Archives For Learning

Topics related to how we learn and grow.

Nice Tool

joe —  Fri 20-Feb-15 — Leave a comment
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Whatzan ipodLike many of you, I grew up poor. I also grew up jealous. Every kid on the street had a better basketball than mine, a newer football, or a more expensive horn. While inside I was stirring in a pool of green, on the outside I was mocking them. Here I was with my cheap, dented trombone sitting first chair to three others below me that had shiny new instruments with expensive attachments.

I developed a chip on my shoulder early in life when it came to expensive things. I used to laugh at those that were using ALTA A1 level tennis rackets while their game was clearly C3. They had money but no game. Same thing happened as a cyclist. Here I was on my first $1,200 bike riding much better than the guy with an $8,000 custom bike. I didn’t understand why people spent so much money on tools that had features that didn’t matter at their skill level. Continue Reading…

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I Resolve To Not Resolve

joe —  Wed 31-Dec-14 — Leave a comment
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Calvin resolutionsI’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. If you are like most, you are not either. Yet, on January 1st, 45% of Americans will make a vow to achieve a goal this coming year. 92% of them will be disappointed.

It’s not that I am against improving myself. I just don’t like the odds. I think the only resolution I have been able to keep was to not make any more resolutions.

Why do 92% of all resolutions fail? One reason I believe they fail is because we choose goals where failure is a viable result. The results are binary – you either succeed or you don’t. “I will lose 20 pounds.” “I will quit smoking.” “I will get pregnant.” There is no “kind of pregnant.” You leave no possibility for claiming partial success. Continue Reading…

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The Trouble With SMEs

joe —  Sat 8-Mar-14 — 4 Comments
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Roses are grayThey say that ignorance is bliss. I’m guessing that is until you realize that you are ignorant. But is it possible that you may be hurting your opportunities for promotion by knowing too much?

I never would have thought that until I had a chance to talk with a friend that had announced he was leaving his company.

Alan was known by what many call a SME – a subject matter expert. He is an incredibly smart man that knew his business inside and out. His knowledge and insight of all things related to his customers and the inner workings of the product made him the guru that everyone sought out for advice.
Continue Reading…

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Squirrel!

joe —  Fri 25-Oct-13 — Leave a comment
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Helly BellysHaving recently lost a significant amount of weight, most of my hallway conversations involve someone asking, “So, what’s your secret?” I try to make the conversation a little more fun by responding, “I like to yodel in the shower,” or “I was that fifth dentist that actually preferred sugared over sugarless gum.”

This doesn’t help my relationships.

As an experiment to see how long I could keep a straight face, I once told someone that my secret was jelly beans. I explained how it wasn’t just any jelly beans, but Jelly Bellys. I explained how Jelly Bellys use a special kind of sugar that binds at a molecular level with fats that are then more readily removed from the body. I told them that the popcorn and Dr. Pepper flavors had higher concentrations of these sugars and were more effective. I lost it when I tried to explain how ingesting the popcorn and Dr. Pepper flavors together while watching television would make them feel like they were in a movie theater.

Continue Reading…

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More is More

joe —  Sun 13-Oct-13 — Leave a comment
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Les mooreIt was 9:45 pm. I didn’t have a chance to eat dinner that night and I was at the point where even McDonalds sounded like a reasonable alternative. Unfortunately, that was the only choice for miles. So I gambled.

Clearly, the crew behind the counter were not happy to see me. It was a slow night and I looked to be the last customer preventing them from getting home early. I ordered my Big Mac Value Meal and was surprised that it came back so fast. Having worked at a McDonalds back in high school, I knew that nearly everything after 8 pm was made to order.

The young girl behind the counter handed me a tray that consisted of a Big Mac, a Coke, and enough french fries to make me believe that the french fry fairy did exist. She leaned over the counter and said in a rather clandestine voice, “This was our last batch of fries and they were getting past their time to toss them out. I didn’t want you to have to wait for another 5 minutes so I gave you a lot more fries.” Continue Reading…

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I’m Where?!?

joe —  Fri 23-Aug-13 — Leave a comment
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Early gpsIf you ever have the chance to ride in my car you will learn one thing very quickly – I have absolutely no sense of direction. This has greatly affected my bike riding. The reason my bike rides would often take three hours, is because the route was two hours. The other hour was finding my way back to the route after I had made a wrong turn. On the bright side, it’s made me a better rider.

My wife, Beth, on the other hand has amazing navigational abilities. You could put her in a city she has never been and she would be able to find any destination just by knowing the general direction and distance from where she started. No maps. It is a thing of beauty. This is why when we go on trips, I drive and she navigates.

There is one slight chink in our driver/navigator relationship armor. If Beth and I were going to a new location, say downtown, Beth would proceed to tell me every turn to make, just before we get to it. This doesn’t work for me. I want to know the route before I get in the car. I knew if I asked for the route ahead of time she would respond, “Why does that matter? You still won’t know how to get there. Just trust me.” Continue Reading…

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eMail or eJail?

joe —  Sun 21-Jul-13 — 4 Comments
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Lucy deleting emailEvery great movie has a memorable line that becomes fodder for the memeosphere. “If you build it, he will come” was the hot line from Field of Dreams, the 1989 classic. The line implied that by simply building a baseball field, something mysterious was going to happen.

It seems we may have adopted this adage when it comes to email.“Send it and they will read” seems to be the battle cry of millions of corporate citizens. There is a failure to recognize that the burden of communicating falls on the sender, not the receiver. If your email is not read, it’s because you didn’t make it readable. Readable emails get read – it’s that simple.

I would venture that over half of the emails I open are not readable. Most of them are too verbose, lacks an obvious purpose, have the wrong people in the sender list, or are only sent to cover one’s posterior. If I could avoid reading those, I would. Unfortunately buried deep within the bowels of some email is an important nugget of information that I need. Since I can’t tell ahead of time which emails are of value, I am forced to read the rest in frustration.

The reason I know this is because I have been perpetrating these crimes of email waste myself for the better part of my career. I am willing to bet that you have too. Here are some rules that I try to follow. Continue Reading…

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