Thursday, March 31, 2011

I helped with an ESPN piece today.
I met my wife six years ago tomorrow (April 1, 2005, for those who can't do the math). I went to a bar after work because I wanted to enjoy a few beers and watch the Wizards game alone. I walked in the bar and saw my wife and her friend talking to two guys in the corner. I noticed how pretty she was, but I figured she was on a double date or something so I did not press the issue. I ordered my beer and got lost in the Wizards game.

I remember I had a date later that night around 9 or 10, which meant I'd have to leave the bar during the fourth quarter of the Wizards game, and take a 10 minute cab ride to my next destination. Around the second quarter my wife (I know it sounds weird for me to call her my wife, when back then she was nobody, but get over it) sat down next to me and started chatting away. Now I had seen her talking to those other dudes for at least 10-20 minutes, so I had no clue why she was all up in my face, so I did my best to shun her bullshit conversation, and keep my eyes on the game. It did not work.

A few minutes later, her girlfriend came over, and they both were talking to me so much, that I don't even remember what the hell happened in the game. At this point I was actually having good conversations with both of them--but mainly my wife. At one point the song I bought them beers, they returned the favor, I bought shots, they did the same, and I was feeling no pain. But I was sober enough to call my date for the evening (thank god I got her voice mail), cancel the plans we had, turn my phone off, and continue enjoy myself. Yes that was wrong, but hey I was in the moment, and I was not ready to leave.

About an hour later, my wife came up to me and said, "Do you want to come back to my apartment with me and my girlfriend?". Of course I said hell yes, because the first thing on my mind was a threesome. I mean why else would she invite me AND her girlfriend to HER apartment. I just knew this was my lucky day, and if the woman I cancelled my date with complained, I would simply explain to her, "Hey, it was a f**king threesome, what was I supposed to do?"

Well it wasn't a threesome (I still "joke" with my wife and her girlfriend that they owe me for their false advertising). We all talked for another hour, then her girlfriend crashed, and my wife and I talked and "stuff" (no sex was involved though). I woke up the next morning, and her girlfriend left, I went out and bought muffins and orange juice and my wife and I ended up talking all damn day until around 3pm (again, no sex was involved). At 3, she had a massage appointment, and I had a Final Four party to attend with my boy. When I left her apartment, I was happy and I had like 10 angry messages and texts from the woman I cancelled with..and I didn't even care.

My wife and I dated for a few months but it didn't work out, and after 5 or 6 months of no contact (except for one night when her and her sister drunkenly called me talking jibberish), she emailed me out of the blue, and we became platonic friends for another two years until we re-connected. The rest is history..I think I've told this story in my blog before, but who cares, it never gets old--not to me at least.

And the song playing on the jukebox when I met my wife was the one you see below. My wife knew none of the words except the, "I got more than just some good d**k and some money" [Very classy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Confessions
I had a dream that I was in a shoe store by myself picking out shoes for me and my son. I tried on my shoes, I told the kid who was working in the shoe store to go get my son's size, and then I went to the counter to pay for everything in cash. I specifically remember paying cash, because I dropped a $20 bill on the ground, and this lady behind me was nice enough to alert me of this, and give it back to me. I finished up my transaction, thanked the kid who helped me, and I walked out of the store. I did not remember him giving me my receipt, so as I walked out of the store, I opened the bag, and looked around for it, and I accidentally bumped into this younger gentleman.

This youngster looked back at me, told me to watch where I was f**king going, and then he flicked my baseball cap off (I'll admit I did not even realize I was wearing one, until he knocked it off). I remember saying I was sorry, and I remember him retorting by saying "whatever b**ch", and then I remember cocking my fist back getting ready to hit this dude, and then my 5:25am alarm went off letting me know that it was time to go swimming. I was so mad when I woke up that I immediately shut my alarm off, and I laid there for a few minutes, hoping I could go back to sleep, and rumble with this young fella. But it never really works out like that does it? I didn't go back to sleep, but I did go to the pool and swim like a good boy. What does this dream mean? I have no clue..I have a bad temper, but I'm usually not that quick to fight.

Speaking of the pool, I would like to send a genuine, heartfelt shoutout to the dude who swam for about 30 minutes in a speedo, came back to the locker room, left the speedo on the bench that's between the lockers, and then went to go shower. Dude you either hang your speedo on the side of the locker, or you put it in your bag, but you do NOT leave clothing that was in your ass, and all up on your franks and beans, in a common area, I don't care if you were in the pool with chlorine. That's sh*t is nasty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Review of the Branford Marsalis/Terence Blancard show
My son did not make the 8th grade basketball team. He called me early on Saturday morning to give the disappointing news, but he was pretty candid about why he did not make it. He told me that in the weeks leading up to the tryout, he had not worked on his game the way that he should have, and he thinks he wasn't as comfortable with the ball as some of his classmates. I told him that I was cut from my 8th and 9th grade teams, but I worked hard on my game, went to basketball camps, played against older kids, and by the 10th grade I was right in there. I asked him if he wanted to bail on basketball, and go back to football (which is his first love) and he said hell no..he wanted to stick with basketball until he made the team. For good measure, I told him that Michael Jordan got cut from his 9th grade team, but my son told me he knew that already.

If Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard come to your city, please go see them and support good jazz music. The wife and I went to see them at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night, and it was excellent. They performed about 45 minutes each with an intermission in between the two acts, and it flew by. They did beautiful ballads, songs that showed off their bands impeccable improvisations skills, and you could tell both bands were definitely simpatico (although Branford's band had a little more personality). My only regret was that the two guys never performed together which I found odd consider they shared top billing. They at least could have performed a song from Mo' Better Blues or something..

And finally I saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's documentary, "On the Shoulders of Giants" yesterday and it was excellent. If you have cable, its on demand under movies, and its only $5...its definitely worth it.

On the Shoulders of Giants | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | Leonard Maltin | Maltin on Movies | Movie Trailer | Review

Friday, March 25, 2011

No words today, just a video from 3 years ago, that's still funny to me:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First off, I would like to sent a big shoutout to Netflix, who has yet to make the third season of Breaking Bad available. I saw it on Amazon and other places, but for whatever reason, you all have yet to add it to your list of DVDs, and I am not pleased about that at all. The wife and I zoomed through the first two seasons, and we are captivated and hooked on the series--not quite as hooked as we were when watched The Wire last year around this time, but close enough. Now we have to resort to catching it when it comes on AMC (oh and f**k you AMC for delaying the start of Mad Men), and frankly that is not good enough. Do the right thing and make it happen please.

Second, have you ever been walking down the street with your headphnes on and your favorite song is blaring through your earbuds? You know all the words, background vocals, instruments, etc, and you are feeling invicible and happy, and you may even throw in some emphatic hand gestures for effect, because you're feeling that good. Then you see someone you know. This isn't someone you've gone ages without seeing, but this is someone you see about 5 or 6 times a year and you may even trade emails with them every now and then. For a quick second you think about doing a stop and chat, but then you think about how much of a nuisance it is to stop your song, remove your earbuds, put them in your pockets, pause your ipod, and then listen to the bullshit that will inevitably come out of this person's mouth in the two or three minutes of their time you may or may not choose to give them? So what do you do? Do you

a)Just keep walking like CeCe Peniston and hope they don't see you?
b)Take one earbud out, say hi, all without stopping
c)Stop and chat

My new tried and true method to avoid these situations is to pull out my ipod and start changing the song, adjusting the volume, playing with imaginary buttons..anything that will allow me to fake getting distracted and walk by people. I'm not rude or mean, I just want to be left alone on the mean streets of DC. If you see me, just don't bother me, but send me a creepy email saying you saw me, and then we can converse online like normal dysfunctional people.

And lastly, my son tried out for the basketball team yesterday (youth basketball in the Spring seems odd to me too), and I asked him to assess his chances of making the team. He said there were 6 people better than him and 12 total will make the team, so he likes his chances. I like that kind of athletic honesty. I hope he makes it though, so I sit in the stands and quietly give him confidence, the way my father did for me. I always respected the quiet, confident parents over the loud, boisterous ones. Kids need encouragement, not embarassment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Jalen Rose vs Grant Hill business that surfaced last week, and has lingered into this one, has made me think about my own uncomfortable high school basketball experience.

I played basketball for Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. Potomac is mostly white its very rich, and there was a certain stigma attached to living in that area. My parents had money, but as my father told my brother and I all the time, HE had money, MY MOTHER had money, we were kids, which meant we had nothing. Those were his Midwest sensibilities at work. As a result, while other kids in my neighborhood and beyond had parents who hired folks to do landscaping, bought them cars, and spoiled them beyond belief, my brother and I did the landscaping, did not get cars, and were made to feel like we were living well below what we really were. In hindsight, I appreciate that, but at the time, I felt like I was missing out on the true rich experience..whatever the f**k that was..

So my basketball team consisted of 10 white dudes and 2 black guys including me. The other black guy on the team was African, and he always seemed oblivious to any racial tension, but I'll get back to that later. We played ball in Montgomery County, Maryland which is vast and very diverse. On my side of town there were schools that were as white as Churchill, and then in the Wheaton/Silver Spring area, there were schools that might as well of been HBCUs. When those seemingly all black high schools came to Churchill, I was always comfortable, because they were on my home turf in front of fans and students I was used to seeing.

But when we went to go play games at their schools, I was totally uncomfortable and justifiably so. I'd hear black students from the other side calling me sellout, wannabe, white boy, Uncle Tom-ass nigga, etc. My African teammate never seemed to be bothered by this..perhaps he had thicker skin, or maybe those insults didn't really resonate with him, but they sure as hell bothered me. It didn't help that my school didn't see it necessary to buy baggy shorts for our basketball team, so I was getting insulted in nut-huggers, while other team had baggy, Jordan-like shorts. It was humiliating, and I was angry, embarrassed and frustrated before the games, during warm ups, at halftime, and then after the game when we left via the team bus.

During the games, I ignored all that b.s., because I knew I could play and I knew my talent-level was just as good, if not better than the other kids. Their parents may have had a little less money or chosen to live in a different part of the county, but that had nothing to do with how all of us played ball. Still, I just remember looking at the basketball schedule back then, and completely dreading the trips to certain schools, because I knew I'd be ridiculed, and there was no one on the team I could talk to..not my coach, not my teammates, no one...Only when I got home to my parents could I voice my displeasure, but they really couldn't help me when I got out on the front lines. The funny part of this story is that when I ran track in the spring against these same guys in front of those same insulting fans..I never heard a peep. Only one the basketball court..

Anyway, thanks for humoring me. I'll end on a lighter note. It took me 26 years to figure out what Tina Turner was talking about in the song you'll see below, but it hit me (and my wife) this past weekend. Tina Turner was talking about strippers...I am SLOW.

Monday, March 21, 2011

So I took the wife shopping this weekend at the outlet in Williamsburg and one of the outlets we went to was the Coach outlet. Hundreds of women, black and white, young and old, stood in line (they only let a certain number of people in the store at a time), waiting to get their grubby little hands on some of Coach's finest products. It was like watching March Madness for women in there, and I just did my best to stay the hell out of the way.

But when we were in the line to purchase items, I noticed a curious looking family in front of us. There was a mother, a daughter and a son. The son (and he may have been a cousin or a nephew) looked like a normal, skinny 14 year old boy. The mother looked to weigh about 300-325 lbs, she was about 5'3", her hair was done to the nines, and her outfit looked stretched as hell but respectable. Her daughter was about 5'1", she couldn't have been more than 10 years old, and she was easily 200lbs, although I would not be shocked if she weighed more. Her hair wasn't done, her clothes were dirty, and she was touching every damn thing on the counter, while her mother paid for her THREE purses.

Now I do my best not to judge people and their circumstances, but that sight was tailor-made for I judged in the form of rhetorical questions directed to my wife. There were so many things wrong with that picture it was was like one of those picture in Highlights magazine when you have to find all the things that were out of place:

1) That child was WAY too young to be that overweight, and the mother should be punished for allowing that to happen. If its a medical condition or a thyroid situation, then fine. But it looked like a child who eats a lot, and then sits on her ass..that's the mother's fault. Kids need to run around, do some type of activity, or just flat out eat less.

2) Parents can look nice with their hair, nails and whatever else done up, but their kids should look just as nice, and at the very least clean. That little girl looked like her hair hadn't been done in ages, and her clothes had the kind of dirt that just looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks. If the family is poor and struggling, I totally understand that..but to be buying THREE coach bags (even at the outlet, that's easily $500-700) when the physical appearances are lacking, is just uncool

3)The mother made the daughter (not the son) carry all three bags, and you could just tell by the way she handed her the bags, that their relationship was kind of chilly. Now I could be just nitpicking here, but the body language on both ends was telling, and the older boy should be carrying the bags. That's what gentleman(even young ones) should be learning.

I'm pretty sure I'm not capturing how disturbing the image was, which means I'm coming off like some sort of self-righteous, judging ass..and that's fine. But if you had seen what I saw, you'd be disturbed as well. Or maybe its just me..

Friday, March 18, 2011

So yesterday, the wife and I were on our way to happy hour, when we walked by a nail salon that had this sign outside on the window:

My wife brought it to my attention, and we were getting ready to walk by it, and I decided that it deserved to captured via camera phone. In my mind, I tried to come up with scenarios where what was written would be sufficient--I could not. I was tempted to make my own sign and post it right under that one, but that would be doing too much..although I'd get a huge kick out of it. Here were my sign options

1)Receptionist(s) need(ed) it(!)
2) Receptionist, need one!
3) Or Receptionists needed
4) Editor need it more
5)Punctuation and letters needed as well...

That's all I came up with.

Also I would like to give a shot to my main man, and NBA star Kevin Durant for giving my article a shoutout on his website and again on twitter. Any little exposure I can get is appreciated.

Finally I would like to give a birthday shoutout to my lovely wife who is celebrating her birthday today. I don't know if she would be happy with me mentioning that she's turning 38 today, but I just did. My gift(s) will offset any anger she has..

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ride the Wave...

By the way, I'm writing a manual for my job and I'm writing Wizards-related stuff, so this blog is going to suffer until Friday, We ask for your patience.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three members of the Oklahoma City Thunder talked to me about the Michigan Fab Five documentary and you can read about it right here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

First off, I'd like to respectfully ask that you read my article.

Second, I have to say that the Robert Glasper concert on Friday night was absolutely amazing, although selfishly speaking, I wish he had gone longer than an hour (that's what she said). The band basically played one hour-long song, and they played classics like Coltrane's "Love Supreme", newer songs like Bilal's "All Matter", and then ended with a brief tribute to J Dilla by playing Slum Village's "Fall in Love".

But the best part of the show was not the show on stage, but rather the family sitting next to my wife and me. There was a couple that looked to be in their mid-30s, and they had their two boys with them. One boy looked to be about five or six years old, and the other was around two. Naturally, the two year old was sleep in his father's lap, but the six year old was definitely into it. He was drumming on the tables, and he was making facial expressions like he was really into the music, and on more than one occasion, Mr. Glasper gave the kid the thumbs up. I was proud of the parents for exposing their kids to jazz, and I was jealous that my son wasn't with me. It was a great moment.

And lastly, if you haven't watched the Fab 5 documentary, you should catch it. As I told my main man (and college roommate) Sabin last night, that wasn't just a regular documentary..he and I actually lived that during our early college years, so we were emotionally invested. Eventually I'll gather my thoughts and write something eloquent, but for now, I'll just say go watch it.

Oh and one more alma mater (THE Hampton University) will be taking on the hated Duke Blue Devils in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday I'd ask that you root for my team to pull off the colossal upset. And who did Hampton beat to gain entry into the NCAA tournament? My wife's sorry ass Morgan State Bears.

Friday, March 11, 2011

So yesterday (and I thank my main man jazzbrew for alerting me to this fact) Washington Wizards owner took yet another shot at me and my writing via his blog. I do believe he is still irritated over this article I wrote last week, so when I wrote this article a couple of days ago, he decided that he'd take a few more shots at me....he even mocked my Jerry Maguire-inspired title.

This time, instead of just sitting idly by and taking that ever elusive high road, I decided to say something. You see Mr. Leonsis (he may be wrong, but he's still rich and powerful, which means he still deserves the respect of being called "Mr.") is still operating under the premise that I don't agree with the current rebuilding approach he's taking with the Washington Wizards. What he failed to glean from my initial article is that I do indeed understand what he's doing (even if it isn't working right now), but there are some fans who are impatient, as evidenced by the spotty attendance as of late. But Mr. Leonsis is ignoring some of the facts, just so he can make himself look good..he's neither the first or last person of power to do such a thing. So I left this comment in his blog response as of yet.

Now, I will not lie, it does the ego good to know that not only does the owner read my work, but it gets under his skin just a bit, because he hints at that in his blog. That means more people read and discuss what I write and that my friends is a little something I like to call a win-win situation. However, my need to have the last word has now superseded by desire to be recognized. I don't mind Mr. Leonsis talking about me, but I DO want to be represented correctly, and I do want the upper hand..or at least as much of the upper hand as you can get against someone who is damn near a billionaire..

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If you live in the Washington DC area and you need something to do on Friday and Saturday, please go to Bohemian Caverns and go see Mr. Robert Glasper. He is a jazz pianist (pronounced penis), and he's played with Brian McKnight, The Roots, Bilal, Mos Def, Kanye West etc. He's a young guy, he's brilliant, and this is part of my endless quest (my main men jazzbrew and neil are doing it too) to keep traditional jazz alive.

So if you go to the 8:30 show on Friday, my wife and I will say hello to you initially, and then ignore you, but we will appreciate (from afar) your presence..but seriously, I will buy you a drink. If you go to the later show, or if you go on Saturday, I promise you that you won't regret it. If you can't make the show, check out Mr. Glasper's discography, and buy something. I'm off my soapbox now..

Read my article please.

Robert Glasper - One For 'Grew (For Mulgrew Miller)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Help Me Help You
In sports there are always those talented athletes who have no problems telling you how smart they are, and how football was an option not the only one. On one hand its refreshing to see a well-rounded athlete buck the stereotype and articulate their thoughts and feelings in a respectable manner. But on the other side, I find myself wondering if they ever alienated their teammates with their behavior..after all, it seems like more athletes--especially in the major sports--are playing sports out of necessity, not because it is simply one of their options.

Tiki Barber was this kind of an athlete when he played for the Giants. He was always smart, but early in his career he had a problem with fumbling the ball, so he wasn't a respected member of the football team. Then he rectified his issues, and became a major, contributing member of the football team who combined brains and brawn. But on the side, he was doing occasional work with NBC..flexing his intelligence and his journalistic skills--and he did a great job I might add.

So Tiki became bored with football and he decided that the taste of journalistic success via the Today show and the NFL broadcast on NBC was way too much to ignore. He retired at the early age of 31 to pursue this career, and made it a point to stress how nice it was to have options as a smart man..and I didn't blame him at all, given that some football players are pushed out or forced to retire--not Tiki though.

Tiki's career got off to a strong start, when he immediately starting criticizing his former NY Giants team, because of their early struggles. He had the inside track because he just been with the team the prior season, but he was violating the locker room code by dry snitching on his teammates. Tiki came off looking like the ultimate insider, because his criticisms were right on point. But when the Giants turned things around and won the Super Bowl, and then made a point to mention they won it without Tiki, things got weirder and Tiki got quieter.

Tiki's decline as a journalist was a slow and painful one. He appeared on the Today show less, and the NFL in America show on NBC starting featuring him less frequently. Then Tiki left his 8 month pregnant wife for a 21 year old woman, and his wife tried to take him to the cleaners, and Tiki cried broke given that his once bright star as a journalist had faded like Big Daddy Kane's old haircut. Money wasn't coming in like he had anticipated, and neither were those NFL checks. This was all last year by the way..

So when Tiki announced yesterday that his recent workout with his trainer had him feeling like he wanted to come back to the NFL for the love and challenge of the game, I quietly said to myself, "We don't believe you Tiki, and frankly, you need more people."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

So today I had to endure my first jury duty selection processs, and it was a bitch. There were dress code violations galore, I saw plenty of male and female asscrack, there were loud people, ignorant people, friendly ones, overly chatty ones etc. I got harassed at the security desk because I brought my video camera and my recorder (I have a Wizards game to attend to tonight), and the the guards thought I was trying to record the was quite an experience.

I did my very best to get out of having to serve, but the people who I shared the rooom with were way crazier than I was, which meant I was chosen by default. So Thursday (and maybe Friday) I will performing my civic duty..and preparing to blog about everything (once its over of course).

Saturday, March 05, 2011

This is an article my father wrote for a publication called Maryland Entrepreneur Quarterly. Its long but its good..that's what she said.

The Mobley Moment


The "nature" versus "nurture" argument is a long-standing one and is applicable to virtually every aspect of life. Was Michael Jordan born a great basketball player, or did he have to really work at it? Were Martin Luther King's oratory skills inherent, or did training as a Baptist minister develop this talent? Would Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt been considered great presidents if they had not led the nation through great crises? Was that idiot in the next office born that way, or ... well, you get the point.

Discussions of "nature" versus "nurture" with regard to entrepreneurs rage in business and academic circles. Most definitions of entrepreneurs include concepts of innovation and risk. Indeed, entrepreneurs are often thought of as being wired differently than most people. This is the fundamental rationale used by those who espouse the belief that entrepreneurs are born, not made. I am a believer in that rationale and support the "nature" argument.

Clouding this "either-or" approach to the issue, however, is that whether or not one is an entrepreneur, ongoing success in business requires innovation, management of risk, training and continuous learning. An entrepreneur who operates impatiently and rejects assistance to become a better businessperson is setting the stage for debilitating failure. A businessperson who does not foster a culture of innovation and rejects risk likely suffers a similar fate.

Continuous training and vision are particularly important for the entrepreneur who has created a successful enterprise. As revenues, profits and market share soar, business leaders often take their eyes off the ball in terms of customers, markets and innovation.

A colleague of mine noted that confidence can be defined as "arrogance under control." With the aforementioned entrepreneurs and business leaders, what was once confidence devolved into arrogance, often to the detriment of the future of the business.

An example of a once-innovative entrepreneur who misread future trends was Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, commonly known as DEC (full disclosure: I was offered two jobs by DEC in the late 1980s, but turned them down). Olsen, who died in February 2011, founded DEC in 1957 and is considered a pioneer and an icon in the computer industry.

DEC's success was in creating minicomputers used by scientists, engineers and other math-oriented professionals who did not require the huge mainframes used by large corporations. During its peak in the 1980s, DEC was the second largest computer maker behind IBM and employed 120,000 people. In 1986, Fortune magazine called Olsen "America's most successful entrepreneur." By 1992, DEC sales were $14 billion.

But, all too often, success leads to complacency and confidence becomes arrogance. In 1977 Ken Olsen made a prediction that spoke to that arrogance, foretold the demise of his career and his company and, regardless of all of his innovation and historic achievements, became his legacy.

Olsen famously said: "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home." Well, alrighty, then! I guess we can safely say that he whiffed on that pitch.

By the early 1990s, DEC's fortunes began to decline with the advent of personal computers and desktop workstations. The company had its first quarterly loss in 1990 and, shortly thereafter, Olsen cut staffing at the company. DEC also continued its focus on proprietary technology as opposed to open systems using Intel microprocessors and UNIX software.

Olsen simply and tragically missed what was a predictable direction of the market. As a computer user early in my career, I chafed at having to sign up for computer time and go to a special computer room to perform my analysis. I longed for the convenience of having a computer in my office and/or at my home. The opportunity was there for all to see.

In 1992, Olsen left DEC at the request of the board. After several unsuccessful attempts to regain market share, DEC was acquired by Compaq Computer in 1998. Hewlett-Packard acquired Compaq and what remained of DEC in 2002.

Ken Olsen is still revered and considered a precursor to Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple. Ironically, Gates and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, used a DEC computer to create the first version of the BASIC programming language for the personal computer. Further, Dave Cutler, a former DEC employee, developed the Windows NT and Azure operating systems for Microsoft.

My entrepreneurship students at Howard Community College have never heard of DEC or Ken Olsen. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are their godfathers of the modern computer industry.

This is akin to not understanding that before Michael Jordan, there were Julius Erving, Connie Hawkins and Elgin Baylor; that before Martin Luther King, there was Frederick Douglass; that before Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, there were leaders all over the world who, throughout history, held their nations together in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. History can be cruel, and one's legacy is often beyond one's control. Ken Olsen deserved better, but the market overruled him.

Upon further review, perhaps the "nature" versus "nurture" argument vis-ˆ-vis entrepreneurs is not particularly relevant. If the ultimate goal is to create a viable, profitable going concern, then every little bit helps.

Gap analysis is the order of the day. Creativity, innovation and risk management are requirements. Continued focus on customers and markets is an absolute necessity. Upgrading one's skills is part of the success formula. Whether made or born, entrepreneur or business leader, the formula for a profitable going concern is the same: You need to do it all.

Michael Mobley is executive director of j-ref (, a small business financier that provides loans and consultation services to Howard County entrepreneurs. He also teaches a course on entrepreneurship at Howard Community College. He may be reached at 410-313-6170 or

Friday, March 04, 2011

Yesterday, I got in trouble at work. Today the owner of the Washington Wizards criticized me in his blog because of the article I wrote. I may have to defend myself on this one...
So in the midst of the bad day I was having yesterday, I made the type of error that could have very well cost me my precious job. There was an email exchange going on with about 6 people from work copied, including myself and my boss who I am cool with. A fellow co-worker of mine who works in another building was requesting some information, and my boss provided for her in prompt fashion. Then this same person needed some additional information from a third party, and she asked my boss if she would mind getting that too. My boss said yes, and then my co-worker implied that she didn't mind getting it herself if need be. At this point, I jumped in and sent an email that said, "If she didn't mind, she would have gotten it herself."

Now I thought I was sending that email to just my boss, but it turns out that I sent that email to the very co-worker I was making fun of..this is someone who if she wanted to, could raise enough hell to make me unemployed. Now this wasn't the worse case scenario in which I could have copied every damn body on the email chain, so I should thank my lucky stars for that. Still those 10 minutes in between me accidentally sending that email, and me finally getting a response were painfully uncomfortable. I asked my boss what I should do, and she suggested I act like it didn't happen, then she told me to try to laugh it off, because this particular co-worker was cool. I was way too frazzled to come up with an effective plan of action, so I left my office completely to go get some water.

When I came back to my computer, there was an email from my co-worker that said, "I like to think of myself as a team player Rashad!", and then she ended it with a smiley face. I can readily admit that I think smiley faces at the end of emails are corny and pretentious, but when I saw my co-worker end her sentence with one, I was ecstatic. I also knew this was my cue to pick up the phone, and try to make this right, so that's exactly what I did.

Co-worker (who say the caller id and knew it was me): Hi Rashad

Me: Hey there..yeah I can't really apologize for what I said, because clearly I was trying to be smart, but I do apologize for being dumb enough to send it to you

Co-worker (laughing): That's fine Rashad, I honestly think it was funny

Me: I know but still..and if you want to come to my office and help me get my foot out of my mouth, I certainly won't stop you

Co-worker (still laughing): Rashad its fine, its no big deal, we're still cool

**a bit of an awkward pause**

Me: Ok well that's all I got, I'm going to run now, and again I'm sorry for the uncomfortable moment

Co-worker: Its no problem Rashad

Now I do believe that she thought it was funny, and I don't think she's upset about it. But I DO think she's going to get me back in somehow when I least expect it. I do know that last night right before I was scheduled to leave for the day, she requested me to research something, and normally I would have ignored it until I got in this morning. But due to my f**k up earlier in the day, I stayed right at my desk an extra 15 minutes in attempt to fulfill her request. And when the person I needed info from turned out to be gone for the day, I sent my co-worker a detailed email saying I'd follow up with rest of her request in the morning. I was very thorough even though it was after hours..this woman basically has me by the balls for a little while...

Anyway, please read this article on how I would cheer up Washington Wizards fans.

Shoutout to my brother who sent me the video version of the quote I posted yesterday;

Thursday, March 03, 2011

How To Cure The Malaise of Wizards Fans
I am having a rough day..the kind of day, where I wish I could walk in and use this line by Joe Pesci in the movie "Casino":

I think in all fairness, I should explain to you exactly what it is that I do. For instance tomorrow morning I'll get up nice and early, take a walk down over to the bank and... walk in and see and, uh... if you don't have my money for me, I'll... crack your fuckin' head wide-open in front of everybody in the bank. And just about the time that I'm comin' out of jail, hopefully, you'll be coming out of your coma. And guess what? I'll split your fuckin' head open again. 'Cause I'm fuckin' stupid. I don't give a fuck about jail. That's my business. That's what I do.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A playoff state of mind
It is confession time..

I'll admit that part of me was a bit fearful of both the short and long term effects of a government shutdown. I do a decent job of saving my money and all that, but these things can get tricky, and a one week shutdown could lead to two, three and beyond. Plus I am contractor, so when government money gets tight, they are quick to downsize, get rid of us, and plug in another government worker. So I won't say I was panicking or anything, but I was definitely paying attention to what the House and Senate leaders were saying on a day-to-day basis. I'm really hoping that are pro-active in finding another resolution beyond this two-week one they just agreed to, but if its anything like NFL and NBA labor conflicts, they will definitely wait until the very last minute...BUT

Part of me was happy that a government shutdown was (and maybe still) on the horizon. I wanted at least a week off from my regular job, and I wanted to see the type and volume of writing I could do without the "burden" of a 9 to 5. I wanted to cover a Wizards practice, write about a random NBA game, take the time to sit down and analyze patterns, trends, statistics, other authors, re-examine my own writing, etc. Its tough to do that, work my job, do personal things, and be a father and a husband all at the same time. But if I were to temporarily remove my job from the equation, I could do a dry run on a trial basis.

Of course if I had accrued a little more wealth, I'd quit my job and just do this full-time, but I'm not there just yet. Plus this is very selfish of me, because there are some people who would really be crippled by a government shutdown, and they would not give a damn about all the good things I was able to accomplish on the writing front, and nor should they be. But I'm rooting for a one-week shutdown, so if you're reading this and this angers, I extend you my sincerest apologies, but I invite to read my work while you're sitting at home that week. I predict big things.