On being a professional
Below is a stream of consciousness I jotted on design professionalism… Good intentions are the hopes of amateurs. Principled leadership is the way of the professional. The amateur is hired to carry the buckets.  The professional is hired to plug the hole.  A professional must abide by a higher...
Believing vs doing
What matters more: believing right – or – doing right? If you ask 100 religious believers what believing “rightly” means, you get 100 different answers. However, if you ask those same people what doing right is… you find far more consensus.  Believe what you want, but do the right thing. 
We don't all have the same origin story
“Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.” – Barry Switzer
The motto of the cautious
I’m not for taking unnecessary risks, particularly as a husband and father with responsibilities bigger than myself.  But if you find yourself often saying or thinking, “better safe than sorry”, it’s time to loosen your grip on whatever it is you are clutching. Better to take the road less traveled and...
Discipline vs. regret
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn
Hire for excellence
My business partner sent me this article called, The Inside Story: 5 Secrets To Pixar’s Success. A brief and enlightening read.  Point number 5 is the one that really floored me, though.   I’ve pasted it below: Hire for Excellence. When Pixar is evaluating potential hires they look for three traits:...
Are we addicted to gossip?
Think about it for a second. Can you go 24 hours without saying anything bad about another person? If I asked you if you could go 24 hours without having a drink of alcohol, would you be able to? If not, then we’d say you were an alcoholic. So what about speaking ill of others… Food for thought. Control...
Lead to another
One thing does, in fact, lead to another. The type of work we take. The type of people we work with.  The types of decisions we make. They all lead to other experiences similar to them.  As a business owner, the application is pretty clear. When I consider taking on a project – an employee...
Strategy is not a feature
Without strategy, we’re at sea without a rudder. Wherever the wind blows, that’s where we’ll drift.  And it’s not just us, but our clients will inevitably follow. If we want to be leaders of influence – strategy cannot be a feature. We don’t charge extra for a fresh scoop of strategy. It’s essential...
How matters
My business partner posted this to his Facebook wall.  When I saw the preview image was a muscle-bound behemoth I was thinking that maybe his account got hacked, but what I watched was truly a punch to the gut. This video is speaking right to my core: if you want to improve, if you want to change,...
Aim high and get going
Just discovered Tom Peters today thanks to a colleague. Mr. Peters has a lot of wisdom and insight into what makes us tick as people. I watched about a dozen of his 2-3 minute videos. Each one drenched in the waters of the wise. This particular video talks about being extraordinary vs being “ho-hum”....
Bad clients vs. bad decisions
Most “bad clients” can typically be traced to a compromise you, yourself, made. It’s time to stop blaming clients for our own mistakes. Whether your a designer, developer, project manager or all of the above — it’s important to have a set of standards that will not be comprimised. This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky...
New and improved
“Our new and improved 16 blade razor doubles as a steak knife!”   The concept of “new and improved” is one we’re all familiar with.  Whether we’re reading a magazine or watching TV, advertisers are always out to increase the perceived value of their products and services. In the business of...
How to deliver value
Delivering value is how relationships are cultivated from a single engagement to a long term commitment. Here’s how you deliver value: Listen and get feedback Be honest (don’t talk bullshit and don’t deliver bullshit) Identify and solve the actual problems Don’t over-engineer (don’t sell people on a...
The prayer of St. Francis
This has always read to me more like poetry than prayer.  As such, I find that it can offer bits of wisdom to people from all walks of life.   The heart of this poetry is that we must be the change we seek, to put others before ourselves, and to treat others as we wish to be treated.  ...
The gift of character
Piggybacking on my previous post, here is a list of desired character traits I want to model for my family. Loving Loyal Kind Generous Silly Thoughtful The bar is set. And it is set high. It’s time to get tired.
Pursuing the invisible
A big theme in my life is the pursuit of the invisible. In some ways, it is a concept that is woven in all of life. Parenting is no different. Being a Dad is learning as you go.  It’s an on-the-job-training environment that expands your limits, strengthens your character and gives you gray...
The so-called Santa lie
The idea of the “Santa Lie” is a grade of foolishness that I describe as an over-spiritualized-stick-up-the-rear.  Let your kids have wonder. Let them be innocent. Let them figure it out themselves. 
Thankful
A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.– Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m thankful for friendship today. With my beautiful wife. With my lovely family. With my cherished and loyal friends. I’m thankful for all the little things we share. Especially the little things, actually....
We are prophets of a future not our own.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the...
Design is not decoration
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs Whether we’re talking about computers, chairs, or websites—questions of design don’t begin with color or style. They are about purpose and desired outcome. Designers provide solutions, not mere decoration.
Think, then act
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.” – G.K. Chesterton
Design solutions
I love sports. The  theatrics of great competition is exhilarating.  But when I watch these professionals at work, what I’m observing is the final step of a process. Your favorite NFL team doesn’t just show up on Sunday and run around the field based on a series of gut feelings.  They are executing plays...
Don't quit
“I hated every minute of training, but I said ‘don’t quit, suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali
Get tired
“Fatigue is the price of leadership. Mediocrity is the result of never getting tired.” – Oswald Sanders
Knowledge vs. wisdom
The difference between knowledge and wisdom is the difference between a computer and a human.
Deliver widespread value
Saw this on the Zurblog: Focus your efforts on the features which are used by all of your customers all the time. Doubling down on these features adds far more value then adding ones which a few select customers would use.
Note to self
Note to self: thinking about things that matter isn’t the same as doing things that matter.  Don’t think your life away, Stephen.
Focus on the right things
In his book, The Five Temptations of a CEO, Patrick Lencioni makes a brilliant point about how easy it is to focus on the wrong things. In an old episode of the I Love Lucy show, Ricky comes home to find Lucy crawling around the living room on all fours. When he asks her what she’s doing she explains...
Do the hard thing
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – Seneca
Trust happens
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway
Be quick to listen, slow to speak
“Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy
Focus on progress
The best is the enemy of the better. Make steady progress on the road to your dreams.
My donation form philosophy
When building donation forms, here’s my philosophy: no optional fields. If it’s important, include it. If not, delete it.  Better questions = better data.
The longer you wait, the longer the path
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
When nurturing your team...
Criticize in private, praise in public.
How do we measure quality?
An important consideration for any team: how are we measuring quality?  If that’s job one—how is it measured?
Business value is the objective
Time, scope, and schedule are not objectives—they are constraints. Business value is the objective.
Important vs unimportant precision
I would rather have a fuzzy number of something important than have a precise number of something unimportant. This can make planning a project more difficult, but clarity on addressing priorities increases value. 
Savor friendship
Anyone who doesn’t think food and drink don’t taste better in the company of friends is not paying attention.
Cool is not a strategy
Joe Rinaldi has written a brilliant article called “The ROI of Cool”.  In it he describes his disconnect from the impulse to pursue and produce “cool” designs and products. In our work with nonprofits, there is often a misguided desire to have what I term a “high cool factor”.  It gets dressed up with...
Be prepared
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” – Abraham Lincoln
Seeing is believing
“Faith in thought is powerful, but faith in action is magnetic.” – Alan Cohen
Put your phone down
“Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.” – Jim Rohn
Believing is doing
“You can live opposite of what you profess, but you cannot live opposite of what you believe.” – Dallas Willard
Love expressed in action
If love does not express itself in behavior, it is useless and false. 
Doing vs. intending
Getting things done is about doing, not intending.  A failed effort is infinitely more valuable than an intended effort.
Stay curious
“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” – Walt Disney
Everything I never knew I always wanted
There are a lot of ways to describe fatherhood. Fulfilling. Exhausting. Surprising. Wonderful. Exasperating. Diaper-riffic. The list of adjectives truly is limitless.  But on this eve of meeting my second child, I am most reflective of how humbling it has been be to embrace the sacred responsibility...
Get real
My business gives me the opportunity to interact with a variety of incredible people and opportunities.  Much of these lie in the world of faith-based ministry.  An observation I’ve made is that there is a strong desire to be perceived as, Real… Authentic… Approachable…   But the...
Results matter
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill
Shoulds vs. wants
Doing “shoulds” not “wants” develops character.  Both are important, but one makes you a better person.
The invisible
One lovely tradition my son and I share is watching a bit of soccer on Saturday mornings. I don’t want to overstate this “tradition”. After all, my son is a mere two years of age and has the attention span of a napping beagle. However, he knows what he wants, and on Saturday mornings—and so he insists...
Carry each other's burdens
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” – Ann Lamott
Gratitude is essential
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” – Saint Ambrose of Milan
Problems vs. solutions
“The reformer is always right about what’s wrong. However, he’s often wrong about what is right.” – G.K. Chesterton
The big picture
“Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile.” – Walt Disney
Friday night tights: how a onesie opened my eyes
It was an early evening in mid September. I was home alone. A Friday night, if I remember correctly. Now there was nothing particularly special about this evening. I was waiting for Shelley to come home from work so we could go out for a delicious meal together. Probably Italian. I don’t remember, I...
Choose your battles
“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.” – Unknown (to me, at least)
Various facts: not that you asked
This post is inspired by Katie who “tagged” me to post 8 random facts or habits about myself.  Like most people, I can’t resist all my narcissist urges. So here goes. 1. I have a series of odd phobias: ( a ) I don’t like handling other people’s jewelry. Specifically rings and earrings. ( b ) If...
An old friend
I really haven’t minded growing up. Sure passing through the different stages of my still-somewhat-brief life has meant giving up the freedom and innocence that childhood offers. But the exchange rate in the world of adulthood is one I have found worth the trade. Well, mostly worth the trade. At this...
Krunch time
Tonight Shelley and I hit the Tom Thumb for an emergency ice-cream pit-stop. I enjoy the supermarket, especially later in the evening when the shopping population has dwindled. One of my intellectual abnormalities is a fascination with product packaging (and product jingles … but that’s not the topic...
Once and again
Friday night Shelley and I enjoyed the company of good music. One of our favorite music groups, Snow Patrol, was in town. It had been a few months since my last concert … and so, too, it had also been a few months since I had an irrational bout with one of my bizarre pet peeves: the purported conclusion...
Light up the world you live in
“A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed—what gospel is that? Very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone,...
Against the wind
“Kites rise highest against the wind—not with it.” – Winston Churchill
The time of our lives
One of my favorite cinematic moments is the closing scene of the movie “Love Actually”. The plot has reached its climax. “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys fills the gaps left by the narrator. A montage of airport embraces, kisses and caresses fill the screen. And the tenderness of reunions comes to...
Ten years later
This coming weekend is my ten year high school reunion. Yes, it’s true. This seems like a big deal. I mean, it is ten years. That’s a pretty high percentage of my life thus far. Something like 3,650 sunrises and sunsets have come and gone since I was that semi-innocent, know-it-all 18 year old kid many...
Always use an ice chest
Last weekend Shelley and I hosted a “Couples Wedding Shower” for my good friend and business partner, Chris, and his beautiful fiancee, Melanie. It was a big soiree that brought nearly thirty people into our home. I was a bit concerned about fitting that many people into our domicile, but as it turns...
Smooth as silk
A surprising twist of fate befell me last week. Last Tuesday as Shelley was packing her bags for a brief stay in Tampa Bay on business, she mistakenly smuggled my Gillette Mach 3 razor to the southeastern peninsula. There I was. Alone. Scruffy. Razorless. If the story ended here, surely this would be...
See you in Germany
The UPS man made a visit the Boudreausian palatial estate this weekend. And he came bearing gifts. This past weekend Shelley’s and my match tickets to the upcoming World Cup arrived. And with them, even more material evidence that we are about to embark upon a once-in-a-lifetimeexperience. Four years...
Marathon man
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I live my life. I don’t mean on a moral or ethical level, although that is equally important, but rather in “carpe diem”, “grand-scheme-of-things”, “what am I doing with the time I have on this earth” sort of way. Let me back up. About two months ago, I was chatting...
"Intimate sensations"
For the past couple of weeks we have been settling into our beautiful new home. I really can’t adequately describe just how much we love it. But as is the tradition in our lives, something kind of funny has happened. Well, with the new house we decided to get a new phone number. Little did we know we...
On friendship
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” – CS Lewis
A happy camper
Most of you who know me well know that I am not what one would describe as “an outdoorsman”. I take no offense at this categorization (or is it a lack of categorization? anyway.) While I do love nature and very much enjoy quite a bit of outdoorsy-type activities (fishing, hiking, anything involving lakes...
A pirate no more
I’ve been meaning to post this for months now, but… As of this past summer, every piece of software and each and every mp3 in my possession is completely legal and/or paid for. I have to say it feels great to have removed this stain of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance from my life. When it came right...
Carpe forward
I’m sure I am not the only one to whom the following scenario has occurred. Computer: “Ding” Stephen: “Awesome. New email. Oh man… it’s from an old friend. How exciting!” Computer: “Friendship is the ship that never sinks. Forward this to 20 friends or risk titanic-like elephantitis on your genitals.”...
Communication breakdown
“Big Huge”…Where did this term come from? It is everywhere. I’ve seen it on television shows and movies, read it in newspaper columns and websites, heard it from friends, family and it has even been known to emanate from (gasp!) my own mouth! This is more than a new idiom of pop culture jargon — it has...
Emotional chocolate
“I hate to admit it, but that’s my guilty pleasure.” – lots of people, everywhere If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard that phrase come up in a conversation or two. In fact, you’ve probably said something along those lines yourself. We’ve all got them. Those dastardly little habits,...
Can't and won't
The difference between what I can’t do and what I won’t do is a gap I’m learning to close. Personally, this is especially true when I’m in the gym. It’s amazing how much of the battle is not necessarily against my body, but my mind. That being said — it is my upper body, not my mind, that is definitely...
Be yourself
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind!” – Dr. Seuss
Where have you gone Bobby Jones?
Well, by now you’ve probably heard the news and read the headlines. In so many words, Barry Bonds admitted to being all juiced up. This is a devastating blow to Barry Bonds, the game of baseball, and professional sports in general. To make matters even more dubious for Bonds, he claims he didn’t realize...
The Houston Oilers
The sweet old days of pale blue jerseys, Warren Moon, the electric slide, and an addictive habit of crumbling in the playoffs have come and gone. Former Houston Oilers fans, like me, are left with a mere handful of memories, most of them disappointing. If it wasn’t a last minute John Elway comeback,...
The rest of the story
As much as I wanted to order the crusted chicken Romano, this is how it all went down. First off, my original plan was to get the ‘steak sandwich with fries’ as my mamacita recommended. When we arrived to the restaurant and perused both volumes of the menu, we were confronted by the unfortunate realization...
Dinner, a movie, & the word ‘de trop’ in a sentence
Ahh. Thursday night. AKA: Date night. This is our regularly scheduled evening where we make a point to go out in public, gaze longingly into each others eyes, and if all goes as planned, make everyone around us uncomfortable. Just kidding… sort of. It is indeed our wonderful date night this evening....
And that's one to grow on
Saturday mornings in the 80s wouldn’t have been the same without those friendly PSA’s from NBC called “One to Grow On”. They provided tips and advice that ranged from how to grow your financial portfolio to how to avoid getting hooked on nicotine. But what they really provided was the opportunity for...
Math on the go
Calculator watches. I can’t be the only one who sported one of these babe-magnets at some point during adolescence. Mine was so hot, in fact, it became hot. That’s right, my bitchin’ black Casio calculator watch got stolen! This traumatic event may explain so much. Not having this cutting-edge tool available...
October magic
With a lunar eclipse overhead, a legendary curse on their shoulders, and former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp singing God Bless America, the Boston Red Sox put an emphatic exclamation mark to the end of a remarkable season. In the words of Denny Krane of Boston Legal fame would say, “they pulled a rabbit...
Best sound editing
So my thought for today comes from watching part of the Grammy’s last night. What are your thoughts on awards ceremonies like that? Whether these types of events interest you or not, it isn’t difficult to recognize the fascination that comes with events like this. Celebrities, music, competition, suspense,...
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