Posts by category: Blog

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

I had the pleasure of meeting a very successful and influential person on Thursday the 7th of October at Rocky Mountain Pizza close to the Georgia Tech campus. Tony Hsieh, CEO of and serial entrepreneur was sitting at the bar sipping on Grey Goose Vodka. Mr. Hsieh was dressed in jeans and  a white tee shirt. It was not what you would normally expect from someone who had accomplished all that he has in his short life. He was sitting alone enjoying his Grey Goose without a body guard, publicist, or entourage. I introduced myself and we spent a few minutes talking about life, Zappos, and our mutual respect for Seth Godin, who was also in Atlanta that night for a Friday morning speech. I enjoyed our short time together but it was not until this afternoon that I understood why. Mr. Hsieh was in Atlanta as part of his Happiness Tour. He bought a luxury bus and was traveling from town to town sharing his vision of what true success means. After touring his bus, I thought seriously about joining the movement and riding the bus to the next stop in Miami. There was also a little too loud band and a snow machine created a ski slope which was available for the attendees to slide down. The first official slider was the Honorable Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Councilman, and I believe future mayor of Atlanta.

In addition, he brought cases of his New York Times and Wall Street Journal #1 best seller, Delivering Happiness. I was prepared to buy 4 or 5 copies to read and share with others. To my surprise, the book was being given away as a gift from Mr. Hsieh. I brought the book home over the weekend and planned on starting it after all the ball games on Saturday. I opened the book after the UGA game and was not able to put it down until the entire 244 pages were devoured. My wife was amazed. I currently have 7 or 8 half finished books sitting in my office, study, and by the bed. As an full blown ADD/ADHD person, I have a hard time staying interested in a book long enough to finish. That was not the case today.

I can not do justice in a blog post to the power or insight of this book. I highly recommend it to anyone regardless of your job, personal interest, or goals. You will read a story of failure and great success told with honesty that few are willing to display when telling their own story. 

Finally, I discovered why I was so taken by my meeting Mr. Hsieh. Humility is his strong suit. Although more successful than 99% of planet earth, I met a young man sitting in jeans and a tee shirt by himself content with who he is. At first I thought he was painfully shy and was avoiding the crowd. That was not the case as I watched him greet each new person who discovered his “hiding place”. Again, he was not shy, he was content and very humble in every thing he said and did that evening.

Buy the book, It will have an impact on the way you think and hopefully in the way that you live going forward. It certainly has had that effect on me.

Ricky Steele

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Father’s Day

Today we celebrate the fathers in our lives.

I am very fortunate to have had two wonderful earthly fathers. My dad, Richard E. Steele, Sr. was a man’s man. Most of the lessons I learned in life both positive and negative, I learned from watching him. He was a entrepreneur in every sense of the word and the first networker I knew although no one called it networking back in the 60’s. Dad was medically discharged from the Army when he re-injured a knee that he had injured during his football playing days at the University of Georgia. Dad began his career with a wife and new born son making $200.00 per month. He worked hard and built many businesses over the years by networking in the Columbus area. One of the things he did that made me most proud is his making the decision to integrate the largest hotel in Columbus. Dad was one of the owners along with a few wealthy businessmen he partnered with to purchase the hotel several years earlier. He received many threats, late night phone calls, and cars would ride slowly by our house late at night. Dad never backed down because he knew that he was doing the right thing. My dad died on March 17th, 2002. I slept on the sofa next to his bed every night for weeks and I was with him as he took his last breath. The pain I experienced watching him die was very tough and I did not think it possible to experience any worse until my mother died 5 months 7 days later. 2002 was not a great year in my life. I am so thankful to God for making me Richard E. Steele, Jr.

My second dad I inherited when I met my wonderful wife to be. James R. Ellis was a very different man than my dad. He was content with where he was in life and focused on important things like his faith, family, and friends. Jimmy never had an unkind word to say about anyone. He was the manager of a restaurant in Columbus and probably never made $20,000 any year of his life yet he was one of the wealthiest people I have ever known. Jimmy had a hard life growing up but did not let it make him bitter as it would be for some folks. He loved me as a son and I learned a great deal from him. Jimmy died much too early at 57 years old in 1987. I lost a dad and a great friend that day. My children barely remember Jimmy and that is a shame. My children would have learned lessons from Jimmy that I did not have the ability to teach. My children all turned out great. However, I am confident they would be even finer people if they could have had Jimmy in their lives for a few more years. I thank God for putting Beth in my life and as a result of our relationship, I gained a wonderful, kind, loving, father in Jimmy.

My third dad I have known my whole life. He is my heavenly father and yours. Unfortunately for me, I have not followed him or His direction all of my life thinking that I could run my life on my own. I started off as an entrepreneur following my dad’s footsteps. The biggest problem with “self-made” men is that they are in love with their creator. I began following my heavenly father in 1975 and was very passionate about serving Him. Several years later due to a tragic event, I decided that I did not need His help any longer. I reengaged with Him in 1995 through the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. I would give anything to have back the 15 years I spent running away from God. I made more than my share of mistakes over those years and unfortunately can not change the fact that I hurt people along the way. What I do know is  the minute I came to my senses and asked God to again become my Father, a heavy burden was lifted off of my life. I received forgiveness that I did not deserve because of the price He paid for my sins. That forgiveness did not change the fact that I had hurt people and made a lot of mistakes. There are always consequences for behavior both good and bad. I have suffered through some tough and awkward times as a result. However, I have survived because I have a heavenly Father who loves me in-spite of me being me. As much as I loved my dad and Jimmy, I love my heavenly Father so much more. I know one day I will see my dad and Jimmy once again when I join them in our Father’s house. 

Whether your earthly father is alive or not, you do have a heavenly Father that is very much alive. He loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. I encourage you to learn more about Him. 

Happy Father’s Day!

Ricky Steele

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Heart of Networking Presentations


I have been fortunate to share the principles from my 2004 book, The Heart of Networking, over 200 times in the past 6 years. I have spoken to groups of several hundred to only 2 folks on one occasion. I never tire of sharing ideas that have been learned over 40 years, first watching my dad, and second, watching other great networkers.

I am available to speak to any group. My fee has varied from $5,000.00 to a bottle of spring water depending on the budget of the group and travel required. I would love to share with your group in 2010 or 2011 if the opportunity presents itself. The second edition of The Heart of Networking is complete and it should be published by October 2010.

I included a few of the comments from attendees of previous presentations. My speech is filled with passion, humor, and great take away tools that can be applied that very day. 

Thank you,




It’s ironic to see that you create excitement in board rooms when your name is chosen as a speaker. Almost as if you were Michael Jackson himself. And yet, your persona is reminiscent of good old Michael Murray from down the street. Keep up the good work Atlanta really needs more people like you. 

Vice President

Security Software Company



We appreciated your willingness to come speak to our group at such short notice; I know that you spent additional time to personally sign the books as well, which I’m sure took more time from an already booked schedule. 

The reaction from the attendees was just tremendous – both anecdotally and on our evaluations. They really appreciated an outside perspective such as yours and found you to be an engaging and energizing speaker – as did I. You really have a gift when it comes to speaking. I enjoyed your presentation just as much or more than the attendees. 

Manager, Leadership Development Programs
BDO Seidman LLP


Hi Ricky, 

It was a pleasure to listen to you once again this morning, as you shared your secrets to successful networking. I couldn’t agree more that one receives through giving first and your words continue to inspire us all. 


Atlanta Public Relations Firm



I continue to receive feedback from our College Hire Associates regarding the Sales Rally on Thursday.  Time and time again, you are being referenced as their HIGHLIGHT of the entire day.  Ricky, I know you are compassionate and you speak from the heart.  I also know that this is work for you.  What you must also know is that you truly touched the hearts of many during your presentation.  In fact, I am confident that you touched their lives in such a powerful way; you may have set them on the right course for life. 

“Ricky Rocked”!  How’s that for outstanding feedback. 

Warmest regards,

AT&T College Hire Sales Center



Just wanted to send you a note to let you know your talk this morning was very inspiring to me. I’ve done a lot of refocusing in my life over the past couple of years, and I’ve found also that to love others and to serve are the foundations that make for a great life. To hear you reaffirm this warmed my heart today and re-energized me again. 


Managing Editor

Southeast Technology Magazine 


Mr. Steele: 

Thank you for your excellent presentation at the Community Health Charities breakfast. I found your remarks very inspirational and energizing.  

Executive Director

Health Care Community Outreach 


Good morning, Ricky 

I want to share with you just a few of the comments we received from students and alumni on last night’s evaluations: 

“Ricky Steele gave me a fresh appreciation for purposeful networking.  He helped me to “re-frame” my understanding of effective networking.”

“Heartfelt and inspiring.” 

“The humor was very effective, and I appreciated him showing his heart.” 

“Mr. Steele is honest and authentic.  It was interesting that he is not a counselor, yet principles that helped him to be effective in his work can be applied to our field.” 

“Great enthusiasm and passion for the material.  I learned something new today.” 

“I wish we’d had more time with him.  I loved his heart and his message.” 

“I enjoyed the passion and authenticity with the presenter spoke.  I honestly didn’t know how the workshop would apply to my world, but I gained some valuable insight and information.”

“It was refreshing to hear someone speak from the heart and integrate his faith into business.” 

“He communicated a refreshing message that was others-focused.   

“I love how he communicated loving people in networking and made it an extension of being ‘fishers of men.'” 

The event was a major success, Ricky!  Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I’ve personally been inspired by what you said  about “schmoozing” versus true networking and being present with people even when you have a million things to do.  I’ve been really convicted there — stuff can wait, people can’t.  I also loved what you said about failing versus quitting.   

Meeting Planner

Atlanta College



As I walked back to the capitol this am, I found myself thinking happy thoughts and finding new ways to consider my “adversaries” under the gold dome.  All due to your inspirational words this morning.  

Senior Executive

Technology Division

State of Georgia


Mr. Steele: 

Thank you for sharing time and your experiences with the leaders of Cobb County. Your presentation was well received and I appreciate the references you made about our organization.  


Leadership Cobb



It has always been a pleasure and honor to be your friend over the years. However, I have never been prouder of you than I was at the Leadership Atlanta this weekend. Your personal comments and obviously personal connection to the group and the needed was overwhelming. I did not believe that the last session on the last day would be one of the best memories of the weekend for me.  

President and CEO of Large Atlanta Technology Firm



Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2006. Your message was the perfect way to end a great opening retreat. Your passion and commitment to the community was so clearly apparent and so inspiring!  


Not For Profit Community Development



It was an absolute pleasure meeting you at the NAAAHR meeting last Wednesday!  I have been thinking about you and your approach to networking since the meeting.  I think the world of you and hope to make you proud as I take the nuggets that you shared and implement those in my own life!  

Have a great week! 

Senior Talent Consultant Talent Connections


It was an absolute pleasure meeting you at the NAAAHR meeting last Wednesday!  I have been thinking about you and your approach to networking since the meeting. I think the world of you and hope to make you proud as I take the nuggets that you shared and implement those in my own life! I was so impressed that I immediately began recommending your book to job seekers to improve their job search networking strategies.

Vice President

Atlanta Staffing Agency (Presentation to the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources)



I wanted to thank you, once more, for your great presentation yesterday.  I think you really captivated the audience—not easy to do with 1,000 teens!  Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to speak to our students.  


Private High School (Presentation to student body on passion and community service)



Thank you again for your talk last night at St. Joseph’s Church. Your insight on effective networking is tremendously valuable to all of us in the Career Community Network and has given me personally many tools to increase my chances for a successful job search. Your experience through all of your setbacks and successes are true testimony to the words you spoke, that “failure is about falling down…quitting is about staying down”. Thank you for inspiring us to stay positive and stay in the hunt. Please keep us in your prayers as we will certainly do the same for you and your family.

Job Seeker (Presentation to Job Seeker Ministry at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church)



I enjoyed your networking speech last night at the United Methodist church in Snellville, GA. Thank you for your presentation last night.  I was touched by your recognition of us military veterans. My Vietnam tour was cut short due to being wounded in a rocket attack.

Job Seeker (Presentation to the Snellville United Methodist Church)



Thanks for delivering your networking message to FENG last week. You touched a lot of people. My biggest take away was regarding community involvement. You’re a good man, Ricky.  

Financial Executive (Presentation to the Financial Executive Networking Group)  



I want to thank you for presenting to the executives in transition at the NFC on Thursday.  I’m sure you could tell you were very well received and I saw everyone busily taking notes; including myself and I have seen it before!   

I know your time is precious and I really appreciate your taking time out to spend with us.   

Executive Director

(Presentation to the clients of an Executive Outsourcing Company) 


Mr. Steele: 

Just a quick note the let you know how much I enjoyed you presentation at this

morning’s  Kettering meeting. It was great! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience with us. 

Managing Director of Large Consulting Firm

(Presentation to the Kettering Group)


Mr. Steele, 

Thanks again for the presentation.  You obviously went the extra mile to pull together the copy for those of us who could not attend.  I especially enjoyed the bonus points section. 

Based on the presentation, I’d imagine Proverbs 11:25 would be a decent description of who you are: “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” 

Thanks for the refreshment! 

Human Resources Manager

Software Company 



Your inspiring presentation at Gwinnett Technical College was the right message at the right time. There are many that can benefit from the wonderful message you have to share about the importance of making connections and networking.  

Institutional Advancement Officer

Gwinnett Technical College



On behalf of all the volunteers and guests at RUMC Job Networking last night we want to let you know what fantastic presentation(s) you gave last night. 

The energy, passion and effort you give to help those in career transition is remarkable. You give before you think about getting and it shows. 


RUMC Job Ministry


Dear Ricky, 

It was a pleasure meeting you and I appreciate you taking time to speak with me following your lecture.  I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation last night at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Your optimistic message and sharing faith were very encouraging for those of us in the job search mode!  Your humor shared with many great insights and wisdom was very helpful and motivating.  Thank you for taking time from your very busy schedule to spend an evening with this career ministry.

Again, many thanks for your generosity and I hope to see you again soon. 

Most sincerely, 

Job Seeker



I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your talk to The Citadel Alumni. I’m almost finished with your book and am taking notes. I am taking the copy that you signed for my boss to Houston next week.  

Colonel USAF Ret.



Thank You so much for taking the time to come speak to us last night, at The Atlanta Citadel Club. I have heard many great speakers about networking and personal betterment and I have to say that you rank as the best! You are so passionate about what you do and it shows. If only we could all have that satisfaction that is illustrated through your presentation. 

Keep on Spreading the word to EVERYONE.

Thanks again, Good Luck, and God bless! 


Ricky, I want to thank so much for making the enormous effort to present your networking views to our professional group. You got great reviews and we are flattered that you took the time to be with us.

Once again, thank you.

Managing Partner, Grant Thornton LLP


Of course I was only one of about two hundred at King & Spaulding this morning that enjoyed your talk.  

Thank you particularly for the last two points in your talk this morning. Clearly they are central to you. Just as clearly, the rest of us need to be reminded of them. I hope it will mean something to you to know that I tried to be a better person for the balance of this day as a direct result of your thoughts and words this morning. Whether I succeeded, only the Lord knows, but that I tried is because of you.  

Thank you again. 

Marketing Executive

Web Based Applications Development Company


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Leadership Atlanta 40th Anniversary

Tonight over 600 alumnus of Leadership Atlanta will celebrate 40 years of outstanding programs, challenging ideas, and new relationships that changed all of our lives.

I applied to Leadership Atlanta in 1985 and was not accepted. I was ticked. How could this organization deny me after all I had accomplished in business, community service, and through numerous associations? I had no interest in applying again thinking that this was not an organization worth pursuing. It was sad how much ego and stupidity I was filled with at that time. I was talked into applying again the next year and was accepted. At the fall retreat, we were introduced to all of our classmates. At that point, I did not understand why Leadership Atlanta accepted me at all. My classmates were leaders all across the city of Atlanta. I was intimated just being in the same room with them. All of my grandiose accomplishments were not much in comparison to these inspiring people. My classmates and the programming of Leadership Atlanta changed my life forever. Next to my faith and family, nothing has had a greater impact on my life than Leadership Atlanta. My many jobs, my entrepreneurial success, awards, and achievements all pale in comparison to how my life was changed through Leadership Atlanta.

It was through Leadership Atlanta I was forced to face hunger, poverty, educational issues, criminal justice, race relations, gender issues, and a whole lot more. Because of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Atlanta alone, I became involved with the creation of Atlanta’s Table which is part of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Atlanta’s Table inspired 150 similar programs around the world. Millions upon millions of people have been fed meals because of Atlanta’s Table. The organizing group was filled with Leadership Atlanta graduates including Martin Lehfeldt, Bill Bolling, Dorothy Beasley, Jim George, Andy Loving, Randy Humphrey, Sue Wieland, and Rob Johnson. I am sure there are others that at my advanced age, I cannot recall at this moment. To any Leadership Atlanta graduate who played a part, please forgive me if I missed your name. All of you wonderful people are heroes and a gift from God in my life.

The impact Leadership Atlanta has had on our community cannot be measured. In addition to Atlanta’s Table, Doug Hertz created a real miracle at Camp Twin Lakes and the list goes on and on. Graduates include the power brokers in Atlanta’s last 40 years. Graduates include Ivan Allen, Barbara Asher, Ed Baker, Shirley Mitchell, Steve, Linda, Cathy and Scott Selig, Tom Cordy, Ron Allen, Andy Fisher, Tommy Dortch, Ben Johnson, Becky Blalock, John and Sue Wieland, Myrtle Davis, Curley Dossman, Jim Breedlove, Elaine Alexander, David Allison, Erica Qualls, Ron Clark, Kim Bearden and I am unfortunately leaving out 2,000 more leaders across every industry, not for profit, and spiritual discipline in Atlanta and across the country since many have moved on to leadership positions in other cities. It is because of the 2,500+ graduates that Atlanta has prospered when some cities did not. So many great moments occurred due to the vision these leaders have had over the past 40 years.

I could not end this without a personal thank you to a few people I would never have met if not for Leadership Atlanta. You have changed who I am as a person and the change is a blessing. I love you and I will never be able to repay the love you have given to me. Thank you Rob Johnson, Dorothy Beasley, Eula Adams, Ann Cramer, Martin Lehfeldt, and Pat Upshaw Monteith. I had actually met Pat during her Symphony years but I really did not know Pat well until she became the Executive Director of Leadership Atlanta. Pat has done a fantastic job leading this organization and her friendship is important to me. Finally, I owe one man in more ways than I can explain. He has been my inspiration, my mentor, my spiritual guide, my drinking buddy, and my very best friend every time I needed a best friend who would do anything requested without any questions. Bill Bolling, thank you for being all of these things to me. The last 24 years have been sweeter because of your friendship.

Happy Birthday Leadership Atlanta! Here’s to 40 more years of creating the fabric of Atlanta.

Ricky Steele

Class of 1986

Best Class Ever

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Memorial Day: Thank You To The Families Of Those We Celebrate Today

Today is a very important day in our country. Today, we celebrate the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to live freely in our country. I have been thinking a lot about this all day and I only really have two points of reference. One of my dearest friends is Colonel Mike Adkinson. Many in the Atlanta technology community know Mike as the founder and Point Man of TechLINKS. Mike was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Mike was shot down 12 times and was rescued each time. Mike was very close to dying on multiple times and has a cabinet full of medals including three Silver Stars and a number of Purple Hearts. Mike is truly an American hero. I am thankful that Mike was rescued so many times. Needless to say, I would never have met a person who has become such an important part of my life. If Mike was not so much older than me, I would say that he is like an older brother but since he is, let’s just call him a cherished uncle. :-) My life would not have been the same if I had not known Mike Adkinson. My other point of reference is my oldest son, Lt. Richard E. Steele, III. Everett will soon be promoted to Captain just weeks before he is discharged in July after serving his four years. Everett led a scout patrol in Iraq and although he will not discuss it much, I know he saw and experienced things that his father has never experienced nor would I have put my son through it if given the choice. Everett volunteered and put himself in harm’s way. He made the choice and wrote about it before leaving Athens, Georgia for basic training: I am very thankful my son returned safely from his duty. My life would certainly made a turn for the worse had he not returned.

I do not know anyone personally who died in any of this countries wars other than friends of friends. However, that does not isolate my feelings towards those who did give their lives for me and for you. I humbly want to thank all of the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives of those who did not return home. Your loss is not forgotten by millions upon millions in our country. May God give you the peace of mind and heart that your loved one’s sacrifice was not in vain. Everyone who calls themselves an American owe you a great debt of gratitude and if you have not heard a thank you today, Thank You from the depths of my heart.

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The Day Chris Brogan Followed Me On Twitter

Waking up at 5:00am on Saturday is usually not something I do. However, I have a full day and then Sunday morning, I leave for a week’s vacation. The first thing I do every morning regardless of when I arise or what day it happens to be, is check my messages. This morning, I was surprised, delighted, and nervous to learn that one of my mentors, Chris Brogan, began following my twitter feed around midnight, May 28th, 2010. I have never had the privilege to meet Mr. Brogan but I follow his tweets, blog, and books. You could easily say that he has mentored me from afar. I have been using social media since 2003 or 2004 and there is still much more I don’t know than I know by a 100x factor. However, in the past year after reading about Chris Brogan on someone’s blog, I have learned much. My copy of Social Media 101 is scored with more yellow highlighter than original text. I have also bought 5 or 6 copies so far for others which is a lesson I learned from Tim Sanders in his life altering first book, Love is the Killer App.

Back to the subject, I certainly hope that those of you who know me personally, know that I am not one to make a big deal of myself preferring to put the spotlight on others. I have had a full life and if it ended today, I would look back with great joy knowing that I had experienced many things that others have not had the same opportunity. Knowing Chris Brogan is following my tweets has given me a sense of appreciation for what I have learned and tried to replicate. Needless to say I am in debt to all of those who helped me move into the essential world of social media. Jenny DeVaughn, The Searchologist Mr. Jim Stroud, Tom and Alexa Ellis, Sherry Heyl, Kevin Horwarth, and all my cutting edge friends at Definition 6 laid the foundation and I am deeply grateful. Having Chris Brogan following me has also made me a bit nervous. Will I share content that every once in awhile gives him information that he did not have as he has done for me often? Time will tell but the responsibility is not taken lightly. In reality, I accept the same responsibility to do my best to provide content that is beneficial for everyone who is very kind to visit any of the social media platforms I frequent. 

Thank you Chris Brogan for making my day. A huge Thank You to so many of you who make every day of my life richer than I deserve. I am in your debt.

Ricky Steele


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Networking Through Speaking Engagements

I am amazed that more people do not take advantage of the opportunity to speak about their passion. There are many groups hungry for a new speaker or a new topic. I speak as often as I can on networking. 75% of the speeches are “free” but I do get paid from time to time. I do the same amount of work for either speech. I love sharing what I have learned over the past 30 years. And as far as free speeches, some of my largest clients at Hunter Technical Resources were met at a “free” speaking engagement. I do not sell or promote my company but if people feel connected from my presentation, a number of them will come up after my speech to chat. Many of these folks want me to help them in some way and I do my best to help them. Many of those conversations have turned into great friendships. Many have turned into clients. I will share more on this subject when the second edition of The Heart of Networking is published later this year.

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Three great books on social media

I love to read as much as I can about most any subject. While writing my second edition of The Heart of Networking, I have focused on social media content. In the last week I have read three books I would like to share with you.

The first is Chris Brogan’s Social Media 101. Chris has broken the book into 87 vignettes making it easy to find pertinent information. Every vignette is well worth reading for context but you can start or stop anywhere and not be lost. 

The second is Why now is the time to CRUSH IT by Gary Vaynerchuk. Although the book and the author are a bit brash, there are pearls of wisdom in every chapter. I especially liked his branding yourself ideas.

The third is by a new friend of mine, Justin Honaman’s Make It Happen. Justin’s book is a template for living a very successful life personally, professionally, and spiritually. I can not say enough good things about this gem. I filled my book with lots of yellow highlighter so I can go back and digest over time.

Hope you enjoy each of these books. If you have a few favorites, I would appreciate you sharing them with me and those who follow this blog.

Ricky Steele

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Urvaksh Karkaria’s Blog About The Digital Ball 2010

I want to thank my good friend, Urvaksh Karkari, for his kind words about Hunter Technical Resources and me personally. I am blessed beyond measure with friends like Urvaksh.

Ricky Steele

Blog: AtlanTech

Urvaksh Karkaria

Techbridge Digital Ball draws tech stars

Sunday, May 9, 2010, 3:40pm EDT  |  Modified: Sunday, May 9, 2010, 3:48pm

The 10th Techbridge Digital Ball – that annual gathering of Atlanta CIOs – was a fabulous affair.

The black-tie fundraiser, at the Marriott Marquis, offered up tap dancers, mid-air acrobatics, a Jimi Hendrix’d-rendition of “Happy Birthday” and a rather “meh” main-course of chicken and risotto.

A-listers included GE Energy’s John Seral, Southern Co.’s always-quotable Becky Blaylock, UPS’ David Barnes and First Data’s Dave Kardesh.

Other notables pumping fists and pocketing business cards were entrepreneur-investor Ashish Bahl, a rather tanned Tino Mantella (TAG), the omnipresent John Yates (Morris, Manning & Martin) and the “nawab of networking,” Ricky Steele.

Southwest Christian Care won the 2010 Techbridge Technology Innovation Award.

In addition to having the klieg lights turned on it at the Digital Ball, the Atlanta-based hospice and senior care center received $55,000 in cash and technology services.

“This is the greatest Mother’s Day,” Southwest Christian Care’s development director, Janice Wright, said while accepting the award. “I will always remember it.”

Southwest Christian Care beat out Families First Inc. and The Georgia Cancer Coalition for the award, which includes $25,000 in TechBridge consulting services, $25,000 in Microsoft software and a $5,000 cash grant.

Southwest Christian Care plans create an automated system to centralize patient data and program statistics. Currently, patient records, demographics and satisfaction surveys are kept on paper and in spreadsheets making analysis time consuming.

Digitization the information will help the non-profit better evaluate effectiveness of programs and services, and help with planning and fundraising.

Southwest Christian Care “won because they had an innovative vision of using technology in a way that’s really going to impact lives of the people that they service,” TechBridge’s Carrie Bates said.

The highlight of the evening, for me, was the after-party in the Marriott’s 41st floor vice presidential suite. Hosted by staffing outfit Hunter Technical Resources Inc., it was a chocolate-and-karaoke affair, where the Johnny Walker and air-kisses flowed freely.

Guests included Travelport’s Mark Ryan, Beazer Homes‘ Cindy Tierney, Elavon‘s Chris Kenyon and Sig Moseley, Atlanta’s unwitting godfather of angel investing.

The star – however – was the top hat-wearing Steele, who worked the room like he does most mornings from the OK Cafe’s Booth No. 61.

Read more: Atlanta Business Chronicle: Techbridge Digital Ball draws tech stars

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The 2010 Digital Ball

May 8th, 2010 was the 10th anniversary of the Digital Ball which is the Black Tie extravaganza benefiting TechBridge. This was one of the finest of them all. A stellar crowd of Atlanta’s technology who’s who were present. To learn more about TechBridge and the great work they are doing in our community, go to

My good friend and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Urvaksh Karkari and his lovely wife were also in attendance. This is Urvaksh’s blog about last night:

Make your plans now for the 2011 Digital Ball!


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