About Me

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Damascus, Oregon, United States
I absolutely love anything that plugs in! My iPhone may just be an extension of my body. Networking, business, Christ, serving the community, husbandry, fatherhood, friends, and my amazing family are all that keep me ticking!

Friday, June 21, 2013

'Ask Damascus' to 'Move Forward'


The city of Damascus is at an impasse.  Not your typical choice between a liberal and conservative creed, selflessness and personal “wants”, or even individual power and collective rights.  Instead, we are tasked with the decision to set aside our personal differences in order to prevail against the ever-increasing Portland Creep.  The beast of Metro is one mentioned quite frequently in our little town.  Unfortunately, the distain towards such a cancer with little action, seems to be where it all stops.  From there, the people of Damascus appear to shift this negative energy toward each other.

On this November’s ballot, we could see everything from disincorporation, recalls of elected officials, and the long awaited comprehensive plan.  It seems to be a virtual “choose your own adventure book” of decisions.  One direction could decide the rest of the votes for a citizen. 

What I’ve gathered, as I’ve kept my ear to the ground, listened neutrally to both political sides, and met with those in both camps of the argument, is that those who wish to remain a city (most of the populous) have been divided into two groups.  One group who shows almost a blind allegiance to the Mayor, and the other who are so fed up with the Mayor and the political action group Ask Damascus, that they are willing to hand the city back to Clackamas County, under the control of Metro, just to see the political unrest come to an end.  The latter, from what I’ve gathered, is so jaded by the negativity that has occurred at city hall that they have failed to comprehend the true ramifications of being under Metro’s reign.  Those who are leading the disincorporation movement are a mixed group of individuals.  Some are truly liberal-minded, who welcome the control of Metro, and others who are simply taking away the Mayor’s “sandbox” in hopes of a municipal “reset”.  No matter the reason, the conservatives who continue to wage interpersonal war are making the disincorporation group’s job very easy.

There is not one single solution to this blanket issue, nor is there an easy one.  There is however, a first step.  It is imperative to understand that the feat we have is that of defeating an external threat, yet is no longer the “what”, but the “how”.  If Damascus is to take a stand as a community with local control, we must gather as many as possible to achieve that goal.  Given our track record as a city, I anticipate a great deal of disagreement within this group, yet now is not the time to address these disagreements.  We have a comprehensive plan to approve, multiple committee seats to fill, a city manager to hire, and one city counsel position to appoint.

The negative, cutting, crusading techniques that have been practiced during these tumultuous times have done nothing to arrive at the stated goal.  Carrying out the recourse of personal vendettas is not carrying out the will of the citizens.  They have only served to drive a wedge between the good conservatives of Damascus and set the groundwork for our impending demise.  The choice is ours.  It is time to use logic instead of emotion to claim our individual rights and freedom.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Come on Eileen!

I recently had some interesting interaction with a popular Portland mayoral candidate.  Eileen Brady, claimed founder of New Seasons Market, one of three, campaigning in the primary race for the 2012 Portland mayor election.  I heard on the radio a couple months back that she used a media firm based out of Chicago, without even a satellite presence in Portland.  Now, this may not be such a big deal to most, but since Ms. Brady was campaigning hard with the slogan, "Put a Job on it," I found it troublesome that she chose to outsource the girth of her media spending back east.  She even went as far as to parody the show Portlandia with it's ever-increasing fan-base and national cult following.  In this digitally connected age we live in, I thought I'd give social media a try and see what Eileen had to say about choosing not to use a local firm for her media.  

I shot a tweet her way and requested an answer on why she decided to use Chicago-based firm, mmmmmsociety, for her campaign media.  To no surprise of mine, she ignored me.  A few more of the same tweet over the following weeks and one last mention that I had been waiting 28 days for an answer, and she eventually sent me her generic request to take the discussion offline by emailing her so she could tell me about her "tremendous team".  What the heck, couldn't hurt to start some dialogue, right?  Well, it may hurt her already lame PR.  So I emailed and got a response claiming that "Ken Snyder and Terri Pickerill," I'm assuming the owners of the media firm, "are a great duo out of Chicago that do tremendous work.  They use Portland media team members to do their filming and production, etc.  All of my other team members are based in Portland."  As a voter, I felt as if I had been passed off by Eileen as a mere peon and that she had bigger fish to fry.  So I took my request back to the streets.  I tweeted back and requested a better, more specific answer.  "Ken and Terri from Chicago were the right match for me.  I have spent the cast majority of my money locally." Eileen tweeted back.  BINGO!  Now were were getting somewhere.

So I decided to check her facts on the Oregon Secretary of State website.  After all, all of her campaign finance information was public info.  Let's see if her claims were as she said they were.  Now keep in mind, I gave the "organic-lady" the benefit of the doubt on her numbers.  I tallied only the numbers above donations of $3,500.  So if I were to total all of them, they would look even worse against her claim of spending the "vast majority" of her money locally.

What I came up with was, out of $713,439 in total campaign expenditures, $508,202 were spent OUT OF THE STATE OF OREGON!!  What Eileen Brady publicly claimed as the "vast majority" only came to 28.8% of her campaign spending.  Please understand that I am no mathematician, I don't have an econ or poly-sci degree, and I don't claim to be an expert in much of anything, but I am pretty sure that 28.8% isn't a majority!  This means, using basis math, Eileen Brady, at that point in her campaign, spent 71.2% of her money out of state.  Turns out she is originally from Chicago, go figure!

After numerous requests for her to answer to these numbers, fielding a bunch of wannabe political advisors' tweets about how I don't understand the numbers, and what should have been a very embarrassed Eileen Brady ignoring my tweets, I still had no answer to her claim of how she spent her money.  Maybe this is my fault for expecting to have a claim of someone running for office actually add up against the hard data.  At any rate, what I do know is that she is going to have to take her dishonesty back to the drawing board if she wants to make another attempt at running for office again in the future.  I wonder if she is sitting there thinking, "what could have gone wrong?"

(Check my data, it's all there)












Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011

This year has been...interesting.  Most years previous can be summed up with a few, or even one word.  This one, not even close.  In-fact, I don't know if this blog will hold such a massive load of ups and downs, personal development, friendships developed, and the blessings poured onto me and my family.  This year started out with a new baby, the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.  I've seen some real ET lookin' newborns so believe me when I say that this child of mine was gorgeous.  I can't say that my sleep was too drastically affected because my wife went into superhuman mode and just took care of things.  I felt like my job just got easier.  She amazes me to this day.

I battled through challenges at Sterling that I never could have foreseen.  I can handle losing accounts or getting the phone slammed down on me but these challenges were that of a different realm.  I was blindsided by the need to change up my sales game.  Not by brushing up on product or sales tactics, but to adopt theories that completely flew in the face of everything I had understood in sales the six years before.  Without using the next fifteen pages to describe it in detail, I had to toss my pitch out there, as weak as it may have been at the time, and simply trust God to deliver it or not.  It drove me nuts.  I'm still a work in progress but when I do trust, all my worry seems to go away and the sales roll in.

As far as family goes, I'm blessed with the most amazing wife and the most adorable baby boy.  That boy is turning one in a few days and I cannot believe it!

Other than that, my blog today, which is the first in many months, will remain short.  My life is as complex as I've chosen to make it.  I've chosen to live a very simple existence and that may be my best advice to those who want to hear God's voice and receive his blessings.  So here's to 2012!

-Andy

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vaccinations

Just a quick snapshot at what Graham's suggested immunization schedule looks like. Below is our "slow-vax" alternative. I'm told by doctors that 18 vaccines at 27 different doses are perfectly safe. Guess we can just pray that God guides us on this decision. See below for the spreadsheet I've made to organize such a daunting schedule.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Dance - A Customer's Guide

Today I am finally talking about the process in which I subject myself to every day. I'm talking about that good ol' sales process. I have been doing what I'm doing as a career for almost six years now and my best customers have been those who I've not needed to 'sell'. These were more negotiations, some even quite stressful. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind a bit of a squeeze to keep me on my toes as an account manager. This 'dance' that I am about to talk about is more than painful. In fact, I'd go as far as to match it to some forms of psychological torture.

It seems in this fledgling economy, potential customers find it necessary to wage virtual war with their vendors. What makes it worse is that I don't really understand why. You see, what starts out as a potential give-and-take, turns quickly into a game of ignored phone calls, unrealistic requests, and a decision to either attempt to execute the proposed solution themselves, or to choose the least expensive due to budget constraints they failed to inform the vendor of in the beginning.

The fatal flaw in this whole journey is that the customer enters into it without the understanding of three important facts: They are the ones in need of something and the salesman is the one who has it, the salesman and the customer are equals, and the salesman is the expert when it comes to the proposed solution.

When a customer engages a salesman, he needs something. This puts him in a vulnerable place. The salesman can either choose to respect that and meet the exact needs or to take advantage of his need, lack of understanding, and potential budgetary fears. The latter is what the average customer expects and sadly in a way, desires. They enter into the process expecting to be taken advantage of. This immediately builds a wall that may be impossible to break down as they both continue through the process. These preconceived notions are what will eventually hurt the sale from happening and keep the customer from benefitting in any way. Rule #1 Mr. Customer, take down your guard. Open up to a potential relationship that will benefit you and your business greatly. Don't be afraid to give the salesman the keys. Be smart, but not skeptical. Be open and communicate with your potential vendor. When you inform them of possible alternative solutions you're looking at, it starts an invaluable dialogue that will likely help educate you on your needs. A salesman knows you are entertaining other options, he's not a child. Don't lie to him, don't tell him you can't tell him the competition, or even what the price will look like. You are not a secret agent, why act as if you are sworn to secrecy?

Second, if you feel you are in a position of higher authority than your vendor, you're playing a losing game and you'll draw the short straw every time. It is imperative you understand that you are equals in this process. If you play games with your vendor, it will cause you to close yourself off to valuable information, create a frantic situation of your salesman worrying more about your loyalty and less about your well-being, and even if you choose that vendor in the end, will create a strained relationship between the two of you from then on. Entering into the sales process thinking that you hold all the cards is a ridiculous way to do business. Neither party enjoys this and nothing positive can come from this.

Last, and most important in my opinion, is don't try to reverse-engineer, break down pricing, or attempt to gather as much information so that you can build the proposed solution for a lesser up-front cost. How many times have you walked into a restaurant an asked the chef where he got all his ingredients and to write down the recipe? If your business is to consult, don't try to be a phone company. If you are in IT, don't try to build a network from scratch on a shoe-string budget to support the services you desperately need but aren't willing to pay for, just because you know a thing or two about IT! Let me spell it out to those who still choose ignorance; the vendor likely has a countless amount of experience in his field with an entire company of resources behind him who have sent decades making their proposed solution work. Your on-the-job training, tiny budget, and frustration with your meager salary will do nothing to deliver even close to the solution you're desperate for. This may even require you to pick yourself out of that chair, walk to your boss' office, and demand a better way of doing things.

Well I hope someone who is in the role of the customer stumbles upon this and has a bit of a breakthrough. The simplest thing to take from this is that acting like the typical 'customer' will only end up hurting you. The vendor has plenty more prospects on his list, many of whom are doing business differently and benefitting greatly in the end.

-Andy

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tax the Bicycles!

Other states are proposing registration fees for bicycles. I completely agree with this. If we are to throw money at the ever-increasing need to develop bike paths, especially paths that play music, there must be a way to pay for it. $25/year is nothing. I mean, these "hipsters" pay $2k for their MacBooks. Surely they can squeeze $25 a year from their skinny jeans. Before all the hipsters start protesting my opinion, keep in mind that you are still avoiding the price of gas that is exponentially increasing with each sensationalized Middle East report the media tosses our way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Back, back, back it up!

Recently I have been working to back up all of our data that my wife and I have. From pictures to videos, copies of bills, and school documents, it seems that more of our valuables reside in digital form than on paper. I have a special hard drive that I replicate our entire of life onto. It seems we have taken more pictures (new baby) in the past two months than we have in the last few years. It's more important than ever to back these important documents up.

A few days ago I thought that maybe I was going overboard with backing our data up. One thing I focused on in particular was my phone. I live and die by that thing. I send emails, tweet, store/take photos and videos, and even blog from it! I make it a regular practice to plug it in and send my photos and data to multiple places a few times a week.

Today my security blanket (phone) crashed. Yes it's possible for the wonderful iPhone 4 to crash folks! Even with my obsessive backing up, I still managed to lose a fee texts, pictures, and songs. This just goes to show that you can't ever be too careful!

So make it a regular part of your life. Back up your data with inexpensive programs like iTunes and Carbonite. It may not seem worth it at the time, but you'll thank yourself when, and I do mean when, your hardware crashes.




-Andy