Friday, November 30, 2012

Volunteer Call – Office 365 Tools Team

Blacks Gone Geek is run by a group of IT professionals who donate their time and energy for the greater good of mankind.  At Blacks Gone Geek our mission is clear: We want to promote career advancement for African Americans in IT.

The Blacks Gone Geek - Office 365 Tools Team is  looking for volunteers (Web designers, DBA, Office 365 developers, JavaScript developers)  to help  design and implement a technical solution using Office 365 for a database back-end and web content management system front end.


The Tools team is responsible for converting the Who’s Hiring Now spreadsheet into a database format and rendering it on the Blacks Gone Geek website for easy updates.  This will be an "intense" and technically challenging project that will require about 5-10 hours a week of volunteer time over a 1-2 month time period.

Benefits to you:

1) Learn to work in a fast paced environment.
2) Develop project management and web content management skills.
3) Add experience and accomplishments to your resume.
4) Receive a professional recommendation.
5) Potential to partner with other Microsoft Cloud Essentials partners and sell services to other Office 365 users.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please send a copy of your resume to along with you available time commitment to Cynthia Pryor,

Cynthia Pryor, IT/Application Development Director
Blacks Gone Geek

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

I heard it through the grapevine: Resume has a typo

I posted a job opportunity on the online network and someone responded. The recruiter told me the person would not be considered because they had typos and grammatical errors in their resume. I know the person who applied and I think I should tell them, but I don't know what to say without hurting their feelings. What should I do?

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Leadership From Ordinary To Extraordinary – Book Review

Leadership From Ordinary To Extraordinary - The Character of a Leader: Your Guide for Obtaining the 15 Qualities of an Extraordinary Leader

Dr. Parson's new book on "Leadership from Ordinary to Extraordinary" is an extraordinary book. Once you start reading this book, you will be motivated to read it to the last page. When completing the book, I was motivated to go and begin the activities on page 12. This book is an excellent teaching and learning tool for individuals who are graduating from high school, college, or any learning institution, Individuals who are making permanent changes in their life, retiring from the military or civilian jobs, beginning a new job, seminars, and training classes.

The information in this book would also be beneficial for individuals to reevaluate their personal lives in leadership in their homes and community. Peggie J. Dilworth Parson

This is a must have book for anyone aspiring to become a successful leader in the 21st century. It is formatted to meet the needs of any business, family, or organization that wants to move up to the next level of success. I particularly enjoyed the spiritual reference throughout the book. I know for a fact with God all things are possible. Dr. Parson did a tremendous job with the selection of activities. I found myself re-assessing my own leadership qualities after answering the questions at the end of each section. I have recommended the book to all of my family, friends, and acquaintances. It is most definitely a MUST HAVE book for becoming successful in the 21st Century. I have always believed that you must take care of yourself first and everything else will flow just as indicated in chapter two of the book. Knowledge is power. I am truly inspired after reading this book that being an ORDINARY person just will not do, I have moved up the ladder to EXTRAORDINARY status. My hats off to Dr. Parson. May you be inspired to write a second edition. Deborah Ann Minor

Available for purchase at

About the Author
Dr Parson is a proven consultant, speaker, trainer, author and executive with Fortune 500 global experience in leading teams in the public and private sector. She brings over 20 years of charismatic leadership, executive management and extensive problem solving skills in strategic planning, talent development, program management and organizational change. Dr Parson has consulted with agencies surrounding the development of their leadership teams, their strategic direction, technology strategies, business growth strategies, innovation, project management strategies, succession planning and productivity strategies. She has also conducted leadership development workshops, seminars and events for over 7000 individuals within the public and private sector in the United States, Mexico and Brazil. As an executive, she has also provided one-on-one executive coaching sessions to over 400 executives in the public and private sector. Dr Parson’s background includes roles in executive coaching, professional coaching, executive management, strategic planning, training and development and program management within Fortune 100 companies. Prior to creating Crowned Grace she served as a Vice President at Walt Disney World, where her duties entailed day-to-day operations of the strategic planning process, research and development, fiscal planning process, procurement, Program Management Office, Training and productivity improvement. Dr Parson’s other leadership experience includes serving as a Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc, one of the world's oldest continuously operating engineering firms; ranked number one in transportation engineering and has major practice areas in energy, power, aviation planning, environmental and facilities engineering from over 200 offices worldwide with over 8000 employees. She also led a global staff of 112 professionals for new development and ongoing support for Seagram Spirits and Wine Group. Dr Parson is also a military veteran, having served as a decorated officer in the United States Air Force prior to entering the corporate sector. Crowned Grace works with its clients to develop, groom and empower their leaders by ensuring a strategic focus on the organization's overall vision. This includes, but is not limited to: People Transformation, Technology Transformation & Business Transformation!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blacks Gone Geeks Readers Poll - Who’s Hiring Now? - Last Call!

The current job market statistics shows a jobless rate of 7.9%, yet the same statistics state that in the Information Technology community the unemployment rate is only at 1.9%. How can that be?  Blacks Gone Geek is an organization that promotes awareness to the African American community by providing a forum where they can share and exchange knowledge within the Information Technology Industry. 

Blacks Gone Geek has created this 5 minute survey to help connect people with jobs. This job posting information will be used to update our “Who’s Hiring Now” report.

It's your opinion that matters. So, if you could please participate in the survey at the link below, Blacks Gone Geek can continue our tradition of helping African Americans in IT to excel in this challenging job market.

Survey closes 11/21/12.

Thank you,
Milt Haynes, Founder and Chief Knowledge Officer
Blacks Gone Geek

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Most Valuable Question for Career Advancement

Many people place importance on their career. They want to have a comfortable living, make use of their talents, and make a notable contribution in their field of work.

We all have the common career goal of achievement, yet most of us do not have the results we desire. Why? With the age of information, we have access to the tools and training we need to reach the desired destination. We have access to mentors and networks that can share valuable wisdom and advice. Yet there is a sense of frustration with lack of progress. People are unhappy in their jobs, but feel stuck. People are unhappy with their title, but have no plan of action to change it. 

If you are disappointed with the direction of your career, it can usually be mapped back to a question. A single question, yet a powerful one. Questions are often an underestimated tool for growth. A good answer to a powerful question can illicit a response; one that can cause a mind shift, which leads to a change in action, and a change in results.

The most valuable question for career advancement is…..

What is your next career move?

How you answer this question can shed insight into the current state of your career.

When I ask this question, I usually get the following responses…..

I want to move into leadership, but I am not sure if I want to deal with personnel problems.

The problem with that statement is that it is conflicting. Any leadership position will have you working with people. Mentally you will subconsciously hold back on your own goal because of conflicting thoughts. What happens in this case? Your thoughts cancel each other out and no results are gained.

I want to be promoted with my current company, but I do not like the direction that the company is going in.

Another conflicting answer. Your goal is promotion, but you are not aligned with the company vision. It is like saying I want to go to the Olive Garden restaurant, but I do not like salad. Your mind will be confused, and a confused mind does not achieve desired results.

One of the most common responses is “I do not know my next career move”. That response indicates that you either have a job that pays the bills and you are content with that status, or you would benefit from some self-reflection/self-discovery work to determine your next career move.

In order to confidently answer what your next career move is, it requires some self-reflection. You have to really sit down and think what you want in your next role, why you want it, and mentally commit to your decision. Any wavering will delay progress. A person that is confident, aware of what they want and why they want it will surpass someone who is undecided.

Engaging in a self-discovery exercise is critical to understanding and choosing a career path that is right for you.  Invest in the time to research your strengths, wants and desires. People will be willing to help you achieve your goals if you can give them a clear vision of your future.

Jewels Bolden
Jewels Bolden is a profound believer in the journey of self-discovery. She has dedicated herself to helping others find their own paths. If you’d like to work with Jewels, please check out her workshops and speaking opportunities, view her coaching services, or contact her directly to learn more.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Sears Is Going All-In On Hadoop

Sears pushes the cutting edge with some big data techniques, while trying to sell its big data services. Can emerging tech drive change in old-school companies?

By Doug Henschen InformationWeek
October 31, 2012 08:00 AM
For complete article, click this link:

Like many retailers, Sears Holdings, the parent of Sears and Kmart, is trying to get closer to its customers. At Sears' scale, that requires big-time data analysis capabilities, but three years ago, Sears' IT wasn't really up to the task.

"We wanted to personalize marketing campaigns, coupons, and offers down to the individual customer, but our legacy systems were incapable of supporting that," says Phil Shelley, Sears' executive VP and CTO, in a meeting with InformationWeek editors and his team at company headquarters in suburban Chicago. 

Fast And Agile
Sears' process for analyzing marketing campaigns for loyalty club members used to take six weeks on mainframe, Teradata, and SAS servers. The new process running on Hadoop can be completed weekly, Shelley says. For certain online and mobile commerce scenarios, Sears can now perform daily analyses. What's more, targeting is more granular, in some cases down to the individual customer. Whereas the old models made use of 10% of available data, the new models run on 100%.

"The Holy Grail in data warehousing has always been to have all your data in one place so you can do big models on large data sets, but that hasn't been feasible either economically or in terms of technical capabilities," Shelley says, noting that Sears previously kept data anywhere from 90 days to two years. "With Hadoop we can keep everything, which is crucial because we don't want to archive or delete meaningful data."

Sears says it has surpassed its initial target to reduce mainframe costs by $500,000 per year, while also delivering "at least 20, sometimes 50, up to 100 times better performance on batch times," Shelley says. Eliminating all of the mainframes in use would enable it to save "tens of millions" of dollars, he says.

The MetaScale Mission
Shelley is still CTO of Sears, but if his portrayal of all the things Hadoop can do sounds a bit rosy, keep in mind that he's also now CEO of MetaScale, a division that Sears is hoping will make money from the company's specialized big data expertise.

The rarest commodity that MetaScale offers is Sears' experience in bringing mainframe data into the Hadoop world. Old-school Cobol programmers at Sears were initially Hadoop skeptics, Shelley says, but many turned out to be eager and highly skilled adopters of the Pig language for running MapReduce jobs on Hadoop. Tasks that required 3,000 to 5,000 lines of Cobol can be reproduced with a few hundred lines of Pig, he says. The company learned how to load data from IMS (mainframe) databases into Hadoop and bring result sets back into mainframe apps. That's not trivial work because it involves a variety of compressed data format transformations, and packing and unpacking of data.

Would-be MetaScale customers in other industries will face different challenges as they consider embracing Hadoop. Could quick analytical access to an entire decade of medical record data change how doctors diagnose and treat patients? Could faster processing spot financial services fraud more effectively? Companies are focused on choosing and building out the next-generation platforms that will handle those big data jobs. Will Hadoop be that platform, and will Hadoop help turn MetaScale into a successful pioneer? That's a story that has yet to unfold.

Special note to Blacks Gone Geek readers. I'm featuring this article because I'm working at Sears where I first heard about Metascale, a Sears company. MetaScale provides best-in-class, technology-managed services and solutions to enterprises that are looking to unlock the potential in their data without the time, cost and complexity associated with traditional big data initiatives. Let me know if you want to connect with the folks at Metascale.

Milt Haynes, Founder and Chief Knowledge Officer
Blacks Gone Geek

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