Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Organizing Our Thoughts

As discuss in the last post about organization & results. No matter how smart or skillful you are, without organizational skill it will really impact your results.

I always had trouble with executing plans & ideas, not until my job required me to coordinate project tasks. It took me a while to find ways to make sure things get done by others & me. These are some of the little things I find helpful to keep organize & stay focus .

1. Write it down/type it up
Sometimes big insight, idea or solution during a meeting/drive/lunch … then I forget about it the next day. To prevent this, please go & find a space to stop & just write it down … that’s I like Evernote on my smartphone & plain white paper

2. 2-minutes rule (5 min for me)
If something take less than 2 min (or 5 min), do it immediately. By freeing your mind from smaller tasks (such as answering an e-mail), you can focus on the task at hand; Otherwise you might waste more time & energy trying to remember do it later.

3. Written To do list
After working for while, you will realize more & more tasks to do. When you have to keep the things you need to do, you would just get a cluttered mind & cause future distractions … So keep a to-do list. Personally I use the medium size posted notes & stick it on the desk; I tried multiple web solution, there is nothing better than paper.

Honestly, programmer are require to consider multiple facets of the code to make sure nothing breaks. This really make us think faster & have thoughts jumping around. Any improvement in organizational skill does help any of us being more productive.

Trust me, this might seem trivial … it really help to clear the mind & maximize our mental efficiency.

Ideas x Organization = Impact

The first NXNE interactive was in Toronto 2 weeks ago. (it’s the canadian cousin of SXSW)
The location was at small & decent, but when compared to SXSWi, it’s like the Ontario soccer finals vs going to the World Cup. Both were great, but in completely different magnitude.

At SXSWi, I was afraid of to just ask questions or talk to the author. While in the cozier environment at NXNEi, you get to talk to great authors without intimation of a big conference.


One of the excellent author I was able to meet was Scott Belsky (Making Ideas Happen) to get his insights. Scott’s book & talk was about … well … making ideas happen.

I don’t know about you, ideas & solution come to me everyday, but it seems hard to implement any of those ideas. Which is why i’m learning project management.

One idea i found fascinating was a just simple formula:

Creativity x Organization = Impact

     Zero x 50 = Zero
     50 x Zero = Zero
     20 x 5 = 100

Basically you can do the work or create a lot ideas, but if you can’t implement effectively, you can’t get results. We have seen this a lot … we have seen many great idea in IT startups, but not a lot become a successful startup.

At a day-to-day scale, we can generate projects/solutions (idea) everyday/week/month.
If we can’t tracking or implement the solution, you won’t have results.

You don’t have the biggest ideas person, if you have good level of organizational skill … then you can get larger result.


There were tons of detail on how to create impact through some process & skills

Just got the Making Ideas Happen audiobook, can’t wait to learn from & share it.

Content Strategy FTW: New Focus – Soft Skills & IT

The “Content Strategy FTW” session really got me to really look at what’s missing for my blog. In essence, I want to show the the good, the bad & the ugly soft skills can impact IT & how to learn from it.

New Mission:
    “Soft Side of IT: Bettering Soft Skills in Information Technology

Honestly I’m not changing my content, instead by looking at the what, with what,
by whom, to whom, what next; I now know that what’s the intention for this blog.

I’m really looking forward to this focus & I hope you will too!



“Content is King”, Right?
How much time do you spend on it?
Is it just all about selling?

Content Strategy is important, Shouldn’t this be obvious for any website? why is it still bad? That’s what Kristina Halvorson spoke about at the Content Strategy FTW session.

Content Strategy, so what?

Who owns the Content?: Marketing? Corporate Communication? IT? Sales? … Who?
– Projects are focusing on wireframes & functionalities … content can be filled in later by a fresh-grad copywriter in a week. There is a huge gap in the industry where Content is an After-Thought … currently, it just web content is a mess.
Problem: Copywriting != Content strategy
– Content is not just about the What … but it’s also about the
What, Why, How, When, Where, Whom, By whom, how often, What next.
– Content-side needs to be involved from the start (at least, much early than now)
Example of Focusing manage content:

HRBlock.com: (Sell, Sell, SELL – Session used former Quicktax.com)
– Just list prices & just pushing to sell, sell, sell? (Obviously done by sales)
– The content would then link to a list of prices & packages … It’s just a digital salesman … that’s not really content that help
Mint.com: (How can we help)
– Shows readers why are they there? Showing rather than listing benefits?
– Audience matters
Developing content strategically:

Audit: Figure out what your corporate site/personal blog/tweets are about & know why people are looking at it
Ask: What, Why, How, For whom, By whom, With what, When, Where, How often & What next
Analyze: Review values & quality of content & how your audience absorb content?
Align: The strategy & process in content creation … create, deliver, govern (repeat…)
Assume Responsibility: As you put content online, you are publisher … so take care of your content

Content is why they are coming to the site, not because you design is cool …


I will add a link to the podcast when the session is added on SXSW.com
In the meantime, here is the ustream session from the audience:
http://predicate-llc.com/link-blog/video/content-strategy-ftw-webcast/

Here is an 40 minute interview (Start 13 minutes in) by Kristina Halvorson
http://www.creativexpert.com/podcast/kristina-halvorson-43-content-strategy.html

Oh yeah, if you want more details …. she has a book called “Content Strategy for the Web


NOTE: I still have lots of learnings from SXSW, so I will continue to bring some of those notes on to the blog (if applicable)

Soft Side of IT is Coming Back

The return to Soft Side of IT!

From working on more projects, these posts will be about my experience and thoughts working in It & with technology.

Especially on a ERP systems implementation project in 2010 that I am in. With 15 month of being in this project, there are tons that I have seen. So I want to document some of my lesson learned; that’s why I have decided to start posting this blog again.

For now, I am going to posting once every 2 weeks.

I hope you learn as much as I will from this experience.
Enjoy,
Ian


Side Note:
For people who wondered what I was up to on my hiatus … in the last 6 month, I have posting at Teach … Lead … Careering. The site was to apply teaching skills to the business world.

Go ahead & check it out.

Having a Successful System Requires more than Tech

I caught a show called ‘Family Restaurant’ at 5am yesterdays, it was just one of those day that you can’t fall back to sleep.  It was showcasing the son of a chinese family restaurant trying to change handwritten ordering system with an computer solution.

The dad didn’t want this change, while the son was ecstatic while computer arrived.  The son setup up the touchscreen system so that it is initiative (beef dishes was colored with brown, rice was white …).  When he tries to train his dad & mom to use the system; the mom picked it up pretty quickly, but the dad just couldn’t use the system & excused himself by saying be can’t use computers.

It just seems so familiar… It can be the easiest & most intuitive system to use, but if the user is not interest in change, there is nothing the system can have that can persuade user to use or learn it.  

This just reminds me if the an implementation fails, it might not be the technology or design, it just might be user or business preferring the original processes or systems.

The next president, Obama’s views on information & technology in 2007

In celebration of Barack Obama winning the US Presidency, here is a great talk with Barack Obama

This was the first Obama appearance I saw & it blew me away.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4yVlPqeZwo

This talk was at Google in 2007, where he talked about:
– Committing Science & Innovation
– Open internet & net neutrality
– Google for government
– Why he was running for 2008 presidency
– Restoring US status in the world

Even after going through all the craziness for a year, what he said in this talk is pretty close to his campaign by the end. This really shows how much integrity he has to his word.

Go watch this video, it’s definitely worth knowing what potential future is to come for the internet & other technologies.

Pogue: Simplicity Sells & Soft Issues of Tech

Here is a insight talk from David Pogue:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/david_pogue_says_simplicity_sells.html


Why the soft side matters?
David Pogue describes the issues pretty well with talk at the TED conference. It’s funny & a few 2 minute techie show tunes.

In systems I have used, there is usually a plethora of functionalities; but most of the them takes forever to find & several tries to make it work.

David takes this issue on the user side & describes day to day frustrations of everyone.

Adding function vs making it simpler to use

Your solution can be the best in the world, but if your design is not good, no one will use it. Easy is hard, and the hardest part is not deciding what to add, but what to leave out.

So What? … because Simplicity Sells.