Randy Pausch’s last lecture

Just got done watching Randy Paushc’s last lecture on Youtube and it has to be one of the best videos I’ve watched on Youtube with Lily’s Disneyland Surprise and Ronaldinho’s Golden Touch. It was truly inspiring to hear his life lessons and how he still conducts himself even when he only has a few months left to live. The video is embedded with so many gems that the only way to truly explain it would just be to watch it. The two things I took away from it most was the story he gave about when his coach was riding him extra hard during a practice. One of the coaches said that “When you’re screwing up and nobody saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up”. He also talked about brick walls are there to see how much you want something. It’s also used to separate you and everybody else; from the ones who are willing to do whatever it takes and the people who will give up easily. I’m very glad that I was referred to this video and that I took the time to watch it. I actually planned it into my calendar and the lessons are something I will keep in mind when I go on in my life. Thank you very much Randy.

Here is a link to the video.


Buying a Bicycle from Bikesdirect.com

I just recently purchased a 2012 Motobecane Fantom CX from bikesdirect.com for $580 and had it delivered on Friday 8/17/12. They told me that it would come 90% assembled and the rest was up to me. Let me tell you, it wasn’t 90% assembled!! It was more like 75-80% because it took me almost an hour to put the thing together and their manual was very general (which they warned me about). It also was difficult because I’ve ridden bikes before but I’m a novice when it actually comes to the components and maintenance of a bicycle. Therefore the assembly process was a difficult one but I got all the parts to go together and the bike ended up being functional.

After I assembled the bike to the best of my abilities, I went to the Bike Gallery on Division street to buy a new bracket for my Kryptonite lock and a few other items like lights, and a cargo rack. The ride took me close to an hour and I didn’t feel anything wrong with the bike except for I haven’t ridden  for that long for some time and my butt felt sore to the point I was walking bow legged into the store. Along with buying the items, I was also planning on asking them to take a look at my bike to see if I installed it correctly and if all the bolts were tightened correctly. He took one look at the bike and asked me if the bike was assembled recently and I tentatively gave him a yes. He then proceeded to bombard me with all the mistakes I had and blamed the online shops for telling their customers that they would be able to assembly the bike when they probably don’t have the proper tools because they cost hundreds of dollars each. So after convincing me that I am a complete noob and if I ride the bike home then there is a good chance that I could cause permanent damage to the bike, I left the bike with him to properly assemble for $85 + $$ for misc. parts he will have to add.

The lesson I learned: Always refer to an expert when it comes to anything that requires complex assembly.

Here is a picture of my bike, I named it Naz’gul.


10 Tips on Building Great Business Relationships

I was reading through Turner’s new hire material and came across a fantastic article about building business relationships. Some of these tips are true gems and I think they can really help people advance their careers and also make their personal relationships better as well. Enjoy!

1. Know something personal about the people you do business with.

Some people don’t believe in mixing business with pleasure. But your business should be your pleasure! Think about how much time you spend on your business. It makes it so much nicer to know what’s important to your colleagues.  For anyone who has kids, pets, etc… there is nothing more important to them. Make an effort to know their names.

Or if your colleague is an avid golfer or tennis player; ask them how his game is going.  This doesn’t have to monopolize the entire conversation. But it is a great way to start off a business lunch or meeting, especially if you have not seen that person in a while.

2. Always be sincere.

Has this ever happened to you? You are at a conference, and you meet someone in your industry. You seem to hit it off well and you think this could be a good business connection. Your new business connection even initiates the card exchange and says, “Call me anytime.” You follow up right away with a phone call or email… and nothing happens. After a few weeks of trying, you realize it’s a dead end.

If you have no intention of cultivating a relationship do not give the impression otherwise.  It’s really ok not to offer cards at conferences. And if someone asks you if they can call and you know you are not interested – tell them up front. Be polite and respectful but never give the impression that you are going to do something when you know will not.

3. Respond to colleagues in a timely manner.

We are all busy. Someone else’s biggest priority is usually not our own. However, if you agree to do something for someone, do it in a timely manner.

Recently a colleague wrote a book and wanted some feedback on his first chapter. Unfortunately, his request went onto my junk email folder. When I saw the request three days later, I immediately sent him an email explaining the situation and told him I would read the chapter right away and send him my comments.

It was 11:00 p.m. when I saw the request, but I still read the chapter and sent off my comments right before midnight.  Sure, I would rather have gone to bed and done it in the morning. But I knew this was important to him. We had been colleagues for ten years. We had worked on multiple projects together, and he never missed a deadline. Having a sense of urgency is very important in the business world. You must create value at all times around the goods/services you are providing. Treat your job like it is always on the line, and do your best to create value each and everyday.

4. Always arrive on time.

Fashionably late does not exist in business. Showing up late for business meetings or lunches lets the other person know you don’t respect their time and that you think your time is more valuable. It also makes one question if the project will get done on time. The more that you can show you are an asset, the more your colleagues will standup for you in times of turmoil.

5. Never use your children as an excuse.

Many times the reason for not finishing a report or being late for a meeting very well may be because one of your children wasn’t feeling well, or they couldn’t find their homework or you forgot to pack school lunches.

Regardless of the reason, never walk into a business meeting that you are late for and announce that the dog ate Bobby’s’ homework and you spent the last hour redoing the assignment. Simply apologize for being tardy, ask what you missed and move on.

There will be times when real emergencies occur. At that point it is perfectly fine to let your colleagues know that you need to leave because your child needs you.

6. Be brand positive.

Be brand positive and always optimistic about the future of your business. No one likes to be around cranky people.  Beside the fact that cranky people take the fun out of things, it can be draining and counter-productive. A study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that positive people accomplish more than negative people.

7. Know something about your potential business associate’s company.

If you are off to meet with a potential business associate make sure you do your homework. Understand the company’s main function and core competencies. Know how long they have been in business. Have a basic understanding of how you can work together. With the Internet, all of this information is just a keyboard away. Go to Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc… and do a little digging, I am sure they did some digging on their end.

8. Never, ever gossip.

Being known as a gossip is the fastest way to destroy a business relationship. Regardless of your skill set, no one will want to work with you. Gossip can destroy careers and takes up valuable time that could be spent on gratifying situations. Keep to yourself and keep delivering the value that you were hired to bring to the table.

9. Give more than you get. 

Karma does exist. If you are known as the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) type, you need to work to change your image. When you are willing to help others without payback, it comes back to you ten-fold. Don’t get me wrong. We are all running businesses, working towards maintaining a balance life. However, helping a business colleague without the expectation of payback will be far more beneficial to you in the end.  

10. Just say no (It’s ok).

Being a young business professional, I try to please everyone I come in contact with. However there are times when saying no to a request in business is better than saying yes. If your plate is full and you know that you will not be able to honor the request in a satisfactory manner, then don’t do it. If you know the outcome will be substandard, you are at risk of hindering your credibility, disappointing your colleagues, and missing deadlines on projects you have already committed to.

By saying no, your colleagues will actually respect you more for your honesty and commitment to finishing what you already started. Have an ongoing goal to work on this vital business building skill. Improving your relationships with business partners, colleagues, and all those you work with will bring many benefits.


Future Career Developments

Tomorrow we have a meeting where meeting is mandatory and it has caused people at Intel to start throwing suspicions everywhere and I have gotten a little whirled up into their speculations. The rumor mills are spitting out that we got a new project, we didn’t get our new contract signed, there will be restructuring, and there might a massive lay-off. Apparently there is usually a description that accompanies these meetings but this time, there isn’t any and that has lead to the staff questioning the true intent of the meeting. I’m not sure if this mild chaos was planned or if there was no way around it because the manager needed to keep the information confidential until he has permission to release it. Either way we will all know at 3:00 PM tomorrow about what our future at Intel will entail.

I’m not panicking too much because it’s all speculation at this point, but I always fear the “first in, first out” rule. I know that Turner hires people for a career and they won’t let anybody go without doing their best to find them some work. This is why I have faith in them and the reason they have lasted over a century in a very competitive business; you must be able to adapt to your surrounding environments and if the information is bad news, then I’m sure we can adapt.

And if the worst case scenario happens and I’m laid off, then I will promptly start trying to find a job somewhere else in the construction industry. It’s definitely a scenario that I don’t want to pane out, but the world is not about survival of the fittest but survival of the ones who are most adaptive to change. I can’t doing anything now except wait for 3:00 PM Thursday when I know what will happen.

Sam Brooks’ 5 Steps to Business Success

I attended a youth conference last Thursday that focused on promoting entrepreneurship among young high school students at the OAME (Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs) conference center in downtown Portland. My involvement was through Turner and they had been sponsors and  volunteers for the better part of a decade; my role at the conference was to be a business coach meaning that we helped facilitate and support the ideas of the students. The conference consisted of students splitting into groups of three with a business coach and then creating a business plan for a fictitious company that only had a start-up budget of $2,000. There was also a few speeches from local minority business leaders every hour or so with the main speaker being Sam Brooks who is a local entrepreneur and founded OAME. He made a quick first impression by asking who were the first three people to arrive to the event and proceeded to hand each one a $100 bill. Sam said that being early to any event is one of the reasons he has been so successful. Unfortunately some students didn’t listen because it was their second time attending the event but they still weren’t first; if that was me, I would be camping outside! The man is a true entrepreneur saying he started his first business when he was only 10 years old collecting old vegetables from farmers and then selling them at the local market. He gave five valuable business lessons to the students to how they can be successful in this world.

1. How to grow and manage your business
He emphasized that if you are going to see your business become successful then you need to know all the aspects about it; from the financials to the customers to what your employees are doing. You cannot manage your business if you do not know what is happening inside the spider webs.

2. Market and sell your product and services.
Marketing is an extremely important part of the business because without it, then people will not know that your business exists. There should be a strong push towards marketing both in your  company’s value and in their financial budget.

3. Access to capital
To start your business, you will need access to capital or money. He told the students that their best bet at finding capital would be through friends and family. He said that it’s very hard to get money from people that don’t love you and he still sometimes has troubles getting some capital which I find hard to believe.

4. Using technology and social media
He has been successful because he has embraced technology in a way to make his company profitable. Sam knows why technology is important and the business advantage that it can bring his companies, that is why he stresses its use.

5. Network
At the end of the day, business is all about relationships and that is the ultimate goal that every entrepreneur should strive to make. Relations and networks with your employees, customers, suppliers, manufacturers, friends, family, and any other person or entity that you come in contact with. You never know what you can do for them or what they can do for you. So build those relationships and nurture them because they will truly help make you successful.

I’m glad I was able to attend the event because it was great hearing all those speakers, especially Sam Brooks.

The Impact of Mentors

During my college career, I discovered the amazing benefits that mentors can offer you in your professional career. I met my first mentor while I was doing a project in one my classes that required filming a construction process and then analyzing it and writing a report on how we would improve the task. There was one construction company, Andersen, that was working on a major project on the Oregon State campus so I reached out to the Project Manager because their schedule was bulking with construction. Andersen has been doing projects on the OSU campus for years so their PMs are familiar with students contacting them about various class project since our curriculum remains consistent over the years. I was the main person of contact for my group so I set up a time were our team could go walk the project and that’s were we got introduced face to face and I liked him from the first time I met him. He is around 10 years older than I am and very easy going; he was also very knowledgeable about his project and everybody greeted him when they saw him, so that spoke volumes in itself. Our project was completed successfully due to his guidance and support to help get our camera setup with the best vantage point and going out of his way for our causes. A few weeks after the project I asked him if he would like to get lunch or a drink sometime and to my surprise he obliged. There is a local bar called Clodfelters on the OSU campus that is right next to the CEM building so I figured that would be a great place to meet. It was a little tentative at first because we haven’t met out of a professional setting so I initiated conversation by asking what I can expect when I start working in the construction industry (I haven’t had a construction related internship yet). He answered all my questions and assured me that I would do fine as long as I asked many questions and if I don’t understand something then say it. From that moment on, we kept in contact usually once a month and grabbed a few beers and worked on other projects together throughout my last two years and that’s how our relationship grew.

I think what has really strengthened our relationship is that I don’t base our relationship on how he can help me because I want to help him as well so that there is a mutual benefit. He has helped me in so many ways and one tangible example is when I wanted to take my LEED Green Associate test but didn’t want to pay for the class to be eligible to take the exam. Therefore I asked him if he could write me a letter and he kindly obliged. Then when I was about to graduate he asked me to write a letter about my mentoring experience with him and I put a lot of time and effort into the document to clearly explain and show how his mentorship has made my academic career and professional career more progressive. He stated that he wanted to use the letter for OSU during their project proposals so I made sure to address that point in the way I framed the letter. This is a just one among many examples I have of the mutual benefit of our mentor/mentee relationship.

I have another mentor at Intel who introduced me to a director of Intel operations and I asked him what has been the most influential thing that has lead to the advancement of his career. His answer was to have mentors and at least 2-3 of them but be sure that they are not your immediate manager. He also states that the mentors should be spread out in their positions and should be high up if possible, someone who can give you direction on where you want to go with your career. He says that he had some mentors above him and when he got past them then he found new ones but he emphasized to never burn your bridges. My mentor at Intel also stressed the importance of mentors and what it has done for her career. Just from these two contacts at Intel, it has been shown that having mentors can meteorically push your career faster than you’ve ever expected. I’m still finding my way around Turner so I haven’t found a mentor yet but I’m hoping to have one by the end of this year. I have two great ones already but I believe a mentor within my company would complete my Triforce of Teachers (trademarked lol).