The Magic's in the Dream and the Journey...5-98

We had just pulled out of the Albany station. The car with the drug-sniffing dogs had left to return to the police station. I was sitting there in my private compartment, working on my laptop, marveling at the twists and turns in the journey called life. Before I share this intriguing story with you, it's time once again for our Mindshare Mini-Quiz. Let's see how up on things you are this time around.

What's tissue engineering? What two Mark's are in sports headlines? Who won the World Cup in soccer? How are Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations coming? What's the latest buzz from Wall Street? How are the technology giants doing? Who might step in to the GM strike? What was the latest union victory? Who holds the cards in a booming economy? Who will see an increase in online travel revenues? How are next-gens flexing their muscles? What's the difference between data, information, and knowledge? Do you need a CIO? What can you do about the Y2K bug? How can you Partner for Profit? What's in Magic Software's version 8? What is Seneca Falls famous for? Where's the Boilermaker held? What's a Rotary dream got to do with it? Want a glimpse into the future of medicine?

Tissue engineering is the research and development of perfect living organs grown, not in the body, but in the lab. A 16 year old MA teen has the first chest grown in a lab rather than in the womb. Four years ago, after receiving special dispensation from the FDA, doctors implanted engineered cartilage in his chest. Today the boy reports, "it looks like something I was born with." In the future, doctors will either prod the body into regenerating itself, or routinely order up newly grown, living body parts whenever existing ones fail. Although they'll have to deal with immunity problems, this is pretty cool.

Winning the British Open playoff by two strokes, Mark O'Meara became the oldest player in the modern era to win two majors in the same year. The other was the Masters, won when he sunk a twenty foot birdie on the 72nd hole. The British champion, a mentor to Tiger Woods, said "Tiger's an inspiration to me; he's taken the game to a higher level, which motivates me to work on my game." St. Louis Cardinals Mark McGwire had only two swings last week, but he made the most of them, hitting his 41st and 42nd home runs of the season. This sets a major league record for most homers by the end of July. (BTW, Cubbie Sammy Sosa's still hanging in there.) Told it was a classic swing, McGwire said, "I don't diagnose things. I told myself to be aggressive and if I saw a pitch to take a whack at it. You see it and you swing." Lesson for all of us here, from both Mark's.

The last World Cup match of the 20th century was one to savor as France, in a stunning victory, upset Brazil 3-0 to win the gold. Twenty-five year old Zinedine Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, scored two of the goals and became a household word in all of jubilant France. Described as someone "who's magic is in his feet", Zidane learned to play the game on the narrow streets in a tough section of Marseille. Barthez, the goalkeeper said, "when I took the field, I told myself 'tonight you'll be the world champion.'" Nearly seventy years after a Frenchman named Rimet devised the world cup, its home is, for the first time, in France. Dreams do come true.

Meantime, Israelis and Palestinians held their first high-level public talks in months to try and break the 16-month deadlock in peace negotiations. The latest buzz from Wall Street is the talk of lower interest rates. Lifted by this and the explosive gains of its dominant technology sector, the Nasdaq Index has doubled in just three years. A report issued by Int'l Data Corp. found consumer interest in new electronic products such as DVD players, digital televisions, and Internet devices is quite high. Microsoft reported a 28 percent increase in sales growth.

Also doing well are IBM, who will release Windows NT-based clustering software in the fall; H-P, who plans to offer PC notebook users a dual-boot Win95/Win98 option; Sun Microsystems, the maker of Java software; Apple, who while still needing to spur growth, had a good quarter; Intel, who will cut the list price of their 300MHz Celeron chip; Netscape, who just released a beta of Communicator 4.0 which offers roaming e-mail and smart browsing; Dell, who's now selling $6 million dollars a day on the Internet; and, who has more than tripled in price. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman has offered to make available federal mediation to help settle the strike between General Motors and the UAW union. Not a bad idea; the lady has a good track record.

Meantime, a majority of United Airlines passenger service workers voted to unionize, showing that labor's step-up recruiting efforts are paying off, especially among workers in the lowest-paid tier. In a booming economy, the cards are held by the workers. In today's drum-tight job market, everyone's competing for the best talent. After a decade of downsizing, good workers are in short supply. There are fewer young people to enter the work force, and a rising demand for educated and computer-literate workers. No group is in more demand than computer whizzes who have programming know-how. I'm glad I've become a geek!

Although air travel represented 84 percent of all online travel revenues in 1997, Jupiter predicts that their share will decrease to 59 percent over the next five years while online booking of hotel reservations and car rentals will more than double. Helping this along are the so-called next-gen's, new carriers with an appetite for bandwidth who are flexing their backbone muscle with fiber-optic networks that can transmit data at up to 10 Gbps and are preparing for a market share battle with telcos. Due to this competition, ISP access costs will decrease an average of 35 percent.

According to AT Kearny, 30 percent of CEO's surveyed said IT (Information Technology) is a key issue facing their company, but most were behind the times. Often used interchangeably, the following words: Data (statement of fact); Information (data organized for presentation or discussion); Knowledge (information organized so people can use it for making decisions) are all tied together with Learning (the process of gaining information and integrating it to grow your knowledge base). While larger companies have a Chief Information Officer, smaller companies often hire a consultant to fill the role of CIO. Technology is at the center of how most companies around the world are being changed, but in many companies it has not been part of the corporate culture to ensure that technology and business goals are aligned. IT leaders will be turning dreams into reality.

As the Y2K (Year 2000) deadline looms, organizations find themselves reshuffling priorities and taking action. What can you do about it? Test your personal machine to detect if there'll be a problem if the PC is used after 12/31/99 and make sure you're not linked to other computers who haven't done so. Otherwise, get out the typewriter and candles!

Part of that is Partnering for Profit. Oftentimes, our best work and most successful projects come as a result of working with other talented people. No one person can wear all the hats all the time. If you're not capable of writing magnetic marketing material, or designing a web site that will bring you business, you have only two choices: practice, practice, practice until you become proficient or go to a professional who can do it for you. Let go of what you don't do best so you can spend time on the things you do do best.

A recent study of 500 small businesses across the US, conducted by Wells Fargo Bank, indicates that 75% of small businesses familiar with the Y2K problem have not yet taken action to deal with it. There's a marvelous new product on the market by Magic Enterprise Solutions, Their Magic 8 software will enable you to take all those lines of code that comprise your valuable data, and easily transfer them into a Y2K compliant program that will enable you to take advantage of the Net/Web e-business and E-commerce that's awaiting all of us. I had the pleasure of keynoting a breakfast meeting for some of their VARs and prospects last week. Click here to view some digital pictures taken there.

Seneca Falls, in NYS, is the birthplace of the women's movement. This past weekend marked the 150th anniversary of a fateful meeting between five activist housewives in Seneca Falls that led directly to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It took 72 years of struggle and agitation before the 19th amendment was passed in 1920. There have been many sacrifices made that have enabled women to be fully vested contributing members in a formerly oppressive patriarchal society. I'm sure none of us, male or female, wants our daughters or granddaughters to not use their talent fully. I know that living within me is the strength of my mother, as well as that of my father. Issues remain but progress continues.

Last weekend, the 21st Annual Boilermaker was run in Utica, NY. A 15k road race (9.3 miles), with nearly 9,000 runners it qualifies as the largest 15k in the country. All three winners - male, female, and wheelchair - came down to a neck and neck finish in the final stretch. The Boilermaker, begun 21 years ago by Earle Reed's father, continues to grow and be a tremendous source of pride for the community. One of my daughter's ran her sixth race. Earle and Joe Kelly, Director of the brand new Runners Hall of Fame, located in Utica, along with the free beer from FX Matt's brewery, have helped to draw such outstanding runners as Bill Rodgers, the most famous distance runner in history. We were privileged to have them present at our Rotary meeting, and of course, I have pictures up on my web site! Just click on the link on my technotouch front page.

And speaking of Rotary, this year's International Theme is Follow Your Rotary Dream. We've been blessed with a District Governor whose enthusiasm and leadership is propelling all of us to want to share in his dream. I was honored to have DG Ed Paparella appoint me to the District Technology Committee, where I will be working on improving the web site and helping our members communicate better with technology. My local Utica Rotary Club was equally honored to install our first female president, Linda Allen, who's already won the hearts and minds of the members. If you go to and click on the buttons called Breaking News and Program Updates, you'll see part of what we're up to, on both the local and the district level.

Now, what happened on the train? By the time we'd finalized plans with the client for my NYC meeting, during the week airfare would have been prohibitive, and the train was sold out. However, there was availability in a private compartment car, which didn't cost that much more, so I had the travel agent book it. It was wonderfully peaceful and I was able to get a lot of work done on the way down. On the return, I had a reserved seat in the club section. However, I got tied up in traffic, and by the time I reached Penn Station, the train had just pulled out. So I'm back at the window changing the ticket once more. Knowing I would not arrive home until midnight, I decided to pay the extra and take the private compartment car home.

Once on the train, I settled in, booted up my laptop and proceeded to continue working on some projects for my clients. I even had the car attendant bring me in my dinner, saving the time I would have spent in the club dining car. The train stopped briefly, just once, in Croton-Harmon, near White Plains, then continued on. Ten minutes before pulling into Albany, a knock came at my door. I said, "come in, it's open", expecting it was the attendant. Back came a voice, "Ms. Brown, can we come in?" while at the same time a mighty prominent badge was displayed in the window. I fumbled with the door, but he soon was standing there, showing me once again his credentials, saying "don't be afraid, we just want to ask you a few questions."

He proceeded to ask me what I had gone to NYC for, why I had changed my ticket so often, and why I had taken a sleeper car in the daytime. After answering each of these, I suddenly looked at him and said, "My goodness, do you think I'm smuggling drugs back upstate?" He replied, "yes ma'am." I broke into laughter, and immediately apologized, saying "I'm not laughing at you, I think it's wonderful that you're working diligently to keep drugs out of the area. I'm laughing at my children's reaction when I share this with them." We talked about what made them suspect me, and how they'd next proceed. As we pulled into the Albany station, I asked if they ever brought dogs on board to sniff the luggage.

They answered, "there's one waiting for us on the platform now." I said, "for me??" They said, "just for you." Well, I never did get to meet the dog, even though I wanted to take a picture of it with my digital camera (they didn't think it would be a good idea ) So you see, the magic in life is living the dream, and enjoying the journey. Enjoy yours.

by Marlene B.Brown,CEO-MarmeL Consulting Firm & TechnoTouch Marketing * Web site: Author: "TechnoTouch© Selling" * Email: Topics: FutureTrends, Leadership, Net/Web Technology, Sales/Mktg PO Box 840, Clark Mills, NY 13321-0840 USA * Tel: 315-853-1318 © 1998. Marlene's TechnoTouch E-zine is designed to keep you abreast of recent happenings that impact upon you, your company, and your world.

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