As I drive off to vacation with family and celebrate my birthday, I think of a someone with whom I’m proud to share this day: Jerry Garcia.

Though Jerry has been gone for many years now, I still remember him as a unique and original innovator. The Grateful Dead guitarist was more than a musician and an artist; he was an icon. Maybe I’m getting a little sentimental, but if Jerry was alive today (and in many ways he still is), he’d have my vote for the 2012 election.

Most people know him as a guitarist who expanded the boundaries of rock and led a fan base that’s proud to be known as “Deadheads,” but Jerry Garcia also had influence in other fields.

  • He was an artist who created colorful and original paintings, several of which were converted into a successful line of neckties.
  • He was a symbol for the counterculture, becoming a voice for the weirdos and outcasts.
  • He was a man who stayed true to his message through countless personal struggles. He left a legacy and an obvious mark on our culture.

So I can say, and I’m sure you’ve gathered, that I am a proud Deadhead. I’m honored to share my birthday with Jerry. And now I’m going to sit back, eat cake, open a couple of presents, and listen to “Ripple”.

Speaking of “Ripple” and birthdays, I must mention another thing that is like a gift to me: Rypple. Rypple is an innovative web-based system that helps members of a company or team share constructive, organized feedback with each other. At a company like Sability where nearly all of our employees are remote, Rypple provides an opportunity for Sability associates to express their thanks for others’ hard work and gives them a forum in which to share goals, accomplishments, and challenges.

Even for those who don’t work remotely, Rypple is a great tool for encouraging communication, an element that you may not know you were missing in your team dynamic until you truly see the results of enhanced conversation. I am proud to be able to say that Sability is the first third-party services firm to work on Rypple implementation.

So, in the spirit of Jerry Garcia, keep on Truckin‘!