Priority #1: Sales

After about 4 weeks of interviewing candidates for our business development manager position we settled on our final candidate and made him an offer this weekend. Interestingly enough, as I had hoped, we found our new rainmaker by tapping resources – free ones. We didn’t find him through recruiting firms or from Craigslist. We knew what we were looking for in this person and we sought it out, very aggressively. I didn’t sit back and wait for the resumes to come in. It doesn’t work like that.

I’m sorry but I’m going to keep saying “he” and “him” until he officially starts; Ya just never know.

So he has all the characteristics we were looking for:

  1. Experience: Strong inside and outside sales experience. Bonus: Extremely good market experience.
  2. Guts: He’s willing to jump in and ready for the next step in his career. He wasn’t even on the market when I first contacted him. As my father always said, “the best jobs are the unadvertised ones.” True that.
  3. Drive: He really wants more. He’s got a hunger and a passion, for life and for success, and prosperity. He probably hasn’t quite harnessed those qualities yet because, professionally, he hasn’t had the opportunity. Now he does.
  4. Cultural fit: He’s about our age, he knows the space, he understands the Internet and how it fits into peoples’ lives, he totally gets the market too. Equally importantly is that I don’t see a reflection of ourselves when I look at him. It’s time to freshen things up a bit – bring in some new blood, with some different interests, different opinions. He’s going to fit in really well I think.

So for the past few hours I’ve been on my laptop doing a massive brain-dump of all the things I’ve ever envisioned for a CitySquares sales organization. I’ve documented everything from compensation and incentive plans, to processes and market data. It’s the new and improved CitySquares sales organization.

If it ain’t about sales – it’s a distraction. It’s a fire and it must burn. We’ve got a lot to do over the next few months, but sales is the top priority, and the second priority, and the third priority.

Citysquares Raises First Round – Now It’s Official

OK now it’s official, Citysquares has closed our first round. As described in a previous post from last week we raised the money from eCoast Angel Network as well as a couple of angel investors from outside eCoast. I gotta say too, it’s been a total pleasure working with eCoast so far. OK sure, the going hasn’t exactly gone tough but the point I’m trying to make is that I’ve heard nightmares about raising funds, especially the first round, and especially from angel groups. But I rather enjoyed the process! Yes, I suppose I enjoy pain and agony, but I enjoy hard work more, and the fruits that it yields.

We actually secured the round last week, on Friday evening. Bob and I took a spin up to the NH seacoast around 4:30 or so. Up route 128 on the worst day and the worst time of the week. But it didnt matter – we were feeling great. I actually had tickets to the Red Sox/Yankees game that night too, I was supposed to attend with my brother. The first matchup of the season, and I couldn’t attend, and for good reason. Afterwards, Bob and I went out to celebrate a bit – nothing crazy. Some Redbones and then Publick House. Caught the end of the game at Publick House.

This week has been largely operational stuff. Things like getting the new bank account set up, making the deposits, coordinating things with the lawyers, signing documents, getting payroll setup (Bob and I haven’t seen a paycheck in about 20 months, so that was a big priority), the office space, and some PR stuff. Now that all that is mostly done, I’ve been able to catch up on some more important work today, like dealing with our need for a full time business development hire – the “bulldog” as we call it.

So it seems the dust is settling now. The press release is going out tomorrow morning, Mass High Tech is doing a feature story on us, the blogs will surely be buzzing soon enough, and then bang – I’m right back into it Monday. I am more excited for this coming Monday than I’ve been for almost any Monday in quite a while. Reason being: “it’s a new dawn, a new day, and I’m feeling good.” (Nina Simone)

But seriously, next week, the dust will mostly be cleared and it’s game time. Hire our sales people and really get moving. We’ve got a lot to accomplish over the next few months. Bob is focused on the IA for the new platform, Chris is focused on developing brand awareness and business development opportunities out in the streets, and I’m focused on getting the sales engine firing on all pistons and ensuring that Citysquares can quickly and painlessly become a lean, mean, sales-minded company that it’s in it to win.

Check out Naymz.com

So Bob showed me this thing yesterday called Naymz. It’s pretty neat. It’s effectively Google Adwords for your own identity, yourself. For example, do a Google search for “Ben Saren” and you’ll see, on the right side of the results page where Adwords typically display, a link to “Ben Saren” on Naymz.com. My Naymz profile is basically a bunch of general info, like a brief bio, links to my blog, to Citysquares, my Flickr profile, etc etc. Nothing terribly exciting, but it’s pretty clever. Why doesn’t LinkedIn do something like this for professionals who want to be found?

From a business perspective I can’t pretend to totally understand their business model, and frankly I’m in a rush to help Ali tidy up the house for guests, so I can’t sit here and pontificate. But it’s pretty neat. A little narcissistic too I suppose.

Anyway, check it out. It’s free, too.

Naymz Profile for Ben Saren

2007-04-21, 1:46pm: So I just got an email from Naymz stating that someone visited my profile and I could see who, but for a fee. Yeah, I don’t think so. Thanks though!

America Desensitized, New Media has a Responsibility

First let me state that this post is about the media’s coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy. But first, I must rant: I’m disgusted by some of the irresponsibility I’m seeing in this whole “new media” thing. By new media I mean websites, video logs, blogs, podcasts etc. By no means am I pointing the finger at all new media channels out there, but there is a minority who just can’t exercise responsibility.

As traditional journalism struggles to find itself, to find it’s place in the world, to redefine itself, and find new ways to distribute, new media channels are sprouting up out of the dung. Some have blossomed into respectable sources of news, mostly niche news. Whether it’s a podcast coming out of a university once a month about astrophysics breakthroughs, a video blog from a dorm room about new video games, a blog from a coffee shop about underground hip-hop, or whatever – a lot of it is very cool and respected, indeed.

I’m as big a fan and supporter of free speech as the next guy. Heck, I think Thomas Jefferson and I could have a pint together and discuss it for hours upon hours, and still not find point where we’d disagree. I do, however, believe that there is something to be said about responsibility in media – be it old media or new media. I don’t care if you are the NY Times, 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, The Onion, The Daily Show with John Stewart, TechCrunch, The Somerville News, or a college blog – you must exercise responsibility.

Remember when Dan Rather got in trouble for his reporting of Bush’s military past? Yeah. A damn shame. I like Dan Rather, a lot of people did and still do. A true journalist – perhaps the last of his kind. But that was a mistake, and he admits that. Whether or not CBS over reacted is another story. There are countless other cases of this. True journalism, the kind worthy of our respect, loyalty, trust, is a dying. And that really saddens me.

Call me old school, but I still read the Sunday paper – the NY Times. And I still watch the local news – WCVB Boston to be exact, local news. If I can’t catch it at 6 (I rarely can) I try to catch it at 11. I like to watch NBC Nightly News. I miss Tom Brokaw, but Brian Williams is growing on me. I don’t like the cable news channels. I like Mass High Tech. I like AM radio, be it WEEI sports radio, or WBZ radio 1030. I like to get my variety of news. But I also like The Daily Show with John Stewart, a lot. I also enjoy The Colbert Report, a lot. I subscribe to and read Newsweek, Business Week, WIRED, Fast Company, Business 2.0, National Geographic, Inc., Fortune, Golf, and I’m sure there’s another one or two in there. I trust these sources of information and I like my variety. Ultimately, I make my own opinions based on these expert sources.

Regarding the Virgina Tech tragedy, I actually think that the major networks are doing a great job covering the story. They’re doing it with dignity and respect for those who lost loved ones. They’re showing all sides of the story; what’s known about the madman, what’s known about the students who were murdered and what they contributed to the world – how bright their futures could have been, and they’re reporting on the security measures taken and perhaps not taken and the school administration’s response and handling of the crisis. Again, I think the major networks are doing a fine job (so far).

I’m also disgusted, to my stomach, by what I’m seeing in other places. Last night, NBC news revealed that the VA Tech madman sent a package to NBC headquarters at Rock Center that included a “multimedia manifesto“, his martyr video if you will. He also included photos of himself armed like he’s in the 3rd Infantry Division. He included photos of the ammunition he used, the weapons. He included a long list of names he planned to wipe off the map. He included other things. Clearly, he was a very sick young man who really wanted to leave a mark in the history books and take out as many people with him as he could. Ok, anyway, NBC showed the video last night on the Nightly News. It was brief, they only showed a piece of it – not the whole tape. And Brian Williams stated something to the affect of “we choose not to show you more of this tape, for we don’t wish to make him more of a martyr than he already may be to some.” Again, I’m paraphrasing – but the point was made and I was very impressed with the restraint and responsibility exercised by Brian and NBC News.

Now, there are websites all over the web showing his video. Ok, fair enough – freedom in journalism right? Of speech? That’s the web, right? Right, ok. So why don’t I put the video on my site? Why not? It’s on MySpace, on YouTube, it’s available, so why shouldn’t I put it on my site too? Oh maybe it will bring me more traffic. Heck everyone else is why shouldn’t I?

Have we learned nothing from watching generations and generations of suicide bombings in the Middle East? Have we Americans learned nothing from watching Israel and Palestine destroy each other, on TV, on demand? Have we learned nothing from Iraq? Afghanistan? From September 11, 2001? Have we learned nothing from Beirut?

Madmen like Cho Seung-Hui want to be martyrs. That’s how they want to be remembered. And the only way they actually become martyrs is by giving them the exposure they hoped for, by broadcasting their manifesto, by distributing their name and their actions like they expect. That’s what makes them martyrs.

There are people out there, walking the streets, attending schools, working in the cubicles of corporate America, working machinery, digging holes, that actually think what Cho Seung-Hui did was OK, or that they can relate – they may have similar fantasies. They are out there. Maybe it started started, here in the states, with Columbine. Maybe it was Charles Manson, I don’t know. But there are those among us who are SO impressionable. So fragile. It takes very little for someone else in some other high school, in some other college, or workplace, who is already teetering on the edge of insanity to see Cho’s video and say “I want to be like him” or “I can do that.” I guarantee you, at this very moment, because of his video and its availability, there are many people across the country either looking for weapons and ammo and armor to do the same, or planning or thinking of something similar

When niche news websites that specialize in other kinds of news or topics post Cho’s video,- they are exercising total irresponsibility! Post a comment or blog entry expressing your sadness, that’s one thing. Talk about how something like this tragedy might impact you or your area of expertise, your vertical, whatever it is, sure. But post the video and participate in the distribution of Cho’s manifesto? I don’t think so. There is something very wrong with that.

In my daily blog reading this morning, one of the blogs I read very frequently about social networking websites, their progress, new ones, expired ones, etc., had an article displaying Cho’s video. Why? I guess because MySpace is – so somehow they think that’s news. Somehow that’s relevant or important. Ok, maybe it’s just my opinion or maybe my own politics or beliefs find that so objectionable that I’m over reacting. That’s possible. But the content of their article says virtually nothing about why they’re posting the video, how it applies to this social networking niche, why it’s relevant for their audience, whether or not this has some symbolic importance or not, or whatever the importance of it is. They simply posted the video and more or less cover their ass with some high-minded comment like…

Just as with the Saddam Hussein video, I’m not totally comfortable with the radical transparency we have these days. There are all kinds of issues that arise: now we have to censor our own media consumption, will we get an “anything goes” society? Is the fact that all videos now eventually end up on YouTube something to be celebrated?

And right below it is the video, in full effect for you to see and digest, and even share amongst your friends if you’d like. If the author finds this “anything goes” society even slightly objectionable, why contribute to it? Why? Page views? Uniques? Why bother?

The site I’m referring to is Mashable and it’s author is Pete Cashmore. I like reading Mashable, very much, I read Pete’s stuff every day. He and Mashable do a very fine job – in their niche, they’re area of expertise. I strongly believe that this was just irresponsible. If I want to see Cho’s video, I’ll find it elsewhere. But I don’t need to see it on Mashable. Definitely not.

I have so much more I’d like to say, but I’m afraid I’m probably not articulating myself well. Anger does that.

To all the new media websites out there: Just stick to what you know. Spare us from the rest.

Alright that’s enough. I’m done. I feel better now too.

Citysquares: Raising Money

Well it seems I’ve created quite a stir with some recent job postings. Having posted a few job openings on this here blog, on Citysquares.com, on Craigslist, on Monster.com, what did I expect? I suppose I wasn’t too shy about it either.

Since posting the job openings I’ve received emails from a couple local business publications and some well known web blogs. I was actually a bit surprised at how assertive some have been – wanting to be the first to break the news. I’ve even received a couple phone calls and emails from folks I haven’t heard of in many moons, some of them opportunists unfortunately.

So allow me to address the rumors here and now, and unofficially announce that yes, indeed, Citysquares is raising our first round of funding for an undisclosed amount. We’re in the final 10 yards of the closing phase and once it’s official we’ll be sending out a press release and you can expect some press and the typical buzz. I expect this to be official, and hence officially announced, at the end of this week or first half of next week.

The investment is being lead by eCoast Angels, of Portsmouth, NH. We’re also roping in a couple outside angel investors for this deal, with eCoast’s permission.

Over the past 18 months we presented to a couple groups. We never presented to a venture firm, only had informal meetings with a couple. Bob and I convinced ourselves, for better or worse, that at this early stage we weren’t looking for venture funding. Our rationale? We weren’t ready for it. We still had more work to do. Angel money just made more sense. Angels will buy into an earlier concept and business more readily than a VC. Another reason was this: if we can’t convince any angels to invest, how the heck are we going to convince a VC firm to invest? Ultimately, for us, raising angel money was our goal, but we wanted to find the right angels, not just any angels. We felt strongly about that.

I’m certainly no veteran or source of wisdom, but I do have my experience to share, and that’s what I’d like to do – share this experience and even share a little knowledge I picked up along the way.

When we first started Citysquares in late 2005, Bob and I weren’t immediately focused on raising capital. We weren’t even too sure we had a real business on our hands. It took a few months to realize that we were truly onto something, and that the recipe had some flavor. So very early in 2006 I set out to write our business plan, figure out who we were, and where we wanted to take Citysquares. We established an advisory board, worked very hard on what is still a very well written and comprehensive business plan, and began our fund raising efforts. As I stated above, we’d presented to four groups over the past year +. Some of our lessons and experiences include:

  1. We are not lacking for energy and passion. And that, beyond anything else, is what really peaked investors’ interest. You can’t buy passion and energy, it’s innate. You either have it or you don’t. Our energy and passion has taken us further down the road than anything else – hands down. Without that passion and energy we’d be working full time jobs somewhere else.
  2. We never got discouraged. If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s not a word in your vocabulary. Most Boston area angel groups invest in technology companies and life sciences; IT, hardware, telecom, software, bio-tech etc. Boston isn’t exactly the best place to raise money for a new media company. At the end of the day that’s what we are. Perhaps the most common reason these groups didn’t invest is because we lacked proprietary technology. That was also probably one of the most frustrating things to hear. Nevertheless, it’s reality. We never got discouraged. Disappointed, sure, but not discouraged or negative. Our advisers were incredibly helpful here, without knowing it. Just their presence, time on the phone or over coffee, really helped us understand that we must stay focused on the goal – just keep executing, keep working hard, and it will happen.
  3. If you don’t like the investors, run! In October of 2006 Bob and I were flown out to the west coast to meet with a potential investor. He flew us out and took care of our accommodations, very cool. After spending 4 days with him we realized that it wasn’t a good fit on many levels. We made our final offer and ultimately decided to walk away. This was not an easy decision. My gut was telling me to get on the next plane back east, but Bob and I wrestled with it each evening while in the car or at the hotel. This was another important lesson. Looking back it was probably one of the best lessons we’ve had over the past 18 months – you have to like the investor. If you don’t like them now, what do you think it’s going to be like in the board room when things get tough? Bob and I always believed in finding an investor who believed in the model, of course, but also our philosophy and mission, and who shared those values with us.
  4. Beyond the fund raising process, perhaps the most important lesson of all had to do with our advisers. Good advisers are truly hard to find. We met several folks who didn’t know us from a hole in the wall, yet after only a couple phone calls, emails, coffee meetings, or drawing pretty pictures on a white board, whatever, they were very aggressive and determined to “join our advisory board” and even proposed their own ideas for compensation. I’d been down this road once before with my previous company and learned some very hard lessons. So my gut was screaming at me. “Run!” it was saying, “run for the hills Ben!” Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do, especially if you get like the person. Lesson here? Choose your advisers very carefully and know what you’re getting from them, but also set their expectations too. The advisers we ended up with, who’ve been the most valuable to Citysquares and to me, professionally, are the ones who never asked for a single nickel or share in the company, and have made unbelievable contributions. They call me just as often as I call them. We’re very lucky to have such kick-ass advisers. I was straight-up with them since day one, as they were with me.
  5. Know your Self. Much like growing up, it’s ever so important to know who you are, have a sense of Self, and purpose in life. I know it sounds philosophical but it’s a serious reality. A business is an entity, much like a person is. A business has a pulse, a mission in life, a personality. And without having at least a fundamental grasp on these things, you’re kidding yourself if you think you can form valuable relationships and try to raise money. Lesson here? Have a sense of Self, and know what you want to be when you grow up. And this has a lot to do with focus. Without focus you’re shooting at too many targets and early success is exactly that, a moving target.

One of the things that really struck me and Bob about eCoast Angels is the personality of the group. As Bob put it, “they seem like salt of the earth kinda guys.” I love that. He articulated it pretty well. Bob, Chris, myself, – yeah, we’re salt of the earth guys. So just from that perspective it seemed like a good fit even before we presented. The further down the path we went with eCoast, the more evident that became, but it’s also become quite clear that they have so much more to contribute here than just money. That alone is more valuable than any amount of currency. At a meeting with eCoast last week it became more and more clear that they’re full of not only wisdom and experience, but they’re full of ideas, energy, passion. I am truly, and in my gut, excited to work with them.

A couple of months ago I posted a blog entry titled, My Truth about Entrepreneurship. I was bare naked, at a very unpredictable time, and I wrote about it. I wrote that entry before meeting eCoast. I had no idea what was coming. At the end of the post I stated the following:

There is an old Chinese proverb, I believe, that goes like this:

The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.

I have felt that temptation, I think I just went through it, over the past couple of weeks. I believe that I’ve just turned that corner and I’m now staring success straight in the face.

Well, I don’t think I’ve put my foot in my mouth just yet. My gut is treating me well. I know that the long days and the hard work aren’t over – I know the reality. But I also know that I don’t necessarily have to wake up every morning on the edge of a cliff, and walk each day on a precipice. I know that there are more lessons to be learned and that I will be tested in new ways. I’m excited. The future is bright, brighter than ever before, both personally and professionally.

Stay tuned for more. The best is yet to come.

Raving about Publick House

Last night Ali and I went to Brookline’s Publick House for the first time. It’s in Washington Square. It’s about 12 hours later, 11am on Saturday, and I’m still thinking about it. No really.

My father-in-law, Tom, has been teaching me about Belgian beers lately, and he’s been brewing some at his home in NC. We went to a Belgian beer festival a few months ago. So I’m fortunate to know a thing or two about it now.

Publick House has a sort of monk monestary feel to it (very appropriate considering some of the best Belgian beers came out of monestaries in, I think, the middle ages). We grabbed a seat at the bar, the one in the left side of the place, and just sampled some amazing biers. My latest favorite is called Delirium Tremens, a Belgian blond beer. It’s a little obscure, but you can find it if you seek it out. Anyway, I’ve only had it in bottled form. The Publick House had it on tap. ON TAP! I was very pleased. And boy was it good. We’d just had dinner at The Fireplace, and I was stuffed. So I only had room for one more beer, and wanted a trippel. I had a selection but the bartender said they were out of it and recommended the St. Bernardus trippel. That was perhaps the best trippel I’ve ever had. Drier than the usual trippel, and less fruity which I was happy with.

The atmosphere at Publick House is great. Modest crowd, late 20s/early 30s. A good mix, good mood.

Anyway, I just had to share my experience.

Please vote for “The People, Yes”

Some time ago my friend Sean Coon moved from the NY area down to North Carolina. Since his move he’s become very involved in the Greensboro community. His passionate community involvement plus his technical prowess has resulted in a new project called, “The People, Yes” which you can learn more about on his blog or at The People, Yes. Sean and I are hoping to collaborate on a number of levels. An excerpt from The People, Yes follows:

The People, Yes will represent itself in Greensboro, NC through a collaborative blog and a physical presence in the community.

Our short-term mission:

To reach out to our neighbors on the other side of the digital divide and provide the necessary training and logistics for enabling a new online community of voices via blogging, podcasting, vlogging, etc. We plan on directly engaging with the homeless community and folk living at or below the poverty line, but will work with any Greensboro resident who would like to publish their point of view.

Our longer-term mission:

Once the collaborative blog platform gets legs, we plan on creating meshed communities of local resident’s topical interests, while focusing on engaging both individuals and local businesses to sponsor individual media creators. A large percentage of sponsorship revenue would be funneled back to the content creators themselves, with the remainder going back into programs that support the local homeless community.

For more information, feedback or suggestions, please contact me, Sean Coon. Also, track “thepeopleyes” tag on my blog.

Sean has entered The People, Yes into NetSquared’s Technology Innovation Fund competition. Please check out The People, Yes and definitely take a moment to vote for Sean’s project.

Boston, 36th Most Livable City in the World

Boston is a great town, no doubt. And it’s really nice to see it ranked with such respectable world cities as Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid. I do love this city.

Random note: No matter where I travel, when I return to Boston I’m always so happy to be back here. Not because it’s my home, but because of it’s rawness, it’s realness. Along with NYC, Boston is as authentic a place as any I’ve been.

You can see the full list here.

Email or Telephone?

So which is it for you? Email or telephone? By that, what I mean is, given a choice on how to communicate with someone (aside from face-to-face) would you prefer to have a telephone call or an email exchange? This is an interesting topic for me right now – one that I’m thinking long and hard about.
A lot of times I choose to communicate via email because it’s a passive form of communication, in that unless it’s urgent or unless the topic is one of priority, it may not require immediate attention. A verbal conversation is a volley in which you have to think on your feet and be ready, and where the topic can change very quickly. Talking is fun for most people. I’m good at talking, always have been. Email is great for efficiency – coordinating schedules, logistical matters, staying in touch, checking in, and of course sending documents etc. But when it comes down to having an important dialogue, like negotiating, or coming to some sort of agreement or understanding, email is usually a bad choice.

I’m not sure if there have been any studies on this topic, but if there have been I’d be interested to learn the conclusions. I can imagine that type-A personalities, such as myself, probably prefer to conduct their communications over the telephone or face-to-face. While type-B personalities probably prefer email. This is just my conjecture. The two can sometimes clash.

We all know about misinterpreted tone, right? Where you type something in an email and express it in a specific tone and it’s interpreted by the recipient as something else. This usually happens with sarcasm. I’m a sarcastic person, and a joker, and I’ve learned some hard lessons over the years – all teaching me one thing – don’t be sarcastic over email.

Something happened to me in the past 24 hours where neither sarcasm or misinterpreted tone was an issue. Instead, it was a matter of typing an email in haste and because of that, misstating a simple and rather insignificant fact. So now the entire email is being read as a combative one. Not good. The response I received was one of total dismissal of not just the smaller, less important matter at hand, but actually, seemingly, of the entire business matter all together!

I’ve spent all morning so far really bothered by this and dwelling on it. I feel like an idiot. I’ve been asking myself just how important this matter really is and questioning my reaction, and that, in and of itself is actually a form of denial! I’ve replayed the conversation in my head and reread over the emails many times. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t escape the fact that I caused the problem by typing my email too quickly and not representing my perspective accurately. It was a totally innocent and almost silly mistake, but it totally screwed me up and I think I’m on the brink of screwing up an opportunity. (mind you, the opportunity at hand is not significant, but losing it would have repercussions)

I only have myself to blame for this and I can’t help but kick the dirt in shame. If I’d only read my email before sending it, or not written back so quickly, and with such little sleep behind me, maybe he wouldn’t have been insulted. I think that’s really what this boils down to – he was insulted. And ya know, he’s right to be. Even though there was no insult, one was assumed.

So, after having some coffee this morning, shaking off the cob webs I wrote a thoughtful email, explaining how I think we arrived here, and, most importantly, apologizing humbly and respectfully. I’ve yet to receive a reply, but I’m hopeful it will be one where we both agree to forget this awkward misunderstanding and pick up where we left off.

This is the nature of email sometimes. The same can be said of instant messaging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop an instant messaging or email exchange dead in its tracks, and pick up the phone to redirect the conversation’s track. Digital exchanges just don’t have a human element to it. Sometimes you might have a great relationship with someone in the offline world, face-to-face or on the phone and then as soon as it hits the Internet – poof, that magic is gone and it’s hard to restore it. I can think of a relationship with a old friend that’s like that. We used to be very close. She lives 20 minutes from me. But for some reason we can never connect offline, it’s always online, and now our relationship is just strange for some reason. It rarely seems to happen the other way around.

I am hereby declaring that I am a Telephone Guy. Not an email guy. I love email and I will continue to use emails as often as I do now, but I will start to draw the line on where emails need to stop and the phone needs to take over. Only with verbal communication or face-to-face interaction can we 100% truly represent ourselves and our Selves. This is how it’s been done since the beginning of time, with sounds coming from our mouths and tongues, and with visual cues. Not with text on a screen.

This matter could have been avoided. If I’d picked up the phone on two different occasions, none of this would have happened. Here’s the bigger problem though – Email seems to be the only way to get a hold of him…. Oh man, what’s a Telephone Guy to do!? Fax?