Um, Bonjour! And a hearty “re-welcome” to my little slice of the Interweb! Also, wanted to invite you to check out my other slice of the World Wide Web… my new venture called “Connect The Dots Movement.”
Much love, y’all… -DK
I know, I know… that title sounds like a terrible movie hype preview (with that guy with the “in a world” voice), but I am excited to launch a new venture here soon. It will be something that combines the best of what is… with the best of what can be. Too often, our communities …View full post
Time to hit the streets and find a place to nosh. Myself and my dining partner (aka “My Better Half”) went looking for that special combo that one often strives to find: a place that buzzes a bit with the sound of fun and energy, and combines a great evening out with yummy food… Walking …View full post
This week I will be shipping off the Flint, Michigan where I will be honored to be one of the presenters at an extraordinary event: The Hero Round Table. This Saturday and Sunday (Nov 9-10) speakers from many different industries and disciplines will come together and talk about Heroes. This event is arguably, as the …View full post
I know, I know… that title sounds like a terrible movie hype preview (with that guy with the “in a world” voice), but I am excited to launch a new venture here soon.
It will be something that combines the best of what is… with the best of what can be.
Too often, our communities and their connections to those within it (whether is be to organizations, kick ass volunteers, government, supporters, or one another frankly)… these connections are based within a model — a system that doesn’t embrace collaboration fully, creativity completely, or innovation openly.
You’ve experienced this before. Asking yourself, “how do they know of that?” Or maybe it’s “how do they know him/her in that department?” “Who has the time?” “Is that how we should be doing business?” Why. Not. Us?
This is especially important in the nonprofit and social enterprise segment of our communities. We battle for donors’ attention (and cash-ola), we are demanded to “do more with less”, and we court donors and funding based upon a set of systems that do not truly look to innovate – but simply revert to stale methods and processing of paperwork (if you’ve written a grant, then you know how little “wow” there is in the process I speak of)… our entire attitude toward nonprofits and the sector is counter-intuitive for community development. It’s who you know. Not as much on performance, impact, passion, and collaboration. Diversity is nice to talk about… but diversity as a collaborative engine? Getting people, places, and processes to dance a new dance? Now we’re talkin’!
It’s time to connect this up. It’s time to Connect the Dots.
Systems, by their design and their historically operating (and terrible) cliches “it’s just how we do things”/ “it’s the way we always done it”, very often hampers activation of a community. This is what stifles creativity and limits the ability of a community to activate the very best from within and develop its collective character fully. Simply put, the way we do things is dated. It doesn’t connect all the necessary dots.
We will connect the dots. .com | .org | .edu | .gov …it’s time to build a better “.community” for us all.
Stay tuned for more on this… and stay tuned to learn more about our movement to Connect The Dots.
Time to hit the streets and find a place to nosh. Myself and my dining partner (aka “My Better Half”) went looking for that special combo that one often strives to find: a place that buzzes a bit with the sound of fun and energy, and combines a great evening out with yummy food…
Walking into Blue Moon at 361 West Market Street is one of those moments when a venture out for food turns into a “visit” – like stopping over a friend’s house. The atmosphere presents itself in a really interesting way. The moment you enter the front door, a peek around a center column wall gives you a nice view of an open bistro space of earth tones with patches of blues and the reds and yellows from the room’s fireplace. A warm welcome, a walk to the table, coats to the coat rack. It’s eats time.
The menu is full of great spots to make the jump off, but we are focused on kicking this off right, so appetizer-ville here we come.
Leading Off (coupled with “Surfin’ USA“ by the Beach Boys on the house sound) is the “Bang Bang Shrimp.” And just like the name suggests, this tasty portion is really a starting gun for the mealtime fun about to happen.
Romaine lettuce, diced red peppers and scallions are there at the party with you, but the headliners are those tasty little shrimp and the just-the-right amount of Remoulade-like sauce that complements the seafood. It’s an app solid for one, but most accommodating for two – even with the obligatory “battle for the last shrimpy” to which I am often the loser.
Next up (to the sweet sounds of “Be My Little Baby” by The Ronettes)… and “little salad” to share. Whew! Thank goodness this was a sharing situation as well, because this was an amazing salad. The Bibb Lettuce Salad is just chalk full of tasty bits. including Maytag Blue Crumbles, Dried Blueberries, Toasted Pecan Halves and finished with a Bueberry Vinaigrette (and let’s not forget the bibb lettuce). Then there is the Bacon Jam. Let’s pause for a second and think about these two words: Bacon. Jam.
Wow. Now that is a salad to spark conversation and a happy smile on one’s face.
Batting third in this delicious lineup was the main course (serenaded by the sweet sounds of “Angie“ by The Rolling Stones). My better half went with the Flounder, sauteed in browned butter with fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Her review of this?
“Super yummy, DK. Super. Yummy.”
How can you beat that?
For Yours Truly dinner was featuring Pan Seared Diver Scallops. These tasty morsels were prepared with a red beet glaze, and came smartly with some roasted corn risotto and garlic broccolini. The presentation was beautiful and colorful. Risotto was cooked to perfection and didn’t move from “risotto” into “just some rice.”
The broccolini had a nice crispness to them (which I appreciate from the chef) and a good hit of garlic in every bite. These sidemen were beautifully blended and nice complements to the scallops. Speaking of those scallops, wow. Headlining act for sure. Presentation and balance of the glaze was just enough.. and not to the point were we had a foodstuff drowning in sauce. This was a well presented and well balanced entree.
Finally, our clean up hitter was a taste powerhouse (coming full circle with another Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows”), Chocolate Empanadas. There was certain appreciation for the main component, the empanadas, and its wonderful presentation. But for the experience, the secondary components were the stars.
The fresh chocolate hot fudge, amazingly bright and crisp raspberries, whipped cream ready to stand on its peaks alone, and some cool vanilla bean ice cream – these item were built to create an incredible final act.
For someone looking for a nice place with nicer people and with the nicest eats, York Blue Moon is one of those places that will cure what ailes you. So whether your night out with friends and/or loved ones has a companion of a Full, Half, or Crescent Moon.. just be sure that it’s Blue Moon when visiting downtown York, PA.
This week I will be shipping off the Flint, Michigan where I will be honored to be one of the presenters at an extraordinary event: The Hero Round Table. This Saturday and Sunday (Nov 9-10) speakers from many different industries and disciplines will come together and talk about Heroes. This event is arguably, as the organizers say, “a conference to democratize heroism.”
Because that’s what we need today… more heroes.
Now, I’m not one to suggest that I have a all the answers to all the problems we face. I don’t think I’m the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m sure not the dullest. I have experienced many people and places, and have been lucky to see a good deal of our country. And it’s from this that I think I can safely say that we need, probably now more than ever, more heroes.
Our political leaders? Failing us. Our education system? Failing many of us. Our position in the world? Faltering around us.
Where have all the heroes gone?
They’re here. All around us.. in fact, you’re with one right now… Because YOU are a hero.
We ALL our heroes.
The problem with our sense of heroism is “the big wait and see.” What is that? That’s the feeling that I think most of us have in terms of understanding our potential as “a hero.” We see the idea of a hero in a situational way. Wait for the moment when a hero would be needed… and see if you have “the stuff” to act as a hero in that time in need. A fire in a building, do you rush in to save someone? Car accident on the roadside? Do you pull over to assist? Walk by a group of individuals accosting a innocent bystander? Do you move to protect someone from injury?
But the heroes that are needed, they don’t need to wait and see. They need to do and be seen.
Too often the very best in us is left on the sideline, waiting to be unleashed, but left “to someone else.” We spend a lot of time wondering how we would react, but never act. We watch heroes on television – and think those only happen because of great costumes and some good writing by the show’s producers. We skip over the obvious.
Heroes are needed in the everyday. Going to work. Teaching our kids. Showing by example what it means to be heroic in the choices made in daily life. The sense that heroic actions can’t happen daily… that is what holds us back.
So here is the challenge: Let’s make the good choices in life “heroic choices.” Now, this doesn’t mean I’m one of these “everyone gets a trophy..even you 9th place guy.” No, we’re not talking about “everybody wins” here… it’s celebrating when someone sees a need to step up… and does. No award needed.
That’s what The Hero Round Table is all about. Celebrating not just the potential of heroes, but recognizing that we are here… and we are doing good. Now. For others. For our communities.
Check out our list of speakers and most of all, check out our call to action. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You are a hero to someone, maybe more than you think… and maybe to more people than you think… It’s time to celebrate this. It’s time to celebrate YOU.
In the immortal words of President William Jefferson Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman… Miss Lewinsky.”
No, what I meant to say was “I’m sorry.” (Something the former President might have considered at the time of the above quote and presidential “wag o’ the finger”)…
I’m sorry I haven’t been posting regularly. This is where many would throw out a list of reasons like moving, new client work, a new house, tons of speaking/working gigs, etc. But not me. Nope. Won’t do it.
I’ll just say I hope to get back on the writing horse here again and ride off into the prose sunset.. or something.
Anyway, thank you for hanging in there and enjoying the ride with me… Cheers to you all!
Hi InterWeb Peeps! First let me apologize for not having a posting since the Franklin Pierce administration. Like most of us, the world and all it’s needs and demands caught up with me and moved this here space lower and lower on the “DK Do” List.
What’s funny about saying that out loud is the idea of an actual “life list” – putting things in your life into an order and saying “nope..before you do this, you need to do that.” Now don’t get me wrong, having priorities and the need to decide on what are actions and what aren’t isn’t something terrible; it’s just the fact that sometimes in our busy lives and 24-hour news-like deadlines and action items… we choose OUT of passions and things that inspire us or move our internal needle. In essence, we prioritize DOWN our CREATIVE UP METER.
Think right now what you love to do. What you have a passion for… what moves you. How often do you give yourself time to do it? Ever say something like “if I have time after XXXX, I’ll see if I can get to it.”….
Ironically, it is those things that makes us happy, inspired, or fill us with passion – it’s those things that we constantly need to refuel into ourselves so that we might effectively take care of those “life lists.”
Now it is true that on a whim you can’t just walk into your boss on a Tuesday afternoon and say, “Look Ms. BigTime, I am running short of awesome-sauce. So I think I’ll just pop out for a couple hours and do some free climbing up our 15-story building here. See you at staff meeting at 3.” Moderation, people. Even in my silly ideas and thoughts here. But the conceptual idea of filling that Creative Up Meter is key to success. This has run by you as many other idioms: “Work/Life Balance” or “Mental Breaks” or even finding some “Me Time” during a day. Essentially this is the point in a similar way… except for one slight shaded difference.
To be effective in life, we MUST have the fuel that drives our creativity. So it isn’t a balancing act (work then play), it’s a go-no-go act (fuel in car? car goes. no fuel? welp, start walking pal).
I don’t look at this as a “fill out this column and then balance it with that column” but rather like an “If/Then” statement. IF there is that time to build my Creative Up Meter, THEN I will be ready to tackle that “DK Do” list and rock out my day with check marks and “completed” status updates. Without it, the to do list is still there, but the action and the timing of such action is effected… perhaps even not done to the level you even wanted to do.
For me, writing and music fuel me. Not doing them for some length of time leads me to feel that sluggish, “just getting done what needs to be done” kind of vibe. Does it mean I’m skipping out on work needs or life tasks? Nope. But am I doing it with purpose, or passion… or with my personal identity shining through it – my personal Life Stamp as it were? Most likely, not really.
And THAT’S why it’s important. I WANT to see that stamp of life from my colleagues, clients, vendors, family and friends. I NEED to experience their work efforts as seen connected with their joys and passions. It’s why we hang with the people we do, right? There’s a lot of bands out there, but the ones that MOVE us… their work brings us joy. And we are moved by that joy. That formula translates elsewhere in daily life too.
So don’t short change your work, your needs, and especially you. Be sure to always give yourself those times to fuel that Creative Up Meter… so that your creativity is seen and experienced by all of us.
Here’s to your Creative Meter… happy times getting that up to hit a full tank. Cheers. ~DK
“Measure Twice, Cut Once.” I use this phrase more often than an NSA official uses the phrase “Can you hear me now, Verizon?” (sorry Mr. President, but really…oh, and for those of you monitoring me, I was just kidding about the whole NSA/Verizon tapping thing I just mentioned).
I have been known to be “that guy” who ramps into cool, innovative idea.. but then asks to hit the brakes and slow down. Prep work before busy work. Getting it right, to be sure you get it right.
But there’s my other side… the side that wants to just GO GO GO… especially when, as Tin Cup told us, a feeling of when a “tuning fork goes off in your heart.”
You KNOW it’s good to go. You’re READY. But your calmer half hits pause for the cause. “Wait,” he says. “Be patient.”
Sometimes the sense for a need for calm and a calculated decision sounds right.. but isn’t. You need to stretch, damn the torpedoes, and get a-rollin’! The sense of immediacy, the sense of vitality that washes over you on one of these power decisions (Let’s do this!) is pretty remarkable, positive, and daring.
Now, Mr. Risk Management Guy/Girl reading this, easy does it. I’m not suggesting strategic planning and monster decisions should be based on a “YEEE-HAAA” and a hop on the nearest missile to launch. What I am suggesting it that the idea of “paralysis by analysis” is real. And too often, it is certain moments like this that slide our trajectory ever so slightly… and change a great idea into a kind-of-good one. Still a victory… but not one of those “tuning forks goes off in your heart” ones.
It is in the nature of many of us to be either one or the other. You know these friends. The one who is so impulsive you wonder how she ever finds her way home because you are convinced that between you seeing her and her walking away, she will decide to fly to Cuba. Or that buddy of yours that is so painstakingly slow that you need to tell him about the weekend plans on Monday, just so he can decide if he’s in or out… the mix of these friends and personality types gives us our amazing friendship circles, and makes events and everyday hanging out so much fun.
But for YOU. For you and your direction in life, in business, in so many other decisions… allow for times of impulse. I see the need for these moments especially in those idea sessions and brainstorming (dare I say, an “Idea Break?”)… turn your ideas loose and see what happens.
For example, I was pitching a client idea for a campaign. Almost immediately into the initial tick-tock of the basics, a lone voice popped up announcing “that’s too big and too expensive for what we have here.” He was probably right, and truthfully, the idea of a tad too big for the immediate moment of the organization… that is until I continued and positioned how a campaign like this can be done in stages, where it isn’t a “hit the home run” kind of approach; but rather a plan for “singles and doubles” to reach the eventual endpoint… and that it could be done, with a little boldness and passion toward the end vision. Guard dropped, everyone allowed for their personal passion and belief in what a campaign like that could be, to be thrown over any analytical choke-point.. and a plan emerged. Stretched with passion and drive… not with worry or doubt.
Impulsiveness isn’t the greatest of qualities all the time, but confidence in one’s abilities to launch a project with passion and drive is something else. There will forever be fear of the unknown, a fear of failure. But I feel a greater fear: when I notice that an idea of mine never moved past the initial thought; and then I see it pop up somewhere else.. and that drives my batty. It’s time to let your skills and passion run wild every so often. Project feels too daunting? Stretch out and get into it. Feel like you want to start a hobby but don’t feel like you have the time? Dare yourself to budget your hours more wisely. Worried that a pitch for business is far beyond your reach? Double down, build that kick-ass presentation, and knock the socks off the big boys in the room.
How will you know when you are able to do this? Easy. Grab a mirror and ask yourself this…. “Am I ready to stretch?”
Then get to it, Plastic Man. ~DK
Hey there my friend. Just wanted to thank you for all the incredible times we’ve had over the years. Since arriving in town at what seems to have been immediately following the War of 1812, you have been a great host and a roommate for me. This Jersey-born, PA-rooted, and NH-grown kid was able to call The District of Columbia home… and it was an absolutely great time being there all these years.
Times are never 100% perfect, I know. Like when that madman and son we running around you as two deranged snipers and the fear it cause? But even in the midst of such madness, you saw us through.
Just a maddening, but certainly less physical danger (one might argue) is the steady stream of politicians who somehow get elected and crash at your place. Too often they promise to “fix” you – a phrase get gets them here, but too often gets turned into “let’s find a way to keep you broken, cuz it keeps me elected.” Always mildly ironic to me that this “broken” city has always been under the thumb of congressional control, yet hasn’t really progressed in many ways because of that group of misfits thinking “they” know better than “us.” But even then, you kept on keepin’ on.
You protected me from hurricanes named Sandy and another called Irene, a Snowmageddon in 2010, a earthquake that many of my west coast friends made fun of us for reacting to like it was the beginning of the end like the Mayan promised, and countless day to “DC skillet” heat in the summer. You celebrated spring each year with Cherry Blossoms; you welcomed the fall with a Drag Race. Each of the four seasons brought me some amazing things to do and see, and I can’t thank you enough for the diverse menu of goodness you brought to the table.
You do have some great stops for tourist-central. Your National Mall and the monuments and Smithsonians that dot the landscape – and believe me those were oh so fun always to bring people to whenever family and friends called up Cafe DK for a reservation. But I will always appreciate the “real” Washington monuments. The neighborhoods and the people who made up the living breathing city I love. Ben’s Chili Bowl, The Big Chair of Anacostia; the Spanish Steps; Eastern Market; my awesome family run bagel shop on P Street called, of course, “Bagels Etc.”; the Exorcist Steps in Georgetown; the 9:30 Club, the SW Waterfront, the old Bayou of Georgetown; and most importantly my neighborhood of Dupont Circle.
What makes a city like Washington so wonderful to be in? Like most cities, it isn’t what you see on the brochures or the tours… it’s the smaller, intimate spots. The character-defining places and faces that drive that spirit of community. Yes, I was able to experience a number of amazing national moment in an unique setting. Things like Presidential Inaugurations (5 of them), the opening of both the WWII & FDR Memorials, and the passing & viewing of President Ronald Reagan at the Capitol Rotunda. Being a witness to these historic markers in history (like the absolutely inspiring inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008) was indeed a privilege and an honor. Thanks DC for letting me be a part of those special moments as a residence in your care.
But while I have you here, allow me a couple of suggestions for you as you head into 2014 and beyond. Kind of like when I gave a few “Little DC Tips from DK,” these are just some things to put into the District Idea Box for later:
1. Don’t forget to tout your communities, not just your national monuments – DC is WAY more than a group of museums, a Capitol, a nice White House, and a Mall. It’s people. Never forget your best asset are those who your spot home.
2. Metro, I love you, but please keep working to get yourself stronger – The subway system that travels all around you is fantastic…. but it is still a hot mess more often than it should be. You are lucky in the fact that it is such a good overall people mover – I mean can you imagine the traffic without a metro?! It’s bad enough with it! But really, DC, don’t let it fall apart. Issues happen, but don’t become a busted eyesore. Remember, most people see you by way of Metro… it’s your tour guide on tracks.
3. Pizza – C’mon my friend. Gourmet pizzas are fun for lost of nights out with friends and vino. But a good pizza shop? Just one good place for good ‘ol slice… and no, the late night “Jumbo Slices” do not count (that’s 4am goodness, not regular day goodness… you drunk.)
4. Keep those chains at bay – Even Will Farrell like to spend a Saturday at Home Depot (maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond, only if there’s time) but the soul of a city are the local merchants and shop owners. Embrace your opportunity to have a place that shops local and supports local. I’ll take Kramerbooks & Afterworks over any chain restaurant any day.
6. Marion Barry – Wow. Words don’t do it justice.
7. Get an statue up for Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go….. NOW.
DC, you have been a great friend. I’m gonna miss our times sitting out on the deck looking over Rock Creek Park, watching everything from The Space Shuttle’s final flight to the annual Capital Pride Parade…and all the nights of nothing but watching you and your residence interacting, everyday life & buzz. And thanks for my super secret spot, where I got a combo of historical momument and a quiet place in the heart of the city to read & write (you know where I’m talking about, right?)…. Thanks for all the memories, DC. I’ll always have you as a part of me, and I’m proud to have been a Washingtonian… Cheers… ~DK
PS…. oh, and don’t mind Sidney telling people to stay away from Dupont Circle in The American President. She was just acting. It’s a GREAT place to go.
But (and let’s just keep this between us okay) we are sometimes better at talking about collaboration than we are are doing collaboration. Put it another way: A Meeting Does Not Make a Collaboration…You Just Made a Meeting.
I find this question popping up all the time to me. “DK, how can we increase our collaboration opportunities?” My answer is pretty simple:
The biggest problem with really strong collaboration is the fact that it is built on, well, kind of lame-o ideas or initiatives.
Now don’t take out those pitchforks and torches and storm Cafe DK quite yet people. Hear me out.
Too often our ideas of collaborating come from necessity. We need a certain skills set our crew doesn’t have; call in “that guy.” Our proposal won’t get to the right people, unless we call “connected girl.” We can’t afford to put on this kick-ass event, but we might if we call “moneybags organization.”
The best time to collaborate is when ideas are being generated. In this initial stage, when things are bouncing off walls and creative juices are a-flowin’, inevitably natural allies and partners will bubble up during the exploration stage of design. A key phrase will trigger a name, or company, or nonprofit organization. Keep a running tally of those pop-ups as they appear.
Conversations don’t cost you much. In fact, they are value added, if you let them. Contact those potential players and schedule time to pitch your collab-idea. If nothing else, the interaction will be a nice networking moment; more likely the person/organization will be thrilled to be considered such an asset/resource and share some cool thoughts/feedback; hopefully (if you have a like-minded, kick-ass collaborator type you’re visiting) the meeting will spawn even more ideas and the road to collaboration ready to travel. See? Nothing negative there, huh?
But be bold. No one gets fired up over “Hey, can we collaborate on this grant? I need someone who can write about pine trees and the dangers of certain chemicals on lawns.” YAWN….. But someone might be jazzed if approached with, “Hey… wanna BOOM this community with a new approach to a greener, beautiful community?!?” BA-ZING!
The fear lies in the potential for failure. Biting off too much. Gaining a one-side collaboration that yields more work than if alone on a project. Not getting along and breaking up the band.
Hey… Chill there cowboy.
That’s the added bonus of collaboration. Collaborators increase their confidence.
You will see in collaborations a new side of you – if you let it happen. You will begin to reveal your “Inner Dance Partner.” What’s that? It’s the moment when you realize that your moves, creative ideas, and skills can complement another’s. Now you’re dancing. And THAT’S what make collaboration meaningful, practical, and beneficial.
So be bold in your ideas. And realize that collaborating will not only assist your creative in becoming reality, but it will boost your own confidence and leadership. Makes you wonder, why AREN’T you collaborating more?
Good question… time to build some new, bold ideas… and find that dance partner. Hit it, Gene. ~DK