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Posts Tagged ‘iava.org’

milestone

March 7, 2011 3 comments

my dream captured in a screenshot

One of today’s events was the culmination of nearly four years of work, many thousands of hours of networking, and many people not fully understanding what I was trying to do. (I can’t take all the credit, I can only say I had a dream and that through connections, it is coming true) Today’s event was simple; get Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to partner with my friends at Adaptive Action Sports. Well, it finally happened in the form of an all veteran’s snowboard camp being hosted by AAS in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

IAVA uses a reward’s site called the Rucksack to give veterans opportunities that most people could never dream of. These opportunities are given by our gracious sponsors in the hopes that they are showing support to veterans how fought for their country. If you read my ramblings, you know that I have been the recipient of many amazing good times, from doing a stint as a Joseph Abboud model, to sideline/box tickets to an NY Giants game, Yankees playoff tickets, and IAVA’s Heroes Gala. Others have won trips to Vegas and even to the Super Bowl. But today, we offered up three all expense paid trips to AAS’s Learn to Ride pipeline event in CO. This event is made possible by Disabled Sports USA, United States of America Snowboarding Association, and Challenged Athletes Foundation with AAS hosting. This pipeline camp is designed as a feeder for AAS’s ultimate goal of having America sweep the podiums in snowboarding at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia (I have my fingers crossed that I am making this trip as well!). Read more…

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Google visit

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

welcome to Google

I’m not sure how many people go beyond using the search tools and maps and earth and docs and gmail, but have you ever read about Google? I mean, read articles about the coolness of Google? I get that some people hate “mainstream” entities because they are the monopolizers of our creativity and leave no room for small business….blah blah blah. Only hipsters and closed minded people think like this.

If you have ever read about Google, you know that the reason they are number one in the world of business is because they invest in the happiness of their employees. Tony Hsieh of Zappos surely read something about Google when he started his vision quest for an online shoe retailer to end all shoe retailers. In doing so, he became the coolest shoe dude there is, trumping Lebron and Kobe (besides, neither of these guys is Jordan). Tony started a happy company and I would bet that he learned a thing or two from Google.

I have read a ton of articles on Google. Everything from their earnings reports to blogs about Groupon turning down their $6 billion buyout proposal. Must be nice to turn down $6 Billy. The one thing that always stuck out to me was the fact that Google bred creativity. I don’t mean, Googlers (that’s what they are called inside the Google-talk) standing up on a pedestal and preaching to the masses about how to be creative. I mean that they actual breed a culture in which it is IMPOSSIBLE to not create! I have seen a couple of pictures of the inside of the “campus” before but never dreamed I would get to walk through the golden arches, shit I got MickyD’s on the mind, I mean those pearly gates to a heaven of creative powerhouses. Well folks, today I did just that and it was everything I dreamed it could be. You know how I know that it was everything that I ever dreamed it could be? Because there was a laminated painting of Michael Jackson set in an 1800’s ballroom on a table in a microkitchen (tiny kitchen with all the necessary amenities). MJ in white opened button down, black gloves and hair blowing in the wind. The people around him in puffy ballroom garb and top hats. (UPDATE! See below – Thanks CL)

HEE HEE, Hell Yea MJ!

When I walked through the doors from the elevator, I was greeted by a gingerbread house made of cardboard that served as the reception desk. This was complete with snowmen riding Razors who had badges and hipster glasses on. Typical New York Snowmen. Just as the icon of Google changes online most days, so does the decor of the company. As we crossed into the badged areas, I immediately became a kid again. I mean they have a Lego room where you can have a meeting while building something out of Legos! WHAT? A working erector(ha)set ferris wheel that stands at almost eye level. Tables and comfy chairs riddle the landscape of halls, meeting rooms, and open office space as far as the eye can see. I mean this literally too because Google takes up several floors of a building that is one city block large. They ride Razors around inside because there is so much area to cover (now if I can get them to buy in on some Bustin Boards Longboards. I happen to know the owners…).

Everything about this place screams “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! DO SOMETHING THAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE! CREATE!” The walls are littered with interesting murals, paintings, Google adaptations, story boards of new products/ideas. The insides of office spaces are personalized. There are funny quotes, drawings, pictures, posters all over and you can sense what each person is about and what fuels them by looking around their area. It’s a hyper-creative atmosphere that just got my heart pumping. It’s EXACTLY where I would want to work. Let me rephrase that, it’s EXACTLY how I want my business’s environment to be. No 9-5, no cubicles, no over watch. Just open, free air workspaces filled with what each person in the team needs to be creative AND all the tools imaginable to make those ideas come to life. Read more…

Medal of Honor recipient SSG Giunta on the Colbert Report

November 18, 2010 5 comments

as you walk in the offices, priceless

Today started out slow in my world so I left the house, grabbed a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks(Christmas is coming!), then swooped over to Panera to steal some internets.

I caught up on some posts about Veteran’s week (the Gala, Veteran’s Day, and the Giants game) that I hadn’t found time for in the blur of it all. I was already grinning from ear to ear as I engaged my brain and reminisced on the week that had just passed. Meeting Bill Cowher, walking 5th Ave with my brothers and sisters of the military, and football games VIP style are just some of the great memories from last week, but tonight trumped all that.

Let’s back up a couple of days. Tuesday, I along with the entire office at IAVA, watched President Obama award the Medal of Honor to SSG Salvatore Giunta of the US Army for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. I was privy to American history unfolding, but realized that many Americans hadn’t paused to pay respects. I wrote about it that night because I felt that yet again, we had forgotten the war. We go on with life most times without thinking about the men and women that patrol the hills of Afghanistan in those times when we’re taking a warm shower, sipping a peppermint mocha, or tucking our kids in at night. The fact that nearly all channels went on with their regular programming while America awarded a hero for the new generation made me sick. For the ones that have been there, for the ones that empathize with us, they got it. I wrote this so that all those in between could get it too. Read more…