Sunday, October 07, 2007

Poi, Fire = Fun

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why Change? (yourself)

My mom asked me today why I have changed so much from when I was a child. She teaches and coaches about personalities, and how to use that understanding to become more effective personally and professionally.

Call it your high school coach, only for life, not football.

I used to be shy, reserved, unmotivated. I was comfortable having the few friends I had, and was a specific personality, called high "S". But I knew about the other personalities from her teaching our family.

So why change?
I saw the benefits of the other personalities, and I wanted those benefits. But plenty of people say they want something, but do nothing. The change came from two factors. My mom, and the things our family learned from her studying personalities, and reading Stephen Coveys "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".

If you like self help books, great. If you don't, you are either doing all the things in your life you want, do not like reading, or are not in a painful enough situation to change what you are currently doing.

Anyways, good book.

So mom and personalities. By learning about personalities, I saw that if I had big dreams for my life, I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone, and learn some new skills. To be CEO of Christopher Inc. I would have to try things that were not comfortable.

First Step
Learn what other successful people have done. What do they do on a daily basis? Why are they successful? So I read books about them.

Second Step
Try it. Fail miserably! If they were good networkers (Keith Ferrazi, Dale Carnege), they talked to people. They learned the art of small talk, and meeting strangers. So I did that, and sucked at it for a while. Now, I am not as sucky! The point of this is, just do it. Put yourself it uncomfortable circumstances, and learn the skills you want to have, to be the person you want to be.

Third Step
Learn some more, then try it, fail, then not be as bad as before.
This is where the reading books part comes in.

I used to know everything. I did not need self help books. I could hear their sales pitch before they said it. But I was not living what they suggested. It took getting over myself, and realizing that everyone has something they can teach me. I intuitively understand some things, but I can always learn and grow.

Now, I am addicted to learning new things, getting out of my comfort zone, and growing. It is a cycle for me now. Learn something new, try it, fail, try again, get better, then go learn something else new. Good times, good times.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Another interesting book

I recently had a great conversation with a local inventor. Full disclosure, I was being interviewed for a position in her company. Nevertheless, a good conversation.

Out of that good conversation, came a good book recommendation. I interviewed on Friday, went from the office to the bookstore to pick it up, and now Sunday night am two thirds of the way through. Enough with the suspense, what is the name of the book! Not so fast(I do realize you could easily scroll down to the part where I tell you the name, but it would be more fun if you don't just yet, honest).

A book of mystery and intrigue.... nope.
What some would call "fun" reading.... nope.

It is about Starfish (that was a hint, google that if you dare, but still not enough to go on yet!)

But seriously, it was about organizations, and how really good ones have thrived without a figurehead at the helm. It is helping me to understand how Linux has come about, and what I want to do when I grow up. The subtext of the title states (nother hint coming) "The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations".

Now I disagree with the that subtext to some extent. The authors go on to clarify the roles that people play in these organizations, and there are leaders, they just do not look like the typical leader one would think of (one being a mythical person that thinks exactly what the majority thinks, or something silly like that) when one thinks of a leader.

Instead of leader, the authors look at one position in these groups that they studied, that they call the catalyst person. The catalyst helps the organization to adapt and change, is comfortable with ambiguity, make loose connections between people and ideas, and other interesting things. The one interesting thing, is that the hierarchical organization this person is in, does not always like the way the catalyst is stirring things up. I remember hearing of a Gorilla Award at the wheelchair manufacturing company Quickie. They gave the gorilla award to someone who was always advocating for positive change, and who was a pain to work with, or always rocked the boat, but absolutely necessary for the organization.

I have wanted to be a Gorilla for a while, but have not been able to articulate what it looked like, or why a company should have me. Who wants things to get stirred up, changed, the boat rocked (besides me).

Well, now that I have almost read all of...... gasp...

"The Starfish and the Spider" *releases breath that I have been holding the whole time*
I have a better understanding of what I believe are my natural talents. Making things messy, asking tough questions, pushing organizations, tools, resources to their furthest limit, and loving every second of it. I have written about it in the past, and I think I may have to devote a whole blog to chronicling people in recent and ancient past (before cellphones and beyond) that had these catalytic traits.

The Book, the book, get back to the book *voice in my head telling me what to do*
Ok... Fine... It is good. If you wondered why the Apache Indians, or the Apache servers did so well, back in the day, check it out. Even if you have never thought about those separate but similar stories, the book parallels many old organizations with current incarnations of "Leaderless Organizations" (think AA or Abolitionists for old, and Wikipedia or Napster for new).

Marketing Websites using Blogs

Blog Carnivals are an interesting idea I stumbled upon recently. The following quote talks about what they are, but I really see them as a way to interact with the online community that is interested in that specific topic they have organized around, and a way to increase awareness of blogs and websites people may have on a particular subject.
clipped from
A blog carnival is a type of blog
event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a
particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly
or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog
article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic.

There are many variations, but typically, someone who wants to
organize a carnival posts details of the theme or topic to their blog,
and asks readers to submit relevant articles for inclusion in an
upcoming edition. The host then collects links to these submissions,
edits and annotates them (often in very creative ways), and publishes
the resulting round-up to his or her blog.

Many carnivals have a home page or principal organizer, who lines up
guest bloggers to host each edition. This means that the carnival
travels, appearing on a different blog each time.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

 blog it

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Non Profit Idea

I love not having to recreate the wheel. I have been searching for what kind of business to start, that would have an impact on the community, but would also allow me to do the things I have a passion for doing (being around like minded people, playing on computers).

The answer to my dilema? Free Geek

In case you were curious, I am using Bitty Browser link to embed the web page of Free Geek into my blog.

So they take computers, use volunteers to take the donated computers apart, get the working parts out, recycle the bad parts, and all get to hang out and get better at computers.

There are individual value propositions that I could get into, but most anyone can see that it is a cool idea, with lots of benefits. Now the only problems will be getting the space to use, and setting up the non-profit organization. My goal is to partner with a club on campus called SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) to market, organize, and ensure a large impact on the community (while making it a sustainable concept).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

College Business Web Consultants

You are a web guru, and want to build a profile, but you need projects, what do you do?

You are a graphics designer, need things to try out new graphics programs, and build your portfolio, what do you design?

You are an Entrepreneurship student, need graphics designers and website designers, but do not have the money to pay people, but need guys that know their stuff to give you advice, and create cool sites for you, what do you do?

Well, bring these groups together of course!!

I think it would be great to setup a "business" bringing these separate groups together for added benefit to all. The web and graphics guys get to see the business side of starting a company, whilst creating cool stuff for their portfolio, and the entrepreneurship students get a free website design, with the caveat of paying for the services rendered if they choose to launch their venture.

There is a greater benefit than just website development. The entrepreneurship students may need technical advice for their projects, or "experts" to go with them to meetings with advisers or potential investors to explain how some technology would work, or the time/cost commitment needed for x project.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Non-Profit Meets For-Profit, Cool!

I want to change the world, but I want to make money also (provide for my family, have influence to do cool stuff). How do you create a socially responsible company, that really provides benefit, yet also becomes profitable?


If you are familiar with what has been happening in the Linux world (I skim the surface of this with my rss reader), then you have heard of Ubuntu. There are plenty of sites that talk about Ubuntu, but I am looking at it from the way they have chosen to structure their company.

So from my understanding of it, there is a commercial side, Canonical, and a non-profit side, Ubuntu and others(Kbuntu, Edbuntu, Xbuntu).

Another cool company that has a similar business model, but kind of opposite, is SpikeSource. So it is good to see that there are companies out there that can use open source as a foundation of their business model (either building on it, or building it).