Monday, June 27, 2016

Maddi Skydiving on June 18th, 2016

Amazing 3 Minute Video of Madison Skydiving at in Cedarstown.  Her Walker crew of Sammy, Maddie, and Rae also jumped out of the plane into the abyss.  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Patriots Point - Charleston, South Carolina

For a long weekend in early June 2016, Christine and I went down to Charleston, South Carolina.  Carson was getting dirty and having a blast at Extreme Seal Experience and Madison was working at The Walker School, so we decided to sneak down to Charleston for a few days or Rest and Relaxation.  During our min-vacation, we decided to visit Patriots Point, and found a hidden gem.  We debated even going to see the USS Yorktown because we have been on the USS Midway in San Diego.  Because US Air Craft Carriers are so impressive, we decided to stop in after going to Sullivan's Island Beach.  

We are go glad that we stopped because, the USS Yorktown is amazing and to our surprise, Patriot Point, is so much more with USS Clamagore - Submarine, USS Laffey - Destroyer, 25 Plus Airplanes and Helicopters, Vietnam Experience, and Medal of Honor Museum.   Below are pictures from our trip:

Christine walking down the dock to the USS Yorktown
Shaun in-front of the SH-­‐3G SEA KING Sikorsky
Christine in front of F/A-18A Hornet
Shaun shooting anti-aircraft gun
From the Flight Deck of the USS Yorktown
Christine boarding the Sub

Small Quarters of the Sub
Walking through the Submarine
Christine in front of Destroyer
Christine looking down on Vietnam Experience

Shaun in front of a Vietnam Tank
From the Destroyer with the USS Yorktown in the background

Thank you for letting us share our pictures from our Patriots Point and Charleston excursion with you.  If you have any questions, please email Shaun Priest at

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: Blue Ocean Strategy, How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

CloserQ readers, I recently read (listened to on Audible), Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.
If you are looking at strategies to differentiate your solutions, from your competitors, Blue Ocean is a fantastic read.    The premise is that in competitive (Red) markets (oceans), the companies (fishes) competing (nipping) with each other create a red ocean.  The book offers strategies to create Blue Oceans, where you differentiate your company to increase sales, creativity, and margins. 

Blue Ocean is based on studying over 150 strategic positions and initiatives (over 100 years across 30 industries), Chan and Renee argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans”—untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.  Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any organization can use to create and capture their own blue oceans.  The book highlights several concrete examples including, Southwest and Cirque Du Soleil. 

Good Reading / Listening!  Below is the link on Amazon:

Reader Feedback, please click the ‘comments’ below to give your feedback on 'Blue Ocean'. Shaun Priest aka CloserQ. Have fantastic day.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Carson and Shaun New England Patriot Adventures 2006 to Present

In 2006, when my son Carson was in the 4th grade, we started an annual tradition of attending to Patriot Football games.  This may seem normal for Patriot fans that live in New England, however, Carson and I live in Kennesaw, Georgia.

2015 Season: @ Dolphins, Miami, FL
January 3rd, 2016 / Carson 10th Grade
Patriots 10 - Dolphins 20

For the Dolphins game, we made the last minute decision to keep the annual tradition going, so we bought the tickets two days before the game, and we flew to Miami Sunday morning and flew back Monday morning.  For January, the temperature was 85 degrees with Carson and I baking in the sun.  After the game, we had dinner in Miami Beach and drove through South Beach.  Unfortunately the Patriots lost, moving our record to 2-4

2014 Season: @ Packers, Green Bay, WI
November 30th, 2014 / Carson 9th Grade
Patriots 21 - Packers 26

For the Green Bay Packers game, we met up with my cousin Alex Weiss who then lived in Milwaukee, my brother Tim from Boston, and my Uncle Marc (Alex's dad) and my cousin Matt (Alex's brother) from Maine in Wisconsin for a full sports weekend.  We even saw a Buck's NBA game on Saturday night.  The Patriots lost and it was freezing cold, but I can confirm that Lambeau Field should be on any NFL fans' bucket list.  With the loss, we moved our record to 2-3.

2013 Season: @ Falcons, Atlanta, GA
September 29th, 2013 / Carson 8th Grade
Patriots 30 - Falcons 23

With the Patriots coming to Atlanta this was an easy game for us to get to.  We went with my friend Jeff Betts and his son.  Not only did we get our second win of Patriot experiences, we got a nice steak at Ruth Chris prior to the game.  With the Patriots win, we evened our record at 2-2.


2012 Season: @ Ravens, Baltimore, MD
September 23rd, 2012/ Carson 7th Grade
Patriots 30 - Ravens 31

What a game we saw in Baltimore.  It was a back and forth game, with the Ravens winning on a last second field goal.  The Ravens fans were fantastic and Ravens are the only team to have a band, like high school and college football teams.  The day before, Carson and I toured Inner Harbor including the Aquarium. With the Patriots loss our record moved to 1-2.



2010 Season: vs. Bills, Foxboxo, MA
September 26th, 2011/ Carson 6th Grade
Patriots 38 - Bills 30

After skipping a year, we started rolling on our annual tradition.  This time we double dipped by attending by brother's 40th Surprise Birthday Party the day before in South Boston.  The Patriots held on to win 38-30, Randy Moss caught two passes each for touchdowns, but was released the next day.  We also got to squeeze in a trip to the New England Aquarium.   With the Patriots winning we evened our record at 1-1. 

2009 Season - @ Broncos, Denver, CO
October 11th, 2009 / Carson 4th Grade
Patriots 17 - Broncos 20 
Denver, CO
Carson 4th Grade

This was the trip that started it all.  What a time we had in the freezing cold, where we saw the Patriots lose to the Broncos in overtime.  We ran into my first cousin Marlene Priest from Cape Cod at the game in Denver.  We got to go to the Denver Aquarium too.  With the Patriots losing our record starting off 0-1.


Thank you for letting Carson and I share pictures from our New England Patriot excursions with you.  If you have any comments click below or questions, please email Shaun Priest at  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

CloserQ readers, I just finished reading (listening to on Audible) The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim.   As a sales manager, Project Phoenix is not a typical read for me, as I usually focus on my reading on sales, executive management, biographies, and bubble gum fiction.  However, Project Phoenix was so strongly recommended by Mike ‘’Oakie’ Oakman, our VP of Delivery, so based on his raw enthusiasm, I downloaded the Phoenix Project on Audible. 

While listening to Project Phoenix, I first called Mike to thank him for pushing me to read, then we discussed the different strategies to increase DevOps effeciencies. With this novel, I have a better understanding of the challenges of other departments exceeding their objectives, particularly software development and IT deployment teams. 

The Project Phoenix is a fictional business novel that tells the story of Bill, an IT manager, who gets a battlefield promotion (aka his boss was fired) to Interim CIO.  Bill has only ninety days to rescue an over-budget IT department, including the overdue and high profile IT initiative code named, The Phoenix Project.  This project is so important the CEO wants Bill to report directly to him and to fix the entire mess in ninety days or else Bill’s entire department will be outsourced. 

With the help of a sage board member, with a vague socratic teaching style with cryptic messages, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with a manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. The board member, teaches his mysterious philosophy of The Three Ways, that leads Bill to organize the work flow of his departments to resemble a highly functioning assembly line, to save both his job and the company.

One of the enlightening parts of the novel is ‘The Theory of Constraints’ aka the bottle neck.  That unless you improve the efficiency of the bottle neck, all other improvements are moot.  Additionally, the book highlight the value of planned work and the challenges of unplanned work, which I would equate to Stephen Covey’s time management strategy of focusing on what is ‘Important but Not-Urgent’ versus the Urgent, if you want to make real productivity gains.  

The novel is current day version of The Goal: An Ongoing Process ofImprovement by Eliyahu Goldratt.  The Goal is a legendary business novel written 30 years ago on implementing process improvements for business and manufacturing, through a fictional story.  I enjoyed The Project Phoenix so, much that I downloaded The Goal on Audible. 
Below is a link on

Good Reading / Listening!

Reader Feedback, please click the ‘comments’ below to give your feedback on 'The Phoenix Project'. Shaun Priest aka CloserQ. Have fantastic day.