Time to fish or cut bait

Miss me? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

Don’t get all excited though, I’m still a mere shell of the social man I used to be and this does not mean I’m back. I did actually write some posts during my hiatus, but never got around to pulling the trigger.

So then, what are you doing?

I’m at a crossroads with my domain name as I received the renewal notice on my GoDaddy account to keep billdorman.me active. As The Clash are wont to sing, should I stay or should I go?

The money isn’t the issue; I’m just afraid it might turn into some gay porn site if I let it go and how in the heck will I be able to explain that? However, if I’m going to keep piddling around like I have been, then what’s the point?

Piddle de diddle, the cat and the fiddle…

Well, if you haven’t been blowing up social

Then what in the heck have you really been doing other than sitting around and picking your butt?

Not much I’m glad you asked.

If you recall from earlier posts, my youngest son joined Lanier Upshaw, Inc about 6 months ago. I’m trying to assist him in any way I can and since sales can be as fickle as social, sometimes you really have to keep your eye on the ball or it all turns to fools gold.

In addition to my semi-regular rounds of golf and matches of tennis I have now taken up mountain/trail biking in my spare time as well.

Finally, I’m back to reading again since I’m not spending all of my free time in front of a computer. I’ll bet I’m reading on average a book a week. And I’m a big baseball fan and the pace of the game allows me to read at night while I watch my beloved Tampa Bay Rays.

So yes, it’s still all about me like it always has been, I’m just channeling my interests outside of the online social realm. Yes, my Klout score turned to dust and I haven’t had a free perk in ages, but no surprises there.

I want to thank

Those who have checked in on me from time to time. I do miss everyone and apologize that my tired, lazy ass rarely gets by to your place. I just know if I even try to do that a little bit I will be right back on that social hamster wheel again and I’m trying to spend that time on the treadmill instead these days.

In conclusion

I guess I’ll keep billdorman.me instead of letting it fall into nefarious hands.

Maybe you’ll see me again; maybe not. If you see me pimping a Lanier Upshaw post, feel free to give it some love.

Hope everybody is doing well and progressing nicely along the path to their success.

Until we meet again…


Swing away Merrill…

What in the hell happened to you, didn’t you used to be somebody?

Please pardon my French….do you think this is why the French are always ticked off at American’s because any time we cuss we call it French? Oui? Oh, I’m sure that is just the tip of the iceberg with Frenchie, but we try harder, right? Did you know without the French, there is a good chance the U.S. would not have won the American Revolutionary War and gained our independence. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for awhile…Of course, the debt the French incurred in this endeavor was instrumental in causing the French Revolution but that was their gig, not ours. Maybe that’s what started all this hate, huh?

Enough with the history lesson pal, I hope you are going somewhere with this.

I am, but probably not too far as I’m really not that deep.

You are a mere shell of the man you used to be

Ain’t that the truth, but I really was somebody for awhile; I was hob-nobbing with all the goober smoochers of social and could list quite a few of the peeps that really knew my name.

The good thing about social is you can have and maintain a certain level on notoriety for free*. Of course when I say free I am only talking real dollars and not soft-lost cost opportunity dollars from wasting your time. As we all know, time = money and social do take up a lot of time so obviously there is no free lunch. Or, is that ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too?’ One of those…

But we also know Billy is all about free because my wife CFO will not allow me to spend a dime in here unless I can quantify the return on investment.

So where does that leave you?

When I was in the Army there was a term commonly used called ‘short-timer.’ As your tour of duty was winding down, the shorter you became. Once you were down to 99 days or less, you would joke about being so short nobody could see you.

Billy is short right now.

Not that I’m going anywhere per se, but as long as I am content to keep operating under a free platform I know I can only carry this so far, and it appears I have already crested that hill. If I were to pin it down to a day, I believe December 6, 2012 is as good as any. It was a very similar post talking about how I had shot my wad…ok you pervs, what I meant was “I’m done, that’s all I have the energy/money,willingness/desire for, there is no more I have to say/add/do.”

Where does that leave you?

Where I always was.

I came, I saw, I conquered…in my own way. I ramped up as much as I could given the tools I chose to work with. Actually, for a knucklehead I was kind of impressed I made it as far as I did.

Maybe it’s because I grew up before gadgetry and could make do with a stick and a box, or I am more of a people person than a thing person, but I am not really all that curious about the latest and greatest toys. Never say never, but you will never see me camping out overnight for any new gadget that is being introduced. I will let all the gadget heads work it over and then if I see it’s gaining some traction I might jump in.

That’s why I could do the just show up part so well, but when it took a certain level of geekiness to move the needle I became exposed. Not in a full frontal nudity kind of way, but nobody was hitching up to my wagon for me to take them to the promised land either.

Well, if you set the bar low enough…

There was a time I would need a little cheese with my whine, but I am good to go these days…totally. Even trying to exist in this realm with little or no expectations, somehow someway it actually hasn’t been a bad ride.

And, I wouldn’t trade my last two years for anything and feel I have grown from this experience.

Here’s what my two-year social degree got me:

  • I have a much better global perspective due to my diverse acquaintances.
  • My expanded social knowledge has positioned me to be able to ask better questions.
  • Social will turn your brain to mush if you try to chase every rabbit.
  • Online friendships are just as real as face to face friendships.
  • I know just enough about social to be dangerous now.

If I let anybody down because you see wasted potential, get in line. I did just good enough and for this, that was good enough for me.

At this point in my life, fun is a huge driver for me; fortunately I’m in a position I can make those choices. As long as I am having fun there will be no regrets.

Did I make the cut?

I made my cut I suppose, I’m somebody enough and I still have great hair, so that should be worth something, right?

Activity is down on both sides of the wall and I can tell the air is leaking out of the tire and the tank is running low; there is a good chance I’ll just park the car instead of filling it back up.

Such is life.

Swing away Merrill…

Not your ESPN’s 30 for 30

Lanier Upshaw 2

In 30 days it will be my 30th anniversary at @LanierUpshaw. Hence, the 30 for 30 tag…pretty clever, huh?

Dude, that’s old.

No kidding. I do remember being the young guy around here and was always nominated to move furniture when someone changed an office. After several dings in the wall and burns on the carpet, they finally wised up and started hiring professionals to do this job. I had to laugh however, because the first two guys who showed up were both missing at least one finger where they had pinched them off moving heavy objects.

No, we didn’t solicit their insurance…

What were the early days like

Well, we had 3 channels on the black and white TV…..just kidding, but not by much and yes I am old enough to remember that too.

Lot’s of cold calling. And if you knew how few cold calls I actually converted into customers it would be laughable. But what it did do was provide training in being able to think on my feet and drop into low risk practicing when all was lost and you had absolutely nothing else to lose. And it got me out of the office…

For starters, back in the day we had no computers, cell phones or fax machines; and now fax machines have even come and gone in my work lifetime. Skype? Webinars? Fuhgetaboutit…and during breaks at insurance meetings, there would be a mad dash to the pay phones to call the office and check messages. My agency never would accept my collect calls…doh…

There were definitely clackity clack typewriters….and carbon paper. And paper files, tons and tons of paper files that you had to keep forever.

I remember we were one of the first agencies who went paperless. Some of the old timers back then just about had a cow. If they couldn’t go to the file cabinet and pull the customer’s file with all the history attached inside, they were going to be dead in the water.

Of course we all know however, paperless is a misnomer, but our paper files are definitely a thing of the past.

And the thing about insurance is everybody has an expiration date to their policy, so once we obtain that valuable piece of information we hold onto it forever…and a day. Many times in sales, timing is everything, so if you make the call at the appropriate time it might help your chances.

Fortunately, my niche now is more performance based programs that don’t necessarily go off an expiration date, which allows me to talk with a prospect at times other than renewal because that is when everybody and their brother is trying to get in the door.

What about the middle years?

It was interesting to say the least. This was the time most of the old timers had already retired but we still had a president on his way out. Since he held a significant amount of stock, we had to make a decision to absorb this purchase internally or seek buyers from the outside. It was a close vote and some top end guys would have made out quite nicely if we had decided to sell, but ultimately we were committed to internal perpetuation and found enough buyers among the partners.

This decision however changed the dynamics of our leadership structure. Whereas before it took at least 3 partners to have a majority vote, now we had a single individual with a majority interest. My way or the highway…

This is when I knew I would never be that guy; the stars would never align for me at @LanierUpshaw to run the show. So it was decision time; go out and start my own gig and control my own destiny, or always be at the mercy of someone else.

For me, the challenge was I had already built a decent sized book of business and had a wife and two young children who were totally dependent on me. I did not relish the thought of starting over with no money to speak of.

I guess it’s not too hard to tell what decision I made and will tell you my middle years were some of my most challenging under the ownership model that evolved. But I didn’t bitch and moan (too much) and always knew where the back door was if I had had enough. Somehow I survived, and can now look back and know I made the right decision.

Where are you now?

Would you believe it took 20+ years to finally feel secure in this industry? My associates joke about the cardboard box being placed outside of your door as a sign you were getting ready to get the pink slip…or your key quit working. There were certainly times I felt like it could be me.

Sales can be very fickle.

Sales can also be very rewarding, but it’s not a profession you get to let your foot off the gas. Because of this, and I am not exaggerating, I could name at least 30 salespeople who have come and gone through these doors and for whatever reason couldn’t find the magic formula to make it stick. With the exception of 2 or 3, I thought all had the same if not more capabilities than me.

30 years in marriage, 30 years with the same employer; doesn’t sound like I ventured too close to the edge of that cliff, huh?

What can I say; I take my commitments seriously and is it a bad thing to be loyal?

Believe me, I admire the people who were able to throw caution to the wind and figure it out all on their own. It would have been a much easier decision as a single man, but as the sole breadwinner I did tend to be conservative.

I have no regrets and can assure you, it’s still good to be Billy D.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane. And in case if you are curious, I do plan to make it to 40 years…

Then you can say, “that’s old.”

BTW, if you couldn’t pick Billy out of the lineup, he’s the one with the 80′s porn star mustache…:).

If it were just that simple…

Most who have spent any time here know I am a volunteer Guardian ad Litem. The State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is a network of professional staff and community advocates, partnering to provide a strong voice in court and positive systemic change on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children. There are 21 local Guardian ad Litem programs in 20 judicial circuits in Florida.

Why would you want do do something like that? Have you seen some of those people?

People, just like you and me and for some, just because of the luck of the draw, they ended up with a shit sandwich instead of filet mignon.

Were you abused or neglected?

Both my parents loved me very much, but that doesn’t mean I had it easy. My parents divorced in my early teens, my mother was an alcoholic, and my dad and I moved away from the town I grew up in when I was 15. My dad was deeply enmeshed in his mid-life crisis and I was pretty much left to fend for myself during my formative teen years. I was so ill prepared for the next step after high school, I joined the Army; which ended up being a godsend, but I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.

Somehow, someway I was able to use not only the bad experiences in my life, but the good ones as well to shape who I have ultimately become. I am nowhere near perfect, but do know I have been blessed in many ways to the point I feel an obligation to give back. Through the GAL program, I felt this was where I could really roll up my sleeves and hopefully make a difference on a one on one basis.

How is that working out?

Well, I was told whatever victories you have will be small ones at best. Without going into too much detail all I will say it is very sad to see how broken down some of these kids are and the realization in all likelihood, they can only survive within the system; our tax dollars at work.

It definitely gives me a reality check and makes me extra thankful for what I do have and not to be too judgmental unless you’ve had the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

How’s is working out? The jury is still out but I’d like to think I’m doing some good for somebody.

It can’t be that bad, can it?

Oh yeah, on so many levels.

Then just walk away

That would certainly be the easy thing to do, wouldn’t it?

I still have work to do

I have a current case where the children have been removed from the home and placed in foster care. The case is over one year old and I would like to say we are close to resolution, but I now have my doubts.

The parents say they want the children back and have somewhat complied with the case plan, but one of the spouses keeps going off the rails and it’s getting to the point where I am not sure if reunification will ever happen for them. And the state is not asking the parents to jump through hoops, all we want to see is the absolute bare minimum of compliance.

You make the call.

There are many people involved in this case including the case manager and therapist so I am not the hammer that goes in front of the judge with sole discretion on the outcome. But here are the choices we are faced with:

  • The kids (there are five of them) are reunified with their parents and it rapidly goes back to the same situation that got the kids removed from the house in the first place. Personally, I have serious doubts if these parents can afford to properly feed or clothe these children, but like I said just the absolute bare minimum of care will get these kids back home.

That sucks.

No kidding, and that is probably the best of the two other choices.

  • Choice two: foster care. Because of the behavioral issues these kids have I think it will be almost impossible to keep these kids together as a family unit. The low hanging fruit good kids will go first and the problem children are likely to get bounced from house to house.

Don’t let that happen.

I hear ya, I wish the parents would start parenting.

  • Good ol’ choice three: Group foster care. If any of the kids become too rowdy and can’t exist in the traditional foster home setting, they will be transferred to a group home, and to be institutionalized at such a young age is a recipe for disaster. You have other problem children in the home that have been cast out too and not enough supervision in the home so the chances of a good outcome are slim indeed.

Can’t you fix it?

Yeah, let me wave my magic wand and make everybody behave the way they are supposed to.

What I can do is keep trying. If I was able to even reach one kid so he could use this experience to better himself, I would certainly consider that a win.

Other than run for the hills, if you were faced with this dilemma, what would your choice be?

Follow me on twitter…no, really…

My ass.

I know you keep asking me to follow you Mr/Ms Personality, but I also know you have no intention of following me back; even if I do try to engage with you. Trust me, I’m not impressed with celebrity in the first place and so far I haven’t seen anything really interesting from your tweets anyway.

If you are lucky, I will put you on a list so I can keep an eye on you, but I’m not going to contribute to your over inflated sense of self-worth by building up your numbers.

How do you like them apples?

Follow me/follow you

What is your twitter policy these days; still taking on all comers or are you shedding your treasure trove down to the core?

I’m not a current event guy on twitter as 98% of my tweets are coming out of Triberr with somebody’s post attached to it. However, if you were to take the time to open the link on one of my tweets I have so graciously shared, I do think you would find my tweets interesting. I still won’t be the guy telling you I have gone to Starbucks today or giving you the play by play at a baseball game. I might tag a friend or two if I think it will be something humorous that might interest them, but this is my tweeter world as I know it.

I have never gamed the system in any form or fashion trying to get a bunch of followers I know nothing about. However, I still have people showing up on my door step who are essentially strangers that I will let in. Yes, I will look at their Avatar and see what they are all about, and will use some nebulous criteria to see if they make the cut. Otherwise, they will get the Heisman pose stiff-arm and I let them decide if they want to stay or not.

Because of this strategy I am only just north of 2700 followers after 3-years. Those numbers are ok with me I suppose; it could be 2700, 27000 or 270000 and it wouldn’t make much difference.

What I have done lately is pick people I am familiar with who pop up on my twitter Who to Follow suggestions, follow them and place them on my Interesting, or not list. I see what kind of tweets they are sending out and might or might not engage with them. I am assuming anybody who still uses twitter knows when somebody starts following them, so they know I’m there. I give them about 2 weeks and if they don’t take the time to follow me back in that time then it’s see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya time. I might or might not keep them on the list at that point, but otherwise it’s hasta la vista baby.

What is your balance?

Ok, I have about 15% more people who follow me than I follow back. If you jump on board and I don’t follow back, it is only because you didn’t fit in my loosely defined niche. If you choose to stay, then that’s your business, as there is a good chance you showed up by some artificial means anyway. If you jumped on board only to ditch me later at some pre-determined time, I will cut you loose too. Once again, I am not interested in adding to your body count if you never intended to hang around anyway.

At one time in my early days, Facebook and twitter held two totally different audiences for me. In the past year, I have had many more of my twitter friends cross over to Facebook, but not vice versa.

If I were to break it down, I know close to 90% of my Facebook friends in some form or fashion; for twitter it’s just the opposite. Out of those 2700+ twitter followers it would be 10-15% at best I know at all.

Does that run true for you as well? Should I just quit following people back if I don’t know them? As long as I can keep lists for the people I do know, does it really matter?

If I’m just a social goofball anyway, why should any numbers matter other than the fact I don’t want to embarrass you showing up with only 7 friends?

Tell me about yourself

Are you using twitter any differently than you were in the beginning? Are you using it less, or more?

Where do you think twitter’s greatest value is going forward?

Are you comfortable mixing your communities?

Because I am so closely tied to my business, twitter still allows just enough anonymity that I can still have some under the radar fun in here. And you know me, I’m all about fun…

When is the last time you followed someone new on twitter?

Didn’t you used to be somebody?

Why yes, yes I did until I became somebody else.

The older I get, the better I was

Athletic exploits, past romances, certain people; does time have a tendency to soften reality and give the impression that things seemed better than they really were?

I know someone who married his wife twice. Guess what? It didn’t work out the second time either. There must have been a reason they broke up in the first place, and apparently it didn’t get any better the second time around either.

It’s ok to fondly recall the past, but I truly believe we are better served to let the past be the past and start each day fresh, moving forward. People have a tendency to wallow in what was or labels that were attached to them even as far back as high school, and instead of growing, allowing this to limit their potential.

That’s letting others control your outcomes; playing to what others think.

I don’t know much, but I do know this

With age comes wisdom…sometimes; if it doesn’t kill you then it makes your stronger and wiser, right?

Do as I say, not as I do. Oh, I am still prone to do some pretty bone-headed things, especially when I hang with some of my male friends, but it’s never malicious; I should get points for that.

In my weekly (sometimes daily) redefining of my social strategy, I think I have come to the conclusion I like playing in social media way much more than I like working in it. Of course, that has probably defined me all of my life; I play much, much better than I work, I was just lucky enough to find a job that incorporates a lot of play into it.

I just wish you would grow up.

Yes, dear.

I tried, I really did but it was just not a good fit for me.

I’m afraid once you grow up, you grow old.

Don’t live life looking in the rear view mirror

It’s hard not to. There are certain moments you wish you could capture and just squeeze the living bejesus out of them and never let them go. Maybe if we can clear our minds and quit thinking about what’s next and fully live for the moment we can get close to maximum appreciation.

Do you ever go through a week and don’t recall one memorable moment; feel like you are sleepwalking through life?

Maybe it’s because I’m simple minded and easily amused, but I really look forward to each day because I know somewhere, somehow there will be some adventure or fun out there. Sometimes it occurs online and a lot of times it’s happening out in the real world. But if you look hard enough there is plenty of fodder to keep it humorous.

If you always think someone is out to get you and it’s never good enough, that’s just draining; no wonder you are worn out at the end of the day.

Want to know my secret of likability? I don’t bitch and moan much; if you are hanging with me I’m probably not going to have an ax to grind.

Maybe because I’m not not too controversial or a big fan of drama, I have a tendency to blend in instead of stand out. Kind of like watching grass grow or paint dry but at least I’m consistent. What you see is what you get…


Age is just a number

Yes, I know it’s only us old coots who say stuff like that, but I can tell you I don’t feel 87. I didn’t get the nickname Mr Happy for no reason and I’m certainly more apt to give you a smile. And it is very rare if you smile at someone, they won’t smile back.

My lesson for today? Attitude; it makes all the difference in the world and if you have the right attitude, you will always be somebody.

And guess what? Attitude is the one thing within your power to control; you might not be able to control much else around you, but how you react to these events are totally within your control.

Pretty prophetic, huh?

Why do you think it’s easier for some to have the right attitude and others never will? Can people really change?

Yes, you Brian Meeks, time to give it up

Yes, that Brian Meeks; the one on the cusp of super stardom.

Give up what?

His damn @ExtremelyAverage moniker, that’s what. I have been hounding him for close to two years now because that moniker is a much better fit for me than him.

Sumbich won’t budge.

He was featured this week by Geoff Livingston no less; you know, the dude that wrote Marketing in the Round with Gini. In addition to Brian’s most recent self-published book Time and Again which you can snap up for free on Amazon if you hurry, he’s has a whole litany of other works ready to follow. Extremely Average my ass…

You think I’m kidding?

Just to show you the depth of my quest to wrest this moniker away from him, this is my post of January 30, 2012; verbatim. Do you think he budged? Hell no; that’s why I’m cutting lose a second salvo. Republished with Billy’s permission; this is what he had to say that day:

* – * – * – * – * – *

Time to move on Brian Meeks*

Ha ha funny, right? Except I’m not kidding; Mr Meeks of @ExtremelyAverage notoriety needs to give it up. Whenever I crack on him, all the women are quick to defend and quickly proclaim he is anything but ‘average’. Hmmmm…..all I know is that ‘extremely average’ is a much better fit for me, so this is my active campaign to make it happen. There is a shelf-life for these things Brian, and you have exceeded it my friend.

I mean really; the dude already has books published and 9 zillion blog posts. I barely have reply buttons at my place; c’mon man…….

You probably find this hard to believe after reading of all my exploits of heroism, how it was really me who invented the internet, and I’m really a double-naught spy; but in reality, at a party I am so extremely average I have to keep moving so as not to blend in with the wallpaper.

This past week was tough

My day job and meetings pulled me in many different directions; all of it good, but all of it primarily offline. No big deal, right? Except when you peek in and see all of your friends playing; kind of like staying home sick from school and you see all your friends outside afterwards. Makes you kind of antsy, huh?

I keep telling myself I am NOT going to jump back on the hamster wheel; but the pull is there.

So what’s the problem?

It was difficult to catch back up with all the posts I missed; I’m realistic in knowing the only way I drive traffic is through my engagement. I’m afraid without it, I could very well pull out the invisible moniker once again and just leave Brian alone.

So what do you want to do?

Part of me says quit looking out the window and just keep doing what you are doing. The other part says, quit being a doofus and if you are going to be in the game at least be the best you can be.

There is even another pull to put all this effort into our corporate blog at @LanierUpshaw which is probably what I should do because it is my company after all, right? That would probably be the smart thing, but don’t know it it will be the fun thing. Fun is my motivator BTW…..

And of course all of this takes time, so do I substitute my commenting for writing and guest posts? I can just show up and comment; writing takes thought and planning. And it’s a given I don’t have enough game to attract an audience on my writing alone.

Where did you come up with all this?

As I had small blocks of time during the week I could have very easily caught up with friends one blog at a time. However, when the time came I could not muster up the energy.

During my catch-up phase over the weekend, I did read posts and some gave me reason to think and once again ask myself ‘what are you really doing in here’?

Dino at DIYBlogger featured Francisco Rosales, the brains behind @Socialmouths and whereas our models are different, it made me think I should be more strategic and doing something like Francisco suggests.

The other was from my good buddy Jack Steiner (or whatever name the witness protection program will let him go by this week) @TheJackB. He’s calling out the guru’s and exhorting everyone to just be themselves and forget the noise.

And finally, my friend Margie Clayman at @MargieClayman.com who I respect and admire but seems to be feeling some angst on several fronts. She’s trying to wade through what is real and what isn’t (and this wasn’t a shameless link BTW…:).

Did I miss the boat?

One thing I can do, is be myself; and part of that is truly ‘just showing up’. I have tried to play the person who doesn’t care for about as long as I can carry this thing. Now the big question is, do I want to do anything about it; or just keep on ‘showing’ up and take what I can get?

It never ceases to amaze me how a couple of days offline can totally change your perspective and potentially your focus.

If anybody out there is reading their tea leaves or horoscope this week, will you let me know what direction it is taking me in? I’m a Leo…:)

*Brian had no prior knowledge of this….hopefully he is a good sport.