Planets, Stars and Galaxies. Our Beautiful Universe.

Ever since my sixth grade science class, I’ve had a fascination with Astronomy. Although it has ebbed and flowed over time, I’ve my desire to learn more about astronomy and someday own a “monster” telescope has remained.

My parents bought my first telescope for me in 7th or 8th grade. I don’t recall exactly when, but I do remember it being during my middle school years. It was a Celestron refractor telescope very similar to this one Celestron Refractor Telescope. It was a fine entry level telescope especially for a kid.

When I married in 1998, I was pleased to discover that my wife had won a Reflector Telescope at a store drawing. It was big step up from the telescope I had as a kid. After having a few kids of our own, somewhere along the way the kids trashed the tracking gears. It was time for some upgrades. :)

After a bit of research and deciding on a budget, I landed on a 12″ Zhumell Dobsonian from Its quite the telescope standing almost 6′ tall off.


So why all this fascination with astronomy? If you stop for minute and clear your mind of everything you think of during your daily routine. Seriously, clear out all this distractions. Now…

Ponder that earth is 25,000 miles in diameter and its surface is more smoother than a billiard ball relative to size. Its fascinating. Planets rotate, spin around a sun on a set path, all in synchronicity without colliding. Its fascinating. In our Milky Way Galaxy scientists have discovered 500 solar systems. Our Milky Way Galaxy is said to house some 300 billion stars.  It’s fascinating.

I could go on, but pictures speak louder than words.

NASA daily photo site

Google Galaxy Search Images

I’m still completely baffled that anyone thinks that the universe as complex as it is could every have simply “occurred”. Its the most complex thing that has ever existed. Matter, planets, gravity, thermodynamics, magnetism, planets, stars, DNA, life, photosynthesis, food processing, and the list is endless. God’s design is written on everything.

Blogging Again

After taking a 1 year break from blogging, I’m back albeit with a different purpose.

The original reason behind my blog was to use it as a networking tool. I feel like I accomplished my goal. I used the blog as a calling card when reaching out to top tier business leaders. CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CMOs and the like. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to make many connections, and I attribute many of those connections to the visibility I gained through my blog. One of my favorite achievements was the interview with Josh James while he was the CEO of Omniture. As a result of my blogging around the Omniture community, Gail Ennis, Omniture CMO, took notice and while attending the Omniture Summit, she afforded me the opportunity to sit in a room with Josh James. It was a fantastic experience.

Now in this next iteration of blogging, I hope to share thoughts and ideas that I’ve picked up over the years. Recently on a trip to Washington D.C., I was afforded the opportunity to visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson and also to visit George Washington’s home. During those visits, I was able to get a glimpse into what allowed these men to become great leaders of our country. They spent much of their time learning, but they also spent much of their time spreading ideas via writing, letters and meetings. Now at 45, father of 6 children, 17 years of marriage, with a moderately successful career, I now hope to share a little of what I’ve learned so that someone may find it useful on their life’s journey.

Ideas on Building a Stronger, Better Marriage

Our company was fortunate to have Joe Beam the marriage guru come speak to us the other day. He’s a great speaker and had some very inspiring things to say. My wife and I went through Joe’s Family Dynamics class back in 2007. Now after 17 years of marriage, that class was one of the best things we’ve done.

Let’s face it. Marriage is tough. Some people see marriage as 50/50 give and take, but I see it as 100/100. You give 100% of yourself, and if things go well, your spouse gives you 100% of themselves back to you. Marriage is built on putting the other persons needs before your own. If that sounds a little idealistic, its because it is. I like to believe that I’m a great husband and put my wife first in everything, but in truth. I’m pretty selfish.

I’m very active and driven. My wife is very passive. We’re opposites. I prefer to always be doing something.  She prefers a much slower pace, but with six kids, slow isn’t in our vocabulary. Overtime, all kinds of things can build up in a marriage that need to be flushed out. Unfortunately, many times couples fail to surface and discuss the real issues. My wife and I are very laid back when it comes to conflict. You could say we avoid conflict. I don’t go around looking for conflict, but I deal with it when I need to. My wife with her sweet gentle spirit, prefers to avoid conflict. This is what drove us to seek some outside perspective on our marriage.

Earlier this year, we made the commitment to see a marriage counselor, and boy are we seeing a marriage counselor. Averaging 1 visit every 3 weeks for almost 20 weeks. So how did we go from not seeing a marriage counselor at all in 17 years to deciding to see one so frequently? Well, that’s a very good question.

Essentially, we were stuck. Stuck with frustrations. Stuck with problems we hadn’t solved. Stuck with communications issues since I was okay with conflict, but it shuts my wife down. The list goes on. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.

After a few visits, we saw a few small things you could call marital wins. Not big things, but just enough to make us think it was worth our time and money. Now being 20 weeks on the other side of our first marital counseling visit, I think it’s been money well spent. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my wife, and my kids. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re headed in the right direction.

If you’re stuck maritally, you might try a marriage counselor…but find a good one.

Other marriage resources

Book: When a Man Loves a Woman

Book: When a Woman Loves a Man

when a man loves a woman when a woman loves a man

3 Recently Read Books

I’ve recently tried to step up my reading. In doing so, I’ve been able to finish 3 books in the past week. Now, don’t think too much of me. If you were able to see my backlog of reading material, well, let’s just say any positive impression of my past weeks achievement would evaporate instantly. However, these 3 books are worthy of mentioning, and the fact that they are all very different subject matter made the past week very refreshing for me.

#1 When a Man Loves a Woman by James Ford Jr. – a short read that will help any husband or would be husband become the man his wife has always desired. I recommend this book to any husband who wants to make the most out of his marriage and is up to the challenge of becoming the man his wife has always dreamed about. It’s not rocket science, but reading this may make you realize how far short you have fallen of the man you should be.


#2 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith – a simple yet challenging and inspiring book about making the most of your life. Redeeming each and every day. I wish I could say there’s a simple 7 step plan to this book to take away, but every page of the book is challenging you about your view on life and not wasting it. Every day is a gift. I was particularly inspired by how Robert listed men throughout history and the number of days they lived. The things they accomplished with their lives were amazing. I’ve been inspired, and hope to use the rest of my days to their fullest.


#3 The CIO Playbook by Nicholas R. Colisto – a wonderful read for anyone aspiring to attain or who has already attained a high level technology leadership role. A very thorough covering of the CIO role.


A New Breed of CIO

Technology is changing. The way companies use technology is changing.

The past – technology teams and CIOs relied upon by the organization as service level. Translation: Business leaders come up with ideas. Business leaders tell the technology department what they want or need. The technology team fulfills those requests. Very service level driven.

The future – technology teams and CIOs are peers with the other top level leaders in the organization. Translation: CIOs work alongside top level leaders to define strategy for the organization. CIOs make the transition to helping the company navigate the digital world. Online business, mobile, etc. CIOs that fail to make the transition will fail to bring the necessary business value and ultimately fail as the “new breed of CIO.”

This article from Tech Republic and David Nichols does a fabulous job laying all of this out.

Tech Republic – Digital CIOs

My Time at SXSW 2014

One more session and I’ll be leaving SXSW for the trip back to wonderful Nashville, TN. This was my second time to SXSW in 3 years. One the last trip, we brought along several members of our development team. With this trip we tried a new approach and brought along the leaders of our Digital Strategies Team. 2 from Development. 2 from Creative. 3 from Marketing. 2 from Digital Business. It was a wise decision.

While SXSW has been entertaining, informational and fun, the time with our leadership team has by far been the best value from the trip. A lot of companies deal with dysfunction amoung these groups and teams. At Dave Ramsey’s Organization, we work really hard not to let this happen. We actually like and enjoy working with each other. It’s really like working within a “positive” family experience. This makes our work environment extremely fun. One of the byproducts is how excited everyone is to work on projects together and to help improve and make things working and function better. Always striving for improvement. Sometimes that improvement is slow in coming, but rest assured, it is coming.

As for the rest of SXSW, it started a bit slower than my last visit. The weather was cold and rainy. Yuck! The sessions were rather weak. By day 3, things started picking up. The weather improved and probably unrelated, so did the quality of the sessions. Perhaps I just did a better job choosing. :) In in case, I’ve picked up some really good ideas, and sparked my digital creative juices flowing again. Sometimes, I probably get a little too focused on work and need a break like this to pull me out of the weeds. It allows me an opportunity to see more clearly some of the things we need to focus on for improvement.

Thanks SXSW.

Josh James and DOMO

As I was perusing the social scene this evening, I began checking up on a few of my favorite online companies and their CEOs. LinkedIn‘s Jeff Weiner, and Yahoo‘s Marissa Mayer. I couldn’t help but notice Marissa’s 400,000 twitter followers and Jeff’s 60,000. I began pondering my own social footprint. Truthfully, I’ve not been interested in creating a huge Twitter or Facebook following for myself as is evidenced by my pitiful 862 followers who see sporadic tweets from me on a random out of the blue basis. However, as I navigated through LinkedIn checking to see if Marissa had somehow miraculously accepted my invitation to connect, I was greeted by a BI advertisement targeting CIOs, and as you may know, I am a CIO. I was enticed, and before I knew what was happening, I clicked the link. Yes. I fell for one of the same marketing tactics I use on others. Obviously, it’s a very effective marketing tactic, but that isn’t the story.

After clicking the link, I was greeted by a wonderful landing page at DOMO. DOMO, if you don’t know, is run by Josh James, the former CEO of Omniture, one of my favorite web companies. Josh did some wonderful things over at Omniture, and after leaving Adobe/Omniture, he landed at DOMO as a major investor and the new CEO. In typical Josh fashion, DOMO has really stepped up its visibility. Josh’s teams have done some very good things with marketing over the years. While at Omniture, one of those was to buy and use to attract and support CMOs. Now, I see with DOMO, Josh has done it again with, and I have to ask, why didn’t someone else do this? It’s a simple yet brilliant strategy.

Way to go Josh! And, if one of your guys can make it down to Nashville for our October CIO Peer to Peer meeting (this month covering DataWarehousing and BI Reporting), that would be great.