Articles Posted in Productivity

Over the last 30 years I’ve lead dozens of teams through strategic planning as a CEO and as an outside facilitator. I’ve learned there are three essential characteristics for a good facilitator.

  • Strong listening skills
  • A coherent framework

tableskaterWhat is the best way to break into education publishing? If you are young and starting out what launching pads set you up well for a career in the world of instructional materials and software?

I’m bullish in the industry and think we are in one of the most creative and fascinating eras as traditional print publishing blends with digital production and distribution. There is going to be a huge amount of disruption but there will be an enormous amount of opportunity in the midst of all the changes.

In the first part of this series I focused on the best ways to prepare and organize your search. Today I turn the focus on what kinds of jobs industry entrants should consider.

PCI takes Halloween very seriously – but in a fun way.

Basically it is an additional holiday since we have a big party over lunch including a street parade. Competition in the pumpkin carving and costume contests is fierce.

In the picture below you can see my meeting with one of the judges.

IMG_0070.jpgIt’s been four weeks and my iPad still has that new computer smell. Now that I’ve been using it in my workflow I wanted to post some additional comments on it’s utility in an educational setting.

In general I think my original take holds up well – this is fantastic tool for consuming content, is extremely useful as an outboard content manager, and passable in a pinch as a creation tool (this whole post was written on it).

On a meta level it is truly amazing how natural the “point and do” nature of the touch interface feels. Once you understand the grammar of the device it all just flows. A mouse now feels clunky for most operations other than image processing or massive spreadsheets.

image001Clive Thompson over at Wired has a great short essay on the modern revival of the written word in the age of social media. He cites work done at Stanford that shows that todays students are writing more than their parents – in fact 38% of their writing is has nothing to do with school. Better yet – they are writing for an audience – or at least an audience wider than a single Professor.

Here are a couple of key quotes (emphasis added):

young people today write far more than any generation before them. That’s because so much socializing takes place online, and it almost always involves text.

image020EdNet 2009 starts this Sunday in Chicago. This is one of the three most important events of the year* for networking and professional development in the education industry. I’ve been attending since the early 90’s with only a couple of absences.

Nelson Heller, EdNet’s founder, has also been a friend and mentor – as he has so graciously been to many of us across the industry. This year the conference is under MDR‘s aegis – and it will be the same top-notch opportunity to expand your consciousness it has always been

Why is this event important? In a nutshell it is all about conversational efficiency. You can talk to more people about partnerships, recruiting, selling, or just “gettin ta know ya” in a few hours at EdNet than you could in two months on the road.

1059We are collectively discovering the value of social media tools like Twitter. As we do this we wander blind alleys and make surprising discoveries. Forthwith a peeve and a rave about micro-blogging.

Peeve – People who tweet that they are about to do something. So what? How about you tweet after you have done it and have something interesting to say. “I’m off to the mall” Fascinating – yawn.

Rave – Genuine kudos handed out freely. Yesterday a friend (@perludus) had to return a pair of shoes. He tweeted “Three cheers for @Footwise! Returned my shoes that wore through the sole in 2 months w/no questions asked!” Positive energy put into the system always comes back to you. It also makes others feel positive about the world. All that in 140 characters – cool.


Are you Twitter curious? For the past few months I’ve been on the fence about Twitter – lurking but minimally engaged. Like all new technologies as people play with it they are discovering what it is best for. Recently I’ve watched as my friend Charlene Blohm has begun leveraging it to help drive her business.

Twitter seems to be following a similar path to other new technologies. The enthusiasm of early adopters misrepresents what the technology is really capable of. Think LaserWriters/Postcript and flyers with 23 different fonts on them (circa 1986) or web pages cluttered with frames (circa 1998). Once the dust settled and a “grammar” of usage emerged we all benefited. But every new technology has to pass through a stage of wild and random experimentation to get there.

Twitter is passing out of this stage right now so it is a good time for the rest of us to engage with it.