#CanDo: The Nation That Can Do Anything….

5 May

I am not certain why I appreciate the story of the Marine Corp.’s rebuilding California’s Catalina Island Airport In The Sky as much as I do.

There is a lot to it: Aviation from the barnstorming days. An impossible task for anyone other than the US Defense Department. Fighting SeaBees engineering and Marines. A gift to a grateful nation and a Pacific Island (albeit within view of Los Angeles).

Perhaps it is simply a reminder of a time when impossible tasks took only a few days to complete at a time in our nation when it seems the most trivial task can seem daunting and impossible.

Anyway: here’s the story:

There was an aging airport at the top of Catalina Island off the coast of California. It was costing a fortune for the state of California to maintain. It is a vital lifeline for the island — firefighting base, health care rescues, etc.

Enter the Marines. Seven decades ago, while not routine, Marines and their naval engineering brethren the SeaBees would storm ashore Pacific Islands during WWII and build airbases in the jungle in just a few days. Combat bulldozers and earthmovers, Mattson mats, living in jungle tents.

They can still do that. And they did. It took a little longer than a week,as this story points out:


And here are some mockups of what the airfield looks like now:




Joining the Team @McClatchy

29 Jan

Close readers of this site know I haven’t been updating frequently. But I do want to say how honored and excited I am to join McClatchy as president and CEO.

Some coverage is here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article128798744.html

And a video is here: https://youtu.be/X9brSWSq4iI

Winning and Learning from ‘Successful Setbacks’

3 Jun

I attended the annual CODE Conference outside of Los Angeles this week. Among the highlights was this session on learning the lessons of the esteemed General Magic startup, whose exceptional technical vision (visible in every smartphone used today) was matched solely by its exceptional commercial mis-timing and inability to pivot to the then-nascent internet.

My blog on learning the lessons of a ‘successful’ setback is here.

Wow — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s New e-book is Pretty Astonishing

5 Dec

I just posted this on Amazon…

‘Net Effects’ – A Must Read, December 4, 2013
By C Forman
Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: NET EFFECTS: The Past, Present, and Future Impact of Our Networks (Kindle Edition)

It isn’t frequent: a newly minted public official has the vision, the career experience, the courage and — dare we say it — the elan to lay out his ‘theory of the case:’ what he or she intends to accomplish during his or her term ‘as a servant of the public.’

In this case, the FCC is the agency, and the public servant is Chairman Tom Wheeler.

In this landmark review, Chairman Wheeler not only lays out a powerful and convincing case for ‘data-driven and fact-based’ rule-making, but he does so in an entertaining recounting of the sweep of human experience with communications (from Gutenberg to fiber-optics) that would make our most influential public intellects — and a few professors — proud.

That Mr. Wheeler does this at all is notable. That he does it after only a short time since taking up his role is a sign either of a prodigious work-ethic or of working too hard. That he pulls it off with a style and freshness of voice that makes this not only a must read, but an enjoyable one, too, is simply astonishing.

So ‘Net Effects’ is an important work for anyone involved in technology, media or telecom. Or anyone who uses those services.

Which, after all, is everyone.

(Full disclosure: I know Mr. Wheeler, have worked with him and I am involved in the telecom, media and technology industries that the FCC regulates. I have no current business before the agency).


Data Meets Media: And a Brand-New Business Category Is Created

2 Dec

Data Meets Media: And a Brand-New Business Category Is Created

Happy to recommend this thoughtful post from Rafat Ali, founder and CEO at travel/data startup Skift.com about the increasing convergence of the media business and the data-intelligence business. And a new category is found….(Disclosure: I’m an investor here along with @crovitz and @JimFriedlich and many others)…@rafat @skift #Mediata

The Recent Post @ QZ.com Touched a Nerve…

2 Dec

I heard from a number of people over the Thanksgiving Holiday who have experienced their own ‘professional epiphanies’ in their careers. These ‘peak moments’ can define a career transition, or give you new energy to continue to pursue your entrepreneurial passion even when many people around you may be skeptical.

It’s important to listen to your ‘inner voice’ when these moments occur. 

Here is my post over at QZ.com 


‘Be Luckier in Life’ Is an Amazon Best-Seller!

2 Dec

'Be Luckier in Life' Is an Amazon Best-Seller!

Wow: Thanks to all your support (and holiday book-buying…), ‘Be Luckier in Life’ made it on to Amazon’s best-seller list this weekend, rising to #10 in the Career>Guides section. The ‘road to success is paved every day,’ so there is still plenty of road ahead. But I am really awestruck by the response from so many people! Thank you!

‘Be Luckier in Life’ — What Is My Book About?

22 Nov

Can there really be a “system” for creating luck – and if there is one, why don’t we all know it by now?


For the past decade or so I have been accumulating ‘life’ lessons from many remarkable people, including Sen. Bill Bradley, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, philanthropist Ray Chambers and self-made construction magnate Linda Alvarado. And I believe that by learning and adopting the right traits, attitudes and habits, anyone can create the sort of luck that will make her (or him) healthier, wealthier and wiser.

So I wrote a book to summarize all this learning. It’s called “Be Luckier in Life.”

My system is not dry textbook stuff – rather inspirational, motivational and uplifting life lessons about human nature and the way the world works. Adopted over the years by our wisest ancestors, these lessons are a kind of inculcated wisdom and personal philosophy about why — and how — things are. The book includes ten chapters covering each of these simple secrets, drawn from tales of how luck led to success and failure for many of the famous people I have had the good fortune to know and interview – as well as tips for avoiding and limiting bad luck. The secrets will shake up your self-perception and boost your energy – helping you take a fresh approach to your motivations, goals and life.

Although it is one of life’s most-discussed topics, there is surprisingly little analytical rigor brought to the study of luck. As I undertook the thoughtful process of studying the underlying traits and characteristics that have consistently created luck for the most successful people, I began to realize there is a pattern – and even a method — to the seeming randomness of luck.

The “luckiest” of people literally create their own luck by behaving in ways that makes them open to new possibilities and new people. These traits and behaviors are alluring, and this allure itself leads to new opportunities – which – in their abundance – provide an ever-more powerful and complex system of chances for success. It’s a “virtuous circle” where lucky behavior begets ever more luck. This understanding and analysis of a lucky “way of being” is the underpinning of the book, and ultimately — I hope — creates a memorable system for applying those rules for anyone’s life.

It has been working for the people profiled in the book. I hope it works for you.

You can buy the book on Amazon here. Or you can get it in the iBooks bookstore or elsewhere online.

My Columns on QZ.com

5 Jun

I am a big fan of what my editorial sisters and brothers-in-arms Kevin (@kevinjdelaney), Mitra (@mitrakalita) and Lauren (@laurenalixb) and their colleagues are creating at QZ.com. New, digital-only journalism with quality of their cousins at The Atlantic, but with much more social sharing, mobile and digital-forward DNA.

I am glad to be contributing to them, however infrequently, on a range of subjects, including technology, economics and media.

I also like to write a bit about what the view is from ‘inside the boardroom,’ a vantage point not often described, and about which not enough is known by people.

Here are a few recent articles….

On Apple’s swooning share price and what it says about the rapidly-growing, and maturing global mobile telecoms markets:


On the immaturity of Instagram when it ham-handed its changes to its Terms of Service (ToS):


On France’s crackdown on Arcelor/Mittal and freedom to build a markets-focused operating plan:



Check out qz.com

On the subject of Michelle Obama’s hair…

20 Feb

I don’t usually blog about hairstyles or about the First Lady. This blog ordinarily focuses on the intersection of media and technology. And though I got to know the First Lady a long time ago, as her residential adviser in college, there’s not much to add to the public record about those days. Which is fine.

But I can’t help but note the attention being paid to her new bangs, which she showed to the world last month on her 49th birthday.

On the Rachel Ray show, the First Lady described her new hairdoo as a sort of answer to a midlife crisis: “I can’t get a sports car,” she said, and they won’t let me “bungee jump.”

Hence the new hairstyle.

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama

For the record, the photo below records Michelle’s hairstyle when she arrived on the campus some years ago.

I blog about this now not to embarrass the First Lady (though her daughters may enjoy the picture) but to underscore that it is beyond doubt that Michelle Robinson Obama — and her hairstyle –have both come a long way.

Michelle Robinson, Princeton Freshman Herald 1985

Michelle Robinson, Princeton Freshman Herald 1985

Of course, none of us look the same as we did in college.

Thank goodness.

N.B.: Photo editors and show bookers out there, please note: there are no other photos to share.