Archive - March, 2009

A Love Affair With Books

My friends at Joyful Jubilant Learning are in the midst of their 4th annual "A Love Affair With Books" and there are a library full of inspiring and thought provoking books. Some classics, some hot-off-the-press, I've often printed out the list and gone to the bookstore (and I may do the same this year).

I was fortunate to be able to review Jeff Jarvis' What Wuuld Google Do?, a disruptive book every business and educational leader should devour.

In my review of WWGD, I list a few of the take-aways for me, but also what a bunch of folks are saying on Twitter about the book.

One of my favorite reviews of What Would Google Do? is Steve Cunningham's video review of the book.

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Lunch n Learn with Kami Huyse

I've been an avid reader of Kami Huyse and Communication Overtones, for a long time. A short time ago, I found The Strategist and Social Media presentation showcased on SlideShare and I've been rerunning it in my mind and on my browser ever since.

There are so many good bites in this slideshow, you might need to use both hands.

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But … That’s What You Get Paid to Do!

When I worked in minor league baseball in the late 80's, an old-time pitching coach and I were staying warm in the Salinas Valley chill in the press box during batting practice. The music was loud, but the coffee was hot.

BP was a favorite time of day for me. It was the intermission between my day job of selling (seats, promotions, ads, etc.) and my night job of putting on a show (concessions, glad-handing, helping create a family atmosphere of fun).

This old-school coach, a pitcher whose baseball card I had collected as a kid, had come to a point of his career where he should step down — at least that's what I thought.

"I can't coach today's ballplayer. They don't want to listen. They've become uncoachable," he sulked. I asked what he was doing about it to get through to the players.  "Nothing I can do. I can't reach these know-it-all, prima donnas."

Sad. Made me a bit mad, actually. That's what he was getting paid to do! Coach today's ballplayer.

I still hear this in all sorts of professions:

  • I find it hard to work with today's college graduate
  • I can't teach these students today
  • It's impossible to understand what these customers want
  • It was better in the old days. I have no patience with these kids.
  • Why is it my responsibility to show these kids how the job gets done?
  • It's not like my students are my customers!
  • Why should I bend over backwards to understand today's generation?

Simple.  It's what you get paid to do!

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ConverSnaps #3 – The Art of Conversation

Conversation is a misplaced art. Many think that the online conversphere is part of what's killing it (I am not one of those). Some think that listening is the key (I am one of those). This morning, Ginger Johnson and I discussed some of these in our weekly Tuesday morning BlogTalkRadio show.

In an oddity of definition, our old 1828 Webster's Dictionary defines conversation as a general course of manners or behavior. The oddity for me, is how this definition became obsolete in today's dictionary (did Mirriam disagree?)

I'll let you listen in, but there is both a politeness and a rudeness attached to certain conversational behavior:

  • Polite is the one who seeks first to understand
  • Rude is the one who listens as part of multi-tasking
  • Polite is the one who ends a statement with a question (is that possible?)
  • Rude is the one who never shuts-up stops talking

I wonder, who is teaching Conversational Literacy these days?

We also shared a number of great resources I'll link to below. Enjoy the show!

6 Ways to Become the Most Listenable Person You Know
Art of Conversation blog
Test of Time Design (Justin Brady is a champion listener!)
Age of Conversation books
Jodee Bock's Bigger Small Talk Summit (June 16-17)

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Co-Working Townhall Meeting at Impromptu Studios (3/25)

Many know that when I’m in town, I’m often officing at Panera U in West Des Moines. It’s one of the best co-working spots in the area. 

Another fast-growing and forward-thinking spot is Impromptu Studios in Downtown Des Moines, right off MLK (map).

On Thursday night (3/25) at 7 PM, there will be a “townhall” meeting for those looking for more info on the co-working environment or Impromptu Studios, some of the speakers that will be either talking about coworking, Impromptu
Studio, or making an announcement include:

I believe that co-working spaces are the way of the future in many cities, including Des Moines. Even if you don’t go to see how free-agent nation works, it’ll be a great event to network with some smart and talented people.

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My Online Magazine Rack:

I've been watching and using in some fashion since it's release, I really didn't become a huge fan until just recently with the release of

I've just begun putting my feeds together at

I'm hoping that I can soon organize them in a different way and maybe even grab the OPML or RSS for my individual section. this procedural how-to get started post on MyAlltop (Update: Manage button top right, sort any way I want.  Nice!).

Oh, and if you're looking for ConverStations – you'll find us in either Alltop's Social Media or Blogging sections

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Times, They are Changing. So are the Tools — Free

It's been an amazingly busy week. But that's fine with me.

I didn't see the episode of 24 on television this week. Of course, the same will hold true next week.  I've cancelled my cable.  I now watch what I want, when I want on services like Hulu. Free

I wasn't able to watch any of the selections on Sunday. But I caught up with my morning issue of the most in-depth daily sports news emailed to me – the Sporting News Today. Free

Every once in awhile, I get a song stuck in my brain. I can listen to that song anytime, anywhere with Free.

This morning, two colleagues had a meeting scheduled. I saw one was running late and offered to help by calling him. He let me know that he took care of it by sending a Twitter message to his appointment pal.  Free.

Geogrpahy no longer matters.

This past weekend, I met Peter Pappas at the ASCD conference. I've never seen anyone work a room like Peter. Funny thing though, neither of us were in Florida at the conference. There were so many others I met virtually at the conference.  In fact, I was able to see every keynote session, including one with Sir Ken Robinson triggering some alarms with his message. I did all of this…yep….Free.

I'm about to launch a complete social media course for business and educational leaders. My students will be able to see me model the use of tools, we'll see PowerPoint presentations, surf the web, and use a whiteboard. I'll be using DimDim. Free.

When I do one-on-one coaching, I watch my students take "the wheel" and guide them. We use CrossLoop. so I can watch what they do. Free.

Sometimes, folks who don't get it (either in understanding or practice) ask me how these companies make money. I'm sure it's either for freemium reasons or to gain a critical mass of community (a very real currency on the web).

Of course, I do have to pay for my internet connection — and I use a Sprint EVDO card for all of it (I noticed Jack Bauer did in 24 this week, too).  Anytime, Anywhere.

The times (and tools) are changing.  And I'm loving the change. 

Photo on Flickr by antwerpenR via compfight (Free)
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Slide: It’s About the Talk, Not the Tech

TalknottechTools change, human nature — not so much. We are societal beings. We long for connection. Tools come and go. Remember the rotary dial phone?  The telegram?

The tools we use today will change and improve — in order that we can make more and deeper connections with others.

It’s about the talk, not the tech. Make Connections.

Photo on Flickr by david.nikonvscamera


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Attending both ASCD and SXSW conferences – Virtually

I'm sad to say I won't be in person at either the ASCD or SXSW conferences this year due to scheduling conflicts. However, I'm excited that I will be able to glean some knowledge from those sharing their experiences at each event.

Twitter Search – by using hashtags in front of ASCD09 or SXSW09 (and just in case, ASCD and SXSW),  I can subscribe to the RSS feed and follow along.

As I've said earlier, Twitter doesn't replace Face-to-Face, but a few years ago, this wasn't possible.

Safe travels to my friends going to either event. Thanks for making us smarter with your efforts!

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Sixth Sense: One Reason Every Student Will have a Cell Phone soon.

This is an amazing showcase of a tool I hope will soon be available. The possibilities of use (learning, traveling, shopping, real-time research) are endless really.

Watch the TED video on the Sixth Sense (I so want one!):

Yet another reason we must:

My mind is racing, but what are some of the ways you’d immediately start using this kind of device?

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