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November 2005
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January 2006

Herding Cats

I am getting so frustrated with email, the duct tape of today's electronic age.   Marketing projects are never tidy.   They involve people both inside and outside of the company.   And the players change as the project moves forward.  CatsLots of information needs to flow and the main tool we have is......  email.   Problem is trying to find anything, or better yet have someone else try to find something.  But Bruce, you say (or Bill says), there is always SharePoint.   The Ulimate in collaboration tools.  Yes, but do you have the IT staff and budget to implement this and administer it?  And get it running this week.   I know I don't.

So to keep these projects on track and make sure everything moves together I have some superglue and baling wire to add to the mix. 

First off I use a free tool called "EverNote" to collect all the random information and put them into catagories. Not only can you cut and paste, or type into it, you can also install it into your email and browser to quickly clip information (I use Thunderbird and Firefox).  It's a snap to find anything.

So far so good, but how do you get this out to everyone else?   Even if you are in a big company, you can grab your own domain name (think tacking on "projects" to your business name).   For less than $100 / year you can pick up 10gigs of web hosting with domain name registration.   Then you create a subdirectory on your website for your project.   Password protect it.   Use the free wordpress blogging software included from the host.    Give the password freely to those you want to view (but they cannot post). For people you want to let post, give them an additional password.   Put all the good information on this blog (copy from EverNote).     Team members get posting and commenting rights.   

Using the same concept create a subdirectory on the FTP site.    This is where everyone puts all your documents.   But people aren't that good at FTP, so in the blog, create an ftp link directly to the document.   Click on it, and you're there.   

When a new person comes on board, just send them a couple of links and the directory password, and they're up to speed.   In the end you have up to date information in one place while you control edit and access.   And it's outside of your internal system for a price less than 2 IT support calls.    It's not fancy, but it does get the job done.

Remembering Susan

This is a story about tenacity.    Yesterday I attended the funeral of my cousin who died after being hit by two cars while crossing the street in her wheelchair.   

When Susan was in grade school she was hit in the head with a baseball bat and lost a lot of motor control.  Ever determined, she decided to become a figure skater.   She learned how to skate and spent 6 hours a day on the ice.   She and her mom moved to Houston to train.  In 1979 she won the regional figure skating competition and became an Olympic hopeful.   Later that week she went home to Chicago for Christmas.

There was a house fire which killed her sister and put Susan in a coma from smoke inhalation.   She was confined to a wheelchair.   Susan then went to high school and college.   Moving to Tempe,  she lived in her own apartment and ran the scoreboards for the Phoenix Suns and the Diamondbacks.  In 2001 she was there when the Diamondbacks took the World Series.  No one could best her in sports statistics.    And now she's gone. 

Where the Rubber Meets the Sky

SkyroadInnovation.  Execution.   Diametrically opposed.  But both necessary.  If we don't execute on the plan, the company fails.   But as we spend more and more time on our execution our senses become dulled as to what else is appearing on the horizon.  And what's on the horizon are tomorrow's threats and opportunities.

There are pratical things you can do to keep your innovation abilities sharp.   No matter how hectic your schedule becomes, you need to spend some time everyday in casual reading in technology and what is going on in your markets and the world in general.   Add to this monthly forays into social and professional gatherings.   Listen, observe.   This kind of balance will help you acheive the dual goals of innovation and execution.