hankrules2011

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Posts Tagged ‘business’

LinkedIn Update: Totally Surreal

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 27, 2018

As some of you know, I’ve been “growing” my LinkedIn network (https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottholstad/) this year, both in terms of quantity & quality. I’ve been doing this with the goal of having a high-quality network for consulting purposes at some point in the future. I first blogged about this on May 14 (https://hankrules2011.com/2018/05/14/linkedin-and-my-recent-adventures-there-part-i/) & May 15 (https://hankrules2011.com/2018/05/15/linkedin-and-my-recent-adventures-there-part-ii/). It’s interesting to compare my statistics then with what they are now. However, those two blogs told the story of my LI “experiment” to seriously grow my network, again, both in terms of quantity & quality. When I published those blogs, I had grown my network from a little over 400 in January to over 3,300. My network is now over 13,800 people, nearly half of whom are senior execs. And I’ve posted some of the more “notable” new connections online a couple of times. Well, here I go again. It’s been crazy & I’m about to post a list of seriously “notable” LI connections that I’ve gotten just over the past three weeks. Take the time to go through this list. Some of them are just mind blowing. And I don’t post these to brag. Every day I’m amazed & it seems so surreal & I just want to share my amazement at the type of people who join my network. Frankly, I have no idea why some of these people would want me in their network or would want to be in mine. Sometimes it’s just a little shocking. And by the way, I’ve had a small IT company for several years now, which I haven’t been able to do much with due to my extremely bad health. But a few months ago, I had the website redesigned to reflect current capabilities, as our focus has changed this year. If you want to visit it, you can find it at https://wiremedesigns.com. As to the list of incredible connections, here goes:

Some New/Recent “Notable” LinkedIn Connections – 10/27/18

 

  1. Sr VP Creative Advertising, Universal Pictures
  2. COO, Universal Music Group Nashville
  3. Head of Social Marketing, Billboard
  4. VP Mission Assurance, Space & Airborne Systems, Raytheon
  5. Marketing Director, Rolling Stone
  6. Sr VP, The Aerospace Corporation
  7. Director Operations, Harris Corporation
  8. Sr Director Security & Risk, Oracle
  9. CIO Digital Growth, KraftHeinz
  10. CTO/CIO, AAA
  11. Corporate Director Engineering, Northrop Grumman
  12. Sr VP Command, Control & Intelligence, CACI International Inc
  13. Director Automation & Cloud Security, Nike
  14. Founder/Chairman/CEO, Napster
  15. CIO SP Networking, Cisco
  16. VP Global HR Service, VMware
  17. Sr VP Live Media & Strategic Partnership, Rolling Stone
  18. CEO, ATLAS Space Operations, Inc
  19. Director Advanced Programs, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems
  20. CTO, WebMD
  21. Principal Director, The Aerospace Corporation
  22. Brigadier General, Kosovo Military
  23. Deputy Director Advanced Space Capabilities Directorate, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office
  24. Deputy Commander, US Third Fleet. 60,000 sailors, 120 ships, 4 aircraft carriers
  25. Director Advanced Technology Program, Lockheed Martin
  26. VP Global Crisis Management & Business Continuity, NBCUniversal
  27. VP PMO, Commercial Aviation Sector, L3 Technologies
  28. CSO, Fidelity Investments
  29. VP Data & Advanced Analytics, Bitdefender
  30. Deputy Director France International Nuclear Agency
  31. International Relations Expert, Islamic Republic of Iran
  32. G3 (Lieutenant General) & Desk Officer, Multinational Future Development, German Army HQ
  33. Director Government Missions, SpaceX
  34. Assistant Federal Security Director, Department of Homeland Security
  35. CTO, Microsoft Azure
  36. CFO, Thales Defense & Security
  37. Director Security, Indianapolis Colts
  38. Corporate VP Communications, Microsoft
  39. VP Thales eSecurity Federal, Thales Defense & Security
  40. Corporate VP Cybersecurity Solution, Microsoft
  41. CEO, Rackspace
  42. Ambassador of Georgia to Washington
  43. Assistant CIO, US Navy
  44. Director for Iraq, National Security Council, The White House
  45. CFO Technology, NBCUniversal
  46. VP Security, JetBlue Airways
  47. Director Rule of Law, Executive Office of the Secretary General, United Nations
  48. Deputy Director Public Affairs, USAF
  49. VP Public Policy, Verizon
  50. Global Head Information Security, AIG
  51. Director, Department of Peace Operations, Government of Romania
  52. Nuclear Safety & Security Director, Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  53. Commander, Pacific Air Forces
  54. Deputy Federal Security Director, US Department of Homeland Security
  55. Director of Department for Radiation Applications, Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority
  56. CTO, Leidos
  57. Deputy Director, Office of Counterintelligence, Department of the Treasury
  58. Special Operations Team Leader, US Secret Service
  59. Sr VP Mobility Solutions, Blackberry
  60. Chief of Intelligence, Department of Defense
  61. CIO, Quicken Loans
  62. Chief of Staff/Assistant Director, INTERPOL
  63. VP/CAE, Symantec
  64. Sr Director Engineering, Harris Corporation
  65. VP Strategy & Solutions, CACI International
  66. Radiochemist, Chernobyl Ukraine
  67. Director of Intelligence, NATO
  68. Sr VP Engineering, The Aerospace Corporation
  69. Federal CTO, Symantec
  70. VP Engineering, Qualcomm
  71. CTO, IBM Cloud Platform
  72. Director Software Engineering, Fidelity Investments
  73. VP Engineering & Global Product Development, Northrup Grumman
  74. Director of Weather, USAF
  75. Exec VP Engineering, Parsons Corporation
  76. Director of Cyber Strategy, Architecture & Solutions, Freddie Mac
  77. Exec Director Cybersecurity, Morgan Stanley
  78. VP, Freddie Mac
  79. Sr Director Cybersecurity, PepsiCo
  80. Director Operations, Amazon
  81. Sr VP, Booz Allen Hamilton
  82. Director Future Concepts, Test & Analysis, USSTRATCOM
  83. VP, Head of Technology Risk Management, Capital One
  84. Sr VP Mobile B2B, Samsung
  85. Exec Director Cyber Threat Management, EY
  86. CSS, Panda Security
  87. CISO, Major League Baseball
  88. President, The Ohio State University
  89. Federal CIO, US Office of Management & Budget
  90. Head of Online Threats, Bitdefender
  91. CISO, Equifax
  92. Sr VP Enterprise Incident Manager, Wells Fargo & Co
  93. CISO, Penn State University
  94. Global CPISO, GE Aviation
  95. Head of Cybersecurity Threat Detection & Response Center, The Home Depot
  96. Sr VP Global Information Security, Citigroup
  97. Head Private Sector Development & Outreach Department, Office of the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  98. CISO, Deluxe
  99. CHRO, McAfee
  100. Sr VP Operational Excellence, CACI International
  101. Global Head of Threat Intelligence, Deutsche Bank
  102. Sr Director Mission Support Solutions, BAE Systems
  103. Director Technology, CBS Interactive
  104. Sr Director US Army Programs, Honeywell Aerospace
  105. CISO, Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems
  106. CISO, Intercontinental Hotels Group
  107. CISO, eBay
  108. Director Research & Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  109. Global Director Industrial & IoT Security, Unisys
  110. Sr VP Consulting, Mandiant
  111. Sr Director Information Security, Parsons Corp
  112. Sr VP In-Theater Marketing, Twentieth Century Fox
  113. CPO, US Senate
  114. Sr VP Intelligence & Defense Programs, Parsons Corp
  115. CISO, Avaya
  116. CFO, Lyft
  117. CLO, Department of Veterans Affairs
  118. Associate Producer, 60 Minutes
  119. CPSO, Harris Corp
  120. Director Global Security, Kimberly-Clark
  121. CSO, SAIC
  122. Sr Director Global Product Security Engineering, Intel
  123. CRO, Brown University
  124. Deputy Director, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  125. CPO, US Department of Health & Human Services
  126. CISO, Yale University
  127. Sr VP, Mastercard
  128. VP Business Development, Parsons Corp
  129. Director IoT & AI, Microsoft
  130. Justice of the Supreme Court, South Carolina
  131. Chief of Staff, US Delegation to NATO
  132. CIO Enterprise Technology, NBCUniversal
  133. CTO, Motorola
  134. Director Media & Digital Communication, Cartier
  135. VP Marketing & Product, SOG Knives & Tools
  136. Sr VP, CACI International
  137. VP Business Development, CACI International
  138. CTO Data, IBM Analytics
  139. Director Analytics & Data Services, Dunkin Brands
  140. VP Financial, Benchmade Knife Co.
  141. Chief of Staff Worldwide Safety & Regulatory, Pfizer
  142. VP Capture, CACI International
  143. VP HR, Cartier
  144. Deputy Assistant Director – CIRG, FBI
  145. Director Global Security, Pfizer
  146. CTO, US Department of Homeland Security
  147. Director Technology Finance, Target
  148. Sr VP Logistics & Digital Commerce & Ecosystems, Target
  149. CIO, Better Business Bureau
  150. Presidente/CEO, Beretta
  151. CISO, Barrick Gold Corp
  152. Sr VP Operations, Dick’s Sporting Goods
  153. CISO, Petco
  154. CISO, University of Georgia
  155. Director National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois
  156. Division VP, Applebee’s
  157. CFO, Panera Bread
  158. CISO, University of Wisconsin
  159. CIO, University of Texas
  160. Director Business Intelligence & Analytics, Macy’s
  161. Director Computer & Network Security, Columbia University
  162. CISO, The Ohio State University
  163. VP Information & Security, Citi
  164. VP Information Risk Lead, JPMorgan Chase
  165. CISO, Valvoline
  166. VP Business Development & Strategy, Leidos
  167. VP Consumer Solutions, Bitdefender
  168. VP Business Development, Lockheed Martin
  169. CIO/CHCO, US Capital Police
  170. Director Information Security – Risk, Governance & Awareness, Fannie Mae
  171. VP Marketing &Product SOG Knives & Tools
  172. Exec VP Global Marketing, Twentieth Century Fox
  173. Director Information Security Architecture & Engineering, Harvard University
  174. VP Operations & R&D, Beretta
  175. Sr VP WW Sales End-User Computing, VMware
  176. Sr Advisor to DHS from NORAD
  177. Sr Director Cyber Threat Intelligence & Detection, Target
  178. Associate Deputy Director Community HUMINT, CIA
  179. Director Systems Engineering – Infrastructure & Cloud Service Delivery, Macy’s
  180. Director NA Sales, Benchmade Knife Co.
  181. CTO, Pfizer
  182. Sr Cybersecurity Analyst, Supreme Court of the United States
  183. Assistant Secretary of the Army – Manpower & Reserve Affairs
  184. Assistant Secretary of Defense – Asia & Pacific Security Affairs
  185. VP Specialized Intelligence Services, CACI International
  186. CTO, ICANN
  187. CDS, Department of Defense
  188. Director Global Cybersecurity Architecture & Operations, Abbot
  189. CPO, CBS Corp
  190. Sr VP Engineering Enterprise Networking Business, Cisco
  191. VP Public Cloud Security, Salesforce
  192. Sr VP Agile Management, CA Technologies
  193. CTO Analytics, Cisco
  194. CISO, Deloitte Consulting
  195. Network & Security Operations Manager, Pittsburgh Steelers
  196. VP Global Operations, Land’s End
  197. CMO, Books-A-Million
  198. Director Missile Defense Programs, Teledyne Brown Engineering
  199. VP Homeland & National Defense, CACI International
  200. CTO Software, Cisco
  201. CISO, Aetna
  202. VP Advanced Programs & Technology, Northrup Grumman
  203. Sr VP Strategic Business Development & Acquisition, Teldyne Brown Engineering
  204. CEA & Director Strategic Transformation & Operation, Proctor & Gamble
  205. Director IT Shared Services, Fossil Group
  206. Director Communications, Audi
  207. Global CTO, Proctor & Gamble
  208. Director Service Operations, Audi
  209. VP Sales, Seiko
  210. President/CEO, Crocs
  211. Director IT, Development & Enterprise Systems Architecture, Crocs
  212. Sr Director Global Sourcing & Manufacturing, Converse
  213. Director Department of Justice Cybercrime Lab
  214. Director Operations, CBS Corp
  215. Sr VP, Christie’s Watch Department
  216. Director Digital Analytics & Site Optimization, Eddie Bauer
  217. Sr Global Brand Director, Converse
  218. Director Retail Experience, Gucci
  219. VP, Head of Retail, Strategy & Operations, Gucci
  220. Sr VP Global Media & Digital Marketing, Twentieth Century Fox
  221. VP Menswear, Home & Business Outfitters, Land’s End
  222. Director Global Ecommerce Technical Operations, Crocs
  223. CISO, Bed, Bath & Beyond
  224. CSO, The Home Depot
  225. Sr VP Engineering, Oracle
  226. Divisional VP, Eddie Bauer
  227. Chief of Staff, Survivability Assurance Office, USAF
  228. Director of Nuclear Operations, HQ Air Mobility Command, USAF
  229. Sr Director Communications, Converse
  230. Co-Founder, Ubuntu
  231. VP Marketing, Cumulus Media
  232. VP Business Development, Booz Allen
  233. Global CRO, Bloomberg Media
  234. Sr Director Information Security, Sony
  235. CISO, Raymond James Financial Inc
  236. President/CEO, TVPPA
  237. CEO/President, Engility Corp
  238. VP Retail, Cartier
  239. Sr Director Global Market Access Policy, Johnson & Johnson
  240. VP Space & Missile Systems, Engility Corp
  241. Deputy CIO, UC Berkeley
  242. Regional Counterintelligence Director, NASA
  243. VP Engineering, Sophos
  244. Sr Director Brand Protection, Nike
  245. VP Strategy, Twentieth Century Fox
  246. Director Corporate Communications, The Aerospace Corp
  247. CISO, UNICEF
  248. Director IT, USAA
  249. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Military Personnel Policy
  250. VP Global Brand Marketing, Fossil Group
  251. Secretary of the Air Force
  252. Head of Network Infrastructure, NASA
  253. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, US Department of State
  254. President Worldwide Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox
  255. IBM CTO Open Technology
  256. VP Aviation, Strategic Plans & Programs, Sierra Nevada Corp
  257. Managing Director Application Security, Deloitte
  258. VP Integrated Tactical Solutions, Sierra Nevada Corp
  259. VP National Services, CACI International
  260. Director Engineering, Sierra Nevada Corp
  261. Sr VP Legal & Business Affairs, Twentieth Century Fox
  262. VP Finance, Twentieth Century Fox
  263. Sr Director Global Sales & Marketing, Missile & Weapons System, Boeing
  264. Director AI, Booz Allen
  265. Deputy Director Cyberspace Operations Centre, NATO
  266. VP ISA Systems, L3 Technologies
  267. CTO, L3 Communications Systems
  268. CIO/CTO, Deloitte
  269. Sr Director Engineering, L3 Technologies
  270. VP Corporate Quality, Sierra Nevada Corp
  271. Exec VP Business Operations, Comcast
  272. VP Strategy, L3 Technologies
  273. CIO, USAF
  274. Director Big Data Platform Development, GlaxoSmithKline
  275. VP & Chief Engineer Missile & Weapons System, Boeing
  276. CTO, L3 Technologies
  277. CTO Americas, NetApp
  278. President, Microsoft
  279. CEO Battelle
  280. President Broadband Communications Sector, L3 Technologies
  281. Director Global Partner Marketing, Cisco
  282. Global VP, Thales Security
  283. Sr Director Logistics & Operations, Samsung
  284. VP Customer Delivery, TVA
  285. Sr Director Security Engineering, Symantec
  286. VP Security Research, Trend Micro
  287. Director Systems Analysis & Concepts, NASA
  288. Director Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Visa
  289. VP AI Enterprise Solutions, Wells Fargo
  290. CTVO, MIT Lincoln Lab
  291. Deputy Director High Performance Computing Innovation Center, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  292. CSO, Visa
  293. Director Operations, Warner Brothers
  294. Director Engineering, Western Digital
  295. Sr Director Analytic Business Partners, Western Digital
  296. VP Mission & Launch Operations, Space Exploration Tech
  297. VP Combatant Command, General Dynamics Information Technology
  298. VP Operations – International Division, Engility Corp
  299. VP Cyber Risk Officer, Citi
  300. Global Head of Storage & Engineering Systems, Citi
  301. VP IT Security Operations & Strategy, Charter Communications
  302. CIO, Raytheon Intelligence & Information Services
  303. CISO, Delta Dental
  304. Sr Director Advanced Analytics & Machine Learning, Nike
  305. Director Materials Science Department, The Aerospace Corp
  306. Director Growth – Creative Cloud, Adobe
  307. VP Infrastructure Operations, Visa
  308. CIO, Parsons Corp
  309. VP Sales NA Home Entertainment & Sound, Sony
  310. CIO IT, Yamaha Motor Corp
  311. Director Cybersecurity Intelligence & Response Team, Dell
  312. Assistant Secretary General, United Nations
  313. Deputy Director Center for Effective Public Management, The Brookings Institution
  314. CFO, The Brookings Institution
  315. Sr VP Engineering, Malwarebytes
  316. COO, SAP
  317. President, SAP National Security Service
  318. Ambassador of Poland to United Nations
  319. VP NA Sales, Bitdefender
  320. VP Digitization, Customer Experience, Shared Services & Future Skills, Deutsche Telecom
  321. Sr VP Defense & Security Group, Engility Corp
  322. Executive Director, European Union Agency for Network & Information Security
  323. VP Growth Business Operations, Engility Corp
  324. Sr VP Intelligence Solutions, Engility Corp
  325. Special Assistant to the President for Tech, Telecom & Cyber Policy, The White House
  326. Assistant Secretary General, NATO
  327. VP Finance, Knot’s Berry Farm
  328. VP Sales, Twentieth Century Fox
  329. Assistant Secretary General Central Support Service, United Nations
  330. CTO National Security Group, Microsoft Federal
  331. Director Consumer Experience, Carhartt
  332. Sr VP/Chief Architect, Intuit
  333. Director Cybersecurity, Carhartt
  334. COO, Wells Fargo
  335. Cyber Security Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel
  336. VP Field Sales, Toshiba
  337. Deputy Assistant Secretary, US Department of State
  338. CIO, University of Georgia
  339. VP Operations, Fanatics
  340. General Counsel, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  341. CSO, HP
  342. Director Strategy, Cisco
  343. VP Engineering, Sierra Nevada Corp
  344. Sr Director Electronics Solutions, Honeywell
  345. Director Project Engineering, Thales
  346. Head of Global Business Development, Xerox
  347. VP Engineering, Google
  348. Director Counterintelligence, Harris Corp
  349. Exec Director Global Operations & Investigations, Caterpillar Inc
  350. Inspector General, US Naval Research Lab
  351. COO, SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission)
  352. COO, AFOSI
  353. VP Engineering, McAfee
  354. Director End User Services, Levi Strauss & Co
  355. Exec Director, US Marine Corp Forces Command
  356. Deputy CTO, US Department of the Treasury
  357. CPO, IRS
  358. Deputy Under Secretary, US Army

 

Here are some interesting stats on my network.

LinkedIn Connections: 13,834

 

Senior Execs:  6,631

C-Level Execs:  2,224

Writer/Editor:  535

Project/Program Manager:  493

Network Engineer:  354

Developer/Software Engineer:  421

Engineer:  885

IT:  935

Security Professionals:  1,807

Federal & International Government: 2,077

 

I had been tracking HR/Recruiters, but I stopped. I also had been tracking corporate communications/marketing professionals, but I stopped that too. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had tracked researchers/scientists, because I have a huge number of them in my network, but I don’t have the time to go back to the beginning & count them all up, so that’s that.

 

Here is a list of the companies & organizations that are most represented in my network, in order of the highest number of connections on down. I won’t post the totals for each because that would take too much time, & I have other things to attend to right now. But here it is:

 

  1. US military/DoD
  2. Microsoft
  3. Cisco
  4. C Spire
  5. Dell
  6. Malwarebytes
  7. TVA
  8. United Nations
  9. Amazon Web Services
  10. Raytheon
  11. Oracle
  12. Booz Allen Hamilton
  13. Northrop Grumman
  14. Palo Alto Networks
  15. Lockheed Martin
  16. Leidos
  17. Samsung
  18. Seagate
  19. IBM
  20. Intel
  21. Citi
  22. Harris Corp
  23. Boeing
  24. Google
  25. CACI International
  26. European Commission
  27. Western Digital
  28. NATO
  29. General Dynamics
  30. Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  31. Parsons Corp
  32. Ticketmaster
  33. Visa
  34. Twentieth Century Fox
  35. BAE Systems
  36. JP Morgan
  37. Bitdefender
  38. Trend Micro
  39. Amazon
  40. NBCUniversal
  41. Adobe
  42. Symantec
  43. The Aerospace Corp
  44. Engility
  45. McAfee
  46. Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  47. Sophos
  48. Sierra Nevada Corp
  49. RAND
  50. Sony
  51. L3 Technologies
  52. Deloitte
  53. VMware
  54. SAIC
  55. The Brookings Institution

 

What a list, huh? Heavy on defense contractors, heavy on IT. But also finance, film, think tanks, research labs, etc. A couple of more tidbits: I have very senior connections with nearly 20 international militaries. I also have many hundreds of nuclear connections, including many – some very senior – at over 40 countries. If that didn’t put me on the CIA & NSA’s radar, I don’t know what will! LOL! Actually, I have many very senior connections at virtually all of the intelligence agencies, including DIA, DISA, DTRA, FBI, CIA, NSA & more. And actually, I think I’ll list all of the nuclear countries where I have connections. It’s a bizarre & interesting list. In addition to international agencies, here are the countries in no particular order:

 

  1. United States
  2. Sweden
  3. Nigeria
  4. Belgium
  5. Egypt
  6. Italy
  7. Pakistan
  8. Tanzania
  9. Bosnia Herzegovina
  10. Saudi Arabia
  11. Canada
  12. Chile
  13. Argentina
  14. France
  15. Jordan
  16. UAE
  17. Ukraine
  18. England
  19. Romania
  20. Serbia
  21. Bulgaria
  22. Zimbabwe
  23. Turkey
  24. China
  25. Slovenia
  26. South Africa
  27. Montenegro
  28. Tunisia
  29. Spain
  30. Palestine
  31. Hungary
  32. Syria
  33. Malaysia
  34. Sri Lanka
  35. South Korea
  36. Bangladesh
  37. Norway
  38. Dubai
  39. India
  40. Armenia
  41. Slovak Republic

 

Wow! Geez. What a list. A few of those countries make me a little nervous. Oh, I don’t know … Pakistan? India? China? Ukraine? Maybe a few others. And I have hundreds of US connections. I’m not a nuclear expert, so I’ve been reading and researching books and articles on nuclear engineering, nuclear power, “limited” nuclear warfare, and more.

Oh! I also forgot to mention something else that’s pretty cool. I now have very senior connections with most of the four major team sports professional teams, including several owners, as well as a number of players! In fact, I’ve been working on some projects with some players & coaches! I have senior connections with 29 NFL teams, 24 NHL teams, 25 MLB teams & 29 NBA teams.

Okay, I could keep going on & boring you to tears, but I truly do have other things to do, so I’ll stop now. One final thing. A few weeks ago, LinkedIn sent me an email that said due to my posting regular quality content & to my excellent network, they advised me to change my “Connect” button on my profile & in search results to “Follow.” Typically, the only people who have Follow as an option are usually very high profile people, like the CEO of Google, CEO of Microsoft, CEO of GE, Director of the MIT Media Lab, etc. So it’s kind of an honor to be placed in that class of people. And I went ahead & made the change & people have been slowly but surely following me, as well as still sending me connection requests. So that’s cool. And unreal. There’s a whole lot more I could share, but I’m stopping now. Have a good weekend, everyone!

 

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An Overdue Overall Update

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 31, 2017

12/31/17

Hi. Last day of 2017 and I’ve blogged almost nothing at all this year. I regret that, but it’s been the toughest year, toughest two years, of my life and I haven’t had the ability to blog or even write book reviews like I once did. I started an “Update” blog about 6-7 weeks ago, but never got very far, and have been horribly ill for a week, and don’t have the strength to finish it, but I’m determined to write a blog post for 2017. I’m including what I had gotten done last month at the bottom of this post, but am just going to give a brief synopsis here to let those of you still reading this blog know I’m still alive.

2016: I had 8 minor surgeries, most on my back. I had at least 33 tests and procedures that were diagnostic tests for my stomach ailments alone, the final result being I was ultimately tested for the rarest of diseases into 2017 with no results, leaving the doctors to discard me and wish me the best. I also had at least two strokes in the fall, the second of which was pretty major and continues to impact me to the present. Before the strokes, I had lost the ability to drive, and became largely homebound except for 2-3 medical appointments a week, every week, for which I took either a city disabled van or taxis. I had to start walking with a cane in late spring. The strokes impacted me in various ways, as my memory started to fail, and I lost my balance and coordination, resulting in numerous, regular falls. I was also on 3 of the 5 strongest pain medications in the world, whose side effects messed me up, but none of which really helped me. I stopped responding to virtually all pain medications of any type around November 2015.

2017: This year, I’ve only had two minor surgeries for my back, both failures. I was scheduled for a third, but the surgeon refused to do it, saying it’d be useless. Gretchen and I later met with the chief surgeon who said even a major surgery would not only be ineffective, but counterproductive, and he refused to perform any. He recommended as my only realistic hope an experimental and dangerous brain surgery that is hard to find and obtain. More on that in a minute. Before that, I started to experience more falls and greater memory impairment and even total memory loss, progressively, day by day. We explored getting me a home health aide, part time, but can’t afford one. I’m now wearing one of those fall alert pendants. Gretchen’s worried she’s going to come home from work and find me at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck. I started having bizarre “episodes” — don’t know what else to call them — beginning March 31, in which I woke up and started wandering around the house at 3 AM, disoriented and unable to control myself, resulting in 15 falls, the last of which Gretchen witnessed as I tripped in the dining room and fell face and head first onto our hardwood floors, breaking my nose, knocking me out, and busting the hell out of my head. The pain in my head was unreal. I didn’t care about the nose or anything else. I refused to go to the hospital, even though four paramedics were there when I regained consciousness, working on me, and trying to convince me to go to the hospital. I don’t go to ERs. I had a horrible experience in early 2016 and vowed to die at home with dignity than go back to another damn ER. I tried to get a CT or MRI for 10 days, but no one would refer me for one without my going to the ER. Finally, on the 11th day, I went, had a CT scan, was told I had a severe, probable long term concussion, had possibly experienced some brain damage, and that was a joy. According to multiple doctors, I had already experienced brain damage with each of my strokes. My nose bled 24×7 from then into June, and the incident screwed up my neck and back, forcing me into home healthcare PT. My memory impairment and losses became much worse from that point on. I experienced more “episodes” like these in August and September, and have watched my memory deteriorate badly, as well as seeing my forgetfulness increase exponentially. It was about two months ago when this orthopedic surgeon stated I need Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, which has a 4% mortality rate, and which is available for Intractable Chronic Pain possibly only at Mayo and the Cleveland Clinic. One of my doctors put me on a supplement for memory loss/retention two months ago, and earlier this month, my neurologist put me on a hard core medication for severe dementia and Alzheimer’s, while allowing it’s possible I may be in the early stages on Early Onset Dementia. I am 51. I no longer expect to live to see, say, 54. And this drug he put me on has caused a very serious adverse reaction, or reactions, so that over the past week to week and a half, the symptoms have been so bad, I’ve honestly felt I was going to die several times, and today is the first day I’ve had the energy and wits to actually get online and do anything. I’ve simply been lying here trying to survive during one of the most hellish and painful weeks of my life, sick to death.

After those two depressing paragraphs, there were other things that happened in my life. In 2016, Gretchen and I created a startup that I poured myself into far more than I should have and it badly impacted my health. We decided, due to having to delay opening for business indefinitely while suffering tremendous costs and state taxes, to start to shut things down this fall, and I’m still trying to tie up loose ends, as I’m able to. Additionally, both Gretchen and I have started new side businesses, just to see how they’ll do, part time. Just really getting underway, but who knows? Gretchen’s oldest son was married last month in Maryland, so we made a long car trip to the wedding, which was lovely, but it was hard on me. Still, it would have taken a lot to make me miss that, although we didn’t decide I would actually go until the last minute. It was touch and go. Nonetheless, it was a joyous occasion. It was also good to see the rest of her family and meet some new in-laws.

Gretchen is busting her ass holding down the fort, working full time, having to do all of the errands and chores I once did when I was mobile and more able, and still find time for her side projects and to look after me. She stays very busy. And as limited as I am, I stay busier than I want to, mostly with technological projects that would take too long to go into. I’m worn out now. Sorry. I wrote more than I intended, but I just wanted to say I haven’t forgotten you folks out there, and I miss interacting with you, and if my health ever improves sufficiently, I’d like to resume blogging and book reviewing, but I have no idea if or when that will be. I hope everyone has been doing well, has had a good holiday season, and here’s to a good 2018 for all of us. Cheers!

— Scott

 

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Hi! I don’t even know where to begin. I haven’t posted a “real” blog post in nearly a year. It’s kind of stunning, because I’ve been blogging since 2003 and used to every day, but the past year and a half have worn me down until I no longer had the strength, energy, physical or mental abilities to continue doing so, and had to call a halt to it.

Lessee, for the past 3.5 years, my health has been unbelievably bad. Most of you know I have Trigeminal Neuralgia Type 2, a very rare, very, very rare, extremely painful head and facial pain disease, considered the most painful disease in the world, typically referred to as “The Suicide Disease.” I also have three other head pain disorders, including Cluster Headaches, which are also known as one of the most painful disorders in the world, and which I’ve also seen described as “the Suicide Disease” in some sources.

After having had a nice little break from that, my head and facial pain came back with a vengeance in the summer of 2014, but this time bilateral, which is unusual. I immediately had three minor brain surgical procedures, but I told my doctors they wouldn’t help, as this pain was different. I was right. Then, in early 2015, my back started giving me real problems again. Serious pain to match my head’s serious pain. I’ve had back problems on and off for six years, but like my head, it had been off for a couple of years, and this was an unpleasant surprise. I went back to my orthopedist and started seeing a rheumatologist, who told me I had “massive” amounts of osteoarthritis throughout my body and would need two hip replacement surgeries at some point in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, my orthopedist told me my DDD had gotten much worse, and I had other problems in my back as well, which I knew — spinal stenosis, a broken tailbone, nerve damage, etc. She sent me ultimately for six months of PT, but it didn’t help at all. In February 2015, sick of being far too overweight, I went on a massive low carb diet, ultimately averaging 6 carbs, then down to 4 carbs, per meal per day. I lost weight and it felt good. However, and I do think this was coincidental, about four months later, I started developing stomach problems that developed into a nightmare. At first it was just gas after meals, but then it was joined by nausea, and progressively advancing, stomach pain — incredibly severe stomach pain. So severe, it easily matched my back and head pain, each of which were at least a 10 on a 1-10 scale every day without a break. This happened over a period of months though, so I had no idea it would get so bad.

I suffered through the remainder of 2015, still losing weight from my diet, but my stomach was causing me to lose my appetite, along with my stomach shrinking from my diet. My back didn’t improve, my head didn’t improve. I had a new neurologist, who was trying things like Botox and steroid injections, as well as Trigeminal nerve blocks, but nothing helped. By November 2015, I stopped responding to virtually all pain medications, both OTC and prescription, with one exception that helped me so little, it was almost a non-issue. In January 2016, after two months of bugging her, my pain doctor put me on a new, much stronger pain medication with another strong pain medication to take for “break through” pain. The new ones had lethal side effects. I’m not joking. I had to be really careful about how and when I took them. And when I took the other one in conjunction with the first one. But they, too, didn’t really help, and their side effects seriously fucked me up in the worst way. I complained about both the low dose of the main one and the break through pain med, but my dose on the ER medication was not increased. The new IR literally almost killed me. Taking both, and a third to boot, almost killed me. Several times, I basically lost the ability to breathe and my tongue swelled up so much, it largely cut off my breathing passageways. Another time, I became paralyzed from the chest down, and Gretchen had to lie me down — I had been standing — where I lay for a couple of hours until it wore off. I thought it was going to kill me then for sure. Backing up a moment, in December 2015, I also lost the ability to eat. It’s hard to explain. I couldn’t eat, didn’t want to eat, got sick at the thought of eating. I’d go 3, 5, 7 days without eating anything, then take a couple bites of rice and a bite of chicken, and go vomit. I was nauseous when dinner was being made. My diet was thrown away; I now had some form of eating disorder, for all intents and purposes. I lost about 150 pounds…

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Jobs

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 23, 2013

My wife begins a new job today. It’s not necessarily ideal, but it’s pretty decent and she should enjoy it. It’s been a frustrating process, because she’s gotten interviews, but not offers. However, I’m not even getting interviews. I’ve been looking for a job for 13 months. I got one in February, started in March, but it was a contract job and they had virtually no work for me. They terminated my contract after only five weeks, saying only positive things about me. It was weird. And it was back to square one for me. Since then, I’ve found nearly no jobs to apply for, and the ones I’ve applied for haven’t called me. In fact, I’ve only interviewed with three companies over the past 13 months! One of my problems is I’m in a niche field — tech writing/editing. There aren’t many jobs like that in Chattanooga. They’re few and far between. So I’m stuck. Unless I take a retail job or something like that, which would force me to work nights and weekends (which I don’t want to do), I guess I’ll keep looking for something in my field. I’ve also done project management, but increasingly those positions require a degree in that particular field, so it’s hard to even find a decent project manager position. It’s been really frustrating. So we’re poor as hell!  We’ve been doing some contract work out of the house, but it doesn’t pay much, and certainly isn’t worth the time we put into it. So anyway, back to my wife. She starts today. It’s going to be a satellite office for a company out of Nashville and she’s going to be her own boss, for all intents and purposes. I’m really happy for her. Maybe I’ll go over and have lunch with her sometimes. Meanwhile, I keep applying for full time, contract, and free lance jobs here. I applied for a free lance copy editing job two weeks ago, having copy editing experience with newspapers and magazines, and they haven’t called me. I don’t know what the problem is. I think my resume’s pretty good. One of my problems is I’m over-educated. I have three degrees. But I take one of them off my resume for some jobs. Which really ticks me off because I spent a lot of time and money getting those degrees — I shouldn’t have to leave them off my resume. But I think that has hurt me. I also think my age has hurt me. I have experience dating back to the mid-90s on my resume, so clearly I’m in my 40s. I think a lot of companies want younger employees, which irritates the shit out of me. I’ll work for as cheap as a 25 year old — I just need a damn job! I’ve thought about branching out as a full time free lance editor, but I really want the security of a paycheck every two weeks. You know? I’d also like benefits, truth be told. But at this point, I’ll take practically anything. If a contract job pays enough (and it should), I can buy my own insurance…. Anyway, offer some congrats to me wife and if you have any advice for me, feel free to offer it. Cheers!

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New Job!

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 11, 2013

I started a new job today! I’m very excited. I’ve been unemployed for a VERY long time, not counting some part time contract work I did out of the house for awhile last year. Didn’t bring in much money. I’ve been looking for awhile, but it’s been frustrating because in my small city of Chattanooga, there aren’t very many positions for which I’m qualified.

I have three degrees and years of experience as a writer and editor, mostly as a technical writer. I also have some experience as a project (and program) manager with several companies. Awhile back, I interviewed for a proposal writer job with a company that managed prisons, but for whatever reason, that was not meant to be. In November, I interviewed with a large government agency for a technical writer position and my first interview went very well, but the second one was a bust. Seems like they didn’t know what they were looking for. The main guy seemed to want a developer, which I’m not. Back in L.A., I could have gotten a tech writing job any day of the year, and in many places, there are project management jobs too. Chattanooga’s a different beast. Just not much to choose from. So, I’ve been using Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and others, but I found this job on Craigslist, of all places! It was for a technical writer/project manager position with a company based out of Atlanta that would allow telecommuting for the right person. I applied immediately.

I usually wait to be contacted, but I hadn’t heard from this company in about a week, so I sent a follow up email and got an immediate response from the CEO, telling me he wanted to conduct a phone interview. I was elated. So it happened. And it went pretty well. I think we hit it off and we talked about a lot for a good long while, and then he told me he was going to forward my information on to the Director of Project Management, for whom the position would be working, and I would hope to hear from him. I heard from him that evening. He set up a phone interview for a couple of days away, and that worked out pretty well. We also seemed to hit it off and talked a lot about his company and his needs from this position, and he asked some tough questions, but I think I did OK in answering them. He asked me to send him some writing samples, and he especially was interested in anything I might have that was translating technology to a non-technical audience. Well, I have a lot of that sitting around! I emailed him four articles I wrote while at EarthLink that translated techie stuff into easy to read info for our non-techie customers. One was on TCP/IP and another was on secure file deletion utilities. In addition, I emailed two user guides I wrote for some products I worked on while in the engineering division of a company that manufactured specialized telephones. He must have liked them, because he wrote back and wanted another interview and wanted me to do a writing exercise for him. He emailed me some details that he wanted me to use to draft a project change order, fairly detailed. I spent three days on it before getting it back to him. I was pretty detailed. I had no idea whether he would like it or not, but I got a call from the CEO asking me when I could start, offering me the job!!! I told him I could start today (that was two weeks ago), and so I did.

Now, it’s not a perfect job. It’s a contract job, so no benefits, but it’s a long term contract, for something like three years and with the way this company creates its contracts with its clients, it’s quite possible I could be there for awhile longer, if they like me. It’s a very good situation. Last week, they asked me if I could participate in some conference calls with a new client of theirs, so I could get in at the very beginning and be a part of the process from start to finish, so I did. But today was my first official day and it went well. I mostly read tons of documents, mainly dealing with quality management from their perspective. It was highly enlightening. I’ve been preparing for this by catching up on reading some project management books. I especially have to dive into a book on Agile project management methodologies, which this company employs, and an area I’m sorely lacking in. It’s all the rage, but I’ve never worked for a company that used this method before, so I really need to get up to speed quickly. But the net result of all this is I’m very grateful to be employed again, and I think this will be a great company to work for and I think it’s a great opportunity and I couldn’t hold it in anymore — I had to spill. I have a new job! Awesome.

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