At November’s Visual Thinkers Toronto meetup, we talked about mapping. =)
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At November’s Visual Thinkers Toronto meetup, we talked about mapping. =)
Want to hear about upcoming meetups? Sign up!
Jennifer Okimoto spoke about social business at yesterday’s Canadian Women in Communications (CWC, @cwcafc) meetup in Toronto. Since she’s a friend, former colleague, and all-around awesome person, I just had to catch up with her while she was in town. I was amused to turn up in a couple of her stories. =) Here are my notes from her talk. Click on the image for a larger version.
For your convenience and ease of sharing, you can find this page at http://sach.ac/socbizjen .
Sketchnoter’s notes: I did these sketchnotes on paper because I didn’t have my tablet PC with me. I used a black Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint on a legal-sized sheet of paper. It turned out that my flatbed scanner can’t handle legal-sized sheets of paper and my margins were too small for the sheet-fed scanner, so I cut it in half (hooray for plenty of whitespace!), scanned the pieces, overlaid them in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, erased the overlap, and desaturated the layer to get rid of the slight greenish cast. I added the blue colour by drawing a separate layer in “Add” mode. Since I drew in ink, I decided to leave the contrast as varying instead of redrawing everything digitally. Drawing on paper makes me miss working digitally (those nice, clean, confident lines!). <laugh> Next time!
Here’s my sketchnote of Mitch Joel’s talk at Third Tuesday Toronto. Click on the image to view or save a larger version, which should also print out nicely on an 8.5×11” paper in landscape.
Feel free to share it! (Creative Commons Attribution License)
For more information, check out:
Want more? Take a look at my sketchnotes category. Enjoy!
For your convenience, this page is available at sach.ac/reboot . Share away!
Xiaoxiao asked me to sketchnote Managing Oneself, a classic article by Peter Drucker. Here are my notes. Click on the image for a larger version.
Please feel free to share this! (Creative Commons Attribution License)
In addition to sketching a visual summary, I thought I’d reflect on the points discussed in the article.
What are my strengths?
I’m happy, optimistic, appreciative, and resilient. I reflect a lot on what I do, how I do it, and why. I learn quickly, thanks to speed-reading and note-taking skills. I know how to adapt to many of my characteristics, such as introversion and visual thinking. I’m comfortable with numbers, words, and drawings. I embrace deliberate practice and continuous improvement. I’m good at setting up little experiments, taking calculated risks, and finding ways to improve. I’m frugal and I’m decent at questioning assumptions. I work on being more rational and compensating for my biases, and I’m not intimidated by research.
Feedback analysis: I periodically review my decisions through scheduled decision reviews, blog archives, and other reflections. I’m good at breaking decisions down into smaller ones that I can try out or test. I can get better at involving other people in my decisions. I tend to discount things that are unscientific or that seem dodgy, but that hasn’t really gotten in my way. The main thing that gets in my way is my tendency to flit from interest to interest, although I’m dealing with that by learning how to create value in smaller chunks. I’m planning to improve my feedback analysis process by scheduling more decision reviews.
How do I work?
I learn primarily through reading, writing, and trying things out. I find it difficult to absorb information by listening to lectures or talking to other people. My preference for team or solo work depends on the project: for most development project, I prefer to work with at least one other person whose skill I respect, because I learn a lot more that way. I’m also comfortable working on my own. (I’m learning how to delegate, though.) I’m more comfortable making decisions than giving advice. I prefer some order and predictability in my daily schedule, but I minimize commitments. Routines give me a platform from which I can go wherever my interests take me. I enjoyed working in a large organization, but I’m also fine working on my own.
I know that it’s easier to make things happen if I adapt to my idiosyncrasies rather than wish I were someone else. I’m good at passing opportunities on to other people, and helping people see what might fit me.
What are my values?
I value learning and sharing as much as I can of what I learn with as many people as possible, which is why I prefer to share information for free instead of locking it down in order to earn more. I value equanimity rather than excess.
Where do I belong?
Where I am. (Yay!) This experiment is going well, and I’d like to continue it.
I know I worked well in large corporations too, and I think I’d get along with small ones. I definitely don’t belong outside my comfort zone (that time I had to do some Microsoft SQL Server admin? Yeah…) or in high-stress, high-travel, workaholic environments. (Which, fortunately, consulting wasn’t – at least for me.) I do better in situations where it’s okay to ask forgiveness instead of always asking for permission, and where 80% is okay instead of trying to get to 100% the first time around. I do well with some discretionary time to work on useful projects or help people outside my typical responsibilities.
What should I contribute?
I think people could use more examples of this sort of smaller-scale life, because it’ll help free people from assumptions about what they need or how much they have to sacrifice. I’d love to make it work and to share what I learn along the way.
I also care about helping people learn and think more effectively. Visual thinking is one way to do that, so I want to help people who have the inclination for it discover tools and techniques that they can use.
I care about learning in general, which includes learning about different topics and then creating resources or mapping concepts so that other people can learn them more easily.
Books, blog posts, drawings, presentations, and coaching are some ways I can make progress in these directions.
In addition to those five questions, Peter Drucker also gave these career tips:
Taking responsibility for relationships
One of the things I learned as a kid was that you can take responsibility for the way you interact with people and you can help them get better at interacting with you. (Yes, I was the kid reading Parenting Teenagers for Dummies and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.) At work, it was great explicitly discussing communication styles and motivational preferences with my managers, who helped me tweak things to play to my strengths.
The second half of your life
… why wait until your forties?
I’m a big fan of having at least two good things on the go at any given time. I learned this as a software developer. That way, when you run into a setback or delay, you can always work on the other thing in order to keep yourself moving forward.
For me right now, there’s writing, drawing, and software. In the future, who knows?
How about you? What do you think about managing yourself?
Here are my notes from Damian Conway’s talk “Fun With Dead Languages”. =) I heard him give an older version of this talk years ago, and I’m amused to find that my Latin dabbling gave me a much deeper appreciation of this talk.
As always, click on the image to view a larger version, which you can print out if you want.
Please feel free to share this under the Creative Commons Attribution License! =)
Update 2013-07-31: You can find a table of contents and associated links at http://sach.ac/accel. Here’s the video!
From time to time, I say interesting-enough things that make people want to pick my brain further. When people do, this is excellent! Sometimes I don’t know what people will find useful or interesting until they ask. When the opportunity comes up, I try to wring out as much as I can. In the podcast interviews I’ve done so far, I’ve always been delighted by what we learn from the conversation.
An interview is entirely different from a presentation, and it would be a waste to treat it as one. I love where other people’s questions, interests, and experiences can lead me. So I don’t want to structure it too much – but I also want to give people the benefit of clear thoughts and useful replies. Having struggled with making good conversation myself, I also want to help people find things that they or other people will like instead of wandering until they bump into something good.
It’s a little like the media training I got when I was at IBM. One of the tips I remember is to think about your story before you talk to people. You don’t have to stick to the script, but you should know the key points you want to get across, and try some ways of expressing it so that you can be clear and concise.
So here’s what I e-mailed to Timothy Kenny in preparation for our chat about accelerated learning (which will be this afternoon):
I thought about what I do the most differently and what your subscribers will probably benefit from. Here are some topic ideas. How about picking whichever one you think will resonate the most? =) I’m sure there’ll be future conversations, so we don’t have to get everything covered in one chat.
- Ideal outcome: People are inspired to take visual notes for their own use
- Learning and reviewing presentations and books; Connecting with people; Understanding your thoughts; Sharing what you know
- Making the most of your blog through the years
- Ideal outcome: People are encouraged to blog for the long term; people who have been blogging a while are inspired to organize their work
- Weekly, monthly, yearly reviews; Indexes; Other people as part of your memory; Collections; Backups
- Tracking and experiments
- Ideal outcome: People are inspired to make better decisions by tracking
- Time; Money and an opportunity fund; Clothes, decisions, etc.; 5-year experiment with retirement
- How it all fits together
- Ideal outcome: People see how the different techniques can support each other, and they are motivated to take the next step
- The flow of learning; How different techniques work together; Getting started; Getting better; Going from strength to strength
- Continuous improvement in everyday life
- Ideal outcome: People examine their processes
- Understanding your processes; Handling weaknesses; Building on strengths; Learning from experiments
He wrote back to say that he was curious about sketchnotes, blogging, connecting, learning flow, and what I considered my strengths and weaknesses in terms of learning.
I spent some time on Saturday night thinking about what I’ve learned and what I want to help other people learn. A podcast isn’t the place for technical instruction; blog posts are better for that because I can include step-by-step tips, links, and other resources. A podcast or videocast is great at communicating enthusiasm, helping other people see that they can get started. It’s also great for the back-and-forth, bringing two people’s ideas together.
So my goals for the chat are:
(Not only do I sketchnote events, but I can sketchnote the future! )
The idea is that these talking points can let Timothy pick whatever he wants to focus on, while giving him a peripheral awareness of related topics or other things we can talk about. They also give me visual aids that I can refer to (or draw on top of!) during the chat, which is probably more interesting than watching a bunch of talking heads. And if we run out of time or focus on some things instead of others, no worries – the blog post and the sketchnote will be there as a way to follow up. =)
I’ve done this before, like the digital sketchnoting workflow that I sketched in preparation for my podcast with Mike Rohde (episode, transcript). Our target time for that was 12 minutes, so it was great to be able to zoom in and talk about key parts knowing that other things could be left for the blog post or sketchnote.
I discovered the power of sharing my notes (showing my work!) when I was giving a lot of presentations. Knowing that my talking points were on the Net somewhere (ex: my Shy Connector presentation for Women in Technology International, or my talk on How to use Evernote to improve your visual thinking) meant that I didn’t have to worry about forgetting anything important, because people can always look up my notes. It gave me more freedom to ad-lib or go off-script, too, following whatever people were interested in.
So really, the main reason to come to one of my presentations or to interview me is to ask questions and figure out answers together, which is exactly the way I want it. If I can do the braindump outside the time we have, then we can use the time for interaction. In presentations and conversations, I want to give people just enough to get good questions. Questions are my pay-off for the preparation. Questions spark my curiosity and turn into follow-up conversations and blog posts and presentations.
Unrelated observation: making my own URL shortening thing was totally worth it, even if the domains are expensive. Much better than squeezing long domain names into my sketchnotes. Although I’m still flipflopping between sach.ac and liv.gd in sketchnotes because I think my nickname is hard to spell… Any opinions?
I’ll post the recording when it’s up, and I’ll probably work on transcribing it too. Fun!
Here’s the e-mail announcement that Timothy sent:
Hundreds of years ago during the Renaissance, creative geniuses like DaVinci revolutionized science by visualizing information for the first time. Huge leaps were made in engineering, math, architecture and physics because of this new focus on visualizing information.
A new visual Renaissance is coming…
Today at 1PM EDT (New York Time) I’m interviewing Sacha Chua on her accelerated learning techniques and especially how she visualizes information to learn faster and understand new concepts better.
Click Here to Join the Hangout:
Sacha is also a programmer. Programmers have the ability to see and create systems because coding requires that you build a system to process information.
All businesses are systems. And the more you can systematize your business the more stress free it will be for you. The starting point for understanding systems is learning how to get them down on paper as visual diagrams (much the same way programmers sketch out their program on a white board before building it) and that is a big piece of what we will be discussing today.
We’re doing it live so you can chime in with questions or observations during the interview.
Why You Should Come
Many people know about learning and productivity hacks but I have never met someone who actually put so many of them together into such a coherant system.
Sacha is also a visual genius. She created both of the images below. You will learn how she does it and why it is so important to get comfortable drawing and visualizing for your business and your learning.
What We Will Talk About
Example of Sacha’s 1 page visual book reviews
See you at 1,
Sign up for the Hangout here, then check out the learning profile I did on Sacha here:
C.C. Chapman was in town to share insights from his latest book, Amazing Things Will Happen. Here are my sketchnotes from his talk tonight at Third Tuesday Toronto. =) Click on the image for a larger version, which should also print nicely on 8.5×11” in landscape mode. (Or even 11×17”!)
Feel free to share this! (Creative Commons Attribution License – enjoy! Links are not required, but are welcome.)
If you like this, you might also want to check out my other sketchnotes and visual book reviews, or download my collection of sketchnotes from 2012 (free/PWYC). It’s always fun helping good ideas spread!