Cafe Witness

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The 10% Action

In the new media space, as in life, the main rule is that we DO something. Sitting around and thinking or talking is a necessary part of gathering and processing information, but that information is fruitless without actions to test the theories.

But no one wants to act while unmotivated. Taking action without a clear plan of attack means you have fewer ways to evaluate whether or not that action was the best possible action at the time. No one wants to "waste time" on a losing action when, with a little more planning, they could have discerned which action was the "winning action."


Before attending college, I was mentally and socially adrift for a couple years. I needed time to "figure things out." What I was really doing was trying to decide what the BEST course of action would be.

Meanwhile, I was getting frustrated because all of my friends were making their way through college and onward toward the working world, whereas I was stuck running in place.

I voiced these concerns to a friend one night. He understood my point of view, but he couldn't rationalize it in his head the way I could.

"So what you're saying," he said," is that you COULD do four or five different things, but you don't know which one is the RIGHT one, so you're not going to do ANY of them?"

"Not yet," I clarified.

"What's the worst that could happen if you choose any of them?"

"I waste time on the wrong path."

"And how is that different from what you're doing now?"

He had a point.

The 100% Value of the 10% Action

So: how do you know when an action is the RIGHT action?

You don't.

ALL actions are the right action.

By taking action -- ANY action -- you're gaining experience. Even if it's only 10% of the experience you COULD have had if you'd settled upon a different action, it's still 10% MORE than you gain by not taking any action at all.

And if, by taking the 10% action, you realize that the 100% action was the "right" action all along... wasn't it worth taking the 10% action to verify your hunch?

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Your Car Is a Poorly-Designed Website

I was stopped at a red light last night. I noticed the truck in front of me was dripping something from its muffler. I'm not a car expert, I have no idea what the fluid was, but it seemed unusual to me.

Then the light turned green and the truck drove away. End of story.


It didn't have to be.

404: Reason for Existence Not Found

When was the last time you noticed a broken link on a website? Did you take the time to email the site owner and tell him?

Could you even find the contact information for the site? (This is a problem Chris Brogan has railed about often, and justifiably.)

In a clean, well-designed site, a visitor should be able to do three things easily from the frontpage:

- Know what the site is all about
- Contact someone for help / questions
- Buy something / take action / drive business

If those three elements aren't present, your site is broken.

(Guess what: our STBD site is broken. Gotta fix that.)


A car is not a website. But, like all other aspects of our lives -- fashion, grooming, speech, personality -- it's a depiction to the rest of the world of who we are.

Most of these depictions are one-way conversations.

And, if there's a problem -- if that information is unclear, outdated or broken -- it's not always easy for a person who notices that to tell us about it. That's because we don't invite everyone into a two-way conversation about every aspect of our lives.

Maybe we should.


Cars are designed to transport us and protect us. They're not designed to exchange information.

But what if they were?

What if every car came with a built-in GPS system that was editable in both directions? Central command could update road conditions as information was reported back from the field by responsible drivers. And, in order to access the system, everyone would need an ID -- like their license plate number.

Now, everyone on the road is interconnected to one central system. And that GPS system could also receive incoming mail, audio, video, etc. -- all from other cars on the road.

Is there an accident? An onboard camera could record images and automatically upload them to the system. All cars that routinely drive that route, or who opt to receive information about accidents in that area, would receive those images and decide to drive around the accident. As the accident clears, the images would depict that improvement, until approaching drivers would now be able to maintain their original route.

Goodbye, traffic helicopter. Goodbye, "drive at 5" news updates. Hello, real-time roadside feedback.

Subject: Your Muffler Is Leaking

Likewise, individual car owners could easily (and safely) message on another if there was a visible problem with their vehicle. From a leak to a broken turn signal to an open gas tank, all the information which we, as exterior drivers surrounding that vehicle, can see but not currently relate could now be transmitted instantly.

Social networking, taken to the next level: not just self-indulgent, but now actually useful.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Creative Treehouse Recap

I'm not sure if the readers of this blog overlap completely with the readers of my STBD Behind the Scenes blog or not. In case they dont:

Ann Turiano (Caroline) and Erik Schark (Rich) from STBD attended the grand opening of Creative Treehouse this weekend. The facility kicked off with a 24-hour creative marathon, which involved over 70 artists creating original work on-site within a 24-hour time limit. Those works went on display (and on sale, as a fundraiser) after the 24 hours were up.

I shot a 5:00 summary / promo video of the event. Very cool stuff. It's great to see Pittsburgh's creative community coming together to embrace a new venue AND a new concept in collaboration.

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Get to the Point

How many blogs do you read every day?

I read about 12 blogs on a daily basis. (None of them via RSS.)

If a blog I regularly read hasn't been updated in a day -- unless it's the weekend -- I'm irritated. I miss that daily dose of wisdom or humor.

Conversely, if one of those blogs has been updated 5 times since I last checked in (BuzzMachine and Seth Godin are notorious for that), I'm also irritated.


Because now I have to catch up!

And now I can't spend 100% of my time on that blog processing their key issue of the day.

Length Matters

Some blog posts are meant to be digested over a period of time. They cover a lot of ground to make their point, and abbreviating them wouldn't do the concept justice.

Other posts are short by necessity. Here's a link. Here's a news item. Here's a three sentence observation.

I wouldn't want to be robbed of lengthy posts because they're fulfilling (when well-written). I also wouldn't want to be burdened with nonstop encyclicals because life -- and my day -- is short and I need my time for action.

So what's the appropriate updating procedure?

- One long post per day?
- One short post per day?
- A mix of long and short posts as required?

What do you, as a reader -- or a blogger -- prefer?

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

So Much for a 24-7 World...

Have you noticed that the web tends to slow to a crawl on the weekends?

Does anyone else find it ironic that the internet, which is used to connect people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, operates primarily under the guise of a 9-5 workweek?

What a lot of people forget is that the web is powered by the same people who live a life beyond their monitors... and those peolple tend to need a break on the weekends, too.

In a way, this is a good thing, because the people who READ the blogs and USE the websites need just as much of a break as the people who generate them. Otherwise, we'd all be sailing into information overload.

On the other hand, this still limits the ability of new information to inlfuence us in real time. Just like the frontpage of USA Today's Friday edition usually looks antiquated by Sunday night, many of the conversations we generate during the week seem like completely different animals the following Monday. By the time we've had a break from the norm, our motivations have had a chance to wind down as well, and it can take a huge effort to restart that same energy all over again.

So: what's the solution? Stay connected throughout the weekend and allow the momentum of ideas to continue along their course? Or unplug for the weekend and remind ourselves that there IS a real world?

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Breaking My Own Heart

As I mentioned on the STBD blog today, I will NOT be attending PodCamp Toronto this weekend.

Boy, am I upset about that.


Because a PodCamp in Toronto is already a near-perfect storm of events for me. Toronto is one of my favorite cities, and one I haven't been to in almost a year. And PodCamp is always a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and new, exchange ideas and be part of a thriving creative community. To mix both is amazing, but the fact that my best friend is ALSO heading up to Toronto this weekend for an Our Lady Peace concert is almost too much fun to have in one weekend.

So, as per Murphy's Law, I'm staying put -- due to my own misallocation of time and money.

What Dennis Johnson Can Teach Us About Time Management

As an avid sports fan, I check Sports Illustrated's website multiple times per day. Yesterday, breaking news informed me that former Boston Celtic guard Dennis Johnson had passed away at the relatively early age of 52. Later, it was verified that he'd died of a heart attack. One moment he was standing outside, talking with the PR person from the NBDL team he's currently coaching, and the next he'd fallen over and was en route to cardiac arrest.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Dennis Johnson's premature death is a signal that we should all be thankful for every moment we're alive on this planet, and to try to maximize all of our time while we're here.

But the deeper lesson is WHY Johnson's death is being so widely reported. After all, aged athletes pass away on a regular basis, just like retirees in any other industry. Due to having worked in a high-profile occupation, their deaths usually warrant a brief national news item, but rarely does the obituary of a player who is not a Hall-of-Famer (and Johnson is not) merit front-page mention in a national sports publication.

The reason Dennis Johnson is so fondly remembered is simple: he worked his ass off.

DJ was never the most talented player on a team. (He wasn't even a starter in his senior year of high school.) The fact that he's remembered as a "Celtic great" while having played on the same teams as future Hall-of-Famers like Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Bill Walton is a testament to his work ethic and his willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done. In fact, statistically speaking, Johnson was more productive as an individual player before he joined the Celtics. Only afterwards, when he was no longer required to be a go-to guy, was his true value as a blue-collar, do-it-all contributor allowed to flourish.

This is why his death at an early age is so profound -- not because it was unexpected (the man was never a prime physical specimen) but because it hammers home one key point:

You may not be able to do everything in life well, but if you work your ass off, you may be able to do everything you want to do -- even if you don't have as much time to do it as you'd like.

If Dennis Johnson accomplished more in a shorter amount of time than some others, perhaps it's because he knew he needed to pack in as much as he could into whatever time he had. Who wouldn't want to be able to say the same thing about himself?

Which Brings Us Back to PodCamp

Not to belabor a point, but the fact that I'm sitting here ruminating about time management instead of doing the work that needs to be done is telling. It means that I'm the one to blame for missing an event that I would, on paper, "never miss in a million years."

So now I have a choice: I can either continue to fritter away time each day and never quite live up to my potential... or I can work my ass off to ensure that I never have to sit here again over a weekend, owning up to my own culpability in missing out on something I had my heart set on.

What do YOU have circled on YOUR calendar? What NEEDS to be done to ensure that that circle doesn't get erased?

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

When Are You Most Productive?

I'm nocturnal. I can't help it. Every time I try to adapt my schedule to do more work earlier in the day, I end up falling behind.

Conversely, I can stay up until 4 in the morning without fail and get much more work done with a later-in-the-day start than most human beings would think is acceptable.


Because I know when my mind is ready to tackle certain tasks.

The Day Is Not Equal

At certain times of day, or when in certain mindsets, I can do some types of work much faster than others.

For example, in the early morning, I'm great for answering email, searching for clerical information or editing video according to an easy-to-follow script. Anything that doesn't require much independent thought, basically.

But when I'm fully awake, recharged and relaxed, that's when my mind automatically kicks into overdrive. That's when tackling larger projects, creative brainstorming and problem-solving, and multi-part objectives become much easier to navigate.

This isn't a matter of "getting enough sleep," because even a full tank depletes throughout the day. This is a matter of understanding when I'm best able to achieve what I need to accomplish during the average day.

Mentally Homeless

A recent survey by Jim Citrin found that most CEOs in mega-successful corporations are up and running well before 6 AM. In fact 6 AM was the latest any of those he talked to directly said they wake up; some are on the move as early as 4 AM.

This illustrates the problem with nocturnal folks like me: the bulk of humanity is trained to operate on a daylight-driven, 9-5 workday. Evenings are for relaxation with friends and family. This is endlessly frustrating to me because I'm at my creative and motivational peak at about the exact same time that the rest of the world just wants to curl up with a good book; meanwhile, when they need something from me, I'm usually too incapacitated to be much help. (Ask my girlfriend.)

This leads to a "homeless" feeling, as though I'm living on the fringe of society. I'm never around when I'm needed, but I'm never needed when I'm around.

The 24-7 "Solution"

For better or worse, the workday has been steadily evolving over the past century and is now almost universally recognized as neverending. I tend to go to bed just as the CEOs of the world are waking up. This means that exchanging important emails or project specs at 1 AM is increasingly common, as more and more people begin to realize:

a) Different parts of the day are better for various tasks, and
b) The ever-increasing pressure to "get more done" means we're all working more hours every day.

I'm not so sure this is the best approach. I've never been a fan of the "Dude, I just pulled an 18 hour workday" Hercules mentality. It seems that working MORE isn't the answer, so much as working smarter.

I also wonder if people aren't working more hours because they're more distracted than ever before, AND because they're trying to force themselves to be productive at non-optimal times.

Think about it: how much work do you ACTUALLY get done in the average 9 hour workday? 4 hours? 5?

What if you could start your workday whenever you wanted to -- say, 11 AM -- and work until YOU felt you were "done"? What if you could accomplish in 4 or 5 hours of steady work -- when you're at your creative and cognizant peak -- what it currently takes you 9 or 10 or even 12 hours to accomplish, every day?

Think of what you could do with all those extra hours!

It's your day. What would YOU like to do with it?

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who Do You Know?

Yesterday I mentioned that the new media landscape is filled with uncertainty. The main reason most people delve into it is not because of the promise of untold riches or eventual stability, but simply because it's an unexplored territory. With no rules, expect those which we make on our own and agree to follow, it feels more like the Old West than it does a modern media evolution.

In the Old West, the number one goal was survival. Prosperity is great if you can find it, but you can't build your empire unless you have food, water and shelter first. How did the early settlers make their mark on the new territories? They formed small, close-knit communities that provided for one another.

In short, they formed a lifeline.

Last Night's Lifeline

Yesterday evening, I attended the latest monthly PodCamp Pittsburgh Meet-Up. These gatherings of anywhere from a dozen to 40 people are the miniature versions of what we celebrated at PodCamp back in November: an opportunity to have a large conversation and share our individual bits of information with the larger audience.

It's a community-building effort that allows us to form a bond in this new media frontier, so we don't have to walk through the dark alone.

Among the attendees last night were some new faces. Some folks heard about the meet-ups and decided they wanted to take part, ask questions, make connections.

They wanted to shore up their lifeline.

Everyone at the meet-up has an area of expertise. Everyone there knows something -- maybe 2%, maybe 50% -- about what it takes to succeed in this new arena. And everyone there wants to know what everyone else knows, so they can add that experience to their own repertoire.

But, more importantly, they all want to know they have someone they can ask for help.

Cold-Blogging and the Accidental Creation of a Movement

Last year, I started cold-contacting any blog I could find that was talking, even remotely, about web video. As the creator of Something to Be Desired, a web series that's now in its fourth year of existence, I felt I knew something about the medium. What I didn't know was how to get that knowledge out to a larger audience.

The logical thing to do, it seemed, was to contact the people who were already talking about it and ask them if they'd be interested in talking about us.

Some of these cold-contacts worked out. Most didn't. There's no harm in trying, just like there's no harm in being told that someone's not interested in what you have to say -- all you lose is the stamp, or, in this case, the time it took to send the email.

But of the ones that DID work out, one turned into a much larger conversation.

I stumbled across a blog post from someone named Chris Brogan, who was working in the technology field somewhere in Massachusetts. He'd mentioned an idea or two he'd had while exploring YouTube, in a post I found while searching Technorati. I commented on his post and referred him back to STBD, which he then watched and enjoyed enough to write about on his blog.

Instead of one obligatory post, Chris decided to continue the conversation. He had other questions about new media, and some ideas of his own, and he wanted to know what I thought about them. Over time, what started out as a request for media coverage turned into an actual friendship, with each of us bouncing creative ideas off one another and wondering where this all would lead.

During that time, I observed Chris grow from interested outsider to someone who wanted to take action and learn as much about new media as he could. Why? So he could do... something. He didn't know what it would be, and neither did I, but we each new it was different that what he'd been doing. For all we knew, what he wanted to do hadn't even been invented yet.

In order to find out what it was, he'd need to ask questions. He'd need to acquire information.

He'd need to meet people.

Flash forward to September of 2006. By this time, Chris had befriended a number of mediamakers in Boston and beyond, had begun his own podcasts to better understand the medium, and had taught himself as much of the existing infrastructure in this emerging field as he could. Inspired by the communal energy of the experience, and well aware that he needed more information to expand the conversation, he and his fellow Bostonians decided to launch an informal get-together known as PodCamp -- a grassroots meet-up for bloggers, podcasters and other new media creators to share ideas, opinions and connections.

In essence, one gigantic lifeline.

Now an Armada

Over 300 participants arrived in Boston last Septemer to take part in PodCamp. People came from as far away as Florida and California, Canada and England. All of them wanted one specific thing: to talk to other people who "got it."

When you work in any medium, whether you're a bricklayer or a computer programmer, you understand the kindred spirit and ease of dialogue you find when you discover another person who shares your passion. For new media folks, finding a way to talk, face-to-face, with a large group of like-minded individuals was tricky because everything was (and still is) so new. So when the opportunity to shore up their lifelines tenfold appeared in the form of PodCamp, the un-conference was literally flooded with people hungry for that connection.

Based upon the overwhelming success of the first PodCamp, a number of dominos began to fall. (Not least among them was Chris Brogan's newfound job as Community Developer for Network2, a new creation from Jeff Pulver's Pulvermedia group.) Suddenly, that original blog comment I'd made half a year earlier was starting to have major ramifications.

Since September, there have been two other PodCamps, one in Pittsburgh and one in San Francisco. There's another one scheduled this weekend in Toronto, and yet another in New York City in April, with even more to come later in the year (including the second go-rounds from Boston and Pittsburgh). And what happens at each of these events, regardless of the locale and the logistics, is this:

People meet people.

People make connections.

People establish lifelines.

PodCamp for Housewives

What works at PodCamp works in all walks of life, for one simple reason: it's all about communication.

Every one of us has lifelines. Each of us has a tiny mental Rolodex of friends we know we can call on when the going gets tough, or when we need help moving, or when the fuse in the basement blows at 2 AM and suddenly there's no heat.

Others have massive roll calls of people in their life whom they can call on for any question under the sun: doctors, lawyers, mechanics, repairmen, engineers, babysitters, chefs. There's not one pothole on the road of their lives that they can't negotiate with a little help from a friend.

These differences are merely cosmetic. Neither approach is demonstrably more useful than the other. That's because there are three ways to build your lifelines.

Have a LARGE lifeline

Know as many people as possible. Ask questions. Make friends. BE OF VALUE to as many people as possible. MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE to as many people as possible. Like the PodCampers, this will enable you to create a multilayered lifeline. And this way, whenever a problem pops up, you have a giant mental Rolodex to refer to. I call this BEING A HUB.

Have a LONG lifeline

If you don't have the time or the inclination to know everyone, GET TO KNOW PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE. Everyone knows someone. The more everyones you know, the more someones you have access to. It's a degrees-of-separation thing. You don't need to know everyone yourself, but the people you know may know other people you may someday need to know. MAINTAIN YOUR IMMEDIATE CONNECTIONS, and when a problem pops up, you'll be able to ask those immediate friends for referrals down their own lifelines. This is what makes sites like LinkedIn so useful, especially for the people who can't be (or don't want to be) hubs. I call these people THE CONDUITS.

Have a STRONG lifeline

Just as a lengthy lifeline can come in handy when something far outside your comfort zone becomes an issue, so too can a strong connection to your immediate support group. Sometimes it's not about knowing a guy who knows a guy, nor is it about knowing everybody. Sometimes it's just about knowing THE RIGHT PEOPLE. You may not be the center of attention or the person who makes things happen, but if you PROVIDE REAL VALUE in the lives of others, the bonds you form will enable you to weather more storms than the tenuous connections of a long lifeline, and will draw your central connections closer together. BECOME A SPOKE THAT CONNECTS TO A FEW VALUABLE HUBS OR CONDUITS.

Moving Past Survival

The Old West and the image of a lifeline seems apt when dealing with a new territory, whether it's the wild world of web media or the daunting prospect of college in another city. But eventually your needs change. Eventually the border towns are established, and the class schedules have been mastered, and you no longer need to worry about mere survival.

Eventually, you want to prosper.

This is when your lifeline becomes electric.

Now, you no longer need the bare basics. Now you no longer need the food and shelter and security, because those elements -- even if only crudely and impermanently -- have been established. Now you're ready to take action.

But it's impossible to take action alone.

Just like I never would have created something larger than my own portfolio in college without the connections I made to like-minded, motivated friends, and just like PodCamp never would have occurred without a few curious experimenters wondering what they DIDN'T know, the next steps in whatever venture you intend to embark upon -- whether it's repairing your garage or starting a new business -- won't be taken alone.

You need a team.

If your lifeline is large, you'll have dozens of potential teammates to call on from your hub.

If your lifeline is long, you'll have access to all the answers somewhere along the conduit.

If your lifeine is strong, you'll have a select group of dedicated friends to help you tackle the next task.

What you won't have is the worry that you're about to be overwhelmed, or that you're setting off unprepared, or that you won't be able to accomplish what you're intending. Because even if all of those fears turn out to be true, you know you'll be able to make the adjustments, change course or even retreat to dry land and try again later, with more experience and a different point of view.

That's why they call it a lifeline.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What Drives You?

I've been creating Something to Be Desired, a web series in Pittsburgh, for four years. It's been the driving force in my life, the project I worked to build from scratch to something. It's a work in progress, and it remains so. But lately, I've been looking at the world through a larger lens.

Last September, I attended PodCamp in Boston, and then Video on the Net. The energy and cameraderie created by those two social experiences inspired me to host another PodCamp in Pittsburgh in November. The cumulative effect of all those conversations energized me in a way I've been missing, essentially, since college.

The Last Great Ride

In college, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in a new (at the time) major: computer animation. Very few of us who signed on for the major knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into, but the majority of us were drawn in by one of two factors:

- it was new
- it was guaranteed to have a high post-graduation placement rate

Excitement and the thrill of the unknown. Stability and a steady income. When has humankind NOT been driven by one of those two basic urges?

I wound up in a highly-motivated group of students. Many of use were non-traditional and looking for something more from our college experience than we'd been able to achieve in high school. We made a pact to kick each other into gear if we felt the other guy was slipping, slacking or failing to live up to his potential. And we acted on that pact, each of us motivating one another, both by example and by encouragement, to accomplish what we'd set out to do. We even elevated our actions above the classroom, working with the school to improve student conditions and student life, because simply excelling in the classroom "wasn't enough."

We were motivated by communication, by cameraderie, by a need to improve upon the existing situations in both our personal lives and the life around us.

Sound familiar?

College 2.0

The thrill of the unknown in new media creation, the uncertainty, the "zing" -- that's what drives ALL of us who are in this space right now. There IS no stability. There IS no steady income, and any of us who are happily earning a living while working in this space are doing so knowing that the winds may shift at any time. There's no blueprint for success. There are no rules, except those which we impose on ourselves.

The key rule to follow -- in fact, the ONLY rule worth following, besides basic human courtesy -- is to DO something.

In college, we learned by action. Fortunately we were required to do so, because I suspect that, if left to our own devices, many of us would have pontificated until the sun came up and never actually put pen to paper or finger to mouse until it was too late and all the great ideas had been fully explored.

Now, in the new media landscape, we're still strongly urged to act in order to succeed. Every one of us has dozens of ideas about what MIGHT work in this new space, but very few of us have any hard facts about what DOES work.


So the only way we can ALL learn is by taking action and sharing the results.

Except... none of us wants to do "busy work." We all want to do something that MATTERS to us. We want to do something we can't WAIT to get back to every morning.

Some of us have found it. Others think they have, but eventually find that their interests or tastes have changed. What they're working on now may not be fulfilling them the same way it did when they started. Or they may have more clearly realized what it is they'd RATHER be doing.

How do you know if what you're doing now is what you WANT to be doing? And, more importantly, what DO you want to be doing?

Primal Clues

When I was a kid, my favorite aisle in a store was the stationery. The promise of all those notebooks and blank pages, waiting to be filled, excited me. I love telling stories. I love making lists. I love organizing and keeping track and sorting and ranking all sorts of otherwise clerical things. But what I love most, in the end, is learning. I love being a repository of knowledge, and then I love putting that knowledge into action.

During our hiatus from STBD, I've been thinking about the bigger picture in new media, and in my personal life. What used to drive me, the thrill of production, doesn't do the trick anymore. So I've been trying to discern what gives me the biggest emotional charge in my life, what actions or situations I'm most drawn to, and why.

- I love conversations
- I love creating and building ideas
- I love creative problem solving
- I love moving the conversation / situation forward
- I love new experiences and new people

All of this is larger than my existing role as the creator of STBD. It involves not just creative storytelling, but also interpersonal communication and creative solutions to existing challenges. It leads me to a whole new direction in where I want to go with my life and what I want to do along the way -- not drastically different from what I've been doing, but essentially MORE than what I've been doing.

The Classroom STILL Isn't Enough

In college, we realized we were capable of more than simply excelling in class. (It sounds haughty, I know, but we were more interested in maximizing our potential than in worrying about how we were perceived. It still applies today. Ask my friends.)

To that end, we drafted a manifesto outlining the changes we wanted to see made in the way the students, faculty and staff interacted. We identified all of the problems we could see, and offered suggestions for change. We sent the manifesto to the Dean, which resulted in a sit-down meeting among several students, faculty and staff. In the end, many of our ideas were put into action, and we helped shepherd them through to fruition.

Now, as I look around the new media "campus," in which I am a willing participant, I see again dozens of things that could be changed or improved. I see actions that, if taken, could result in widespread change to the way we all interact, the way we do business, the way we communicate our ideas and make connections with one another.

What I don't have yet is a manifesto.

Modern Clues

When I surf the web, I find I'm drawn to marketing blogs and productivity blogs. I love stumbling upon new sites that offer useful, practical, hands-on sevices or social networking, but then I feel I don't have the time to explore those sites. That's frustrating because what I REALLY want to do is figure out how those sites work and, more specifically, how they could work for me and for others. I love being a repository of knowledge, and then I love putting that knowledge into action.

My interests in life change, but my driving passions remain the same.

What are your passions? Are you letting them drive you?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Change of Purpose

After a year of floating aimlessly while writing the Cafe Witness blog, off and on, I've realized my passions lie elsewhere. I still love cafes. I'll still write about them on occasion. But what drives me on a daily basis is innovation, communication and creative problem solving.

So I'm changing the focus of this blog.

Since it's named after me, that's no problem.

More tomorrow: a whole new chapter begins.

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