Saturday, April 29, 2017

Gizmo Vortex

Officially my office, the space with the 1960s green desk, piles of paperwork done and undone, three or four computers, extra drives and cables and connectors for gizmos past and present, may be the location that I do my best creative work.  The quality can only be attributed to the office chair from my former gig that complemented my bottom from 1987 to 2001 at which point I simply rolled it into the elevator, through the Skyway and home.  The topic of previous blog post, the chair has served for thirty good years.  The office contains an iPad rarely used, an Amazon Echo and a small SONOS unit used daily for music.  There are three desktops and a couple of notebooks and three printers.  My good stuff comes from a single thread of technology through that mess.

The Samsung Chromebook upon which I'm writing goes everywhere.  When I want to look serious I carry a briefcase that also contains a high-end Lenovo notebook which usually has a depleted battery.

The night before last I had a weird dream in which a guy named George sold me an airplane for $13,999 which I proceeded to hide in my uncle's basement.  Currently I am working with a guy named George, airplanes are of a casual interest and my uncles was special but has been gone thirty years.   Before going to sleep I'd looked at YouTube content on warbirds.  Perhaps that triggered the airplane purchase.

But really I think my weird dreams of late have occurred because I don't have a job (not even a dumb job) and my brain has been invaded by technological gizmos.  When I headed off to sleep the eve of the airplane dream I brought my Chromebook (in case I woke up in the middle of the night and needed watch something with a video need (nothing planned), my iPhone (alarm, weather check, Instagram, Google Tasks, Google Keep), another Lenovo notebook (I keep forgetting it's there), an Amazon Echo Dot with Bluetooth speaker, my original Amazon Kindle (just restored the battery), an early Amazon Fire (previously used for video) and my new Amazon Paperwhite Kindle.  This is too much.  In the old days you read a book and then fell asleep.

  • The danger, as tablets, smartphones, ever more powerful (and complex) PCs and cloud options continue to develop is falling into the 'gizmo' trap.  
  • Track how much time you spend on you own personal technology support such as upgrades of software, new phones, data plans, internet resources.
  • Drive a stake into the ground
  • Define your business and personal goals...what's important
  • What are the measurable business and personal outcomes for your goals that you hope to achieve.
  • Have a business and personal mentor...not another Gizmo person...find a balance.
I'm going to cut down on the the extra stuff.  Three Kindles are crazy.  More than a couple PCs is crazy.  Standardize onsite and cloud storage tools (currently I use Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and far too many onsite storage devices.    

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Following Teaches Leading

*Note:  At times I leave my editing strikeouts in place, for no reason (Actually there is.  I'm attempting to write more directly, leaving out the extra verbiage.) 

Staying within the lines...

Convention is practical., often the result of 'on the job' learning or directed process improvement initiatives where bureaucracy (corporate or government) has stifled change.  

Intuition and impulsive moves can lead to innovation.  Some people would have told me to move my vehicle;  I am dropping all people who tell me to stay within the lines. 

Learning to lead...

Ft. Lewis during the Viet Nam era was a training ground for 2nd Lieutenants just out of OCS (Officer Candidate School).  For good reason they were referred to as 'shake and bakes' and little question existed as to which would be successful.

Most had spent little time in the military.  They were trying to lead without mastering 'following.'  OCS provided an opportunity to delay the trans-Pacific trip to the Republic of Viet Nam.   

Wall Street Journal..."When Second is Best"

My previous posts have addressed the importance of being a good follower:

  • ...listen more than you talk
  • ...master your good in others
  • with peers outside your'll find that what you find unique or peculiar about yours probably is not 
  • ...always be employable elsewhere
  • ...speak positively
  • extremely cautious  offering criticism of staff you don't supervise
Recognize that even as a leader you are a follower of someone; you're probably a #2 when you think you are a #1.

The April 19, 2017 issue of the Wall Street Journal contained a great article, "When Second Is Best" under the "Work and Family" category.  

The WSJ is well-written.  Sitting at work and reading the WSJ is a somewhat accepted activity to avoid work if you are an executive or aspiring corporate man/woman.  During my C-career I was usually a bit too busy which was a mistake.  It's important to invest in yourself first.

In the process improvement work a good focus is 'CEO.'  Focus, in order on the Customer then the Employee and finally on the Owners.  My advice to employees was to remember that but also to focus on themselves each and every day...learn something more thing before going home (this would be a great place for an 'easy to remember' acronym if I had one).  

These were the WSJ's points for being a good '2nd.':


Excuses for not blogging...

  • ...needed to do a year's worth of small business accounting in a month
  • ...unlike POTUS, had to do personal & business taxes
  • ...going to sleep with no job to wake up to has caused me to have an infinite number of 'projects,' all of which I could ignore when employed
  • ...the break convinced me that I had nothing to say...the standard writer's block.  Today certainly does not mean that I have anything to say but it did open the faucet again
  • ...our community put in new water treatment facility with the purpose of removing iron and manganese; we overdosed on black particulates; probably manganese (causes nervous disorders)

Lack of Focus...

This blog post certainly has a lack of focus.  I'm ending it with a link that caused me to smile which has not happened much lately.  On Facebook I commented that I would 'unfriend' anyone who did not enjoy this video.