Categories
Media Self

Measuring Fatherhood

“Hey Dad… you wanna have a catch?”

The penultimate line in “Field of Dreams” makes grown men weep – and that’s exactly what I did when I recently watched the movie for the first time since I became a father. The father/son storyline reminds me of my own father, a man I love. I’ve often wondered, is my father proud of me?

Now that I’m a father, I realize that pride is the wrong way to measure a successful relationship between father and child. Traditionally, one might measure fatherhood through their child’s achievements or status: good grades, marital status, financial security, professional accolades, or bearing children.

In my short experience as a father – and what I imagine I will experience over the next 20-25 years – it’s more about the soft metrics that provides an accurate sense of my “job performance” as a dad. Have I created an environment where my daughter can:

  • Grow into a mature human being,
  • Behave in an admirable way,
  • Contribute to society,
  • Laugh and find joy,
  • Confidently chase their wants and desires, and
  • Enjoy time shared with parents, family, and friends?

Through the development of this environment, parents also develop their own sense of self. By creating a world where others can succeed, we, too, have succeeded. A child’s upbringing is partially created through the sacricifies of parents. Later in life, children repay those sacrifices by excelling in the environment their parents helped mold.

I shouldn’t concern myself on whether my father is proud of me; rather, I can say with confidence that he’s created amazing opportunities for me through the environment in which I was raised. It makes the time invested with my father all the more valuable.

Categories
Business Culture Self

The Itch

I took several interviews in July and August, most of them in Boston. I hadn’t traveled into the city as much as I did when I was young and fun… but there it was again. The Itch.

There’s something about a city – be it Boston or any other major metropolis – that exudes an energy wholly different from that of the suburbs. It’s the hustle-and-bustle, sounds, and sights that make life in the city move at a different pace.

I didn’t travel into the city often when I was very young. Anytime we did, it was an event and came with a sense of nervous excitement. What was going to happen? Where were we going? How would we get there?

Over time, the city pulls you back. I used to joke with a friend of mine – someone who has lived in the Boston area for over 13 years – that when I made a trek into the city for business that I would get The Itch, that unexplainable feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I walked though crowded streets or found a local watering hole for a drink or two.

The Itch is persuasive. It’s almost sensual, slowly pulling you into its orbit. And I scratched it.

I’m now working in the city of Boston for the first time in my life, despite living close by for much of my life. And it’s an exciting experience. The commute into town – I take the commuter rail, the state’s train system – provides an opportunity to share the experience of city life with others. I read to and from my home and feel I’m doing the “right thing” by using public transportation. That dang Itch… it’s got a great public relations team.

I’ve joined the flock of folks who use the city as their place of work, and I have The Itch to thank. Will The Itch wear away over time?

Categories
Self

Pearl

My maternal grandmother, Pearl, passed away unexpectedly last week. Although the news was difficult to hear – and will take me a long time to fully grasp – the outpouring of support for Pearl at her services earlier this week was brilliant. Grandma touched a lot of lives and many of them paid their respects this week. I’m incredibly grateful for this.

Additionally, I was lucky enough to speak at her services. Here’s a glimpse:

GramPearl Arlene Ridder. She was born in 1929 and her 84-some-odd years on this Earth, she was a daughter, sister, mother, aunt… but for me and my cousins, she was our grandmother (and more recently, a great grandmother). It was only right that when she married into the Ridder family – where golf was so important – her initials became “PAR.”

She was defined by many things, but here are just a few:

  • Patience – God bless her for listening to the golfers in the family recap EVERY SINGLE SHOT of our rounds when we visited her after a day on the course.
  • Cuisine – I challenge you to find a better lemon chiffon pie, blueberry cake, or homemade applesauce.
  • Presence – simply put, Grandma showed up – for the big events and small – and took immense pleasure in watching her grandchildren grow and succeed.
  • Optimism – nearly every meal, day, or event was “lovely” or “wonderful.”
  • And of course, cribbage. The card game has existed since the 1600s but you would think Grandma invented it. She had an amazing skill for the game… and perhaps even more impresssive than her skill was her ability to talk trash. Nothing beats your grandmother telling you after you scored poorly that “no, no, that’s good for you, honey.”

Note that all of these things by which Grandma was defined are traits and things that will continue. There will be plenty of golf, good food, smiles, and cribbage in the near future… especially at this year’s Christmas cribbage tournament that’s been known in recent years as the Pearl Ridder Invitational. I think we’ll stick with that name.

So to continue Gram’s legacy, we all have homework. With every swing of a golf club, or bite of lemon chiffon pie, or miscounted cribbage hand, Gram will be there. And it’s our responsibility to savor those moments and share stories of Gram with future generations. No, many of her great grand kids won’t remember Grandma “the person,” but they’ll know her.

Finally, if there were a grandmother hall of fame, she would be an immediate inductee… and her plaque might read “She showed up, she smiled, and she whooped your butt in cribbage.” We love you Grams.

Categories
Work

Jabil In-store Diagnostic Tool

UI and kiosk graphics design for a mobile device in-store diagnostic tool for Jabil. Also made significant contributions to strategy, field research, and customer journey UX development. Video shows visualization of customer journey and experience.

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Categories
Business Sports

Brand Evolution: from Tiger to Rory

It was only a matter of time.

Nike hitched their wagons to Tiger Woods at an early age and turned the Nike Golf brand from a novelty to major competitor. The traditional golf manufacturers – Titleist, Ping, Taylor Made, Callaway, et. al – struggled to slow down Nike Golf’s meteoric rise since the late 90s. In fact, Nike equipment was considered a joke, even after Woods began using the clubs. But the brand’s explosion is all thanks to Tiger Woods.

And then Thanksgiving of 2009 happened.

Since the story broke of Woods’s extra-marital affairs, both the Tiger Woods brand and Nike Golf brand have taken a hit. Sure, Tiger won a few tournaments last year and his game looked solid. But Woods hasn’t won a major since 2008 and his popularity has decreased since 2009. What was Nike to do?

Nike did the smart thing, sticking by one of their most successful, famous, and marketable athletes. But they knew the Tiger magic couldn’t last forever. Could Tiger go on to win several majors over the next decade? Absolutely. But with a brand literally built by one star, Nike Golf needed the next step in its brand evolution.

Enter Rory McIlroy. Young. Multiple major victories. Incredibly likable. Sounds a lot like Tiger Woods.

And with Nike’s latest commercial featuring both golfers, the message is clear: Tiger is still a big part of Nike Golf, but Rory is THE part of Nike Golf in the not-so-distant future. The commercial literally shows them as equals, matching shot for shot, until the end… where Tiger says, “you’ll learn.”

Here, “you’ll learn” means much more than hitting a golf ball into a small plastic cup. It means that the brand rollout for McIlroy will learn a lot from the brand rollout of Woods. Within the next couple of years, Nike Golf will develop a McIlroy logo, apparel, and McIlroy-only commercials. As Tiger’s career winds down, McIlroy’s will be doing the opposite. And the Nike Golf brand continues.

Nike’s stance on McIlroy sets them up for the next couple of decades in continuing the Nike Golf brand story. All McIlroy has to do is keep winning… and stay away from the ladies.