Day-After-Report: Personal Digital Home Meetup, July 30

Future Posts For PDH Will Be On DHMN Civic Hacks Blog, Not On Events Wrangling

tl;dr — Three of us met and discussed the Personal Digital Home project for 3 hours on July 30. We decided:

[If you’re not familiar with the Personal Digital Home project, it is “the starting point for your digital life.“ The PDH concept is essentially One Site To Rule Them All, your data storage shed, control panel and cyberspace digital presence. A PDH website is intended to let you Own Your Data, give you more control your presence in the metaverse, and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. Two other projects closely related to PDH are IndieWeb and The Decentralized Web initiative.]

July 30 Meetup Summary

Three NE Wisconsin TIME community members met on July 30, 2016, from 1 – 4 PM CDT at Tom’s Drive In on Westhill Boulevard in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, to discuss and work on the Personal Digital Home (PDH) project. This post is an overview of the July 30 meeting.

I had proposed an agenda for this meetup, but we pretty much ignored it. This was Chris’ first exposure to PDH, so Mike kicked off the meeting by explaining to Chris what Mike’s understanding and vision of the project is. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat here what Mike said, so for now only Chris and I got the benefit of how Mike sees PDH.

[At the next PDH meetup, I’m going to record Mike (and others if they’re ok with that) when they paint a picture of what PDH means to them. Then I’ll put that in cyber-writing, and we can refine the descriptions. That will help us see what the commonalities are between people working on the project and how each one aligns with the big picture I’m working to solidify for PDH.]

To me, Mike’s description of PDH sounded pretty close to the IndieWeb project, with a strong emphasis on OYD (Own Your Data) and POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere). So I expanded on what Mike said and explained that PDH is intended to help people better manage all their digital “stuff” online and offline now and twenty years from now when people’s lives will be even more digital than they are now. That means it will include things like:

  • Your own website (using a URL or domain name you registered for yourself ).
  • The POSSE content you create, e.g. for Twitter, Facebook, other social media, blog posts, Google Docs, photos, etc.
  • A reliable, secure, and private backup system for all the digital data you don’t want to lose.
  • A portfolio or repository for all your education, learning, knowledge, and expertise.
  • An umbrella site for all your ventures, side gigs and residual income streams.
  • Whatever other digital components your life has (or pointers to those components if they are under your control elsewhere).

Think about your digital and online life ten or twenty years ago. Then think about how much more digital, cellular and internet-connected you are today.

NOWextrapolate forward twenty years. The concept of PDH is to be the digital interface you’ll want to have twenty years from now, when even more of your life is locally-networked and internet-connected via cellular, WiFi, and other wireless or wired protocols, blending reality, augmented reality, virtual reality, holography, wearable computing, robotics, and other digital-life tools that haven’t been imagined yet.

After Mike and I told Chris how we see PDH, he asked a few questions, then we started talking about different components of PDH and how the overall concept might function. That was sort of Talking Point 1 on my agenda, or at least part of it. Mike and Chris didn’t have an interest in talking about or working on secure and reliable backup systems for people’s current digital data and lives, so I’ll have to connect with someone else if PDH is going to create a reliable, secure and private backup system people can build in upcoming months.

Toward the end of the meeting, we talked a bit about Next Steps for PDH. All in all, it was an excellent meeting, and I feel we made good progress. I’m looking forward to working on PDH over the next few weeks and meeting up again in person in a few weeks.

PDH Communications

We agreed that, for now, most of our communications will happen via the NE Wisconsin Slack team in the #dhmncivichacks channel.

I’ve been publishing posts about the PDH project on the Events Wrangling blog, but will move those to the DHMN Civic Hacks blog since we’re putting it under the DHMN (Distributed Hacker/Maker Network) umbrella, at least as a starting point. I’ll leave a pointer on the Events Wrangling blog telling people interested in PDH to look at DHMN Civic Hacks.

For communicating and collaborating regarding software, firmware, hardware, services, and project design, we’ll use GitHub as a central point for now. I’ll probably do some work on a GitHub wiki. The IndieWeb project appears to use a MediaWiki wiki as their central organizing hub, with two freenode irc channels for their discussions (you can also connect via Slack).

We also agreed that the success of PDH is dependent on it being a hybrid project — some online interaction and some in-person, some asynchronous communication and some synchronous. The majority of the work will be done in a distributed fashion with online collaboration and communication. The distributed functionality will enable the project to build a global team if we can develop a good project base and effectively communicate compelling reasons to participate in the project.

But we’ll also have periodic in-person meetups, especially for recruiting new members to the project, for working together on hardware and other physical aspects of PDH, and for FUN and general relationship building. Plus maybe some Stuc’s pizza and Great White or Moon Man beer…

Security And Privacy

Security and privacy are critical to PDH being a viable concept and a usable digital tool. A couple NE Wisconsin infosec people expressed interest in the project, and I hope to have them at one or more of our upcoming meetings. My approach to PDH is that it will only be reliably secure and private if we have security people involved right at the beginning. It makes no sense at all to build PDH with only casual and incomplete or incorrect security measures, then expect to bolt on true security as an intermediate or last step. Won’t work.

We also discussed how security and convenience are, to a certain extent, on opposite ends of a spectrum. What I’d like to discuss with the security specialists is the concept of designing for the most secure system possible at three different levels of convenience.

  1. Convenience Level 1 — very convenient; preferred by 90%+ of the people who are online.
  2. Convenience Level 2 — medium convenience, preferred by tech people who want a middling amount of convenience with as much security as possible at that convenience level; 3 – 9% of people who are online.
  3. Convenience Level 3 — only use Tor or similarly-secure browser, use auto-obfuscation tools, encrypt all email and other communications if available, etc; 0.01 – 1.0% of people who are online.

Gravatar / IIRW / Pluggable Software Components

Mike’s goal is to figure out and build some type of elemental software chunk that performs along the lines of Gravatar, which is, I think, a POSSE widget. I’m not a coder, so I’m sure I’m mangling terminology. Mike can unmangle this paragraph to explain what his first PDH goal is. Or even better, he can write a separate post for DHMN Civic Hacks or a description for GitHub to describe what he’d like to initially work on for PDH.

We talked about creating modular pluggable software components for PDH, maybe along the lines of plugins for WordPress or extensions for the Chrome browser.

In addition to the Gravatar analogy, Mike used the example of the “Is it recycling week?” (IIRW) Android app civic hack he spearheaded. He started out by writing the AppletonAPI, based on some things he learned from a Madison civic hacker. Then he wrote the IIRW app. Along the way, another Mike got plugged into the civic API and recycling civic hack, and he developed a civic API discovery service with standard contracts, then he wrote a Greenville API. Chris and Ross also jumped in building a web interface for the recycling information, an Outagamie county API and a Pebble Watch app.

So Mike wants to figure out a small but useful component or building block of PDH that he and others can improve, build off of, and work toward the big picture of a fully functional PDH.


Chris is starting on PDH by figuring out whether IPFS can be a useful component or building block for the project. IPFS is the acronym for InterPlanetary File System. (TechCrunch article about it for background)

As with Mike and the Gravatar / IIRW starting goal, I’ll let Chris write a paragraph to explain how or why he wants to build IPFS into the PDH. Or he can write a post instead of a paragraph! 🙂

Raspberry Pi 3 Hdwe Stack / AWS Virtual Stack

Raspberry Pi 3 was discussed as a possible hardware first demonstration platform for PDH.

I see the PDH development process as a dual-focus iterative process.

One focus is the design of the system. We don’t know exactly what PDH should look like yet, because we’re just starting to figure out what we want it to do. So part of the time we’ll be thinking about, researching and discussing what PDH should do, and what components will enable it to do those things. We’ll keep working on the design until we get to a v.0.1 design. Then we’ll iterate on that design and come up with the next incremental version.

Meanwhile, the other focus of the PDH project is building the modular pluggable components we think we want to use. Some of those components will be hardware, some will be software, some might be firmware or services. But we will be building things, not just discussing and designing them. What we learn from building and using those components will inform the next iteration of design, which will then inform the next iteration of build.

Based on what we discussed on July 30, Mike and Chris think a Raspberry Pi 3 might be an interesting starting point for PDH hardware. The three of us will research and think about that more and if, after the next PDH meetup, it still looks like the Pi 3 is a good hardware starting point, I’ll get a Pi 3 and start on the hardware build cycle.

Mike and Chris also mentioned the possibility of a minimal hardware instance of PDH which would likely use AWS, so one of them may start defining and developing that in parallel with the Pi 3 or other hardware-focused solution.

Other General Discussion

Since I didn’t record the meeting or take extensive notes, I’ll just include bullet points for the rest of the discussion we had on July 30. Mike or Chris can expand on these if they want, and I’ll update the post with their verbiage. Or the bullet points below can just stand as reminders to the three of us, as well as potential starting points for questions from others who are interested in PDH.

  • Blockchain; contracts for all components — Mike P can explain to Mike R his view on those being part of PDH
  • Make Something People Want
    • Mike’s example of group of students who are friends coming up with new uses for Minecraft and Pi
    • Josh G can help by giving input re what students he works with might want
  • Pluggable components for both software and hardware
  • Consumer WiFi router ⇒ consumer server
    • Chromebook update and near-zero maintenance model ⇒ consumer server
  • Minimum personally-owned hardware is encryption key (Mike)
  • Chrome profile (Mike)
  • ownCloud (Chris)
  • Sandstorm (Bob)
  • Folding At Home (Mike)
  • HTML local storage (Mike)
  • GitHub / Git (Mike)

Next PDH Meetup

The next PDH in-person meetup will be a Monday night — either August 15, 22, or 29. I will contact a few people this week to see which of those three work best, then I’ll publish a post and make a whole bunch of people aware of the date for the next meetup. PDH will be the main topic for Coder Cooperative (CC) on the Monday we select. CC runs from 7-9 PM at the Appleton Makerspace, but I’ll be there at 6 PM if a Makerspace member will have the door open by 6 — I’ll highlight in the pre-meetup post whether to come at 6 if you want to talk about PDH before the 7 PM official start time.

Ten people were interested in PDH and the July 30 meetup, but due to typical busy summer weekend schedules only three could make it. So I’m looking forward to having somewhere between five and fifteen people talking about and working on PDH in a couple weeks! 🙂

Future Posts For PDH Will Be On DHMN Civic Hacks Blog, Not On Events Wrangling


[contact Bob Waldron at bwaldron (at) gmail {dott} com if you have questions about PDH]


July​ 30,​ ​2016:​ ​News​ ​&​ ​Views​ ​Roundup​ ​For​ ​Events​ ​Wranglers

Hot off the presses, discovered on the internet’s event news hotspots and other dark, dank corners of the metaverse — it’s your July 30th assortment of recent news and views in the events wrangling world. This Saturday’s news includes a variety of topics that may shock, disgust or bore you, but they might also inspire you to do something totally different and daring for your next event. For the complete lowdown and highlights on any of these items, click the headline link and view the source article in its unadulterated entirety.

5 Weird Ways Legal Marijuana Could Affect Your Events

marijuana, which states may be nextThe move to make the recreational use of marijuana legal is gaining momentum—it’s now legal to spark up a spliff in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state. And legislation is on the November ballots in a number of other states as well, including California, Nevada, and New York.

Sooner or later, chances are one of your meetings will land in a state that welcomes cannabis-inspired altered states.

And you just know that at least of few of your participants are going to want to give it a try…pot at meetings and events will soon be, if it’s not already, a trend…”

Two weeks ago the first news item was totally serious, taking a look at whether your event is prepared for a disaster such as a terrorist attack. Last week I led the News & Views post with a Pokémon GO item which offered a few thoughts about how the new augmented reality mobile game might impact events wranglers. Today our first story talks about an issue I hadn’t even considered — what does marijuana legalization in states like Colorado mean for your event? If a group of people sitting in the back of the conference room after lunch start giggling and laughing and can’t stop, is that because the speaker told a good joke or because they had magic brownies for dessert after lunch instead of the plain brownies served by the caterer? What issues do you foresee marijuana causing at events, and do you see any upsides or benefits?

Why State Farm is ‘Here To Help’ at Music FestivalsState Farm

State Farm is on a mission to make the festival experience more pleasurable for music fans. Forgot your sunscreen? Toothpaste? Need a bandana? Pop into State Farm’s Here To Help house to pick up what you need. The insurance company is tapping into the power of music, the power of community and the power of being a good neighbor to drive awareness of its new brand platform, Here To Help Life Go Right, which launched in June…

“When we talk about music, we look at what brings music fans together and it is really that shared passion for music that creates a community,” says Mandy Laux, marketing sponsorship/experiential manager at State Farm. “Part of being a good neighbor is to not only just be there, but also to be there in different moments and life experiences.” Which, of course, includes music festivals and their thousands of music fans…”

I really like the State Farm article. It brings to mind three ideas that may be helpful for events I work on in the future.

  1. Good swag not based on event theme. A generic approach to having an insurance or other type of company sponsor an event, by providing something the event goers will be interested in and very appreciative of even though it’s not directly related to the event focus. The event was a music festival, but State Farm isn’t in the music industry and didn’t hand out anything music related. Instead they provided bandanas and sunscreen, two items that the festival attendees might be very happy to have when standing in the hot sun.
  2. Sponsorship related to sponsor tagline. State Farm’s new tagline is “Here To Help Life Go Right.” The bandanas and sunscreen could help festival attendees’ lives go a little more right by preventing problems caused by the sun.
  3. Promoting a new brand slogan or product. When finding sponsors for an event, figure out ways potential sponsors can effectively promote new branding efforts or highlight the roll-out of a new product. Take your list of potential sponsors and identify what new or relatively recent marketing campaigns have been launched by them, then pitch something related to that to help them increase their campaign’s impact. Also consider the potential sponsors’ competitors’ campaigns. Companies might be interested in sponsorship ideas that dilute the effectiveness of a competitor’s brand new campaign.

5 Interactive Ways To Get Real-Time Event Feedbackcupcakes with emoticons

Thinking outside of the box using creative ways to plan and design events is what we do as event professionals. We should be using more creative ways to get feedback on our work and the client’s investment too.

Whilst you are in the planning stages of your event, you should already be thinking about how you are going to get feedback on the effectiveness of your event design. Particular questions run through your mind. Is my survey going to get many responses? Will it be constructive criticism? Will attendees remember the bad bits more clearly than the good bits? Or, how can my survey gauge the emotional response to my event? All these sorts of questions are common, but what if there was another way? A more creative and inspired way to collect feedback!

1. The Cup Cake Method

…To inject more fun into the conference, you can use cup cakes. These popular tasty treats could be offered at a morning coffee break, again at lunch time and again at the afternoon break of a conference. Ask your caterer to create small cup cakes decorated with a range of smiley faces on them denoting different moods – very happy, happy, unhappy and very unhappy – under each speech bubble.

5. What Do I Do With The Attendee Badges?

Another way to collect attendee badges so they get thrown into the appropriate recycling bin is to have ‘comment bins’ at the exit to your event. Ideal for event badge recycle binsconferences, product launches and exhibitions, place two bins near corresponding speech bubbles…”

I really like the cupcake idea. It brings an element of fun, whimsy, and play into a business-related aspect of events, e.g. attendee feedback. I don’t remember anything even close to being that fun for a conference or serious business event I’ve attended in the past. The attendee badge seems like a worthwhile idea, although I do question whether it should be made clear to attendees what will or may happen post-event if they put their name tag in one of the two bins.

10 Pop-Up Strategies That Yield Lasting Impressions

From food to fashion to feminine care, brands of every variety are executing pop-up strategies to give consumers a taste of their products and services. Some last for a few days, others for a few hours, but however transient the pop up eventsexperience, its impact extends far beyond the life of the activation. Following are 10 pop-up strategies that turned temporary events into lasting impressions…”

I don’t have experience with pop up events, but I’d love to try a few of them. It seems like they have huge upside for customer interaction and honest conversations. It’s also a great way to try out new things and to get feedback in a location you aren’t familiar with. Becoming knowledgeable about local regulations might become a challenge if you do pop ups in many different cities, and marketing might be tricky for some pop ups. A city fifty miles from where I live did a pop up restaurant, and they have a few more pop up events planned — and that makes me wish there were pop up events in my city.

Abrupt Cancellation of Industry Conference Leads Speakers to Plan Free Virtual Eventplan B

Less than one month before it was to take place, the Future of Events conference in Amsterdam has been cancelled due to what conference C.E.O. Steven Wickel described in an email as “very low ticket sales.” The event had been planned for August 22 to 24 and was described on the registration website as an event to “provide event professionals with the tools to develop their personal and professional competence by providing new techniques, creative ideas, and innovations to make future events game-changing.” More than 40 speakers were listed on the website, including BizBash C.E.O. David Adler, Fast Traffic Events & Entertainment C.E.O. Frank Supovitz, Liz King of Liz King Events, Corbin Ball, Dahlia El Gazzar, and many more.

In the hours after the announcement yesterday, Gazzar, King, and Aaron Kaufman, president of Fifth Element Group, made the decision to keep the spirit of the event alive by hosting a free virtual event August 23 titled [CTRL] + virtual events[ALT] + [DEL]…”

Announcement on techsytalk

Google webcache for “Future of Events”

PDF about “Future of Events”

As people and technology become better at making virtual events engaging and worthwhile to participants, I can see more virtual events being offered when ticket sales or registrations aren’t sufficient to cover the costs of the IRL event. That will be even more true when virtual reality technology brings a remote attendee right into the middle of what’s happening at the virtual event. I’m looking forward to finding out if [CTRL] + [ALT] + [DEL] is successful.


Bonus item:A-1 Array

It seems worthwhile for an event or its sponsors to come up with some cool digital swag, sort of an experiential memento of the event, rather than a YASB (yet another stress ball) or some other physical product that event goers take home from the conference but wonder why they did. The A-1 Array GIF is one example of event digital swag. There must be thousands of other possibilities. Hmmm…need to check to see if is available…

Rather than a traditional still photo as a keepsake of the night, organizers brought in A-1 Array to set up an animated photo booth. As guests stood in front of a backdrop and threw confetti in the air, 13 small cameras snapped photos simultaneously and those images were then combined to create a three-dimensional GIF that guests could share on social media.”
From:  How to Design an Event That’s “Futuristic But Not Cheesy”

A-1 Array


Personal Digital Home Meetup, July 30, Appleton, Wisconsin

Tom's Drive InThe second meetup to work on the Personal Digital Home (PDH) project is tomorrow, Saturday, July 30, 2016, at Tom’s Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

We’ll meet from 1 – 4 PM in the upstairs area at Tom’s — it’s a little bit quieter up there and we can put a couple tables together.

As mentioned in an earlier post, this meetup will be a discussion-work session. If interested in more PDH background, see “IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup.” My proposed agenda for the second meetup has three main items, but I’m open to talking about or working on other aspects of PDH. The three tentative talking points are:

  1. Refine definition of PDH.
  2. Develop reliable backup system.
  3. Work on alpha version of WordPress PDH.

Here’s an expanded version of what we’ll talk about to start the work session, and we’ll see what happens from there.

  • Refine definition of PDH
    • Functional description — what will it do
    • Component description — what parts we think are needed for above functions
    • Hardware, software, services
  • Develop, document, and build reliable backup system
    • Learn from recent Google account deactivation and take action
    • Secure and private
    • Onsite and offsite
    • Maximum automation, minimum user responsibilitiesWordPress Personal Digital Home, tagline
    • Long term plan (50-year?)
  • Work on alpha version of WordPress PDH
    • IndieWeb has done a lot of work on using a WordPress approach for the Decentralized Web
    • WordPress powers 25%+ sites on the web; immediate traction for PDH
    • Philosophy of Automattic and Matt Mullenweg appear to align well with PDH
    • Quicker start for alpha version because we’re not building from scratch

A number of people expressed interest in learning more about the PDH project and maybe working on it, but they had previous commitments for July 30. To accommodate busy summer weekends, we’ll probably schedule another meeting for a weeknight in a couple weeks.

Hope to see you at Tom’s tomorrow!

Tom's Drive In, Google Maps

Tom’s Drive In, Westhill Blvd, by Woodman’s (see also Google Maps link on address above)


Reboot, Part 1: NE Wisconsin 3.0

Regional Economic Reboot

innovators dilemmaThis post is the first of a series about Reboot, an initiative to improve the regional economy of NE Wisconsin.

I love technology, especially emerging technologies. I’m intrigued by the way emerging technologies cause disruptive innovation (Clayton Christensen), or vice versa. And I’m a true believer in the capability of emerging technology and its innovations to cause entrepreneurial swarming and creative destruction (Joseph Schumpeter).

Small problem, though. I currently live in NE Wisconsin. A region far removed from the centers of emerging technologies, disruptive innovation, creative destruction, and entrepreneurial swarming.

here comes everybody, clay shirkyHowever, I believe in the organizing power of the internet (Clay Shirky). Although the mostly-non-tech regional economy, low population density, and conservative culture of NE Wisconsin do not combine to create a real-world critical mass of disruptive innovators, I do know those disrupters are out there. So what we need to do is connect those disruptive innovators, build a team of future-focused supporter organizations, and create a virtual critical mass of like-minded and complementary-minded people.

Then, voilà! Let the fun, and a regional economic reboot, begin…

Where NE Wisconsin Reboot Came From

NE Wisconsin’s “New North” regional economic initiative was launched a couple years after the 21st century became a reality. I’m considering the New North launch to be NE Wisconsin 2.0.

10X innovationWhat I’m proposing is to take a brand new look at disruptive innovation and creative destruction as applied to this region. The existing programs for innovations, entrepreneurs and technology can continue, but let’s incorporate a new approach that focuses on disruptive innovation and startups with goals of delivering 10 – 20X improvement rather than 10 – 20% improvement.

Incorporating that new approach will be NE Wisconsin 3.0.

The “Reboot” title for this initiative to improve the region’s economy, innovation and entrepreneurism comes from the procedure of rebooting a personal computer when you make major changes on it, or when the computer isn’t working exactly the way it should.

From my perspective, NE Wisconsin would benefit from making major changes, sort of a reboot. Those benefits were spelled out in my earlier post “TIME Community Events: Benefits Of A Regional TIME Community.” Read that post for more details, but the benefit bullet points are:

  • Source of potential employees.benefits
  • Increased job creation in your region.
  • Increased retention and immigration of TIME people (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs).
  • Building the culture for a resilient and sustainable regional economy.
  • Opportunities to invest in disruptive innovation and startups.

The Reboot concept started out as a personal project to connect with a few people in NE Wisconsin who are highly interested in working on disruptive innovation. Before I spent most of 2014 working on a startup in northern California, we had several years of biweekly coffee shop meetups in NE Wisconsin called the Friday Disrupters. I decided to work on connecting another group of disrupters, but a slightly larger one with more focus on driving change in the region. As I worked on connecting that disruptive innovation network, there was a need to answer three questions.

  1. Who would be good people to have in a network of NE Wisconsin disruptive innovators?
  2. What would be the goals of a small network of NE Wisconsin disruptive innovators?
  3. What would be the benefits of a network of disruptive innovators (to the innovators and to their region)?

Those three questions sequentially led me to think about the following increasingly larger regional networks.

ne wisc

NE Wisconsin

  • 12 – 20 people. I began working on connecting a network of 12 – 20 disruptive innovators who live in NE Wisconsin.
  • 500 – 5000 people. Discussions about a small network of disruptive innovators highlighted the value of connecting 500 – 5000 NE Wisconsin TIE people (Tech, Innovators, Entrepreneurs).
  • 8000 people. Thinking about the TIE network led me consider the value connecting a larger network (~ 8000 people) who are committed to actively improving the NE Wisconsin entrepreneurial and innovation culture; not just TIE people.
  • 12,000 people. One of the benefits of improving a region’s entrepreneurial and innovation culture is improvement of the regional economy. That larger goal of regional economic improvement would add more people to the group working on entrepreneurial culture — with a resulting objective of connecting 1% of the region’s 1.2 million residents.

The Reboot initiative will start out with a small group of committed people but is intended to lead to much bigger things. Sound like a challenge? As Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Long Term Commitment: 50 Years

After a small group of committed people is connected, the first step on the Journey of 10,000 miles to an improved regional economy is reaching a consensus that the Reboot partners and sponsors 2initiative will establish realistic expectations rather than over-promising when recruiting program partners and sponsors.

It’s essential for supporters of Reboot to agree that achievable short and medium term goals are worth the budgeted resources. If there are questions about that, a conversation is needed about why improvement will only happen if there is long term commitment. If that long term vision and commitment are missing, there is no point in launching Reboot. Without that supporter commitment, the smaller group of disruptive innovators should just focus on a more limited vision of enabling 10 – 20X improvements in projects in which they are direct participants.

When I say long term vision, I’m referring to 50 years, not 5 years. Stretch objectives are helpful. Optimism and a desire to change the world, or at least the region, are good attributes. But Silicon Valley didn’t spring up in the 70s, 80s or 90s, much less in the past 50 yearsfive or ten years. MIT and Stanford didn’t become world-leading engines of innovation in ten or twenty years.

No matter what potential supporters for the Reboot initiative want to hear or want to have happen, it will take many years to achieve the goal of a big improvement in the region’s innovation, entrepreneurism and economy. The “Start-Up New York” entrepreneurism program was just launched in 2013, but political opponents are already campaigning to end the program because they say it hasn’t created enough new jobs in its first three years. Other entrepreneur and economic accelerator programs have suffered similar fates because they created unrealistic expectations or did not have long term commitment from supporters.

Realistic expectations. Long term vision and commitment. Table stakes.

Seven Step Reboot Plan

In the expectation that three key objectives will be achieved, a seven step Reboot plan has been developed. The three key objectives are:

  1. A small group of thoughtful, committed NE Wisconsin disruptive innovators is connected.
  2. The disruptive innovators group reaches consensus on realistic expectations for the Reboot initiative.
  3. Reboot partners and sponsors with long term vision and commitment are recruited.

seven step planThe seven steps for the Reboot program are listed below. This is a draft blueprint, v.0.1, intended to be talking points for discussion after the disruptive innovators are connected. The Reboot v.1.0 proposal that is used for recruiting partners and sponsors will be developed by the disruptive innovators group. The Reboot v.2.0 that is funded and launched will be based on customer feedback using the Lean Startup methodology. Reboot’s seven steps are:

  1. Connect the TIE community (Tech, Innovators, Entrepreneurs).
  2. Build effective communications and events system for TIE community.NE Wisc Reboot Roads, red, green
  3. TIE community facilitate disruptive innovation; develop program for launching disruptive innovation startups.
  4. Improve NE Wisconsin 3.0 main roads to 4 lane minimum (see map).
  5. Develop and implement plan for Top 5% schools.
  6. Expand TIE community into a 21st century regional economy network.
  7. Develop and expand culture-building regional events.

I’ve seen and heard NE Wisconsin people talking about technology, innovation, entrepreneurism, and change for more than twenty years. People in NE Wisconsin are working on technology, innovation, and entrepreneurism. And change is happening. But…

While NE Wisconsin is moving ahead and improving its regional technology and innovation, other regions are moving ahead faster. And they were ahead to begin with. I don’t think NE Wisconsin isn’t catching up to them. I think it’s falling further behind.

“Reboot, Part 2” will take a look at Next Steps and a recommendation for Reboot discussion events in cities around NE Wisconsin…


EAA AirVenture 2016

Oshkosh AirVenture

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the Solar Impulse project was a featured part of the 2010 Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) World Symposium on Electric Aircraft. Theairventure 2016 logo symposium was one of the many aviation activities happening during that year’s EAA AirVenture, a weeklong gathering of aviation enthusiasts from around the world.

AirVenture happens every summer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, and it’s a great example of an event with huge impact that can help build a regional culture. It happens to be going on as I write this post, with this year’s event running July 25 – 31. If you’re in the Midwest and enjoy any aspect of aircraft, other than just flying on commercial aircraft as a passenger, you should drop into Oshkosh this week while the airshow is on. If you can’t make it this year, consider attending in 2017.

airventure aircraft campingIf you don’t live in the Midwest, but have your own plane, consider flying to Oshkosh next year. In 2015 over 10,000 aircraft flew in for AirVenture. Many owners camp right next to their plane.

Speaking of events wrangling, how’d you like to coordinate AirVenture? The event runs for a week, has 10,000 aircraft flying through the skies above your event, has an attendance of over 500,000, has visitor from 80 countries (try getting translators for all those in a small city in NE Wisconsin!), and has most of the activities run by or coordinated by 5400 volunteers (2015 statistics).

Electric Aircraft Symposium

airventure electric aircraft symposium

EAA World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, 2010

I was involved with AirVenture for a number of years when I worked for EAA on aviation innovation. The absolute best part of that job was the electric aircraft symposiums, especially the fantastically interesting people who were involved with all aspects of electric aircraft.

Other Memorable Moments At AirVenture

I met so many great people and saw so many cool aviation displays, it’s hard to pick which experiences rank next after the electric aircraft symposiums from past AirVentures. The most memorable ones that come immediately to mind are:

  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This humongous commercial airliner had just recently gone into production and AirVenture was one of the first places it was flown in public. One of the Boeing test pilots was an EAA member, so that probably helped. You had to be there to believe it, but this lumbering monstrosity looked like an aerobatic jet when the pilot took it up for a demonstration flight. He was doing maneuvers that would have been impressive for a single-passenger jet. I hope I never fly on a jet that climbs as steeply, dives as quickly, or banks as sharply as that test pilot did with the 787.airventure 787
  • Martin Jetpack. The Martin Jetpack made a totally unexpected public demonstration one of the years I was at AirVenture. A huge crowd gathered when the word spread about a working jetpack. It made chills run up and down my back watching it take off and fly around the demo area. Because they didn’t have FAA clearances yet, the ground crew guys had to hold the jetpack down while the pilot stayed only a few feet off the ground (see inset picture below of the white jetpack). The best thing about the jetpack was talking with Glenn Martin, the New Zealander who spent over twenty years designing, building and testing various versions of the “personal aircraft.” The red one below is their current design. According to their website, they even have a “golfcart jetpack” now!airventure martin jetpack
  • Red Bull Aerobatic Helicopter. This helicopter did absolutely incredible and unbelievable flying stunts. He went straight up. He went straight down. He even flew upside down. I have no idea why that helicopter didn’t drop out of the sky. Amazing, but scary!airventure red bull helicopter

If you’ve never been to AirVenture, give it a try. You don’t have to go every year for thirty or more years in a row like some dedicated enthusiasts have, camping out for a week or two. Just give it a try one year — it will be a memory you’ll have for the rest of your life! 🙂

In closing, below is an aerial view of the main square on a day during AirVenture 2010.

airventure aerial view


Solar Impulse 2 Lands In Abu Dhabi: A Momentous Event!

The Amazing Journey

Solar Impulse 2An amazing journey was completed on 26 July 2016 — the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft landed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, completing the world’s first circumnavigation flight by an aircraft powered only by solar energy.


Félicitations Bertrand et André!

Solar Impulse 2, Félicitations Betrand et André

Solar Impulse 2 began its round-the-world trip by taking off from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015. The trip was done in multiple legs because it was a single-person plane with an average speed of 75 km/hr, so they needed to land periodically for the two pilots to switch (Betrand Piccard and André Borschberg). The circumnavigation also had a number of delays due to technical challenges (like batteries overheating) and unfavorable weather.

If you want to watch the last 1 ½ hours of the journey, check out the official “LEG 17 LIVE: Solar Impulse Airplane – Landing in Abu Dhabi” video on YouTube, embedded below. To me, as someone who has followed the project for many years, it was an inspirational video and a very moving finale to their epic flight.

Culture And Personality Of An Innovation Team

In addition to the awesomeness of the completion of a 42,000 km journey, two highlights for me of the final hour of flight were:

  1. Design of the NEXT Solar Impulse aircraft. While talking with the ground crew shortly before landing, Bertrand suggested a design improvement for “the next airplane” — adding a slot by the window “to get the air inside” for better ventilation in the cockpit (at ~ 0:50 in the video). The Solar Impulse 2’s mission engineer landing coordinator (I’m not an aviation person, so I’m sure that’s not the correct term) told Bertrand he looks forward to working on the design of the next plane. To me that was such a cool moment. Their focus on the future and continual striving for the next improvement are two hallmarks of disruptive innovation teams.
  2. Bertrand’s personality and humor. When the Solar Impulse 2’s landing coordinator told Bertrand the airport wind conditions were four to six knots, Bertrand replied that he hoped the coordinator said “four to six” rather than forty-six! (at ~ 1:31 in the video) The cofounder of the project is so relaxed at what could be a very tense moment and is so comfortable with other team members that he can joke about a critical landing factor being open to misinterpretation.

Solar Impulse 2 Abu Dhabi mission engineers

Solar Impulse 2 mission engineers in Abu Dhabi

Those two highlights speak volumes about Bertrand as a cofounder of the Solar Impulse cofounder and about the culture of the Solar Impulse project team. That’s the kind of innovation team I would love to be a member of and that’s the type of emerging technology project I am always looking for.

The Solar Impulse 2 landing was indeed a Momentous Event, and the project was truly disruptive innovation — the first time in aviation history that a plane has flown around the world without using ANY fossil fuel. It was also, as Bertrand said shortly after emerging from the aircraft, a first in the history of energy.

Disruptive Innovations Take Time

But the landing was also a reminder that disruptive innovations are quite often not an “overnight success.” They usually take years of hard work, and they build on the work of other innovators. The circumnavigation flight took 16 months from inaugural take-off to final landing. The Solar Impulse project itself began in 2003, so it took 13 years for Bertrand and André’s initial vision to be achieved.

Innovation Teams

Innovation teams are usually just that — teams. As one of the members of the Solar Impulse team said in the above video, to them the letters in “team” stand for “together each achieve more.” The picture below shows a small portion of the team at the Abu Dhabi airport, representing Switzerland, Monaco, and the United Arab Emirates. The entire team was a partnership of many more people, countries and companies, and it took that diverse team working together to be able to fly around the world, achieving more than any of them could have individually.

Solar Impulse 2 team

Innovating In Obscurity

Another disruptive innovation lesson is that although the innovators and people they work closely with are excited about and in awe of the achievement of an ambitious dream, the accomplishment will probably happen in relative obscurity from the general public.

The Prime Minister of Monaco told the Solar Impulse team, shortly after the Abu Dhabi final landing, “You have started to write a new page of humanity’s history.” (at ~ 1:52 in the video) That sounds like the description of an event that most of humanity should be aware of. But most of humanity doesn’t know what Solar Impulse 2 is, and most are unaware that a plane flew around the world powered only by solar energy. I’ve talked to at least fifty people about Solar Impulse in the past six years, and not a single one of them had heard of the project or knew what it was. Many of those people were involved with and interested in technology and innovation. Even those whom I thought would be in the know were unaware of Solar Impulse, probably because they were focused on other technologies and other innovations of which I knew little or nothing.

Most Enjoyable Events Wrangling

When I applied for the position of Events Wrangler at Automattic, I said the most enjoyable events I had ever helped wrangle were the Experimental Aircraft Association World Symposiums on Electric Aircraft. The Solar Impulse team was a big part of what made those symposiums so special. Bertrand Piccard, Michèle Piccard, André Borschberg, and Yasemin Borschberg came from Lausanne, Suisse, to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, and shared the story of Solar Impulse at the 2010 symposium. Below is a photo showing Bertrand, Michèle, André, and (I think) Yasemin at a breakfast gathering on the day after the 2010 symposium.

Solar Impulse Team, EAA Electric Aircraft Breakfast 31 jul 2010

I sent a “Félicitations” email to Bertrand today and told him to let me know if there is anything I can help him with. If he decides he wants to have this events wrangler / community builder / emerging technology enthusiast / chemical engineer work on the continuing Solar Impulse project or another innovation initiative he starts, I will be headed to Suisse…

To wrap up this post, I’ll close with two pictures. The first is the final landing of the world’s first solar-powered flight around the world — a Momentous Event! The second is a Solar Impulse 2 group shot at the Abu Dhabi airport. 🙂

Solar Impulse 2, Abu Dhabi Touchdown, 26 July 2016

Solar Impulse 2’s final touchdown for world’s first solar-powered circumnavigation flight

Solar Impulse 2 journey complete

SI2 group shot at Abu Dhabi airport


Communicating In A Regional Community

Distributed Team Communications Grid

In yesterday’s post I estimated the potential size of the regional TIE community (Tech, Innovators, Entrepreneurs) in NE Wisconsin.

Today I’ll start a multi-post conversation about communicating within that regional community. This topic was prompted by reading “How we Communicate at Automattic.” Alister Scott, an Automattician, writes about how most communications at his distributed automattic logocompany are asynchronous and fall into one of three categories; conversation, discussion, or publication.

“…I believe the reason that communication works well at Automattic is that everyone is distributed, so on an level playing field, and this means they can live in any timezone in the world. This also means any communication needs to be asynchronous…

Whilst email is an asynchronous communication method it is a terrible one at that…One reason email is bad is that you can’t ‘opt-in’ to a work email chain going on, so for this reason it is often the case of additional people being CC’d into the conversation ‘just in case they’re interested…One of the problems about email communication is that people try to use it for different types of communication, from a quick email to your colleague about lunch, to discussing a new HR policy, or being informed about new starters/leavers.

I’ve held in my mind an idea about different types of communication for a while now, and when I saw how communication works at Automattic it perfectly fit into this model:

communication grid, Alister Scott

The important thing to realize about this communications model is that any level of communication is opt-in.

I can opt-in to joining whichever Slack channels I choose, the same applies for ‘following’ a P2 site’s articles, or choosing to read the Field Guide. Yes, there are ‘essential’ P2s and Slack channels, but the choice is ultimately up to the individual what they join/follow/read, unlike included on email threads by various people…”

Regional TIE Community Communications

Although they are two very different groups, there are some parallels between Automattic and the NE Wisconsin TIE community regarding their communications needs. First, wisconsin red NEthey’re both a medium size group (50 – 5000 people). Second, most members of the group don’t work in the same building or even the same city. Third, both groups have relatively good internet access and familiarity with online communications tools.

Those similarities mean that at least some of Automattic’s communications methods and logic should apply to the NE Wisconsin TIE community. We could set up a Slack team for conversations, or we could possibly just create a TIE community channel on the existing NE Wisconsin Slack team.

The TIE community could use a TIE website if there was interest or need for an equivalent IndieWebCampto the Automattic Field Guide. An example of how that might work is the IndieWeb site. It would probably make the most sense to create that type of a site after the TIE community has been around for a couple years and has agreed on content or documentation which has value in being published.

The real question in the early days of the TIE community is the discussion stage of communicating — documenting worthwhile discussions and conclusions about topics of importance to the TIE community. The biggest potential problem or roadblock I foresee for using P2 posts (or their equivalent) is that Automatticians have a much higher level of commitment to each other and to their company than TIE community members will have to each other or to the community.

If we decide to connect and build the TIE community in NE Wisconsin, one of the early topics of discussion will be about how to communicate effectively within the community!

Thanks for writing your post, Alister!


Total Potential Participants For NE Wisconsin TIE Events

TIE Community

TIE is an acronym for Tech, Innovators, and Entrepreneurs.

Many posts I’ve written have mentioned the TIME community (tech, innovators, makers, entrepreneurs). In addition to the TIE member types, TIME includes makers. The reason this posts is only discussing the TIE demographic is because some makers are not strongly focused on innovation. Those makers are fine using traditional methods, materials, and equipment to “make” traditional products. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This post just doesn’t apply to them.

Other makers love innovative technologies, like 3D printing or microelectronics. This post does apply to many of those types of makers. And they are covered by tech and innovation, even if entrepreneurism is not of high interest to them.

Connecting The TIE Community

community connectingAn email conversation I had last week discussed software patents, technology innovation, and the TIE community in NE Wisconsin. Part of our discussion related to building more connections between people in this region who are highly interested in tech innovations, emerging technologies and entrepreneurism related to those topics.

Our email discussion didn’t get into specifics of exactly what types of people would fit into the innovation community we were thinking about. Today I decided to put my thoughts on cyber-paper to help organize those thoughts. It’s also a way to continue the conversation, and, I hope, move it closer to action. That action being to start connecting more people in the TIE community.

Size Of NE Wisconsin TIE Community

One of the ways to help build a community, as I’ve mentioned before, is to have various types of community events. When thinking about or organizing those events, one of the pieces of information that’s helpful is how many people might be involved in the events. Coming up with an estimated audience, or total number of potential participants, for the TIE events does two things.

  1. Gives the core organizing team a feel for venue sizes, event budgets, communications needed, etc.
  2. Gives potential community and event supporters (partners and sponsors) a feel for how much support is needed and how big an impact a strong TIE community might make.

The population used below for NE Wisconsin is a recent and probably accurate number. Percentages I used to convert total regional population into the size of the TIE community are strictly estimates. If and when we work to connect the TIE community and have a significant number of events, we’ll find out how accurate the percentages below are.

TIE Community Numbers

  • ne wisc1,200,000 = population of the 18 counties of NE Wisconsin (The New North region)
  • 840,000 = target age, people 13 – 80 yrs old, in relatively good health (15% under 13, 15% over 80, or over 60 and in poor health)
  • 588,000 = people who will hear about TIE community if well publicized and promoted (70% of target age)
  • 11,760 = people who would say they’re very interested in TIE activities (2% of people who are target age and hear about TIE community)
  • 5,880 = people who will actually get involved with community (50% who indicated interest will be too busy or have other reasons not to participate)

Based on my 10+ years of organizing events and projects, I’ve developed a 1 / 9 / 90 rule for medium and large groups (more than 20 people). I’ve also seen similar numbers applied to levels of participation in areas other than events wrangling. From my perspective, 1 / 9 / 90 means that the 5880 (NE Wisconsin people I estimated will get involved to some degree in the TIE community) will include:

  • 59 potential leaders and initiators of events, projects, ventures, startups.
  • 529 active and contributing community members.
  • 5,292 potential participants for selected TIE events, but not generally active TIE community members.

Of the 5,880, 50 to 150 people (~ 1% – 3%) will want to actively discuss, work on, and facilitate disruptive and destructive innovation with goals of delivering 10 – 20X improvement rather than 10 – 20% incremental improvement.

My view of disruptive innovation as being 10X – 20X improvement or change, comes from (my incomplete understanding of):

Innovator's Dilemma

Innovator’s Dilemma

  • Schumpeter’s creative destruction and entrepreneurial swarming.
  • Christensen’s innovator’s dilemma.
  • Kevin Kelly’s technium, described in What Technology Wants.
  • Steve Jobs 10X principle (my imperfect memory says I first got that from Jobs, although it could have come from reading about Larry Page or some other tech entrepreneurial leader).

There you have it. An estimated six thousand people in NE Wisconsin who have a reasonable chance of getting involved in disruptive innovation in the next few years. And over five hundred people who have a very high probability of being active in broad-focus innovation events in the region. It seems a worthwhile number of people to connect from an events wrangler’s point of view and from a supporter’s point of view.


July​ ​23,​ ​2016:​ ​News​ ​&​ ​Views​ ​Roundup​ ​For​ ​Events​ ​Wranglers​

Here is the July 23rd curated smattering of recent events wrangling news and views. My goal is to have this Saturday’s items inform you or inspire you. Maybe you’ll even do something a little different for your next event because of what you read here! For complete details on any of these goodies, click the headline link and read the juicy cyber-details at the source.

What the Pokémon Go Craze Means for Venues and Eventspokemon go

Venues and existing events are already taking advantage of the popular augmented-reality game. Posting a photo to Instagram or taking a Snapchat video are commonplace at events, but now it’s quite possible that catching Pokémon will become the new norm for using phones in a social setting.

…Pokémon Go has become one of the most popular mobile apps ever, and it’s already taking over venues and major summer events. The global augmented-reality scavenger hunt, which through GPS tracking encourages users to catch Pokémon by walking to various locations on a map, has led to mass amounts of players flocking to locations…that range from event venues and restaurants to national and city parks, museums, and historic monuments.

In just two weeks, there have been a slew of community-organized events such as park meetups and bar crawls for people to gather and catch Pokémon en masse…”

So I’m going to get the obligatory Pokémon GO article out of the way first.

pokemon go 3[For those who wondered, the upper case GO is the format used by Niantic, the game’s primary creator. The “Go” format is the lazy, uninformed or misinformed version. Which I had also started using until I read a couple posts by John Hanke.]

There are many cyber-opinions being voiced regarding the longevity of Pokémon GO, as well as most other PokéTopics. Although I feel the game has a better than even chance of continuing strong for years, my main opinion is that the initial wave of opportunity is HUGE. People and organizations who don’t try to quickly and appropriately leverage the massive interest in Pokémon GO will miss out on two things.

  1. A very significant potential boost to their venture or organization.
  2. An opportunity to practice strategies and tactics for the next major innovation wave.

Pokémon GO is a product — a single game. It may be a long-lasting success, or it could end up being a short-lived, but valuable, learning opportunity.

Niantic Labs is a platform. It will be a long-lasting success. John Hanke did his Masters degree work at UC Berkeley in the mid 90s on essentially creating a platform like Niantic Labs. Before Pokémon GO, he created Ingress at Niantic Labs, which became the foundation for Pokémon GO. Before Niantic Labs, he was the lead person for Google Maps. Before Google Maps, Hanke was the founder of Keyhole, which Google bought to build Google Maps. Mr. Hanke knows what he’s doing…

If you don’t get Pokémon GO involved in some way at your next event, you’re missing an opportunity. And there’s a 99% probability that most events wranglers will be using some aspect of the Niantic Labs platform at one or more of the events they do in 2020.

[For more on Pokémon GO, see last week’s News & Views post and “Pokémon Go & Social Interaction.”]

Get Your People Enrolled in PreCheck!tsa precheck 2

Your attendees’ experience starts as soon as they walk out the front door. You can give them a smoother journey by showing them how easy it is to enroll in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program—and by helping them do it.

Through TSA’s partner MorphoTrust, companies can arrange for mobile enrollment on site at the office as well as set up corporate accounts to pay for the program on behalf of employees…”

If you have to fly commercial airlines frequently, you probably are already in the TSA PreCheck program. If a significant number of the attendees at your future events will fly commercial to travel to your event, this article recommends you consider helping tsa precheckinterested registrants get plugged into the PreCheck program.

As pointed out by the article, the “attendees’ event experience starts as soon as they walk out the front door” of their home (or office), assuming they don’t leave through the back door of the building when they head to the airport. If they miss their flight due to long TSA security lines, or if they make the flight but have a horrible experience getting to the gate for their flight, they may show up for your event with a very poor attitude. You probably will then have to expend extra effort or resources trying to improve their attitude.

If those long TSA security lines cause them to miss your event, well, you won’t even have a chance to improve their attitude.

7 Tips to Extend the Value of Teambuilding Activitiesfacilitate success

Teambuilding activities such as retreats, community service projects, competitive games, and problem-solving challenges can be great tools for companies to strengthen employee relationships, improve communication, break down barriers, re-energize staff, and ultimately improve the work climate and positively impact the bottom line.

But those outcomes don’t just happen—they require advanced planning and follow-up. We surveyed four teambuilding professionals for ideas on how to create long-term value from a teambuilding activity…Here are their tips for extending the value of teambuilding activities…”

As the subtitle of this article puts it, it just makes sense to “keep the collaboration and communication going long after the event ends.” As I mentioned in the post “#6 Priority: Follow-Up For Greater Impact,” extending the value of events long after the last person leaves the event venue can have a multiplying effect. Doing the right follow-up will make your event far more successful than immediately moving on to your next project as soon as that last attendee gets hit by the door on the way out.

The Planner On… Balancing the Pie of Lifepie of life

In our profession, stress is quick to the plate. Those 90-hour workweeks creep up, and next thing you know, you are up at 2 a.m. scribbling to-do lists. In 2016, I set forward to allow the pieces of my “life pie” to match my priorities. Here are four tips for balancing your professional pie wedges:

  1. Make your schedule transparent…
  2. Limit smartphones and email…
  3. Cross-train your colleagues…
  4. Take your out-of-office one step further…”

Any way you slice it, your pie of life only has 24 hours per day. That’s pretty much a mixed metaphor, but my point is that most people want to get more done, and that can only be done by making better choices.

This “pie of life” post is a short one, but we can all take away two valuable lessons from it:

  1. Four is a good number of tips.
  2. Do more by delegating.

pie of life 2Google can help us find at least 44 tips for balancing our life.

Wait, what am I saying?? Google can find us 444 tips for balancing our life. At least. Probably more. But I’m a mere human. And you probably are, too. Unless you’ve been biohacking. The thing about humans is that we can only focus well on a limited number of ideas or tasks. This means establishing a list of four ways to improve your life pie is plenty to start with.

To a certain extent, each of the author’s four tips involve delegating. Rather than doing everything that everyone wants or asks you to do, delegate some of your authority and some of your responsibilities. Cross-training is especially important for delegating. The first manager I worked for when I got out of college told me the most important objective for someone who wants to be promoted is to deliver fantastic results on their high priority responsibilities.

The second most important objective is to find someone who can replace you. My manager said that if you make yourself nearly irreplaceable, bosses tend to leave keep you in your current job. If you cross-train colleagues, not only can they help you or fill in for you, but managers will be less hesitant to promote you.

The author’s four tips might not be exactly what you need to balance your hectic work life, but they are good ones to consider when you start making your life pie improvement list.

Does Your Team Say Your Mandatory Workshops Are Unbearable?weird face, kids, unbearable

Mandatory training…even trigger groans in the presenters. They are usually long, tedious and unforgivably mind-numbing as well as butt-numbing. Most of us despise them…

For those of us in the training design and delivery world, mandatory training triggers a triple-groan. Not only do we need to create or update mandatory training every year, but we also have to complete it, and then spend countless hours cajoling, begging, or threatening our trainees to complete it. So how do we move beyond the collective groan and design it to feel a little less like an annual punishment?…”

Per the previous post “Value Of Events And Meeting For Coffee” on Events Wrangling, a significant number of people recommend not going to events, or at least greatly limiting the number of events you spend time on. My daughter, wife, and sister all feel mandatory workshops are “unbearable” and should be made a thing of the past, no more than a distant and distasteful memory.

However, government bureaucracies, corporate policy makers, and professional certification organizations will never eliminate mandatory training. In upcoming years, a portion of in-person mandatory workshops will be reduced by online training and certification, but there will still be IRL events which require your butt in an event facility’s seat.

The above “mandatory workshops” post presents an infographic with ideas on how to make Torture Time Training less painful. Maybe even useful and enjoyable…


NE Wisconsin TIME Community Road Trip

TIME Community Road Trip

Yesterday’s post talked about using events to build regional culture. When I saw the three articles below about tech-focused road trip events, they started me thinking about how a tech building cultureroad trip event might be used to connect and highlight the TIME community (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs) of NE Wisconsin and help build the regional culture.

3D Printing

The first article, “3D Platform Takes the 3DP Workbench on the Road for the 3DP Roadshow,” deals with an advanced manufacturing technology that an increasing number of companies are using. 3D printing is an amazing process that’s being used in a wide range of business sectors, from medical and automotive to metal fabrication and architecture. The 3DP Workbench looks like a useful setup, and it would be awesome to have that or other 3D printers demonstrated during a road trip to cities around NE Wisconsin.

3DP Roadshow“…The 3DP Workbench is an industrial printer with, as its name suggests, a full workbench attached, complete with ample storage in the form of drawers and cabinets, as well as a large workspace…unlike most industrial 3D printers, it’s very portable, with wheels and a folding gantry that make it easy to relocate…Starting today and rolling out over the next six months, the 3DP Roadshow will travel to dozens of locations throughout the United States…

“We are taking the 3DP Workbench on the road,” said John Good, 3D Platform Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “When the 3DP RoadShow rolls into town, we bring live demonstrations of large-format 3D printing, expert tips and tricks, examples of what 3D printing can do for companies, and answers to your 3D printing question. And we can bring it all directly to a customer…”

Software Development

The second article, “VictorOps DevOps road trip will bring practical tips to a city near devops road tripyou” covers a road trip event focused on software development.

Looking to help spread the love and joy that is DevOps agile incident management company for DevOps teams VictorOps Inc. last week announced its DevOps Roadtrip. The road trip will bring expert knowledge to cities around the U.S…
“DevOps can be an intimidating topic to many in IT. VictorOps wanted to create a welcoming forum where technology professionals can engage with DevOps experts in the industry…Throughout the country, we’ll spotlight notable speakers in an effort to share DevOps wisdom…Our hope is that attendees can head back to their teams with actionable tactics to not only improve their organizations, but also simplify their own lives…”

Including software development topics and companies in a NE Wisconsin TIME community road trip event would help promote the region’s coders and companies that do custom software development. The road trip event would probably include NE Wisconsin colleges to make students more aware of computer science educational opportunities in this area.

Demo & Testing: Road Trip Tech Devices

The last article, “Lifehacker’s Samsung TabPro S Roadtrip Challenge: Can A 2-In-1 Do All I Need?,” talks about testing a tech device by using it on a road trip.

digital nomad backpack

Digital nomad road trip devices

2-in-1 laptops are supposed to provide the best of both worlds. The ability to change into a tablet offers a level of flexibility that standalone laptops can’t match — especially if you’re frequently on the road. Last week, I put this concept to the test by travelling to Melbourne, Brisbane and then back to Sydney armed with nothing but Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S. Along the way, I visited interesting Aussie tech hubs and startups to see how they work. I’m Chris Jager from Lifehacker, and this is the Roadtrip Challenge…”

For a NE Wisconsin tech and entrepreneur road trip, we’d definitely want to try for a few sponsored tech devices, both for event goers to try out and for the road trip crew to test out under real-world road trip conditions.

If we can convince a few major organizations in NE Wisconsin to partner with and help sponsor a TIME community road trip with weekend stops in major cities and weeknight stops in many of the smaller cities and towns throughout the region, it would provide a tremendous boost to the visibility of technology and entrepreneurism in our area.

The next step toward organizing this road trip is finding a company or organization who thinks this is a good idea and will agree to be the first official partner or sponsor…