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Headlines for Sunday:
Sometimes it takes an unexpected conversation to clarify certain things. Today's conversation was informative and inspiring. There's _so_ much for me to learn, and I can't wait to get started.
I think I'll take a week off from certain issues in order to concentrate on my work. At the end of the week, I'll give the matter some more thought. It's not as cut-and-dried as I thought it was, and the conversation reminded me that there's more to now than now.
Random Japanese sentence: ジョンはディックを、もてあそんだ。 John played cat and mouse with Dick.
Random Japanese sentence: その猫は魚を食べようと魚の入った缶をひっくり返した。 The cat upset the can of fish so that she could eat them.
Not content with experiencing Canada's medical system, I also dipped my toes into its political system. Simon told me that the Green Party was having a leadership debate at OISE. I along because politicians live and die by their public speaking abilities, and Ian gave me a lift there.
It was absolutely fascinating. The two candidates present - Elizabeth May and Jim Fannon - were as different as night and day. I spent most of the evening not only listening to the points they made during the debate but also watching how they made those points, taking notes on their speech technique and manner.
Elizabeth was by far the more seasoned speaker. Here are a few things she did particularly well.
I learned a lot from the conversation afterwards, as Simon and Ian discussed a few of the points that were raised. I need to develop political thinking. It's a great way to practice critical thought.
On Technorati: politics
Random Japanese sentence: ペルシャ猫に関連した古い話があります。 There is a classic story related about a Persian cat.
One of the reasons why I've never quite felt comfortable in networking-focused events is that the value proposition of a student is hard to define. Deal-oriented people will probably overlook me because I can't offer them immediate value. What can I offer people? What's my value proposition?
I don't have much business experience yet, and as geeky as I can be sometimes, I'm not as into technology as are people I know. Why should people want to spend time with me?
I'm a student, a wannabe, an apprentice of life. Right now, I can't really offer anything. No, that's not entirely true. I bring my comfort with technology, my experience of being alien (in a good way), my passion and enthusiasm and peace. Perhaps I also offer people an opportunity to pay back their own mentors for all the opportunities they've received, too.
It's silly of me to doubt life, considering how I've been so, so, so lucky in the past. At conferences and conventions, I've always managed to sit beside or otherwise discover people who totally inspire me. I don't deserve any of the breaks, but I should learn how to make the most of them so that I can share the benefits with other people.
I'm hungry for more knowledge, more learning, more connections. I'm excited and interested and alive. Maybe that's my value proposition for now - not that I'm some subject matter expert or anything, but that I'm curious. I should learn how to ask good questions and how to get to the heart of things. I also want to learn how to tell stories and write articles and books...
Other things: Hmm... I need to know who's who. Note to self: add business magazines to my weekly diet. That's what access to the university library and the dorm reading room gets me. And I _should_ take advantage of the library. We have access to all these journals and educational resources that businesses don't have. I should take advantage of that! Maybe that's part of the value I offer, too.
I can take risks. I can spend time learning about something that eventually pans out. I can try different things and get to know different people. Maybe that's part of it, too.
Random Japanese sentence: 私たちは庭でかわいそうな小さな猫を見つけた。 We found a poor little cat in the yard.
Congratulations to Hrbs and Krisette on their nuptials. =) My friends have been telling me all about it, including how my dad totally rigged the garter thing to set up poor Kel, and how my mom was joking around...
I love how my friends get along with my folks! And I love how my friends are just such characters! If there's one thing I regret about being here, it's that my friends here can't experience that part of my life...
On Technorati: friends
Random Japanese sentence: 彼は１日中行方不明の猫を捜した。 He hunted for his missing cat all day.
I asked my mom how to converse with people who have far more experience than I do. She said, "Brilliant people need ordinary people like me to listen to them. Sometimes, I ask questions that provoke some thinking on their part. Call it the yin and yang of conversation. You can't all be brilliant. You can't all be talkative."
I've received a number of compliments on my listening skills. It's rather odd to think about that. I've been asked to sit up front in a presentation because I'm an enthusiastic listener, complimented on my ability to include people in conversation and help them feel at ease, thanked for helping people relax and express their thoughts... I want to play to my strengths. I want to be an even better listener and conversationalist and host.
I see listening as a way of drawing people out. I've experienced that before, shaping a conversation to bring people in. I feel distinctly uncomfortable when people are left out of conversations. I like giving people the opportunity to show different aspects of themselves. I also enjoy the dynamics of groups because people bring out such fascinating aspects in others.
I'm lucky that I got to practice this so much at home. I loved bringing my mom into conversations with my friends, knowing that she loves discussions and that she and my friends would get along well. I'm thrilled to hear that even though I'm no longer part of their day-to-day lives, that link endures.
Maybe I do have value, then, as someone who listens and keeps stories and remembers and perhaps - from time to time - has something to add. Not much, yet, but eventually...
One of my mentors in the company also had insights to share:
Some people can't pass up a blank space in media without wanting to fill it in with their thoughts. Partially to create and partially to preserve a bit of themselves.
That's one value a student holds - especially one who presents a vast canvas that is well prepared for all the content and texture that's out there.
I am a canvas for conversations. Fill me with ideas and thoughts. I'll remember them and share them with others.
Random Japanese sentence: 「はい、でも私は、ただのみっともないねこでございます」と、こねこは言いました。「だから、あなたが、どのねこが一番きれいかと、お聞きになったとき、私は何も言えませんでした。」 Oh, I'm just a very homely little cat, said the kitten, so when you asked who was the prettiest, I didn't say anything.
Have fun. ;)
Thanks to Gabriel Mansour for the link!
Random Japanese sentence: その少年たちはかわいい猫と一緒に２人きりで暮らしていた。 The two boys lived alone with a lovely cat.
In the process of helping a friend get some insights from David Allen's book on Getting Things Done, I found myself telling a few stories about how other people use the thoughts in the book, and how he could adapt it to his life. Stories!
I'm not a technology evangelist as much as I am a storyteller. I can tell stories about non-technological things, and in fact I _love_ telling stories about so many different things and so many different people.
That's it! I want to tell stories!
Here's how my grad school research ties into it. My master's thesis will be about how to tell newbies stories about a social computing system so that they can understand the value of the system, so that they'll _get_ it.
I'm looking forward to going to work tomorrow. I plan to be on the first bus out and the last bus back so that I can catch up on all the stories on the blogosphere. I'm looking forward to writing, to calling attention to other people's stories. I'm looking forward to preparing more talks and articles, polishing stories and facts and ideas into presentations that might persuade people to try things out. That's what my life purpose translates to in terms of my very next action.
Short-term? Let's talk about one year. My master's thesis is one of my top priorities, of course, and I see it as a good reason for me to find out if stories are useful and what kinds of stories might help people understand social bookmarking. Orgchart, location, network? Lots of other ways to take advantage of someone's context... Anyway, it's shaping up to be a really exciting project, and something that I'd love to see translated into other areas like blogging.
No, I have no idea yet how I can make a living through storytelling. I want to learn how to write books and speak well. I may need to figure out what to do in the middle, while I'm still not "respectable"... <laugh>
I want to listen to people's. I want to tell people's stories. I want to learn about how to do those two things really, really well.
Random Japanese sentence: １匹の猫がカーテンの陰から現れた。 A cat appeared from behind the curtain.