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Feedback, Thoughts, and Q&A From “Oh, And I Have Multiple Sclerosis”
  • October 9, 2017

When I posted “Oh, and I Have Multiple Sclerosis”,  I had one hope – to share my story in an authentic and honest manner. I did not have any expectations other than a few people reading it. I did not know if I would receive any feedback or responses. Yet, I have been overwhelmed and blessed with responses of support. Many of them have been directly from friends and family. Some of them have come through those same people.

I can not thank everyone enough. The responses represent the best of humanity. They have been surprising, heartwarming, and, at times, heartbreaking. I have especially appreciated the thoughts of support for Courtney.

– Lil Jon (On every song)

Buried in the responses were a few questions. I wanted to share some responses and respond to some questions.

Question #1: What has surprised you most since the announcement?
Answer #1: I am surprised by the people I heard from and the stories they have shared. This includes a few people who I don’t personally know. I am reminded that we never know the burdens people carry and the stories they hold.

Question #2: Why don’t you raise money for MS (instead of CFF)?
Answer #2: I have always disliked the pictures of people holding big checks with amounts they have given to a charity. It has always seemed self-serving. The exception is if the picture will inspire someone else to write a bigger check.

I believe charity should be done because it’s the right thing to do. These should be selfless reasons. It is about helping others. The MS charities feel a little too close too home. It may sound weird, but it feels somewhat selfish because it could or will be helping myself.

For now, I remain committed to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as my primary charity. This may change one day.  I occasionally ponder if this the right response.

Question #3: Is this related to you being gluten-free/celiac?
Answer #3: 
Who knows? Celiac and MS are both autoimmune diseases. Consuming gluten appears to increase my chances of a flare-up. Plus, who doesn’t love rice flour seasoned with a pound of sugar? Or beer made from sorghum?

Question #4: Did your MS have anything to do with the investment in  Contegix and your departure from day-to-day there?
Answer #4: Wow, no. Absolutely no. I actually did not even mentally connect those 2 events until someone asked the question.

We took the investment in Contegix to further our mission and to push our commitment to our core values. Craig and I are committed to the Rapid Accelerated Growth of our talent (their personal development), our customers, and our stakeholders. We wanted to build and expand our Go Beyond philosophy. Our industry is ripe with companies that do not care about the customer. Contegix is something different, and I am incredibly proud of that. It’s why I remain a shareholder and am on our Board.

We could have continued as-is, but we found a partner who concurred with and supported this mission. It allowed an acceleration, and I see the benefits of this decision every day. Contegix has achieved FedRamp certification. We have continued to hire and grow our people. It’s truly a joy to see it.

As to my stepping away from day-to-day operations, I am drafting a blog post regarding this, but it had nothing to do with the MS. Many people have heard me talk about this topic – Know Your 100 Miles. I hope the piece helps other entrepreneurs, leaders, and founders do what they do best. In short, Contegix needed a CEO who could take on the next phase of our mission, and we have one. I have an opportunity to observe, guide, and lead from our Board.

Finally, I will call out the elephant in the room.  While this post and the last one were about MS, this blog will not become focused on MS. It will be what it always has been – my random thoughts. Sometimes, that means MS. This blog will not be defined by MS just as I am not be defined by MS.


Applying for a Job – A How-NOT-To
  • December 8, 2007

We recently advertised for a new administrative assistant. This person will have contact with our customers and have some minimal billing and HR responsibilities. Both additional responsibilities are relatively minimal since we have other people in billing and outsource HR to a third-party. I took interest in this hire since this person will be working directly for me.

After pushing through 60+ resumes on a plane ride, I decided to write this blog post. We received a number of good and a few great resumes; however, I was utterly surprised by the people who do not know how to apply for a job. After reading our replies for Linux admins, this holds true to those applicants as well.

  1. Read the job description. Re-read the job description. A number of the intros and resumes we received just did not apply to our job description. More disappointing, most of the applicants for our Linux engineering position completely failed to comprehend that it was a second shift position. If you can’t take the time to read the description, why should the employer take the time to read your resume?
  2. Spell check your submission, including any attachments. Spelling mistakes make the candidate look amateurish. Take the extra 10 minutes and send in your resume then. Most mail clients and webmail systems have a spell check. One of the submissions had the phrase “strong attention to detials”. Really? Could have surprised me with that one.
  3. Convey yourself and your uniqueness. There are numerous ways to do this – highlight a special project previously worked on, a special skill at which you excel, etc. We take a decent amount of time preparing our job description to convey our company’s uniqueness. The applicant should show the same.
  4. Be passionate and have your resume reflect that. Once again, we reflect this in every job post. We are passionate about what we do, despite hosting not being very sexy, especially the support aspect of it. Yet, that’s what we love to do.
  5. MySpace/Facebook/etc. Profile. Pay attention to what your social network profile say about you. A good employer could care less about your personal lifestyle, especially anything discriminatory, on these pages; however, ensure this is the presence you want publicly available and that it conveys who you are. For example, do not put phrases in your resume such as “Excellent people person. Love working with the public.” while your MySpace pages says “People suck. The world would be better if everyone died.”
  6. Remember where you applied. Yep, it happened a few times. Based upon the job requirements, the applicants who apply as an admin assistant are the ones the catch me off guard. Most of these candidates stress their organization skills.

There are probably a few hundred other points I should make, but these are the ones that constantly came up.