Sunday, March 08, 2009

Friend of Simplicity - Steve Sherlock

My latest Friend of Simplicity is Steve Sherlock who I first met about 6 years ago through Blogging. Steve has remained a valued friend who I consider to be a few giant steps ahead of me in modern communication technology, including Blogging. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to comments.

Trevor - Thanks for agreeing to contribute to the series Steve. Where are you from in the US and tell us a bit about your career to date

Steve - Trevor, thank you I am honored to be part of this series. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 United States and one of the original 13. I have also lived in New Jersey and briefly in Illinois before moving to live in Franklin, Massachusetts about 40 miles southwest of Boston. After graduating from college, I began working as a substitute teacher and assistant track coach at the high schools in Pawtucket. I was young, single and I did that for six years enjoying every minute of it.

Along the way, I met Dolores. She was a Catholic school teacher making less than I was. We did the math and decided I would get a “real” job. I joined Burroughs Corp which became UNISYS and then switched to Fidelity just over 12 years ago.
I have approached the business world keeping my teacher training in mind. I worked to develop great teams and create an environment were the teams could succeed.

Across multiple roles I managed to bridge the gap between the technologists and the end users delivering challenging projects on time, within budget, with a happy team, and a satisfied customer.
Dolores and I have been happily married for over 26 years. Dolores is living her dream teaching kindergarten here in Franklin. Our two daughters have grown into young women, both of them we are quite proud of; Allison has finished college and is working as an admissions counselor at Assumption College in Worcester, Carolyn is continuing her studies in business at Northeastern University in Boston.

Trevor - You were one of the first people I met ‘virtually’ through Blogging – how has Blogging changed over the 5 or 6 years we have known each other and what do you think the future looks like for Bloggers?

Steve - I recall our meeting in amongst the comments on Tom Peters blog. Sometime after that we got together to explore synergy with a few other willing bloggers on the Synergy Blog. I think blogging has evolved and will continue to do so. Today, there are so many other social media or Web 2.0 tools available today; Facebook, Ning, Flicker, and Twitter to name just a few. One does not need a blog to be part of this new world. However, I do think that the blog will remain a place for an individual or a company to share their message and create a conversation.

Trevor - Tell me about the annual Blogging ‘get together’ you are involved in over there in the US

Steve - I assume you mean PodCamp Boston. The first one was held in 2006 after a couple of folks went to a BarCamp at MIT. The barcamp uses an unconference format. This core of folks (Chris Brogan and Christopher S Penn amongst others) wanted to use the same concept and focus it on podcasting, video blogging, and other new social media. I had listened to a few podcasts but did not know much about it. So when I heard that PodCamp being held in Boston, and for free, well, I needed to be there. I registered, found out that they were looking for help and I signed up to work at the Welcome/ registration desk. I found it a great way to network and to learn. I then joined the organizing committee for PodCamp Boston 2 and 3 to continue to run the Welcome/registration desk.

Since then, there have been over 50 PodCamps held around the world, including one in the UK (Birmingham in 2007). Check out for the current schedule. There is usually one happening somewhere around the world each month.

Trevor - Are you influenced much by what you read in management books and if so which authors and books do you rate highly?

Steve - I would say a new book could have some influence. I would try to incorporate some thing that I find worthwhile. My beliefs and business practices have developed over time while reading from a good selection of books. Tom Peters occupies a good deal of space on my bookshelf. Several of Seth Godin's are on the shelf. Mark Hurst has been influential in creating awareness around “good experience”. I think Stephen Covey was probably the most influential. I was fortunate to hear him in person at a conference early in the 1990's. His message about “true north” and “trim tabs” I still find applicable today.

Overall, I think Rosa Say's “Managing with Aloha” is probably the best one I have read. She covers much of the same message as the others but she delivers it as a package with Hawaiian values. A simple approach and very well done. I think your Simplicity readers would appreciate it if they haven't already discovered it.

Trevor - I know you are a marathon runner Steve – tell us about how fitness can help motivate us in your work

Steve - I do consider myself a life long runner. I did try one marathon when I was in my twenty's and was not able to finish it. I hit the “wall” so bad. However, it is not something I regret. It was a great learning experience. I am not likely to do another one anytime soon. I prefer to run shorter races. The recovery time is less so I can run more of them.

I appreciate and will support you and Annie in your efforts. I have seen many folks recently who like you have turned to the marathon as a good fund raising effort. I applaud you and Annie for taking the challenge. As I say when I close some of my running podcasts “May the wind be at your back and the roads be kind to you!”
I find being in good health the key to accomplishing so much. Running helps me maintain my good health and provide the stamina to tackle each days' challenges. Running is easily accomplished with minimal expense.

Something that fits right in with Simplicity! Just put your shoes on and go out the door.

Trevor - Any plans to visit the UK?

Steve - I would love to visit the UK. Dolores and I did make it to Ireland many years ago, in the days before blogging. We spent two wonderful weeks doing a tour around the country staying at a bed & breakfast each place we visited.
As you know, we share an interest in football (your football, our soccer). Dolores and I are fortunate to see many of the MLS New England Revolution home games. To get to see one of the Premier League games with perhaps your favorite Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Liverpool would be a great thing to do.

Trevor - Is there anything else you want to tell Simplicity readers about your work or your Blog/Website?

Steve - I write in a number of places. Of most interest to the Simplicity readers, I think my main blog, Steve's 2 Cents would be a good place to start. The tag line there is "revealing the good experience from the harmonious digital bits of daily life". I am currently between jobs, polishing up the resume (your CV) and actively working to identify my next opportunity to help deliver value. I have a series of posts where I am recording my “job search notes”. This helps to share what I am going through with others. Collaboration and networking I believe are the two most important skills today.

For the Simplicity runners, they can visit Passionate Runner. This blog focuses on my running and features a podcast with running advice.

For those interested in life long learning, I am part of the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog. Each month we focus our writing on a theme. In March we celebrate our love affair with books. About 35 different books will be reviewed and discussed during the month. I am sure something will appeal to the Simplicity readers.

Links to accompany the interview:
Synergy Blog
Rosa Say - Talking Story -

Steve's 2 Cents

Passionate Runner

Trevor - Thanks Steve and good luck


David Wike said...

Hi Steve,

I am interested to read of your extensive blogging. I was a fairly regular participant in the Simplicity blog but of late have found it difficult to justify the time taken to blog. Today I have just returned from running a self-employment workshop for unemployed people. Unfortunately quite a few of the participants were there because they had been told to attend rather that because they wanted to be there. So my justification for blogging today is to provide a little unwind time.

As you say, there are increasing opportunities to interact via social and business networking sites. I have resisted so far because I see them as just another drain on my time. Like most people I guess, my ‘to do’ list never gets any shorter. I would be interested in your thoughts (or anyone else’s) on the benefits or otherwise of all of these Internet based activities.

When you make it to the UK, Liverpool is the place to head for a real footballing experience. Manchester United supporters were once tagged ‘the prawn sandwich brigade’ by the then United captain, Roy Keane. I think he meant that they are posh people who are there only because they are invited by corporate sponsors. I am sure that Trevor would deny this, and in fairness, to the best of my knowledge, he buys his own tickets. However, visit Liverpool’s home stadium, Anfield and you will get a full-blooded experience. And don’t be put off by Trevor telling you that your car won’t have wheels when you get back to it. Liverpool is a fabulous city, great people and the best football supporters in the world.

I hope you haven’t worried Trevor too much by your tails of marathon running. I have offered to sponsor him on the basis of distance completed. Trevor is trying to get me to pay up front so I guess he doesn’t have too much confidence in making the 26 miles. However, I have enormous admiration for anyone prepared to give it a go. I’m just a little concerned for Annie that it will slow her down having to carry him for the last ten miles or so!

Steve Sherlock said...

Thanks for your extensive comment, David. I'll respond directly to your interest on blogging and the social media tools right now.

We can spend some time elsewhere discussing Liverpool vs. ManU. Of note, one of the better players to lace them up for Liverpool is now coaching the New England Revolution: Steve Nicol. I have only had a chance to see some clips of him in action but having watched him coach in person, he is good! Nicol talks of Liverpool proudly.

As for the social media tools, the quick answer for me is connections. In the "olden" days, and they really don't have to be too long ago, you could go to a pub for a drink after work with a friend or two and hours or so later, you would know more about the person and either get together again or not. Such were the building grounds of great relationships.

What the internet can do today is help to foster those connections. Your account and profile can let more folks more easily find you from anywhere. So the birds of a feather, so to speak, can flock together more easily. One of the reasons Trevor and I connected was over Tom Peters blog. We also discovered we shared a belief in simplicity. Trevor and I could do this from the many miles apart. In the olden days, such a relationship could only be done in person at the local bar.

I am not one to say that social media should have us spend all our time online. On the contrary, we should allocate specific amounts to dip in and out as we can. But in those dips, we can be more productive than the comparison to stopping in at the pub. The "locals" will always be there, locals in this example of sharing a common interest. Then we should arrange to met in the real world to further cement the relationship.

A couple of years ago, a common friend of Trevor and mine (Felix) happened to be coming from his Basque homeland to a conference in the Boston area. The connections had already been made. We met and had a great time sharing a drink in a bar here. Could that have happened without the internet and social media tools? I suspect not as easily.

So to conclude, selective use of social media tools can help to identify potential friends and start down the road building a relationship. When we do meet in person, it is like we have been together forever and we have, just not in person before.

Does that help?

Trevor Gay said...

Hi David and Steve – a good exchange

As far as I’m concerned my business life and my personal life has been enriched through Blogging. I have met so many terrific people from whom I have learned so much. It has never entered my head whether it has been a cost effective use of my time. I just love the communication with such a diverse range of people. It has broadened my horizons and my perspective tremendously.

I love the new technology – it has made the world a much smaller place. I have made so many new friends that I would definitely not have made without Blogging.

Long live Blogging says I and … like religion … each person must make up their own mind whether it is for them or not. And again just like religion I would never push it on to people who do not see benefit.

Liverpool Football Club – who are they??!!! …

Oh Yes I remember now – they are the team that has not won the top league in England now for 20 years while Manchester United have won it 11 times in the same time period - 12 if you count this season which is now a formality for the best team in the world from Old Trafford, Manchester affectionately known Steve as “The Theatre of Dreams”

Trevor Gay said...

Sorry David - couldn't resist .... and there will be no derogatory remarks about the city of Liverpool from me ...

Liverpool was after all last year the European City of Culture ...

Manchester is, in the meantime, the European City of Trophies. :-)

Anonymous said...

This conversation is very enlightening and it gave me more insights about the benefits of blogging and social networking. Thanks!

Trevor Gay said...

Many thanks for your comments Kim - appreciated - Blogging rocks! Tell your friends about Simplicity Blog



JOHN O'LEARY said...

Good interview - and nice blog, Steve (Steve's 2 cents)!

I don't know anything about Brit football but when it comes to Manchester vs. Liverpool I know the former gave birth to the Hollies and the latter the Beatles (and many others). As a result I'll ALWAYS defend Liverpool. Just listened to an interview on the radio with Pete Best who was raving about the musical talent that STILL comes out of that city.

Hey, Steve, we're almost neighbors. (I live in Brookline.)

Trevor Gay said...

John - I do agree with you 100% that The Beatles were the best thing to come out of Liverpool ... but as for the football team ... let's not go there my friend :-) .... I would not argue they are the SECOND most popular English team .. how's that for a Trevor admission David?

David Wike said...

OK, no more football for the moment, let’s focus on blogging and the like. Steve, I think your analogy with social interaction in the pub is great. If you remember, a while back it was commented that the Simplicity blog was like a bar where the conversation often wanders from the initial subject and develops as it goes. But I guess that spending too much time in the bar isn’t a good idea whether for business or pleasure. Like everything in life, there is a balance. A bit like with alcohol, I suspect that it is all too easy to get sucked into blogging and social networking sites to the exclusion of things that might be more important in life.

Just to go off at a bar conversation-like tangent, as I mentioned, I have been running a series of workshops for unemployed people. The vast majority have been young. As them to turn off their mobile phones and there are groans all round. Despite insisting that they are turned off, clearly some are using them to send text messages whenever they think that I’m not looking. The mobile phone is a great invention but life did exist before it was invented. Many people seem to unable to grasp the possibility that they might be able to survive for a couple of hours without using their mobiles.

OK, that’s enough ‘Bah! Humbug!’, off to watch Liverpool playing Real Madrid in the European Champions’ League. Oops, sorry, wasn’t going to mention football!

J.KANNAN said...


I haven’t met any of the “Simplicity” friends so far, all interactions, exchange of knowledge and views are only through blog, and blogging has become an integral part of communication between and amongst people and friends.

My first interaction with you was some times during May 2008 when you had interviewed Siam and thereafter I am in constant touch with simplicity blog and its valuable readers and in a very short period I have made very good friends through “Simplicity Blog”- and Thank you Trevor as and when time permits to know and learn more I visit all the blogs referred to in, in the interview/comments and you are instrumental for having put me across to number of simple people with great and innovative ideas and wisdom and

Steve Sherlock is one amongst..

I read all his comments in the simplicity blog and ‘am yet to have any direct interaction with Steve-The Great & Good.

Steve, looks simple, writes simple in spite of being very good in modern communication technologies, blogging command and power over language and I feel great and blessed to have contacts and association with such great personalities.

Yes, Steve is absolutely right in his mention of having enjoyed every minute of his 6 years stint as a teacher and track coach in a school at –Pawtucket. His subsequent narration of events in his life has been explicitly and perfectly explained and I did enjoy reading the whole interview. The capacity and capability of Steve are indeed deep,great and praiseworthy as he was successful in bridging the gap, between technologies, end users, delivering challenging projects on time and within the pre-determined budget with total customer satisfaction, with a happy and successful team and i.e. “REAL & SUCCESFUL LEADERSHIP”

I too am proud of Steve’s two daughters and wish them all the success and good luck in their missions and an amazing life partner to both his daughters as Dolores was blessed to have Steve as her “The Best & Fine Life Partner”

His collections of books are splendid from great authors like Tom Peters, Seth Godin Mark Hurst, and Stephen Covey Rosa say etc. and indicates his fine taste and intimacy towards reading excellent books.

There is a tip from Steve to Runners-i.e. running keeps one healthy and provides stamina to tackle daily challenges-Good. To know&learn more about and from Steve’s wisdom and intellect I shall certainly visit all the links provided at the end of the interview.

I wish Steve, all the very best, good luck and success in his all future endeavors and to his family too all the best, good luck, God’s grace and my best wishes.

I am really sorry fir the delayed posting of the comments as my ISP has screwed up my internet connectivity for couple of days.


Anonymous said...


Great always! Blogging is indeed a terrfic way to "meet" new people and learn new stuff. Having recently started one blog and soon to launch another, the comments, links and information on pod casting is something I definitely can use. This internet thing has some "value" indeed.

Trevor Gay said...

Dave and JK - the greatest joy in Blogging for me has always been, and remains so, the friends I make along the way. You two are both great friends.

It remains my ambition to visit as many of my Blogging friends as possible - so much to do little time!

Steve is an absolute gem!

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