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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Bidding My Training Dept. Goodbye

Uploaded: Mar 25, 2015

I was laid off from my job as a Tech Writer for Relevant Business Systems, a software company in Bishop Ranch, on the last day of 2002. Other employees had been laid off in October and November, so it came as a surprise to me that I was kept through the Christmas party.

I was President of the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) that year. Judy Herr was President the prior year and she was interested in forming her own consulting business. I thought we could be partners; so I incorporated my company name, My Training Dept., Inc.

Judy started her own company, Well Chosen Words, without me. I had a few well-chosen words for her, but I'll refrain from including them here. In the long run it was probably for the best since I doubt Judy and I would have made good partners.

My first job through My Training Dept. was writing Crystal Reports training manuals for Howard Hammerman. I knew Hammerman from the Compu*Serve Crystal Reports discussion boards.

When I started at Relevant I was handed a box with Crystal Reports software and designated the Crystal Reports expert. Crystal Reports had nothing to do with written reports. It was a data extraction application that formatted reports from relational databases.

So now I not only wrote, rewrote, and updated 17 User Guides on Relevant's ERP applications, I also designed reports using the new Crystal Reports application. I liked doing it. It wasn't heavy duty programming but enough of a challenge to be interesting.

If I came up against a challenge I couldn't handle on my own, I would post a question on the Compu*Serve Crystal Reports Forum and Howard Hammerman would usually have the answer. So that's how I got to know Howard.

Howard came out to California on business and I finally got to meet him in person, but I made the mistake of inviting him to meet me at Relevant. This did not sit well with my bosses, even though Howard helped me use Crystal. So when I was laid off at the end of 2002, I negotiated a contract with Hammerman to write his Crystal Reports training manuals.

That was the start of My Training Dept. I later dropped the incorporation because it was costing me $800 a year which I could not afford, but I kept the name My Training Dept. for business purposes.

Now my blogs are the only business I use for My Training Dept. I bill Embarcadero Publishing once a month and I keep a business account at Wells Fargo bank. There isn't enough reason to retain the My Training Dept. name or bank account. So when my DBA (Doing Business As) expires this year, so will My Training Dept. I plan to auction off the domain name through Go Daddy.

After I accepted the $500 offer for and wrote my blog about An Unexpected Windfall, a poster named Tim replied that I should have gotten at least a thousand dollars for it.

I probably could have gotten more than $500 because the buyer really needed that domain, but I did a search on Go Daddy for "Training", and there are over a dozen Training domains listed for sale with no offers. So I won't set my sights too high.

I don't remember if I registered "San Ramon Observer" as a DBA, but that probably expired years ago. I observe on a lot more than San Ramon these days, so I'm not sure which name to start using. I shall probably just bill under my own name. I was informed recently that I'm the only Rosalind L. Rogoff in the USA. That should be sufficiently unique for writing and billing my blogs.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Mar 26, 2015 at 7:35 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Trade mark your name.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 27, 2015 at 1:32 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Which name? My Training Dept? or Rosalind L. Rogoff? I know there are people, mostly movie stars, who trademark their name so trolls can't use them (or not legally) to start unauthorized and sometimes nasty websites against them. I'm not famous or rich enough for that.


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Mar 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I was referring to Rosalind L. Rogoff?

You are famous enough around here!

You never know, fifty years down the road someone comes across a Rosalind L. Rogoff blog, or maybe a photo you published, wants to reprint it, it could be worth royalties, then there is the intellectual property rights, your teachings, technical writings, but, the firms that employed you may own your rights in that regard.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 27, 2015 at 3:59 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


in 50 years I would be 122 years old. I've read that people are living a lot longer now, but I don't want to live that long!

Hammerman owns the rights to my Crystal Reports training manuals. He must have made a lot of money on them because he wrote a glowing recommendation for me on Linked In. Despite the great reviews, I haven't had any job offers from Linked In.

Jane Austen never trademarked her name and it is used all over the place today, almost 200 years after her death. She never married and never had children, so there's no one left today to sue over her name. Not that I'm comparing myself to Jane Austen!

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 26, 2015 at 4:05 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I decided to keep the name My "Training Dept." and mailed the Fictitious Name renewal today. It's worth the $30 renewal fee and makes it easier to keep my business account separate from my personal accounts.


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