Thursday, July 7, 2016

Roadtrip Therapy

I just did a big road trip to Vegas and back. I took back roads and saw more of our great open country and was surprised by how much I had been missing. I grew up looking out a car window because my Dad was the kind to toss us in the car with some off the wall destination in mind. I've crossed several boarders in Europe at the wee hours of the morning only to see some air show at a castle, buy cheese at a festival, hike a mountain because it's there or find the oldest church with a brass relieve of a knight from the dark ages.

I haven't been out on the road like this last trip for a few years and I forgot how mentally cathartic it is to stare at the scenery or road and really dig into your own mind to get to know myself again. I had also had a tough and good conversation with my brother while out in Vegas so I had plenty to think about on the way home. On the way out it was a lot of "What the heck do I want to do with my life" type thoughts. Should I just get another job, should I buckle down on a project and see if I can sell it, could I sell everything and move out of the country. All of that and more wound around my brain while staring at an endless line of strips slipping through my lights while barreling down the interstate at 2:00am.

On the way back I swung through Zion, Bryce and Capital Reef National Parks over 3 days and was reminded of how small I really am in the world. We have a lot of amazing country out there and my brain was turned on to so many other options in this world and how I could fit into it.

On my final drive into town I got word that I was skipped over for an opportunity in Denver with a fairly new startup. After this road trip it doesn't matter and quite frankly it is probably for the best as I'm ready for something great to find it's way to me vs struggling to find a right fit somewhere.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Letting go

Man, I've been trying to let go of some things for years and it wasn't until I was in the position I'm in now that I have sluffed off a few things. One thing that I had held onto went all the way back to when I was just out of high school. That fell off in January after a friend helped me work through the mental hurdles that I had put in place. The past few weeks I've been getting rid of old paperwork and cleaning out the different spots in the house and when you can toss 4 boxes of crap out of your life it's easier to stand a little taller.

Letting go is physical and mental, I've got another book to read and have read other books in the past about cleansing, organizing and decluttering your life and I know that I mentally feel better when I physically get things out of a pile and either organized or gone. Our brains need the same exercise as well and it's been a difficult process for me to figure out what I need to do to mentally let some things go from my past so I can be a better me and stand a little taller. The harder part with the brain though is you are unable to drop your memories or fuck-ups at Goodwill or in the dumpster. You'll still remember and or know where that body is buried with the trick being to let go of the hold it has on you. Sure, if it's something you need to "apologize" for or say "thank you" then do that, part of letting go is saying or writing something down to get it out of your head.

Part of me letting go mentally is dropping a blog post about something I've had in my head for awhile so if you are reading this, thank you and I appreciate the free session.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The more I read the more I learn. The more I do the better I get.

Reading is one thing, implementing is another thing. You can read a book and glean a lot from it, without practice or practical implementation all you've done is load the data. When we practice what we read and or implement what we read we are actually leveraging new knowledge.

I'm a software developer by trade and practice. I pick up new software or tricks to existing tools in my toolbox on a regular basis. If I read a book, blog post, how to, getting started, etc. it's not until I put code to file and run it that I truly learn something. With software I leverage my experience to learn new software tools and right now I'm digging deeper into NodeJS and am seeing so many different ways to implement that it could be confusing to anyone new to software. New tools and technology are evolving very quickly these days and staying on top of the latest update, paradigm, process or best practice is getting pretty tough.

I don't think a day has gone by that I don't learn something new and in many cases, several things. If everyday is a learning experience then it's a good day.

Creativity or Hacking the Brain

When discussing creativity and or being creative, my mind goes back to college and one of the last classes I took. The professor was writing a book on creativity and was of the opinion that you could teach businesses how to be creative. My profs idea of creativity was turning his briefcase in a different direction on his car seat so he would remember to do something on the way home. The creativity was in coming up with a good trigger to remember to do something.

My understanding of creativity is a little different. I believe that while you can force a team or individual to come up with a better idea using some wonky techniques, a true creative puts out an idea well before it's time or is able to define a whole new way of doing something that no one has thought of before.

Brain hacking is figuring out a trigger that will lead to a different result. Creativity is crafting or thinking up something new without any prompting. While you can help someone be more "creative" it really is hacking their brain to do something they may not normally be inclined to do or figure out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Saying no to a client

The simple answer is, always tell a client Yes. And then explain the Total Cost of Ownership to what Yes means. I learned this lesson early on in my career and still use it today in almost all aspects of my life. When a client asks if we can launch this app to the moon and build a base of operations there, yep we can. When a client asks if we can add three buttons to the screen that does nothing, yes we can. The simple, psychological, reason to do this is that people do not like hearing the word no. No, being a negative word, defences go up, arguments start forming and you end up backpedalling about why you are not supportive. By saying Yes, approving of their idea, validating their needs and opening up the door for conversation about the request.

When you say yes you keep the door open to discuss how much the idea will cost. Cost being a factor of time, money, resources and other ideas is where you take the conversation next. When you are able to have the conversation about cost you will allow the client to make the decisions about the implementation of the idea. This is ultimately the important part of the conversation with the client. The idea was brought to you for the conversation and validation. The approval or denial of any idea should rest with the client and by saying Yes, you allow them to make the choice.