Sunday, October 21, 2007


This is my first blogging post ever; so bear with me I have every intent of going somewhere.

So, I love fishing. More accurately, I used to love fishing. Now I'm a two time daddy who seldom gets a line wet but still loves the idea of fishing. Fishing is quiet, peaceful time spent with people you choose in sometimes breathtaking locations. The exact opposite of where I spend most of my actual time.

But guess what? This post is not about fishing; it is about Fish! That relieved but bewildered look on my fellow ECTN bloggers faces right now and taking a bank shot off of Rule # 2 and sinking it in Rule # 4 explains everything. No? Well perhaps a little background will help.

A few years back, as I was signing up as one of the first employees of my third startup, the President - read owner - of the soon to be company handed me a used copy of John Christensen's 1998 book Fish! and indicated the Fish! Philosophy would be the guiding principals of the company. The book is another one of those business motivational books but it boiled down to four basic rules I could live with.

(Even though it would have been very easy, I did not look these up on purpose; below is what I got out of it and remember and that is part of my point.)

1. Choose Your Attitude
2. Have Fun\Play
3. Be Where You Are
4. Make Someone's Day

There has been some criticism of the rules as naive, unrealistic, etc. And my one experience with their application in a business environment proves the critics point. Picking up from the moment I joined the company and was handed the grand Fish! Philosophy as a guide to the company's founding principals - two days later she requested I return her $7 book and buy my own copy, so she could give it to the company's next new hire. This should have sent clue flags flying - it didn't.

Ends up, like many business motivational philosophies, her application of the philosophy was no more than lip service. You see, the grand unified theory of guiding principals of interaction apply to how I interact with the company management - her - and to how I interact with customers; not so much when it comes to how she interacts with me. I work independently at the customers site so lucky for me we don't interact too often. But once a year, when Fish! Philosophy Rules #1, #2, #3 and #4 meets Company President's Objective #1 - Maximize Profits - the pages of Rule # 4 becomes the inner fish wrap seeped in blood; rule #3 gets lost in voicemail purgatory; Rule #2 emerges as a greedy smile and Rule #1 is used to wrap it all up in a nice clean outer wrapper for public viewing.

So, you are sitting there picturing a dead bloody fish with it's head cut off wrapped up in the pages of some business motivational philosophy book wondering "What the heck are you getting at? Why spend all this time talking about some rules that are just another in a long line of motivational business management fads used to motivate employees with lip service to maximize profits while not actually paying employees more? That's not new or funny or insightful or even logical. Do you have a point?"

Why would I think these rules of interaction would be useful on a Blog when they are just a shallow attempt to maximize profits?

Because our interactions here on this Blog are not business transactions, they are social interactions based on entirely voluntary social relationships. ECTN, Enjoy Critical Thinking Network, was formed by a few - remotely - like minded friends who met on another blog who wanted to meet occasionally, discuss whatever we felt like - thus our own blog - have some fun and possibly advance our critical thinking and writing skills in the process.

Now, go back and read the rules again and think about how they apply for a social group like a blog community.

Rule # 1. Choose Your Attitude - Your attitude is the one thing you control.
Rule # 2. Have Fun\Play - We are doing this on our free time, voluntarily
Rule # 3. Be Where You Are - Not so applicable here; There are much more important things in life than what goes on in the blogs sphere.
Rule # 4. Make Someone's Day - Open to your creativity.

Take away one side's making money off of the other and add in voluntary participation and the criticisms no longer hold.

Consider a family: I taught my kids about these rules while swinging on the swing set. They became our backyard rules and later became just our rules in general. If a family of four just tries to keep these rules in mind, what happens? Not peace on earth, but certainly a few more smiles, an explosion diffused, a way to remind a child acting up in public of "Rule #1" quickly and quietly. I am sometimes amazed it works but my kids like being in on our "secret rules".

My kids use Rule # 3 on me all the time. When I am with them, I am with them; not on the phone; not on the laptop; not off thinking about work or bills; just with them. And I love Rule #4. Make Someone's Day. I get hug attacks on Sunday mornings that are the meaning of life. Doing something for somebody else can be its own reward. That one has been around a long time; Still true; Applies everywhere; Even here.

I know none of this is new and it does not have to work; but it can. I'm an optimist.


daddyquatro said...

A most excellent beginning.

Dougman said...

Thumbs up Boys!

I invited "llib not not bill" to come and do some Net Fishing :~}

Then maybe a Fish Fry afterward!

Dougman said...

Rule # 3. Be Where You Are - Not so applicable here; There are much more important things in life than what goes on in the blogs sphere.

That one makes it tough during the week for me.
"Personel sites and social networking" is filtered by EL, the powers that allow me access to the net when on duty.
The kids, wife and sleep make up the balance of the day.

So I'm moreof a weak-end warrior, so to speak.

Not Bill said...

I love it! I'm a big advocate of choosing one's own attitude . . . Thanks for inviting me over here, Dougman. I hope girls are welcome--not only am I "Not Bill," but I'm "not a guy." ;o) But I am like-minded . . . *big grin*

And this is exactly what I was hoping for!

Dougman said...

Hey guys!
There's a Lady present.(tipping my camo-baseball hat, frantically combing my hair with my fingers, repalacing hat)

That's a nice boat you got there, all sparkle-y and such.

Daddy quatro was hoping a troll would get caught up in our net.
But I don't think trolls can swim.


Not Bill (can I choose another name?) said...

Hey boys, which is more stressful?

A. Getting up and speaking in front of a hostile audience?

B. The first day at a new job.

C. Getting married.

D. Breaking up.

E. Losing your job.

I choose "A" . . . but I'm just a girl. *wink*

daddyquatro said...

Hey, Not Bill.
Whatever nic suits you best.
Because I'm the bread winner, it would definitely be "E" for me.
I can ham it up in front of an audience all day long.

Dougman said...

My stress spot is C-sharp or D-flat.

C. Getting Married

Staying Married

D. Breaking up

Unquiet said...

Not Bill,

Welcome! With regards to your nic. All I would expect is you choose one (a change from Not Bill expected) and stick with it. If you had one over at e!3 you could use that one - all of the rest of us are.

Being a father, husband and homeowner I would have to choose E - Losing your job in response to your What is most stressful? inquery.

Not Bill = Gwen (Guinevere) said...

OK, I've officially chosen a new nickname: Gwen for Guinevere ;o). It suits me . . . lol. I deleted the other blog. I'll try to get involved in the comments at Eject!Eject!Eject!, but I'm a little on the shy side . . .

So it sounds like "losing your job" gets the most votes . . . let's all keep our jobs!

gwen said...

Oh, and by "it suits me," I didn't mean that I'm married and in love with someone else! oops . . . but I sure do like Lancelot!

I need to be careful when I go online after a long day at work!

Paul A. said...

Well, I'm here... Greetings to all, and THANKS to D4 and UQ for the invite!!!

In answer to Gwen's question, I, too, would have to select the final answer, "losing your job," as the most stressful of situations. As the sole breadwinner of the famly, that would be the worst.

And, as with the Dougman, I'll probably have to be a "Weekend Warrior" here. But I welcome the challenge and opportunity!

Ad Ejectia!

Nessa said...

Interesting to know.

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