Category Archives: RANDOM STUFF

A Bold New Facebook Scam! That’s Nerve!

A few days ago, I was working on my computer and only had Facebook open in the background when I suddenly heard the sound of my instant chat window pop up (you know that sound). When I opened the window, I was pleased to see someone whom I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. I personally knew this person from my networking and had spoken a number of times to this person by phone, but we had never met in person. When I asked how he had been, he replied to me, “Not good”, and proceeded to tell me that he had just been held up at gunpoint, mugged, and had all of his cash, wallet, and cell phone stolen. “That’s terrible”, I replied. He said he needed money to settle his hotel bill and promised to pay me back tomorrow, saying his flight back to the US was leaving soon and he had to settle the bill. Immediately, my “B.S. detector” went off. While I did know this person, I am certainly not the first person he would have asked for money. I asked a few more questions and determined that someone had hijacked my friend’s Facebook account and was posing as him. I knew this person well enough to know it wasn’t him. I tried to call my friend to see if he was ok but unfortunately I couldn’t reach him. This guy was good though. When I asked him for a phone number to call him, he gave me a number, saying it was for the hotel in Kentish Town. I Googled the name and location and got a hit that this was indeed a scam. While I watched, the person actually changed my friend’s email address in his Facebook profile. The guy posing as my friend tried to get me to wire $800 bucks to a Western Union account.  I was astonished that this person was actually so bold. Stalling for time, I actually called the FBI while the person was online and reported the person.

Watch out on Facebook if anything like this happens to you. Happy surfing and keep safe.


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Expirements in Business Social Networking: What I learned on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

This is Part 1 of, well…who knows how many. Just have to check back if you like it.

It’s funny where inspiration comes from sometimes. This time, it came from a stupid question. “Anyone in the Professional Speakers Group on LinkedIn Using Twitter?”, I asked. I was looking to make a few new friends since I had just started using Twitter at the time I posted it. When I joined Twitter three plus weeks ago, I had zero friends and zero followers. I was looking for friends and help (aren’t we all?). So I posted the that “anyone using” question in a few LinkedIn Groups I belong to, however the Professional Speakers group overwhelmingly started raving about about Twitter and my question soon became one of the featured questions in the group since so many people had responded to it. I laughed at one response, “Fine, you folks seem to be passionate about it. I’ll give it a try.”. I thought to myself, “There is no try. Do or do not” as Yoda would say. You can take one look at the Twitter profiles of folks “trying it out”, but not really making the investment of time to find out how to be successful with it. I couldn’t tell them apart when I started. Now it’s easy. I invested the time, now hopefully I can share what I’ve learned. Taking pity on the fellow, and just because my nature is to help folks, I decided to write a detailed response back to him and the group. That response became the inspiration behind this series “My Experiments in Business Social Networking”, a tutorial, or memoir or sorts, of what’s worked and what hasn’t. I thought using myself as a case study might be helpful to some people. I’m not an expert, just trying to find my way to business and happiness through sharing and meeting “good like minded folks who give a damn about people other than themselves”.

My Business Objective:
As a wealth manager who specializes in “Business Owners, Families, and Donors”, my objective with my networking was to connect with “successful folks who give a damn” as I say. I wanted to meet people who were successful and also interested in philanthropy. I have a very unique offering that’s very collaborative and hands on since it involves multiple levels of collaboration with a client’s accountant, attorney, and other members of their professional team. The bottom line is, I only want to work with the right kinds of clients, and they are hard to find. How do you find successful folks who give a damn? How do you find Social Entrepreneurs? I began experimenting, believing there was “some club of those folks out there somewhere”. Seems like everyone I talked to said my business ideas were so badly needed in that market space but the problem was identifying those people who could identify with what I had to say and what I was passionate about. I wanted to meet successful like minded people. Now that I think about it, I actually met my wife online so perhaps there is something to this networking for like minded people thing. We met in 2000, before it was “cool” to meet people. Perhaps going social for business is the right thing to do I thought..

A few years ago, my friend recommended my first social networking site, LinkedIn. For the first 6 months, I didn’t do much with it. After friends started sending me lots of invites, I decided to check it out further (like the poor soul who finally gave into Twitter I mentioned). I put up a real profile. I got the hang of LinkedIn after a while. I realized being successful on LinkedIn is about building a network based on quality and quantity. Having not been an “open networker” (LION= LinkedIn Open Networker), I was only focused on building quality connections. After asking a LION what that whole “LION” thing was about, they told me that having LIONS in your network greatly increases the size of your 3rd degree”. The closer someone is in your network I have found, the more like minded you tend to be, regardless who you are connected through, and generally the easier to get introduced. There are certainly exceptions, however this is my experience. In reality though, in three years, I have only asked for an introduction a handful of times. I meet quality people spending time in the LinkedIn Groups in the areas I am interested in. When you are both members of groups, you don’t need an introduction, you can just invite them to connect directly. I only INVITE quality people, while I will accept an invitation from anyone. I have sent out thousands of invitations and have only been declined twice to my knowledge. Here’s a little secret; people want to meet like minded people. Just say, “I saw your profile and it seems like we have a lot in common with our blah, blah interest. Please accept my invitation to connect”. If they are really interesting, set up a time to speak by phone to find out more about them. Don’t try and pitch them on you.

My Issues With LinkedIn (LinkedIn, why won’t you listen?)
Recently, I’ve become frustrated with LinkedIn’s inability to help me understand who is among my list of 1st degree connections. As someone who has over 4500 1st degree connections, I want my relationships to be of value to me. If it is difficult to communicate with my connections, which I have found it to be very difficult, the network becomes less valuable. This is where Twitter has become EXTREMELY helpful. More on that later. Before Twitter, I had a huge network of connections on LinkedIn, but was hesitant to email everyone. I hate spam so I didn’t want to send business related messages to people who absolutely had no interest in what I do other than the value of our connection on LinkedIn (which might not seem that valuable to you). These people ARE important, because even though a recruiter LION likely has little chance of utilizing my services, they might be connected to someone who does. Sending wealth management related messages to recruiters isn’t relevant to them directly and what a waste of time and effort it has been to try and contact them. All efforts to try an make better use of my exported list of contacts has been time consuming and a painful process. LinkedIn needs to resolve this issue or their best users like me will wind up spending money on services that provide this ability. Twitter seems to be starting to fill that void.

At the end of the day (I hate that expression), I have only two objectives. The first is meeting professional contacts for business, and the other is meeting potential clients. Some is working really well, some not. Tune in soon…

Check my blog for the rest of this story. Part two deals with how LinkedIn and Twitter have worked together. 🙂 For a sneak peak at how Twitter has helped, check out “5 Ways I’m Using Twitter to Meet the Right People” as well as “Wondering if you Should Use Twitter?”

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List of Philanthropy People Using Twitter (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy had a great idea to compile a list of philanthropy related users on Twitter. I encourage you to check out the list since they are providing folks a great way to introduce themselves to one another. For those of us who have ADD, I’ve taken the time to summarize the list of users and promise to keep the list updated. You can also post an update in the comments here and I’ll add it to the list.

Here’s another idea. Since I also use LinkedIn, I’d invite anyone who who is interested in charity, social entrepreneurship, non-profit, fundraising, corporate social responsibility, foundations, or anything else related to “folks who give a damn”, to list their LinkedIn profile here in the comments section. I’ll put a separate list of those folks together.

ANNOUNCING…The new CHARITWEEPS group on LinkedIn. Click here to join. For any of you folks who are interested in this list and are also on LinkedIn. After you join, check out the Discussion Board to list your Twitter profile, a quick blurb about yourself, and what you can offer to other folks. Please continue to add to the list here so that all of the Twitter profiles are listed in one place. Ain’t technology great? 🙂


Names listed from Chronicle of Philanthropy as of 10am 2/24/09
@philanthropyCFP (That’s Me!)

I Follow: (Still working on this)

SPECIAL MENTIONS (Still working on this)

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Believe In This Thing Called “The Universe”? Strange Things Happen In Chicago; Part 2

So the rational skeptical guy starts wondering about this thing called “The Universe”. People say (not me of course), that when you figure “it” out (whatever the hell “it” is), that “the universe” will start sending you signs that you are on the right track. Okey dokey people…Have you visited you astrologer for a palm reading lately, I thought…So how do you explain the bus and the United 93 thing within a week of each other? Blahhhh, mere coincidence, right? Come on folks, we went to college, let’s grow up. There is no Tooth Fairy and no Santa, sorry to rain on your parade. Jump forward a year or so.

Since I had the “Aha”, realizing clearly that I feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose when I feel like I make a difference, I just started going out doing things that made me feel like I was making a difference. I started volunteering for boards, helping charities, and having a real interest in everything philanthropic. I felt for the first time that I was on the right track in life. Once in a while, these little “coincidences” would happen that made me realize I was doing what I was supposed to do.

Soon my business began to transition from just investment management, into one that was deeply focused on helping people figure out what’s really important to them, then helping them transition their finances toward their values. Before, it might have seemed touchy feeley, but having had these experiences, and also working with other folks who felt the same way I did, really gave me a fulfilled sense of purpose. Philanthropy became a much more important part of my practice and helping clients carry out significant gifts became extremely gratifying.

Chicago: Take Two
I discovered an organization called Advisors in Philanthropy which was made up of a diverse group of financial professionals who were committed to integrating philanthropy into their practices, just like me. I had become a member of the organization and signed up to attend their conference. The conference was to be held in Chicago. Great, I thought! I’ve been learning to love Chicago 🙂

As I got to Newark Airport early that morning, I decided I would treat myself to a shoe shine (something I don’t get to do much since I stopped commuting to NY daily). Jokingly, I said to the shoe shine guy, “Huh, I wonder what’s going to happen this time. Strange things always happen when I go to Chicago.” We laughed a little and I didn’t give it much more thought. After I tipped the guy, I went into the newsstand to get my gum and water for the flight. As I was paying, there was a book above the register that caught my attention, as it looked out of place and it also didn’t seem like they sold books here since it was such a small stand. I glanced at the title, “Beyond Success” it was called. Hmmm, sounds like something I might like to read I thought, I wonder who wrote it? I looked over at the author’s name and nearly fell out of my chair (or at least my place in line). Randall Ottinger! HOLY CRAP!!! HE”S SPEAKING AT THE CONFERENCE I”M GOING TO RIGHT NOW!!!” While that may not seem like a big coincidence, there were only about 200 or 300 people at this conference. What are the odds of that I thought! “Do you sell this book?”, I asked the woman at the register. “No, someone left it here”, she replied. HOLY DOUBLE CRAP!!! (sorry for the profanity but sometimes I just can’t help it). Now someone was playing with me, I thought. Must be that “universe” mumbo jumbo…”May I see the book?”, I asked. Now I will do away with the vulgarities since the rest of the story speaks for itself and you can fill in with your own if you like…

I took the book from the woman and opened it up. Inside the book was a page of hand written notes with a bunch of illegible things and some stock quotes. The only thing I was able to make out on the page said; “Chapter 21: Advisors in Philanthropy”. Now I could hardly contain myself. I told the woman my shock and disbelief and she just chuckled when I told her why I was so taken back. I handed her my business card and told her I was taking the book and if anyone came looking for it, she should give them my name and I would be happy to return it to them.

As I read the book, I couldn’t help think I was reading my life story. The book was about building a personal, financial, and philanthropic legacy and it dealt with the very same issues I began to adopt in my wealth management practice. It was amazing that I had been handed this book, on the way to this conference, dealing with the very same issues, higher purpose, blah, blah blah…I just couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t wait to tell Randy this story when I finally saw him in Chicago.

Telling Randy
As I tell Randy this unbelievable story, he just begins to shake his head. “That falls into one of those THINGS YOU CAN”T MAKE UP category”, we said to each other. Thinking we had just closed the chapter on a truly remarkable story, we went about our business and attended to the other conference matters.

The next day, Randy comes up to me and says, “Rich, you are NEVER going to believe this…I sit down at dinner last night and introduce myself to this guy and he looks at me and says OH, I BROUGHT A COPY OF YOUR BOOK FOR YOU TO SIGN, BUT I LOST IT AT THE AIRPORT…” Randy tells me he just looked at the guy and said “I know”. Kevin replies, “What do you mean YOU KNOW?” Randy says to Kevin, “Because that guy over there has your book”.

That’s how I met Kevin. This is a story I will never forget. I’m starting to think there might be something to this “Universe thing” after all. Oh, and by the way, Kevin and I are working with Randy in starting a new organization in NY called the Metro New York Philanthropic Advisor Network. You might just say “The Universe made me do it”. Check out my post: “The Good Apples: The Rise of the NY Philanthropic Advisor Network here.

Have to run now, I have an appointment with the tarot card reader…

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Believe In This Thing Called “The Universe”? Strange Things Happen In Chicago; Part 1

It seems that since “The Secret” was published by Rhnoda Byrne, there’s been much to do about “The Universe” being behind the things you can’t explain. Frankly, I was one of those skeptical, rational, “I’m from Missouri”, need to be shown folks. The universe, “please”, I thought. Spare me. What happens when you just can’t explain events in your life that seem absolutely remarkable? Let me tell you a little story about the universe.

A while back, I had this “Aha” and I’ve talked about it here before. A few years ago while I was going through some coaching and consulting for my business, I was asked a question that stopped me in my tracks. I was asked to write my own eulogy. Having never done anything like this before I had to consider what I wanted people to say about me when I died. After several minutes of thinking, I came up with the answer. “I suppose I would want people to say I made a difference”, I replied. What I didn’t know at the time, was that I had just identified my highest order life purpose; the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid if you will. Some call this being “self actualized”. It was quite a strange place. From that day on, strange things started happening to me and they always seemed to happen on the way to Chicago. Let me back up.

One Week Before Chicago
One day I was having lunch in NYC with a client. Having had such a positive result with reflective exercises with my coach, I started incorporating the values conversations with clients. I asked her if she was truly happy with her life and posed the question to her, “If you knew you only had 6 months to live, would you want to do anything different?”. “Nope”, she replied. “Are you sure? You know you could walk out the door and get hit by a bus.”, I said. “No, I’m sure”.

As we finished lunch, we began walking back toward Penn Station. Not ten minutes after we had this conversation, we both witnessed a man get hit by a bus right before our eyes. Shaken, we looked at each other and I asked “What does that mean?” How do you explain that?

Going To Chicago
With the thought of the bus incident still fresh in my head, I prepared to board the United flight to Chicago. I was a guest a the Napoleon Hill World Learning Center Open House. While I was very excited to attend, the trip almost didn’t happen because of prior obligations. I almost decided not to go, but because I felt passionate, (you might say “the universe” was pushing me to go) I figured out a way to make it happen. As I waited to enter the gate, I noticed a flag flying above the jetway where our plane was parked. I noticed it was the only one that had a flag so naturally I was curious and asked the United rep what it was for. “This is the gate where United 93 left from on 9/11”, she replied. Having just witnessed the bus thing the week before, I felt as if somebody was trying to tell me something. As I boarded the flight, I could feel myself walking the same steps the passengers walked that day. “Let’s Roll”, I thought. If one thing became clear to me that week, it was that you never know when your time is up and you had better live every day like you were going to get hit by a bus or board a flight that is about to crash. The universe was telling me to follow my passion, and I was listening.


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Filed under Financial Life Planning, RANDOM STUFF

Words, Phrases, and Things I Hate Most (Trailing 12 Mo.) from 2008-09

If you watch CNBC at all, you must be sick of hearing the phrase “From Wall St. to Main St.”. It got me thinking about other things I’m sick of hearing about from the last year. These were some of the most popular responses when I asked my fellow LinkedIn folks what their favorite things they hated were. I’ll keep tallying the responses and post them here. What were yours?

“Oil prices are going to $200/Barrel”
“My Friends,…”
“Ponzi scheme”
“Obama’s never run a thing in his life”
“Change”,”lost it’s meaning over the last 12 mo.”
“Market Slump”
“We will talk about peace when they stop…”
This one is GREAT…

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Filed under Current Events, RANDOM STUFF