Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Privacy

Here's the executive summary: You have none. Neither do I. I just admit it to myself and to others.

Now, for the slightly more involved version. I just read an article online in the New York Times about employers' checking up on people through their electronic footprints. This is annoying, but it's not news. As long as there have been ways to check up on people, it's been done by employers. In my case, I made a decision to share some of what I'm about online in a blog. Seven years before that, I put a homepage on the Internet that said stuff about me, too. I had a (now pretty much defunct) subsite dedicated to pictures of my son and his world that I updated every month or two until he was three years old - I just didn't publish the URL but I'm sure it can be found. I never took it down. I have a personal website still, a blog, and a website that represents my business. Plenty of information can be had about me just from the other digital footprints I've left over the last twenty years or so, and I've come to be pretty much OK with that.

Simply put, I know what I've put online myself. I keep track of what people say about me that can easily be found (GIYF). If I wrote it, I'm comfortable with a reader knowing it. I don't say a lot that I could, and I keep a lot of details intentionally vague. But overall my life is fairly transparent. I don't have a MySpace, or a Facebook, or a LinkedIn. Just what you see here. And if you're interested enough in my life and thoughts to read this twaddle, good for you. It's really not that big a deal. I live just as much of my life in public as I probably would without an Internet - it's just that "public" in the Internet world is really public.

Rant off - for a little followup thought to close out most of 2007 (I'll probably write my Traditional Year-End Post tomorrow night), business was good this year. The one thing I'm thinking of doing, though, is creating a company blog on my company website in the next few weeks. One of the features if I do so will probably be a "hall of shame" where I'll name the customers who don't pay their bills. You see, it's not really worth my while to join D&B, and I can't report bad debts to the credit reporting companies without using D&B or hiring a collections company. And letters/e-mails/phone calls don't always work. So I think naming names might be a good way to handle things. After all, Google knows all, and being named a deadbeat in Google is almost as bad nowadays as a credit report.

Not decided for certain on this - but I'm leaning towards it. I've got one guy who still owes me $1500 from 2006!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Apologies for the extended absence

Been pretty busy of late, and blogging just doesn't always seem like what I need to do with my time. A couple of interesting reads over the last week. First, Scott Adams' blog has been converted into a book. Mostly nice little thoughts and quotes, mildly inspirational affirmations, and a few Dilbert cartoons mixed in. Good humor in the Adams vein.

Also, I'm reading How Starbucks Saved my Life. It's by a man in his mid-sixties who was a former Master of the Universe at JWT (that's J. Walter Thompson for you folks who don't give a damn about the ad business). He got fired in his mid-fifties, managed for a few years as a consultant, had an affair and another kid with a woman who stopped liking him as soon as she realized he wasn't wealthy, wrecked his marriage, and then wound up working at a Starbucks in Manhattan as his consulting failed. Apparently the fact that he wound up working for black folks at Starbucks made him think about what a schmuck he was, and properly humbled, he picked up his life and made it suck less. It's total White Upper-Class Twaddle, but short enough that I'm reading it through to the end.

I had tickets to the Pats game yesterday, but I wimped out on the trip. At 41, I think my wussification is now complete.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yesterday's milestone

We came home yesterday afternoon to find a message from David's kindergarten friend Olivia on the machine asking him for a play date. This is, I suspect, the first of many...