Author Archive

garden anemone

Every now and again, I see something along my path that seems to be visiting from another world. In those moments, I choose whether to disregard it and keep on my set path, or to take it in and let it have whatever effect — whether that’s just a brief moment of wonder, a change in perspective, or a reminder that the path does not always have to be so set. That you can turn left and go to another world if you want.

Like turning around in the garden and seeing a flower reminiscent of a sea anemone.

Moment of wonder? Or spark of an idea that leads to a left turn?

We shall see.

web of rings

A tree is a growing record of time. A living thing with history in its rings.

A spider’s web is a feat of construction. A home and tool with skill reflected in its rings.

Seeing one through the other. Just a bit of a marvel.

community profile: horacio zambrano

We’re so pleased to introduce you to another member of our massively cool community of Bacana clients. Welcome to Horacio Zambrano!

Introduce yourself.
I’m a mid-life, corporate exec turned small business entrepreneur that is building a marketing consultancy and virtual agency. I live in San Francisco, am married, and have a young son that I see more now.

What’s something making you happy right now?
We just landed a new client this week and validated our virtual team model.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
Every month / week. I see more clearly what I should be focused on and how, the prior month, I probably spent too much time in one area or another when I should be building a process to delegate to get the business to the next level. It reminds me to focus on getting on with finding and bringing the right people into the fold. Part of the journey, I suppose.

What’s something that brings ease into your life?
Reading and tennis. Tennis is like my yoga, and I’ve been doing it for the past 10 years. I get grumpy when I neglect it. Reading wisdom from others really validates my own thinking and helps me sort out my own thinking.

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
Making Websites Win by Karl Blanks. While it’s pretty prescriptive about how to make websites convert, the underlying theme is to iterate fast and experiment, experiment, and experiment. The world is always moving so quickly that you have to be flexible in how you position yourself and your business and continually look for the opportunity to create sustainability. It also speaks to the fact that the world and younger generations are moving to a very data-driven and analytic place that supports a creative process like messaging and copywriting.

Anything else you’d like to share with the Bacana community?
Keep chugging and enjoy the journey. Nothing is guaranteed, so don’t fall prey to grass-is-greener thinking, and stay focused.

Where can people find you?


brave chicken

If this chicken moved her head, you would see that the other 2 were on the far side of the coop. I was mowing the lawn, and the other 2 were having none of it. This one, though, this one was curious. This one was all about going after the grass cuttings that happened to fly her way.

I want to be the brave chicken. How about you?

what lies beneath…

This is a rather full day for this river. On a not full day, you can see the shopping carts lodged in the mud from where I’m assuming people have thrown them in. (There’s a shopping center a very short distance off to the right.) And yet, at the moment of this photo, there is no thought of shopping carts languishing & rusting away. There is just a bit of serene English countryside.

In this age of social media image curation, we all need to remember that we’re not getting full stories. We’re seeing the image on the surface. The same goes when meeting someone on the street or having a passing interaction with someone. Whether the exchange is pleasant or sour, we see that moment’s snapshot, but not the full story.

Reminding myself of that very often changes my reactions. How about you?

floating on the wind

This photo was taken on a day of great emotional turbulence for me. And it is a photo to me of such peace and joy.

A reminder that the latter does not stop existing when the former is present.

the definition of myself

When I was 5, I spent a very brief time in kindergarten before I was moved up to first grade. (I missed playing with shaving cream sculptures on wax paper — I remember that!)

All through grade school (elementary, middle, & high school), I was the youngest in my class, and I was at the top of the class. I graduated from high school, having just turned 17, as valedictorian with not only a 4.0 GPA but also a 100.8% average. (Someone did some extra credit along the way. 100% wasn’t enough.)

At university, I was still the youngest in my department (not sure about the whole university — probably not), but it was now a bit of a bigger pond. I was still near the top, but I graduated magna cum laude, not summa cum laude.

In graduate school, there was actually one person in my class who was younger than me! And grades weren’t really a thing. They were there, sort of. (It was an MFA in acting, so it was more about the faculty verbal & written evaluations than the letter grades.) But I did get some feedback during my evaluations from one of the faculty members, someone who had taught many of the super elite alums, that again gave me a stamp of approval of being at the top.

As I write this, I am in my early 40s. I am proud of the life I have and the person I am. But I have not risen to the top of my first chosen profession. I am no longer the youngest, or the smartest, or the best. And, in my moments of reflection, I ponder if that was ever really the case in my younger years, or if it was just a bit of a false perception.

I spent so many years being defined by the combo of youngest & smartest. It has been (and still is) a very interesting, sometimes easy, sometimes difficult path to letting go of that definition and listening for what defines me now. Which is also changeable. At the moment, I feel a great kinship to the labels of listener & seeker. We’ll see where that stands in another 40 years.

How do you define yourself? Has that changed since you were younger? Liz has had some thoughts on this as well.

the only thing constant…

As a nomad, it may surprise you to know that I am not always comfortable with change. Don’t get me wrong… There are also aspects of change that I love. It’s why I live the way I do. But there are pockets of discomfort with me much of the time.

Two small examples…

As someone with a somewhat unadventurous palate, if I am in a place with cuisines very different from my preferences, I carry that bit of discomfort while I’m there. I admire the foodies; I unfortunately am not one.

Because communication is of the utmost importance to me, if I’m in a place where I don’t speak the language, I have to stay in the uneasy feeling of not being able to understand others or express myself easily.

My challenge to myself is to sit into that discomfort and ask why. Within my love of change lives the discomfort of change. I rather revel in exploring both.

What is your relationship to change?

la paz

“Nada vale tanto como la paz.”
(Nothing is worth as much as peace.)
– José Mujica

The former president of Uruguay (fascinating man — please Google) spoke these words, and they touched a street artist in Colombia who painted them on this wall in Medellín.

In times of turbulence, we recognize the value of tranquility. Which leads me to wonder how much we long for something to happen when we are in the midst of calm times. Is the pendulum always set to swing away from where we are?

I certainly don’t have answers to these questions. In the present day, I can only agree with Mujica & the artist.

What do you long for in this moment?

a thousand ways to cut


You can cut something to separate. Shredding a piece of paper so that it is illegible. Cutting a piece of cake to share it with a friend.

You can cut something to shape it. A paper snowflake. A haircut.

You can cut something to wound. A knife wielded in defense or malice.

You can cut something to heal. A scalpel used in surgery.

You can cut something to save a memory. Cutting a photo or article out of the newspaper.

You can cut something to change a growth pattern. Pruning a bush. Cutting the grass.

You can cut something to reduce time or focus the message. Cutting a play.

You can cut something to remove it or you. Cut the power. Cutting class.

This list could go on and on. The action verb is a tool here. What matters most is both the intention and the impact (not always the same thing).

With each action, what is my intention? And, in hindsight (hopefully from a place of curiosity rather than defensiveness, but this can be hard!), did the impact match the original intention? If not, where did it change?

These are questions I ask myself time and time again. I find them to be valuable teachers.

Do you examine your own intention & impact? What do you find?