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Surfin’ the Internet

Well, I’m sure you all know by now that the Bears are not going to the Superbowl.

My emotions are mixed on this.  I wasn’t born a Packers fan, however given that one of their starters went to high school in my home town and that at this point a good part of my family lives in Wisconsin, I guess I can live with their Divisional win, and I won’t put a hex on them.

I am excited to see the Steelers play in this Superbowl.  While I wasn’t born a Steelers fan either, thanks to the Internet, I have developed a real interest in this team.

It starts with a story about Mean Joe Greene.

A lot of people like the Iowa Hawkeye logo, the Tigerhawk.  It is one of the most popular college logos in the U.S.  We have this logo thanks to Mean Joe Greene.  I found this factoid on the Internet.

According to Wikipedia, in 1979, Iowa’s most famous football coach, Hayden Fry, wanted a complete overhaul of the Hawkeye uniforms.  “Since both teams shared the colors of black and gold, Fry gained permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the dominant NFL program of the 1970s, to overhaul Iowa’s uniforms in the Steelers’ image. Fry had originally asked Steelers Defensive Tackle Mean Joe Greene for a replica helmet and home jersey.  Greene was able to send Fry to one of the team owners, and three days later, the owners sent Fry reproduction copies of the home and away uniform of Steeler Quarterback Terry Bradshaw, making Iowa one of only a few schools to use the uniform scheme of an NFL team.”

Since there is a connection between my alma mater and the Steelers, I’m going to cheer for them.

My point here though is about the Internet and the power and value of surfing.  Although I don’t necessarily get a lot of time to surf on the Internet during the day, it is key to my long-term success.

Let me explain.

I find all sorts of things on the Internet that are hugely valuable.  Valuable is a relative term I guess.  From places like LinkedIn, I learn about my connections.  I learn about topics of interest to my colleagues.  From the blog world, I gain insight into various HR subjects and trends.  From newspapers, magazines and Twitter, I learn about local, national and international happenings.  I feel that my surfing helps me stay “cocktail party” conversant on a wide variety of subjects.

Probably more valuable are those little nuggets I come across when I am not really focusing on finding something specific, like the Mean Joe Greene connection.  Sure, I might start with trying to find a Seven Nation Army ringtone for my phone, but that might lead to finding the lyrics for the song, which are totally cool.  And then the surfing really starts.  Reading the lyrics might lead to reading the bio about Jack White, which might lead to reading about the Detroit music scene in the early 2000s, and learning that the White Stripes toured extensively in Canada first.  This might lead to finding the employment statics in Detroit and plant closures, which might lead to learning about where they build Mustangs, which might lead to learning that my Mazda Protégé and Mustang were built in the same facility on different lines, which might lead to seeing a plant tour on Youtube, which might lead to reading about a side-by-side comparison of the chassis specs of the two vehicles,  which might result in reading about both Ford’s and Mazda’s presence in Canada, which might lead to an article on trends for Tier 2 and 3 manufacturers, which might lead to me asking. . .

Do any of my colleagues still work in the automotive sector?  Is HR still a viable career in heavy manufacturing?  Can I still contribute anything useful to the industry?

This might lead to a search on the status of the drug wars in Monterrey, Mexico, where I was once involved in a factory setup that had to be shelved due to the economic circumstances and changing stability in the area.  And the search continues.

I suspect the vast majority of you have never read a Wikipedia article about the University of Iowa or Mean Joe Greene or the Mexican drug wars impact on Canadian trade.  After reading this blog, maybe these search words will start you down some path that will lead you to something that is useful for your career and your business.

It is funny how that happens.


  1. Thank you for making me smile after a lousy week. Your blog is my nugget. I’ve been spending my Friday night surfing the HR blogosphere and I found you. I went to Iowa in the 1980’s (I lived in Reinow) and plan to root for the Steelers as well (only because the Bears choked). The Internet is a small world.

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