March 10, 2009

Okay, even more impressed by Timebridge

March 10, 2009 - Categories: kaizen

I was happy with AgreeADate’s interface for calendar management, and now I’m even happier with TimeBridge. I like how TimeBridge automates the addition of tentative slots to my calendar (so that I can see what it might impact) and the cancellation of slots that conflict with confirmed appointments. That makes my calendar management process much simpler. =) Let’s see if it can handle the other use case of letting lots of people sign up for slots…

Hooray for experimentation!

Weekly review: Week ending March 8, 2009

March 10, 2009 - Categories: weekly

From last week:

Also: I came home to a wonderful scavenger hunt! I’m such a lucky gal… =)

My priorities for this week are:

I’m also planning to attend a few events during the week, and to meet up with a number of people. Busy busy busy! And I still need to write up my notes from DrupalCon…

Making a name for yourself: thinking out loud about my talk

March 10, 2009 - Categories: career, connecting

From 3 PM to 5 PM on March 14 (Saturday), I’ll be giving a talk at the Toronto College of Technology to a group of approximately 80 newcomers to Canada and people re-entering the IT field. With that in mind, I proposed the following talk:

Make a Name for Yourself: Creating Opportunities in Difficult Times

If you’re new to Canada, new to the workplace, or getting back into IT, you may find it difficult to find work unless you can show people why they should hire you over everyone else. How can you distinguish yourself? How can you reach out and connect with people? How can you find–or even create–opportunities that are just right for you? In this session, you’ll learn how you can develop your passion, improve your skills, and grow your network. Packed with tips for getting started and stories from real life, this talk can help you turbocharge your job search. Come prepared to introduce yourself to others, ask questions, and figure out how you can make a difference!

I’m thinking out loud as I prepare my outline, because writing helps me think. =)

When I plan a talk, I sometimes think of it as a box. The size of the box is dictated by how much time I have to deliver it. When I know what size that box is, I can plan what goes into the box. I want to put lots of value into the box, so that people get lots of value out of it. On one hand, I’m limited by how much time I have, what resources I have, and how much I know about the audience. On the other hand, I can create lots of value with that box by sharing it with many people, or by repackaging the components into larger or smaller boxes.

In this case, my box is two hours big. It’s better to break those two hours up into two boxes than to treat it as one big box, because if I treated it as one big box, there would be lots of wasted space where people wouldn’t be able to focus well. If I plan it as two boxes, filling each with interesting things and giving people a short break in between boxes, people will get more value from the boxes.

The two natural boxes in this session are:

  1. Self: figuring out what distinguishes you, building on it, and creating opportunities
  2. Others: reaching out, networking, and giving and receiving help


As much as I would like to be able to share a magic formula for figuring out what to do with life, we can’t fit that into a one-hour box. It’s the work of a lifetime, really. But what tools or ideas can I put into this box to make it easier for people to take the next step? Here are some that might work:

Oooh, I like 20-minute boxes.


Many people find it difficult to network, especially if they’re new to a field and they don’t know anyone. I find it hard sometimes, too. =) Here’s what might help you too:

WRAP UP: Fill out evaluation forms, follow up on blog post / slides, e-mail me, start a blog ;)…

Hmm, that’s starting to look like an interesting session I’d love to attend myself… =)

- Refine the points and examples in each box, then hunt down illustrations
- Plan worksheets