That Was the Week That Was #1

You Can Be an Artist!While I gather disparate info for my writing and personal life, the details don’t lead quickly to coherent sets of stories. So I’m going to try collecting and reporting bits in a Weekly Reader format, with Departments.

Reading with the Greatest Impact

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Guest Post: Chunk It Up!

A long-time technology partner had interesting comments about my Steyer post, Procrastinating … or PreplanningWith her permission, I’m including her thoughts here:

There’s a #2a under Guilt associated with over-preparing. That is, when procrastination occurs in Stage 2 of a project. I see it all the time. The researcher continues to collect more data when that level of data may not be necessary for that stage of the project. How to get to the “so what?” Chunking it up helps.

Scope before you’ve used up your runway!

I’m reminded of a time when a dear friend departed. I volunteered to make the video for the service. My request of the widower was to provide about 100 pictures or so, and I’d put it together. I stopped by to pick up the thumbdrive a week before the service, and found the entire house had stacks of pictures on every surface available. Thousands of pictures. Maybe 10’s of thousands. Her problem was making the decision on what to include. So she hadn’t made a single decision. She just kept pulling out more pictures to add to the consideration set.

We needed to chunk it up a bit. Continue reading

Is it Political or Personal: coping on dysfunctional teams

My “Managing Up” post on is up today.
The focus is on tips for contract technical communications professionals … though I think it applies for any team where you might find yourself working in strange circumstances.

I’m grateful for early review comments from past team members, who reminded me of some of our more unusual experiences, plus great ideas for how to keep your head down and survive.

I think I’ll tag this as “technology strategy” — after all, isn’t coping with organizational insanity part of any thoughtful tech-strategy plan?
Coping with Dysfunction

Partying like it’s PC99

A group from my old Hardware Evangelism team* at Microsoft reconvened recently, just to check in with each other. This is the crew that:

  • Made sure you don’t have to set a jumper on the motherboard if you want to switch between audio and a CD drive.
  • Rid the PC of legacy connectors in favor of USB, got wired and wireless networking to work consistently, drove DVD into the business laptop market.
  • Fixed annoyances like color-coded connectors and making your external mouse and touchpad both work simultaneously on your laptop.
  • Brought 3D graphics to every PC.

And, critically important, we got the industry to design and built hardware so that Plug and Play works.

In the flow of the afternoon conversations, these ideas surfaced about how to drive change: