Saturday, March 03, 2007

When Ignatius Loyola was recovering after breaking his leg in battle, he used to enjoy the romances they gave him to read; but he found that their after-taste was empty and unsatisfying. When he read the Gospels, the after-taste was of solid food, something he could live on. He learned to discern the after-taste of experiences. That is the way the Holy Spirit can shape our lives. It means listening to our hearts to discover the path of God and of the Holy Spirit through us, and to recognise what blocks we place, consciously or unconsciously, to God's work in us. From Sacred Space—The Daily Reading Published by the Irish Jesuits.

I saw my brother Randy this afternoon at the University of Denver Voices of Experience lecture.

Steffie Allen spoke about the changes facing corporate leaders as they adjust to changes in the workforces that they lead. She challenged leadership that still believes they can lead in ways that worked in the past and are not prepared for the “new crew.” Steffie presented a thought provoking model of leadership, a framework for leading ethically and authentically, creating real relationships and community and serving as public stewards.

"There is no model for leadership, only principles," she said. "#1 Build and sustain community; #2 Unite people to take action towards a clear and inspiring vision; #3 Demonstrate and inspire citizenship and stewardship; #4 Lead with wisdom from head, heart and gut; and #5 Demand alignment of busines goals and practices with ethics and values." She said these principles were designed to overcome selfishness.

I asked her what she thought of Adam Smith's concept that our free market economy allowed us each to be of service through our self interest. "I have no problem with our free market economy, but it is not enough. We each need a moral system and that's what these principles address." Here's what The Clarion, the DU Student newspaper, had to say about the talk.

Chairman of Woman's Vision discusses leadership traits - News

Eric Hoffer has told us that when we stop believing in God, we'll replace that belief with some form of fanaticism. Where is God in her leadership principles?
"Yes each person needs a personal set of values. The organization needs to recognize that all spiritual paths have value, the test is are they making you a better person? God belongs, however you envision her." (laughter)

Allen formed The AthenA Group in 1989. Athena provides leadership development for corporations locally—and globally. In 1997, she launched Women’s Vision Foundation (50lC3), the only organization in Colorado dedicated exclusively to leadership development for advancing women in corporations. She won the 1988 Dan Ritchie Colorado Ethics in Business award from the University of Denver, served for 20 years on the board of directors of HealthONE, and established and chaired its Ethics and Human Values Committee. Ms. Allen is a 2006 inductee into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

In the evening I reconnected with my old friend Karl Rove, who spoke at the State GOP dinner at the Marriott South. I was State Chair of College Republicans in 1974-5 when Karl was National Chair, he and I did seminars around the country to help new College Republican clubs get started, and we had the National CR Convetion in Denver that Spring.

Now Karl is the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, and he gave a very rousing speech about what the President is doing to try to continue the economic recovery in face of the opposition from the new Democrat majority, and what needs to be done to win in Iraq.

Friday, March 02, 2007

On this date in 1904 Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote and illustrated the popular 'Dr. Seuss' children's books, was born.

In 1927, Mr. Geisel married Helen Marion Palmer of Orange, N.J., a teacher he had met when they were studying at Oxford. It was she who persuaded him to give up thoughts of teaching and make drawing a career.

"Ted's notebooks were always filled with these fabulous animals," she later recalled. "So I set to work diverting him; here was a man who could draw such pictures; he should be earning a living doing that."

In addition to serving as her husband's business manager and helping edit his books, she wrote children's books under her maiden name.

From New York Times Obituary, Sept. 24, 1991.

John Wren’s Comment: How often does the right choice of a companion contribute to the success of a person? I just read Team of Rivals about Lincoln, he was much more successful because of his marriage to Mary Todd. My dad was much more successful because of my mother and the influence of her family on him. One of my most vivid memories of the IDEA CafĂ© over the last decade is a woman who quit her job as a High School teacher to market her struggling artist husband’s artwork. It worked.


I love the Internet, it is a marvel… It provides a voice to the formerly voiceless… Anyone can publish their thoughts instantaneously and they are available forever… Reporters now live in fear, a healthy development. Ned Desmond, president of Time Inc. Interactive, in his talk last night about the impact of evolving media technologies on the Catholic believer, part of the Denver Archdiocese Lecture Series.

John Wren’s Comment: I asked Desmond how the Internet had change reporting. He said reporters are now instructed to post information right away, to not wait for final preparation of the article at deadline. Internet news readers demand instant information in small bites. Desmond discounted Wikipendia, “I never cite it,” but I think that would be said by most people who’s paycheck ultimately depends on large printing presses. The big downside of the Internet, in his opinion, is the sharp decline in time for quite reflection for most people, “there is just too much competition from the urgent and the entertaining.” Desmond estimates he sends about 100 emails a day and reads 200+, and that this is typical for the people he knows. To stay abreast of breaking news he reads Netvibes.

Communications technology makes new forms of church organization possible, and geographically distant congregations can easily join together. Rather than voting with your feet, you may now vote with your mouse, perhaps the most amicable form of religious divorce. Jack Miles, a senior fellow for religious affairs with the Pacific Council on International Policy and a scholar in residence with the Getty Research Institute in his New York Times, A Divorce the Church Should Smile Upon.

Google has been frustrated in its efforts to reach comprehensive deals with major studios and networks to put their video on YouTube. Meanwhile, it is forming partnerships with hundreds of smaller media companies that see value — or at least a valuable experiment — in contributing to the site. New York Times, Google Courts Small YouTube Deals

History is the best antidote to delusions of omnipotence and omniscience, forcing us to a recognition of the fact, so often and so sadly displayed, that the future outwits all our certitudes. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who died Wednesday, quoted in the New York Times.

Words kill… Grow up… Live out your God-created identity.
Mt 5: 20-48

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I just sent this letter to Denver newspapers:

March 7th the ballot will be set for the May Denver elections. It appears there is a connspiracy of the incumbents and the media to keep this important fact secret.

Where are the articles now about who has filed to run, and deadlines for others who might be interested? Why haven't the newspapers reported the poor job being done by the Denver Election Commissions posting this information on their website?

Our Optimist Club invited a City Council Person speak yesterday who is running for reelection. Not one word was said in the 1/2 hour talk about the election and her position on issues. "We get along with the Mayor, and that's the way people like it," she said as she put on her coat to leave immediately after her talk.

Most people I talk with are unhappy with the Mayor and the City Council for their performance with snow removal, the lack of progress with the new Justice Center, the mishandling of the homeless and immigration problems in Denver, etc. There will be great interest in the May elections, I'm sure.

If we end up with a ballot in May with few good choices, the primary blame will be with the poor job that's been done by Denver newspapers.

John Wren, President
Denver South Optimists Club
960 Grant Street #727
Denver, CO 80203

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On this day in:

1854 About 50 slavery opponents met in Ripon, Wis., to call for creation of a new political group, which became the Republican Party.

1861 The Territory of Colorado was organized.

The Secret? Article in current issue of Newsweek blasts this popular new book. Quotes a psychologist: "We find about 10 percent of self-help books are rated by mental-health professionals as damaging. This is probably one of them. The problem is the propensity for self-blame when it doesn't work."

From Web-Based Collaboration Tools


Wikis are the grandparents of Web-based collaboration tools. A wiki is a dead-simple way of building Web sites; using simple text syntax on Web pages, users can, without much technical knowledge, create links from text to existing Web pages, either inside of our outside the wiki, and they can easily create new pages as they go while simultaneously linking to the new pages.

In their pure form, wikis allow anyone to edit them, but many wikis nowadays offer access control and workflow tools to keep meddling hands out, and minimize damage by the well-meaning clueless.

Zoho offers a free service to let users create wikis.
Google-owned Jotspot was a commercial wiki pioneer; they're temporarily closed to new accounts now.

Socialtext offers wiki software with a twist--you can copy the wiki to your desktop, work with it disconnected from the Internet and then merge it with the online version; Socialtext is based on TiddlyWiki, a popular single-user Wiki that stores both data and JavaScript code in a single Web page that can be stored locally on the desktop or on a server.

Socialtext is available for free for up to five users and for open source projects, and pricing starts at $95 per month for up to 20 users. The company makes its software available as open source for free.

For people who prefer to roll their own, there are a wide variety of open source wikis available--just install the software on your own server, either on the public Internet or a private intranet or extranet, and you're good to go.

Of course, Wikipedia is the big daddy of all wikis, and it's a great place to start learning about wikis, and finding links to wiki software. Wikipedia runs on MediaWiki software, which is open source, and therefore available for you to build your own wiki.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wikinomics explains how to prosper in a world where new communications technologies are democratizing the creation of value.

Wikinomics--How Mass Collaboration Change Everything hit #10 on the business best-seller list last Sunday, so I finally picked it up. Wish I'd read it when I'd first noticed it last year! If Ben Franklin was alive today, he'd be a Wiki publisher!

I've kept this blog for years, am considering shifting my energy to a wiki or two. Blogging feels too much like just raising my window, leaning out, and shouting, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"