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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Respectable

I was watching a loser grinding to make a mark at a party. The more he tried, the worse he did. It was drunk and ugly.

Suddenly I got it. To gain respect, you have to be respectable.

Changed my relationship with the word. Previously respectable was nose in the air, Viennese middle class, not much use.

Now respectable is a lot less formal. Able to be respected. Familiar territory. Respectable has a lot to do with listening kindly.

Exploring Respectable will be a project this year. How do you see it?

Start the New Year right! Come join us for The Direct Economy - How Can You Benefit From The Strongest Economy In The History Of The World? At The Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP) January 12, 6 pm, Chevy Chase RSVP Here

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Science Is Making

 


I was introduced to Phil Justus of the Rockville Science Center by a friend who is both a volunteer for RSC and a judge for the Washington Academy of Sciences Junior Academy.

We are all in violent agreement, that the only reason to learn science is to do science, and the more science you do, the more you learn.

Phil had a lovely riff about transforming the typical playground into a physics lab, showing levers, pulleys, centrifugal force, gravity, and a host of other concepts that could get a five-year-old ready for advanced placement work. All it would take are some descriptive plaques near each piece of equipment explaining a concept and showing how to set up an experiment. (For instance, move the plank on a seesaw to compensate for different weight on each end.) 


The RSC organizes Science Cafes bringing knowledgeable speakers to present to interested citizens. They are organizing behind the scenes science expeditions to the Smithsonian, trips to Rockville area archeological sites, robotic science camps, and an upcoming geology camp.

Phil and the RSC are looking for people to celebrate science as participants, activity organizers, fundraisers, and almost anything else you might want to do. Think of the program as continuing education for the whole community.

As your New Year Resolution, why not put some science in your life?

Consider: The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed.
Did you ever notice, no matter how hard you do the wrong thing, it never quite works?
The Direct Economy will give you a better understanding of what is changing and how you can win at the new game. RSVP Here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Disruptive Technology


Technology is the way we do things. Disruptive means we have changed.

Here is a disruptive technology story, from planning for the new year.

As a sales executive, I travel to client sites. For the Washington market, Alexandria Drafting Company (who Jack knows as “ADC” from when he was piloting cement trucks) had a great set of maps, either by county or the big book. I needed both since some government installations are pretty far out, like Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

Every year, first week of January, I would go to Price Club <dated> and get my new set for the year and move the previous year’s maps to my office for planning purposes. Old maps don’t hurt planning as much as they hurt arriving.

ADC was interactive. I sent them letters and later emails documenting changes in roads, and they responded in weeks and a year or two later incorporated the changes. I was part of their tribe.

Then Google Maps came out and I would chart my routes every morning. (Ignoring the first five directions. I can often find the nearest highway to home). ADC had been disrupted.

Researching this post I searched for the ADC website. Their inventory has been acquired by an aggregator, where I saw the maps I used in the New York area and New England. The last iceman always makes money.

My wife uses an iPhone. We were out in Virginia when they shut down Interstate 81. She interactively found us to our destination. My printer has been disrupted with the only compelling argument for a smartphone.

Smartphone went on my “want” list, which is pages longer than my “need” list.

How have you noticed you are effected by disruptive technology?

Join us December 13th at the Capital Technology Management Hub Launching A Green Technology Startup for Sales Lab’s How to Convey Your Business Personality - Easily, Simply, and For Free! Good times! Great crowd! Sterling presenters!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Unexpected Value

I chair and attend a lot of meetings.

I attend a monthly meeting which is a huge frustration. We have an agenda, which I would rate at 25 minutes, which month after month takes over two hours.

The new leader, at his first meeting said, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” After a few months he’s been beaten into puzzled acceptance.

I got a new glimmer this week while doing some other work. If I look at the aggregate value for all the participants (even as they are decreasing), there is a big number missing. Then I figured out what it was.

If we figure in the value for “How do I look when I am saying this?” I can better see the total rewards, and they are exceptional.

What is the cost of “How do I look?” in your meetings?

Get More Value From Your Blog! Join us at BlogLab - Improve Your Blogs! Thursday December 8, 8:30 am - 1 pm. Learn more at http://bit.ly/WMRBlogLab

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flipping Education For Better



Yesterday at Cory Doctorow’s presentation, Bill Van Dyke told me about how the Khan Academy is changing education for the better.

Rather than using class time for lectures, students watch ten minute videos and do computerized exercises on their own time. When they get ten answers in a row, they move up a level. The internet teaches, tracks progress, issues achievement badges, shows areas for improvement.

What do teachers do? Khan makes the point that when teachers lecture, grade, and keep records, they spend less than five percent of their time teaching. With Khan support, they spend most of their time working with students, doing group experiments.

Khan Academy is free and approaching 3,000 online lessons. I’ll be trying some during the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

A blog is a terrible thing to waste! Our next presentation is BlogLab - Improve Your Blogs! Thursday December 8, 8:30 am - 1 pm. Learn more at http://bit.ly/WMRBlogLab

Friday, November 11, 2011

Foundering

Stephen Chapman has an interesting post on ZDNet

The post energetically extends and embellishes the title.

Comments were divided:
  • Jimmy Wales is smarter than you and Wikipedia doesn’t need ads; and
  • Asking for donations feels like the guy who comes up to your car at a stoplight and sprays dirty water on the windshield.
Again, the comments embellish and extend commenters’ positions.

My comment was
Great idea! Ads aren't intrusive and Wikipedia has a huge reader base.
Unfortunately the point I got from this is Wikipedia is an open sourced plus founder management structure which is a pity,
  1. showing the indomitable strength of open sourced management, and
  2. the sad results of a founder who doesn't know what he doesn't know, or any limits.
    Thank you, Stephen, for an incredible lesson.

Open sourced management is a current game-changer, outperforming command and control management. There are good and bad examples of each, but open sourced is more efficient. Pick your own examples, they are out there.

Wikipedia today shows another model. Open sourced plus founder management.

New concept. We’re all equal, except the guys making the rules should be able to get away with things the rest of us can’t.

Should we call it foundering?

Manage your blog like an asset! Come to BlogLab - Improve Your Blogs! Thursday December 8, 8:30 am - 1 pm. Learn more at http://bit.ly/WMRBlogLab

Monday, November 7, 2011

It’s Not The Technology...

I was with a friend who sang the chorus of “I don’t do technology” more times than I had verses.

He wistfully wondered where all the dialing-for-dollars sales jobs have gone. I disrecall he liked them much, either.

Coincidence?

James Patterson gets much better rewards from moveable type than Johannes Gutenberg ever did.

It’s not the raw technology. It’s what you figure out to do with it.

How are you adapting technology for the world?

Next Up! BlogLab - Improve Your Blogs! Thursday December 8, 8:30 am - 1 pm. Learn more at http://bit.ly/WMRBlogLab

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Follow Through

When learning the long jump, I was taught the jump wasn’t complete until I was out of the pit. That kept me from falling backward and losing total distance.

In golf, I get more distance when I exaggerate the follow-through at the end of my swing. The ball also goes in the direction I want.

This month, I was working with a team putting together some documentation. I set a delivery date. The customer picked a later delivery date, which some of my team-mates took as permission to extend their schedules.

Then the customer suddenly moved the date forward, giving 24 hour notice before the new, shortened delivery date. One of my teammates burped about the rush, and I observed if we had kept to our original schedule, we would have been fine.

That brought back memories of doing a lot of proposals, where some teams routinely had to pull “all-nighters” to deliver on time. I built a schedule so my teams would finish a week early, which let us take some leisurely time for a final check, applying If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now. We had an excellent win percentage with record low histrionics.

When I’m designing sales programs, I want the average player to achieve their weekly activity goal by Wednesday. There’s a week or two of, “You mean I can just go home?” followed by a practice where we execute some interesting ideas in the last two days of each week and often end up creating another week’s worth of production.

I don’t know where Finish Late In A Scrambling Panic comes from, but my experience is that neither the customers nor the providers profit from it.

What’s your story?

The Capital Technology Management Hub Startup Challenge is Tuesday, November 8, 6 pm at George Mason University. At this event, audience rules! We need audience, start-ups, interested parties. Come investigate Sales Lab’s new business! See the future up close and personal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Last Call

I was reading some old notes about why to celebrate failure, a slippery subject, maybe a mental game.

Then I realized that if I don’t announce my failures, it’s harder to move on.

Can’t have a breakthrough, without declaring the breakdown.

Otherwise I spend all my focus grieving, hanging on to a mental closetful of busted attempts.

Burn the suckers. Light ’em on fire and dance in the light.

Start something new in the morning.

Wotcher think?

The Capital Technology Management Hub Startup Challenge is Tuesday, November 8, 6pm at GMU. At this event, audience rules! We need audience, startups, interested parties. Come evaluate my new business! Come see the future up close and personal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Comment!

One advantage of posting to the internet is the huge audience. Somebody seems to find value in most anything.

What you post is how you are experienced, your electronic personality.

A second advantage is the ability to comment, to add to the discussion. Commenting is a developed skill, a habit. You get better the more you try.

Comments add different points to the original idea, and often reinforce the author’s idea.

Comments take can take the initial post in a whole new direction. When Jack Gates posted The New Normal, we were working to define a radically changed economy and how to use it.

Jack was picked up by over a dozen outlets and received almost a hundred comments. One group got quite active debating the meaning of the word “normal.” I suspect the later commenters weren’t even reading Jack’s post. They were developing a strong riff from the comments.

Not all the comments I get make sense to me, but often spark further comments and passionate debate. Once you let an idea go into the world, you can’t control how it develops. You can experience power beyond your own work.

David Sloan Wilson, the evolutionist, has done some studies that show that the perception of beauty and social rank are based on behavior that moves the species forward, not necessarily specific individuals.

The first thesis of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the book that started social media, is “All markets are conversations,” meaning more than one way. Television was the one way medium.

Develop your thinking in the big arena. Comment early and often.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Evolution For Everyone

David Sloan Wilson’s Evolution For Everyone is a wonderful, important book on many levels.

The book contains the story of a beginning evolutionary biologist’s stories of interesting fieldwork, then becoming an “Evolutionist,” expanding the study of evolution beyond biology, which creates a strain when a new field of study threatens many practitioners of older fields of study.

The book tells the story of setting up and growing a population of practice in a new area, or significant rewards for many of the practitioners, and the value of looking at existing data from past experiments with a new point of view.

Along the way, Evolution For Everyone provides some fascinating insights into murder statistics in Chicago, what is beauty, what is laughter, and the purposes of dancing. I read that last night, and today my world is quite different.

Wilson is an optimistic writer, who clearly sees the revolution of academic publishing, taking advantage of new technologies to spread the news. He is a careful author, giving the reader a privileged ride.

As politicians speak mindlessly about the need of innovation, Evolution For Everyone is a case study of useful innovation happening right now.

Your comments appreciated!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mentors

I met a “professional mentor” last week. He is going to help some deserving senior managers. Not surprisingly, no one is buying.

I’ve been treated to some astonishing mentors. In every case they were working full time on their own needs, and I became a lot sharper helping out.

I remember when I came home from college and was pressed into a crew taking up the carpet after the Auto Show in New York City. I had never done that in my life. Neither had any of the others.

We cleaned out three floors in eight hours. That was a lot of carpet. The boss spent three years selling the carpet wherever he found a buyer.

He started as a union plumber, and when work was slow one winter, he bought a lot in the country and built a three story home...by himself. That’s scary, figuring out how to hoist and secure rafters in snow and ice, when no one is there if you fall. A dangerous course in applied thinking. He was the safest guy I ever worked with, and we got some extremely hairy results. 

While I was in school, following my mentor, I started a company building out a natural stone foundation for a revolutionary war era church, another company applying lead paint to a water purification plant. He provided answers, when I asked, that made the projects succeed.

After I graduated, I took my grand tour, made a movie and some records and came back home. My mentor, had located plans to build two perfect carpenter’s boxes. One for me, one for him. As long as I was back, why wouldn’t I come over for a couple of evenings?

We were admiring our new boxes over a couple of his beers, when I said it looked like I was going to have to start a construction company. I said, “I don’t want to do it in New Jersey!”

He looked at me for a minute and then said, “Well, where do you want to do it?” I had to admit there were no other options. And so Charger Construction took flight, and the General Contractors who already knew us and hired us kept asking which one was Charlie and which one was Jerry?

My mentor has one son who is a bush pilot in Alaska, and another who is a senior manager in a petroleum company in San Francisco. The oil guy was in a couple of my bands, and we went to meet Jerry Garcia when I lived in Sausalito.

Mentoring isn’t about advice, it’s about doing things that need to be done, and learning who you are as a result.

That mentor taught me to write down what I get done every day, so when I have to estimate how long something will take, I have some actuals. He also cautioned me not to factor out the mistakes, as I would always be making new ones. That has always proven true.

Still have my perfect carpenter’s box.

Who are your mentors?

SalesLabs Rainmaker series returns to the Capital Technology Management Hub, Tuesday, September 13th with 300 seconds of Mark Your Territory. The featured CTMH speaker will be Professor Steve Gladis, author of The Agile Leader. Come join us!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

After BlogLab #3 - Content and Social Media


This one comes from Carol Covin...

If you see something good for the group, send it over.

You know how I love stats. Two more ways to track Twitter and Facebook. Best, Carol
 

What was the best thing you learned from the post?

SalesLab’s Rainmaker series returns to the Capital Technology Management Hub, Tuesday, September 13th with 300 seconds of Mark Your Territory. The featured CTMH speaker will be Professor Steve Gladis, author of The Agile Leader. Come join us!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

After BlogLab #2 Why People's Use of Blogs Dominates Use of Twitter and Facebook

Blogs are persistent, provide a searchable base, and  longer-lived (almost permanent?) record.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2011/08/19/why-peoples-use-of-blogs-dominates-use-of-twitter-and-facebook/ 

SalesLab’s Rainmaker series returns to the Capital Technology Management Hub, Tuesday, September 13th with 300 seconds of Mark Your Territory. The featured CTMH speaker will be Professor Steve Gladis, author of The Agile Leader. Come join us!


 





Monday, August 22, 2011

After BlogLab Email #1 Commenting



Julie Perlmutter and I designed a new training for improving corporate blogging operations, modeled after the Sales Lab Status Meetings. This was a one time, interactive presentation for bloggers and managers investigating how to improve their blogging programs.

Most of the participants got the BlogLab handout a week before the program. We told everyone it was the handout, with no assignment. I like to know what is coming at a meeting, and we hoped the participants would bring information. Boy did they ever!

Since the event, I have been receiving a flood of good information, which I have been sending to the participants, one each day. We decided the stream was too good to keep to ourselves, so I’m posting them on Through The Browser, about a week late, catching up.

Post #1 Commenting

The comment function can be used as an important asset for blogging.

Comments increase the meaning, understanding, believability, and importance of a post.

Comments can turn a single post into an enduring destination.

Comments can show rookies what the veterans have learned, create a cadre across time.

See how this post was improved by the comments over time.

Please leave your BlogLab comment here

Thank you,

SalesLab’s Rainmaker series returns to the Capital Technology Management Hub, Tuesday, September 13th with 300 seconds of Mark Your Territory. The featured CTMH speaker will be Professor Steve Gladis, author of The Agile Leader. Come join us!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

War of Art


A post is a sprint. Keeping an active blog for years is a marathon.

A sales presentation is a sprint. Winning a sale and delivering the intended result is a marathon.

Infatuation is a sprint. A relationship is a marathon.

A sprint is a technique, part of a marathon.

There are many books about keeping the nose to the grindstone. A lot of rock’n’roll, too.

Jackson Browne’s The Pretender was always my favorite, until he did For A Dancer at Bill Graham’s memorial.

The problem is most of these commentaries tend to mushroom into a belief system, and then a behavior system, as adherents add paint jobs, and performance decals, and fuzzy dice to the frame.

Many of us have a fascination with the trappings of doing better work. Marc Andreessen called it “productivity prΓΈn.” Finding a better way is worth celebrating.

Steven Pressfield wrote one of my favorite books this summer. The Profession is a very useful fiction. I decided to read his other books.

War of Art is not fiction. It is a stripped-down examination about the act of being productive.

It’s a three hour read that changed my understanding of what I do.

It has some amazing distinctions, like the difference between a fundamentalist and an artist, which have resorted a lot of what I believe.

A very useful book.

Blah, Blah Blog is this afternoon, so you’ve probably missed it. You can still take advantage of BlogLab, coming August 16.  at the Web Managers Roundtable, We’ll be investigating how to develop a high impact repeatable blogging operation that makes a difference.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Culture

If culture is the organizational behavior that is not written in the rules, what happens to your culture when you add a lot of rules?

Or,

Software is the written record of an organization’s culture.

What do you think?

Check out Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9. We’ll be investigating how to develop a high impact repeatable blogging operation that makes a difference.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Newspapers. Do You Get One?

Newspapers. Do You Get One? is a post by Carol Covin, a passionate polymath and a helluva blogger.

She’s an author, a coder, a cancer researcher, a trainer of grandmothers, grandchildren (and those in between), a sharp observer of where we’ve been and where we are going...Nope. This is not going to get it.

Let me describe Carol this way – I have never read one of her posts without being profoundly glad I did. I can’t think of any higher praise. She is the real deal. 

The money quote from Newspapers. Do You Get One? was, “Reading about all the tragedies in the world does not keep you informed. It is just an overload of sadness.” And the rest is also real good.

Carol is going to be a panelist with me at Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9. We’ll be discussing how to develop a high impact repeatable blogging operation that makes a difference.

Please join us!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Taste For Makers

Zach Yates sent over a great quote leading to an amazing 2002 blog post, Taste for Makers

It takes confidence to throw work away … When people first start drawing, they’re often reluctant to redo parts that aren’t right … they convince themselves that the drawing is not that bad, really — in fact, maybe they meant it to look that way. - Paul Graham, Taste for Makers


Taste for Makers is a rewarding, enlightening read. Reward yourself!

Come back and tell us what was the best thing you learned?

Check out Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9, and BlogLab, coming August 16. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Integrity


I see three levels of integrity.

Soon after someone learns that integrity is keeping your promises, they reason that if they don’t make any promises, they can have perfect integrity.

Then they discover nobody cares. Some never go beyond.

The next step is to make and keep appropriate promises, depending on what you can handle and your capability.

Finally, because life is a rodeo, integrity is making the promises that need to be made and then finding ways to keep them.

What’s your level?

Check out Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9, and BlogLab, coming August 16.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LinkedIn Success


Jeff Cole recommended Wayne Breitbarth’s The Power Formula For LinkedIn Success, so I read it. Took about 90 easy minutes.

I have written about improving LinkedIn profiles and given some presentations, so I was interested in how Wayne would approach it.

The good news he is concentrating so hard on being useful, his beliefs don’t show up. Whatever you think you want to make of LinkedIn, that’s what he recommends, and shows you how to do it. He’s obviously got a lot of experience at being effective and the book is a delight to read.

Best thing I learned from The Power Formula For LinkedIn Success? How to have my LinkedIn profile allow more than one email address, so when someone wants to contact me with a different email address, they can. 

Check out Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9, and BlogLab, coming August 16. 

Comments? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Reading

I read two strong books last week, and when someone remarked on the quality of my recommendations, I thought I remembered they were found on a blog post.

Sure enough, they were the first two picks on Seth Godin’s Summer Reading List.

Steven Pressfield’s The Profession is a near future social fantasy, much like Makers. These books can take our current situation, extend it, and show probable results.

The concept I took from The Profession is that we are all essentially family first, then tribe, and only the most fortunate get to anything bigger than that. Americans have been lucky to have a national idea, even from before de Tocqueville wrote about it.

Professional diplomats desperately want to see a larger, more civilized view of human aspiration (full employment for diplomats), the trouble occurs when they consistently expect something that isn’t there.

Steven Levy’s In The Plex How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives is my third major Google book. Like John Battelle’s The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture and Ken Auletta’s Googled:The End of the World as We Know It, In The Plex covers the early innings but also adds insights and stories into Google’s six front war. I was reading Levy’s definition of Google +1 just as I became aware of it, History showing the future!

In The Plex has stories of more than a dozen of Google’s top contributors, and we see them going from project to project, how they attack and solve never-before-solved problems, which sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Overall, the side with the bias toward action is the side to bet on.

It’s harder to write about the positive aspects of a situation. Much easier to trash Google’s aspirations because they aren’t complete yet. Still, a lot of Google projects are becoming understood, and even supported by subsequent projects, so the success of setting out to harness the world’s information is becoming evident.

You have to do more work to figure out what is working. In doing so, Levy is also providing a coherent picture of why Google wins, with lessons to emulate.

I am deep into Google, and I was saddened by the “we all know” dismissal of Buzz. I use the heck out of it, it’s a major part of my arsenal, because I’ve figured out what Buzz can do for me that I can’t get anywhere else.

I guess some people have a fear of being too positive, but I now look on any Google failure as “not done, yet.

Reading In The Plex reminds of the mantra of that football team from Green Bay. “Nobody beats the Packers. Sometimes the clock runs out on them.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HTML 5 - Google at AOL

Last week, AOL hosted the National Capital Area Google Technical User Group.

In AOL’s lobby, they had HiDef video presentations, the kind AOL has been perfecting since the 1990s. They are getting sharper with new technology and better production values, but the use of post-TV video has been an AOL feature for as long as I can remember.

Google’s Arne Roomann-Kurrik and AOL’s Dave Artz were giving HTML 5 demonstrations, HTML 5 – The Wow and the How, HTML 5 Rocks, and HTML 5.com. It was diverting, flapping graphics and wavy type.

I couldn’t see the value, although I have seen enough new stuff to realize I am somewhere between a late adopter and a reluctant adopter.

The next morning I was watching the TV advertisements interrupting the weather and saw the same flapping graphics and wavy type I saw as HTML 5 the night before!

Cable companies are doing a fantastic job of driving people away from TV. (“With the shift to HDTV you will need a cable subscription,” “The problem is you need to buy a new computer,” “You will need to buy a different service if you want the same basic channels on both televisions sets,” “Your service has stopped as a result of our upgrade,” “During our maintenance we removed your information from our server...no, that won’t affect your billing,” and “Would you like to purchase a premium channel package today?”

As people are driven to reliable post-television entertainment, AOL has the programming, and HTML5 has the low bandwidth way to provide the industrial light and magic we are used to watching on TV. Be nice to see AOL winning in a different niche.

I am sure there are other benefits, but for me, HTML 5 increases the entertainment options from computers.

Comments?

Come to the Capital Technology Management Hub, June 14th, for Sales Lab Rainmaker #6: ‘Networking - Are You Being Served?’ 
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keef Curator

I’m reading Keith Richards’ Life. A powerful book on many levels.

Recommended by a client, I was like his wife Patti, saying that everyone knows the Rolling Stones, just don’t know who they are.

Keef became credible for me early on when when he explained his fascination with 5 string open guitar tuning. He explained why he liked it, why it is useful, but then acknowledged where it came from...1920’s, American South, Sears Catalog, Gibson guitars, banjos.

With that one example he became my credible guide, taking me through a lot of new territory about the advantages of drugs(?), government abuse, the creative process, parenting, who wrote Chuck Berry's songs, and the skinny on maintaining a top performing best-in-the-world organization for over 40 years.

That is a lot of territory, mostly new ways of thinking for me, and he kept his credibility by backing up his conclusions with personal observation and including other pertinent information...curation.

Last week, Doc Searls wrote how media outfits are no longer linking to original sources. My original thought was, “Prezackly why I don’t believe them.”

Doc had an explanation from middle management: We want to be stickier, keep people on our site. That’s how we justify plagiarizing other people’s work.

Great! Justify your actions when you don’t know what you are doing. Another example of incompetent hierarchy.

I’ve given up on any newsreader knowing what they are talking about. After reading Keef’s unconventional scholarship, I realize that with the flood of information easily available now, a key skill becomes finding the real information, beyond some airhead’s dramatic misreading of a press release’s headline.

It’s perfectly all right for a media outlet to not acknowledge sources. There is no approved book of rules. The uses of the internet are increasing, the users of the internet are increasing, and how people use the internet is changing.

I just hope readers will develop the habit of verifying sources, and frequent the writers curating useful knowledge.

Come to the Capital Technology Management Hub, June 14th, for Sales Lab Rainmaker #6: ‘Networking - Are You Being Served?’ 

Comments?  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Website For One

Bruce asked for some pointers about putting up a personal website. He’s a content consumer more than an author, and needed a personal website as a prototype for a new project. That would usually involve getting a domain, server space, hiring someone to do the work, building something, updating, and on it goes.

I suggested taking a half hour and putting up a Google Profile instead. “Decide what the world sees when it searches for you” is their headline.

I have had my profile for six months and have been told it is the best navigation site connecting three websites, four blogs, several social networks, and a host of other projects. Plus, the Buzz tab shows all my blog posts from several places.

Bruce had his profile up the next day, showcasing his experience and his blog posts, providing a starting point on the Web. Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, a viewer doesn’t have to be a member to see everything.
Since the URL’s for Google Profiles are complex, I use http://bit.ly/DickDavies, and Bruce uses http://bit.ly/BruceWon for publicizing the sites. 

Comments?
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Tee Up For Power

I got blasted on a discussion site. A three week n00b posted that my post wasn't pertinent to what she thought the site should be about.

It was her first post on a site where I have been assistant mayor for a couple of years.

I didn't respond, what could I say?

Then a bud came to my rescue, and explained what I couldn't, without being self-serving.

Here's the neat part. Two weeks ago, my bud had gone out of her way, introducing me to prospects at a face-to-face event. It was wonderful.

A couple of days later I was marveling at my good fortune, and thought, “What could I do for her?” I want to encourage her behavior.

So I described what she had done and posted it as her first recommendation.

Then two weeks later, she is paving the road in front of me...again!

I was taught to “tee up” or make a thoughtful, positive introduction of my teammates. Now I realize I've got team I wasn't even counting.

Comments?

Friday, May 6, 2011

What Was The Best Thing You Learned?


I ask that question a lot. Probably my most useful tool.

You see, I don't learn much by myself. Most of the really important stuff I know I either read or am told. I even write blog posts reporting the results.

I really want to know the answer, as other people regularly tell me things that are better than what I heard.

Asking at the end of a meeting uncovers key themes, important details, and next steps which allow me to reconstruct the other details of the meeting.

Asking during a meeting keeps the discussion from bogging down and shows new directions.

Knowing I am going to be answering that question molds how I listen, which sharpens my understanding.

Once I was leaving a major meeting at Pax River with my technical partner, his boss, and my boss. I started the car and and my partner turns to the back seat and asks, “Well, what was the best thing you learned?”

The bosses were stopped, unprepared, had no idea, so one asked why he asked?

“Well, Dick always asks me when we get in the car.”

I hadn't known that. And I've remembered ever since.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Changing Computing Paradigms

I am observing two paradigms of how to use computers, one new, one old.

The old one, call it the Microsoft Paradigm, is You can compute with the support of a paid expert. A friend called the other day and asked if I knew someone who could fix her computer. I asked what was wrong? Nothing, but her old expert was no longer doing that work.

I call it the Microsoft Paradigm, not because Microsoft did anything wrong, but because 30 years ago, Microsoft was the open computing system. They offered freedom and our whole computing expectation grew up around Microsoft products.

Your option back then? Punch your program on the cards, desk check, and take it to the mainframe. You'll get it back...sometime.

That computing with a retained guru is being replaced by the Google Paradigm, Go ahead, figure out how to do it by yourself. Google Paradigm because there are already too many Web 2.0 Paradigms, and Millennium Paradigm is too broad to apply to computing.

The older paradigm, You can compute with the support of a paid expert, became highly developed, with help desks, escalations, trouble ticketing software, three tier support, and other rites. It made computing everywhere. I admire the druids of this paradigm, they had magic skills, and they like me.

What bothered me was six druids would come up with six fixes for the same problem...and they all worked. Instead of the One True Fix, were we worshiping false fixes?

Eighteen months ago, I wrote how the largest government contractors were already forecasting the end of this paradigm. If we spend our time looking at other people's websites, how much fix can we do?

Over the past 6 years, my paid support got less and less supportive. Often when my computer was bust, I would go back to old notes and propose a previous fix to my druid du jour. It was often new to them. I remember one year when we launched three commercial websites and each time I had to remind the developers to uncheck the box that made it available only to Microsoft Explorer. By the the third website, I could solve that problem in a minute.

For my personal productivity, I had to become fluent in Gmail. For years, the one thing Microsoft Outlook could do that I couldn't do in Gmail was email merge. There were supporting programs, but I wanted the elegant solution.

This winter, supporting a tribe of 200 scientists and technologists judging school Science Fairs for the Washington Academy of Sciences Junior Academy, I used three different methods all native in Gmail. The slickest was Create a Mail Merge with Gmail and Google Docs which had me complete a mailing, from a cold start, in fifteen minutes. Four minute video, and then I panicked, where was the spreadsheet he used? A link, two paragraphs down, and I was good to go. We now have useful technical documentation standards for the non-technical, overcoming the old standard, “Of course it is hard to understand, it was hard for me to program!

The newer paradigm, Go ahead, figure out how to do it by yourself, is aided when users put their knowledge on the internet, and other users are able to find and use it.

Last night I went to a Google Technical User Group meeting, where Chida had arranged for Google's Saurabh Gupta to show us , Google Apps Script - Begin To End. Google Apps Script allows each user to build what they want, in less time that it would take to explain it to a paid professional.

Naturally, the first time confidence is an issue, but even in The Mythical Man Month, the advice is when building a system, plan to build two, and throw the first one away. Google Apps Script allows you to build and test in minutes, fine tuning in a few more minutes.

Saurabh's parting advice defined the new paradigm. “Apps Script Documentation is great, the Forum is active, the Gallery is large, and the Blog is always changing.”

Join us!
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