Monday, March 31, 2008

Just Fooling Around

Happy April Fool’s Day. Or Silly April Fool’s Day. Or Playful April Fool’s Day. In any case, have a Fun April Fool’s Day, because that’s what the day is all about.

Here are two links with some historical (hysterical?) perspective on this auspicious day:

Here’s an excerpt from the explanation at the first link:

“The current thinking is that (the observance) began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25-April 1 (new year's week) to January 1.

“Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious, refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1. These people were labeled ‘fools’ by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on ‘fool errands,’ sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or ‘April fish’ because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

“This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continues on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool's Day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.”

So the foolish message of the day is: Rebooting is not a fool’s errand! And that’s no April Fool!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

RebootYou social network launched!

Back on Nov. 12, I asked in this blog if rebooters constituted a community. Defined in Wikipedia, a virtual community is:

… a
social network with a common interest, idea, task or goal that interacts in a virtual society across time, geographical and organizational boundaries and is able to develop personal relationships.

I said I hoped to jump start such a community, and asked readers to let me know if they had any ideas on how to do it.

Well, such an idea is now at hand. I’ve started a social network for rebooters at Ning is a platform for social networks, currently hosting thousands of virtual communities in many walks of life.

I invite you to visit the new social community and join in. It’s easy to do – just click and sign up. Hope to see you there – and back here as well!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Helping pro athletes reboot after their playing days are over

Great story in this week’s New Yorker about former Mets and Phillies baseball star Lenny Dykstra, who is launching a new magazine aimed at pro athletes called The Players Club.

With the magazine as his main vehicle, he wants to encourage athletes in their prime to set aside a half-million dollars a year in a customized retirement account to insure their financial security for later life.

“There are all these hard luck stories (about former athletes),” said Randall Kane, editor of The Players Club. “We’re going to educate these guys to take advantage of this windfall. ‘Keep Living the Dream,’ that’s our working slogan.”

It’s a fun article about a true character who says, “I’m forty-four, with a lot of mileage, dude. A lot of mileage… You get to a point in your life where, yeah, I loved baseball, but baseball’s a small part. I’m going to build something that can change the ---- outcome of people’s lives.”

He describes critical decision points in life as “like the one-one count.” A baseball metaphor, it means that “some moments, and the choices they bring, are more fateful than others (i.e., the next pitch makes all the difference)… If a batter falls behind, one ball and two strikes, he’s in a hole from which, the statistics augur, he will not recover, even if he is Barry Bonds; and if he gets ahead, to two balls and one strike, he wrests control from the pitcher and takes charge of his own destiny.”

Maybe you weren’t able to “set aside a half million dollars” for your later years, but the game is not over. Lenny might say you’re at the one-one count. What decision will you make about the rest of your at bat? A reboot could make the count two and one in your favor.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Speaking of brains, how fit is yours?

I’ve just come across a fascinating company and website – SharpBrains, at They’ve got what looks like some really good news.

SharpBrains is a research & advisory firm devoted to helping individuals, companies, health providers, investors, and policy makers understand and participate in the emerging brain fitness field through a variety of market-intelligence products and services.

The company says that brain fitness may grow one day to become as widespread as physical fitness, and brain fitness centers or "brain gyms" may complement today's gyms.

SharpBrains has just released its inaugural report on the emerging Brain Fitness Software Market, the first to define the brain fitness software market and analyze the size and trends of its four customer segments.

Highlights from The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2008 report include:

• 2007 was a seminal year for the U.S. Brain Fitness software market, which reached $225 million in revenues – up from an estimated $100 million in 2005.

• Over 20 companies are offering tools to assess and train cognitive skills to four customer segments: consumers; healthcare and insurance providers; K12 school systems; and Fortune 1000 companies, the military, and sports teams.

• More than five programs have shown results in randomized controlled trials. Cognitive functions that can be trained include: visual and auditory processing, working memory, attention, and decision-making.

Some day soon, while you’re checking out the latest running shoes, heart monitors and iPod carrying cases to use while exercising, you may also find yourself looking over some nifty products to improve the condition of your brain.

Try to get your mind around that!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To Prevent Brain Drain: Reboot

Brain drain.

Those scary words describe what the aerospace and defense sector is facing as hundreds of thousands of scientists and engineers reach retirement age.

“The problem – almost 60 percent of U.S. aerospace workers in 2007 were 45 or older – could affect national security and even close the door on commercial products that start out as military technology,” according to an Associated Press article by Joelle Tessler that ran in Monday’s papers. A link to the story appears below.

The looming labor shortage that will inevitably result as the Baby Boom generation moves out of the workforce and into retirement is one of the main reasons we started We want to help mitigate the shortage by helping as many people as possible extend their productivity beyond retirement.

There are a lot of ways to reboot. Staying on the job (if given the opportunity), continuing to work as a consultant, working part time, and opening one’s own business are all avenues to continued contribution.

We predict that many aerospace and defense companies will come up with ways to encourage members of their senior workforce to stay on the job for three to five years or more beyond age 65.

As a nation we can’t afford to have everybody walk off the job at the same time.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Rebooting, British style

When it comes to rebooting, the British are just as good at it as the Americans.

An article in The Sunday Times of March 2, headlined “Starting a business at retirement age,” says “There is no age limit to setting up in business to exploit your experience. The golden rule is to do something you enjoy.”

The article tells the story of several rebooters, including Rayment Kirby, who started his own business making cameras from traditional designs when he was in his sixties. Now 75, he makes a range of modernized versions of traditional camera designs by hand in his home workshop in Heathfield, East Sussex. He sells them at the auction house Christies and on his own website,

Frances Kay, editor of a publication called The Good Non-Retirement Guide, says more and more older people are setting up businesses. “They are doing it because at a certain stage in life they want autonomy and they don’t necessarily want to be working in an organisation for someone who is half their age,” Kay says. “People are living longer and are healthier so you probably have 25 years between 55 and 80 when you can get a heck of a lot done. There is a lot you can achieve and it can be hugely satisfying.”

Colin Weatherspoon, chief executive of Cobweb Information, a research firm providing information for startups, says, “Consultant-type businesses are a popular choice. Social enterprises and charities are also common – anything that involves advice… There is a market out there for experience.”

You can read the complete article at