all, i can go whenever i want to.  you are not holding me, and i’m not tied to the cordless.  i enjoy our conversation.  secondly, didn’t communication  101 teach you to own YOUR feelings, thoughts, wants and needs?  don’t tell me that I need to go, that I got things to do, tell me that YOUR soup is boiling, that your deadline is arriving, say how you  feel and what you think.  TELL ME THE TRUTH.

is “i’m gonna let you go  now” the best you can do?  haven’t we known each other long enough to be honest with each other?

interestingly enough, i can recall only women saying this, but no men.  so if i put my repressed woman hat on, i could argue that women got so used to taking care of others, putting others’ needs ahead of theirs, that they are preconditioned to express their feelings in terms of the others’ feelings.  but, this won’t fly.  i have too much respect for my women friends to settle for this.

earlier today, already having this post on my mind, and talking to one of my dear girlfriends, i waited patiently for the inevitable “I’m gonna let you go.”  surely enough, it came.   i apologized and reflected back to her.  in return i got a long, healthy laugh.  followed with agreement.  and more laughs.

i’m gonna let you go now.

Of course, you could always be THIS kind pf passive-aggressive


May 14, evening: Update

reported  by women: men do that to, i.e. end calls with “i’m gonna let you go.”  and to the DISLIKE of the wife at the receiving end.  honoring the commentators privacy, all i can say is that some experience this passive-aggressive act much worse than me.  happy to voice your feelings.  thank you for the touching sharing.

Clipart sources:

July 4, 2011

#192 – the president’s family – thoughts

Obamas - mother and son

over latte, browsing/reading through the too many magazines accumulated in the house.

eyes fell on the book review of A Singular Woman: The untold Story of Barak Obama’s Mother. not like the mother i would have expected. not at all.

on the other hand, to realize that Obama’s family is probably as diverse as most American family based sitcoms, means that unlike many, he knows a thing or two about diversity, multiculturalism and making different value systems work together.

true, i can’t say that he demonstrated that unique perspective so far, but the US have never before had a president that could even relate to it.

seriously, the president has a half-Indonesian half-sister – Maya, few Kenyan half siblings and a Chinese-Canadian brother-in Law – Konrad Ng for a family.

what have you done [or experienced] as far as cross-cultural dialog and living together are concerned?

hey, wait. the book is about Obama’s MOTHER, a most unusual woman.

Indeed, Stanley Ann Dunham must have been an amazing woman. from Kansas to Hawaii, to Indonesia… pregnant at 17… and yet she completed her Ph.D., her two kids made it to grad school, got nice careers…. and the older one even became the 44th American president.

i think this book is about to land on my new iToy.

Thank you Janny Scott.

May 19, 2011

#183 – fallor ergo sum

first sold in ComiCon 2006

recently, a friend told me that he just figured out the meaning of this blog’s name – “blogitto ergo sum.”

Kathryn Schulz

we talked about it, discussed Descartes for a few minutes and that was it.  not even a week went by and i encounter Descartes’  cogito ergo sum again, as i was  watching yet another great TED talk.  this time it was Kathryn Schulz, an author and public speaker who claims to be the world’s leading wrongologist. quite predictably, her talk is about the value of being wrong, or better put, the open-mindedness that comes with entertaining the possibility that I’m wrong.  great insight.  while watching, i started wondering, should i rename my blog “fallor ergo sum?”  after all, I’ve been wrong before, and most likely will be again. naturally, used spoons come to mind.

this Ted Talk, among other things, taught me that ~1,200 years before Descartes realized that he doesn’t have to pinch himself to know that he is alive, St Augustine had a much more profound revelation, “fallor ergo sum.”  for the Latin-deprived such as myself, this would be  “I err therefore I am.”  St Augustine found his identity in the questioning and the pursuit of truth [and God too].  our ability to accept the fact that we might be wrong is fundamental to who we are; it helps us to become better; better people, better listeners, better communicators, helps us move forward.  So “err” and progress.  sadly, it’s hard for some.  we all know a few people who cannot accept the fact that they may be wrong.  it’s a painful expedience, for them and for those surrounding them.  yet, there’s nothing wrong in being wrong.  overdoing it though is not all that great.  i, by the way, would have happily pinched Descartes.  having to read his over-wordy thoughts was no fun. don’t want to imagine what his blog would look like.

St. Augustine would have made a much better blogger. In his first book, On Order (386 AD), Augustine wrote: “There is nothing that even the most gifted people desire more than to finally understand how, taking into account the amount of evil in this world, one can still believe that God cares about human affairs.” [no, not going there]  can you imagine the number of comments he’d have gotten once twitted?

but we are in the wrong business here.  even in politics, being a wrongologist may be a better choice than being a rightist.  watching this talk, i assure you with great confidence, is in no way wrong.

Descartes lacked the confidence that he is awake and not dreaming.  the only thing he knew for sure was that he was thinking and therefore, he is.

are you ready to be wrong?  those experiencing it, allowing themselves to open up their minds are facing a wider road with more possibilities.  another blog prompted/inspired by Schulz’s talk may be found HERE.  “maybe I’m wrong” sounds better than “I’m right!”, doesn’t it?

one last thought or association. in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig devotes some paragraphs and thoughts to the art of creating hypothesis and looking for the truth.  and yet, he says, “It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth,’ and so it goes away. Puzzling.”

“The TV scientist who mutters sadly, ‘The experiment is a failure; we have failed to achieve what we had hoped for,’ is suffering mainly from a bad script writer. An experiment is never a failure solely because it fails to achieve predicted results. An experiment is a failure only when it also fails adequately to test the hypothesis in question, when the data it produces don’t prove anything one way or another.”

for the rest of the day, i think I’ll do two things; write and wrong.
Sources:   This Blog is written by four people.

April 22, 2011

#177a – NRI, yet another standard of living index

i thought i was done with indexes.  after all in #177 – how soft is your standard of living i listed more than enough of those…  until i clicked, and learned of another standard.  a very  relevant one.  The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) featured in The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011, examines how prepared countries are to use ICT [Information and Communication Technologies] effectively on three dimensions:

  • the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT
  • the readiness of the three key societal actors – individuals, businesses & governments – to use and benefit from ICT


  • their actual usage of available ICT.

So who tops the world?


  • other than Iceland [16th], all Nordic countries made it to the top 10 list.
  • Asia, with Singapore in second place, is rising steadily.  Taiwan, China, and Korea improved five places to 6th and 10th respectively; Hong Kong SAR follows closely at 12th.

personal interest:

  • Israel ranks #22
  • India ranks #48
  • why did Canada go down?
Report is published by The World Economic Forum
To read report on-line click HERE


March 31, 2011

#175 – FaceBook Friendship; more than a “Happy Birthday”

A couple of months ago, I decided that I’m not too happy with what became almost a compulsory “happy birthday” posting on every FaceBook friend’s wall.  I want to do it, because I want to do it, and I want to do it my way, with a little extra; I want something a bit more personal.  Posting a card or a video clip to one’s wall seemed like the right idea at the time.

I decided that the happy birthday wish has to be somewhat personal or personalized.  It has to reflect something about the birthday “celebratee”.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much.  And it’s much harder on days shared by FOUR birthday “celebratees”, which happened twice over an 8-day period.

Tough challenge.  Not planning to stop.  If anything, I now feel stronger about it than I did initially.

sadly, some great birthday clips, include a name…

People keep saying that FaceBook allows one to have many meaningless friendships, dilutes the concept of friendship and encourages superficial relationships with minimal emotional commitment or engagement.  Virtual interactions, we read again and again, are not “real”. Tell that to the happy and the not-so-happy couples that made life choices based on virtual relations.  Stop; not going there.  My point is that superficial, meaningless FB friendship is only ONE possibility the platform offers.  There are others however, and it’s up for one to choose.

other clips, I fear, may be inappropriate

There’s the fun of sharing what one does, thinks or messes-up with long-standing friends, near and far.  This is how many of us use it.  It’s easy and requires a minimal effort.  Alternatively, one can use FaceBook to enhance and enrich existing friendships, get over time and distance, get closer to REAL PEOPLE one cares about [friends, acquaintances], one otherwise can’t, doesn’t have the time, or is uncomfortable doing.

If you wonder what “uncomfortable doing” means, think how much easier it is to not only break, but also melt the ice on FaceBook, compared to being introduced to someone at a cocktail, dinner and wanting to have a deeper conversation with one, but not sure how to initiate it.  Exchanging business cards doesn’t really work too often or too well.  Hoping to bump into X again since it’s a global village and a small swamp rarely works.  So what do you do?  Even if you took the extra step, looked @ the business card and sent a LinkedIn connection request, it’s still hard to build much on top of it, isn’t it?  Broken ice is still there.  How are you going to melt it?

melting friends. source:

My answer?  FaceBook.

This brings me back to the personalized happy birthdays.  How do you make it personal, knowing it’s as public as can be?  How do you “get it right”?  I picked a few methods, such as include the “celebrate” name, find greeting in “celebratee” mother tongue, link to music/group/show you know the celebratee likes…

Sometimes I draw a blank.  Sad, but true.  There are people who I know, have known for a while and on their birthday I realize how little I know of them.  Nothing that is personal enough to help me focus my search.  Some of those challenging people [sorry], I’ve known for a year, two, three… work with, interact with and yet know nothing of personal significance about them.  And you tell me that FaceBook is superficial?!  How about our daily face-to-face exchanges and interactions, how personal are they?!

My biggest, hardest, most challenging frustration that I had to get over was when I landed in Canada [1991]; first time ex-pat living outside Israel, in a very cold country.  To sum my first 18 months experience, the Canadians were all very polite, yet superficial.  Problem was that I didn’t know that they were superficial.  It took a while to realize that the nice person that has just spent 5, 10, or 20 minutes with me, being awfully friendly and warm, had forgotten me the minute I was out of sight.  It took me a painful time to realize that “let’s do lunch” actually means “nice meeting you, have a good life, see you around”… It was hard, I was getting offended by people who wanted to be nice, but their concept of being nice was very different from mine.  Remember, this was not FaceBook, this was face-to-face.

Of course, once past the culture shock, things looked and felt a bit different.

Oh well, Canada

So when I draw a blank trying to pick your birthday greeting, it’s FaceBook as a matter of fact that comes to my help.  Most of us, at one point or another, shared with FaceBook some of our hobbies, favorite artists, films, bands… books… it’s personal, trust me.

The other day, Mashable posted How Women Really Feel About Their Facebook Friends [SURVEY].  i think one may say that 400 women represent a statistically sound sample to draw conclusions, though data about the selection criteria and the response rate for example, would have added extra credibility.  anyway, this is not a statistics class. To these women, “the most off-putting post was some kind of whine; a full 63% said complaining from Facebook friends was their number one pet peeve, with political chatter and bragging coming in a distant second and third.”  doesn’t sound like a meaningless virtual existence to me.  “The majority of female respondents said they had at least one friend who was a “drama queen” on Facebook. A majority also said they had at least one obnoxiously “proud mother” as a Facebook friend.”  i am guiltily thinking about the one friend that i forced myself to “hide” since reading the didactic know-all comments was putting our friendship at a serious risk.  had we not connected on FB [on top of our very much strong friendship], I’d have never been exposed to that dimension.  my point?  FB is not superficial by definition, nor are the FB friendships. whether you put on a mask or a different persona or none, overtime your friends will learn a thing or two about you.  for me it mostly have been all good. i love reading about your hobbies, the food that makes your day, your blog, the causes that get you moving, to know what you are cooking…  i think i share the same, if at times too much, too often.   i guess you could say that in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” world, i do tell.  my sincere apologies.

Oh, BTW, is it your birthday today?  Happy Birthday.  Thank you, FaceBook.

Clipart sources:

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