Some people talk a lot about winning.
What is it they think is being “won”?
Folks who work in a factory are not expected (nor usually even allowed) to be remarkable. Show up on time, and do what your told. That’s their job.
Good thing that lawyers and legal professionals aren’t factory workers. Then again, maybe they are.
If you like documentaries, as I do, then I highly recommend The Queen of Versailles. The film profiles a rich timeshare guy named David Siegel who married a trophy wife (former Miss America, I believe) and they had a slew of kids. Despite the fact that they lived in a huge mansion in an exclusive gated community in Orlando, they wanted a bigger house.
They planned to build the biggest house in the United States. And they called it “Versailles” because it was modeled after the famous French Palace. The cost of the house would have been well over $100 million. This was before the real estate meltdown. The Siegels, like many other folks, were super-optmistic, and greedy. They were also pathetically self-absorbed, which is why they agreed to let a filmaker named Laura Greenfield follow them around for a few years. Big mistake.
The movie is fascinating because it starts like a typical reality TV show, except instead of Ozzy Osbourne or Gene Simmons, it’s a time-share real estate mogul. A big time-share business is more like a super-rock band (e.g. KISS or Black Sabbath) than you’d expect. So there is the voyeueristic appeal of seeing into the private lives of some quirky rich people, and the people that cater to them.
But what’s really interesting is how the Siegels come to grips with the economic downturn, which threatened every project he had going, including his cherished “Versailles.”
Early in the film, Siegel proudly claims that he alone was responsible for getting George Bush elected because of his work in Florida (which he says, on camera, he doesn’t want to discuss because what he did “might be illegal”). Flash forward to late 2008, when the bottom is dropping out of the financial system, and when Siegel and his tribe have to face some serious cutbacks.
He has to forego his limos and jet plane, and cut his household staff from 13 to 4. His wife’s dogs are pooping all over the mansion and no one has time to pick it up, so they step in crap from time to time. The kids don’t feed their lizard so it dies, and one of them complains it’s because no one would take her to the pet store to get more food (the house is filled with food and no doubt some of it would have saved the lizard).
Clearly they have too much stuff, and not enough people to manage it. But that doesn’t stop his wife from continuing to binge-shop, buying obscene amounts of toys that she has to cram into 3 cars. When they get home they pass through the garage, which is strewn with toys and bicycles that kids don’t play with anymore. They don’t have time to use all the crap they have, much less take care of it.
In the end, Siegel is bitter and astonished that his empire has crumbled. He says his kids they may have to get real jobs when they graduate from high school, and that they’ll have to borrow money for college (he never put any away for their college education). He blames his misfortune on greedy bankers, and never once acknowledges any responsibility for miscalculation or excessive borrowing.
And now that the film is out and getting attention, he’s even more bitter (and unable to accept responsibility). So he’s suing the filmaker for defamation. But a U.S. Judge doesn’t seem to believe his case has merit. What a shock!
One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Siegel is talking to the Orlando real estate agent who is supposed to find a buyer for Versailles (which is only half-way finished). The agent is supposed to be an expert in luxury properties, but she keeps pronouncing ‘Versailles’ with an ‘s’ at the end. It’s a small thing, yet somehow compelling.
Many of the people in the movie have lots of money (or had it), but virtually none of them have any self-awareness. Apparently, that can lead to big problems.
I’m not one to lecture people away from being “down to earth” or “casual and friendly,” but lately I’ve been itching to tell people who have “cutesie” profile pictures that it’s probably not a good idea. You know, the picture of them and their wife, or their boyfriend, or dog, or the college rugby team.
Such a small thing, you say. What is the problem with this?
Nothing at all, if the profile picture was going to be viewed only by people who already know them. But it’s not. These days you have to account for the following harsh truth: something you put out there for one group, and with one purpose, will probably be seen by an entirely different set of people, and used in a way you hadn’t contemplated.
Let me give you an example.
My iPhone’s contact list pulls data from, among other places, Facebook. The profile pictures that accompany most of the people in my address book come, in many cases, from Facebook. I can’t say for sure where they come from exactly, but I know that the pictures are chosen by the contact person themselves and not by me.
Let’s say I need to send contact information from my contact list to a new business prospect. My usual routine is to send a vCard by email from my iPhone. I tend to do that very quickly without thinking much about it. So I probably wouldn’t notice that my old friend has a weird profile picture. Which means that’s what might show up when I send the business prospect the vCard.
Maybe it won’t matter you say, if you’re one of those who wants to keep your cute profile picture. Maybe it won’t. But maybe you haven’t thought about all the ways that your profile picture will be used in scenarios you hadn’t contemplated.
I like to keep things simple. A profile picture should let people know what you look like so they can remember you, or know who to look for when you meet for the first time in a coffee shop or other public place. A profile picture shouldn’t be stuffy and formal, but it shouldn’t be so casual that it sacrifices some other desirable aspect. There is nothing wrong with a nice close up of your face, taken in a casual setting.
But a profile picture of you with your four best friends from high school isn’t going to help me remember you or find you in a crowded coffee shop. Just saying’…