Friday, July 27, 2012

Public-Private Resiliency Conference

I spent half of this week in Colorado Springs for a two day resiliency conference sponsored by FEMA and the Northern Command.  The pictures are from the panel discussion I was part of on the final day of the conference, discussing small business preparedness programs sponsored by the American Red Cross (Russ Paulsen is sitting next to me); AT&T (Matt Beattie is third from left); and a new mentorship program created without overhead or fuss by University of Louisiana professor Ramesh Kolluru.  At the podium is Steve Smith, retired admiral who runs the Office of Disaster Preparedness for the Small Business Administration, and who was our moderator.

My job was to say as clearly as I could exactly why small businesses -- most of whom have 100 employees or less and who constitute 99% of all business in this country -- do not feel they have time to become prepared for disasters...even though they, too, can see the numbers.  Somewhere between 25% and 40% of small businesses never come back after a natural disaster.  Why?  Because they are not prepared.

Garry Briese and I are planning to co-author an article that would discuss this conference, what it accomplished, and what we feel the state of resiliency is in this country.  When it's published, we
will be sure to set a link here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gearing up to fly

I'm flying on Sunday to Colorado Springs to speak at a conference, and was glad to come across three travel articles I thought I would pass along.  The first is from the Wall Street Journal about where the germs hide on airplanes. The second is more in the way of an indicator of things to come, when I pass through the Dallas airport in August -- yoga! The third is from Sunday's New York Times, a general piece that packs in tips from some of our most experienced Silicon Valley travelers. 

In fact, I'm on my way to find those Quantam Super Lysine + tablets right now.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

ASA's Third Anniversary

Leroy Searle and Lauren Du Graf, both at rest before the launch party begins
This has been a wonderful month, so far.  The sunshine coincides with the re-entry of one of my favorite people in the world.  Lauren Du Graf has been back since late June, and has been working with me to re-imagine how we present my risk consulting firm, ASA.  Since she helped to imagine the firm and write the original content for the ASA website in June/July of 2009, she's ideally qualified to review the past three years of evolution.
The First and Union team built the website:  Sherry Stripling, Rick New, and Molly Martin
It's interesting to see how much has matured, and how much has changed since then.  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn postings from ASA are now at least a daily occurrence, whereas I don't think we had even set up links in 2009. Last summer when Lauren was back,  she did a first edit and helped find a name for my first book, Advice From A Risk Detective and insisted that I set up a  website from which to offer that and subsequent books for sale.

ASA logo designer Jesse Brown checks out the site.  Jesse also designs ASA's book covers.
Some of the copy we wrote in 2009 was hypothetical, based upon what services we thought the firm would offer.  Now we have a keener sense of how far we've come and what we actually do, and so we are reworking both navigation and content.

From left: Mike Crandall (UW Information School), Annie, Shelby Edwards (now Nike)
One thing that won't change:  our commitment to providing open access to research notes, articles by others, and commentary on articles by others through both "Annie's Take" and through our monthly newsletter, that we are re-naming ASA News and Notes. 

From left:  Molly Martin, Eric Holdeman (Port of Seattle), Al Wilson (Microsoft), Annie
 Once we get all the cleanup done on web content, we'll be cleaning up some of the visual elements as well and implementing new navigation.  I can see another month's work or so in front of me.  I had forgotten just how much I enjoy this part of the work.

Getting after this work now is a great way to slide into what will be our third anniversary on July 20, the date the site went live and 35-40 colleagues came to celebrate with us.

Technology tips

Years ago I owned a computer hardware company and advised businesses and individuals on computers.  I ran across this article this morning in the New York Times, and thought it worth passing along for those who need new computers but have no idea how to go about selecting one.

Technology continues to be one of the most challenging areas for personal and business risk management.  To prevent loss and frustration once you do purchase a new computer, do be sure to check for and install all the operating system security patches; and do turn on the firewall that protects your computer from a great deal of harmful network traffic; and finally, consider purchasing a more advanced form of internet and computer security protection from a software manufacturer like Trend Micro or Symantec, especially if you are planning to do online banking or online purchases.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer travel tips

Here's a great article that reviews a series of travel tips you may find helpful.

Most of them are also in Advice From A Risk Detective, except for one I found especially interesting for foreign travel:  to take a photo of the front of your hotel with your smartphone, in case you get lost.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Combustible risks

Ivar's fireworks over Seattle's Elliott Bay
Wildfires have been ravaging Colorado and several other western states.  Power is still out for over a million people in 100 degree temperatures on the East Coast after a wind and rainstorm knocked down trees that, in turn, knocked down power lines.   It feels like Seattle is definitely the place to live these past few weeks as the rest of the country suffers.

Wherever you live, fire safety should be front and center in your celebrations today -- particularly since most calls for fire fighters today will not be from wildfires but rather from fireworks accidents, illegal fireworks, barbeques gone wrong or banked coals left in unsafe locations.  These are all preventable accidents that can be eliminated from your risk list with a few simple steps.  Here's a link to FEMA's page on summer fire safety for more suggestions about how to minimize your risk on this Independence Day.