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December 24, 2017

The Year Santa Claus Fell Hard

This image was generated by AI under the author's direction. Santa Claus isn't dead; he's merely sprawling.

This story is guaranteed 100% true. I hope you enjoy it.

My mother was the oldest (and most responsible) of four children.  While they eventually relocated to Northern California, they grew up on a farm in Atoka County, southeastern Oklahoma – a region called “Little Dixie,” as it shares its culture and geography with the American South. On scholarship, Mother went to Denton Women’s College (now Texas Women’s University) in Denton, Texas, near the Oklahoma border. Women’s college back then meant studies in home economics, Gregg shorthand, and other secretarial skills.

November 30, 2017

Remembering Ms. Emma Kelley

This is my dad, Cecil Baker Egerton, ca. 1930, with Emma Kelley who worked for the family as cook and nanny from the 1920's until her retirement in the early 60’s. I believe my earliest recollection in life is of sitting on the kitchen counter at my grandparents’ home in Knoxville, Tennessee, dangling my feet off the edge watching Emma prepare a meal. I remember her speaking softly to herself as she worked. (My mother later told me that Emma’s name for me was “Cecil’s boy.”)

Why I'll be Mailing Your Fire Extinguisher "Later"

Dear Kidde:
I feel we’re making progress on this fire extinguisher recall, about which I posted earlier. Now, having worked through much of the process, I have a few suggestions.

October 9, 2017

The Life-changing Key to Rebecca

Lives, careers, and friendships can be altered forever by a chance event.

The beginning of my senior year, I transferred to the University of Redlands (U of R), a well-respected private school in southern California. Previously I had attended a college in the southeast but, as tuition rose and my scholarship remained fixed, I was unable to continue. The U of R helped me apply for a Federal financial aid program called BEOG (known as Pell Grants today). While U of R was an expensive school, I was given grants and campus employment that enabled me to complete my degree.

When SAP Careers Hit the Mud

[This is a blog I wrote for an SAP careers firm.]

Here’s a getaway idea for those of you who enjoy driving off road, or would like to give it a spin. SAP customer Jaguar Land Rover offers an Experience Drives platform where, at 50 centers around the world, customers can test drive a Land Rover over inclines, descents, and side slopes; through water obstacles, and across muddy terrain – all with an expert coach who’ll keep you from getting in too deep.

September 14, 2017

Is there a moment for poetry in your life?

My days begin simply. A cup of coffee with my long-suffering wife of 34 years, as we catch up on the morning news.

At some point, I glance through the office- and private-email feeds on my mobile device, just enough to ensure that my world can manage without me until I’ve had breakfast. 
“I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet.” — Bob Dylan

August 10, 2017

Marketing: A Walking Shadow?

By early 2003 I had lost count of the growing number of my fellow marketers—people whom I’d known, in many cases, for years—who had arisen from their blankets one morning as newly-spawned experts in social media.
I was mystified. Social media was in its infancy, and I was still grappling with the basics, the most elusive among them being: how do I use this tactic in the world of marketing and selling a complex B2B offering to drive demand? Or can I?

My blog on AI and Machine Learning

A blog on machine learning (the original was linked here).

"Alexa, tell me a joke"
"Siri, what´s the weather going to be like in London tomorrow?"
These are everyday questions, asked by humans, answered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Siri and Alexa are automated personalities, integrated into the domestic sphere. Imagine a world, where your alarm clock tells the coffee machine to ensure a cappucino is ready by the time you reach the kitchen. A world, where cars no longer require a driver. A world, where board members are replaced by AI.

July 12, 2017

Silver bullets or arrows for the quiver? The value of SAP certifications

My latest SAP-related blog for client Red SAP Solutions is posted here, and also shared below. (I'm publishing this as published, with the inclusion of my British editor's UK spellings and punctuation.)

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June 30, 2017

Add Some Magic to Your SAP Career

I'm sometimes invited to contribute blogs to other companies. The invitations may come from the company itself, or via a marketing consultant or agency. Responding to requests like these requires some research on my part, as it typically takes me into a new content zone; but doing so is a refreshing exercise that I've learned to enjoy. It helps activate my brain a bit more. Here's an example, a blog I wrote for a company that is focused entirely on careers for SAP professionals. (While this one passed muster with only slight editorial touches, I'm taking the liberty of restoring my original title. The actual blog post can be found here.)

June 13, 2017

You Can Build a Content Marketing Machine in Just 5 Steps

During live Q&A in a webinar on a marketing topic last year, I was asked how my company, RES, produces a high volume of marketing content to feed our campaign, social media and media relations machines. I only had a few seconds, so I responded by saying it wasn’t especially difficult but it requires a team approach.

June 9, 2017

Type 34

I’m a lifelong car nut. But, unlike many such folks, I’ve not been impeded in my appreciation of cars by mechanical skill. I don’t fix them, I just enjoy them. Not that I haven't attempted my share of tinkering in the past. It was a stroke of good fortune that my first-ever car, a 1972½ Datsun 620 pickup truck, was as idiot-proof a mechanical device as has been created. I frequently poked around under the hood making adjustments of no value largely at random. But it was easy and fun to do, and I and the Datsun both survived. That is, until I ran it head-first into a palm tree; but that’s a story for another day. It’s my second car I want to write about.

June 5, 2017

Searching for Elvis in Indio, California

One summer, as a teenager, I was working the graveyard shift at a gas station a few miles outside Indio, California. It was in the Coachella Valley, deep in the southern California desert. The station was on Highway 111, at a point where it ran parallel to Interstate 10. It was, at least in those days, a lonely stretch of desert road and I worked my 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift alone, with only a tall hedge of oleanders (toxic to children and small animals) and the occasional customer to keep me company.

June 2, 2017

More About Doors

I'm still on my doorless journey, but this time looking at my other Jeep, the 2009 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited (it's the silver four door next to my black two door in the photo above). I have to admit I’ve never had the doors off this one either, despite buying it new in December ’08. My long-suffering wife drives this one fairly often, and she’s not a fan of open vehicles. She gets really irritated when I just take off the roof panels, so I usually don’t bother. This Jeep is buttoned up most of the time as a result. But it also has a challenge.

May 31, 2017

Going Doorless in PA

A while back, on this blog, I posted about my difficulty (i.e., failure) removing the doors from my ’00 Jeep TJ. While attempting to do so, all four of the bolts managed to break rendering the removal of either door a much bigger project than I would like to address with the meager tools at my disposal.

Then it came to my attention, via one of the Jeep forums online that I tend to haunt frequently, that driving a Jeep without doors is in fact a violation of the vehicle or traffic code here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Specifically, section 175.77(f), as quoted below:

Once Every Friday

I write a lot of white papers here at RES. But we have a lot to talk about, and many of us have unique perspectives to offer. For years, we’ve built our team with people from many countries who can really light the fuse when it comes to transforming how IT serves the business. That team includes software developers, support engineers, professional services, and many supporting people. It also includes the people in our Marketing and Sales teams who listen to buyers every day. We do it to understand their needs and to convey the RES vision to them in the most relevant, impactful way.

May 30, 2017

Things You Can't Make Up

As a professional storyteller, I have hoarded an abundance of anecdotes throughout my career: anecdotes in which I’ve either been a player or a witness. And each one of them can begin with this preamble: “you can’t make this stuff up.” Here’s one from my years as a marketer of thin client solutions. With the company long gone through acquisition, perhaps now it’s safe to tell.

At Last! I've Graduated

While rifling through a stack of papers, I discovered this blast from my past (and a legacy of my cherished years at Arthur Andersen LLP in the 80's and 90's). Do you remember CI? Continuous Improvement holds a place of honor as a business approach; it's earned its chops in many of the world's greatest firms. But there's something about that line on my certificate "a process from which (s)he will never graduate" -- words written over 20 years ago now -- that got me thinking.

Teach Your White Papers to Walk

I've spent much of my career writing, beginning with advertising and direct response copy for print in the early years (including those wonderful, four-page direct mail letters that were so much fun to write), and transitioning to digital copy that empowers the writer to produce anything from highly constrained tweets (I think of them as ugly haiku) to point-of-view white papers. Now that digital publishing has broken the restraints of publication length, shoving production considerations into the back seat, communications have become much more message-driven. And that's a great thing.

The Growth of a Metaphor

I wrote a white paper last year to articulate my company's vision and capabilities in the identity and access management segment of the IT industry. (Now, Gartner and other folks are calling this category "Identity Governance and Administration," and I'm sure there are great reasons for doing so -- none of which I'll debate here.)

Demand Generation is Not Pretty

After the first few decades in the marketing profession, many of us will have tinkered with consultative work at some point. Often, it will happen along the sidelines of a steadily progressing corporate career. (Some call it “moonlighting” but I prefer the term “beer money,” which more suitably invokes the actual liquidity of such labors.) At other times, it’s the result of a deliberate shift from salaried to consultative roles: a shift that can be long- or short-term as desire and opportunities dictate.