April 15, 2009

Quarterly review: Q1 2009

April 15, 2009 - Categories: Uncategorized

In The Periodic Review, Part IV, Stephen P. Smith gives a handy quarterly review checklist that includes:

  1. Review 3-5 year goals
  2. Review career goals
  3. Review purpose
  4. Review lifestyle

which I will rearrange a bit, because this makes more sense to me:

  1. Review purpose
  2. Review career goals
  3. Review 3-5 year goals
  4. Review lifestyle


I’m passionate about:

  • helping people connect and collaborate
  • experimenting and learning more about life

which is really one passion: helping others and myself be the best we can be through tools, processes, and connections.

Some key ideas that support that passion:

  • Think, do, reflect, learn, share
  • Create as much value as I can
  • Find ways to scale

No significant change in principles from last quarter. I’m getting better at experimenting and scaling, though! =)


There are lots of different paths I can take so that I can eventually fully express those principles. =) No matter which path I choose, I hope to grow into a position where I can create opportunities, help lots of people grow, and continue to have the time and space to experiment with interesting tools and processes. This is basically my current situation, but on a bigger scale.

From conversations, it doesn’t seem as if I’d like the high-powered corporate executive path, although I’m open to being surprised. ;) I can probably do well as a professional, and I would probably also do well as an entrepreneur. I’d like to keep my technical skills (building tools is a lot of fun!), and I want to learn how to build processes that help others be more productive.

Personal projects that can help me advance my career goals are:

  • Help more people learn about Drupal and other tools we use to build systems. I’ll have accomplished this when I can build a body of knowledge that helps other developers get so good that working with them is a real pleasure. =) Next action: Write about my development and deployment processes.
  • Improve my remote presentation skills and help others improve theirs. I’ll have accomplished this when I can consistently prepare and deliver engaging, interactive remote presentations and engaging recorded presentations. Next action: Give a presentation that falls within the 140-160wpm range.
  • Keep experimenting with coordination and delegation through personal projects. I’ll have accomplished this when I can create complex personal projects with help.

3-5 year goals

Among my 3- to 5-year goals are:

  • Exercise every day for at least the recommended time. This is a good thing. Next action: Bike!
  • Get my permanent residency in Canada. Next actions: Print out two copies of that last form, double-check my application, print out my education history, and send my application package in.
  • Establish a good crazy idea opportunity fund. Next action: Continue to save. (I’m ahead of schedule, yay!)
  • Every day, wear at least one thing I’ve made. Just for fun. =) Next action: thread-trace the seamlines and markings for the two blouses I’m making.
  • Give 100 talks. Why not? =) Next action: Prepare for the next one, and brainstorm some other things I’d like to talk about.
  • Connect 1000 dots. Make at least 1000 introductions or referrals between people, ideas, tools, processes, and other ways to help make things happen.


My lifestyle is fairly frugal, although there are some things I spend on that other people might not, because I think it’s worth it. For example, my experiments with delegation have been very interesting! =) My roles and responsibilities are in line with what I want and with the lifestyle I have, although I’m looking forward to finding ways to be more present and more thoughtful, because that’s fun too. Key positive changes I’d like to make to my lifestyle this quarter: use my bike more often, take advantage of the warmer spring/summer weather to play catch, and gradually make more and more clothes for my wardrobe. Ooh, and make time for more dot-connecting!


UPDATE: You might also find these links interesting:

Monthly review: March 2009
Monthly review: February 2009
Monthly review: January 2009

Reflecting on public speaking and my talk management system

April 15, 2009 - Categories: kaizen, presentation, speaking

As I was describing my talk management process and goals in an e-mail to a potential mentor, I realized I’d come pretty far from where I started in public speaking. Here’s what I have (and therefore, what I can help people learn about). I have:

  • A talk information template I send to organizers: This helps me remember to get information about due dates, available equipment, audience size and characteristics, travel directions, and so on. It also lets me ask if there’s a budget available without feeling weird. =)
  • A spreadsheet that I use to calculate due dates for my talks, and a process for getting those deadlines into my task list
  • A process for getting that information into my calendar as well, and a way for someone else to double-check the details
  • A spreadsheet for tracking my personal ROI for public speaking, and some thoughts on how Web 2.0 helps me create even more value (diagram)
  • Several presentation styles I have fun with (http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/slideshows)
  • A process for editing the recordings, transcribing my talks, and checking my words-per-minute ;): some notes
  • A filing system and naming conventions so that I can store my presentations and related resources on my hard disk (archives/year/yyyymmdd-presentation-title)

Here’s what I’m working on now:

  • I’m experimenting with using Zotero, Evernote, and del.icio.us to find a good way of keeping track of web research.
  • I’m also looking forward to using storyboarding and illustration to improve the information organization and visual design of my presentations.
  • I’m working on slowing down to 140-160 wpm and trimming even more ums and ahs so that I need to do less postprocessing for clarity. =)
  • More templates for supporting material
  • And who knows, maybe I’ll even find a smooth workflow for synchronizing images with audio, possibly including video, and uploading the presentation.

Over time, I’ll also learn more about organizing my own speeches and events, and working with other speakers.

My goal is to be able to help inform and inspire people by consistently preparing and delivering engaging presentations, whether in person, over a teleconference, or as a recorded presentation (that’s tough!). I’ll know I’ve achieved it when I can give a presentation once a week or once every two weeks that makes lots of other people and me smile, learn something useful, and get moved to action. I would like to give 100 talks over the next 3-5 years, and I can also measure my progress based on the number of testimonials I collect.

I enjoy public speaking. Public speaking (complements the other things I do), and applying the principle of relentless improvement to it is a lot of fun as well. =)