Thursday, June 30, 2005

Quotes & Links - Thursday

From Blake Ross at

Here’s what I mean: put a digital picture and an instant message window side by side and ask Mom to share the picture. Even though the windows are approximately five pixels apart, sharing them is about as intuitive as a W2 form. It’s actually easier to share a picture sitting on a server in China than it is to share your own stuff. And you want me to gush about podcasting?

I expect more developers would be disgusted, too, if they interacted with Normal Human Beings using software on a regular basis. But the emergence of “usability” as a separate industry only insulates them. When I was at Netscape, we engineers would get reports from the user experience team that read like a chronicle of interplanetary travel: “The mantibulator did not conform to User D4’s expectations. User D4 said it always flippled when she wanted it to flapple, and vice-versa.” The reports would then offer a list of recommendations, such as: “Make the mantibulator flapple.”

From Scott Ginsburg at Hello, my Name is Blog!
You’ve no doubt heard of (and probably practiced) this creativity booster before: take a different route to work, eat at a new restaurant or take an outside break – anything to change your environment. In fact, if you Google the word “creativity,” most of the articles will instruct you to practice some type of displacement technique. They’ll urge you to “stray off the beaten path” because changes in your surroundings will stimulate your senses and enhance your ability to generate new ideas.

But I think Michael Michalko said it best in his famous book on business creativity, Thinkertoys: “Your mind is like vegetation. It flourishes in one soil and droops in another.”
From Don Blowhowiak at Leadership Now

The secret: Marriages that endured had a ratio of positive to negative communication of 5 to 1. That means couples in the relationships that lasted exchanged five times as many positive comments to negative ones in their communication.

What about positive and negative communication patterns at work? Tom Rath of the Gallup Organization and coauthor of How Full Is Your Bucket? — a book about increasing positive emotions in your work and life, points to some relevant organizational research.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Quotes & Links

From Ronni Bennett at A Sense of Place

Whether it is a person or a place, falling in love is a mysterious process, as is falling out of love. The latter certainly involves noticing the negatives - maybe for the first time or at least not ignoring them anymore. Perhaps New York is a young person’s town, the place to be when you’re on the make, building a career, gulping down life experiences, too busy to care that there is no time or place or even desire yet for some calm, some quietude and a dinner out minus shouted cell phone conversations from the next table.
From Brendan Connolly at The Slacker Manager

Managers of the world, I beseech you: do not overlook the healing power of donuts. Do your people suspect that you might be a Sith Lord? Sway their opinions with the healing power of donuts. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but I'm convinced that the other road is covered with donuts.

I believe in the healing power of donuts.

From Rocky Noe at Rattle the Cage Blog!

The shocking truth is for all our good intentions we were failing due to a lack of effective communication. The youth did not understand a thing we were saying and we could not figure out why. Effective communication can only take place when all parties involved understand and comprehend the meaning of what is being communicated. We did not have that. We had well intentioned adults talking to youth that were smiling and nodding in agreement, but understanding nothing. A common theme that continued to come up in discussions is what makes people powerful. I surveyed youth, parents and professional staff. The outcome was very interesting. Now I would like to poll a wider group of professionals. If you will take a moment and list 10 ways to be powerful. I would like to compare the answers with the other surveys I have conducted.

From Steve Pavlina at Personal Development Blog

I believe that what holds us back more than anything else is our social conditioning. We’re born into societies that install many values in us, values that most people never take the time to consciously challenge.

The solution is to raise our awareness and begin acting more consciously. This requires self-reflection, using our own consciousness to examine what we currently hold in our own minds. We must force our subconscious beliefs and assumptions to the surface, challenge them, and consciously decide if we wish to keep them or replace them.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Quotes & Links - Monday

Via Nathan Torkington at O'Reilly Radar, a quote from Linda Stone at SuperNova 2005

In 1997 I coined the phrase "continuous partial attention". For almost two decades, continuous partial attention has been a way of life to cope and keep up with responsibilities and relationships. We've stretched our attention bandwidth to upper limits. We think that if tech has a lot of bandwidth then we do, too.

With continuous partial attention we keep the top level item in focus and scan the periphery in case something more important emerges. Continuous partial attention is motivated by a desire not to miss opportunities. We want to ensure our place as a live node on the network, we feel alive when we're connected. To be busy and to be connected is to be alive.

We've been working to maximize opportunities and contacts in our life. So much social networking, so little time. Speed, agility, and connectivity at top of mind. Marketers humming that tune for two decades now.

Now we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled.

From Clarke Ching's I Think Not, Baby Puppy

I’m still an amateur, but Flores’ stuff revolves around conversations, commitments and trust. To put in my simplistic words, it is much easier to manage if people make good commitments that keep. If they keep their commitments then trust develops. High trust organizations need less ceremony, paperwork and bureaucracy to keep things flowing. Conversely, in organizations where people don’t keep their commitments, there is generally low trust, the costs of enforcing commitments are high and they are very hard to manage. Contrast a software development team that keeps its commitments by delivering projects on time and budget with one that doesn’t. Where would you rather work? Which would you rather have as your supplier? Which has the most paper work? Which team’s customer tries to drive productivity by enforcing arbitrary deadlines?

This trust, commitment, conversation stuff kinda obvious I suppose, but it’s not so easy in practice because most of us aren’t taught how to do it. Some of us do this intuitively (not me, to be fair), but what Flores did was figure out a framework for having conversations that result in kept commitments and build trust.

From Tim Leberecht at the The MindJet Blog

Granted that technology manages to create a system that possesses the functionality and is easy to use at the same time, will it really cover all intelligence that is inherent in the corporate DNA? It is interesting in this context to look at the distinction between the “conscious” and “unconscious mind” that Albrecht translates from the human to the organizational psyche. While the conscious mind, that is, an ongoing “multilogue,” a mindful and explicit conversation among the organizations’ members, documented in words and data, may be easier to capture by existing business intelligence software, the unconscious mind, that is, the tacit knowledge, the unspoken “culture” and sub-text of an organization, is a moving target that is much more difficult to harness. All business intelligence and collaborative tools are clearly biased towards explicit information.
An Interview with Rich Levin by Shel Israel at Naked Conversations

The trend is clear. The younger generation is leaving traditional media in droves. Print, as we know it, will be dead in 20 years or less, when the current generation, which doesn't remember a time before computers, becomes the establishment. Nobody will be reading paper-based newspapers or magazines. Nobody will need them. Only books will survive.

The Internet will also consume all other forms of mass communications: voice, video, TV, radio, print, music, billboards, film (while big-screen movies will survive, they too will be digital). And there's no turning back. Like 35mm film, Polaroid and smoke signals, print will be relegated to an art form, and will no longer be part of the mass media.

From Frank Caputa at pc4media

It is official. If you had any doubts before, I claim Technorati to be a media company. It is a NEW media company. But, it is a media company, nonetheless.

Why claim this now? No. Not because they put me on their little list. Because they get it. They realize that content production is now free from the constraints of cost. Content's distribution costs are zero. They have been for a little while now. More importantly and more recently.... With legions of "WE" generating content, content production is now zero cost. The only thing left is to aggregate it in interesting ways - that content producers respect - and then serve advertising.

Not much different than a cable channel or a satellite company or even a movie theatre chain. Is it?

Imagine a News Corporation, Disney or Viacom with no distribution and no production costs! After you change your pants, Mr. Murdoch, read on:

Have you seen Technorati's Live 8 aggregator? To all you techies, I know you'll get what they are doing as soon as you see it. It is photos, bookmarks and blog posts from around the web all aggregated into a nice looking web page. All this "content" discusses the topic of Live 8, a benefit concert tour. An event.

From Doug Manning at Proactive Living

Hope has fallen on tough times. The prevailing perspective today is that hopefulness is na├»ve. In our culture, we regard critics as more intelligent, the hopeful as less in touch with reality. In truth, it takes great wisdom to see and actualize the possibilities in a world that prefers to feature life’s problems on the front page.

Do you want to see what hope looks like? Go to the interactive graphic on Income Mobility in the U.S. and mouse over the 'Bottom Fifth' of the income spectrum. Do you see that group of 'bottom-fifthers' who had found their way into the top income earners ten years later? That's hope, plus a proactive pursuit of tangible opportunities, turned into the financial sustainability that each person desires.

That's all there is time for tonight... enjoy!

MIT Weblog Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Interesting survey... I wonder what the results will tell us?

Follow the link to join the survey... the more the better the data

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Links & Quotes Sunday

From Halley Suitt at Halley's Comment
I don'’t forget easily. I don'’t forget anything. I didn'’t expect to forget him any time soon.
From Morgaine Swann at What She Said
Europe is laughing at us. AGAIN! Even a 5 year old knows that breasts are allowed in art. Statues, like the Spirit of Justice, are often partially or completely nude, and that's a beautiful thing. Why do Christians hate breasts? Or do they hate Justice? Liberty? The Pursuit of Happiness, which, for many of us, would most definitely include breasts? I've got an answer and it's on the shelf in your local grocer. Baby formula.
Not from today but worth noting from Heather Hunter at This Fish Needs A Bicycle

I knew right at that moment that my sister loved me. I mean, she was my sister of course she loved me. But I got a sense that this was more than the obligatory love that runs through familial veins. She loved me, she liked me and she was willing to abandon her own comfort to show it.

That's the part about love that'’s always been hard for me -– stepping outside of my own security, to take a chance at humiliation to show I care. But I'’m learning as I get older that it'’s not about me. It's about dropping defenses (or lifting up tank tops, as the case may be), exposing previously hidden faults and letting people hear me say, “this is how you know I love you.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Quotes & Links Thursday

From Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing
I can hear it now: "Nonono, we weren't sleeping together -- just a routine system backup." Snip from a press release for a short-range networking technology demo that took place at a research institute in SoKo
From David Wolfe at Ageless Marketing
And what does this have to do with marketing? Well, as one Amazon reviewer put it in recommending Radical Evolution, "A must read for anyone who plans to live for 5 years or more." Everything!
From Andrew Taylor at The Artful Manager
But the actual process of exploration takes place during listening -- not only to others but to oneself. Suspension involves exposing your reactions, impulses, feelings and opinions in such a way that they can be seen and felt within your own psyche and also be reflected back by others in the group. It does not mean repressing or suppressing or, even, postponing them. It means, simply, giving them your serious attention so that their structures can be noticed while they are actually taking place.
From Felix Gerena at BrandSoul

Eugene Delacroix, the french painter wrote his diaries and gave them a very significant title, "The bridge of vision".

I think the image of the bridge is very accurate. In fact, i think our lives are kind of a trip. If you find the road is coming to an end, you need a new bridge to follow. That´s probably the aim of all brands, to make our trips easygoing and enjoyable.

From Johnny Moore at cph127
I believe that is innately human to play with ideas and the use of individual incentives risks replacing this powerful, intrinsic motivation with something much less effective.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Quotes & Links for Wednesday

From Michelle Miller at WonderBranding: Marketing to Women

Statistics show that women are three times as likely to tell others about a consumer experience (good or bad), and prefer learning about a product or service from other women.

Word of mouth has launched some of the greatest business success stories ever, including Krispy Kreme and Yellow Tail Wine. Until recently, trying to measure the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing has seemed an impossible task.

From David Weinberger at Joho the Blog

I would like to. I really would. I like it and I like you.

But we're now well past the point where any of us can keep up with all the blogs worth reading from the people worth keeping up with. Even with an aggregator.

I just can't do it any more.

Of course, it is appropriate that this gets read by me two days late :-)

From David Batstone at Right Reality
Above all, younger workers are less likely to channel their passions into a job. They are apt to see work as a means to an end. The work week gets them to the weekend, and that's when the fun begins. They are wise to the transitional economy. They know that employers will not show them loyalty over the long-term - they have watched their parents pass through an uncertain career. So they see the job as a short-term contract that can be renewed, by both parties, as long as both parties are satisfied. This generation serves as its own free agent.
Enough for now... Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Quotes & Links -> Monday

From Johnny Biscuit at A Little Nonsense:
Occasionally we have moments of brilliance. Occasionally a constitution gets written. Occasionally an Einstein comes along and mentions a few things. The constant is ignorance, the anomaly is intelligence. I'm not surprised when people are stupid, I'm surprised when they are smart.
From Felix Gerena at BrandSoul

Are we aware of our actions? Are we really conscious sometimes we are repeating the same things we did in the past? Or, to say it other way, do we sometimes think about situations we repeat as patterns of action?

Gilles Deleuze, the great french philosopher wrote about the sense of remembering in our lives. This is what he wrote:

"Past is repeated as much as it is less remembered, as much as we are less aware of remembering it. The consciousness of oneself appears as the faculty of the future, the function of the new".

And I say, how often do we try to remember about similarities in our lives, and how do we find more creative paths for the future? Are we too involved in the present that it does not allow us to make up our future?

From Kathy Sierra at CreatingPassionateUsers
The more we reverse-engineer passion, the more we see how learning plays the central role. Where there is real passion (not just temporary fad devotion), there is always a desire to learn and grow and improve whether it's snowboard, chess, photography, opera, cooking, or appreciating the difference between a four and five string banjo. The more I learn, the better the experience. the better the experience, the more likely I am to want to learn and know more, and the more likely I am to tip over into being passionate.
From Seth Godin at Seth's blog

Somewhere along the way, people were sold that marketing [equals] advertising. Somewhere along the way, people were trained that marketers are liars (oops). And now we wonder why people are so clueless about what marketing really is. Maybe it's because marketing has a marketing problem.

Marketing is not about trickery or even insincerity. It's about spreading ideas that you believe in, sharing ideas you're passionate about... and doing it with authenticity. Marketing is about treating prospects and customers with respect, and realizing that it's easier to grow the amount of business you do with happy people than it is to find new strangers to accost.

Think about that the next time you hang up on a tele***keter.

From Emily Mann at Notes from the Divine Miss Em
Early on my birthday, yesterday, I thought about where I was exactly ten years prior: after celebrating turning 21 in Georgetown with my bestest friend (who remains so), her boyfriend, and some friends from work (interning at Luntz Research), I was disgorging the results of the celebration in my dorm at GW. At that point, I never would have imagined I would end up ten years later married to my other bestest friend, living in Port Chester (when I went to college, I was sure I would never come back),working as a lawyer in White Plains, thinking that I have the best family ever, and being, in general, deliriously happy and joyous. Who would have thought that Monroe would be in Iraq, that Hilary would be living in Manhattan, and visiting her bf in LA, that my house would be filled with magical people who love me just because I'm me. I never would have guessed the quality and quantity of friends I have now. I remember back then lusting over totally inadequate boys, and wishing I could be like other (more popular, more beautiful, smarter) girls. Now I have an awesome husband and the only person I want to be is a better version of me.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Links for today

Father's Day today and not much time to write but these are good links. Good in that, they attracted and held my attention, have provided food for thought and I want to capture them to eventually include them in some future writing. Either here or in my other blogs.

I hope you have a good Sunday.

I hope these links provide food for your thought!

From Johnny Moore at BrandAutopsy

From Fredrik at CorporateBloggingBlog

From Kathy Sierra at CreatingPassionateUsers

From Doc Searls at Doc Searls' Weblog

From Patricia Digh at 37 Days

From Dave Rogers at Groundhog Day

That's all for today. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Serious Thinking

Dave Pollard has a great post challenging serious thinking and who is doing it today, what more can be done about serious thinking, and how bloggers can help. He concludes this posting with:
The consequence of all this is that serious thinking is considered a pastime, an exercise of dubious value primarily for students in university. Beyond that, serious intellectual effort is only respected when it is tactical, applied in the context of a specific short-term task, towards achieving a known, practical goal. In a world of immense scarcity, in which time is the scarcest commodity of all, this vicious cycle of anti-intellectualism is perfectly understandable. It explains why Michael Jackson's trial hogs all the news headlines, and the lion's share of social discourse, while global warming and Darfur are substantially ignored. And when we are inclined to think about things we don't want or like to think about, we find we are seriously out of practice (present company accepted, of course).

There was a time when people were motivated to invest in serious thinking and thoughtful social discourse. That was a time when people made more time for serious thinking and discussion, when people did most things for themselves, and when great ideas were respected and talked about. But today we are entrained with learned helplessness, convinced that understanding and sharing and coming up with great ideas and thinking seriously about them is a largely useless
activity. And why would we want to invest a lot of precious time to study and understand something merely interesting?

The legacy media seem determined to abrogate their responsibility to inform and engage the public on matters that are important,especially when they are complicated and make the public uncomfortable. So it falls on our shoulders, as the alternative media, to be the advocates for the truth, and to assume that responsibility.
I believe it is essential that we bloggers tone down the jargon and the 'in' conversations, and the rhetoric and partisanship, and ratchet up the information and thought leadership and conversation and debate in our online journals, to reach a much wider and under-served audience, and hence to fill that void.

Bold is my emphasis.

A number of times when cruising through the blogosphere, I come across arguments about fine points/big issues that suddenly become down and dirty. Many of the bloggers fall into the personal attack instead of taking the high ground and dealing with the issue not the person. It is irksome to me. I get turned off by this when writers I follow take this path.

Maybe I am idealistic. Maybe I am hopeful (and not hopeless).

I do believe we have more in common than not, that sharing this common ground in a respectful way will take us a whole lot further long the road. The road is long and hard. It makes sense to have some one by your side to help.

What do you think?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Are you sitting with the right company?

This good posting from Scott Ginsberg comes across the reader today.

I can think of more times sitting with the wrong company than those with the right company.

A good reminder that it is better to take the chance!

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Type Drawing

For that odd moment when you wish "It would be wonderful if I could draw with letters"
someone has already been there and done that.

And created a web site for others to do so also.

Found this link via Drawn, where "Inspiration is everywhere".

Really cool!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Data Mining

Via Blogthenticity but originating at Business Week's new Blogspotting blog comes this posting.

Mining blogs for marketing intelligence is all the rage. But how to do it? Howard Kaushansky of Umbria Communications dropped by this week to tell us how his Boulder, Colo., company does it. Umbria has analyzed the language and syntax of thousands of blogs, and with that has devised an expert system that they say can analyze not only the opinions in the blogs, but also chart them by age and gender. So, clients such as Electronic Arts or Sprint can learn how their product launches or marketing campaigns are being received, day by day, by, say, teenaged boys or baby-boomer women. If Umbria can provide customer case studies, we'll blog a few.

Legions of grad students provide Umbria its raw material--blogs organized by age and gender. For $20 per hour, they go through blogs and categorize them. Given this raw material, the computer figures out what sets each demographic group apart.

Sure, manual labor is in there before the computer does its thing.

And if they make a mistake or two, it is really the aggregate data that matters. Statistically it will be on some solid ground when the calculation is done over 10 million blogs.

But it still is a scary thought.

Ultimately, will they need manual labor?

What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sunday afternoon

Same hot Sunday.
Now a shower bursts through the neighborhood.
Scurry to close some windows.
Heat quickly builds again with the lack of a breeze (windows closed).

When is dinner? About 6:00 PM.
What's for dinner? London broil on the grill.
And baked onion potatoes? No, too hot for that. Rice-a-roni.
What kind? Well, if you make it, you can choose.
Okay, the rice is mine!

Yes, team work for dinner tonight.

The London Broil recipe has been in the family for a bit. Exactly where it came from (other than the in-laws) is not known.

We usually get a couple of 1 lb pieces of beef. Marinate for a couple of hours with the ingredients listed below. Fire up the grill. Cook quickly to sear each side and seal in the juice. Remove from the heat and slice diagonally, put back into the marinade, drench each piece completely, then replace on the grill until done. The smaller pieces cook quickly on a good medium heat grill.

The two pieces will feed four with left overs (intentionally done). The left overs will be a school night supper made quicker.

London Broil Marinade

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons catsup
onion salt (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)

For the two pieces of meat (1 lb each) we usually triple this recipe to provide enough for the marinade and for the coating while cooking.

Dogwood - Cooler thoughts

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, it was only in March that this poor dogwood was bent over with the weight of heavy New England snow. Oh, that would feel soo good now!

Dogwood in Bloom

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Another hot New England summer day, high 80's, humid. The dogwood in full bloom.

Halley's on her game again

If you have not found Halley's Comment, two recent postings should help entice you to put her blog in your reader and follow her regularly.

Yesterday, a great piece of writing on What Women Can Do.

Today, a great piece on our National Emergency: Your Fitness.

Oh, occasionally she posts something that is NSFW.

But don't let this hold you back.

It is better to have this, than any other choice.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Good Quote

Thanks to Johnny Biscuit at A Little Nonsense for this quote:
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Web log or Blog - Summary & Resources

I get asked occasionally what is a blog? The wiki entry tells us:

A weblog (usually shortened to blog, but occasionally spelled web log) is both a web application used for entering, modifying and displaying periodic posts (normally in reverse chronological order) as well as the totality of content constituted by these posts. Initially, weblog content was manually written on personal web pages, but soon after their appearance, weblogs began to be implemented from web-based software, and this is the norm today. The term blog came into common use as a way of avoiding confusion with the term server log.

Read the rest of the entry here. It is a far better compilation than I could do.

I started Steve's 2 Cents last year.

I met Troy Worman through blogging and we have a joint venture in blogging where we introduce other bloggers to "new" blogs we find at The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Blogosphere.

I split out my posts on running to a separate blog: Passionate Runner.

And most recently have split out most of my business writing on the good customer experience to it own blog: Passion for the Good Customer Experience.

Stephen Covey writes in The 8th Habit:
... voice lies at the nexus of our talent (your natural gifts and strengths), passion (those things that naturally energize, excite, motivate and inspire you), need (including what the world needs to pay you for), and conscience (that still, small voice within that assures you of what is right and prompts you to actually do it). When you engage in work that taps your talent and feuls your passion --- that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by concscience to meet --- therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul's code.
Blogging has enabled me to find my voice or voices.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Internet Apocalypso - Christopher Locke

I don't know why it took me so long to find this.

Reading it now, things are falling into place.

What gave rise to the blogosphere? Aha!

The attraction was in speech, however mediated. In people talking, however slowly. And mostly, the attraction lay in the kinds of things they were saying. Never in history had so many had the chance to know what so many others were thinking on such a wide range of subjects. Slowly at first, a new kind of conversation was beginning to emerge, but it would achieve global reach with astonishing speed.

Where did the Rattle the cage blog come from? Aha!
If you're OK with this, then eat it up. There's a bulimic's dream-feast of killer kontent on the way. But if it already makes you want to puke, get angry. Write it, code it, paint it, play it — rattle the cage however you can. Stay hungry. Stay free. And believe it: win, lose, or draw, we're here to stay...
There are many more "aha monents" here in the first chapter of this book.

All of The Cluetrain Manifesto is available online, or you can obtain the real thing from your favorite bookseller.

In either case, if you have not read this, please do!

"Click it or Ticket" - What side are you on?

My father-in-law and I had a healthy discussion on this the other day. My main point was from a commuter perspective, if a seat belt could keep someone in the car, and less likely to be a fatality, then the road delays would be improved. There are frequent news articles about the road closed for several hours due to a fatality as the local law enforcement and medical personnel perform their initial triage and then their investigation. Who wants to sit in the car waiting hours for something that could have been avoided with a click of the seat belt.

Then I read this article.

Now, I have second thoughts.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005