Happy Anniversary. Twenty Years of Learning

Today I celebrate 20 years married to the woman I was meant to be with. The woman who completes me in ways I am just starting to fully understand. The woman who is the mother to my three children (Brittany, Ashley, Noah) and who treats many more like her own (Ricky, Jessica, Shelby). The woman who has given me all of her.


I used to count down our anniversaries for how long I had been married in life versus how long I hadn’t. Last year I had been married 19 and single 19 on our anniversary. Hitting a mark that seemed pretty incredible to me at the time. This year I have been married 20 and alive 39. Meaning that I have been married to the woman of my dreams for over half my life at this point. I am still all in everyday, excited to see where we go together.

As our children age and we add new children to our family via marriage and relationships (Chad, Chase), I can only feel our journey together is just beginning. That our brightest moments are ahead of us.

She often asks me, “Why do you love me?”. The reasons are too vast and many beyond my own understanding, but here are just a few. She is my muse, my inspiration, my reason for being. She completes me, showing me the sides of me that I have yet to discover.

Her empathy is automatic. Her hearts bleeds and wails for those in pain. Complete strangers, best friends or animals, she can’t rest if she knows they are suffering. Her own inner self is so real and raw that she relates to their every struggle. I can only hope to one day be able to find that level of depth in my being.

Her adventure fuels me when I am timid. Some of my best memories of our times together often start with “we shouldn’t be doing this”, “stop that”, “hey now”, “but what if” or “some one is gonna see”. She unlocks the parts of me that need to be free, but have been told they shouldn’t come out.

Her passion matches mine. All or nothing may suck when it comes to the standard of cleaning a toilet, but it’s nice to have someone in my corner that knows, understands and appreciates long hours trying to make it perfect or endless days committed to something because you can’t half ass it. A commitment to following through when running through the suck is always better together than alone.

Her smile. It can make me cry. It can make me laugh. It can warm my heart. Seeing her content let’s me know that there is a happy place in a laugh, where if even for a moment you find it, that you should hang on to it and save it for when you need it.

Her vulnerability. Can you make a new best friend in a grocery store line with a complete stranger? Me either, but she can. She has the ability to be completely vulnerable and without pretense opening herself to complete strangers. This often has me pinching, nudging and kicking her to stop because I am so embarrassed. The truth is I am just jealous that I can’t be that open with the world. I won’t let them see me. I don’t share the best and worst of me with everyone. She does. I could learn a lot there.

Laurie I give you all of me today and all the days that follow. I look forward to the next 20 together. The places we will go, the friends we will make and the things you will teach me.

Love Derek

Political Bites : New Year’s Resolution (Personal Alignment)

Personal Alignment

What is your New Year’s resolution?
I am not a fan of resolutions per say. I do like the concept of Personal Alignment from the Core Protocols. When looking through that lens, I want to believe in myself this year. How do I know if I am achieving that? It will be evident in new found mental and physical strength and fitness. My wife will radiate with a new fondness for me. My children will be supported in unlocking their greatness potential by me in every way. The cities and organizations I work with will be radically transformed and set on a path towards magnificence. Will you help me by reminding me in my weakest moments that not only “can” I do, but I “will” do it.

Asking For Help

So the other day we were watching Ashley play play soccer. It’s the middle of November, but in Arizona the weather is good enough that we are able to wear shorts and T-shirts and flip-flops out watching the game. My wife is sitting there with her legs crossed and she’s kind of bouncing her foot up and down. Bouncing the flip-flop off the bottom of her foot, relaxing herself waiting for the game to start. All of the sudden the flip-flop flies a couple of feet out in front of her and hits the ground.

We both look at the flip-flop. We look back at each other and she says, “Are you gonna get that for me?”.

I pause and I ask, “Are you asking for help?”.

She says, “No! I’m expecting you to pick my flip-flop up.”

I say, “What makes you expect that?”

She says, “Well it is the right thing to.”

I say, “What makes it the right thing to do?”

She says, “Because you’re my husband and you love me and so you should do that.”

I say, “Well, what makes you think I know that as your husband who loves you, that that’s expected of me?”

And she just gave me that look. And, I did the right thing; I picked up flip-flop and I put it back on her foot gently and gave her a kiss. But, I think that’s the problem. In relationships we have all sorts of expectations, unwritten rules, thoughts about how the other person should behave, and what they should know, what they shouldn’t know.

I think sometimes if we just asked for help and did the simple little thing of saying “will you”. It sheds away all that crap and puts us in this state of where “sure why wouldn’t I want to help you.” So if she would’ve said “Will you pick up my flip-flop for me”. Sure I love her, of course why wouldn’t I pick up the flip-flop for her? But if I didn’t pick the flip-flop up and she didn’t ask for help. She might walk away angry because I didn’t meet her expectations. Expectations that I may or may not have known about. Now this particular example is pretty simple, of course I would’ve picked it up regardless. I think it’s a dangerous thing to do, because what we teach each other doing this, is that things are implied and things are unwritten. If we don’t have presence and we have a head gap between ourselves, man a whole lot of hurt comes in pretty quick when expectations aren’t met.

So the next time you want something, the next time you have an expectation don’t use it as a gauntlet to tell if the other person loves you or the other person desires you or the other person wants you to succeed or the other person cares about you. Instead think of it as an opportunity that you could ask for help. You could show someone the behaviors that you want. More importantly, you can get the things that you want and not walk away frustrated, hurt, angry and upset, but instead walk away fulfilled. They certainly have the ability to say no, but at least then you know they are saying no and not just that they didn’t know. So today, break a sweat asking for help.

Note:  I have been walking everyday and introspecting.  I have started to play with talking into a recorder instead of just talking to myself while walking.  This is a transcription/edit of such a recording.

Here is the uncut audio.

How do you define your Bootedness?

Defining Bootedness

Julia Ivashina recently asked a very profound question of “How do you define your bootedness? **

She defines it as “the degree to which I master to exhibit rational behavior in situations where spontaneous reaction used to be my first response.”

One person framed it as, “for me it’s about living the Core Commitments: can I say I was true to them, all of them, at all times?”

Another pondered, “The aspirational goal is to behave according the the Core Commitments and fall back to Core Protocols when under stress… without being consciously aware of both.”

Another put it as, “At an individual level I agree with unconsciously following the Core Commitments and Core Protocols. At the team level have we internalized everyone’s Personal Alignment, signal, and response.”

Finally someone said, “Greatness! Bootedness = greatness.”

Copyright James Vaughan

Copyright James Vaughan

Individual Booting : The Current Metaphor

I like metaphors. One thing that appeals to me about the Core (Commitments and Protocols) is that adopting them is expressed in the metaphor of software programming. That your mind is like a computer. The core is a set of instructions that can run on your hardware to give you better and more consistent results. The reference to “booting” is loading the core operating system.

Network Booting: The Future Metaphor

So I prefer to express my “bootedness” by extending the metaphor. In today’s world of computing, the computer doesn’t matter much anymore, it really is the network that matters. Think of how most of your data and applications don’t live on the device itself. The power is allowing any device (node) on the network to access the power of the collective (the network). In 1985, a computer with an operating system and few applications was pretty incredible, but it had limited functional use to most people. Plus, they were not in abundance and very few people could wield them or use them.

Fast forward to 2013 and most of the world has access to a computer of some kind (think mobile devices), connected to a network that is extremely useful. The Internet is largely responsible for this because it set out a number of protocols to define how devices (nodes) can communicate. Additionally, massive cultural shifts about how we think about the power of computers  and freedom to interact happened (see Free Software Foundation, Cathedral and Bazaar). We moved from thinking the computers processing power was important to realizing that leveraging it as a tool to augment our qualities as humans could be much more effective. Think of what 2025 will look like…

Abundant Greatness is Coming

Currently the Core seems to be in 1990 in that is has provided a great personal operating system for people to connect on a Local Area Network (team) to interact. It is on the cusp of installing the network stack that will allow those nodes to flourish and expand. While challenging cultural assumptions that will allow humans to flourish.  Bringing the power of computing to the masses instead of the few.

Defining My Bootedness

I would define my “bootedness”, by my ability to be using the core effectively enough to interface with other nodes and advance network discoverability techniques to rapidly add additional nodes and leverage the network effect that it affords.  Exhibiting the highest integrity in reconstituting culture in ways to allow new ideas for humanity to be explored.

Yeah I know I am crazy. So what. The alternative is being normal.

What is the Core?

** What the hell is this booted crap?

In an effort to create teams that are effective at delivering every time Jim and Michele McCarthy with the help of other’s have defined Core Commitments. Agreeing to these commitments constitutes as being booted. As you can see, while simple they are extremely difficult to adhere to. When one finds themselves struggling they can lean on the Core Protocols to help them through.

Political Bites : South Mountain Freeway on Tribal Land

South Mountain Freeway

Copyright Alan Stark

Did the Gila River Indian Community and the state err in not working out a deal to build the South Mountain Freeway on tribal land?

Arizona Department of Transportation (and the voters) believe there should be a South Mountain freeway.  Certainly there are a number of people that believe more vehicular traffic is bad and that air quality will suffer and that NO freeway should be built.  However, they seem to have cutoff their nose to spite their proverbial faces.  By not having the freeway go through tribal land, if it goes through it will now have to take out some of South Mountain.  Which seems tragic.  I get worried about more freeway propagation, but if we build we shouldn’t be running through our public open spaces to do so.

Political Bites : Higher Density in Southeast Valley vs Low-Density?

Urban Density

Is higher-density housing in the Southeast Valley inevitable even in areas planned for low-density?

No. Immediately following the housing bust in 2008 banks were only financing multi-family housing because there was a high demand of rentals from home buyers displaced from foreclosure and short sales. However, in the last six months you are seeing the single family home market heat back up. A number of cities have recently rezoned for lower density to accommodate builders. It is unfortunate that cities don’t stick to their zoning and instead buckle to the whims of the development machine.

Customer Service While Traveling. Fly Classy! Thanks GoGo

Today I took a US Airways flight from Phoenix (PHX) to San Jose (SJC). At 10,000 feet, I fired up the computer and connected to GoGo Wireless. Fifteen minutes later the pilot let us know over the intercom that the plane had a malfunction and that we would be turning around and heading back to Phoenix. As we started our descent we were informed that the brakes had problems and that we should not be alarmed when we saw emergency crews out on the tarmac.

I was impressed that there was transparency to the problem and soothing to what may occur. The plane had a smooth landing and all the passengers cheered. By the time we pulled up to the gate we were given a new gate number and told a plane was waiting for us. It was too good to be true. Sure enough about 20 minutes later we were boarding another plane and in line to take off. Kudos US Airways for making a bad situation good. Once on the plane anyone ordering a paid drink wasn’t charged.

I fired up the computer again and was bummed that I couldn’t get online as I had bought the $4.95 single flight service. At $4.95 who can really bitch about getting internet in plane going 400 miles an hour. I gladly paid again. Then I realized there was a chat with us button. I clicked it and stated, “Emergency Landing. Credit?” as my problem in the form. I was connected to Alex. Here is the interaction.

Alex: Welcome to Gogo. My name is Alex.
Derek Neighbors: hi alex.  i was just on a flight from PHX to SJC
Alex: Hi Derek, I see you had an emergency landing. What I can do for you tonight is get you a code good for 100% off for future use.
Derek Neighbors: perfect
Alex: Would you prefer that via email or in this chat/
Alex: ?
Derek Neighbors: if you cna just send it to my email that would be fantastic dxxxxxxx@gmail.com
Alex: Sure thing. I will send that out shortly after our chat ends.
Alex: I am just curious if you dont mind me asking why did your plane have to land?
Derek Neighbors: brake system failure
Derek Neighbors: i guess they felt returning was a better runway option.. immediately got us on a new flight within minutes
Derek Neighbors: i guess im having customer service heaven today 🙂
Alex: Wow that doesn’t sound good at all! That’s good you were able to get on a new flight so soon.
Alex: Are you going to be using Gogo on your flight now?
Derek Neighbors: already on it 🙂
Derek Neighbors: i repaid but im fine with a code.. frequent traveler so i will use on return flight
Alex: Excellent! Is there anything else I can do for you tonight?
Derek Neighbors: nope.  have an excellent day. thanks for the awesome service.
Alex: Thank you! You have a great day as well! Not a problem at all! Thank you for choosing Gogo. Fly classy.

What a fucking rockstar. Problem fixed before I could even explain and then genuine dialog about the event and the kicker the fun spirit of Fly classy. While I had Alex on chat I sent out the following tweet and got the reply before my conversation with Alex was even complete:

So why am so impressed?

  1. Alex.  A human.  Acting like a human!  Crazy I know.
  2. This transaction happened at 10,000 feet.

Political Bites : East Valley Partnership Brand Changing

Copyright Adam Balch

Copyright Adam Balch

Do you agree with the East Valley Partnership  changing the concept of “East Valley” to “Phoenix East Valley.” (Too much of a change, too little or  about right?)

No.  While there is a need to better highlight what is happening in the East Valley outside of Arizona moving to Phoenix East Valley provides little if any clarification when it comes to creating a strong brand.  I suspect it is pretty close to how people already view the name.  While it isn’t anything damaging, it certainly isn’t memorable or inspiring.  To be honest I am mildly amazed they didn’t call it Phoenix-Mesa.  They weren’t too embarrassed to put that on the airport.

Political Bites : Boy Scouts Policy on Gay Scouts/Leaders

Copyright David Blumenkrantz

Copyright David Blumenkrantz

Do you agree with the Boy Scouts’ compromise on allowing gays as troop members but not as adult leaders?

I am not sure I understand why sexual orientation/choice is a part of any discussion about the Boy Scouts of America.   When I was in the Boy Scouts it was about building character, participating as a good citizen and learning to become a good leader.  I sure as shit wasn’t looking around to see who wanted to sleep with whom.  The problem is it has not become about the kids but instead two warring agendas.