Magellan International School’s Entry for the Gigabot 3D Printer Giveaway. Happy Father’s Day!
Jun 15 2014

Printing CapabilitiesMy son’s 6th grade class at the Magellan International School, that was founded 5 years ago, is attempting to win a 3D Printer in the The Great Big Gigabot Giveaway!  Their video entry is on Vimeo here:  http://vimeo.com/97991510.  I was trying to find a way to embed the video, but it doesn’t work like YouTube so I included a photo of one of their 3D printers instead.

Please watch the video to learn how they plan to use the 3D printer to design and create toys for children at an area hospitals or shelters as part of their community service endeavors.  Then please go to to younoodle.com/podium/jr/great_big_gigabot_giveaway_judging/public_voting#0 to create an account and vote for their entry to win. Their video is in the bottom row on the left.  The decision is based 40% on popular vote, so please vote and share this post with your friends.  Thank you!

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful fathers out there!  You know who you are. :-)

Author: | Filed under: charities, father, Father's Day, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Broken Hearts and Broken Minds
Dec 16 2012

I try not to get too political on my blog, but sometimes an event happens like the killing of 20 six and seven year old kids and 6 educators by a mentally unstable individual, who had access to a semi-automatic gun, that compels me to write something.  The stories about their little bodies riddled with multiple bullets, make me shudder.  I can’t imagine the horror and pain those parents must feel.  I am partly in shock and cannot even wrap my mind around dropping off my 7 year old daughter at school to subsequently find out some lunatic shot her and her friends.  It makes me sick to my stomach.

There are so many random shootings by mentally unstable people and it seems as if this one is really striking a different chord.  People are tired of this nonsense.  There are no easy answers. I believe people have rights to own a licensed hand gun or even hunting weapons, but semi-automatic and automatic weapons just don’t make sense.  The people who fill out the right paperwork and clear the background checks aren’t usually the crazy people.  It’s their friends, relatives, or others who have access to the places the law abiding people keep their guns who have the potential to wreak havoc.  Can we feasibly check everyone that could potentially come in contact with a gun that someone is legally registering for?  Probably not.

I heard America has the worse statistics (behind Somalia) on gun related murders per capita in the world.  Some say we should arm our teachers like they do in Israel or Switzerland.  Others say the problem with that solution is that both of those countries require military service by all young people who get solid gun safety training as well as psychological screening.  Plus, who wants our kids going to school with teachers who have guns strapped to their backs?

I signed a petition at Whitehouse.gov to make discussion on this topic around the proper interpretation of the 2nd amendment a high level priority.  The petition is HERE.  Based on my understanding, the 2nd Amendment was primarily made to enable the common person to protect him/herself from the government, not insane people.  Advanced US Government weaponry is no match for anything available in the civilian market these days.  I mean, who is going to say it’s okay for Joe Blow to own a nuclear missile or an armored tank?

There are no easy answers but in my opinion, questions and potential solutions need to be asked & examined that include gun regulation combined with mental health screening.  What is going on in our society that enables mentally ill people to hide their illness so well from others?  Why is it that those closest to them do not speak up to get them help?  Hard questions to answer because of the numerous human, financial, and psychological variables.

My thoughts, prayers, and well wishes go out to those families dealing with so much heartache and pain right now.  They can no longer hug & kiss their little darlings good night. :-(  I hope our country will come up with some solutions that prevent something like this from ever happening again!

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Happy Father’s Day – 2012
Jun 17 2012

To all you great father’s out there who are really involved in the lives of your kids, Happy Father’s Day to you!  When father’s are involved in their children’s lives everyone, and I think even the dad’s themselves, are better off.  Just like having a good mother, a good father is critical to a child’s well being.  The same stuff holds true for great father’s that I mentioned in my almost record breaking viewed mother’s day post.

Much has changed in a father’s role over the last 50 years, and I think so far that change has been good!

Author: | Filed under: dad, father, Father's Day, holiday, working dad, working father | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

Streets of Barcelona
Jun 6 2010

Pigeons in BarcelonaI just got back from Barcelona, Spain, and I don’t recall another time in my life where I’ve had the time to sit, think, write and let the words come without having some daily routine distraction.  I was in Barcelona visiting my cousin, Ashan Pillai (a true Outlier) on my way back from a business trip to Portugal.  After getting all the gifts for my kids (couldn’t forget the Spanish team soccer/futbal outfit), I sat in a plaza near the famous Ramblas shopping area in Barcelona with a notebook, listened to the people, listened to the street noises & pigeons, and waited for the words to appear.  I had a lofty goal of writing 7 song lyrics.  I should have gone with the goal of 3 that Brett Wintermeyer, our courier at work and also band member of The Sophisticates suggested, but I have an ‘eyes bigger than stomach’ tendency.  I wrote 3 lyrics and started 2 others.  I wrote 5 poems and started 2 others.  Many more started and swirled around my head but never made it to paper or computer.  I still have no idea if my lyrics are any good as I haven’t yet put them to actual music.

The thing with poetry that I’ve discovered over the past year or so is that sometimes its meaning is different between the writer and the reader.  Who or what the poem is about becomes about the readers personal experience or interpretation of the words.  As a writer I know that I often write things that have double meanings which are both true but the degree to which one is truer can only be fully known by the writer and possibly specific readers close to the writer.

The meaning can also slightly change depending on how it’s read out loud…the rhythm of the reading can affect someone in ways unknown.  If you are a poet, this is probably not news to you. I suppose that’s the point…if it can touch someone even if it’s different than intended then it would have served its purpose.  I wonder how many poems/lyrics go unread by others because there are so many writers out there who write for themselves as they struggle with their humanity.  I suppose the really famous writers have their poems discovered after their death and people are left to interpret them best they can, but for us mostly unknown writers they probably disappear into oblivion.

I have never shared my poetry on this blog…well not the serious ones anyway but after being inspired by Shaku letting me post her Icarus In Flight poem on my blog, I thought I’d share just one.  On a side note, in addition to me knowing Shaku through a non-profit organization, she also worked for an Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) company called Webify that was bought by IBM.  It’s a small world considering I work for ATI now.

I wrote the following poem in my cousin’s neighborhood (the day before I went to the Ramblas) after hearing a song in a video my aunt was playing for me that evoked many juxtaposing emotions that compelled me to escape outside.  Fortunately, the weather is gorgeous in Barcelona this time of year.   This poem is a mixture of recent stories…a little bit of mine, a little bit of his, a little bit of people who changed our lives.  He is in the middle (or shall I say the beginning) of an experience no new father should ever have to go through.  So without further ado…

Streets of Barcelona

On the streets of Barcelona
I wander with ancient tears in my eyes
Thinking of you and nights all alone
At Last the song with many sighs

A translucent marriage to a soul
Recently departed to a sully sea foam world
Because one could not wait to grow old
Afraid to take comfort in touches never know’d

The blustery city noises and a pigeon’s soft coo
Might wash out the pain of consequence ridden choices
And obliterate irrelevant, life altering feelings taken by you
While holes you exposed must be filled with clear voices

True sadness eludes me because fear
Overrules the quixotic, addictive emotion of love
But steely sharpness of knowledge shall bring forth to bear
Wavering courage to continue onward from Above

© May 30, 2010 Aruni S. Gunasegaram

Author: | Filed under: father, marriage, parenting, poetry, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

About Pain
Mar 19 2010

Some of you may have been wondering why I took such an extended blogging break and why I’ve been so spotty in the times between posting.  I thought quite some time about posting this, but then I thought I might never reach my potential as a writer or even as a human being if I don’t throw caution to the wind and risk offending or for that matter validating/pleasing others.   Plus I thought that if it helps one person or helps someone think differently even if just for a nanosecond, then it would have been worth it.  Some of you may recall I wrote About Laughter, About Sleep, About Writing and About Car Paint.  This post is About Pain.

There’s physical pain and then there’s emotional, mental, and spiritual pain.  Most of us have experienced all different kinds in life.  The worst physical pain in my life came as a result of breastfeeding my son over 7 1/2 years ago now.  I developed an infection that hurt so bad I couldn’t sleep and if I was able to nod off, I would wake up with tears in my eyes.  I remember thinking “I want to die right now, but I can’t because I must feed my baby.”  I was determined to breastfeed him no matter how many people said I should give up.  I have never wished to die before or since.  I have wished to be waited on hand & foot while laying in a hammock on a beach drinking a pina colada and having my feet massaged, so if that’s what happens after death, I’m all in!  Thankfully the maternal instinct is so strong, and we live in a day & age where antibiotics are available that in a few excruciating weeks the pain was gone. But I still occasionally have memory pain that has diminished over time.

But emotional, mental, and spiritual pain seems to last much longer (unless you have chronic physical pain which probably exacerbates the emotional kind as well).  And unfortunately, a week of antibiotics doesn’t cure this kind of pain.  This kind of pain can start from childhood and stick with you…flaring up at various times in your life when things trigger your deep seated fears and emotional memories.  There’s a theory that you are often attracted to people that have some of the same traits as people in your family did growing up because it’s a known/comfortable pattern.  The theory continues that down deep, you want to resolve some of the pain that you as a child were never able to resolve, see your parents resolve, or resolve with your parents.  This theory is outlined in a book called Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage (Amazon Link), and I read it before I got married, but I didn’t really get it until now because I didn’t know what those patterns were until I was immersed in it as an adult and mother.

What happens when someone in a marriage (with kids) finally realizes that the pattern is not resolvable or they don’t know how to, don’t want to, or can’t resolve it?  They suffer or get divorced and the pain is horrid.  Especially the pain you feel for the kids as you imagine the pain they might feel.  I lived through a divorce myself as a child and was often caught in the middle of a lot of bitterness and anger, and I have relived that pain for my kids even though it’s a completely different situation and their dad is a very good, involved father.

What’s even harder is when you are both good people that happened to have a lot of unexpected crap happen throughout the marriage.  You wonder what is wrong with you.  When in most cases, there is really nothing wrong with you, but you look back and realize that neither of you knew how to nurture a marriage or you didn’t see or understand the signs that should have been big clues that something huge needed to fundamentally change in each of you.  It’s like you both have blinders on until suddenly one of you takes them off and doesn’t like what they see, don’t see, feel, or don’t feel.  Marriage, like life, does not come with an instruction manual and even if it did everyone is so different it would be hard to apply to your unique marriage and you would think you could wing it or that it didn’t apply to you.  There are more instructions around a divorce which requires a signed agreement between the two of you outlining your responsibilities than there is before a marriage.

So, yes I just got divorced after what was probably close to a year of being separated mentally, if not physically.  This past year is somewhat of a blur.  It’s the hardest emotional, mental, and spiritual pain I’ve ever experienced and unfortunately there are no legal drugs I can take to make the pain disappear in a few weeks.  Despite the fact that 50%-60% of marriages end up in divorce, it is the 2nd most stress inducing event anyone can experience behind death of a loved one.  And it doesn’t really matter if you are the one leaving, the one being left, or it’s mutual.  Mix divorce with unusual work dynamics, kids, and other personal issues and you have a recipe for a potential breakdown.  Fortunately, I am very lucky/blessed to have wonderful friends, co-workers, family friends, and family who have supported me and let me cry on the phone, on email (yes, it’s possible to cry on email) or in front of them and repeatedly (until I’m sure they were sick of it) told me that everything will be OK.  They let me say and write stupid (although sometimes funny) things and were kind anyway.  I have never felt so out of control in my life!  I mean I’ve gone months without reconciling my check book, was late on a couple of house payments, and my house (although overall neat) more disorganized than I’d like.  Plus a whole shit load of other emotional stuff.

I’m still a ways away from being back to normal whatever that is, but we both love the kids immensely and right now we can’t foresee not being friends and friendly for their sakes.  From my perspective, we both still respect each other and as hard as this has been, we’ve both taken the high road because that’s the kind of people we are, and we know it’s best for the kids.  A child counselor told us it was obvious we loved the kids and they loved us.  She also said that they got along so well with each other, were exhibiting normal behavior for going through what they were going through, and seemed happy despite what they were experiencing which of course took off about 80% of my maternal guilt.   I did a post back in September 2009, called Double The Trouble, Double The Fun which stemmed from me feeling glad they had each other during this hard time their parents were going through.  I felt that I/we had done at least one thing right by giving them the gift of each other to weather storms that life will inevitably bring them.

So now you know why I had such a long break from writing on the blog.  My personal life started to bleed into the blog, and I needed to get a handle on things for a little while.  I think back to that Entrepreneurial Ledge where I stood almost a year and a half ago.  When your sleeping heart wakes up suddenly, it’s a very disorientating, scary feeling.  It’s like gasping for air while at the same time trying to soak in all the colors, beauty, sounds, smells, shapes, feelings that you have not noticed/felt for years.  You start falling in love with life again and it seems that pain is a part of love.  You unknowingly/desperately reach out to people, anyone kind nearby to help ease this searing pain. In the case of some friends and family, they are there for you in ways you never imagined.  In the case of others, they can’t or don’t know how to be there like you want/need them to be and it exacerbates and magnifies the pain.  You start to realize that you are really reaching out to your lost self and the only one who can save you from drowning is YOU.  Then you start the process of excruciatingly, slowly mending a broken heart and falling in love with yourself…and you wonder why and when you fell out of love in the first place.

Thank you for reading.

About the photo:  The photo above is of a piece of art that my cousin, who goes by the pseudonym of Isaac Falconer, made for me when I told her I was getting a divorce.  I didn’t get to see her that often growing up.  She is a unique, vibrant, passionate individual.  She has followed her own path and seems to have found happiness in doing so as well as people who appreciate and buy her art!  She has even exhibited in Italy.  The piece is called No Pleasure Garden (c) 2009 and it’s made of Chantilly lace from Italy with hand made hypo allergenic orchids affixed to two locations on the huge piece of lace.  In her words, “It’s meant to be placed across the bottom of your bed as a reminder to you of YOUR personal glory – which has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with your life-mate or your kids or your professional work.“  It looks so lovely at the bottom of my bed and makes me smile when I enter the room.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, breastfeeding, father, marriage, mother, parenting | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments »

Traveling With Children – Know Your Rights and Limitations
Sep 1 2008

And now for a fabulous guest post from the ex-general counsel at Expedia, Mark Britton.  I wish I had known about his site, Avvo, before I experienced my Traffic Court Tribulations

Being the ex-general counsel at Expedia and now running Avvo and its free legal advice Q&A forum, I get a lot of questions about travel-particularly travelers’ rights and responsibilities.  As a parent of three rambunctious little boys, I offer this post to help traveling parents everywhere.  On that note, I am reminded of one of Expedia’s great early ads which said something like, “Whoever said getting there is half the fun has never gotten there with a screaming two year old.”  

So, in that spirit, here are some nuggets of knowledge for your next child-laden trip: 

1.  Traveling with kids doesn’t give you special legal rights.  A lot of people assume that because they are traveling with kids they have special rights and preferences granted by the Federal Aviation Administration or some higher authority.  The reality is that your rights-with or without children-are largely whatever the airline chooses to give you.  Don’t think you can be involuntarily bumped with children?  Oh yes, you can.  Outraged that the airline denied you early boarding with your pokey young children? Tough beans.  Not able to avoid your child’s tantrums by letting her run up and down the airline aisle? It’s the flight staff’s call. 

2.  Add 30-60 minutes to get to your gate.  Let’s face it, kids take their time.  That dead cockroach en route to your gate may be disgusting to you, but it absolutely requires closer inspection by a five-year-old.  I learned long ago that rather than trying to whip your kids into an adult pace, allowing more time to get to your gate preserves family harmony.  Just going through security is stressful for a kid-take it slow and make it fun. 

3.  Reserve the allowed seats for your kids.  One place that the feds do get involved is where your children may sit on a plane.  They may not sit in an exit row, and if they are in a car seat, they must sit by the window.  So don’t think you will book your young child in an exit row and the airline will have to live with it-they won’t.  The flight attendants will move you-I see it happen all the time.  Also, don’t book two aisle seats-one for you and your car-seated kid.  Just take it for granted that your child will be sitting by the window and you will be sitting in the middle by the big hairy guy who hogs the armrest. 

4.  No need to smuggle your baby food.  Keep in mind that while you are not allowed to take liquids on a plane, you may take liquid-based baby food.  Many people don’t know this, and so they attempt to come up with creative ways to smuggle on formula or the always-popular peas and carrots.  Stow your criminal tendencies, and simply declare the baby food.  You can take up to one-day’s supply on board, but I have found that TSA personnel are always very sympathetic and accommodating when it comes to food for your infant.  

5.  Kids can get the boot too.  Finally, keep in mind that an airline can deny you boarding-or even ask you to deplane-if your kids are disorderly, abusive or violent.  This goes for adults too, but people are always surprised that it pertains to kids. 

I could go on and on (bring a DVD player with headphones, seat your child behind a parent, etc.).  However, I think I have already exceeded my word limit.  Of course, if you have any more legally related travel questions, we are always here to answer all of your questions.  You can go directly to our free legal advice Q&A forum to ask your personal legal questions- anonymously if desired-and real attorneys will answer them. 

Travel sanely. 

Mark Britton
Founder & CEO
Avvo, Inc.

Accredited Online
If you are interested in the law and your rights and want to interrupt the status quo, consider earning a law degree online. Taking courses online allows you to set your pace and live your life as you choose.

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, father, FYI, parenting, toddler tips, travel, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Self Starter – Bart Knaggs, Founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment
Aug 17 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page of this blog.

Our most recent article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Bart Knaggs (gif).  Bart is the founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment which brings us the annual, highly popular Austin City Limits Festival.  Here is an interesting quote from his interview:

There are ways you want to manage opportunities, but mitigating risk, I think takes you down the wrong path.”  Instead of thinking that you might lose so you’d better prepare for the crash, Knaggs says you must believe you’re going to take off, so you’ll only prepare to fly.  “You have to commit 100 percent to powering the engines and getting up to speed.  You have to rally your people, you just have to know you’re going to fly.”

Bart has two kids.  After getting his undergraduate degree, he became a competitive cyclist – “a form of self-employment in which the sacrifice is monumental and the payoff only accrues to an elite few.”

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more article in the Self-Starter series will be coming out soon, so sign up for free email updates and you won’t miss it!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, father, success, success story, working father | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Father’s Day Is Around The Corner
Jun 10 2008

Father’s Day is coming up on June 15!  Fathers are playing an expanding role in the care and nurturing of their kids especially while they are little…more than they ever have before.

I would like to wish the many great father’s out there a Happy Father’s Day a few days in advance.

For those new fathers who can’t be there when their babies are born or soon thereafter because they are in the military, we offer free subscriptions to Babble Soft applications through our partnership with eMail Our Military.  Even though we now have men and women in our military, the majority of the military is still men and often young fathers.

For all other father’s you know who want to get involved in the early care of their newborns, we are offering 15% off purchase of all subscriptions through June 15 using code FATHER#1.  There isn’t a better reason for new dads to be on the Internet or their mobile devices than helping keep up with baby’s activities and milestones. :-)

So in addition to all of those power tools, electronics, toys, and other gadgets that are typical gifts for Father’s Day, you can also give a new or expecting dad a fun and easy way to can get involved in those early days of childhood.

And again, a hearty thanks to all of those who mentioned our partnership with eMail Our Military.

 

 

Author: | Filed under: dad, father, Father's Day, parenting, stay at home dad | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

Memorial Day – Babies and Our Military
May 23 2008

I met a gal on twitter who tweets by the name of @MailOurMilitary and @Dayngr.  Her real name is Trish.  We got to tweeting and emailing and then talking. 

Since Trish had gone through the hardship of being away from her husband when her first child was born, we both thought it would be a great idea to join forces to offer members of her non-profit organization, eMail Our Military free subscriptions to Babble Soft applications as well as access to a discount code for 20% off purchases for non-active military and friends.

So please let the military families you know about our offer and encourage them and others to sign up at eMail Our Military.  We know there is no way to make up for the lost time and touch of a parent who is away but now they have access to a free tool that can help bridge the unavoidable physical gap between two parents of a precious newborn.  We wanted to give people another reason, which is often overlooked (i.e., being away from their baby), to remember all those men and women who have put their lives at home on hold and/or laid down their lives to protect our freedom.

You can see the press release below, on our site, on PR Web, and on eMailOurMilitary’s blog.  Trish also wrote a more personal blog post called Baby Memories, Milestones, and Our Military where she mentions her experience as a new mom whose husband has to leave one week after her baby was born!

Happy Memorial Day everyone! 

Babble Soft and eMail our Military Join Forces to Offer Free Subscriptions to Babble Soft Applications for Active Duty Service Members with Newborns

Just in time for Memorial Day, Active Duty Service Members with Newborns now get free access to Babble Soft’s web and mobile applications through their membership at eMail Our Military.

eMail Our MilitaryAUSTIN, TX; MIAMI LAKES, FL – May 22, 2008 – Babble Soft and eMail our Military are partnering to offer free subscriptions to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese for active duty service members with newborns. 

“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Babble Soft.” said Trish Forant, Founder and President of eMail our Military. “My husband was called into service only one week after our first child was born.  I had very few friends and family to turn to for support where we were stationed and it was difficult for me to convey to him what I was going through with our new baby.  I would have loved to have the online tools Babble Soft provides to communicate to him how often and when our baby was feeding, sleeping, etc. as well as important picture milestones!”

 “Our goal at Babble Soft is to help strengthen and enhance connections between family members during that wonderful, yet chaotic time after a baby is born.” said Aruni Gunasegaram, founder and president of Babble Soft. “We support our troops and know how important it is for new parents who have to be away from their newborns to feel connected to what is going on at home.  Partners can share experiences and photos with each other through Babble Soft’s unique web and mobile applications. As an added bonus, members of eMail our Military will have access to a discount code to purchase gift subscriptions for their other family members who may or may not have military ties.”

Baby Insights helps caregivers keep track of baby’s breast & bottle feeding, sleep periods, diaper changes, medicine doses, immunization records, as well as mom’s breastfeeding, pumping and medicine intake. Having important information stored in one location makes communication between parents, their nanny, babysitters, grandparents, or doctors seamless and reliable and gives new parents insight into their baby’s patterns to help with crucial baby care decisions.

Baby Say Cheese lets you create a wonderful online baby’s first year photo album with milestones such as ‘first crawl, first smile, first word’ and family tree that you can share with friends and family.  You can even send a fun, cute picture postcards of any of your baby’s milestones to anyone with an email address!

About eMail our Military, Inc.
eMail Our Military was created in 2001 as a response to the DoD’s cancellation of the “Any Service Member” and “Operation Dear Abby” mail programs. As a safe alternative, eMOM picked up where these programs left off. eMail Our Military is composed of volunteers from all walks of life who understand that regardless of our political views, our military service members deserve our respect, support & encouragement. Website visitors can join and take part in a number of support projects ranging from sending eMail on a one-on-one basis with a service member to year round support projects that are open to the public. For more information on eMail Our Military, please visit http://www.eMailOurMilitary.com

About Babble Soft, LLC
Babble Soft is based in Austin, Texas and creates products that help make the transition into parenthood babblesoft-babyeasier.  Whether you need breastfeeding support, are experiencing baby sleep issues, are expecting twins, or taking care of a premature (preemie) baby and would like to create your baby’s first year album, Babble Soft offers unique, easy-to-use Web and Mobile software solutions that improve communication between caregivers.  Babble Soft makes a great baby shower gift that you can easily send via Email to any new parent anywhere in the world!  To learn more and purchase Babble Soft applications, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

For more information, please contact:

Trish Forant
eMail our Military, Inc.
(786) 228-7096
Info(at)eMailOurMilitary(dot)com

Aruni Gunasegaram
Babble Soft, LLC
(512) 961-6002
aruni(at)babblesoft(dot)com                                                                                   

 

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby insights, baby say cheese, baby sleep, breastfeeding, diversity, entrepreneurship, father, FYI, national holiday, parenting, twitter, working father, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

5 White Men, Rebranding, and Dads
Mar 22 2008

What do 5 White Men, Rebranding, and Dads have in common?  Well other than the fact that Dads are usually men, probably not a whole lot.  These are just some of the interesting things happening around the blogosphere.

5 White Men Talk About Social Media was written by Connie Reece at Every Dot Connects.  Connie is a huge presence in the world of social media especially here in Austin, yet was overlooked for a panel on Social Media the Chamber of Commerce was putting on.  She voices her frustration at women still being “invisible” even when they are playing a major role in the world of social media.   Connie got me started in blogging almost a year ago!  She is also one of the main reasons the Frozen Pea Fund initiative got started as a result of Susan Reynolds struggle with breast cancer.  Here’s a quote from her post:

This afternoon I got an email from fellow Dot-Connector Brenda Thompson with the subject line: “Five White Men Talk About Social Media.” That got my attention and I opened the email right away. …

It irked me too. It’s not like the organizers would have had to look very far to find some outstanding women to speak, and I’m not just referring to myself. In less than 30 seconds, Brenda and I came up with a list of five or six local women who would have made great panelists.

See, lists are easy to make. But women on lists are still invisible if conference organizers aren’t looking for the list.

Looking Minnesota. Feeling California and The Gaping Void Between Our Brand And Our Audience were two recent posts written by Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home.  After her recent trip to SXSW Interactive, she realized she needed to rebrand because many of her readers are not eMoms or even parents!  I love Wendy’s blog for a variety of reasons but mostly because she is open and honest about her experience as an entrepreneur and she readily shares her blogging and business tips.  We met through our blogs, had a couple of phone conversations and when we finally met in person at SXSW, it was like we just “got each other” as entrepreneurs and as moms!  I’m not sure if she has come to a decision on the new name, so go check out her posts and give her your 2 cents!

AllTop Dads launches.  Thanks to Guy Kawasaki of How to Change the World my entrepreMusings blog is near the top of AllTop Moms blogger list.  It’s a great place to go to check out all the top mommy and daddy bloggers.   If you don’t know Guy, he was once asked to interview for the CEO position at Yahoo! take on the CEO position of Google and he turned the opportunity to interview down thinking there’s no way Google Yahoo! would amount to much.  He often refers to it as his $4 billion dollar mistake, but he reflects back and realizes that instead he was able to be involved in his children’s lives, which is priceless!  

So as I said when I began this post, there isn’t much in common between these links, but all are great reads!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, dad, diversity, father, mom, mother, parenting, random stuff, social media, working dad, working father, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Success To Me – Clay Nichols
Mar 6 2008

I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Clay Nichols.  Clay is a Michener Fellow at the Texas Center for Writers and Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at DadLabs, an Internet TV show featuring humor and advice on fatherhood.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  Here is a thought provoking quote from the article:

Leadership in a corporate context is very different from that in a family context.  To me that’s painfully and brutally obvious, but I’ve run across many who don’t seem to recognize that distinction and the relationship with their families suffers irreparably.”  He goes on to say “The time you spend with your kids is going to be as valuable to your ultimate success as the time you spend with your colleagues.”

You can’t manage relationships with friends and family the same way you manage relationships at work or manage your career.  I fall victim to thinking it can be managed the same myself from time to time.  They are two different things and as we’ve seen from observing people around us trying to fit a square peg in a round hole doesn’t usually turn out that well.

Stay tuned for a whole new series with the next edition of The Alcalde that will be called Self Starter. We will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ‘em Horns!

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Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, father, parenting, success, success story, working dad, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Gear Daddy Video Review – Sweet!
Jan 31 2008

I’m so excited to say that the first official video of Babble Soft Applications went live today on DadLabs – Gear Daddy.  I have wanted to do a video demonstration of our applications for a long time now but I was cycling through my entrepreneurial hats so fast, that I didn’t have the time or money to do a really nice one.  So now thanks to all the cool dads at DadLabs we have our very first one and it cost me some beers was relatively free! 

Go to their site and please Digg/Stumble the post if you like it.  They are fellow entrepreneurs and the more hits/visits they get to their site the more loved they feel and more importantly the more cool advertisers they can attract.  Sitter City is their sponsor this week.  Plus they always make me laugh which is one of my 2008 goals!  If you for some reason you need even more incentive to go to their site, I’ve embedded the video below:

I also just found out that it’s on YouTube also.  So you can check it out there too:

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby insights, blogging, dad, entrepreneurship, father, Just For Fun, parenting, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Guest Baby Tip: Throw A Baby Kegger/Shower For Your Buddy
Jan 17 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)

Today’s guest baby tip is written by one of my favorite dads, Daddy Clay.  Clay is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of DadLabs.  DadLabs creates all sorts of cool, informational, not-so-informational, and downright hilarious videos about being a father in this new era of “let’s share parenting responsibilities, shall we?”  On Monday’s they have a new video in The Lab, on Tuesday’s they are in The Lounge, on Wednesday’s they have Daditude (Daddy Owen is pretending to be pregnant by wearing a pregnancy belly), and on Thursday’s they are all about Gear Daddy.  Check them out!

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Welcome any and all baby showers/keggers!

For lots of guys, as soon as the excitement of a positive pregnancy test wears off, the first concern is about money – well maybe the second concern – the first concern we’ll deal with in another post.  But money is definitely a big worry.  This concern hits an early peak on the first visit to the baby Mega-store – usually a scouting mission.  There, a guy silently tallies up the expenses of all the items on the “necessities” list while trying to seem enthusiastic to the expecting mother.   How are you gong to afford all the baby gear?

Women long ago figured this whole deal out. Need to outfit the nursery? They gather the gals for a baby shower to play cute little games and open gifts with nifty wrapping. They giggle and gossip. Sound like fun, fellas?

Get over it.  Go along if you are invited, and tap into the power of community.  Actively encourage your wife to land as many showers as possible.clay-son.jpg

And here’s a radical idea.  Throw a dad shower.  But we can’t call it a shower.  Not gonna happen.  Let’s adapt.  How about having a Baby Kegger instead?!

You provide the beer. If you don’t like the idea of setting up a gift registry, host an auction. Ask your funniest buddy to MC and offer various goods and services up for sale to the highest bidder. Any bids on the last round of golf with the expecting dad before his life changes forever? Got to let the motorcycle or the season tickets go? All proceeds go to the stroller fund – – or the 529 plan.

Let your guy friends in on the action of supporting your new life as a parent. 

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in our other recent guest baby tips:

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, entrepreneurship, father, parenting, working dad, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

DadLabs, Mother-in-Law Video, and Babble Soft
Nov 30 2007

I have written about DadLabs before at DadLabs Keeps Us Laughing and I’m writing about them again because they are cool, professional, funny, laid-back, politically correct, and because Daddy Troy just interviewed me/Babble Soft yesterday for a Gear Daddy episode that will air in January 2008!

Daddy Clay also included Babble Soft in a piece in our local Austin American Statesman called Gifts for new or expectant parents that went online today and will be in the print edition tomorrow.  Such thoughtfulness!

Our relationship with DadLabs is just one of the reasons I think being in Austin, Texas is so cool.  It’s such a friendly, connected town that is so supportive of small companies.  Many of us entrepreneurs know that it’s a long road full of challenges, good decisions, bad decisions, no money, some money, nice guys/gals, not-so-nice guys/gals until (or if) we reach our goals of sharing our products and ideas (profitably) with the world and it’s nice to be able to help each other out!

As I was leaving their studio, Daddy Owen was preparing to put on a Pregnancy Sympathy Belly for his Prego Man experience.  They have a very verbally forthright video on their blog with their pitch to Daddy Owen as to why he should be the one who plays the pregnant dad at Daditude – Prego Man the Pitch that I thought would be a bit too verbally graphic to embed here.  But for those who don’t have kids in earshot or want to see Dads talking about how it is to be pregnant, check it out.

I will, however, embed The Lounge – Mother-in-Law where they interview the moms who wrote Baby Proofing your Marriage, that I’ve mentioned before, sharing their thoughts about experiences with their mother-in-law.  Enjoy!

UPDATE: When embedding the video it broke the layout of the following posts on Firefox (thanks Pearl for the heads up) so I had to remove it.  You can always check the video out by clicking here.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, dad, entrepreneurship, father, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

DadLabs Keeps Us Laughing
Oct 29 2007

Check out the new and improved DadLabs site.   I’ve been to their lab and met with pretty much all of them.  I have to say they are pretty darn cool.  They have some downright hilarious videos and I’m embedding some of them below.

Manly breastfeeding  – a.k.a. Daditude ‘Milk Man’ – (if you are easily offended you might not want to watch this one.  If you are ready for a good laugh, I recommend that you watch this one at least 5 times but make sure you aren’t holding a drink.  I was laughing so hard I couldn’t stop the tears!).

The Lab Shoes (all about finding that ever elusive kid’s shoe when you are about to walk out the door)

I can’t wait for them to do a Gear Daddy video on Babble Soft!

From Daddy Clay:

Howdy,

Well it’s here.  With an assist from our new producing partner For Your Imagination, the DadLabs site is relaunched, and Season 2 has officially begun.  Our kickoff episode is appropriately enough, all about shoes.  Get it?  Kick.  Shoes.  And check out the special guest appearance by Cooper John!

We could really use your support in this critical time, so please drop by the site and check out a video or three.  We will be posting a new episode of each of our shows each week: the Lab on Mondays, the Lounge on Tuesdays, Daditude on Wednesdays and Gear Daddy on Thursdays.  You can also check out a classic: all 100 episodes from Season 1 are available on the site.  You can even subscribe to us on iTunes now.

Our goal is 150,000 video views in the next two weeks, so if you wouldn’t mind, please watch 150,000 videos.  If you can’t manage that, please tell everybody you know to stop by the site and have a look.  And let us know what you think by leaving us comments.  Help us be the best internet television show on fatherhood.  Which shouldn’t be hard because I’m pretty sure we’re the only…internet…television…

Special thanks to the amazing guys at For Your Imagination.  When they announced their timetable for getting the relaunch done, I thought they were nuts.  Which they clearly are.  But they got it done, and it’s amazing.

So stop listening to me ramble on and go to the site!  And watch a bunch of videos and leave a bunch of comments.

See you over there.

Cheers,

Clay

Author: | Filed under: breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, father, Just For Fun, nursing, parenting, working father | 3 Comments »