Day 5: Our remains are not all that are left behind

Dried Daisy seed pods
Looking at the remains of life, we see only the path that was taken and  the things encountered along the way.

Walking through the garden when winter is leaving and spring hasn’t arrived gives you a chance to reflect on what was, think and plan for what will be.  Every year I say that my garden is too big, and next year I am going to cut back.  Every year, my garden gets bigger.

Last year, I was finally successful in giving my wife a garden of white daisies.  She had subtly hinted about it for several years and I finally picked up the hint.  Those beautiful white daisies, petals withered and dropped to the ground, left behind a sculptured garden of patterns and the illusion of motion.

Stiff enough that they don’t blow in the breeze, they illustrate the paths that each stem and flower took to find a way to find the light that they needed to grow and to thrive.  They also left behind patterns in their skeletons that some would say are as beautiful as the flowers were themselves.

I guess that is true of all things to some degree or another.  We sprout, we grow, hopefully we thrive, and all the while we are taking a path that no other living thing has ever taken before, and no other thing will ever take again.  And then we die.  And what we leave behind is the shell of our living self, the path we took, and all the things we encountered and influenced along the way.  For good or for bad, this is the way of life.  That is why we are here.

The only way to have an interesting life is to do interesting things.  Live your life in a way that you will be proud to look back on when you have nothing left but the path you chose and the interactions you left behind.



Day 4: Seeking the light

First seedling up in tray of tomato seeds.
Someone has to be first.

I think everybody who knows me is aware that I have been working on a new degree program at UW-Stout.  The last 4 years have been spent building curriculum to address the needs that our industry partners have identified as needed in their workforce, but which were not being provided in college programs.  The last 15 months have been spent in meetings and negotiations, researching and building.

Now I am at the stage where their is only one group left to address, and that is the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.  We have requested that the degree program be on the June agenda.  If they approve it there, then we will have our new program for enrollment in Fall 2015.

So why I have I chosen to speak about this in relationship to the image of the first seedling poking up from a tray of seeds?  Well, someone always has to be first.  And once that first one is up, many others are sure to follow.

The program I have been working on is a Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing Technology.  Go ahead and Google that, and see what you come back with.  Go on, I will wait.

What did you find?  Information on degrees in digital marketing is about as close as you will come.  But if you look at what I said the name of or degree is, you will find that there are no others with Marketing Technology degrees.  You won’t even find ours yet, because just like that seedling, we have just popped our head up out of the soil and when we look around, there are no others there.

The thing that makes us different is the focus on the technology.  This is a technology degree, and it happens to be that the technology of focus is digital marketing technology.  That is what sets up apart from the field, that is what makes us first, that is what makes me think of the seedling in the picture.

The other thing you might have noticed is that (if you Googled it before April 1, 2015), that the first result, the paid ad at the top of the Google results is the the MarTech 15 San Francisco Conference.  This is the second MarTech Conference, and the second one I will be attending.

The last time I went saying we were planning a degree (In Boston last August).  This time I am going saying we are one step away from a degree, and by the way, send us some students.  The degree will be offered completely online for at least the next two years, then we will try to bring it on campus.

The demand for students with this kind of education is huge, and there are no other schools in the pipeline that have this as a focus.  This is about to get interesting.

If you know any students that would like to get in the ground level of a whole new world of high demand technology skills, have them send me an email at



Day 3: Frayed, Abused, Strong

Frayed rope that serves as a lock on the garden gate.
The lock that guards the gate to my garden.

You know, I’m not really sure what to say about this image.  Anything I say will give you a glimpse into my state of mind, and that is not something that I am currently eager to share.  But that is why we are here after all isn’t it?

I guess the reason I am drawn to this image is because it looks the way I feel.  A bit frayed, a bit abused, but stalwart in its dedication to what it is.

I am living in a state that seems to have decided that what I stand for is no longer important.  What I do is no longer of value.  They stand outside the garden and see the fruits of our work, and fail to recognize that without us there would be no fruit, or at least the fruit would not be as healthy, as vibrant and as nourishing.

So they want to nip us in the bud, cut back our nourishment, starve us of water and cull those that don’t mass produce fruit that does not pass a test that has nothing to do with its value.  They want portion control and ability to ship.  They don’t seem to see that it is in the variety that comes from from a diverse crop that is the true value of the garden.  They think it is okay to cull the plants that prefer the shade, or produce oblong fruits when the carton is made for round.

They do not value the flower that can not be mass produced and marketed because they do not value the garden, they only value the money they can make from the garden.  They fail to realize that a garden with just one plant will grow sterile.  They do not see the importance of the bee or the spider so they squash them and kill them, poison them and demonize them.

As time passes they take and they take, not recognizing the need for land to be nourished and occasionally to sit fallow.  They expect more and more from less and less.  And then when the time comes that it can no longer produce, they blame everything but themselves.  They take it out on the rope that holds the gate, and on the gate, and on the plants and any bees that remain.  And they wonder why the soil is depleted, and there is not enough food.  So they pull up the fence, and destroy the gate for surely it must be their fault.  The garden is after all within their bounds.

The one thing they never seem to realize, is that if you value the fruit, you must value  and nourish the garden.  You must repair and maintain the fence and the gate.  And sometimes, you need to reach out and nurture the rope that holds the gate that protects the garden that grows the food that feeds the people.

It is time we stop demonizing the people that put their lives into serving society.  Stop with the bullshit, and start with the composted manure.