Linkedbook or FacedIn? The lines are blurring...

Social media is all around us and always changing.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbr are adding new features and new looks. It is getting harder everyday to see the difference between some of these sites.  I have profiles on all the sites mentioned above. I rarely go to Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr anymore as the other three to meet my needs as follows:

I use Facebook to keep up with family and friends around the world. As a US expat in Singapore, it's nice to be able to see pics and updates from people I care about back in the US.  I have a few facebook friends that I also work with, but I consider them friends first and coworkers next.

I use Twitter for news. I follow many US, UK, and Asian news outlets that help me keep up with what is going on in the world.  The radio in Singapore is not great and we do not subscribe to local tv. I rarely create an original tweet. Occasionally, I will retweet something, but it doesn't happen often.

I have been a member of LinkedIn since 2006 or 2007. I joined the site in order to build a professional presence that would allow me to develop and maintain a valuable network.  All was well for the first four to five years.  I only accepted connections with people I had actually met in person or at least had interacted via web or teleconference.  I joined groups that were relevant to me: Texas A&M where I earned my engineering degree, Halliburton where I work, and a few others. The updates on the homepage were relevant items related to new connections, changing roles, and other business related topics.

In fact, I used LinkedIn to find my current job.

Recently though, I have noticed LinkedIn having an identity crisis. Here are my proposed "Rules of Engagement" for LinkedIn if you want to be taken seriously.

1) No more pictures cats, or any other animal for that matter, with a quote that is supposed to be clever. That belongs on Facebook
2) No more, "How many likes can I get?" posts.  Again, Facebook.     
3) Stop endorsing people for things unless you have a valid answer to this question: "So how do you know Joe is good at Sourcing?" If your response does not include a personal experience where you saw Joe do something awesome related to Sourcing, then you can't ethically endorse them.  
4) A "selfie" in the driver's seat of your count does not constitute a professional picture.

Thanks for listening to my rant.  Please let me know if you can come up with any more guidelines that can keep LinkedIn from becoming Facebook.


Committing to Change

“If the only motivation you need to commit to change is a date on the calendar, then you are selling yourself short 364 times every year or not truly committed to change. Either case is a tragedy. Change is a prerequisite to improvement. Seek out opportunities to change every day. Are you as who you want to be? Is everything perfect in your life? You must understand that You are the one preventing You from getting closer to who You want to be.” I found the quote above written in a journal of mine. I wrote it just before the end of 2011. Everyone was talking about their New Year’s resolutions. The whole idea nauseates me. You can’t wait till tomorrow to change. As Little Orphan Annie is famous for saying, “Tomorrow is just a day away!” The problem is that it will ALWAYS be a day away. It will never be tomorrow. The only way to get around the “I’ll do it tomorrow” syndrome is for you to be honest with yourself. Are you really going to work out twice a day a never have candy again? If you are honest about wanting to change, then do it today.


…friendly in an ill-tempered way.

I just started life of pi by Yann Martel. This won’t be a review, because I am not nearly finished. I ran across a sentence that made me want to say something about it. Early in the book, there is a sentence that reads: “The porters…were limping old men, friendly in an ill-tempered way.” How cool is that? The juxtaposition of friendly and ill-tempered to describe the same person is elegantly spot-on. I know exactly the person being described. I can see myself trying to ruffle their feathers just to see what kind of reaction I would get. It makes me feel like I am there.


Can we watch some football?

This was taken a few sundays ago. It was a pretty busy weekend of trying to catch up from the previous week and get ready for the next one. It was raining and Jax had wanted to play football all day. I kept putting him off because of the weather. I don't remember what I was doing, but I dropped it instantly when he came to me and said, "Hey! Since we can't play footbal, let's watch football."

This picture was taken about 10 minutes later. He tried to stay awake, but the sandman beat him in overtime.
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Just in time for Thanksgiving: Dinner Planner

Given that:
1) I think Excel can solve just about any problem
2) I like to over plan everything
3) I am a complete nerd.

It should be no surprise to anyone that I absolutely love a site called Contextures. Debra comes up with all kinds of good stuff and this post is on par. The link above will take you to a holiday dinner planner that you can download and use in Excel for free.

What I like about it:
It is simple. Not simple meaning that anyone could create this. I say simple meaning easy to use. The instructions are included right there on the “DinnerPlan” tab. All you have to do is enter the steps it takes to complete one item, the time it takes to do that item, and the location needed to perform the action. For example, if Turkey were on the menu, you might enter the following

Item = Turkey
Activity# = 1
Activity = Prepare Stuffing
Location = Stove
Minutes = 30
Hours = “blank”

Continue this until all activities are entered. Enter the time you want to eat at the top and everything is lined out to make sure you stay on schedule.

Room for improvement:
Let me start this by saying that every application ever created could have one more feature. This one as it is will do a great job at exactly what it is intended to do.

One improvement would be to build in some type of capacity limitation. For example, how many ovens or stove burners are available? This would require the user to enter these values. Then some prioritization scheme would have to be implemented to figure out what goes first if three things need to be in the oven and you only have one oven. That would greatly affect the timing of when items need to start. This falls into the “easier said than done” file. So keep that in mind when reviewing your printed plan. Some adjustment may be needed if you have a small kitchen.

Again, this is not something wrong with the file, just something that could added to improve it. Maybe this would be a version someone would pay for. In other words, keep the free version, then add a resource constrained version for a fee. Who knows?

At any rate, check out Contextures for more items like this. I'll be using this to plan the holidays.


Get a Drop Box

I was listening to a podcast by the guys over at Boagworld the other day. It was episode 183. Inspired. You can get to it here. It was a great show as usual, but the part I loved the most was the review by Lyle Barras on a productivity solution called Dropbox.

The claims were pretty extraordinary. The product is an online storage device. I know what you're thinking. Google Docs works fine for me too. What differentiates Dropbox is that you don't have to go out to a site, download a file for use or modification, upload the changes so they will be available later. Dropbox works like any other folder on your desktop.

Simply open the file from your Dropbox folder, so what you need to do. When you are done and you save the file back to the folder. Then the magic starts. Dropbox synchronizes this file on every other computer you have installed Dropbox. Nothing more for you to do.

I have two desktops, and three laptops at home with this installed. Now I don't have to worry about sharing files from one to another. I just put something in my Dropbox on one and it will be available to all instantly. For computers that do not have Dropbox installed, you can still access your Dropbox via the web by logging into their service.

The final bit that makes this priceless is the price. It is free for up to 2GB. There are pay options if you need more space, but the prices are reasonable. Check it out and let me know what you think. You can get the software here.