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    Entries in comics (4)


    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #1 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    Is it me, or did things seem to get just a little bit slower this week? I swear I noticed the first signs of 'Getting geared up for the Holidays' this week, at least judging by the relative calm of my email inbox. Or maybe it could be that I am just less popular and important than I like to think.

    Yeah, that probably has something to do with it too.

    But I'd prefer to think the quiet today was more about holiday distractions. And that, coupled with after almost a decade of blogging in one place or another, every topic I thought about hitting for the end of the week felt tired and played out, I decided to start a new series to run on Fridays until the end of the year - Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendations for 2017.

    Each Friday I will share something I would love to receive as a gift this season, and since according to my view of the world (and massive ego), if I like something, then you (and the people in your life), should love to receive as well.

    I will try to make the gift recommendations affordable, appropriate for pretty much everyone, and easily obtained. And finally, there are no affiliate links or kickbacks on any of these items. These are just cool gifts that I think anyone would love. And please, please resist your temptation to order and send these gifts to me. This is not what this is about.

    Wow, that was a long preamble. Here goes...

    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #1 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    If you are of a certain age, say about 35 - 55, you probably consider Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes to be one of the most important and memorable cultural touchstones of your youth/early adulthood.

    The adventures of six year-old Calvin and his companion 'stuffed' tiger Hobbes, ran from 1985 - 1995, and in that decade, came to re-define and re-imagine what a daily comic strip could be, how it could look, and how meaningful and poignant it could be.

    The reclusive Watterson retired the strip on December 31, 1995 in an epic sending off of Calvin and Hobbes, standing on the top of a newly snow-covered sledding hill, racing off into the future to find their next amazing adventure. And with that last sledding run, millions of Calvin and Hobbes fans were left to read and re-read the old strips, sometimes again and again, until even our reprint collections became worn out.

    So for the Calvin and Hobbes fan in your life, or for kid of say 10 or so to 15 who may have never had exposure to the classic strip, the first 'Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation' is this 4-volume boxed set containing every Calvin and Hobbes strip that ran between 1985 - 1995. You'll see Calvin's continuing 'fight the power' struggles with his parents, teachers, and classmates, his incredibly imaginative adventures with time travel and shape shifting, and most importantly, the amazingly powerful and touching bond between best friends Calvin and Hobbes.

    I loved Calvin and Hobbes. I still love Calvin and Hobbes. And I think this complete set of the C&H strips would make an amazing gift this year.

    So that's it, hope you liked the recommendation. Unless I get some violently aggressive and negative comments, I will be back next Friday with another holiday gift recommendation.

    Have a great weekend!

    Let's go exploring!


    A funny reminder of what normals think about many of us

    I am pretty sure my favorite, offbeat website is Dinosaur Comics. I know I have blogged at least a couple of times over the years with a take on something interesting that the genius behind Dinosaur Comics, Ryan North has posted.  And his idea, a comic series where the pictures, panels, and layouts are exactly the same every day, but with the topics and dialog between the two characters changing, is really unique and remarkable.

    Recently, Dinosaur Comics took on the topic of HR and Recruiting's favorite sourcing and people research tool, LinkedIn. Take a look at what two comic dinosaurs think about LinkedIn, and then I (natch) will have a couple of comments after the comic.

    Really funny, right? But to paraphrase the great Joe Pesci in Goodfellas - how is it funny? And should we really care beyond laughing? A couple of quick thoughts:

    1. 'Normals', i.e. people who don't live and die all day long on LinkedIn, are not all that concerned with their 'personal brand', and don't actually feel like their job is the most important thing about them likely make up the majority of your workforce.

    2. Most of these people, I think, are not at all comfortable with the notion that the divide or the separation between 'work' and 'not working' is diminishing (or even disappearing). Lots and lots of solid and even outstanding performers are not thinking about work after 5PM. And they are not spending their weekends sending LinkedIn connection requests. They are, once again, 'normal.'

    3. HR and Recruiting people love to tell everyone who will listen that 'They need to be on LinkedIn' and offer endless tips and tricks so that people can 'Get the most out of their LinkedIn profile'. They do this for primarily self-serving reasons - they want the full range of people that they someday might be interested in contacting about job opportunities to be easily findable and contactable, (facilitated by tossing a few $$ to LinkedIn). I wish some honest recruiter would just post an article that says 'If you ever want to be considered for a job at my company, here is what I expect to see on your LinkedIn profile.' But instead we get dozens and dozens of pieces about 'optimization' tips. So boring.

    I don't mean to take shots at LinkedIn, I am a long-time user and have gotten some value out of that over the years. But I also think it has become too easy (and lazy) to have one and only one source for universal professional information. And one that normal people don't really understand as well.


    COMIC: Automation's slippery slope

    Last week I had a take on The downside of measuring everything, for today, (kind of a slow, is it a day off of work or not a day off of work day, at least here in the USA), I wanted to share a really funny comic from XKCD on the topic of the downside of automation:

    Pretty amusing, and also kind of accurate. Reminds me of the old line, maybe it was from Seinfeld?, 'It's funny because it's true.'

    Anyway, it seems like as long as I have been around technology in the workplace folks like me have been promising HR and other business leaders lots and lots of free time and space to be able to focus on 'strategic things' once we've come in an automated everything else and beaten the old, manual, and inefficient processes into submission.

    That has been at least partially true, but not completely. Primarily I think because there continues to be more and more processes that the technologists can and want to automate. The low-hanging fruit has all been picked, but the technologists are not stopping there.

    But that is a subject for another day.

    Happy MLK Day in the USA, and Happy Monday everywhere else!


    Reboot: Even Superman Can Start Over

    I've been a comic book fan, off and on, since I was a kid. You know the old question that sometimes therapists ask, about recalling one of your earliest memories from childhood? Well one of mine anyway is a vivid recollection of buying an Amazing Spiderman comic for 25 cents from a local shop.

    Image - DC Comics

    I still have that Spiderman book as a matter of fact. Looking through it recently, apart from being amused at some of the old advertisements, I was struck by how little the characters seemed to change over the years. They (mostly) look the same, act the same, and behave in ways we come to expect, and certainly appreciate.

    But after 30, 40, and for some even 50 years of stories, (referred to as 'continuity' in the comics world), even classic heroes start to look a little dated, and their writer's and artist's ability to craft stories and images that can still resonate with modern readers, (while not alienating long-term fans), gets increasingly difficult over time.

    With that inherent conflict and difficulty in mind, long-time publisher comic publisher DC Comics this fall is embarking on what is being termed a 'Reboot', they are essentially a starting over at issue #1 for all if its currently published titles, including such venerable books like Batman, Superman, and Justice League of America. This reboot or relaunch will allow DC to refresh the characters design, and in some cases, through the magic and creative freedom of the comic book form, make them younger and more contemporary. DC writers and artists can simply inject new life into some traditional characters and storylines that the public probably takes for granted from familiarity.

    It won't be easy for DC to successfully pull off this 'reboot'. Fans of these comics and heroes won't simply conveniently forget what are in some cases decades-long interactions, backstories, and emotional connections with these characters. But for DC, the desire to revive an old form of storytelling and genre, and the economic need to attract a new generation of fans to these titles are too compelling and have been deemed worthy of the reboot's risks.

    What does this little comic book story have to do with the worlds of Human Resources and the workplace?

    To me, the most compelling angle behind the 'reboot' is the human one. Sure, having Flash or Wonder Woman get a new costume is interesting, but for that to actually be successful in the marketplace, DC has to attract, recruit, develop, and reward the best artists, writers, designers, and editors it can find. These supremely talented people are the real key to whether or not this reboot, or really any major commercial initiative will be successful. And for DC, while the allure of the brand, and the ability to make a mark on legendary titles and characters like Superman and Batman surely are a recruiting magnet to some extent, eventually the very best talent will not be content simply carrying on 50-year old traditions.

    The very best talent wants to tell their own stories. 

    By 'starting over' DC is not just making a play to connect with new fans and readers, they are making a play to their talent community as well. After all, someone makes the Green Lantern green after all. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out. 

    Anyone want to compare notes on Batman #1 once it comes out?