LEARN TO DO, DO TO LEARN

A good article with some sharp tips from my friend Phil Bogan

3 Audacious Tips to Learn to Be a Consultant (Ransom Note, Optional)

Learn to be a consultant - Ransom Note Fake

Those of you who don’t read a lot of ransom notes may have a little trouble making out exactly what this one says.

Let me spell it out for you:

I know the exact location of Jack Kilby’s lab where he invented the integrated circuit. Will reveal all for a price.”

And it’s a great object lesson for how to learn to be a consultant before you ever take the plunge. Here’s how I did it.

Ransom Notes and Learning to Be a Consultant

A few years ago, when I worked as Creative Services Manager for Texas Instruments (TI), I came across some information about the location of Jack Kilby’s original laboratory.

Kilby was an American electrical engineer who created one of the biggest inventions of the 20th century, the first integrated circuit.

And I had located the TI lab where it all happened.

I had communicated with a facilities manager in TI’s Semiconductor Building for several months about the possibility of doing something special on the anniversary of this invention.

We discussed reconstructing Kilby’s 1958 lab—the manager had the old furniture, some of the electronic equipment, the carpenters and electricians, and the budget to make it happen.

He also had early building configuration blueprints showing the location of Kilby’s lab, along with photos of the office. I had even verified the location with a couple of retired engineers.

At this point, the anniversary was about a year out.

But before I get too far into the story, let me tell you a bit more about Jack Kilby—and while I’m at it, the success tips we can learn from my experience recreating his lab.

Kilby was important, so I especially want to share his story.

One of the Rock Star Inventors of Our Time

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a Kilby “groupie.”

There are few men who can lay claim to have invented something so significant that it truly “changed the world.” Jack Kilby was one of these men.

His invention of the microchip helped pave the way for the entire field of modern microelectronics and gave rise to the modern computer era.

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First integrated circuit, invented by Jack Kilby. (Photo courtesy of Texas Instruments).

Kilby’s patents as an engineer totaled more than 60 during his lifetime, including the microchip, the handheld calculator, and many more.

In 1982, Kilby was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame, alongside Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers. In 2000, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in the invention of the integrated circuit.

Jack was a 6-foot 6-inch gentle giant of a man who could often be seen strolling the halls of the Semiconductor Building where I worked. When he was spotted, people left their desks and poured into the halls to get a glimpse of him. Jack never seemed to notice. He was usually deep in thought.

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Jack Kilby (Photo courtesy of Texas Instruments).

But what about the ransom note?

I’m coming to that! First, let me finish the story.

I had missed the 35-year anniversary of “the chip” several years prior. Beautiful brochures, ads, and more had all been produced by our advertising agency.

The large and very capable internal creative group hadn’t even been considered for the job.

As we approached the 50th anniversary of Kilby’s invention in 2008, I was determined we would have a seat at the table. I wanted the assignment. But how to get it?

Consulting Tip #1: Know What You Want!

The Kilby story perfectly illustrates that you don’t have to wait until you quit your job to learn to be a consultant.

  • First, grow where you are planted.
  • You can learn to shine as a consultant on your current employer’s dime. (And maybe get a promotion out of it.)
  • Always approach your current job as if you are a consultant and your employer and fellow-employees are your customers or potential customers. It’s all about the mindset.
  • If you want to work on a project of interest, ask. Tell them why you should be considered.
  • Hold up your hand in meetings. Volunteer.

Now for the Ransom Note

I was up late one night, unable to sleep, just searching the internet, when I accidentally stumbled across a software program that converted whatever you typed in into a ransom note. It was totally unique. I experimented with it, and then a plan hit me!

The next day I dropped an envelope containing the ransom message you see above into TI’s internal mail. It was addressed to Kathryn Collins, TI’s Worldwide Communications Manager. Fortunately, there would be no way it could be traced back to me. I hoped.

My plan was to keep sending notes like the first one, but with increasing levels of urgency until I figured out how to actually approach Kathryn with the idea.

I knew what the call-to-action would ultimately be. I wanted to spearhead the reconstruction of Jack Kilby’s lab

As I wrote each note, I was worried the FBI would come knocking at my office door at TI. Or that HR and a guard would escort me out of the building permanently.

Sometimes stepping outside your comfort zone is scary. It’s okay. We all feel that way.

One week later, I received a surprising reply!

Kathryn and her inner circle of communication managers had discussed the note and finally determined it must have come from me. Her handwritten response said:

Hey knucklehead, next time you send me a ransom note, give me an address so I can get the money to you!”

I was startled—I hadn’t even sent my follow-up ransom notes yet.

How had they figured out who sent it?

Consulting Tip #2: Be Certain You’re Well-Qualified

As a new consultant, you’ll reach out to a lot of people in your search for clients. You need to be sure you’re well-qualified to do the project you propose.

Here are a few tips:

  • The customer’s business should be something in which you have depth of experience and knowledge.
  • You should have a deep interest in their business.
  • You should believe that you can help them grow their market share.
  • If you want to work with a particular customer, first get to know their products or services.
  • If you believe you are the right fit for a company or one of their projects, find a way to let them know about you and your qualifications as a consultant.

When I proposed the Kilby lab recreation, I felt well-qualified to be the lead on the project. Here’s why:

In 2005, TI’s 75th Anniversary had taken place. I had worked with a team of retirees and current TI employees—Max Post, myself, and Amy Treece as leads to research and produce a 266-page history book of the company’s first 75 years. The book opens with a congratulatory letter from President George Bush.

Every employee (at that time there were more than 35,000 worldwide) received a copy of the book.

In addition to the history book, which took nearly two years to complete, there were dozens of other communications pieces produced for that occasion, including:

  • An award-winning, interactive history website.
  • Banners that highlighted TI’s achievements, which were hung up and down hallways in the company’s buildings around the world.
  • An online education campaign.
  • A month-long series of full-page historical ads in the Dallas paper.
  • Online contests about TI’s history, with prizes.
  • Worldwide celebrations in every country where TI had a plant.

For its efforts, Texas Instruments won 25 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) awards in the 2006 competition—one Gold Quill award, eight first-place Silver Quill awards (regional competition) and 16 first-place Bronze Quill awards (local competition). It was the most awards won by any company.

I am not claiming or desiring any credit for any of this. It was a huge team effort. My point is simply that I felt like I had done my homework on TI’s history and was ready for the Kilby lab challenge.

Kathryn confirmed it was my involvement with the history project that led them inexorably, breadcrumb by breadcrumb, to my door.

I Was Given the Go-Ahead

It took just one quick meeting with Kathryn Collins to get the approval to recreate Jack Kilby’s lab.

My good friend Max Post, a TI retiree with whom I had worked on the history book, and I visited the TI archives to pull out significant artifacts that could be used in Kilby’s new old lab.

The lab was constructed on a major hallway in the Semiconductor Building where hundreds of TI engineers and other employees would pass daily on their way to the cafeteria for lunch.

When the construction was complete, it was essentially left up to me to fill the office space with items appropriate to the era.

Kilby Lab 1958 Recreation Capture

The recreation of Jack Kilby’s 1958 lab.

Magazines from the 1950s are displayed. Bookshelves are filled with books that Kilby would have read. Family photos hang on the walls and sit on the desk. Jack’s ever-present coffee cup, ashtray, lighter and pack of cigarettes are there

His briefcase sits open on a workbench, as if he was preparing for a business trip.

Finally, one of the working models of the original integrated circuit is placed in the center of Kilby’s desk, next to one of Jack’s lab books—the one he used to create the first schematic of his famous invention.

The TI history book sits on a stand facing the glass wall, displaying the page that shows Kilby receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics from His Majesty the King of Sweden in December, 2000.

We unveiled the lab on a day that was devoted solely to honoring Kilby and celebrating his achievements. The Kilby family was invited, along with friends, fellow engineers, and dignitaries who knew Jack.

I remember, after the event, one of the Kilby daughters saying to me, “It looks like dad has just stepped away for a moment.”

That was perfect.

Consulting Tip #3: Do It! And Do It Sooner than Later

  • It isn’t enough to simply recognize opportunities that present themselves. You have to take action on them.
  • As soon as you believe you’re ready, take the action of asking a prospective customer for their business.
  • If you can do this in a creative way—one you feel comfortable doing—do it!
  • Speak up when the right opportunities present themselves. If you don’t, someone else will. You can count on that.
  • If you don’t speak up, they’ll get the project or the customer. And the credit, too.
  • Be the consultant that helps turn heads in the marketplace. Do it with flare and impact!
  • Be a problem solver. Always be on the lookout for solutions to your client’s problems.
  • Always put honesty and ethics at the top of your dealings with employees, customers, and prospective customers.
  • Be careful what you put on social media.
  • As you have promotional successes for one customer, find ways to adapt them for other customers in different industries or niches. This is one good way you can scale your business.
  • If you can approach a prospect in a creative way—one you feel comfortable doing—do it!
  • Don’t forget to go home to your family at night. They miss you. 

And never rule out the power of a good ransom note!

The Rest of the Story

Interestingly, after Jack retired, he became a consultant to Texas Instruments and other companies.

His consulting advice for us would be:

“Pick something you’re interested in—and go as far as you can with it.”

Click to tweet

Here’s a short video about the Kilby lab recreation.

If you’d like to learn more about Kilby’s life and achievements here’s an interesting video about him.

This project was incredibly important to me. In fact, it probably laid a foundation for my own consulting business, forcing me to be creative in asking for the job.

What creative ways have you used to ask for the job, both as an employee and as a consultant?

What are your thoughts about learning to be a consultant before quitting your job?

Phil Bogan
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Phil Bogan

Creative Writer at Bogan Communications
Phil is an advertising and direct marketing consultant with decades of experience. While offering his services as an advertising copywriter and creative director, he writes children’s stories. He has also been an exotic parrot breeder, a soda jerk, and a professional musician.

Throw Out your Treadmill (1 min read)

Millionaire's Digest

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Rosalie Gentry

Founder & Owner of: And She Went On…

Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Beauty and Health & Fitness Writer


Feeling like your going and going but getting nowhere? Are you stuck on an overwhelmingly dull fitness plateau? Between the boring gym sesh and the pilates DVD that has a half inch layer of dust on it I bet you can barely handle life right now, right?

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THE TERMS OF THE ACTION

The Missal

Words are the materiel of the mind and the swords of the soul.
Yet let the Wise-Man beware. Only the simple-minded fool and the utterly naive wordsmith could ever assume mere words must shape the world to high outcomes.
A good and proper word is a sharp blade in the hands of a capable and clever man, but action is the arm that wields such a weapon.

from Human Effort

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NOT MUCH A’NOTHING FOR NOBODY

Wyrdwend

Yeah, indeed, I agree with much of this.

My overall advice though is this. (And it has always been this.)

Live an extremely active life which includes plenty of getting out in the real world, socializing with real people, and physical exertion. Get out in the sunshine – hike, chop down trees, box, lift weights, haul stuff, work the land, observe, discover, record, take note. I always do my best work, both physical and creative (writing stories, poems, songs, inventing, making scientific discoveries, etc.) while busy at other things or engaged in physical activity.

Then I memorize those things in my head (excellent and stimulating mnemonic practice) to write down or record later. I prefer to write absolutely alone and undisturbed, sure, but I best initially compose, create, and work out of doors, among nature, animals, and God’s great creation (the very best source and inspiration for sub-creation)…

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A GRAVE AND SUPERSTITIOUS ERROR

It is a grave and superstitious error to consistently draw out universal truths from circumstantial observations. Yet it is a common practice of modern men.

from The Business, Career, and Work of Man

Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court justice

Kopitiam Bot

(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

WASHINGTON (REUTERS, AFP) –  President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Jan 31) announced conservative US appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch as his selection to fill a Supreme Court seat that has been vacant for almost a year, in a move that would reinstate the court’s conservative majority.

The 49-year-old, a respected appellate court judge from Colorado, will replace Judge Antonin Scalia, a leading conservative voice on the court who died last February.

The nomination still requires Senate confirmation. Democrats, still fuming over the Republican-led Senate’s refusal to act on former President Barack Obama’s nominee last year, are prepared to put up a fight. Some Democrats have vowed to do everything in their power to block confirmation.

A Supreme Court justice can have influence for decades after the president who made the appointment has left office. Mr Trump’s appointee could be instrumental in cases involving abortion, gun, religious and transgender…

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A 6-Move Circuit You Can Do Without Leaving Your Chair

For those stuck in a chair all day due to work…

Philly Hypnosis Performance 

http://www.health.com/fitness/a-6-move-circuit-you-can-do-without-leaving-your-chair

I found this interesting.

When life gets hectic, your sweat sesh may be the first thing to go. I get that escaping to the gym isn’t always feasible, no matter how good your intentions. That’s why I put together a quick six-move routine you can do literally without leaving your seat. All you need is a chair and 30 minutes, and you can fit in this workout that helps tone your body all over. Perform 10 reps of each exercise. Rest for 2 minutes. Then repeat the circuit two to three times.

RELATED: 5 Legit Reasons to Skip A Workout, According to a Fitness Expert

Push-ups

Get into a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and place your toes on the seat of the chair. From here, bend your elbows and lower your body as close to the ground as you can before pressing back up.

Tricep dips

Place your hands behind…

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Website usability must haves

Usability is now key to all website designs. There’s no point in creating beautiful content when the sites functionality is not top quality. Usability is a commodity nowadays and well, if you don’t already hold this at the top of your web design podium then you’d better start now.

We’ve become used to an extremely high standard of design and aesthetic, and because we need our sites usable this doesn’t mean sacrificing one for the other, these two things should work hand in hand to ensure an excellent customer experience is met.

Focus on the audience and user when designing, think of their requirements and make sure their objectives are being fulfilled.

We have broken down our key aspects for creating an effective and engaging website whilst not forgetting usability.

Availability and Accessibility – Simple, basic and you’re probably well aware of this one but not one to be overlooked…

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Creative Engagement Assignment

Introduction to Professional Writing

This assignment has multiple objectives:

  • Think about and practice the design skills needed in professional writing
  • Consider the ways that writing is a visual and material practice
  • Create and reflect on the process of creating work
  • Develop a design vocabulary for talking about and evaluating writing and design practices by writing and speaking about your project.

Your Task: (100 points total)

  1. Choose a design challenge from Creative Workshop as a starting place.
  2. Make something.
  3. Do some research about design practices or tools the tools you used to make something.
  4. Reflect on your process, and write about it.
  5. Publish a blog post (At least 500 words) that explains what you did and what you learned
  6. Give a 10 minute in-class presentation about your project, and one of the design concepts you practiced or the tools you used. Create a material or digital take-away for your classmates. .

Please sign up…

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No, Apple Isn’t Working on a Vape

Kopitiam Bot

(Source: www.macrumors.com)

apple-vape-no

The patent instead relates to a process called

The patent’s assigned inventor Tetsuya Ishikawa, a senior manager at Apple in the nanotechnology field, lists photolithography as one of his skills on his

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent application for a ” sublimator/vaporizer ” invention, leading to sensational headlines suggesting Apple might release a vape or enter the vaping industry. In actuality—and this could go without saying—the invention is completely unrelated.The patent instead relates to a process called semiconductor lithography —or photolithography—that Apple uses to create chips for its devices. The application describes a canister that can be used to vaporize or sublimate a substance, which in Apple’s case would be chemicals used to pattern the circuity on chips.The patent’s assigned inventor Tetsuya Ishikawa, a senior manager at Apple in the nanotechnology field, lists photolithography as one of his skills on…

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Inventing for the ‘Other Half’

Indeed…

ideaworth

Inventors are creative people who naturally think ‘outside the box.’ Inventors look at things differently and, as a result, create unexpected solutions to problems others simply accept as normal. But, maybe we really aren’t so different and creative in our thinking. Read on.

Lives in the ‘Lap of Luxury’

All of us throughout the developed world, think and behave very predictably and alike when it comes our income and how we spend it.

We may buy a quick cup of coffee on our way to work each day, spending perhaps $3 to $5. We don’t give it much thought. We might have lunch with colleagues at a restaurant and spend $10 or more. We come home to our comfortable homes or apartments after work and entertain ourselves with dozens of program choices from cable or satellite TV.

We may complain we just can’t seem to ‘get ahead’ at work. Paying the bills every month…

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Inside the ‘Tunnel’ Elon Musk Is Already Digging Under Los Angeles

Daily News & Articles

January 31, 2017 at 01:40AM

Inside the ?Tunnel? Elon Musk Is Already Digging Under Los Angeles

“We have no idea what we’re doing,” Musk says. “I want to be clear about that.” The post Inside the ‘Tunnel’ Elon Musk Is Already Digging Under Los Angeles appeared first on WIRED.

Vía WIRED https://www.wired.com

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In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established the very cool-sounding “Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles,” which does exactly what it says. It requires that 100 percent of all EVs and hybrids make some noise at low speeds by 2019. If a vehicle can move forward or in reverse without engaging…

via Arkamys creates space-age safety sounds for EVs — TechCrunch

THE CHANGES WITHOUT AND THE CHANGES WITHIN

Wyrdwend

How Self-Publishing Has Changed Authors

As a literary agent, not a day goes by when I don’t encounter the changes in thinking from authors caused by the expansion and availability of self-publishing.

It’s understandable, because there are over twice as many books self-published every year in the United States than are published by traditional publishers.

Traditional and self-publishing generate over one million new books every year in the U.S. alone according to RR Bowker.  Two-thirds are self-published.

According to the United Nations cultural arm UNESCO, well over two million new books are published annually by traditional publishers worldwide.

The Federation of European Publishers reports on the status of book publishing across the continent. They show revenues and traditional publisher title output are generally flat over the last five years, but the number of titles available in print has grown from 8.5 million in…

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BLOGGING SUCCESS AND BLOGGING AND SUCCESS

How often SHOULD you blog? Really?

How often should you blog? Really? | BloggingBistro.com

It’s challenging to blog 16 times a month. I’ve done it, back in my early days of blogging (2003ish), when a company hired me to write two posts a day for their blog. I practically killed myself doing it.

I’ve experimented with blogging three times a week, twice a week, and once a week. Any less than once a week doesn’t work, as my readership tanks.

While it’s true that publishing more frequently does attract more visitors to your blog, I’d rather publish fresh, high-quality content at a pace that’s realistic and doable for me (currently, that’s once a week).

When life happens…

If I need to skip a week due to illness, travel, or a heavy work load, I give myself permission to do that, guilt-free. Okay. ALMOST guilt-free.

For example, during the next three weeks, I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling. I’m also fine-tuning workshops that I’ll be teaching at a conference, preparing to launch an online course, ghost writing and running Facebook ad campaigns for several clients, launching a client’s website, revamping my own website, and drafting several “mega” blog posts. And I’m recovering from a back injury that forces me to spend big chunks of time resting, stretching, and visiting the massage therapist.

I’m not telling you this to gain sympathy points. It’s just the way my life looks at the moment. I’m betting that your life includes a similar set of demands on your time.

Alternative: Group blogging

Unless you’re part of a blogging team in which you contribute one post a week, it’s really, really difficult to blog 3-5 times a week, every week of the year. Yeah, you can sustain that pace for a while. But after about six months, you’ll notice that the quality of your blog posts decreases and your desire to continue blogging flags.

And honestly, I’m not sure whether readers want to hear from you that often.

I’ve unsubscribed from several blogs that publish lengthy articles six days a week. While I’d love to soak in all their content, there aren’t enough hours in the day or brain cells left in my head to absorb that quantity of information.

Quality vs. quantity

I’ve never had a reader contact me and say, “I wish you would publish a new blog post every day.”

But plenty of readers have told me,

“Thank you so much for your excellent blog posts. I look forward to them, and I always learn something new!”

My goal is to publish fresh content at a pace that gives my readers time to digest my content, and keeps them coming back for more.

I’d love to hear from you on this.

  1. How many times per week do you publish new articles on your blog?
  2. Is that a comfortable amount for you and your readers?
  3. Are you thinking of cutting back or expanding the amount of weekly posts you publish?

Coming soon to a blog near you

Be sure to stop by BloggingBistro.com next week, when guest columnist, Lisa Michaels, will share five simple, yet effective tactics to promote your new content.

Plan to blog 16+ times per month?

2017 Content Calendar Template [Free Download] | BloggingBistro.com

If you’re rarin’ to blog 16 or more times a month (or maybe 4 times a month), you’ll need a calendar to help keep your blog post ideas and promotional social updates organized.

Have you requested our free 2017 Content Calendar template yet? Just click this link or the button to get yours right now.

BRACE YOURSELVES, LABOR IS COMING

The Missal

BRACE YOURSELVES, LABOR IS COMING

Look, I am enjoying this day. A lot. I was well impressed by what Trump said. He earned his moment.

But don’t forget that this is ultimately your celebration. Or failure. Trump is but one man. There is no such thing as a political “Savior.” He can get government off our backs (hopefully), he can lead, and maybe he can even inspire.

But he cannot “save us.” Not from ourselves anyway.

And likely not from foreign powers or domestic saboteurs who wish us harm or to see us fail.

Much work needs to be done. Many things need to be repaired and restored. New things need to be built. Old things destroyed and replaced.

That will almost all fall to us.

We had 8 years of a supposed political savior and you see how that juvenile idea utterly failed (as it certainly had to

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AN END WILL COME ANON (I AM RESOLVED)

Wyrdwend

AN END WILL COME ANON

Unresolved I nothing did
Resolved at once I swiftly bid, but
Finding other ends so hid
Within the beam, and bound amid
I resolutely, God forbid,
Discovered not what cause undid
What cunning tactic
Could not Cure, what resolution
Did procure, does thinking thus
Make sure allure, or do our thoughts
Our acts abjure when Time
Is counted Friend or Foe,
Does it matter, do you know?

Or is this best solved in the Heart
Some never do, some flaming start
Yet those who finish, finish true
Brook no excuse, all pleas eschew
When they start they set off hot
Then burn until most have forgot
But in their souls no fire dims
They seek a crown, and seek it grim
They go on, and on, up to the rim
To end what ere they first begin
While others speak, they act
And act, and…

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THE SEDENTARY MAN from HUMAN EFFORT

Wyrdwend

I would venture to say that most of the diseases and disorders (especially the chronic ones) faced by modern man develop as a direct result of his mostly self-inflicted sedentary and passive nature. He is sedentary and passive in his work, he is sedentary and passive in his entertainments, he is sedentary and passive in his ambitions, he is sedentary and passive towards evil and injustice in the world, he is sedentary and passive in the amount of tyranny he will endure, he is sedentary and passive in his economic ventures, he is sedentary and passive in his relations with others, and he is sedentary and passive in his very nature.

Modern man is filled with the sitting and waiting diseases. He is mainly merely an observer of life, sitting upon his plump ass in his comfortable cafes, staring at his various diversionary devices and inventions, waiting for…

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EAA making ‘Shark Tank’-style competition an annual event — FOX6Now.com

The EAA is planning to host another “Shark Tank”-style competition at the 2017 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. The organization will award $25,000 to the winning idea to improve safety in amateur-built aircraft. 48 more words

via EAA making ‘Shark Tank’-style competition an annual event — FOX6Now.com

Seven highly valued tech startups that could IPO in 2017 – MarketWatch — IPO EMPIRE

MarketWatch Seven highly valued tech startups that could IPO in 2017MarketWatchAnalysts believe 2017 has to be better than the previous year, which had the fewest number of IPOs since 2009 and the lowest proceeds since 2003. The question is whether the biggest names in the bursting ranks of billion-dollar startups will choose to …Year in […]

via Seven highly valued tech startups that could IPO in 2017 – MarketWatch — IPO EMPIRE

WikiLeaks Exposed Journalists Fired Demoted Now Covering Trump White House

pundit from another planet

gettyimages-hillary-planePeter Hasson reports: WikiLeaks’ publication of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta revealed the close ties between prominent journalists and the Clinton campaign. Many of those same journalists will now be covering the Trump White House.

CNBC chief political correspondent and New York Times political writer John Harwood demonstrated clear partisanship in his many email exchanges with Podesta.

Harwood told Podesta to “watch out” for Dr. Ben Carson during the Republican primary. “Ben Carson could give you real trouble in a general,” Harwood warned, including video clips of Carson’s political positions.

Screenshot/WikiLeaks Screenshot/WikiLeaks

Screenshot/WikiLeaks

In a December 2015 email to Podesta, Harwood claimed the Republican Party was “veering off the rails” and bragged about provoking Trump during a Republican presidential debate, where he asked Trump if he was running “a comic book version of a presidential campaign.”

Screenshot/WikiLeaks Screenshot/WikiLeaks

“I imagine…” Harwood titled the…

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ALL THE SURFEIT EMPIRES OF THE EARTH!

Wyrdwend

TO OUR FULL MEASURE:

“Now nearly at an end are these, our feckless days of famished feasting, and hard upon us now is come an hopeful age of high and happy labor that shall rightly crown our approaching enterprise with gilded glories still to swell the ceaseless vaulted realms of heaven, and mark for all time this yet unimagined era, when we, fit with industry prodigious and unknown to long sleeping history,sure o’erwhelmed all the surfeit empires of the Earth!

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MY FIRST PERSONAL HELL WEEK AND WHAT I LEARNED

Wyrdwend

HELL WEEK ONE

Well, my first private and personal Hell Week is over. Under my belt. I’m not gonna say it wasn’t tough, because it certainly was. On the other hand it was extremely good for me. So I’ve decided to make it a quarterly event for me (once a quarter, every year).

Actually I had to spread my Hell Week over 12 days because, and maybe it is just this time of year, once or twice I would have to spend most of a day driving my wife to Columbia or Rock Hill or elsewhere because of her car accident. So I would either have to add days onto my scheduled week to make up for that or if I had to do something else for half a day just redid that same day the next day. So that was difficult, but doable.

Tuesday was the most difficult on…

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HELL WEEK PROGRAM

Wyrdwend

HELL WEEK PROGRAM

here is my actual Hell Week Program after all necessary improvements and revisions.

No, I’m not afraid I’ll wash out or be unable to complete it but it will be difficult. Especially Tuesday and Friday. I’m not kidding myself that it won’t be hard.

But it’s a good start to incorporating all of my old training and educational and survival and CAP and others forms of training into a single program or set of programs geared to improve me at this stage and era of my life. And I’m already working on integrating all of these things into a single, unified Field System of Training. I’ll talk about that later, after Hell Week.

For now it is sufficient to say that I begin my new Hell Week tomorrow.

I’ll probably be incommunicado for a week therefore. I might make a quick post on progress, but I doubt…

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AT&T’s New Internet TV Plan Has Appealing Price But Lots of Wrinkles — Fortune

Remember trying to listen to digital music legally before Steve Jobs invented the iPod and iTunes store? There were digital music players and online stores to buy tracks, but there were so many incompatible devices and different rules–this song can’t be burned to a CD, that song can’t be played on your computer–that it made…

via AT&T’s New Internet TV Plan Has Appealing Price But Lots of Wrinkles — Fortune

ANGRY, ENVIOUS, AND UPSET

Do not be angry, envious, and upset that someone else can and you cannot. Be angry and upset that you cannot because you are envious and lazy rather than active and industrious…

from The Business, Career, and Work of Man

THE LAUGHING MAN

The Missal

TRUMP-SPEECH

It’s gotten to the point now that I can employ the terms “urbanite” and “modern intellectual” completely synonymously.

I can also now use the terms “wanna-be-urbanite” and “pseudo-intellectual” entirely interchangeably.

And finally, finally – other people instantly understand what I mean. Even without an explanation.

Of course I’ve been saying that for decades now, but at last others are figuring it out too. I’m kinda digging this “Trump-Speech.”

It makes me laugh…

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ACT TO BE A FREE MAN AGAIN

The Missal

Today, Americans, do your civic and public duty to Vote.

But far more importantly conduct yourself as an honorable and upright Free Man or Free Woman who needs no president, no congress, and no court upon your own best natures

For the Good and Free Man needs no real government to govern and tax him, no master to enslave and rule him, and certainly never a single corrupt criminal to deceive, domineer (domina), manipulate, and debase him.

Vote to be Free of All That, but no matter what happens make sure you become once again free of all that – even if that means you must Overthrow all of that.

Be not a coward, but a Free Man!Be an Actual American…


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HIGHER HUMAN ENTERPRISES

The Missal

Politics in this nation should have never been about politics.

It should have always only been about higher human enterprises.  Truth, Justice, Honor, Honesty, Liberty, Human Rights, Equality, etc.

But because politics became, and remains, a pursuit of base and grasping power it can only produce the very lowest of animalistic ambitions; greed, avarice, corruption, crimes, and eventually, tyranny.

Until you tame the vice-laden and real aims of politics government will forever remain degenerate and diseased and destructive to the entire nation. And as long as government remains a degenerate, diseased, and destructive enterprise it must be overthrown and replaced with far better.

from Political Cause

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ONE AND THE SAME

With modern man the thing most likely to actually succeed and the thing least likely to be truly attempted is usually the same thing. Which is precisely why modern man so rarely really fixes anything.

from the Business, Career, and Work of Man

VISUALIZING ANALYSIS

Summary

The first article in this series described the concept of Business Architecture, and went on to introduce two powerful models used to build sound, robust architectural views, being the Capability Model, and the Value Stream. This second article seeks to solidify these models in the context of Business Analysis.

The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) have identified a set of competencies they consider necessary for a practicing business analyst to be effective at their job. This article builds a capability view using these competencies as a foundation, and then considers the value streams that a business analyst uses to co-ordinate these competencies to perform their job.

Two distinct value streams emerge, one showing how a business analyst realises value on a project, and one showing how a business analyst realises value at an enterprise level.

What Do You Do?

As a business analyst, have you ever been asked to explain what you do for the organisation? The question may have come from a co-worker, but more likely you were asked by one of the more senior members of staff. The question can be quite a daunting one.

Since the field of IT business analysis is still relatively young, false impressions of what exactly a competent business analyst is, and more importantly what value they bring to their organisation generally, and their projects specifically, are rife. It is therefore important that the answer given to the question is clear and accurate.

Competency or Capability?

Before moving forward, we must first understand the difference between a capability and a competency.

Although often used interchangeably, “capability” and “competency” are quite different. Ulrich and Smallwood[1] make the distinction that individuals build competencies, while organisations exhibit capabilities.

The intention article is to produce a strategic view of the business analyst, describing their competencies using a capability model and value stream maps. In doing so, the aim is to provide a concrete example showing how to construct these two models using concepts that are familiar to analysts.

For the remainder of this article we are going to treat the individual BA competencies as analogous to organisational capabilities, whilst understanding the key difference highlighted above.

The BABOK, and the IIBA’s Competency Model

Let’s get back to the question that we posed to start with: “What Do You Do?”. The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge[2] (BABOK) is an excellent place to look to begin in formulating an answer.

The BABOK, and its supporting Competency Model[3], describes the knowledge, skills, abilities and other personal characteristics that an effective analyst perfects in time. Also laid out is a roadmap for an analyst to plan their career trajectory from junior to master analyst.

In addition to underlying competencies expected from a professional knowledge worker, the IIBA has identified 6 core knowledge areas that a business analyst must home in order to progress from beginner to competent to master in the practice of Business Analysis.

The competencies that we will use to build our model come from these 6 knowledge areas.

Strategic Modelling Step 1: The Business Analyst Competency Model

Let us start our example by considering the analyst to be an enterprise, and the competencies presented in the BABOK to be our Analyst-Enterprise’s capabilities. Our first step is to build a capability model that represents ‘what’ the Analyst-Enterprise is doing to create value.

This example is built using the Business Architecture Guild’s Level-1 Capability Model as a foundation for categorising each competency. For the sake of clarity, the Underlying Competencies are presented separately.

Since we are considering the ‘what’ and not the ‘how’, we must exclude all of the techniques that the BABOK list. Techniques are very much a ‘how’, and a senior analyst will use several techniques interchangeably, according to the needs of the project at hand.

The model is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Business Analyst Competency Model
Figure 1: Business Analyst Competency Model

You will immediately notice two things in the model:

  • first, the competencies, named as capabilities, have been renamed, and;
  • second, ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ is highlighted in red.

Naming Capabilities

The reason for the name-change is that capabilities are named using nouns[4]. Remember that capabilities are an external, ‘black box’ view of a business function that encapsulates the people (stakeholders in our case), process (think of the techniques described in the BABOK), and platforms (in our case this includes such things as CASE tools or document repositories).

To assembling our capability model we are defining what is being done, not how. By using nouns we build in a cross-check that we are not including processes or value streams into the capability model.

During analysis, it is quite easy to get tangled in naming capabilities that you are identifying in the business. If you find yourself questioning whether you have identified a capability correctly, remember that you are working towards building a view of ‘what’, and not ‘how’. Take a step back and ask: “Does my capability encapsulate people, process and platform, or have I fallen into the ‘how-trap’ by describing process?”

Identifying Duplication

The reason that ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ is highlighted in red is that capabilities are unique, and must occur only once on the capability model. Let’s analyse ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ by refering to the BABOK definition:

Purpose: To define requirements for capabilities needed to transition from an existing solution to a new solution.

So, this competency talks to requirements definition, but with the narrow focus of transitioning a solution into the organisation. Therefore, it is comprised several of existing requirements-centric capabilities already on our map; it is in essence a specialisation that combines existing competencies.

This composite capability must thus be eliminated from the capability model.

Benefits of the Capability Model

Now that we have produced the model, let us consider the benefits of having produced a capability model for our hypothetical Analyst-Enterprise.

  1. The model provides us with a talking point. We can refer to it during discussions, and importantly it drives a common vocabulary into those discussions. Moreover, it is easy to discuss individual elements of the role, whilst not losing sight of the whole.
  2. We can quickly see, on a single page, the competencies that make a business analyst. Using this view an analyst can quickly focus on weak areas, and they can take steps to address these weaknesses.
  3. Further, the model can aid the planning that the analyst may do by allowing objective prioritisation of actions to address their areas of weakness.

The capability model is our blueprint. The model is a stable reference point throughout our career. We may need to change a great deal, through learning and experience, to cultivate mastery in the role, but the model remains the blueprint against which we will plan to develop ourselves further.

Strategic Modelling Step 2: The Business Analyst Value Streams

When considering how an analyst delivers value to an organisation, it emerges that there are two distinct levels that the analyst engages at.

The first emergent focus is bounded by a project, and the analyst works within the ambit of the project. Working at the project level, the analyst’s deliverables address the specific needs of their project.

The second focus is at an enterprise level, where the analyst is working with business leaders, and key decision makers. At this level the analyst is working to distill strategy into clear objectives. They work to understand the current state of the business, and to formulate the actions needed to achieve the desired future state. This analyst will often be responsible for the business plans that give rise to the projects mentioned above.

Junior and intermediate analysts will tend to have a project focus, while senior analyst will likely be found bringing their depth of experience to bear at the enterprise level.

Value Stream: Plan-to-Solution

Using the competencies identified by the IIBA, the value stream that expresses value delivery in the project context is presented below.

In the interests of simplicity, the ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ competency has not been decomposed into its discrete elements.

Since value streams are designed with improvement in mind, we can start to leverage our view of Plan-to-Solution for the purpose of improvement. Our goal may be to reduce cost by eliminating waste (maybe arising from poor upfront planning), or to produce the solution in time with customer expectation (by better managing scope and communication). Our goal is likely to vary from project to project.

Value Stream: Vision-to-Plan

Next up, let us examine how an enterprise analyst delivers value while conducting their duties.

Figure 3: Vision-to-Plan Value Stream
Figure 3: Vision-to-Plan Value Stream

In this example we can see that the enterprise analyst is using many of the same value stream stages as the project analyst. This makes sense, as in both cases the analyst must plan, they must engage with identified stakeholders to elicit requirements, the must communicate and they validate outcomes. The main difference is the scope of the initiative, and the desired outcome.

Looking at both of the examples I am sure that you get a sense that the value stream presents a dynamic view of value delivery.

Key Principles of Value Streams to Remember[5]

The value stream is customer-focused. Our customer in either instance above is the Project Sponsor, and ultimately the business itself. You may choose to represent the customer in a number of ways, whether in the map directly, or in your supporting documentation.

Keep in mind that the value stream is value centric. At each value stream stage we should be able to identify at least one customer for whom we have created value. If we are not delivering value then we are wasting time and money. It is sometimes helpful to include a purpose and value statement below each value stream.

The value streams are a business-centric view of value creation. They are aimed at strategic decision-makers, and are intended to be simple to understand and interpret. Avoid making overly complex value streams that are more process-centric than is necessary. Getting back to the initial question posed in this article: Think how quickly you could answer the question with a value stream. The high-level nature of the steam does not put off senior members of staff, and they are able to quickly understand the value delivery mechanism.

Value streams are holistic, end-to-end views of value creation. They are by nature cross-cutting, and inclusive of external parties. This allows decision-makers to formulate a common approach that can be rolled out across the organisation without needing to be tailored for individual divisions, departments or sites.

Moreover, the value streams aggregate the underlying processes from across organisational silos, and even organisational boundaries. This allows similar processes to be rationalised and consolidated. Decision-makers are empowered by the holistic view to recognise redundant or duplicate process, and to implement common solutions in these identified areas. The business as a whole becomes more streamlined and efficient.

We can decompose the value streams. This allows the value stream to be tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual product line, or business unit in the context of the value delivery highlighted by the value stream.

Lastly, we can quickly understand how the value creation process leverages business capabilities. Resources can be brought to bear, in an objective way, on capabilities that are underperforming. For instance, we may quickly realise that we are not planning our activities well enough as we are weak in the ‘Business Analysis Activities Planning’ competency. We could then plan to work at improving this competency in upcoming projects.

Conclusion

By using our capability model and value streams we can lay down a blueprint that lets us envision ourselves in terms of what we do, they facilitate planning of a successful approach to improving our skill, and then guiding our development of these skills.

Crucially, we are able to express complex ideas simply, and effectively. The models tend to drive out a common language, and by allowing discussions to revolve around the models we can avoid ambiguity. Armed with these models it should be easy for an analyst to clearly answer the question ‘What do you do?’.

Exactly the same principles apply when you view the enterprise through these two lenses. The opportunities for improvement become quickly obvious. Business Architecture is becoming ever more important in linking the business strategy to explicit, achievable results. As this field matures it is going to become ever more important pillar that supports the overall Enterprise Architecture.

The Power of Crowdsourcing

Delivering value in the digital age

The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R&D.

                                                                             —By Jeff Howe

What is crowdsourcing? In 2005, this term was coined; and in 2006, the definition has been published by Jeff Howe for the first time. After that, in global, crowdsourcing has been explored and applied by enterprises when they want to solve some certain problem effectively. Until now, it is still in adoption phrase.

To understand crowdsourcing well, we have to mention community, which is more familiar to us. Nowadays, the relationship between customer and brand becomes more and more intimate; and communities is helpful to enhance it. No…

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