Infant Self Rescue – A real life saver

It happened so quickly. When they say it only takes a second, they aren’t kidding. It seems more like half a second.

Nathan learning to float.

We were sitting on the edge of the pool. Me, my not quite 2 son Nathan, and my 20 year old niece just enjoying some family time. Suddenly a little bunny rabbit wandered into the yard. Nathan got so excited and pointed to make sure I saw it. By the time I swung my head left and and saw the rabbit, Nathan was in the pool. Just that fast, less than a second.

His feet sank quickly away from me and all I could think was to get to him before he took a breath underwater. I jumped in, fully clothed, iPhone and all, and grabbed him out of the water. He wasn’t under water for more than a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity. Thankfully, he was ok. A little startled but no worse for wear.

After things calmed down down I started to think, Nathan never attempted to get his head above water after he fell in, he just sank. Apparently, the instinct to get to the surface is not something that a child has innately in them.

My wife started researching the subject, she found this program called ISR, Infant Swim Resource. We found an instructor, Tracy Herbst at Arcadia ISR, that teaches out of her home and signed Nathan up. The ‘lessons’ are 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 4-6 weeks. The program teaches infants, toddlers and children to swim to the surface of the water if they fall in the pool and to either float until rescued or swim to the side and crawl hand over hand their way out. The floating is key, until children are about 4 years old, their head is most of their body weight so when they try to take a breath their feet sink and it is almost impossible for them to get their head above water. This is just one of the reasons ISR is so important.

When we first started the program all Nathan did was scream like a banshee but after a few weeks he became more comfortable and was swimming , floating and able to get himself to the surface of the water. Five weeks later he passed his final test which included self rescue and how to get himself out of the pool once to the side, fully clothed.

Now, this is not a full proof drowing preventor by itself, Nathan still requires supervision around a pool and while swimming. However, it does provide some peace of mind for my wife and I that if he were to fall in, he has a better chance of surviving that event now.

Tracy’s website says it best, “Sadly swimming is the number one cause of accidental death for children under the age of four in Arizona.” This is an extremely important resource for parents to know about so please share it with your friends.

Here are a few more resources to check out:

Arcadia ISR – The instructor, Tracy Herbst, is outstanding. She is very patient and loves teaching children.

Infant Swim Self Rescue™ Survival Swimming Lessons – learn about the program and find an instructor.

Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona – Excellent resource for parents.


Scottsdale Camp – Why you should go.

Scottsdale Camp is being organized by Tyler Hurst and myself and will be held at Sky Song (click here for a map) in Scottsdale on April 24th from 1:30pm to 6pm with a special screening of the movie Lemonade at 1pm and a Q&A with the Director after the screening.  Lemonade is a movie by Erik Proulx, it’s a short film about him and a bunch of inspired people who saw unemployment as an opportunity, not a hardship.

So why should you go?

I think Tyler said it best in his post:

…it needs to happen. Residents of Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler get it, the businesses they frequent mostly get it and their employers are starting to turn on to it. But Scottsdale seems to be a bit behind the curve.

So let’s catch them up. Scottsdale Camp is an afternoon of teaching, sharing and learning from the actual practitioners. Speakers and topics were chosen to specifically target the theories that our geek conferences tend to specialize in.

If you’re a Scottsdale small business, if you shop at Scottsdale small businesses or if you like to see Scottsdale small businesses succeed, come help us out. We’re looking for smart people that want to learn AND teach.

That is the vision in a nutshell, provide Scottsdale businesses and residents with the tools they need to build stronger communities.

Register here!

See you there!

One more thing…

At the end of the very successful and well attended (500+) Real Estate Bar Camp Phoenix 2010, Jay Thompson stood before the crowd and thanked, very graciously, Calie Waterhouse, Nick Bastian and myself for our volunteer efforts. Jay also gave each of us a $25 dollar gift card as an extra bonus. A very thoughtful gesture on his part, to say the least.

All of that was well and good until I realized that I had missed the opportunity to thank the one person that didn’t get thanked in person.  And that is Jay Thompson.

So I am taking this opportunity to remedy that situation.

Jay did an outstanding job again this year in leading the volunteers to a successful REBCPhx. He has also done a lot for me personally, whether he knows it or not he has inspired me and countless others to be better and do better in our industry. He has been an outstanding friend and colleague and I am proud to call him as much. I want to publicly thank him for all he does all year round.

So I am going to say thank you to Jay in a way that I think honors him and what he has done for me. In addition to this post, I am going to add to my $25 gift card from Jay and give $100 to

If you don’t know, Dan Keitz is a friend of Jay’s that has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy). Jay set him up with a website and has been raising money for him. You can read Jay’s post about him here and visit his website here.

While I have never personally met Dan, Jay has shared a few stories about how fun and generous Dan is and Jay’s word is good enough for me.

I hope you will consider doing the same.

Thanks again Jay, for everything.

Remote Desktop Solution

Having a mobile office can have its pros and cons, one of the cons is not having every single file or document with you or on your laptop/netbook at all times. Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with this scenario and have been forced to find a solution. So, I thought I would share.

What I found was Team Viewer 5, it is an excellent free solution to my problem. I simply have Team Viewer installed on both computers, initiate a session, usually from my netbook to my home computer and either drop the files I need in my Dropbox (also installed on both computers) or use the browser to upload them to Google Docs. This way I have access to them via the cloud or I can download them to my netbook.

By the way, if you are not using Dropbox or Google Docs and you have a mobile office, you really need to look into them, great tools for the toolbox.

Another nice feature is that you can enable, chat, VOIP or video chat during the sessions as well. So, it has many uses for collaboration and sharing as well as remote access.

Side note: It is also a great help in assisting your technologically challenged parents when they want to know where the “Any” key is.

There is only one caveat to the free price tag, you cannot use it for commercial purposes. In other words you cannot use it for your home technical support business without paying Team Viewer their due. So, play fair.

If you have found another solution, please feel free to share in the comments.

Wisestamp for your business. Seriously.

Have you been looking for an easy, diverse and customizable auto signature for your Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail web mail?  Maybe one you could display your social media profiles, RSS feeds, fan pages and blog posts in.  Are you a Firefox, Chrome, Flock or Thunderbird user?

If so, I have been using a great add-on/extension you should be using, Wisestamp.  I have been using Wisestamp for some time with Gmail in Firefox 3.6 and in Thunderbird 3 and I love it.  It gives me the ability to create multiple signatures, add any of my social media profiles in the form of an icon and display any RSS feed I choose.  It will then auto insert itself into the aforementioned web mail services. This is what my “Business” signature looks like:

Signature Capture

So, for instance, if I was a Realtor® that wanted to advertise my services, community information, upcoming events, point customers to my Facbook fan page etc. in every email I sent out, this would be the tool to use.  It is customizable and best of all, FREE!

Check this page out for some awesome examples.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

A Lesson in Poor Customer Service

By now you may have heard about the woman that is being sued for $50,000 in a libel case by Horizon Realty Group in Chicago for a tweet.  If not, here are the basics.

  • On May 12th Amanda Bonnen, her account has been deleted, sent out a tweet that read in part “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon Realty thinks it’s okay.”
  • On Monday, July 27th, Horizon Realty Group filed a $50,000 libel lawsuit against Ms. Bonnen.
  • Horizon’s Jeffrey Michael then states “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization.” adding that the company has a “good reputation it wants to preserve.”

There you have it, the situation in a nutshell.

Why is this a lesson in poor customer service?

Well, for one, the “sue first” strategy is not a very good customer oriented strategy.  Horizon never contacted Ms. Bonnen nor did they ask her to delete the tweet, they just filed a lawsuit instead.

It is also very obvious that Horizon does not understand social media because Ms. Bonnen only had 22 Followers on Twitter.  Chances are only a fraction of those people saw the tweet which makes this lawsuit a huge overreaction.  However, I think after this fiasco and PR nightmare, Horizon Realty Group will understand the full power of social media.

Ironically, Horizon’s own website states “Over the past 25 years, we have continuously raised expectations by stressing exemplary customer service and constant improvements to our apartments.”

Apparently a $50,000 lawsuit falls under “exemplary customer service.”

How would you have handled the situation?

REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent…there is a difference

A couple of days ago I had a great conversation via Twitter with Lori Bee of Bee Realty in Charlotte, NC. We were discussing the fact that most people don’t know that there is a difference between a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Licensee/Agent.  Hence, this post.

A quick note: this is the process that we have in the state of Arizona it may be different in other states.

Both, REALTORS® and Real Estate Licensees/Agents must take a 90 hour real estate course, pass two school tests and two Department of Real Estate tests and pass a fingerprint background check.  Both must also abide by the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s Rules and Regulations, Commissioners Rules and Standards and the Arizona State Constitution.

However, that is where the similarities end, REALTORS® must then attend an Ethics Course every 4 years, adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and be members of a local association, a state association and a national association that polices their ethical behavior.

By the way, the National Association of REALTORS® is the largest trade organization in the United States.

So, what does all this mean?

It means that there IS a difference between a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Agent and after reading that, who wouldn’t want to hire a REALTOR®?

How will Twitter change your business?

A couple weeks ago 24/7 Wall St wrote an article entitled The Ten Ways Twitter Will Permanently Change American Business, the article centers on how Twitter benefits hyper-local marketing efforts and how it helps eliminate the need for some large scale media advertising for some businesses. It is a fascinating article and I highly recommend reading it.

As I was reading this article I began to think about how Twitter has changed my business.  Well, not being a prolific writer I came up with 5 Ways Twitter has changed my business.  Here they are:

1) Twitter has given me the opportunity to connect easily and more often with people that are local.  Not to mention the ability to actually meet and connect with people IRL (in real life) via tweetups, etc.

2) When I need product suggestions or some minor technical help, I have found myself using Twitter before Google. Reason being is that the help and/or suggestions I receive on Twitter are generally from people I know and have engaged with or met IRL. That means that I put more trust and confidence in the suggestions I get from Twitter. This is also probably the reason Google has been so interested in Twitter.

3) I have learned to be more succinct with my communication skills. Twitter does not give you the opportunity to be long winded, therefore it forces you to articulate your point in 140 characters or less.

4) Collaborating with other like minded business professionals to exchange ideas, foster innovation and support one another has been invaluable, especially during an economic downturn when it is easy to lose focus.

5) Finally, Twitter has given me another channel to connect and engage my potential and existing clients.  Which gives me a chance to learn more about them so that I can better meet their needs.

So I ask, how has Twitter changed your business?

How much do you know about the $8,000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit?

As you all may or may not know there is a new $8,000 tax credit being offered to first time home buyers that is truly a tax credit as opposed to the previous version of the tax credit which actually had to be repaid.

However, there are restrictions on this tax credit as well. For instance, did you know that if you don’t own the home as your primary residence for at least 3 years you will have to repay the $8000 tax credit?  I didn’t think so.

As a way to test your knowledge about the tax credit and a way to learn something new, NAR has set up a short 12 question quiz for anyone to take.  You can take it here.

I scored 11 out of 12, how did you do?

Springtime Has Arrived in Scottsdale

The sweet smell of citrus in the air, beautiful weather, Spring Training games and wild flowers blooming.  All of these are indicators that Spring has arrived in Scottsdale.


These are a glimpse at the Sea of Wild Daisies that are in my front yard.

As I listen to some of my friends and family back east complain about how they wish for warm weather. I am reminded of why Arizona and particularly the Scottsdale area are great places to live.  By the way, the average temperature this time of year is approximately 70 degrees.