To become a better judge of character…

Congratulations. This means you’ve decided to change you instead of pretending others will change. You have no control over others.
1. Listen to what you’ve noticed and add a delay to your major decisions about people. This will *not* feel natural. It will feel intellectual and not like a gut choice. You might feel guilty. You might feel like you have to resist something you feel you want to do. That’s good because you’ve already decided that you are not a great judge of character. You’re changing that.

2. Make sure you spend some time away from the person you’re making the decision about while you make the decision.

3. Watch your cynicism. Never trusting isn’t any more accurate or worthwhile than overtrusting. Just take more time.

4. Notice peoples’ actions. Do they walk their talk? Do they follow through? Do they at least verbally acknowledge responsibility and mistakes when they were unable to follow through?
5. If someone’s talking smack about others to you, they’re probably doing the same to you.

7. If someone’s cheating on someone else with you, the odds are higher they’ll cheat on you (this one never ceases to amaze me).

8. Is the relationship mutually beneficial?

9. Practice telling someone directly what you need from them or what your concern is if you have one. They might not be able to meet your need but should be able to handle relaxed, direct communication. If they can’t handle direct eye contact that’s worth trying to understand.

10. Are you a bad judge of character or are your expectations based on your own needs and not on the reality of what this person can or has committed to deliver?

11. Watch someone in action: playing a sport, under pressure or in some other flow activity. It’s easier to see more of what they’re really about.

12. Notice how people treat their friends, co-workers, family and especially how they treat people in different “status” positions and people who are of no apparent “use” to them. Does their behaviour change? 13. If you expect relationships (personal, work or otherwise) to always fail or be unreliable then you might have learned to read your dysfunctional family experience as a truth about everyone. There’s plenty of self-help literature, 12 step groups like Al Anon and counseling to help deal with this.

14. Believe what you see.
Inspired by a @ryanomics tweet.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Vote today: Everything I Need to Know About the Web I Learned From Feminism

Vote for my SXSW Panel

I’ve proposed this as a panel at SXSW 09. I’m really looking forward to digging into this conversation with some really interesting feminist scholars and web / network thinkers. This is the last day to vote. If you’d like this conversation to happen at SXSW, please vote for it now and I’ll podcast it too.

There is a really lovely compatibility about the notion of transcendence in both feminism and the Net….both of which give protection and community to those who have been invisible / “private” before.

The Net is quantifying / making visible the value of the social skills / communal skills that have previously gone unvalued by the market or “public” space.

This is inspired, in part, by something else I’m working on: a talk about how I do the performance I do….how to design for conversation rather than presentation all of which changes notions of where authority comes from. This is because the value is relational rather than one-off.

I think it always was..but that aspect was “hidden” by it being a silent piece of “private” life that women mostly carried out….preparing holidays, gatherings..maintaining relationships..creating  and giving physical and other bits of acknowledgement (gifts , cards ..the Christmas newsletter etc) and of course the “salon” which has been a big piece of the basis of how I’ve mashed up a new kind of performance.

There are quite a few ideas embedded in here and for the mag piece..perhaps best to focus on the social networking piece..but that’s just the latest business surfacing of something much deeper..which is the way the West is turning more relational this way…that’s my instinct.

It’s just too costly to market / force awareness of onesself/business without a network effect and any lasting audience/network  can only happen through what is community and community can only be maintained by this “female” stuff.

I found it very interesting in India where these social roles and conventions are still so deeply a part of peoples’ daily lives. I had an unusually deep experience of it myself because of the Niagara Falls shtetl in which I was raised.

I’m excited to see the value of this feminist stuff (as well as performance stuff) in the business arena…though I’m aware that I’m really out on the front edge of explaining and doing much of it..the social media consulting world and facebook shows this stuff to be shifting.

I am one of few white people in Thiruvananthapuram

I’m glad to be in the “developing” part of the planet for the first time in my life.

The heat and the humidity have got me thankful to be wearing the kind of garb I would have derided as hippie while Stateside. Just the latest fulfillment of the prediction of my favorite sage (Mel Brooks’ 2000 year old man) “We mock the thing we are to be.”

Some impressions so far:

  • the most chilled out people I have ever been around: even in the face of pelting rains and a breaking ship out in the Indian Ocean, people seemed nonplussed.
  • coverage of education and test scores in major pages of the Mumbai paper everyday.
  • standing for the national anthem before the 3 hour Bollywood movie about love in 2050
  • waiting for and never seeing a kiss in said movie
  • having a 12 year-old girl tell me that she’s learning about global warming in school. I let her know she’s ahead of our President, “He doesn’t even believe in global warming.”
  • TATA should include an oxygen tank with every Nano
  • Almost no women on the streets in Mumbai.
  • teaching a nine-year old boy about melanin after he was amazed by being able to see my veins.
  • latest upmarket trends in Mumbai: Mexican food and jogging
  • public education is practically free at all levels for everyone
  • a shipping CEO pointed out to me that India was able to skip the manufacturing / industrial stage of economic development and go right to a service economy because of English fluency. A strange silver lining to colonialism I pointed out. The most opened/uncontrolled elements of empire outgrow and outlive them (Rome/roads; England/English+education; USA/Internet)
  • the guy who tried to recruit us as extras in a Bollywood film wanted proof that we were really married to each other. He didn’t think there were any lesbians in India and had never met one. “How many people do you have in this country?” I asked. “”1 billion,” he replied “Oh you have a lot of lesbians. A whole lot. It’s a huge, untapped market.”

My first employer New Line Cinema is dead.



Yesterday Time Warner announced that New Line would stop operating as a stand-along unit within the company and that lots of people would be leaving, including the company founder Bob Shaye.

My first full-time job (beyond summers) was at New Line. It was an experience that changed my life. Continue reading “My first employer New Line Cinema is dead.”

Don’t I look Jewish?

I was on my way to a theatre lab in NYC last night and walked by bhphotovideo  and decided to make a pilgrimage. I’ve only bought stuff from them online. They really are the standard in video and photo gear. 

I knew that orthodox Jews ran the store because their online store closes on Shabbes (I’d love to have heard the first visit to a Rabbi to figure out what to do with the Net).It was cool to be in a store where so many people are Jewish (and “out” :-)

I grew up in the last shtetl, a community of about 40 Jews in Niagara Falls Canada.When I used the word schmutz (dirt) with one man there and “if it’s beshert, it’s beshert” (meant to be) with another, they looked at me stunned, like I was speaking in secret code and said, “how do you know that?”

There’s a certain feeling in using these Yiddish words and phrases. They’re fun. They have a flavour English doesn’t. They’re familiar and familial to me.

The surprise of these men and my comfort in kibbitzing with them reminded me of how much I had to forcibly censor myself and my actions (those flailing hands!) when I went to grade school.

“I’m Jewish,” I said. “Can’t you tell?”

They could, only once I outed myself.

How do I read on your Jewdar?

Extra Extra: Silicon Valley women make news by existing

The San Jose Mercury News sent a reporter to cover the She’s Geeky Conference. He quoted my observation that women are taught from the age of 2 to take care of everyone else so that we can feel secure, thus creating a potential lifetime search for external validation, resentment and confusion. (Why doesn’t everyone ie. my boss, my sweetie just recognize what a good job I’m doing?)

It is worth noting that the reporter was from the metro/gender beat and did not feel it was worth mentioning that neither the biz nor tech sections covered the conferece which was, inded, about technology and business.

The guts of the start-up moment: faith, confidence or stupidity?

With my bank account shrinking, but everything on The Heather Gold Show zooming I’ve felt torn the last few days. I have a great, growing team, a growing audience, super content, a solid track record, a clear vision, good timing, many well-positioned advisors and friends who want to see me succeed, all kinds of momentum and the feeling in my heart and gut that I am absolutely doing the right thing.

But for the last few days a part of my head and self has been consumed with the bank account, constantly hearing a tick tick tick and doing the math and then worrying about it. None of that is helping me. I am working 12+ hour days and loving it. But I was raised in a “show me the money” environment and that worry was leading to some paralysis which was helping neither my show, start-up nor my bank account. But I don’t want to quit or get off the path I’m on.

Fortuitously an old, older friend called today. He started his own business some time ago. I outlined my money worries and he didn’t seem to know what to say. But once I asked him if this was what it was like when he started his business. He said,

“Absolutely, not 100% but 1000.”

I said, “When you started your business did you have a spreadsheet that proved exactly when everything would get above water financially and did that give you relief and confidence?”

“No. I never look at spreadsheets. I guess you could say that I winged it.”

And as we continued to talk my whole day and insides turned around. This moment, this is what it is. That moment when successful people look back and tell you about all the hamburgers they ate (as my friend did). I used to hear that as “Oh I sacrificed, you have to sacrifice too.” But that’s not it. What he was saying is that even though things aren’t proven on the outside (ie. the spreadsheet, the bank account) you know yourself, you know your momentum. It’s the not knowing and moving forward anyway. No hesitation.

I had and still have an image of a ship in waters you don’t know. But it’s full steam ahead.

To quote my friend, whose words are now on my wall

“Somehow, someway, it works out.”