3 min read

Life's Lessons from Historic Blizzard Nemo

As I run to the store and prepare for the Historic Winter Strom Nemo to hit and dump 2 feet of snow on us, I'm brought back to my childhood and the Blizzard of 66'. Back home in Syracuse NY we were use to these storms. I actually lived on the edge of what's known as the 'Snow Belt', where the Great Lakes affected the weather and the snow would absolutely bury you. In fact while at SU, we use to have a consecutive snow day pool where the under / over of days was in the 30s.

Blizzard Nemo

January 29 '- February 2 1966 was the most amazing blizzard of my life; over 6 feet of snow in just a few days. It was so intense that all storms there after, were just a dusting in my opinion. I remember waking up and noticing it was dark downstairs because you could not see out of any of the windows. Without smart phones and the Internet my sister and I made pasta, we played board games and played cards together day after day.

My dad and I made a fortune plowing driveways after the storm of '66, once one was done we didn't have to drive very far before someone else would come running out of their house asking for us to help. Spending many a storm in the truck with Dad was the greatest inspiration of my life. He taught me things like 'If you're going to do something, do it right or don't bother', 'If it ant broke don't fix it' and 'All pigs get slaughtered in the end; don't be a pig'. It's these values that inspired me to create CommonPlaces in 1998 and we put these practices to work every day.


  • If you're going to do something, do it right or don't bother. At CommonPlaces, we are dedicated to providing the best services and solutions to our clients. We refuse to launch or provide services we are not proud of. If we come across a project that we cannot complete to the client's expectations, we will point them in the right direction and then immediately begin training ourselves so we are prepared for the next project.


  • If it ant broke don't fix it. We want what's best for our clients and so we'll recommend staying in Drupal 6 instead of upgrading to Drupal 7 if a client's website or application is working. Although Drupal 7 has some fantastic updates, we won't push it upon anyone who does not need it.


  • All pigs get slaughtered in the end; don't be a pig. I think this is the most important lesson my dad ever taught me. I've surrounded myself with employees who are honest and selfless with our clients as well as each other. They treat each other with honesty and respect and they are always willing to help each other out.


As the saying goes 'times, they are a changing.' Instead of being essentially blind sighted and unprepared for the Historic Blizzard Nemo, my employees are working safely from home. With Internet VOIP phones, office calls can be answered at home and with Internet access, all files can be reached and e-mails will be answered. All of our services are in the cloud and can be accessed anywhere. We are all on Skype talking to each other like any other day. If the power goes out, all we have to do is find a coffee shop with power and we can access all files, projects and e-mails.

MonopolyMy Dad's values is what makes CommonPlaces such a special place to work and It's my goal to instill these values in my own children. I have every intention of sending them out to shovel the driveway and then sit down for a game of Monopoly or Dominos, while teaching them the importance of doing things the right way, working hard, working together and being an honest and good person.

Stay safe and enjoy the storm. So turn off your iPhone, iPad and PC and take out a deck of cards and Monopoly. So light a fire in that fireplace you never use. Play Dominoes with your children and significant other. Spend time with your family and build lasting memories. Have an actual conversation without looking down to see who's texted you. You'll be amazed at what takes place. That's what I'm going to do. Then it will be one of those lasting memories like the blizzard of 66' in CNY.

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