2012: My Year in Numbers

It's not like I have nothing else to do but when people ask "Where do you find the time?" it's usually not because they think what I've done is so amazing but rather so dumb or insignificant. 

Thanks for the compliment. 

I take solace in Clay Shirky's statement that "even the stupidest creative act, is still a creative act". If I've not created something in a while I feel a little stale. These web and media tools are my paintbrushes and my canvases. I love that folks like Alan Levine and others are constantly making and fiddling with stuff. They inspire me and remind me to just do it. 

So after thinking about Dan Meyer's 2009 Annual Report and sharing it often as a example of using data to tell storie, I decided to give it a shot. While Dan used a wack sack of tools and does a much more professional job that took him weeks to produce, I wanted to see if I could use Keynote to tell the story of my year in numbers. So after an evening of planning, data mining, watching a few tutorials, I built my 2012 report. I spent most Read the rest

Thanks Dan

While Dan Meyer is almost young enough to be my kid, he's been around these parts for a while and has provided a boat load of people with quality ideas and content. I rarely go through a presentation where I don't mention him at some point. This snippet from a conversation I had with Dan a couple years back always gets people thinking about the economics of sharing:


Searching through my blog here are the posts the mention Dan.

Today I was preparing for a short talk I'll be giving at the ISTE Leadership Symposium and had to include another nugget from Dan:

I don't have much more to add but just to say thanks Dan, if we ever cross paths in a physical space, I owe you a drink. 

P.S. I wouldn't hurt me to say thanks to more people more often.  Read the rest

The greatest sin

5-hour plane rides can be a good thing. Lots of quiet time. Good thinking time. Good writing time.

Although Thanksgiving has just passed, I was able to have a wonderful time with family in the Maritimes. Our days were full with no turkey dinner but lobster instead.  While reflecting on the idea of Thanksgiving,  I remembered a  moment from America’s Game, one of my favourite series from NFL Films. (My secret fantasy is that one day I’ll be able to work for them) This clip is from the 1983 Oakland Raiders Superbowl win. I think I was reminded of this because of Al Davis’ death. This team was ranked 20th of best all-time teams but I quite liked hearing Todd Christensen reflect on this team. Not only he is extremely articulate, (he actually used the word loquacious once which is not often heard in sports documentaries), but his love and gratitude for being a professional athlete are clearly evident. This clip describes what he did right after the Superbowl ended and the Raiders became world champions. I’d seen this episode a few times and wanted to capture this specific moment so I apologize for the poor quality but I Read the rest

The Continuing Saga

I had one of the strangest events of my professional career on Tuesday night. Coming back from 10 days in Europe I checked my calender to see I was schedule to speak at a Parent night at a high school in a neigbouring district.  I remember being asked a few months early about speaking as part of a 3 person lineup on Internet Safety. I was very up front with the organizer stating that I don’t spend a great deal of time on the dangers and lures of the internet but rather how to leverage online spaces for positive purposes. I acknowledge dangers but also utilize many research studies that debunk common beliefs about internet safety.

So spend part of Tuesday revamping and cleaning up a few previous presentations to fit into the 20 minute time slot I was given. I was called that afternoon to confirm my appearance with the school counselor and a local police officer. About 30 parents showed up which is pretty typical. While I recall being told about the scheme set up to test kids willingness to add friends in Facebook, I didn’t fully understand the concept until the counselor revealed the plan.  She created … Read the rest

Writing better emails

I’ve had a few conversations recently about handling email. Many seem to be trying to figure out how to respond and manage the vast numbers of messages that fill their inbox.

Here’s an article that touches on some great tips. My favourite include:

Write a great Subject line

You can make it even easier for your recipient to immediately understand why you’ve sent them an email and to quickly determine what kind of response or action it requires. Compose a great a “Subject: line that hits the high points or summarizes the thrust of the message. Avoid “Hi,”” ““One more thing…,”” or ““FYI,” in favor of typing a short summary of the most important points in the message:

This can save a great deal of time when deciding what emails need attention and can be handled quickly.

Make it easy to quote – Power email users will quote and respond to specific sections or sentences of your message. You can facilitate this by keeping your paragraphs short, making them easy to slice and dice.

I don’t do this enough. Some of the problems occur when responding to plain text emails in Outlook. I haven’t quite figured out the settings for … Read the rest