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Consulting, Coffee and World Domination

The past three months as a consultant for three communications companies of various sizes at three stages of growth (none of them Level three) have been an enriching learning experience. I’ve met different people, experienced dissimilar corporate cultures and learned diverse concepts. My commute has ranged from a stroll out of bed to a struggle with I-25 to sacrificial air travel on the redeye. The range in systems, processes and red tape is vast, yet, despite all their variety, these companies have one thing in common. Keurig. The coffee pod company with a Dutch-inspired name is taking-over the world. Am I the only one who sees a SciFi horror film plot unfolding here? Alien name, pods as the delivery mechanism… Their thinly veiled world domination ploy became apparent to me as I was Christmas shopping at Costco. A wall of Keurig as high as the eye can see. Then again, nothing goes better with donuts than free coffee. Cheers!

Fresh Donuts for a Fresh Start

Dear Friends, Like a comfortable pair of old jeans, “Dear Members and Constituents” has been my opening line for over a decade. An old habit if ever there was one, I could write these familiar words before the first sip of coffee lit-up my brain cells and by the time caffeine kicked-in, inspiration had already struck like a lightning bolt. Still, with no donut club to run or predictable place to get them (the downside of leaving Level 3), this linguistic crutch won’t do anymore. Much like Duck Donuts, made fresh as you wait (I had the privilege of trying them for the first time on a business trip to DC this week), this fresh start demands a fresh new opening line. “Friends” feels right. Over the years, your support and feedback have encouraged me to continue writing. They have also made me feel the bonds of friendship with many of you (I hope you feel the same way too). During this new stage, I hope this blog will serve not only as a creative outlet for yours truly, but also as a mea…

Life's Too Short, Grab a Donut!

Dear Members and Constituents, Why are you here? No, this is not the super-sized question with extra ketchup (i.e. why were we put on Earth?), rather, it’s just the medium-size, hold the fries variety (i.e. what motivates you to come to work each day?). Think about it. On average, we spend 30% of our week at the office (that’s 45% of our waking hours!). Such a large time commitment begs the question: why do it? It seems to me one way to over-simplify the problem is to view it as a continuum which starts with fear and culminates in fulfillment. In this lens, many of us start-out on the fulfillment side (change the world). Somewhere along the way fear creeps-in (bills to pay, mouths to feed). This pendulum may swing back and forth throughout our adult lives, depending on macro and individual circumstances. Ultimately, I would hope you’re doing it for more than just a paycheck, after all, there are so many ways to get paid, so why not do it with pizazz! Sure, no job is perfect and inevi…

Donut Infatuation

Dear Members and Constituents, Remember that first infatuation? Young and innocent, pure and authentic. Not quite sure what the attraction meant and not quite ready to take it anywhere, something in your inexperienced brain just flipped. Eyes like deep opalescent pools of marmalade, lips like ripe plums ready for the picking and hair like waves of silky wheat blowing in the wind. Lost in the feeling. Restless nights filled with visions of unreachable perfection and implausible stratagems to break the touch barrier. Ah, touch. That often overlooked sense seems to somehow hold the key to bliss. A shoulder bumped in passing, a casual tap. A cheek caressed, a handshake, a hug. If only you could gather the courage to touch that blissfully oblivious someone. Why that senseless urge for a seemingly ephemeral connection? Like a slow motion drop of water dissolving into an infinite pool, you envision an invisible energy exchange connecting you to that timeless someone; a moment forever etched…

Honk if you Love Dounts

Dear Members and Constituents, A car parked at the Level 3 garage (pictured) got me thinking about bumper stickers. Yes, bumper stickers, that passive-aggressive way to share something about yourself with your fellow commuters. Peel the backing, place the sticky side on your car and voila! You’re ready to show support, boast membership, crack an inside joke or mock others’ views. Permanently. Indiscriminately. Bumper stickers are a convenient means to broadcast your politics (for or against), national origin (pick an obscure three letter abbreviation), sport (26.2, 13.1 or 0.0), beliefs (fish, with or without legs), what you’d rather be doing (catching fish, preferably of the legless variety), advertise a product, or share how your group “does it” (can I get one that says “Level 3 employees do it around the corner or across the globe”?). There are even donut bumper stickers. You have the classic “bad cop, no donut” (because, let’s face it, there’s no way you’re getting off with a war…

Come Now, Donuts Are Standing-By

Dear Members and Constituents, I have a confession to make: I watched an infomercial this week. I forget the specifics, but somewhere between their patent-pending this and volume purchases of that, my mind started to wander. Suddenly, I was transported. There must have been a disturbing grin etched on my face as I imagined an infomercial of a different color –from the perspective of a fictitious, amoral and unscrupulous company. Now, before I take a stab at committing this script to paper (I should say bits in this case), conjure-up your favorite “infomercial pitchman” (here’s a compilation of bad infomercials, if you need some inspiration). Ready? OK.
Tired of expensive toys? Wallet worn-down from buying useless trinkets that hold your child’s attention for a few hours, at best? Have your kids been invited to yet another pointless birthday party? Stop! Don’t spend another twenty of your hard-earned dollars at the Walmart toy aisle! Did you know today’s children will play with the av…

Presidential Donuts

Dear Members and Constituents, I love my Friday morning commute! Having skipped breakfast to make room for donuts, my body goes into auto-pilot as my mind wanders. Answering the world’s pressing questions, such as, should I get a bullet-proof vest to protect against flying shrapnel from my car’s airbag?  The majestic clouds and mountains assembled on my dashboard remind me I have yet to make good on my resolution to carry a camera with a telephoto lens. News reports on the grand sheik of a mosque make me ache for a milkshake. Switch stations. Blast the radio, knowingly butchering The Cranberries’Dreams. Asynchronous air drums, inharmonious hollers, and an oblivious driver make for strange sideways glances from my fellow commuters. Hit the brakes, I’ve arrived! (thank God for auto-pilot reflexes!).
As I walk up from the parking lot, one final glance at the foothills (by now bigger, but framed by duller skies). Will donuts be here? Yes! Chris Hynes (donut boy) delivers in style. Four …