Categories: "Verity" or "Cycling" or "Day to day" or "Family" or "Fitness" or "Gadgets" or "Movember" or "Photography" or "Travel"

Ignite Wellington

Categories: Day to day
13 speakers, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide

Tuesday night I attended Ignite Wellington. This is the first time Wellington has had an Ignite event. Ignite is a world-wide event, and this week it has been a global event, with presentations in 35 cities.

It's a tough presentation process; speakers have 5 minutes to talk on a subject, with 20 slides, each auto-advancing after 15 seconds.There was a couple of technical issues last night, making it harder for the speakers concerned to time their speeches with the slides. The better presentations didn't rely so much on their slides, and didn't use highly detailed slides.

Some presenters seemed only interested in self-promotion; some wanted to inform; and some wanted to simply entertain. Most inspired.

A few things I learnt from the evening:

  • Vikings probably never lived in Dannevirke
  • World-wide there are twice as many mobile phones as credit cards
  • Teach gradually and playfully
  • Show users ways to engage with your site with a smile
  • Venice Biennale is awesome
  • Insights come later
  • Travel light and trust the serendipity
  • Wellington's shared car are hidden
  • We're going to be screwed over to preserve the failing business model of large corporations
  • Use your mind to drive yourself past your boundaries
  • Hire for attitude; skills can be taught later
  • Get into the zone to win
  • The creative destruction process describes what is happening in the music industry.
  • Make it fun to connect people to their local environment
  • Ideas take up brain real-estate. Dumping them into a book means they're not lost.
  • Mind -> book -> list -> story => essence of an idea => ideas that really work for many, not just you
  • Positive thinking is a brain hack. Picturing a positive outcome makes the task easier
  • Kiwis can successfully help in emergencies from half a world away
  • Failure is the best option
  • Sometimes following the rules is wrong
  • Prepare to fail; then learn and connect
  • When you fail is when the adventure begins

The Ignite videos aren't available as I write this, but I look forwarding to seeing them soon.

I think I might try presenting next time. I'll need to find a suitable subject that can be entertaining. Thought-provoking subjects need more than 5 minutes.

By Brian Logan   Thu 04-Mar-2010

I Procrastinate

Categories: Announcements, Verity

"Procrastination is, hands down, our favourite form of self-​sabotage."

- Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

I procrastinate. There, I've said it. Do you procrastinate too?

I wish I didn't procrastinate so much. I'm not making a New Year resolution to stop procrastinating; that's both negative and not specific enough. I need to understand why I procrastinate about some things. Writing this blog post will help me see why I do it, and show what I can do about it.

Excuses, excuses

Some excuses are:

  1. I prefer to spend my time and attention on something else. These other things are more rewarding. This includes all the yucky tasks.
  2. I don't want to do the task. It doesn't interest me, and the result is nothing I want to see again. This includes those 'meaningless' tasks a manager wants to give you, or time sheets.
  3. If I do it now I'll have to do it again later. Why not just do it once. This includes tidying my desk.
  4. If I ignore it then someone else will do it.
  5. I want to do a good job.

For points 1-4 above I need to consciously ask myself What's in it for me if I do it? This should help motivate me. I need to also ask What will happen if I don't do it? These 2 questions should help me prioritise my actions.

The second excuse might be answered by So-and-so will complain if it's not done. I will have to decide if avoiding the complaint is enough reason for not doing the task. Maybe persuasion against doing the task is better. Maybe I will just accept hearing the same complaint time and time again. (Some people need to complain, why not make it something that is trivial and easy to ignore?)

Deciding to not perform a task is better than deferring it.

Fear

Point 5, wanting to do a good job, is different. There are several reasons why I procrastinate when I want to do the task, all relating to fear.

  1. Fear that my skill-set is not, but should be, up to the required standard.
  2. Fear that I will fail is such a way that it leads to more work or expense to fix my mess.
  3. Fear that success will lead to other, unpleasant, tasks.
  4. Fear that I will be too distracted to give the task the time and attention it needs.

The first 2 fears are self-confidence issues. I just need to attempt the task, and ask for assistance when I need it. I need to be honest when I don't know how to do something.

Tied in with the fear of distraction is the need to spend time getting back to speed on a task, and if you're counting time this leads to a fear of failure (due to limited time allowed for the task).

Prioritisation

To avoid procrastinating I need to prioritise, and I need to phrase the task as something positive for me. Not you, just me. It doesn't matter that you also benefit from the task, but the action must be for me. (This could be just feeling good that I've done something for you.) Maybe I need to apply my business analyst skills to myself, and, use the 5 whys on myself.

Logically I know I just need to prioritise, and check a to-do list. (I've made several, but I sometimes forget to look at them.) Emotionally I need to commit to checking the list and doing the tasks. This is one of the important habits I need to make. It will probably help me if I include a reminder of my motivation.

How did you develop the habit of creating and checking your to-do list? Do you need to remind yourself why you should do a task?

"Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself."

- Marilyn vos Savant

Distraction

Even if I do achieve the habit of completing habits on my to-do list I still have a problem. How do I avoid distraction?

One cause of distraction is other people and their needs and desires.

  • At work my role requires me to respond to people quickly.
  • At home my relationship needs me to respond, to spend time together, and not shut him out.

Multitasking has been debunkedamazon.com/e/ir?t=shadowfoot-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0470372257" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />. I don't pretend that I can multi-task. I've set up my work email so that I'm not alerted to most new messages. I check it when I check it. If it's urgent then come to see me. What can I do other than that?

The other cause of distraction is simply all the other things I could be doing. These are the distractions that either give pleasure or take the current pain away.

How do you deal with distraction at work? At home?

By Brian Logan   Sun 10-Jan-2010 1 comment »

Movember 2009 - Complete

Categories: Day to day

My support for Movember this year is complete. Here's a slideshow of the daily progress of growing a mo.

By Brian Logan   Mon 30-Nov-2009 Leave a comment »

Usability Barcamp

Categories: Day to day

I took a break from the preparation to move house to attend Wellington's first Usability Barcamp today.

The sessions I attended (and took part in) were:

  1. Hot to employ and retain usability professionals
  2. A usability professional needs to look at wider processes
  3. Usability in the wider world; not just the web space
  4. Goal directed design
  5. Design consequences
  6. Remote user testing
  7. User centred design in a physical world
  8. How to stop acceptance of 'usable enough'
  9. Overcoming procrastination
  10. Ideas to help Sahana

I have lots of references to follow up.

Unfortunately, due to the move preparation, I didn't attend the after drinks at the Southern Cross.

Thanks to all those attending for a great barcamp, Kat for organising it, and to the sponsors for all their support.

By Brian Logan   Sat 14-Nov-2009 Leave a comment »

Webstock Mini 2009

Categories: Announcements, Day to day

Tuesday night I went to Webstock Mini.

15 speakers. 5 minutes each. Free food. Free drink. Fantastic company. All for just $50. Ohhh, and cupcakes!

I enjoyed it. It was a social and educational experience. After initial mixing and mingling at the bar we filed into the auditorium for the first speakers. After they spoke we mingled at the bar again and enjoyed nibbled before hearing the remaining speakers.

I've linked to each speakers blog entry of the presentation where possible. The speakers are in alphabetical order because I left my notebook at work.

Ben Pujji spoke about web professionals as leaders.

Brenda Leeuwenberg spoke about NZ On Screen and how reality TV was really low in the list of hits on what people want to see.

Courtney Johnston talked about how the Brooklyn museum made her feel part of an online community to the extent that she gave money

James Everett talked about how games can be effective tools of learning, and, among other games, cited The Oregon Trail. In this game players learnt some of the hazards encountered by settlers in their 4-6 month journey across 2000 miles across the North American continent in the mid 19h century. James didn't mention that it's been recently released for the iphone, but alas this doesn't seem to be available in NZ.

James Gilberd talked about ghost hunting and how there can be innocent explanations for the ghosts seen in photographs.

Justine Munro spoke about social innovation. I want to get involved but will have to wait; the June camp is full, and I'd rather people with skills more immediately useful take part.

Lance Wiggs spoke well about why we come back to New Zealand, and Wellington in particular, and why we stay.

When Laurence Millar spoke I wished I had followed his work as government CIO.

Mark Clare was a passionate speaker I didn't expect.

Matthew Holloway started the evening talking about copyright. If our free trade agreements are going to give us USA restrictions on copyright, we should insist on the benefits, such as fair use and parody.

Michael "Koz" Koziarski gave a very engaging talk about how technologists success stories, or lack thereof. When 68% of projects are either late or failures, and the problem with sub-prime mortgages was less than 20% which is worse? If a technologist gets the brief to deliver a simple website and delivers a much more complex system capable of future needs, is the project a success?

Nathalie Hofsteede talked about the cost of charity, and how we can help make it cost effective.

I got to meet Richard McManus before his speech on web trends. While it wasn't a specific part of his talk he did prove that with practice one can clearly and quickly say the tongue twister "Read Write Web".

I chatted via twitter with Stephen Collins about his talk of communities and personas. His talk showed the characters of a community personified as Sesame Street characters.

Thomas Scovell spoke about how music remixing and hip-hop were the mashups before online mashups.

By Brian Logan   Sat 23-May-2009 1 comment »

::