Since launching Siren a year ago, I can tell you one of the hardest parts (for me) is finding a balance between operations and thought leadership. I think of myself as agile and intelligent enough to do both well – the hard part is doing both simultaneously, or even in a given week or month. And, sadly, while the creative, thoughtful work of writing a blog, for example, is much more satisfying, the balancing of the budget is often much more urgent.

Therefore, I am taking the easy way out by sharing a few “thought bites.” They all could be independent blogs, but for now – it’s end of month! Time to pay the contractors and invoice the clients! – provocative but incomplete ideas will have to suffice.

Turn Down the Lights

The 10th annual Earth Hour will take place on March 19th between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. While turning off the lights for an hour won’t solve our problems, it’s an opportunity for individuals and organizations to symbolically demonstrate their commitment to our planet. Mostly I admire the tenacity of WWF for remaining committed to Earth Hour – it’s an easy, accessible way to raise awareness. And the communication for Earth Hour gets better and better every year, too.

Park This, Baby

Yesterday I had a real moment of Capitalism Disgust. I took my daughter to a downtown mall to get presents for two friends. We parked across the street in a garage that I, historically, have a strange affection for – it’s easy to get in and out, it’s cheap, it takes the ick out of going downtown for a quick errand. (I do realize it’s odd to have affection for a parking garage at all.) Inside the mall we made a quick pit stop in the bathroom, bought the two gifts, treated ourselves to frozen yogurt, and left 30 minutes later. Back at the garage I realized I had lost the parking ticket – it was probably on the floor of the public bathroom. The bored-seeming cashier behind the counter told me that in order to exit, I needed to show my car registration and driver’s license, which I quickly retrieved. After he filled out a short form, which took approximately 30 seconds, the cashier then issued me a Lost Ticket and an “inconvenience fee” of $34. When I explained that I had only been there 30 minutes, and surely he could verify that on the cameras if he really needed to, he replied “You’re the one who lost the ticket.” Yes, exactly my point – I was the one who was inconvenienced so why did I have to pay the cost equivalent to a full 24 hours of parking?

I was stomping mad – I felt trapped by greed, screwed by a system that exploits its customers simply because it can. In my mind someone who loses her ticket is already being punished – why add a ridiculous fee to make it worse? Yes, I get that this “solution” is designed for the cheaters who might claim a lost ticket if the fee wasn’t punishable. But in our world of technology, cameras, apps and mobility, is there not an entirely different solution that puts the customer first?

We’re Screwed

Yeah, that’s pretty much the full thought. All you have to do is watch a single debate, read about Mitch McConnell trying to break the law because he’s running scared, track global warming trends, or read any of the content in the “Trending” column on your Facebook page, to realize that we, as a society, have some serious issues that are incredibly hard to resolve.

I’m Hopeful

Pollyanna-ish though it may be, that’s the other thought I wake up with every morning. We may soon have a new president who is both a woman and a smart, capable, experienced leader. COP 21 sparked new hope and new innovation for addressing our global energy needs. Sustainable Brands 16 is just around the corner, which means a fire hose of ideas and inspiration. And through my clients and my work I get daily confirmation that good people are working towards creating a better future.

Okay, that’s all for now. Back to the spreadsheet…