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Tom Collins
Upstate NY
Recovering attorney, serial entrepreneur, grandpa, with a passion for learning new and connecting old "dots" for creative solutions -- and helping others do the same!
Interests: Reading, writing, running, family time, home renovation projects, helping
Recent Activity
Ah, Yvonne, remember when we ran those Business Blogging Bootcamps to help small business owners get started with their blogs? Your post got me rooting around in the "archives" of our own blogging history and I found this post from 2008 when we briefly used the Bootcamps title and got invited to partcipate in a roundtable discussion in NYC hosted by Brother International: Still online, 13 years later.
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Okay, following your instructions from Facebook to come share a reinvention story. You know most of mine. And like you, I've reinvented myself over and over. But for your readers I'll go back to a couple of years before we met, to the reinvention that probably made our meeting possible. Looking back, I'd been dissatisfied with many aspects of my career for at least a few years. Appellate lawyer, outwardly successful, but also a combination of bored, detached, and occasionally downright miserable with parts of that role. The reinvention actually started in the 90s, when I resigned my partnership in the law firm, but continued practicing law as "of counsel" to the firm -- a kind of fancy term for contract work. Though I did not yet think of myself this way, I had become a solopreneur. Again in hindsight, much of the dissatisfaction remained. As the 90s wore on and the internet grew in importance, I kept weaving more and more of the new technology into the way I worked. In 2001, on the return flight from a business trip to the ABA Tech Show, it all hit the fan and I made the decision to leave law practice and start my own consultancy for helping lawyers (woefully behind in adopting technology) join the new millennium. Easier decided than achieved, I quickly learned! As our later publishing client, Lee Thayer, likes to say, "You can't confer a benefit on an unwilling recipient." Anyway, I found my way into the Rochester Professional Consultants Network, to grow my skills. And there I found you. Turning my "failure" as a legal technology consultant into the wonderful partnership-in-all-things we share and the sequence of reinventions that I marvel at, even as we continue evolving. Thank you for prompting me to revisit this wondrous time!
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While preparing for my Fair Use workshop at BlogPaws this month (with attorney Shahrina Ankhi-Krol), I found this video with the confrontational title Copyright is Brain Damage. The still image above is used with permission of Nina Paley, the cartoon artist, film maker, and TEDx speaker shown. Or is it... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Old Dog Learning
Thanks, Mary. Yes, the recent science showing that brain plasticity continues throughout our lives is very encouraging to folks of our vintage! ;-D Your personal experience with inter-generational teamwork provides a useful case study, matching what Yvonne and I found in working with Chloe while building our business. Now we've passed that one on into her capable hands and are on to our next. She shakes her head each time we start something new, but I know it also gives her a glimpse of possible future(s). Just getting started! Tom
Hi Katie, Thanks for chiming in and for emphasizing the beauty -- and beautiful possibilities in striving for more diverse collaborative teams. It's important to hear that younger business owners like you see it, too! Tom
Hey Yvonne, I think you're onto something with your observation about older employees leaving larger organizations, not for traditional retirement, but to start their own businesses. The tragedy for the companies they're leaving goes far beyond losing their work-specific knowledge. Echoing your point about bringing our true selves to our work, the article on Google's Project Aristotle notes the data-driven lesson Google learned about creating the psychological safety that makes work teams more successful: "No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. But to be fully present at work ... we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us ... to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can't be focused just on efficiency." It's the older workers' higher capacity for positivity, risk tolerance, resilience in the face of negative emotions, and generally growing happiness that both fuels their entrepreneurial spirit and constitutes the greatest loss for the organizations that marginalize them and let them leave.
How organizations benefit from multi-generational work teams and a proposal for "Eldership" programs to reap the benefits in yours. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2017 at Old Dog Learning
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Mar 15, 2010
Too cool, Andy. Thanks! I'm going to play with this and I'll let you know how it goes. I can see all sorts of possibities for the CSS you've shared ... so thanks again. BTW, that was me (Tom Collins, Yvonne's partner-in-all-things) signed into one of our other accounts that's in her name, who asked the question. Yvonne was baffled by the emails notifying her you'd responded to "her" question! ;-D
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