What dream has you?
Learn more about Prince Ea.
What dream has you?
Learn more about Prince Ea.
This year WordCamp San Francisco celebrates it’s fifth anniversary. I attended the first WordCamp SF way back in 2007. It was a much more intimate affair back then, and the sense of community was unmistakable.
Five years later, the event has grown to three days, and a much bigger venue than that humble beginning. The dates for WordCamp SF and venue have been confirmed: August 12-14 at the Mission Bay Conference Center. According to Jane Wells, the tentative plan is to focus programming for publishers on Friday, bloggers on Saturday, and developers on Sunday.
If you work with WordPress, whether for your own sites or clients, WordCamp provides a unique opportunity for intensive learning and community building. You’ll rub elbows with others who love and use WordPress, everyone from designers and developers to small-time bloggers and big corporate names (yes, they use WordPress too!).
WordCamp SF is the biggest and original WordCamp, and is where Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg delivers his annual State of the Word address. WordCamp SF is different from the many excellent local WordCamps. While the local events generally focus more exclusively on WordPress, the San Francisco event pulls in some big name speakers talking about bigger topics.
I highly recommend attending a local WordCamp for the intensive learning and networking opportunity with local WordPress folks. For me, I attend WordCamp OC (I helped Brandon Dove and Jeffrey Zinn of Pixel Jar organize last year) and WordCamp LA. This year, I’ll probably be found at WordCamp San Diego, too.
Another great local option? Check out Meetup.com for local WordPress user groups. We are fortunate here in Orange County to have a very active group organized by Jeff Turner and Steve Zehngut of Zeek Interactive.
If you can swing the trip to San Francisco, also attend WordCamp SF for the inside scoop and the inspiration. It’s a big event, and like any big conference, it helps to network with other attendees before you go to make the most of the trip.
Mark your calendars for WordCamp SF, and be sure to let me know if you are planning on attending. We’ll meet up for a cold beverage!
“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything.” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyways. Either way, nothing happens.” – Yvon Chouinard, rock climber, environmentalist and founder of Patagonia
“Failures don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” – Harvey MacKay
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
These quotes share a common thread and illuminate a problem that is far too common. I see it in companies struggling to implement knowledge management. I see it in communities of practice. You can find it in businesses, organizations, clubs, and even the personal lives of people we care about.
Historically — and with comic certainty — the gyms overflow in January as we collectively resolve to shed those holiday pounds and get healthy. By the end of the month, the crowd subsides and it’s back to business as usual. What happens? Do people decide that they really don’t want to lose the weight they tacked on? Do they discover that their health really isn’t that important to them? No, the problem is that they have a goal in mind (i.e. lose weight), but only a vague idea of how to get there. What they lack is a plan.
Goals are good and necessary. Goals give us something to strive for, and achieving our goals — be they personal or professional — are largely how we measure success. To get from where you are to where you want to be, you need two things: a goal that is well-defined and measurable, and a plan that — if followed — will help you reach that goal.
For years, I had a long-standing goal to hike the John Muir Trail for a second time (the first time being in 1980). This is an arduous undertaking requiring tremendous amounts of planning, preparation and training. I had my goal: hike the entire 211-mile trail, three decades after my first epic journey on the JMT. My goal was well-defined and measurable. And I created a plan that would help me reach my goal.
My plan required coordination my schedule with work; recruiting others to join me on the epic backpacking trip; training my body and getting in shape (I lost 40 lbs. in the process); creating a day-by-day itinerary; planning the meals; getting permits; coordinating transportation, and so on. It was not easy. But it was worthwhile, because it helped me succeed at achieving this longtime goal. In August 2010, 30 years from my first JMT trek, I completed the John Muir Trail for a second time.
Whether personal, professional or business goals, the key is to define your goals, write them down, and create a plan that will help you get there.
Here’s my challenge to you. Think of three goals you would like to achieve, either personally, professionally or for your business or organization. You might want to travel to Paris, launch a new initiative at work or go back to school. Whatever the goals, write them down, making sure they are well-defined. They should stretch you or your organization beyond what you know you can easily handle. Then sort out what it will take the achieve those goals. These steps must be something that you have control over, so if you’re counting on winning the lottery, think again. Write these steps down. This is your plan. Follow it, and you can reach your goals successfully.
What goals do you have for 2011 or beyond? Have you create a plan? I’d love to hear them.
Oh and by the way, one of my recruits for my 2010 JMT trek is now my sweetheart. Sometimes success brings unexpected rewards!
The Informed Reader has a great post titled The Powerful Lure of the Useless Extra Feature that describes the problems facing, well, many products (and product lines) today. The article quotes The Wisdom of Crowds‘ James Surowieki, who explains that “…people are not, in general, good at predicting what will make them happy in the future. The strange truth about feature creep is that even when you give consumers what they want they can still end up hating you for it.”
What got me started down this train of thought was this provocative comparison between Cingular (AT&T) Wireless, a company with 200 cell phones and 50 pricing plans and CBeyond, a smaller company with four cell phones and eight service options. CBeyond is growing at a faster rate and generating much higher margins. Could it be that we really like simplicity, and just don’t know it?
Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with my iPAQ PDA phone. It’s mind-numbingly capable, with built-in camera, GPS, web-browsing, music playing and spreadsheet crunching power. And it even makes phone calls. But for all the features and functionality, I often find myself wishing I had a plain, old phone. Something to just pick-up and dial. The reality is, though my iPAQ does in fact do all the things advertised, it doesn’t do any of them very well (including the phone call part).
Another comparison could be drawn on the web. Discussion forums (like BigBlueBall) and blogs (like this one) are two common expressions of the social web. Both allow some form of interaction between the author and the readers. Forums are feature-rich and complex. Blogs are (usually) bare-bones and simple, but painless. I realize it’s not an apple-to-apple comparison, as they each serve a specific purpose, but it’s worth noting that although blogs appeared on the scene later, they outstripped the growth rate of forums exponentially.
Where is this all leading? A reminder to myself that sometimes less really is more.
I’m back from an excellent trip to Greenville, SC for our second enterprise “summit” on knowledge management. I’ve just about recovered from the long days preparing and presenting and a string of 20 hour days. Over the 2-1/2 days, I was up front and presenting for about nine hours, not including the barcamp-styled “KM Camp.” It was great to get together with others who are passionate about knowledge management and the value it can provide today. Many of them I talk with regularly, either via phone, email or IM (Paul, Rob, Gabi, Hank, Sara, Robert, Bob, Derek, Donna, Sathiya) but nothing can beat the value of face-to-face interaction. Many more were people I met for the first time (Miranda, Crystal, Harry, Adam, Dave, Cathy, Peter) — some of them very new to their role and just beginning to “get” what KM is all about.
Knowledge management provides a way of tapping into the intelligence of the corporation, and application translates into real, measurable value. The “smarts” of the enterprise can be reflected at least in part by market value, and based on what I experienced last week, I’m very optimistic about the future at Fluor.
Few would argue that Steve Jobs is one of the more interesting characters in the Silicon Valley. Last week Jobs gave the Commencement address at Stanford University, and made some excellent points on work and life in general. Thanks to Heather for passing on this great link!