What’s The Frequency, Roger?

Lessee, there’s Peter Gabriel’s On the Air; Joni Mitchell’s You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio; Elvis Costello’s Radio Radio.

All that is a stall to say that I’m going to appear on Barbara Weltman Internet radio show, Build Your Business Radio, which airs each Monday from 4pm to 5pm/ET.

As her producer Gloria wrote me: “We would like to have you as a guest on an upcoming radio show in early October, if possible. Barbara enjoys highlighting her guests’ areas of expertise, and we ask them to compose 5 to 8 questions for her to ask during the interview. Build Your Business Radio’s audience consists primarily of small businesses and entrepreneurs. You’ll get to use the podcast following the interview to post on your site, etc.”

I have an area of expertise? Always thought of myself as a generalist.

Anyway, I’ve agreed to be on Monday, October 5 during 2nd half of show. The studio calls the guest (a/k/a, me) at 4:24pm/ET; live interview begins at 4:30p, continues for 11 minutes, breaks, resumes for 9 minutes more. 20 minutes to fill.

Don’t mind telling you…well, let’s put it this way: I think it was Steve Stills at Woodstock talking about CSN’s second gig who indicated how scared they were.

The fear is…er, ah…that I’ll…um…in the words…ah, ah…that my wife…hmmm…hates…suck. Also…(mumble)…I hate (ahem) the sound of [cough] my own…eh…voice when I…er…hear it.

So why do it? Because I’m afraid. One of the things that we’ve been doing with the daughter is, whenever she does something she’s heretofore been scared to do, such as going to a new school or seeing a new doctor, is give her a penny, which she can trader in for certain goodies. Hey, I wonder what I’LL get for doing this?

Also, if I ever get ambitious enough to do my own podcast some decade, this gig will be a baseline for me. Now, I’m hoping it won’t be TOO bad. I DID give Gloria a half dozen questions for which I DO more or less know the answers. They’re mostly about the Small Business development Center, the state Data Center program, being a librarian, and being a census data junkie (oh, no, can’t say “junkie”,; it has implications). I’m trying to anticipate the curve balls; I noted in my bio that I used to deal in comic books, so I’m thinking of a couple points on THAT topic, just in case.

So if you want to hear it, but don’t have access, I’ll link to the podcast afterward. Unless it REALLY sucks.

The business of Billary

I had an a-ha! moment in Chicago after attending a workshop on family-owned businesses at the ASBDC conference. Family-owned businesses are often dysfunctional, because the role in the family is not made distinct from the role in the family-owned business. The instructor used the example of the business owned by dad and/or mom with the children/employees expected to come to Sunday dinner every week, where the conversation would inevitably devolve into talking shop. The people providing the jobs and the people providing the meal are exactly the same, so the family dynamic interferes with the business dynamic, and disaster often follows.

It occurred to me that two of my favorite TV shows involve family-owned businesses, and the dysfunction that it brings, both on ABC: Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money. The former is about a guy who owns a produce business; he dies in the first episode, and the succession plan doesn’t always go as he planned, with his elder daughter in charge, much to the resentment of at least one of his sons and his brother-in-law. In DSM, the protagonist tries and fails to stay out of the family businss that his late father worked in but gets sucked into the bizarre family/business dynamic.

One conversation that was taking place at the conference was whether Bill Clinton, supposedly insightful politician, regardless of your political view of him, intentionally sabotaged his wife’s campaign for President, One woman said, “How could he not have?” Here’s my theory; there is this company called Billary. Going back to the late 1970s, its mission was to elect Bill Clinton governor of Arkansas, then later, POTUS. So, by necessity, Bill was CEO of Billary, Inc.

Then it was Hillary’s turn to run things. Except that Bill was used to being the CEO of Billary. Heck, he was used to being “leader of the free world”. So while he may have really tried to cede authority to her, the old business dynamic, mixed with their…complicated family dynamic, got in the way. In an ABC interview in August, Bill Clinton said as much, responding to attacks on his wife as a husband, rather than as a surrogate for the candidate.

In many situations, such as when a new department head is chosen at a university, what the former chair does affects the outcome. When the retired one sticks around in some emeritus status, some of the staff will continue to him or her. Whereas when the older one slips quietly into the sunset, that issue doesn’t arise.

So, I’m convinced that Billary didn’t work in its quest to nominate Hillary as President because it was a dysfunctional business. Moreover, I think Barack Obama did not choose Hillary to be his running mate because he did not want to be tied down to that broken dynamic.

Top photo (c) 2008 by Mary Hoffman

Elgee Arts

Somehow, it’s become MY job to listen to a bunch of cassette tapes that were in my late father’s possession. Mostly, they are pitches by people you’ve never heard of, recommending that folks get involved with one multilevel marketing plan or another, something that my father was susceptible of buying into. But there’s also How To Be An Auctioneer (Dad was the first black auctioneer in the state of North Carolina), a 1983 episode of something called P.M. Magazine (Eddie Murphy’s language offends! John Lennon biopic to be made!) There may be a tape or two in there of his music or writings. Naturally, most of them are unlabeled, or labeled so cryptically as to be meaningless. More than seven years after his death, the day before what would have been his 81st birthday…

Tomorrow, Lydia will be three and a half. So, my father’s birthday is Lydia’s half-birthday, and vice versa. In the Lydia-naming consideration process, which I detailed way back here, it had never occurred to me that my father, Les Green, and my daughter, Lydia Green, had the same first and last initials until Carol started labeling Lydia’s things that she takes to day care LG.

For many of my father’s enterprises, involving music, painting and flowers (in other words, NOT the MLM stuff), he referred to the business as Elgee Arts – LG. So, in one more way, I have this connection between my father and my daughter, even though they never had a chance to meet.

And since I’m taking about him, let me re-request any information about my father’s – Leslie Harold Green – military service from May 1945 to December 1946 in a segregated unit in the European theater, as I described here.
There’s this 46-year-old Carnegie Mellon professor who is dying. He seems to have a rather good attitude about it, probably better than what mine would be.


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