Collateral Damage

Amazon is serious about not collecting sales tax for online purchases; as expected, they terminated the affiliate agreements for California affiliates effective today, now that California has asked them to collect tax (I guess, technically speaking, they’d be collecting use tax rather than sales tax — there’s no difference in rates).

I’ve removed the general Amazon link on my site; it’s too much trouble to edit out all of the other links I have scattered throughout the site.

Over the course of four years, I earned nearly $11 in referral fees, so I can’t say I’m terribly upset about this development. I do think that sales tax needs to be simplified and made consistent between online and brick-and-mortar retailers; online retailers should, at the very least, collect and remit the state sales tax for every state (dealing with the complexities of local sales taxes is a problem — even a five-digit ZIP code isn’t sufficient to properly compute the tax in many areas).

Selfish Friday

A few weeks ago, I suddenly found myself motivated to return to the workforce (fortunately, the motivation is primarily internal) – I guess a year off was enough, somewhat to my surprise.

My first step was to join ProMatch; I was lucky enough to get on my first choice of teams there, the JumpStart team, and I’ve jumped right in; I co-facilitated a workshop on “Marketing Yourself” yesterday (which, by sheer coincidence, followed a presentation by Dilip Saraf on “Personal Branding” which set up our session very nicely, as well as being interesting and useful in its own right) and will be co-facilitating another workshop next week. I also got invited to the Facilitation Team, and have given a Brown Bag seminar on Improv. I even got called in for a short TV news piece about the improving unemployment numbers.

I also have gotten very involved in the local Toastmasters club, the Los Gatos Silver-Tongued Cats; I volunteered as Webmaster and am going to be the VP for Education for the next six months; I’ve also given 8 speeches as well as visiting other clubs and competing in the area Table Topics contest (I placed second).

I’ve even started looking for actual jobs. I went a long way through the process at one company but didn’t get an offer, at least not this round; I’m now casting my net wider.

In short, I’ve been busy.

But today has been a change of pace; I managed a long walk this morning for the first time in a couple of weeks, then went out and hit a bucket of golf balls for only the second time this year (I haven’t improved!). And then I came home, and did nothing in particular.


100 years

Today was IBM’s centennial celebration; you probably saw the coverage on TV, in the newspapers, and on the Web. There’s even a book.

Making it to 100 years is a big deal, whether for a person or a company – and in both cases, you should expect a lot of changes along the way. That’s certainly been the case for IBM; if it had stayed with its original products, it would have gone bankrupt decades ago.

I was with IBM for just over one-third of its history (so far!). At times, it was a great ride; of course, there were other times that I’d rather not remember too clearly. But throughout my association with the company, whether as an applicant, an employee, or an alumnus, the people have always been first-rate. And as long as that stays true, IBM will be able to continue onward – in fact, ever onward.