Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why My Boss Is Better Than Your Boss

I was planning on calling this post, "Why I Have The Best Boss In The World" but thought I would get a little more sassy. Ha

So, two months into a job with a company that I've been wanting to go back to work for for years and I'm really loving my new supervisor. Here's why:

1. I trust her - She does what she says she'll do. She is honest with me and appreciates honesty on my part. Relationships with a supervisor are largely built, or destroyed, based on trust.

2. I appreciate her - She helps me find solutions to problems and she sticks up for me if I need her to. Granted, I've not had to call on her to "fix anything" yet but she's on the ready in case I need her to. In fact, I have said to her, several times, "Nope, I'm not asking you to do anything about xyz, just know what's happening." She's ready to remove obstacles to my success, should I need her to. That...I appreciate.

3. I like her - My boss is nice, pleasant and enjoyable to be around. She is genuinely kind and she is a good person. Yes, she gives me things. She gives all of us in the department "stuff" like rewards and bonuses but that's not the main reason why I like her. Doesn't hurt......HA...but not the main reason.

So, I don't know about your boss. Maybe yours is as good, or better, than mine. Maybe not. Ask yourself, if you are a leader, how you can build trust and appreciation and good working rapport with your team. It's serving my supervisor well!

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Things I'll Never Do Again In My Career

1. Work in sales. I'll never work in sales again. This one negates the need for about 10 other things I will never do again like "Sell To The Government" and "Cold Call". This was originally going to be "1,00 Things I'll Never Do Again In My Career" but with this one being #1 I can keep this list down to 5. : )

2. Misrepresent what I'm able to do and what I am interested in doing during a job interview. Friend of mine that is an older gentleman said to me recently, "Scott, I'm too old to lie. I just tell it like it is." I really appreciate that. I'm just getting too old to lie. It's not the lie that kills me it's the rest of the junk that comes after that with trying to live that lie. In my career this is especially true. I can do what I can do and I am interested in doing what I am able to do. Nothing more.

3. Put my career before my family. Jobs come and go but I only have one shot at enjoying my family, raising my children and walking through my life with my dear wife. Whatever I'm doing at work will still be there in the morning....I'm going home to have dinner with my family and to play with my kids before bedtime.

4. Work for a small company because they tell me, "Oh we're serious about growing our company by leaps and bounds. We're expanding and you can be a part of the success!" Whatever.

5. Stay at a company too long. When the wheels are falling off they're falling off. Jump. I'm all about being faithful, since my mantra is Semper Fidelis - Always Faithful. But to my wife, not to a company where they're having trouble making payroll. Not my problem if it's not my company.

I reserve the right to add to this list. : ) I'm making mistakes all the time. Surely I'll make more.......daily.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ah.....that feels better.

It's been 12 years but I'm glad to be back at Turner Broadcasting. Solid company. Great culture. Killer properties to work on. Don't have to worry if the company will make payroll this month.

Currently working at the Project Manager on and assorted other projects throughout the Turner-sphere. I have a great boss, friendly (and smart!) co-workers and it's good to be back at the CNN Center!

Merry Christmas and let me know if I can be of any assistance to you professionally or personally my friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let's see if this works....

My professional career has been a series of ill-timed changes that have often caused me to look back and say something similar to, "Well, that really wasn't the right change at the right time now was it?" Ha

I stayed on at a big dot-com too long, then the crash hit. I left a good agency to go to a start-up just as the recession hit in 2008. Bad move. I got into sales and let me tech skills wane. But now.......

I've decided that the 5-year departure from web development, to get into sales, needs to come back full-circle. I'm making the move from sales back into my first love.....web development.

Sales was great. Who wouldn't like being in control of how much they make? Who wouldn't like little accountability and all the flex-time they can handle? Lots of travel. Lots of exciting meetings and trips and dinners and networking events with big names. But....sales is lot of pressure. Lots of pressure. It's not about "Great job Burkey on closing that sale!" It's more about "What are you going to close next?" and "How soon will you be getting ink on that deal???" : )

I'm going to do some contract work for awhile to get my skills back "somewhat current" and then slide into a permanent position again with a target company. I'm doing some work now and will continue to refine my HTML 5, CSS3, JavaScript, JQuery, AJAX, .NET, SQL and other skills while I wait to take just the right permanent opportunity. I'm totally swamped with opportunities and it appears to be a good time to be moving back into delivery and out of "walking the street".

Let's see if this works.....

** UPDATE ** Nov 4, 2011
Just accepted a position back with CNN in their technology group. So that worked..... : )

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Sunny Day In Southern California

On October 2, 1989 a truly amazing thing happened in my life. I was able to see the birth of my first child and be a part of a truly amazing experience. For those of you that have experienced this, as a father, you know it's something you will never forget. If you are still expecting your first child to be born I'm telling you now that it is one of the great moments in your life. It will change you forever. Enjoy it. Savor it. Be "there" for everything both physically and emotionally.

I remember being at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California for what needed to be a scheduled birth. My (then) wife was already in the delivery room and they told me to put on my "outfit" over my clothes. Some kind of paper garments that I slipped into with a mask. I felt like I was going into a combination of a surgical procedure and some sort of hazardous material scene. HA What I was going into was an event that has had in impact on me for 22 years and will continue to make me smile for the rest of my life.

Ashlyn, my daughter, was born and it was a wonderful experience. No, the c-section deal wasn't pleasant for me and I'm sure not for my poor wife. But we made it through it and I remember seeing that little girl for the first time and thinking she was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. Wonderful beyond words. They weighed her and wrapped her up and she was "ours".

Probably the thing that sticks in my mind, and in my heart, the most is when they took me into the side room to give her a bath and comb her beautiful hair and get her dressed. I remember watching and being in another world. Almost literally. I was beside myself with happiness and emotions. They handed her to me in that little room and I looked at her and said, "Hey sweetie, I'm your Daddy." I cried just as sure as I'm crying while I type this 22 years later. Introducing myself to this little person was what I will always remember as the height of my life at that point.

I don't want to downplay other events, by any means. I had already experienced many memorable moments in my life. (and have since then for certain) I also want to make a point to say how much I appreciate Ashlyn's mother for the beautiful gift she delivered that day. I'm eternally grateful for that. Thank you Ammy.

Ashlyn has been so very special to me and I've not always told her how much she means to me. I have made some big mistakes in the last 22 years and will always regret not having "been there" all of the time. But my heart has always been connected to that little baby as she has grown into the beautiful, sweet and intelligent young woman that she is today in 2011. People ask me all the time how many kids I have. When I tell them 5 they look beside me at the four little ones that I have with me and they get a puzzled look. I quickly tell them I have an older daughter from a previous marriage and smile. I think about Ashlyn and how while I have four little angels at home I have an original love affair with that beautiful little blonde-haired California girl that has given me so many good memories.

Ashlyn, I love you darlin'. You are beautiful. You are special. You are talented. You are a part of me that I am very proud of. Happy Birthday to you. Please know that I love you more than you can know. You will (hopefully) have children someday and truly know the special bond that a parent has with a child. It will come full-circle for you at that time but in the meantime believe your mother and me when we tell you that you are the greatest gift that God could have given us in sunny southern California that special day in 1989. You have lit up our lives and been a ray of sunshine to carry me through many gray skied days. Thank you for being my daughter and for the love that you have taught me to show. I love you.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Your Web Developer Can't Define The User Experience

As a web developer for many years before moving into consulting I have a lot of experience with the concept of having web developers (or IT people, or business people for that matter) be the ones responsible for making sure the user will adopt a system or website experience. For many years I was called on by both internal and external clients to "build it in a way that the customer will love it". I worked with the designers on the interface. I architected out the navigation and sections of the site. I worked with the IT staff on the backend that would be required to deliver the application. All of us, together, were the proverbial blind-leading-the-blind when it came to what the end-user was going to both enjoy using and adopt.

One of the things that happens is a technology person will try to get a committee of (normally) internal stakeholders together to ask them what they want to site to look and act like. If things don't slow to a stand-still soon thereafter it's at least almost always the case that the requirements are so scattered, in an attempt to please everyone, that everything being asked for can't all fit into the design and feature-set. Happens all the time....

What's wrong with this? Developers are not only NOT the user of the system in most instances but they also don't have the breadth of experience or the bandwidth to perform the research, architecture, design and taxonomy that will be required to have an engaging, enjoyable, positive experience. "That guy that does the website work" isn't the answer to creating/crafting the optimal experience that the users will either get from you or from your competition.

Why does this happen? It happens a lot when brands count on their limited technology department to look out for the company's interests. Well-meaning technology people hate to say that they don't have the skills or experience because they are counted on so often to shoulder the responsibility of not only the stability of their products but also carry the burden of adoption. It's often the case where, when a system fails to be adopted, the company blames it on the technology group as not having built a system that pleased everybody.

What is the solution? Smart companies value actually taking the user insights into consideration. Knowing who the target audience is important. It's not "everybody on the Internet". Come on. Knowing what those users are on the site to accomplish is vital. Knowing how the users think and what predispositions they have are key, as well. Research has to be done. The system has to be designed with the user in mind and the 80/20 Rule has to be put in place. By this I mean that the majority of the users' interests have to be held a higher weight than the minority peanut gallery.

Quick asterisks: By "experience" we can refer to not only experiencing a website but also software, offline experiences such as in retail, mobile applications, verbal communications and an assortment of other ways that a company engages their customers and employees. Also, by "users" I mean anyone that engages with a brand, not just customers.

And here is the paid endorsement: : ) Those of you that know me know I work for a great consulting company that has a unique methodology for incorporating user insights into system and software design and architecture. Macquarium has 20 years of experience in working with some of the top brands in the country to ensure that the users both delight in the engagement they have with our clients brands as well as adopt the system that is being deployed to them. Love to talk to you about how Macquarium can impact your engagements with your users. Just ping me anytime:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Show Up and Throw Up

I am literally writing this blog post while on a conference call with a bad salesperson. Why do people in my profession do this? They get on a demo, say they're going to "keep it short" and then they talk for waaaay to long about an assortment of features that are of no interest to me. When I do interrupt them to ask a question they don't answer it. They get back to what they want to talk about. Pitiful.

Features don't sell software in B2B. Integration and other concepts are more important. I assume that it has all of the features I need. I want to know about third-party tie-ins and things that would address how this software might be pertinent to my particular business.

Listen, salespeople. Stop rambling on about stuff while the buyer sits in silence for 15, 30, 45 or (God help you) 60 minutes! Your job (our job) in sales is to LISTEN and ask questions and LISTEN. If you're're not selling. You're alienating your buyer.

Ugh.....she's still talking...... I'm going to take a nap......

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Great Advice for Sales People from Sandler

Sandler Sales Institute is one of my favorite sources of timely, relevant advice for sales people. Here is a blurb from Lissa Versteegh ( for you folks in my line of work:

The "More Prospects" Paradox

Logic suggests that “more prospects” will lead to more sales. While that may be true for some salespeople, for many others, “more prospects” actually leads to fewer sales.

“Prospects” is undeniably the essential element in the sales process. However, the quality of the prospects and the pattern of interaction with them after the initial contact will determine if the sales process leads to closed sales…or closed files (and fewer sales).

What accounts for the difference?

It starts with the salesperson’s mindset. Some salespeople are of the mindset that “everybody’s a prospect.” These salespeople jump at the chance to tell their stories to anyone who will listen—voluntarily or otherwise…whether they’re truly interested or not. And, that mindset gives rise to two problems.

First, the salespeople spend an inordinate amount of time chasing prospects of questionable quality. Their quest being to convince those prospects that the product or service they have to offer deserves consideration. The more time they are in “chase” mode, the less time they have to develop and close sales.

Second, during the appointments they eventually schedule, they waste additional time attempting to “convince” prospects of the merits of their product or service. Their “convincing” approach (along with their “everybody’s a prospect” philosophy) fails to recognize the difference between a suspect (someone who may be curious about or have a casual interest in the product or service) and a prospect (someone who has a recognized need or acknowledged desire for the product or service).

Another element that accounts for the difference between “more prospects” leading to either more closed sales or more closed files is the process used to qualify and develop opportunities. The more structured (and perhaps stringent) the process of qualifying an opportunity, the more quickly suspects can be weeded out (wasting little time with them) and the more quickly opportunities can be developed and sales closed with qualified prospects. Salespeople with the “everybody’s a prospect” mindset, however, are likely to have an extremely flexible selling process (which in some cases means no defined process at all).

If you want “more prospects” to lead to “more sales,” first, be more selective about the people you target as prospects and with whom you invest your time. Develop a profile of the “ideal” prospect derived from the characteristics of your most consistent and/or profitable customers and then target prospects that most closely fit the profile. Even then, when a potential prospect expresses an interest in your product or service, quickly determine if that interest is driven merely by curiosity…or an actual need or desire for the outcome your product or service delivers. Sometimes, it takes nothing more than a direct question like, “What specifically sparked you interest in…?” or “What are you hoping to accomplish by investing in…?”

Next, be more stringent in qualifying the various aspects of the opportunity. Prospects must not only have a legitimate need or desire for your product or service, but they must also have the wherewithal to obtain it. And, they must be in a position to make a decision in a reasonable manner and within a reasonable time frame—reasonable for you, that is.

When you focus your efforts on quickly identifying and weeding out suspects, and then use a selling process to methodically qualify the remaining prospects, “more prospects” will lead to more sales.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Perspective for Dads

In 2008 I just knew that this "economic downturn" would only last the winter and that things we be on the mend within 12 months or so. This is silly, of course, because I'd seen the dot-com crash and had even suffered the brunt of it having been in the technology sector since before the dot-com hey-days. I should have remembered that these things don't blow over in a few months. For that matter, I'd seen tough economic times in the 80's as well.

It seems, to me, like we see this in cycles. 80's, late 90's, 2000's......every 15 years or so. I'm sure somebody will find it necessary to correct me, but that's just my sense.

What has me feeling so reflective now is that this ongoing period of tough times is really starting to effect people in tough ways. Fear of losing ones' job is not as bad as actually being jobless, granted. However, there are unfortunate side-effects of this economy on the employed none-the-less. More on this in a minute.

Like many people, I know friends and family members that are faced with coping right now with all of the pressures from rising fuel prices, a horrible housing market and rising taxes while on top of it all dealing with being unemployed. I know senior citizens with no health care insurance. I know young people that are running up credit card bills because they are under-employed. (though...sorry to say...some of the young people are stuck in a sense of entitlement that is their biggest liability) The news is horrible and only perpetuates the situation we are in. I'm watching BIll O'Reilly right now and they're talking about how the economy is in "peril". I agree, but man...I can't listen to it everyday.

One of the things that I will admit is that while I'm gainfully employed I have a constant fear of losing my job. With 4 small children and a wife to support I have had this nagging feeling of "any day now I'm going to lose my job and disappoint my family". Some people tell me I'm being silly. Others tell me I've got to stay grateful and stay in action. Yet others tell me that they think I'm a baby and have nothing to whine about. But the fact remains that even the employed right now have pressures that don't seem to be letting up. I make the argument that while yes, it is "easier" for the employed there is still a toll that is being taken on them that is not letting up. It's the ever-present pressure that weighs one down. Living in fear of losing your job, making ends meet with the paycheck you do earn and watching those around you struggle all makes for a somewhat depressing existence.

So here is where I break from my gloom-and-doom and say what I need to say. (I'm going to talk straight here and it isn't always pretty. Sorry, in advance.)

Life is 5% what happens to you and 95% how you react to it, in my opinion. Cliches. I have some.

"Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'" That's one.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Corny, but true. "Bloom where you are planted" is another one.

"Life is hard, you have to change." Thanks to Shannon Hoon for that one.

I absolutely believe that the more I"m consumed with self-pity and fear the more likely I am to find that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and I actually end up sabotaging my own success.

It might not get any better for awhile, guys. (Yes, I'm talking to myself here, too.) Suck it up. Work hard. Live within your means. Spend more time working harder and smarter. Spend less time complaining. Help somebody else out, because somebody has helped you out lately. Enjoy your kids. I'll say that again, enjoy your kids. They need you and they are counting on you. They don't give a ripabout a recession or what issues you're facing with making ends meet. They just want their Dad to spend time with them and someday you will wish you had spent more time with them. Quit trying to bring other people down. Quit spending your money on crap like gambling, selfish extravagant hobbies, alcohol and all the other stuff that is draining your bank account while you sit there and complain about how broke you are. And while I'm on my rant: Men, quit messing with your babysitters, nannies and girls at work. Keep it in your pants and go take care of your family. Your wives are counting on you and one sure-fire way to jack up your life is to cheat on your wife and end up paying child support so that some dude can take your ex and your kids to Disney with your cash.

It sucks right now. True. But you don't remember whatever it was you were stressed out about in 1997. Do you? No. But you do remember how pretty your wife was when you got married that year. You don't remember what bills you were stressed about in 2003 but you can recall with great detail the day in the summer of that year that you took the kids to get ice cream and you laughed and laughed and laughed when your ice cream fell off onto your new tennis shoes. You get the picture. Life isn't about all the crap your dealing with it's about the good memories and 20 years from now you won't remember that jack-hole boss you had in 2011 but you'll remember the camping trip you took in the fall of 2011 with your kids when you had so much fun. (and they'll remember it for the rest of their lives)

Enjoy the ride, my friends. The destination will come way too soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

QR Codes - Ideas for your business

QR Codes are simply another way of using a "bar code", of sorts, to engage your customers and partners. When a user scans a QR code on their handheld device the action can spur an assortment of activities on the handheld. You can have somebody scan a code and it can send the user to a URL on their mobile browser. Or, it could spawn a text message or put a calendar appointment on their calendar. Lots of possibilities.

We've been called on to do a few QR code implementations recently and I wanted to post a few quick ideas on how you can use QR codes in your business. Hopefully, this will get the juices flowing for you on how you can use this simple tactic to impact your business. Here are some thoughts:

* Retail: So many ideas. Use QR codes to provide coupons or remind customers about sales dates.

* Manufacturing: Use QR codes in your tradeshow booth to obtain contact information and give out incentives to prospects.

* Hospitality & Lodging: Big tie-ins between QR codes and loyalty programs.

* Restaurants: Good engagement tactic to get users to connect to you via SMS for deals, specials and loyalty program.

* Apparel: Exclusive notifications of new styles for users that engage with you via QR codes in print/online/offline media channels.

* Airlines: Scan the QR code in the terminal and in exchange for giving up your contact info, get a free beverage or frequent flyer miles or something similar. Lots of ideas here.

* Non-profits: QR codes can assist with reducing costs for events/seminars. Just did this for ITSMF (Information Technology Senior Management Forum) where we used QR codes in place of printed conference materials. Saved them a lot of money and the members loved it.

Shoot me an email if you want to discuss some low-cost ways of using QR codes to engage users, reduce costs or streamline processes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why User Experience Matters

Industry research shows that over 70% of IT-lead software development initiatives fail. Why is that? It's largely because the needs of the business and the needs of technology are taken into consideration without any consideration at all being given to what the user wants.

When IT says, "We can build that!" and the CEO says, "That fits within our business goals." then software is normally done with design being managed by somebody that isn't even the actual target user of the application. Or, what happens it the "HIPPO Effect". This is the Highest Paid Person's Opinion gets taken as law and everyone else (too frightened to question) jumps in alignment for fear of losing their job or creating waves.

Alas....the poor, neglected USER of the application. He might be a consumer on the Internet or he may be a corporate Intranet user. Either way, nobody seems to give a rip about his desires in these types of projects. Yet, that user is the one that will decide whether or not he will delight in using the application thus leading to adoption.

We have a saying at Macquarium: "The value of technology is realized through its adoption and use." User Experience is everything if you actually want your application used. It is everything if you are selling products on your website. User Experience matters most if you are counting on repeat visitors to your website. It is paramount if you are counting on a successful software launch to help fund the next round of development. If I can be of value to you please give me a shout. I'm happy to help.
404.554.4217 desk

"Macquarium Is User Experience"

Friday, January 28, 2011

As Bob Seger says, "Turn The Page"

I'm up and running at my new home: So far so good! Nice people, lot of talented professionals and plenty of opportunity to help clients.

Traveling to DC on a regular basis to help my main client there. I am currently looking for a Security Architect, Secure Programmer/JAVA and Search Engine Architect (IDOL Server) for positions in DC. If you know somebody looking......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Time At The Townhall

I'm determined to sit, in one shot, and watch a little Black Crowes in concert on tv and write about the past 15 months at Townhall. Probably the best job at the worst time. I'll explain why.

Never have I been more excited about a job in my career than the opportunity at Magazine. Great job that I poured my heart (and often 60+ hours a week) into. The unfortunate part is that the housing market in Atlanta is impossible and selling a home there, with the hopes of MOVING to Washington DC, is a lost cause right now. So....I'm going back to work in Atlanta and to be home with my family every night. Here are a few memories of my time at Townhall: (it's also a chance for me to say some things I wouldn't be able to say to peoples' faces without getting all teary-eyed like I do...)

  • I will likely never forget packing up my truck (bed and all) to go up and set up at my brother-in-law's house in Chantilly, Virginia so that I could work at TH until my family could move up. I remember the Saturday morning when I pulled out of the driveway and my daughter Madeline stood in the yard waving good-bye and crying her eyes out. I cried too as I drove down the street and stopped to look back to see her standing there like a little lost girl whose Daddy was leaving. One of the saddest moments of my life. 15 months later, after many Sunday afternoons of driving back to the airport to fly to DC for another week's work has taken a toll on me that I couldn't have imagined that first Saturday morning.
  • My first day on the job I was so freaked out that I would be late that I actually arrived at Townhall's offices in Rosslyn, Va at 5:45 a.m........just me and the dark office.........and a big lump in my stomach from the nerves.
  • One solid year, then ensued, of absolutely kicking ass. Sorry, that's what happened. The Sales Team, me, the company, the conservatives that retook control of the House, the Tea Party activists, all of us.....just blew it out in 2010. What a year. Wow....
  • I learned more about politics and online advertising than I thought ever possible. Yikes.
  • Some of the people I met at TH were: George Will, Dick Morris, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Andrew Breitbart, Herman Cain, Hon. Ed Meese and so many more that I can't recount them was like being in political Hollywood. Amazing...
  • The people I have come to know. The people I have grown that care about. The people I have gained huge amounts of admiration and respect for:
  • Jonathan Garthwaite - Good, solid, Christian guy that didn't know what he was getting into hiring me. He taught me a huge amount and I hope I did as good of a job for him and I tried to do.
  • Chris Field - runs a GREAT magazine. Super nice guy and good Christian family man. Lots of respect for this guy.
  • Kevin Glass - good guy that I hate to leave. Kevin, wishing you the best in your bright future, my man.
  • Katie & Elizabeth - I'm lumping them together because they're just both equally sweet, smart, talented and the future of the conservative journalistic movement. (is that a term?) They make me look old and nerdy.....(easy need to read into that one)
  • Guy Benson - there's my first INNOCENT bro-mance. ha I'm proud to say that I know somebody that talented in conservative politics. Keep up the great work Guy!
  • Magan Young - This chick is my home-girl. That was kind of blunt. One of the funnest people I have ever worked with. My sushi buddy. I would work with, for, over, under, beside Magan anytime. I could do a whole blog post on just Magan but I'll save it......I'm on the second encore with the Robinson brothers. Just let me say that Magan Young is the reason why I enjoyed Townhall. Period. She cared for me as a person when the job had really started to wear on me. Love ya, mean it. Call you tomorrow.
  • Scott Kline - This guy is probably the smartest hire I ever made. I say this because how often do you hire somebody that absolutely JAMS at his job and you turn around and realize you also have a real friend in that person. I'm proud to call Scott (and Magan) my friends. I don't call people "friend" lightly, just a thing about me. But Scott is a super nice guy that not only has real talent but he's a real good person that has made my time at Townhall (at the end, when I was really kind of over it) bearable and fun.
  • Chris Malagisi - Leadership Institute and YCC ( - one of the nicest guys I met in DC and I hope to keep him as a friend for a long time. Sharp guy....
  • Sarah Smith. The lovely and talented Sarah Smith of AFP - Americans For Prosperity. Some nice young guy please marry Sarah. Do yourself a favor. She's awesome! But be good to her or several of us will break your neck.
  • Linlee Dubard, my little Southern buddy. I don't know where to begin so I won't. You, my dear, have your whole life ahead of you and I'm glad I got to meet you before you are rich and famous. : ) Good luck to you darlin'. I am your biggest fan. Seriously.
  • There are a ton of talented people like Ed Morrissey, Ricardo Pontes, John Hanlon and others. There are a ton of nice people like Caroline Ambrose, Alan Moore, Joanna Rutkowska, Drew London and the always-sweet Lauren Veneziani. There are the people that are no longer there like Mr. Magic Stick, Ms. Barnes, Matt Bower, the coolest journalist in the world Jillian Bandes and my pal Steve Newton. Steve....that was another deal. Toughest conversation I ever had to have in my career was when Steve left Townhall. I hope to stay in tight with him too now that I'm back in Atlanta.
  • I got to go to RightOnline in Las Vegas, CPAC in 2010 in DC and The Money Show in Las Vegas back in April. All good trips. Oh, Right Nation in Chicago, that was fun. Interviewed Andrew Breitbart and Herman Cain and a few others that I am SURE had no idea who the heck I was or what I was doing interviewing them. ha
  • There was when I wrecked the crap out of the rental car in Hollywood. What I was doing in Hollywood in the middle of the night is another story for another blog. ha It was no Eddie Murphy kind of junk. Honest.
  • Glenn Beck Rally and countless dinners to hear George Will speak, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Tim Phillips and some other great voices in the conservative movement like Judge Napolitano and Tim Pawlenty. Oh...Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich. Great to be in the room with them.
  • I remember the first networking event I went to at Townhall at the Leadership Institute. I thought it odd, in a good way, that the Pledge Of Allegiance was recited and that a prayer was said at the beginning of the meeting. Of course conservatives don't have the market cornered on patriotism or a reverence for God but how refreshing it was to be in rooms that had the same values that I have. Kudos to everything that LI does.
  • When the end came and it was time to give notice I was treated with dignity and kindness. Thank you Townhall. I will always have fond memories of my time in your service.
  • Oh, one more thing. 35% revenue increase in the worst economy of our lifetimes. We did good.
So it was a good run. Sad to leave but...not that sad. I'm leaving out the people and memories that are less-than-positive. Eh...we're all an incomplete package and I wasn't always the best boss. Granted. But even though this is my personal blog and I could rip on some people/situations it's just not what feeds my soul.

So I racked up some Skymiles, made some friends, made some memories, got to know a little about politics, got to see some NEAT things in DC and hey....I put a chunk of money in the savings account. Not a bad 15 months for being in the middle of the worst economy of my lifetime. I'll post more as I think of it. Like elevator-pitching the House Majority Leader in the mens' room at the airport and when I told off a group of ladies on the Metro right before the door shut, locking me on the train with them for another stop. Smooth Burkey.

Ok, so one last thing to my team. Thanks for giving me a wonderful year and making it exciting and rewarding. I miss you guys already. I just left the office less than three hours ago and I'm already missing you. Best of luck and keep in touch, please.

Maddie, I'm coming home!