My Blog

17 posts

The secret to Networking

A couple of years ago I was attending a Christmas party when a well known entrepreneur and business owner came up to me and started talking about business networking. Since it’s one of my favorite topics I was happy to oblige.

He asked me the most direct question “ what is the one secret to networking?” Interestingly no one had ever asked me that question before. Most of the literature about business networking concentrates on so-called ‘networking events’ and how you should or should not act and react at those functions. But rarely do they discuss the ‘how to’ of actually meeting people.

Back to my new friend, I said “you have to be first”. I explained that and in any situation if you want to network (read meet) with someone, you need to stick out your hand and introduce yourself first. This, of course, seems blindingly obvious yet for many people it is unnatural.

Being first guarantees an introduction. There is no better substitute.

Mastodon Part 2

Well it’s been a couple of months and I must admit that I like Mastodon better than Twitter. That said, for me, it’s not as good. I say that with a great deal of hesitancy because there are many ways in which it is superior. However, it is the sheer size of the user base which separates the two.

Mastodon has a dedicated and committed community and they genuinely believe in the platform. Twitter has more users and as a result there is more for the individual to choose from and that, in the end, makes Twitter the winner.

Mastodon has two major faults. The first is it relies on individuals to establish and run instances (individual servers that are part of the Mastodon whole). Those individuals pay out of pocket to run those instances and invariably ask for donations for support. If that is successful, instances flourish, if it isn’t, well you see the problem. 

When I joined Mastodon my goal was to turn it into a news feed. I was generally successful; however, what was really true was that a particular Mastodon user had created a number of “bots” ( accounts which rebroadcast content from other sources) to do that job. So the truth is that many news organizations have not committed to Mastodon and that some of what was available was subject to the largess of a particular person. Again, you see the problem.

I still believe that Mastodon has great promise but for me an open source RSS reader has replaced Mastodon as my news feed.

Update: July 2023, Just Deleted my Mastodon Account. Just not a Social Media person I guess.


Mastodon has been much in the news lately as an up and comer alternative to Twitter. Time will tell if Twitter can survive the erratic behavior of its new owner. That said, Mastodon is still a good idea. It is decentralized, meaning that you join a particular server (or instance as they call it). Think of it like joining a community group. You join the local chapter of a much larger organization.

In my case I joined a Canadian server which seems very well run and is supported by CIRA the Canadian Internet Registration Authority. As of this writing most of the major news organizations have Mastodon accounts. Since I use Mastodon as mostly a news feed that suits me fine. If you are curious there are many good videos on YouTube to get you started.

It’s hard to tell if Mastodon will take off. I’m going to give it a try and we’ll see.

Chris Pappas RIP

My father-in-law Chris passed away on April 14, 2021. He was a great guy. 

I had known him since I was 16 years old, some 47 years. Longer than most son-in laws get.

In that time I spent quite a bit of time with him in the early years, and then the later years. To say that he treated me like a prince is a gross understatement. In fact, when I was a teenager he let me drive his new car before his daughter, and my future wife. A memory that still makes us both smile.

If one word were used to describe Chris it would be (as the kids say) chill. Easy-going was, I think, his motto. Accepting of everyone and, in his later years especially, grateful for every kindness. I will miss him.

The Quality of the Man

On September 2, 2020 we lost a very special man. Harold Chapman or “the Chairman” as I used to call him had been in declining health for some time but because of Covid many of us did not find out about his passing until recently.

When I joined the “Y” Harold made me feel welcome in a new place where he had been a member for a very long time. He had no reason to befriend me, we were separated by almost 30 years in age yet it was the quality of the man that he could speak as easily to someone years his junior as he could to his peers. That fact, and his ability to speak fluently on a multitude of subjects, continued to amaze me as the years passed. 

Harold Chapman was my friend. I didn’t know him as well as some, and perhaps better than others, but it was the quality of the man that made you feel that your relationship with him was special and unique. Harold was a true gentleman and will be missed by all, especially his “Y” family.

Politics and what might have been.

Last night I met with a good friend.

He has been a sometime political candidate but has never held public office. I have had, and do have, a great deal of faith in his abilities in that regard. But I got the message, if not loudly, clearly, that he probably won’t run again.

As he well pointed out his prime earning years are the next twenty and if he is to ‘have a life’ it had better be now.

I completely understood. In fact I had, as his friend, advised him to do just that after the last particularly nasty campaign. But as a citizen I was sad. 

I dare say that most of us who consider ourselves politically active (or at least astute) fear that the quality of candidates for political office has diminished in recent years and that many who find themselves elected are long term representatives devoid of the fire that drove them to office in the first place, or political novices with little or no hope of ever making a difference and destined to sit on the periphery of political decision making. 

I fear that unless we as a society can convince young people that ‘civil service’ is an honourable  calling and create a political structure that does not favour incumbents (ranked ballots and term limits would be a good start)  that vocation will continue to slide into an even sadder state.  

As for my friend, I will continue to wish him well and relish the lengthy political discussions we have. But I’ll always wonder what might have been.

Death & Choice

Death is hard.

All of us have institutional, cultural, and religious customs regarding death and “after death” and living up to them in a world of ever changing cultural transition can be emotional. The rub of course is when the expectation of others conflicts with your beliefs. In families this can cause conflict, and in my own case sleepless nights.

My own take is that if you do right by people when they are alive then you have fulfilled your humanity.

Since no one can be sure without doubt what the right thing to do is, each person’s opinion and beliefs must be respected equally. Each person will handle death according to their strengths (and weaknesses) and in the end that`s all the any of us can or should hope for.