craigconnects: Connecting the World for the Common Good
contact

Craig's Blog

The Road to Hell's Paved With Good Intentions

Hey, recently I wrote a blog post outlining some of my philosophies, and mentioned that there was more to come. I figure I should follow through.

On Time Management and Effectiveness - 

When I think about effective orgs, I ask, do they have the ability to actually get things done? Because that's not true of a lot of nonprofits or other well intentioned people or groups.

A lot have good intentions, but there's a saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It's important to mean well, but also have the ability to get stuff done.

Cole Valley update, by the wife...

Cole Valley update, by the wife…

Let's say if an org smells good, in that direction, then I turn to the people who actually know stuff, the team around me. I may have some inclination that a group can get stuff done, but I'm not a nonprofit expert.

When looking for effectiveness, I look for people's ability to conduct themselves briefly and well. If you can articulate what you're about in 45 seconds or less, then I'm more generous time-wise and I try to be a nicer person. But anyone you want resources from will be judging you based on how well you can articulate yourself.

On Passion and My Sunset Years- 

I'm kind of tired of passion, especially as I enter my sunset years. But the deal is, you really want commitment from people. You want the excitement, but then they need to follow through. Following through is the hard part, and that's what I look for.

In addition to passion or excitement, I'm looking for commitment. People can get excited about something, realize it's hard, then that passion might not count for anything.

By the way, when I talk about the sunset years, I'm not far from claiming my AARP discount. I'm not kidding as much as you think I am.

5 Things You Should Know About the Military Consumer Campaign

Folks, "today's service members and their families must be extra vigilant in guarding against scams and predatory lending practices. With separation from family and friends, frequent relocations, the stresses of deployment and a steady paycheck, scam artists are often quick to target [these communities]." Cmdr. Peter Hoegel says this over on the Department of Defense's website in his article, 5 things you should know about the Military Consumer Campaign.

Photo illustration courtesy of the Office of Military Community and Family Policy

Photo illustration courtesy of the Office of Military Community and Family Policy

This has to do with bad actors ripping off service members and their families.

Cmdr. Hoegel, Deputy Director, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, continues his article by saying:

As members of the military community, we understand the importance of being mission-ready.  It’s worth taking a minute to remember that the financial readiness of service members and families is a key contributor to mission readiness.   Especially for deployed service members, knowing that finances are secure and that the families back at home are financially stable gives them peace of mind and allows them to focus on the important tasks at hand.

What is the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Military Consumer Campaign is designed to empower our military community by offering tips and tools to becoming informed consumers.  This is the second year the Federal Trade Commission is sponsoring the campaign.  As part of DoD’s larger, year-round financial readiness campaign, the Military Consumer Campaign strives to educate the military community to help service members and their families make informed decisions when it comes to financial products and services.  In addition, the campaign will shed light on common scams that target the military community.

Who is involved in the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Department of Defense has teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Service member Affairs, and the Consumer Federation of America.  All of us at these organizations are committed to supporting service members and their families through financial education, as well as aggressively addressing scams and fraud directed at the military community.  Collectively, these organizations provide considerable knowledge and expertise at no cost to our military community.

Why is the Military Consumer Campaign important?

Educating our military community on financial topics is key to helping service members and their families steer clear of scams. In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 72,900 consumer complaints from our military community with identity theft continuing to top the list with more than 22,000 of those complaints.  Other top complaint categories for the military community include debt collection, imposter scams, banks and lenders, credit bureaus, information furnishers and report users; and auto-related complaints.  The Military Consumer Campaign is designed to use this information and better educate our community to prevent these types of scams in the future.

When does the campaign kick off?

As a lead up to the Military Consumer Protection Day, the Federal Trade Commission is sponsoring:

  • The official kick-off of the Federal Trade Commission’s Military Consumer Campaign, includes but not limited to, A Twitter “Town Hall” chat that starts at 2 p.m. EDT on July 16, 2014.  Follow the Twitter chat with hashtag #MCPD2014.

Other events currently scheduled are:

  • Wright-Patterson AFB and their local Federal Trade Commission field office are planning an informational fair on July 16, 2014.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union is sponsoring “Shred Days” in Norfolk and New London, and the Federal Trade Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Better Business Bureau San Antonio are joining with others to host a fair at Joint Base San Antonio on Sept. 23, 2014.

Consumer protection is important year-round, and the department is pleased to support the Military Consumer Campaign as we support the Consumer Federation of America’s Military Saves Campaign. Check with your Personal Financial Management Program for information on local kickoff events, and watch Military Consumer website for ongoing information.

Where can I find more information on the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Military Consumer website offers a whole host of resources for the military community, materials for service providers, and a blog that addresses timely issues as well as tips. Their resources come from more than 30 federal, state and municipal agencies, consumer advocates and military support organizations.

The Know-How page looks at purchases and divides them into topics, including vehicles, banking, saving and investing, and more. A brief look through their auto purchasing section provides users with information on Lemon Laws, car-buying tips and odometer fraud, just to name a few. The Military Consumer website is a valuable tool for all of the military community, offering new tips for some and solid reminders for others.

There is great freedom in living within our means, and financial education is just one of the tools to help you improve your financial picture.  Get involved in Military Consumer Protection Day events this year and take advantage of the beneficial resources this campaign has to offer.  If there aren’t any events near you, visit the Military Consumer website or your local Personal Financial Management Program for more information.

And remember that Military OneSource financial counselors are available for counseling at no cost year-round by visiting the website or calling 800-342-9647.  Take a look, contact us and don’t forget to share the information with other in our military community.

 

Your Ideas to End Online Harassment

Hey, I've been reaching out to my networks to crowdsource ways to end online harassment after the release of the Online Harassment Infographic that revealed that 25% of harassmentAmerican adults have been bullied, threatened, or harassed online, or know someone who has.

The first step toward dealing with unacceptable behavior is to understand the problem, then we can get rid of it. To that end, I've been asking people on the ground what we can do to get rid of this problem.

We got lots of good responses, and I'm including some of them here:

"Trolls generally shut down their online accounts because they don't like being trolled themselves. Internet anonymity should not give people the right to attack others in a way they never would do in real life, so outing them seems like the best option!" - JeriAnn Graves

"Unplug, walk away, use a pseudonym, increase your privacy controls… All of these are perfectly viable solutions to online harassment. Control what information is available online, and you control the harassers. That said, I really think Facebook needs to tighten up on its privacy settings. I don't want to appear on search results, I don't want pictures of me showing up anywhere, and I certainly don't want jerks I knew from high school to be able to contact me." - Cameron Barker: Mild-Mannered Salesman by Day, Happily Cynical Writer by Night

In response to Cameron,

Kelly Diels Rostant, Online Marketing Manager at Goldbeck Recruiting Inc, said:
"Telling the people who receive this kind of treatment to unplug or walk away allows the people doing the harassing to win. They've effectively silenced their targets."

"I think we all need to stop thinking of this as someone else's problem. If you see someone being harassed, lend your voice in censure. If you don't like the way someone speaks to you, tell them so and assert your right to be respected. Bullies' power comes from fear and avoidance and from people looking the other way, or being glad it's not them. Let's take away their power by being clear that the way they behave is not acceptable, and teach our children to do the same." - Claire Weatherston, Communication and Events Coordinator at Western State College of Law

"Treat others the way you wish to be treated yourself." – Anthony Simonetti, Marketing Communications at New Horizons, Six Sigma Green Belt

"Trustcloud (crowd sourcing) is a solution to end harrasment from the web. It is as easy as being prompting upon accepting/making a connection, making friends/accepting friend request or being followed/following a person the user gets a trust score of the requesting person/relevant person." – Zorays Khalid

"DO use decoy selections in report abuse forms, but keep it simple: 'This is annoying' vs 'this is dangerous' can be differentiated." – Aria Stewart

no-harassment"Opening a police file when there is harassment can also signal that their actions will be met head-on, and hiding behind technology is no longer going to work for them but against them."
- Darlene Rudolph, PMP

"LinkedIn should remove the anonymous views option which, in my view, provides cover for those who may be into sleuthing, creeping, and other cowardly bully-like behaviors."
- Susan Howes, CTDP, Senior Business Analyst, Workplace Learning Specialist

"Surely there's a startup in the valley somewhere working on a way to monetize kindness?"
- Jubal Ince, Talent Community Advisor at Workday

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. Works every time." – Christine Wilinsky, Legal Document Preparation and Writing Services

"I think we need to stop looking upon the internet as being somehow at fault for all the bad things that can happen on it. It's the people on the internet that are the problem, not the tool itself. So my answer to the original headline question is – first stop harassment in the offline world and the problem will be solved." - Patrick Moran

"Too often intent is only 'proven' after the harasser has already harmed/ killed the harassed. I think harassment should be called out and dealt with, otherwise all of us are just consenting to that kind of behavior with silence – not cool." - Ida Wepener, Technical writer at Laragh Courseware

"I would recommend the following: Ignore inappropriate messages- avoid receiving anonymous or unrecognized calls –report the in-person harassment to the authorities if the harasser leaves you no choice – have the communication terminated by the network to save time, self respect and appreciation-turn to your friends or your companion for support and understanding – remember it’s not your fault –try not to blame yourself-get out of the vicious cycle a.s.a.p." - Dimitra Tatuli, counseling and psychotherapy

 

Which of these suggestions resonates with you? I want to continue working on these efforts, so please let me know other ideas you have to end online harassment. More to  come…

What Are Real Ways To Help Veterans Out?

Hey, I was involved in the virtual roundtable on Reinventing How Veterans Transition into Society in the Reinvent America series with a few really smart people, who are doing good work with vets issues.

The focus of the roundtable was, How do we improve the reentry experience of war veterans into the American economy and society? Since less than 1% of Americans currently serve in the military, it's a really important conversation to have. We need to talk about how to help our vets and service members reintegrate into society, including economically.

I talked a little about translating the skills that servicemen and women have into the language of the workplace so that recruiters and human resource folks can better understand how to leverage their assets. I figure if a person's going to maybe go out there and risk taking a bullet protecting me, I could do something, like help them get a job.

You can watch a 10 minute recap of the roundtable here, or you can click through to watch the full 90-minute discussion.

 

The Philosophies of a Nerd


Hey, I recently spoke at Nonprofit 2.0's Unconference in Washington, and it turns out, I really am a nerd.

In high school, and this is 50s/60s, I really did grow up wearing a plastic pocket protector, thick black glasses taped together, and I had the requisite social skills to go with that. And even now, I can simulate social skills for an hour, maybe 2, then I get pretty cranky. You may wonder if I'm joking or serious, and the answer is both.

I figure a few of the things I talked about at the Unconference could be considered the life philosophies of a nerd…

Pictured is the #20 nephew, aka The Kumquat. He's the one (visibly) drooling.

Pictured is the #20 nephew, aka The Kumquat. He's the one (visibly) drooling.

On Money -

We put a lot of money into feeding people, and a lot of people are still hungry. We put a lot of money into education, and that doesn't seem to work so well. Which I don't get. We put a lot of money into housing, and yet there's still people without houses.

At some point in 1999, after I'd founded some site called craigslist, I'd go to parties in Silicon Valley and they suggest I do the easy Silicon Valley path of monetizing like crazy, then cashing out for huge amounts of money.

I decided I don't need that. I just want to be comfortable and share that with friends and family. Since I got married recently my niece/nephew count went from 2 to 20 – my wife's side of the family is terribly fertile.

(At the risk of a tangent, I haven't been in craigslist management in about 14 years, don't speak for the company, and haven't done so for a long time.)

On Social Change - 

Long term I want to figure out how to give a voice, using the internet, to everyone on the planet. A lot of people who are doing good work, like Mark, and Sergio, and Larry. They want to do work to change the world.

You can't make change from the top down. The president's the most powerful person in the world, but not that powerful. What's powerful is when people in the trenches work together to get things done, and that's what makes a difference.

caesar

My ambitions are to get people in the world to work together. To get stuff done. That's what changes things. There are opportunities of power to emerge from people who work together effectively. I don't know how that works.

I look at the social media leaders in the past who were good at doing things. An early blogger was Julius Caesar, he blogged, even though it was very low tech.

It got a little better with Martin Luther, who decided to use an evolved form of the same network. He got pretty good, blogging on a church blog. Of course Luther was assisted by this printing press thing – and this evolved in the Twitter revolution of 1688. John Locke, the one who lived in 1688, not the John Locke in Lost. Good show, but you could only understand it if you knew a lot about quantum physics. I know a lot of you want to hear it more about quantum physics, but more later… Just be glad I'm not going on a Game of Thrones rant.

On Vets, Milfams, and Getting Stuff Done - 

My biggest priority area's to support vets and military families. Ultimately, if a person's going to maybe go out there and risk taking a bullet protecting me, I could do something, like help them get a job.

I support a bunch of groups and efforts, typically supporting people who are doing good work. There's a lot of veterans' services orgs, like IAVA and Blue Star Families, and the National Military Family Association.

The group hardest to support getting something done is the Department of Veterans Affairs. They're actually doing a lot of good work, but they have some real problems. The whole org of 360K people are being demonized by a very small group of people who started those efforts a while back, and now the whole org is demoralized.

And, mostly, I'm doing all of this quietly because I've learned that in this town you can get a lot of credit or you can get stuff done. But not both.

 Folks, I've got lots more, but brevity is the soul of wit. Maybe just get the word out and stop talking. More to come…