Money Is Not Everything

Even though Jeff Bezos is now worth $151.4 billion, it doesn’t mean that he didn’t throw a hissy fit this past Monday when his company’s website went down minutes after Amazon Prime Day 2018 started. I heard he went crazy. This event was in the making for more than a year.

Why didn’t someone predict that such a disaster could happen? I would have easily been the one to question the capacity of the servers. What makes me so insightful? The answer is obvious. Experience.

We had a client who was introducing a free WiFi cell service on a technology called voice over Internet (VoIP). Our PR agency, HWH PR, convinced David Pogue, then a writer for the New York Times, to cover the introduction. Our client, Line2, opened for business the day David ran the story. Seventeen thousand folks read the piece and immediately went to the website to sign up for the service.

It didn’t take long for the entire system to go down. That was a decade ago, and it took over a week to get the website working again. All the orders were gone and we had to start all over. It was a nightmare, but I learned a great lesson. Find out if a server can handle thousands, or millions, of folks accessing a website at the same time. Probably not. Heavy duty backup systems need to be put into place.

I do feel bad for the richest man in the world. I feel worse for the people he blamed. I’m sure it was not a pretty scene. Bezos’ ego was being tested. It wasn’t that he was losing money. It was that his company was out-of-control. For a man who seeks complete perfection, this was a day he never wants to see again.

Working Virtually From The Adriatic


Here I go. The countdown has begun. In just four days I will be traveling to Croatia, Slovenia, and Montenegro with Eliot and friends Ruth and Howard Greenberg. We planned this trip months ago. Little did I know that in addition to keeping up with my PR work for HWH, I would have a daily blog post to write.


I think this is my 43rd post. As I mentioned before, writing is the easiest part of this endeavor. Researching the facts, finding related links and photos, proofing, and finally posting, is very tedious. Maybe it’s quick and easy for others, but everything takes me a little longer. 


I am not looking for sympathy. I am looking for suggestions. I want to  post every day, but the rigorous schedule of touring with a group is not going to leave me a lot of time.

However, I am determined to post every 24 hours because that’s what serious bloggers do. I am enamored of Joanne Wilson, the Gotham Gal, because she  manages to post everyday no matter where she is. Wife to Fred, the super VC, mother of three and an investor herself, she writes a blog about  women entrepreneurs, food, and art.  Every morning when I wake up, Joanne’s blog is waiting for me in my email box. I am waiting for her to slip, then I can too. 

Joanne Wilson

Even though we don’t leave until Wednesday, I am all packed. At least everything is laid out on the dining room table. I learned a long time ago when we started traveling around the world not to wait until the last minute to get my things together. You can’t combine work and play without being totally organized. I have done this so many times before, but this time it seems totally overwhelming. I must get through this. I have made lists, My lists have lists. “Don’t forget iPhone, IPad, iPod, chargers, netbook, iPhone tripod, Bluetooth earpiece, Fitbit, Fitbit charger, spiral notebooks, and pens. I have to check time differences and wireless capabilities at each hotel we are staying at, My worse fear is traveling without wifi.

I can’t stand not being connected. I remember when we traveled on the Oceania Cruise Line’s Nautica to Southeast Asia six years ago, We rented a Satellite telephone so I could call the office every day. We would have to stand on the upper deck, face the sun, and tilt the phone in such a way that the call would go through. The cost of that extravagance was over a $1000. Today, I just download an app called Line2 so I can call home free wherever wireless is available.  

Working remotely from anywhere in the world now is possible, No more excuses. Maybe that is what scares me the most.

Digital Keepsakes

For most of my career I never liked taking a vacation from my business. Being away from the office was like leaving a teenager home alone. You never know what you will find when you return. All that changed seven years ago when I reached my late 50s. A little bell went off in my head that said, “it’s time.” Of course the Internet had a lot to do with it. I am living proof that you can travel all over the world and still keep an eye on things at home. 


I don’t travel without my laptop, iPhone (Line 2 for International calling), iPad, chargers, iPod, and good old-fashioned pen and paper. We tour during the day in Europe or Asia when everyone is sleeping in the United States and get back to our hotel room at night. I am then able to check in with the office and clients when business is in full swing back in New York. 


Theoretically, everything should run smoothly. The digital age has certainly provided for all the advantages of working virtually. Another digital plus is the stunning photos you get from faraway places. In the last seven years we have been to South East Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, South America, Israel, and India. Later this month we are leaving for Croatia. 

Unlike most folks, I do not allow all the beautiful photos we have taken to be hidden in some drawer or closet upon our return. Thousands of photos are constantly being displayed on a designated HDTV screen in our office, or on digital photo frames at home. My husband Eliot is known to snap as many as 9,000 photos on trips. Of course, he has a professional Nikon camera and some kind of gizmo that allows him to exercise his trigger finger. He then spends weeks editing the photos for display. 

Thanks to my girl friend Ruth Greenberg, (we usually travel with her and her husband Howard) the photos taken on these trips have been elevated to a new digital level. She has artistically taken the pictures from each trip and turned them into custom made digital photo albums that look like professionally published coffee table books. Each page is designed to look like a separate masterpiece. The brilliance of the colors, the shapes of the photos, and the structure of the layouts look as if they were published by National Geographic. She has done a wonderful job over the years and we appreciate these keepsakes. Lately Eliot has taken his turn and was responsible for the Israel and India books. Our photo books are displayed in my living room and remain wonderful to look at no matter how many times we view them. Digital publishing is an amazing feat. 


There are many publishers of digital photo books, but the ones most popular are Shutterfly and My Publisher. These companies were created because people wanted to share their memories and experiences with others. The evolution of the digital camera has made it easier to accomplish this. Millions and millions of Americans have made digital photo books over the last few years. These companies also offer storage, personal and public sharing sites (if you just want to keep your books and photos online) video capabilities, greeting cards, stationery, scrapbooking, and, of course, prints and posters. 


Please let the DigiDame know if you have any questions

India photo spread

about working away from the office or capturing your travels digitally. If I can’t answer you, I know plenty of people who love giving their advice and expertise.