March 2012

It’s not you, it’s me

When I write, which I do on occasion, I write from my own perspective. I write about my observations, my opinions and my feelings. I do that because to a large extent writing is therapy for me. I write to try and sort through and idea that I’m chewing on in my head or to get over some hurdle. That’s why I’m happier when I’m writing more, because my brian is in motion. I also write that way because that’s what I like to read. I like to read someone elses insight into something. I like to learn what other people feel about things, and how it (whatever it is) strikes them. My favorite books and blogs (even fictional one) are written from someone perspective. I often link to posts by other people written in this same tone.

One thing I’ve noticed recently, is that people who read these personal musings take them as some kind of manifesto to argue with. They vehemently disagree. They see things differently and they are right and everyone else is wrong. It’s almost like they think the commentary being made is about them directly. Or they are subject to it somehow. I wonder if people are just so used to being told what to do that they assume anytime someone is talking they must be talking about them. Or if they feel so insecure with their own standing that if someone is talking about a different perspective then bashing it seems the only viable option?

Labels and definitions

“You’re not punk, and I’m telling everyone.
Save your breath, I never was one.
You don’t know what I’m all about.
Like killing cops and reading Kerouac.”

A few days ago Tara wrote a post for her Forbes column called “Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away.” Now you could read that title and jump to any number of conclusions, but that would literally be judging the book by it’s cover. Which clearly a lot of people don’t have a problem doing. Since I don’t know what the venn diagram of Forbes readers vs SBDC readers looks like, I’ll give you the short version – she notes that increasingly (often for marketing purposes) there are people claiming to be “geeks” who are doing that because they think it will advance them somehow, or give them an in with a certain crowd and opines that rather that trying to be something they aren’t, people should embrace the things that they are. She’s speaking directly about girls in her article as she has a bit of a women-in-technology theme, but the same could be said dudes just as easily.

What’s interesting to me is that this isn’t a new situation. There’s a repeatable pattern here that anyone who has been paying attention to any number of subcultures can clearly see.

To Do, Everyday

I’ve been (only partially) joking for a while that I want to get a tattoo on my hand that says “To Do, Today” with 3 lines below it numbered 1, 2, 3 and then blanks that each day I could write (with a pen) a few goals for the day. Thought being, I do a ton of things every day, sometimes I do things all day long and then realize at the end of the day that the one thing I really wanted to do I never got around to, so if I can force myself to prioritize 3 things that would help me accomplish them. I still might do that, but I’ve recently started looking at the idea of daily to do’s a bit differently.

Those “3 things” I’d always thought would fit in the category of work, or maybe something around the house. And that’s probably accurate. But I started playing around with superbetter earlier this month and was presented with the idea that doing something I like can act as a bit of a power-up. I like this idea a lot, and I think there’s things I should be doing everyday not because they would be accomplishments, but because I like doing them and I feel better after I do, and then I can do even more things that are accomplishments. So what might those things be? I thought about it and decided to make a list:

Blogging Evolution

Haven’t done this whole “blogging a reaction” thing in a while, feels so retro! So Anil Dash has an interesting post about an even more interesting branch discussion asking ‘How do blogs need to evolve?’ I couldn’t just post a comment with my thoughts on either of those so instead I’m blogging my thoughts about blogs here, on my own blog. That’s equal parts cute, awesome and annoying.

I have some thoughts on this topic in general and on the issues that were brought up in the conversation linked above as I’ve been blogging since before blogs were called weblogs, and doing so on this here domain since early 2001 – before that it was elsewhere on the web. Anyway, I won’t kick you off my lawn because I have opinions I’m about to unleash.

6 Tips to make email suck less for everyone

I posted these over on my google+ account, but thought I’d put them here for future reference as well.

  1. NNTR – Add “nntr” to the end of purely informational emails so that people know there is No Need To Respond. This will help cut down on all those “cool” and “thanks” emails you get every day.
  2. EOM – If your message is short enough, put the whole thing in the subject followed by EOM (end of message) so people know they can just delete it without spending the time opening it or saving it for later or whatever.
  3. 3SR – 3 Sentence Rule. Try, try really really hard, to keep emails under 3 sentences. If you need to write something longer than that, maybe email isn’t the best way to communicate those ideas.
  4. SINGLE SUBJECT. Send one email for one topic, this makes replies easy and ensures that some line item isn’t over looked causing frustration.
  5. TL;DR. Too Long, Didn’t Read. If you have to be sending an email that is several paragraphs, (something you shouldn’t be doing anyway) include a TL;DR: single line at the top explaining WTF the email is about so the reader can quickly decide if it’s something they need to drop everything to read now or can circle back to later when they have more time.
  6. CLEAR CALL TO ACTION: WTF do you want the outcome of the email to be? Worst thing you can do is “leave the ball in their court” cuz they will just bounce it back to you. Ask for some specific result very clearly, ideally in the first few lines.