February 2016 Reunion

Hi Everyone,

I finally got a chance to read and sign the reunion guest book. I guess everyone will have to wait until the next reunion to read my entry, so let me express my thanks here to everyone who helped pull this off: all you food and event volunteers, attendees, friends, and family. We had a constant abundance of good food, great activities and even better company over the weekend. I especially enjoyed meeting part of our next generation. Many thanks all for coming, sharing, and helping. I feel I didn’t just get an MBA through this program, I got an ohana. Thank you.


Some pictures here.
(Send me yours and I can add them.)



I should have details for our February reunion later this week, if all goes well. Apologies for the delay.

Meanwhile, thanks to our own Kim Jong-un for hosting a warmup event on the valley isle yesterday.  A good time, too much yummy food, and great to catch up with everyone. I’ve missed you all!

Taken 22Nov15.

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Leave a comment or make a post and let us know what you’ve been up to and/or what you’ve been thinking about.  (And click on Curly’s blog link over there —-> for some of his recent mind wanderings.)



Keeping the Edge

When David and I went scuba diving last weekend (jealous?) we talked about missing having class but not missing the homework.

Work and family life can definitely keep the schedule over filled, but there are some relatively low impact things that I’ve been thinking about starting.

ADRhub.com that John Barkai recommended to us hosts monthly webinars. Some of the subjects are interesting others not as much. This months was Non-Defensive Communication.  There are two weird cuts. I had to stop and start the screen recorder. It’s a fairly breezy 57 minutes filled with solid advice and common mistakes people make either answering or asking for information in ways that create feelings of defensiveness. The video is unlisted so be kind about protecting the link. 🙂 I really liked it and I’ll be watching it again. Here’s what I put in the YouTube doobly doo:

“ADRhub’s Monthly Webinar. Sharon Strand Ellison defines Defensive Responses, three formats of communication, non-defensive questioning, and holds a short Q&A.”


Something else I’ve been looking at is Coursera.com. It’s similar to other MOOC or free online college-level course sites.  There’s everything from Western Music to Exploring Quantum Physics. With institutions like MIT and Carnegie-Mellon offering similar free courses the options are amazingly varied.

Maybe you’ve started working out again or picked up a third job instead. What are you all doing to keep your brain cells churning?

Finally, if you aren’t getting email notifications for new posts on the blog your primary email address probably isn’t on your profile. There’s a “subscribe to blog via email” box on the right side of the screen. Go ahead and enter your primary email address there. It makes it really easy to keep up when you get an email every time there’s an update.

DLEMBA Blog Subscribe

I hope the Holiday Season is shaping up nicely for everyone.  Annnnd, how about some updates after all the family gatherings over the next two months. 😉









Re-integration blues?

Hi Everyone,

First off – stop reading this right now and read Tony’s post below if you haven’t done so already.

OK – you’re back?

Sara is amazing (which we already knew, of course)!

Now- onto my much-less inspirational post:

I’ve  noticed a trend in several DLEMBites I’ve talked to: various levels of trouble re-integrating into our pre-DLEMBA lives. This seems to most often be on a personal basis, but could presumably be in our professional lives as well. I’ve reflected upon various possible causes for this that include:

  • We weren’t paying enough attention to other aspects in our lives, and often the changes that occurred within them, while we were so busy with work and school.
  • We were looking for some kind of change in our lives that caused us to pursue this program and we may now be finding that the MBA experience is not the answer or perhaps only part of the answer to what we were looking for.
  • It is also possible that we ourselves have changed  through this program and those around us have not. Dealing with that can be difficult.
  • Doing the DLEMBA program and continuing our normal lives was, in a way, a very selfish act. We were taking our time (and money) away from others and giving it to Jack DLEMBA.  That require a certain degree of selfishness to do.  Returning to our former generous selves requires a re-adjustment (which Sara, at least, was apparently able to do!).

I’m sure there are other possible causes – and they may be as unique as each of us are.  If you’re feeling any of this, what do you think? Are there lessons we should pass on to the next class?  Are there recovery procedures you’ve discovered that others may benefit from?

[queue anecdotal science guy story]
I tell young astronomers coming to work at an observatory, where they are employed largely for their ability to provide services to other astronomers as opposed to  their own research,  to make sure they make time for their research from day one on the new job. The temptation is to settle into the job first, or finish a project first, and then start research. The result can often be they never pick up research again, or they simply lose time that is hard to make up.  An active research program is vital for most astronomy careers.

Many of us took the time to maintain the other aspects of our lives (analogous to the young astronomers’ research – see, it wasn’t a totally random sidebar) during DLEMBA, and I suspect many did not.  Almost certainly, we all made sacrifices that ended up having real consequences.   We were/are an ambitious group that cares for each other and no one wanted to let their team mates down. Sometimes, not doing so meant letting ourselves or others in our lives down instead.  We may be dealing with the repercussions of those choices now.

Anyhow, I don’t really have a purpose in this post other than to make the point that if you’re in this camp, you’re not alone. It’s not just you.  I believe the strength in each of us that got us through this program will get us through the rest of life’s challenges. I also believe we still remain an incredible support group (“personal board”) for each other, so I recommend reaching out to your fellow DLEMBites and sharing your experiences.

Hopefully this post is too late for everyone and we’ve all gotten through this already, but in case not – we’re all here to help and we’re all (author included) going through the same thing!


Hawaii Community Foundation 2014 Annual Report

Greetings My Fellow DLEMBA1’s,

I’m not sure how many people are actually clicking through to the blog. Maybe throw a comment up if you see this? Your login is your first name. The password is… Look for Curly’s email on June 3rd.  🙂

I ran across a story today. It’s from a few months ago. There’s a girl who went to school on the mainland, but came home to work in her family’s business. Beyond that she wanted to help kids from her community gain an education and realize their potential. She started a scholarship with Hawaii Community Foundation.

I’m gonna feel really bad if I’m the only one who didn’t know all of this… But you all know this girl. Here’s the video from the Hawaii Community Foundation’s 2014 Annual Report featuring Sara Miura and her Rise Up Scholarship.

Sara, this is amazing and inspiring.

Edit (11/19/2014): HCF must have deleted the video on Vimeo. I’ll include a link to a clip that’s on YouTube. If I find the full video I’ll edit the post again.



[vimeo 96632666 w=500 h=281]

1st Follower… who’s up next?

I’ll go next. Some of you know, but I’m employed again, which is a good thing. UH Hilo opened a new research services office and I’m one of the four specialists in it. We do the backend work for all of the grants and contracts that come to the university. Helping with proposal development, submission, negotiating with sponsors, etc.

While I was training I was “stuck” on Oahu for Kamehameha Day. What to do? Go diving, of course. I went to the corsair plane wreck out of Hawaii Kai. Many of your may have seen my Facebook post. It’s the only “real” wreck on Oahu. The pilot had a fuel gauge malfunction on his way back in and had to ditch the plane. He made it ok, and luckily for all of us so did the plane. At 107′ down, in a sandy desert, and crystal clear water it’s an incredible dive.

Corsair Wreck – Hawaii Kai

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d-fzM8eieA&w=560&h=315]

Now that that’s out of the way. I was lucky enough to go on vacation for the first two weeks of July. We drove down pretty much the whole Pacific Northwest coast. Vancouver to San Francisco. We stopped at Olympic National Park (Hurricane Ridge and Hoh Rainforest), Ruby Beach, Candlestick Park (teardown next year!), The Exploratorium, ate some great food and the worst pizza I’ve ever had. If anyone is interested here’s the link to my web album. It’s not heavily edited so expect some doubles (or triples…).


On to what prompted me to post:

An interesting video came up in my YouTube feed. It features our very own Jenna Long speaking with Jay Fidell on ThinkTech about “Fossil Free Transportation.” It’s a long-ish interview, plan accordingly. Cool beans, Jenna!

I hope everything is going swimmingly for you all. I’d like to hear What’s Up? with you guys too.



Jenna Long on ThinkTech

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63M5-DSOGFI&w=560&h=315]



How to promote investment in job/market creation

I just finished an interesting and thought provoking article (hopefully you still have an active HBR account) in the June, 2014 Harvard Business Review.  Written by Christensen and van Bever, the article, The Capitalist’s Dilemma, starts out addressing the question why companies are not investing in ways that create jobs and open new markets.  It ends up concluding that the traditional MBA-based company soundness analysis focused on ratios like ROA, IRR, NPV, etc. are based on the now incorrect assumption that capital is scarce.  Scarce? These days, it is practically free! Combined with the domination of “tourist” shareholders (those who invest in the short term as opposed to the long term – a description that even applies to pension fund investors these days), the reliance on these traditional estimates of return drives firms to spend money to increase their efficiency or performance, usually eliminating jobs, while investing in opening new markets, with its increases in risk and assets, is typically viewed as less financially attractive than simply sitting on retained capital and doing nothing.  Capital is cheap, the authors argue, we should use it, not hoard it.

They also ask the question what we happen if we develop metrics for measuring investments in resources that are truly scarce – like making good people better.  How about time? How do we measure the value of time as a scare resource?  The focus on short term performance has created an abundance of short term capital that is not doing its job to help ensure future success and development.

Any thoughts/ideas on what we can do in our own lives and firms to reflect this change of perspective and corresponding motivation to put capital to use to build a stronger enterprise, not just a set of assets in some overseas company so our ratios appear better?



OK- someone has to break-in the What’s Up Category…

So, a big “what’s up in my life” is that today I signed an offer letter for a new position at work. Starting 1Jul, I’ll be the  Associate Director of Development at our observatory.  It’s a pretty good position that gets me more strategically involved in both the division I’m working in now, and as a directorate member, in the observatory as a whole, so I’m really looking forward to it. On the other hand, none of the last 4 people in this position (all of whom I’ve worked with in my 7 years here) are still working for us.  That makes me the 5th person in this position in 7 years, so I figure that means by the end of 2015 or so, I’ll be on to something else.  Any suggestions? 😉

On a serious note, I really credit this program and all of you for helping me get this position and feel comfortable with both negotiating for it and filling it.  You’ve all taught me a lot and learning from your and your experiences has really helped me refine my own thoughts and approaches to management and leadership at work. So, I am quite sincere in saying you all share some of the credit in me getting this position -although when I mess it up in a year and a half, that’ll be all on me! 🙂

What’s up with everyone else?