Happy Mother’s Day

Rejecting the brash commercialism that Mother’s Day has become, I did a little DIY for the two main moms in my life. I don’t remember where I initially saw this, but I was immediately attracted to the idea of making my own $15 Mont Blanc pen.

It is very simple to do. I got my supplies at OfficeMax buying the two-pack Mont Blanc for $10.99 and a 4-pack of Pilot G-2 Pens for $4.99 (so my per piece price was $7.50). As the instructions lay out, you only need to cutoff the little nub at the end of the Mont Blanc cartridge to make it fit in the G-2 casing. I bought the ones in with clear case so you could see through.

If there is any question about the appropriateness of the gift, my wife has an engineering degree and an MBA. My mom is an accountant. I am assure you they both appreciate fine writing instruments.

To the rest of you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!

House For Sale

We live about 40 minutes outside Milwaukee and with my growing responsibilities at 800ceoread, we need to get a little closer.

So, we are selling our house and I think there will be quite the story to tell by the time it is done.

Anybody who knows Amy or I know that we can’t do anything the traditional way. We have decided to sell the house ourselves and forgo using a real estate agent. Some might say we are crazy (this week’s Fortune is the Real Estate Survival Guide and recommends getting an agent), but we think it is going to work just fine. Amy has time to handle the inquiries and showings. For $500, you can have it listed like any other house in MLS. The service we used included professional signage and a public web page.

I thought I would give everyone the important information in case they knew someone looking for a house in western Waukesha County (that’s Wisconsin).

W324S7849 Paul Lane
Mukwonago, WI
Yahoo Map

Satellite Picture from Zillow

Important Things

  • Three Bedrooms (study could be a fourth bedroom)
  • 2.5 Bathrooms (master bedroom is ensuite)
  • 2.5 Car Garage
  • Built in 1991
  • 1.1 Acre Lot
  • ~2100 Square Feet

Price: $297,600
Full Listing on LakeCountryByOwner.com (page down to our listing)

Call Amy at 262-363-1564 to schedule an appointment

P.S. Freakonomics has some things to say about real estate. The looked at the ten most common words used in real estate listings and were able to divide them in two categories based on price gotten for house. One of the no-no’s is exclamation marks. You will not see any of those in our listings for the house 🙂

P.P.S. We’ll keep you posted on how things go.

Order A Backup Drive Right Now

We purchased a backup drive for our household about a month ago. My wife has a Mac Mini and we bought the matching LaCie 250GB drive.

A couple days ago, Amy started noticing some problems with the Mini. It degraded quickly into not being able to login. I tried everything from running diagnostics to reinstalling OS X. No luck.

I made a trip to my local Apple store to give them a chance to take a look. They quickly declared the hard drive dead and replaced it.

Enter the backup drive. My wife is using Backup (need active .Mac account). All we had to do was hook-up the firewire cable between them and restore the files. It took some time (about an hour), but it was as easy as pie.

Backups use to be for servers and geeks. As more of our life ends up on our machines, we need to take precautions.

Go get yourself a external hard drive and a buy a recommended backup program. You will not regret the decision.

Happy (Belated) Anniversary

This was suppose to go up on Tuesday, but new babies can make free time scare.

I have been married to Amy for seven years today.

We have one of those stories that is hard to believe. Let’s just say we were meant to be together.

Amy and I both attended Michigan universities (UofM and Michigan Tech, respectively) and both studied mechanical engineering.

We both got co-op positions with Dow Chemical. I spent a summer in Fresno, CA making Ziploc bags. She spent the next summer there. She even found stuff in the desk that I left. It was a little odd because it was a set of photos from the Winter Carnival at Tech. All the pictures were of snow sculptures. She asked where they came from and somebody said, “Oh, those must have been from Todd Sattersten.” She put the pictures back and didn’t think much more of it.

Upon graduation, we both took jobs with General Electric and both got positions in their Manufacturing Management Program. She spent her first year in Louisville and I spent mine in Roanoke. With only about 100 people on the program, we heard each other’s names in passing, but that was about it.

The program was set-up so that people rotated after 12 months to a new location. The timing was never perfect, so you sometimes you had a chance to met others who were rotating in. Darla showed up in Roanoke about two weeks before I was off to Columbus. At the last minute, I needed someone to help drive my car while I drove my truck of belongings. Darla was best friend’s with Amy in Louisville.

Amy had taken a job in Peterbrough, Ontario. In a call to catch up, she asked what Darla was doing for the coming weekend. “Oh, I am helping this guy, Todd Sattersten get moved up to Columbus.”

That was the final straw for Amy. “Darla, I need this guy’s number. I have to call him.”

I came home one night and found a message on the machine – “Hello. My name is Amy Buckley. You don’t know me, but we need to talk. Call me.”

For whatever reason, I called her back. We talked for about an half hour.

That led to email (remember this is 1995, so it is mainframe email).
And that led to more calls (international long distance calls, before the rates got cheap).
And that led her driving down to meet up with a bunch of GE folks in Columbus.
And that led to me driving to see her.
And that led to more international telephone calls.
And that led to plane trips back and forth.

Fast forward a year – we moved in together.
Fast two forward two more years – we got married.

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

(We’ll tell you about the wedding some time. It was pretty cool.)


I honestly don’t know what to say.

We have seen the destruction of a major American city. There are miles of coastal towns have been wiped away. We have hundreds of thousands of our own citizens who are refugees and having to move to other states to find food and shelter.

I am tired of the finger pointing. It doesn’t do any good. Let’s just do everything we can to help everyone down there.

I am sure there is some local effort you can get involved in. If you are in Milwaukee, WKTI is organizing an event in conjunction with Pick N Save. Details will be released on Tuesday.

Consider giving to AmeriCares. They are an amazing organization that helps out people around the world. For every $100 they receive in cash donations, they deliver $3000 in emergency relief. They have already sent antibiotics into Baton Rogue.

The State of Things

The frequency of posting here is way down.

Part of it is time. We were gone for two weeks on vacation. You know what that can do to things.

I have been putting most of my extra time into getting More Space done. We have been in kind of a quiet period. We are putting the final touches on the essays and the layout. We are pushing to get it to the printer and I promise more news on the project soon. We are going to need your help to make it successful.

I have said this before, but with all the blogging I do for 800-CEO-READ, I am low on energy and material by the time I get here. That may actually get worse.

I have accepted a full-time position with 800-CEO-READ. I have been working with Jack as a consultant for the last 14 months. We have been talking for some time about me spending more time with them. I have been really happy with the things we have accomplished and I see all sorts of potential for the future. I think it is going to be a great place to hang my hat.

I think with a place to focus my energy I don’t have spare brain cells to spend thinking and commenting about the general affairs of the business day.

What does that mean? It means you are going to hear from me less here. I want to lower your expectations a little. If you like my angle on things, check out the 800-CEO-READ blog because you will continue to see alot of me there.

I know I still need this outlet, so don’t worry about me disappearing completely.

More soon…

HOW Design Conference Disappoints

I spent the last four days at the HOW Design Conference in Chicago.

I came away utterly disappointed.

I hoped to spend four days with designers and soaking up some of the sensibilities of those creative types. I wanted to become a better client. I wanted to get an idea of how to integrate design better into product and service offerings.

This is what I got instead. There was an illustrator who showed a bunch of work and talked about how he could read auras (his grandmother was a psychic). There was this Austrian designer who clicked through slides of his portfolio. Great stuff, but I don’t know any more than I did when I walked in. The whole conference seemed to be like that for me. Lots of pictures and not much to learn.

I would love to see a gathering of businesspeople where we could talk with designers about how to improve what we offer by using better design. Is there anything like that now?

P.S. There was some upside. I was able to catch dinner with Ben and Jackie, lunch with Andrea and Joy, and spend a few hours in Millennium Park.