If, This, Then, That… Wow!

I’ve wrestled with the whole “how do I most efficiently get posts to all of my blogs and social feeds thing?” So I’ve been playing around with IFTTT for a few weeks now; and I gotta tell you; this is one of the top 5 web services that I would pay real money for to use on a subscription basis.

Basically IFTTT acts as a event triggered engine that monitors the happenings in your web 2.0 world (say twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn posts, or updates to email, Google docs, or Dropbox files) and will perform an action.

Your source and destination web applications, e.g. Facebook are called ‘channels’ and putting an activity together with your channels is called a ‘recipe.’ So for example, one of my recipes activates when I create a Twitter post; IFTTT takes my Twitter post, and adds it to an excel worksheet in my Google docs, boom, I now have a log of all of my twitter posts with time and date stamps.

Another recipe takes my blog posts from blog.ross-sivertsen.com creates a link and posts a message on my Facebook timeline.

The service is still in beta, so I’m sure somewhere along the way they’re going to monetize it, and I’d actually pay for this service. This has the chance of automating so much of my activities. And will simplify web use for a lot of people in NPOs who don’t have the technical staff to facilitate or have the bandwidth for upkeep of their social media campaigns.

Take a look, and I’d be interested in your comments:



The Two Biggest Lies Told During an Audit… Part Deux

I wrote this original post over four years ago before I was hired for my current position at Peerless; you can find the link to the posts HERE and below. Having completed a recent, now called ITGC for SOX, audit, the content is as relevent today as it was then.

I find it facinating at how increasingly prescritive the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) is becoming in the assessment over internal controls. If you were to read over the AS5 guidance, there is a fair amount of flexibility built in to an auditors ability to make judgements on their client's engagements.

But over the last several years, I'm finding that internal controls audits are becoming increasingly more about form over substance. I'm not being critical of any one professional services firms, I'm making my judgements as a matter of general observation…

That said, it's interesting that Grant Thorton published a survey early in 2013 of 243 Corporate General Counsels, that specifically citing increasing pressures of regulatory compliance and corresponding litigation, rather than competition, are the biggest threats to growth in US companies.

Here's a link to the survey:

In house counsels more concerned with regulators than competitors.

Link to the original post:

The Two Biggest Lies Told During an Audit…


The Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure in Dallas Starts This Morning

This morning, they start. Their 3 day journey, a marathon each day between now and Sunday. At Collin creek mall in Plano, to Fair Park in Dallas. They walk, run, jog, all toward the ends of eliminating breast cancer in our lifetime.

In 2010 my wife and and I decided to take on a new adventure, the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure. We’ve participated the last two years, but because of many conflicts we weren’t able to participate this year. We so wanted to be out there on the road with you, sharing your strength, your aches, your laughs, and your tears…

My wife, niece, and best dear friend are all breast cancer survivors; my mother in law and several friends, weren’t quite so fortunate.

This weekend, when you see this enormous river of pink walk through your neighborhood, stop for a minute. Step outside your house, get out of your car, get up from your Starbucks and cheer them on, if even only for a minute.

To the roughly 4000 ladies (and gentlemen) or so this weekend, Jill and I will be there to cheer you on, for more weddings, more graduations, more life and shouting along with you… WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!

Walk On people, Walk On!

Balance Your Mind Not Your Life


I’m one of those fortunate people that really likes what they do. I may not always like the place I do it, but I like what I do and I’m very thankful for the ability to do it everyday.

The challenge for me personally is that I work in a highly competitive environment, with a number of, as a co-worker puts it, ‘intellectual alpha males.’ Added to that is that I am responsible for a global IT operation, and my work hours aren’t 9 to 5 most days, I’m on the phone or in meetings with people in 3 different countries at all hours of the day.

So When I read this article in Psychology today (after being referred to it by Lifehacker), it struck a chord in me. I always struggle with the work/life balance idea.

I often feel as though a simply don’t have any medicine for friends and family at the end of the day. So these suggestions are really valued gems that work for me.

1. Exercise – when I don’t get out and exercise I cam definitely tell a difference in my mood. I’m more lethargic, and while it might boost my energy per se, it does give me extra capacity to handle the stress.

2. Maintain social connections – I’m not a big phone talker, but I do try to find ways to interact with friends outside of work even for brief periods during the course of the day. I can get terribly focused on what I’m doing and this helps me remember that I have people who I care about and who care about me outside of work.

3. Stop to smell the roses – I need to do a better job of this, definitely. Many years ago, shortly after my father passed away, I would during the course of my week spend time working from the cemetery where my dad and grandparents are buried. This isn’t as morbid as it sounds, my dad became a real inspiration for me later in life and immediately prior to his death, and spending time ‘with’ him often gave me solace and guidance as I ‘heard his advice’ to me whispered in my ear.

Now, doing activities that get me outside with the people I love, like the Komen 3 day, or the Barnabas weekend retreat with my wife earlier this month help me with keeping my karma level and create a sense of peace inside.

So balance may not be about quitting your job, especially if you love what you do, but is about stopping to take a few minutes to take care of yourself, mind, body and spirit so you can be the best you can. Stephen Covey calls it sharpening the saw. And I couldn’t agree more.

Now, excuse me it’s time for my morning run.

Unfriending and Keeping Social Media Karma Level


I read this post on on Lifehacker this morning and had a really odd feeling about it. Though I understand the article and at some level acknowledge the point of pruning your ‘friendship tree’ I have a difficult time with it in principle.

Maybe it’s just me and I have have a need to feel as though I have more friends than I do, but I really like following the goings on of the posts from my social feeds even if I don’t have regular face to face contact with everyone.

I’ve been reading Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom by Matthew Fraser and Sumitra Dutta, a study on the use of social media in the enterprise. One of the comments the authors make is the predisposition of the, as they call them Gen V, is the habit of collecting friends on social sites like they were bubble gum trading cards.

Dunbar’s number theorizes the number of social connections a person can maintain at somewhere between 100 and 230 people. From my personal experience I find that to be true. However is see people in my social networks with connections of upward of 400 to 500 people.

Throwing sheep points out, and I’m inclined to believe, that the the Gen V’s are gathering for quantity and not quality. Do you really know all of those people directly or are they friends of friends?

My original point to this post is that I would encourage you to consider this, if you really take the time and are careful about adding people to your social networks, you dramatically minimize the amount of pruning that’s necessary.

I generally keep my business contacts and personal contacts in separate networks (LinkedIn and Facebook respectively).

Adding Twitter in to the mix gives me the chance to add friends and and follow others more dynamically.

In the end, I would say, make sure you are careful, trust and add friends, relationships make the human experience wonderful. But make wonderful because you HAVE the relationships, not because you collect them.

‘Tis the Season (to Make a Difference)


OK, so I don't have to go on with the cry over the commercialism of Christmas, and remembering the meaning of the holiday. Enough people make plenty of commentary on that subject. The fact that Charlie Brown was making the same comments 40 years ago (In a Charlie Brown Christmas) is as much of a litmus result to the continuing consumer gluttony that is our culture as anything I could say.

That said my morning reading included a post from Mashable Social Good, and I wanted to pass this along.

One of my favorite quotes "Be the change you want to see in the world.“ Mahatma Ghandi sums up an approach to the holiday season. Here's your chance to be the change.

There are a thousand websites that allow you to make charitable contributions to a variety of charities; some of them are listed in the post. The unique point to this idea is that a couple of them allow you to send e-cards or real gift cards that allow the person to choose their charity.

This is a wonderful way to make an impact on someone, and what a wonderful tradition to set.

I personally have three Non-Profits that are very dear to our family, should you feel compelled to contribute:

The Barnabas Journey:

The Barnabas Journey is a non profit organization that sponsors workshops and life coaching seeking to create an environment of authenticity and honesty, recognizing brokenness and acknowledging pain in order to create community, growth and healing.

National Autism Association of North Texas
Nagla Moussa, President
nagla_alvin@tx.rr.com(972) 964-1669

The NAA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is fighting every minute of every day to finish what we started and achieve our vision of a world without breast cancer.



“The power of action is matchless.” A simple step of taking action changes everything. – Tom Peters