Apple Fanboy To The Rescue

Yesterday, while everyone was in an uproar about iCloud, I was also experiencing my own difficulties with an Apple product. My beloved iPad mini suffered a hairline fracture on its screen. Yes, apparently those sorts of things happen. It was the first time I’ve ever experienced a damaged screen.

I thought I was in for a $250 repair, which I begrudgingly decided I should make even though there are new iPads and iPhones on the way. Otherwise, I’d have a lesser trade-in value when the new machines are released imminently. I quickly scheduled an appointment at local Apple store, grabbing the earliest spot I could get in the afternoon. 

I arrived 15 minutes early. I checked in, and was escorted to a table. When I was settled, an Apple Genius immediately came to see me. In other words, he was 15 minutes early for my appointment, too.

Next, he looked at the machine, and recognized the hairline fracture. Turns out it was my lucky day. He told me Apple replaces machines with hairline fractures on their screens. I was entitled to a new iPad mini. All we had to do was make sure my data was backed up to iCloud, sign out the new machine, and go home and reconnect it.

The entire appointment took 20 minutes. My new machine was up and running by 3:30!

All to say, yes, a data breach is a horrible thing. And, in my opinion, Apple is doing an amazing job of crisis control right before the launch of a new product. Anyone who makes any more of this, let me remind you of a few things:

  • Software as a service is a difficult business to master
  • It’s still not as difficult as customer service
  • Apple has a better fully integrated hardware, software, and customer experience than anyone in the business
  • Quit predicting it’s demise because it’s having difficulty adjusting to cloud based architecture. Everyone is.
  • Let’s move on!

In Celebration Of Marvelous Errors

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped into the local bookstore in Rhinebeck. I met a woman named Kris, pictured here.


Kris helped me locate a book on the shelves. She also suggested some nearby places to explore. One of the places was Mills Mansion, pictured here.


 It’s a stunning Beaux Arts home with beautiful lawns and unobstructed views of the Hudson. Mat and I have visited several times. We’ve become quite fond of it. 


This weekend, we decided to show off Mills Mansion to our friends Mike & Aurelie. We explored a new path Kris had recommended when I visited the bookstore on Thursday. Much to our surprise, we bumped into Kris at exactly the spot she recommended we explore!


Kris is fond of poetry. Whenever she visits Mills Mansion, she leaves quotes along the trail hoping people will find them. I was lucky enough to discover this gem: 

Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt – marvelous error! – that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.

It’s from an Antonio Machado poem named Last Night As I Was Sleeping. The poem was translated my Robert Bly. The idea of “marvelous errors” is quite inspiring to me. It sums up my experiences over the past summer, if not the past year. Yet, it’s brave and optimistic about the future. I feel restored for reading it, ready to march forward into fall.

We’ve also become very connected to Rhinebeck this summer. There are a lot of special people like Kris in the area. I can’t wait to get to know her better. Mat and I are really excited to come back. And to read the full poem!

Famously Quiet Birthday Celebration

The last week of August is famously quiet. It can make birthday celebrations tough, especially for children and the young-at-heart.

Still, some pretty remarkable things happened this week as I celebrated my birthday. Thought I’d take a couple of moments to share them:

1. Proved it really is better to give than receive. This year I donated my birthday to charity:water. Along with 24 friends and family members, we raised $1,416 to bring fresh water to people in need. It’s been quite a remarkable experience. I learned some really valuable lessons about fundraising, and about appealing to people. Generosity is an infinite resource. Find a reason to tap into it, and you’ll get back far more than you expect. I beat the goal I set by 42%. I’m really proud of that. 

2. Relived my bar mitzvah 30 years later. Last Sunday Mat took me to see Arcade Fire for my birthday. Arcade Fire brought three saxophones and two Haitian drummers with them. The sound was awesome. They put on the best dance party I’ve enjoyed since the bar mitzvah era. That’s probably not what they set out to do. Still, the Haitian beats were somewhat tribal. And bar mitzvahs bring young men into the tribe. So, there is a connection. Can’t wait to see them again. 

3. Learned how much I like to sitting. Earlier this month, I sought out and found a meditation consultant. It’s like a birthday gift to myself. I’ve really wanted to build a meditation practice for some time. I’ve heard the long-term benefits are fantastic. So far, the short-term benefits aren’t bad either. I’ve learned how much I like sitting, in meditation speak. I also feel some immediate benefits with respect to awareness and discipline. I’m eager to see how this develops, and how it can be applied to other parts of my life.

I guess you’d call this a famously quiet birthday celebration. 


Back To Blogging

A number of my friends and family have asked why I’ve returned to blogging after all this time. There are myriad reasons I could offer. However, Fred Wilson said it best:

There is something about the personal blog,, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.

The freedom is great. As is the renaissance in blogging. I’m hoping it produces some interesting new conversations and connections. Just like the old days!

The Personal Blog – AVC.

The Value Of A Like

Today’s the last day of my 42nd year. That means tomorrow’s my 43rd birthday, which means I’m going to do something special to boost charity:water donations.

Right now, we’ve raised $1,283 dollars for charity:water. It’s a great figure, and it will go far in a campaign to bring fresh water to those who need it. Thank you to each and every one of you who participated. I’d like to keep going.

Some of us are friends on Facebook. I’m anticipating that some of you like me enough to wish me a Happy Birthday on Facebook. That means you’ll post a message on my wall, or you’ll like a message someone else has already posted to my wall. Here’s the offer:

For everyone who wishes me a Happy Birthday tomorrow on Facebook, I will donate $1 to charity:water.

It’s that simple. No strings attached. For those of us in advertising and marketing, we’ll finally know the value of a like!

Of course, if you’d still like to support the campaign on your own, you’re more than welcome to do so. Visit:

Again, thanks so much to everyone for the support. Here’s to 43!

Generosity Is A Renewable Resource

My birthday is still several days away. Still, I thought I’d take a moment to note how successful the charity:water campaign has been. We’ve raised $1,240 through the generosity of 21 donors. Over 40 people will benefit with the gift of clean water. Thank you for the support. I’m really proud of everyone.

I’m also excited about some of the things I’ve discovered through the campaign. I want to take a couple of moments to note them. The first is all the amazing personal projects my friends have underway. They span the world from the Ivory Coast to Kunkletown, PA. They range from skills training to genetic research. It’s quite inspiring to see what giving really means to each of us. I feel like I’ve learned something new about my friends.

The second is a lesson about the human capacity to give. We live in a world that moves at a fast pace, with staccato signals connecting us to one another, and few moments for ourselves. Yet, it was really easy to get support for charity:water with just the right message, and a few taps on a screen. Generosity really is an infinite resource.

These lessons make me feel optimistic about the year ahead. What a great birthday gift! Thank you.

Three Reasons I’m A Fan Of charity:water

Since my birthday campaign started several days ago, some of you have reached out to ask for more information about charity:water. I’m glad to share.

Earlier today, charity:water released this video:

The video focuses on efforts in Sahel, a region of Africa dividing the Sahara from the savannah. Precipitation is extremely irregular, and the climate is dangerously dry. I think the video captures the vision and the mission of the organization really well. There are three reasons I’m a fan:

1. Clean water means health, income and education – especially for women and kids. Most of us have never been thirsty, so it’s hard to believe there are 800 million people on this planet who don’t have access to clean water.

2. charity:water brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. By providing things like fresh water wells, rainwater catchments, and sand filters.

3. 100% of public donations go directly to the field to fund clean water projects. For about $30 a person, a campaign that raises $1,000 will help 33 people. No grand schemes. No billion dollar solutions. Just things that work.

It’s an amazing model, and an amazing charity that gets results. We’ll all feel the impact long after my birthday. That’s because charity:water does an amazing job of documenting their projects and visualizing improvements using photography and GPS technology. Another reason I’m connected!

With that in mind, I want to express gratitude to those of you who have already donated. I’m proud to say we’re 85% of the way towards our goal of $1,000. I’d love to blow the goal out of the water, to start the year well over 100%. I hope you’ll consider a donation: