Happy Opening Day of the 2014 MLB season! I’ve always loved baseball. I used to be pretty good at it and then decided one year to go out on top after my team won the championship. Major mistake. I really should have stuck with it. I guess if we could all give our 14-year-old selves some advice, we would all do things a lot differently and be much better for it now. Anyhow – cheers to another day at work that will likely see dramatically decreased productivity around America as people pay attention to baseball rather than conference calls.
Til Next Time,
I like Google Alerts. I don’t use them that often, but the ones that I have spent some time crafting are rather useful. I’m curious if they are starting to get a bit archaic though now, with more and more content aggregators with daily/weekly newsletters on the rise?
In case you haven’t heard of them, head to www.google.com/alerts and see for yourself how easy they are to set up. I think the one benefit of these alerts versus traditional industry reports/newsletters is they allow an even deeper level of customization. Let’s say I am interested in mergers and acquisitions within the European high technology and communication space. I don’t know of any of my newsletters off hand that may hit that, but if I build the right query in Google Alerts, I’ll get an email almost immediately (or however infrequently I’d like) once a search result with that specific string pops up.
So which side are you on? Managing your own content acquisition or letting someone (or something) else do it for you? If you’ve got good newsletter subscriptions, what are they?
A couple of my favorite companies/sites with daily newsletter/event subscriptions across a few different industries: Tech Crunch (technology), IT Business Edge (IT/business), Hubspot (marketing), AdAge (advertising).
Til Next Time,
So I’m probably going to start running a “Quote of the Day” segment whenever I feel compelled (Weekly perhaps? By the way – would that mean I should call it Quote of the Week? This whole blogging thing is stressful; so many decisions…). Might be something more suited for Twitter or another social outpost, but I’m paying the bills around here and I felt like it was fair to include 🙂
This one is on a colleague’s signature and I really like it. I think of myself as a realist (i.e. the person that the optimist calls a pessimist and the person a pessimist wants to punch) so maybe that’s why it resonates with me.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” –William Arthur Ward
Til Next Time,
Nobody writes letters anymore. I get it; we live in a digital age. E-mail is the norm. It’s efficient. It’s (largely) free. The postal service is antiquated. Stationary is a ripoff. But let me present to you an argument for a handwritten note.
When you take the time to write a note by hand and have it delivered (or, better yet, deliver yourself), you:
- Develop better handwriting skills which are highly useful for whiteboarding/sharing notes with colleagues
- Instill a sense of trust and create a personal connection with others to whom you exchange notes
- Build personal brand and establish a reputation as an upstanding person
- Buck the trend of digitizing absolutely everything in your life
- Differentiate yourself from “everyone else” who probably sent a quick email (or forgot to send anything at all)
- Help people recall the “good ol days” (reminding them how far we’ve come, a warm-n-fuzzy for all)
Whether it’s a “thank you”, a “congrats”, or anything else, you are building your character and people will respect the hell out of you.
Til Next Time,
It seems every year there is a new latest-and-greatest storage utility that hits the market. Whether it’s the next personal cloud, larger (but smaller) external storage devices, or online backup programs, there is quite an array of options when looking into personal storage space.
TechCrunch put out an interesting article Monday in light of the Google price drops. It got me thinking – what should I be doing to make my own investment in long-term personal storage space? I have kind of evaded the question for some time now, typically employing archaic storage devices when needed (rarely) to keep important files and documents. I believe my external hard drive is ~250GB and about the size of a brick. It really is time for an upgrade. But where to go?
I think there are a lot of factors to consider:
- Portability: do you want cloud so it’s anywhere/on-demand? If not, do you need it to be portable so you can take it on the road? This is the biggest issue with my current external; it is not nearly convenient for me to lug around from city to city (let alone meeting to meeting)
- Price: do you want a one-time-charge? Or are you comfortable with a recurring monthly price subscription? Google’s prices on their new storage are incredibly tempting as they start at values which you really don’t even notice leaving your bank account. But – for a few hundred dollars, you can set up your own cloud via your home internet. Or (for even less) you can still get great deals on traditional external hard drives
- Accessibility: cloud sounds great until that one day where you can’t access the cloud (due to server downtime issues, your own connectivity constraints, etc). But, the reliability of your own personal hardware may also be an issue depending upon how you treat your device
- Security: do you have any incredibly confidential materials? If so you may want to steer towards more secure options, although most of the options mentioned have at least some form of reliable security in place
- Safety: will the option you pick be safe? Traditional external hard drives are only as safe as you make them. Basically – you lose it, you’re toast. And if all your eggs were in that basket? Well…
I’m sure I’ve left several key factors out, but I’ll keep you posted on what I decide. I know that Google option will be really tough to avoid though (I was in early on Amazon Cloud Drive and this seems to be just a much more polished version with a more forward-thinking and reliable company). What about you? Any preference or investment you’re making to set yourself up for near (and long) term storage success?
Til Next Time,
I’m a sucker for all things statistical and analysis based. A total numbers junkie. While imperfect, any attempt to add logic and stats to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is fascinating to me.
Hence, I had to share a couple links that give you the power to review the 68 team field and, in one case, pull the levers that would predict the full bracket for you based upon your own perceptions on what matters in March.
via FiveThirtyEight: FiveThirtyEight’s NCAA tournament forecasting model calculates the chance of each team reaching each round, taking into account a composite of power rankings, pre-season rankings, the team’s placement on the NCAA’s 68-team S-curve, player injuries and geography.
via Huffington Post: Statisticians, basketball experts and sports fans have tried for years to perfect the science of filling out a March Madness bracket. While there are many methods, it’s not always easy to decide which data to include and which to ignore. HuffPost’s Predict-o-Trondetermines each team’s chances of advancing through the 2014 Men’s NCAA basketball tournament with a probabilistic model based on the importance you give different attributes. Try it by moving the sliders, and be sure to share your bracket — you don’t want to miss out on bragging rights if your model ends up correctly predicting the tournament.
Let the madness begin!
P.S. I’ll be in Vegas for the Final Four. You better believe I will be bringing all of these insights along with my bank account to the sports book…
Til Next Time,
I read a fantastic article on Upworthy the other day on the benefits of bucking the 9-to-5 trend. It makes a lot of sense to think about why companies should more readily offer people flexible work schedules. Especially now more than ever in a digital age with tremendous opportunities to work virtually, I think it’s a shame that so much of Corporate America is handcuffed to a 9-to-5.
Personally, I see massive benefits in allowing employees to set their own time and place for work. Just a few to spark some thought:
- TRAFFIC: yes, being an Atlantan, this one is going to be first on my list. I lose at least one hour a day to commuting (and, many times, 2+ hours) and I think about how bitter I get either when I arrive at the office or home for the night after an unusually long commute… It’s really hard to get back on point after you sit in a car for 90 minutes.
- WORK LIFE BALANCE: people need time to do things that make them happy. For me, going to the gym is really important. Fortunately, I work at a site where I can escape to the gym a couple days over lunch. I can’t tell you what that does for my own energy and mood when I get back to the office. It is a perfect way to split the day up and I don’t walk around all afternoon like a zombie.
- PRODUCTIVITY: some people are simply more productive in comfortable environments. Office life can be daunting. Some are night owls; some early risers. Why confine everyone to a schedule that may not fit their biological body preferences?
- FINANCIAL PLANNING: adjusting work schedules allows people to take better control of their personal finances. Whether it’s saved fuel costs from not sitting in traffic (see #1) or the ability to do more home cooking rather than dining out, there are great benefits financially to having more flexible work schedules. Also – mothers and fathers that could potentially split days home to save on child care costs would be an incredible way to allow young couples to be happier, healthier, and wealthier (and, as the graphic shows, happy employees are key)
The only argument I see against it is two-fold: either 1) people are lazy and unproductive when they aren’t surrounded by others or in a controlled environment, and 2) collaboration takes a massive hit when you aren’t able to meet face to face with people. First off, some of the least productive people I know are the ones that live at the office and put in hours much longer than 9-to-5 (ever had that person who sends you an email “needing” something by the end of the day at 4 PM? Why did they wait so long?). Second, while I do agree that face-to-face collaboration is hard to beat – there are ways to ensure there is still ample amount of in-person collaboration and meeting time. It just has to be carefully constructed within a company’s workplace bylaws. Telecommuting has gotten ridiculously simple and the ability to connect virtually is easier now more than ever.
I know I may have oversimplified a lot of the content above, but it’s silly to me that more companies wouldn’t explore this. If your company claims it has “the best people”, why would they not want to commit to making them happy?
Til Next Time,
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed ran an article talking about songs that you’d never listen to the same way again if you knew some of the history (such as, songs that were actually previously recorded by someone else much earlier than the now-famous versions).
As such, they basically dared me to create a playlist with these songs and test whether I have any changed opinion on the songs after knowing the “back story”. Short answer: no way – this playlist is amazing.
So I thought I’d share with you in case you need some solid music to get you through the day and on to the St. Paddy’s weekend:
Til Next Time,
So I got a little bored with the old theme and decided (with the awesome help of a good friend) to change it up. I think this layout is happier and will generally allow me to evolve and update (images, portfolio pieces, etc) with a more regular frequency. If you notice anything off a bit while I’m still semi “under construction”, please pardon my progress!
Hope you enjoy it!
Til Next Time,
I really like celebrating success. I think if we don’t take the time to reflect on our accomplishments and tell our story, we are missing a huge opportunity to grow our own personal brands. I know in some office environments, it is a little more black and white and tooting your own horn can often be taken the wrong way – but that’s no excuse not to get a pat on the back every once in a while. As an old boss of mine once said, self-promotion is an art (side note: she also said you should find a coat tail and ride the sh*t out of it; equally-sage advice I will reflect on at some point down the road I’m sure – but that’s neither here nor there).
Simply put, by celebrating your successes you will:
- Capitalize on a huge opportunity to build your own personal brand
- Develop personality traits and tendencies that skew towards the happier side of things
- Breed future success by allowing yourself to truly taste and enjoy what success feels like
- Boost your team’s morale and desire/willingness to go the extra mile for the greater good
- Raise the bar for future accomplishments
- Position yourself for bigger and brighter (and, likely, more financially-rewarding) opportunities
So cheers to everyone starting to celebrate their success a bit more!
Til Next Time,