Monday, April 30, 2018

Q&A: Tra la la

April 30 - What are three words to describe your social life?

2014 - Non-ex-istent. - entered May 3

2015 - Twice-monthly datenight.

2016 - Family and work. - entered Aug. 24

2017 - Non-ex-istent. - entered May 9

2018 - In my dreams. - entered May 1

A book, perchance to read, nay, write. Buyeth and filleth outteth, yo: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Q&A: Happy Pills

April 29 - Who can you make happier? How?

2014 - God. Helping us all to get better sleep. - entered May 3.

2015 - I apparently misread (arrow pointing to 2014). My children. By being more patient.

2016 - My family. I don't see them as much with my new commute. - entered Aug. 24

2017 - Trump. Resigning or passing away. - entered 5/9

2018 - Apparently misread again in 2017. Who can I make happier? I had a nice exchange with someone on Twitter who said they were lonely but who really thanked me for noticing and interacting with them. I also had a conversation recently with a past co-worker who said I was one of two mentors in their life. - entered May 1

I think you'll be happy if you buy this book. It makes a great gift for others, too: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q&A: Freaky Friday

April 28 - Who would you trade places with for just one day?

2014 - Someone who doesn't ahv to work because they have all they need so they can just stay home with their family.

2015 - Ben. I'd like to know how he experiences the world. - entered April 29

2016 - I would get myself placed on a 24-hour psych hold in a padded cell and then trade places with Trump and resign. - entered Aug. 23

2017 - This year I wondered if I committed suicide while swapped because Trump came to mind again. - entered May 9

(Note: Backstory for those who are concerned - or work for an alliteratively named government agency - this is just idle conversation we've talked about in our house... if you swap minds with someone and then commit suicide, does your mind immediately get transferred back to your body, or are you done and the other person gets stuck in your body for the rest of their life? Or - If you swap places with someone and then they are murdered, are you done, or do switch back and they are done? Are there different rules depending on how the "host" meets their end? I feel like those movies never cover topics like this.)

2018 - I can't think of anyone I want to trade places with. - entered May 1

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Get Started with Testing (A Work-Related Post)

from armydre2008
In Marketing, testing is a great way to hone in on what resonates with a customer.

This is not meant to make you an expert in testing, but hopefully get you started with simple testing or help you create better tests if you feel like your testing isn't yielding the results to expected.  If you pursue testing, don't let this be the only article you read on the subject.

Always Be Testing

When you're not testing, you're not learning or improving. There is a dangerous catch though - do not test just to say that you're testing.  Tests should build upon earlier learnings and should push you towards valuable corporate objectives (sales, newsletter signups, etc.) and not towards less quantifiable results (like "time spent on site" if you're not an online game or video platform).

Your testing should be coordinated with others who are testing and you should be documenting all of your testing so that others can learn from it and leverage it as the basis for other tests.

Also, be ready to re-test. When I worked at a video game company, if we tested on one video game's website and had good results, we'd test again on another video game website to see if it was a universal truth or if it was only valid for the audience of the one kind of website. When I worked at a non-profit, we repeated tests against different products because we knew that what worked for recurring giving might not work for one-time-gift appeals.


Let's start with a few basic terms:

Hypothesis - this is your theory, created in advance, that describes what you are testing and what you expect the outcome to be. This should be detailed and precise.

Test - an attempt to find the relative performance of two or more distinct items over a set period of time.


Experiences - this is your control plus all challengers.  I like to label these A for the Control and B, C, D, etc. for the Challengers - this is where the A/B/N comes from.  (The labels help if you've got a table of results and little space.)

Control - this is the as-is experience.  This is your current website or email or advertisement or store layout or whatever.

Challenger - this is one an entity that has a chance that you want to test. On a website, it might be using blue buttons instead of green.  You can have multiple challengers in a single test.


Metrics / Success Metrics - this is the one or more things being tested.  I like to label these 1, 2, 3, etc. The labeling also helps if you've got a table of results but little space. If your tests are self-optimizing, metric 1 should be the one that's the trigger.  Often you're measuring rates (click rate, sign-up rate, purchase rate), not a raw number.

Conversion - this is my catch-all term for a tally mark counted towards a success metric. So it may be a click on a button, a view of a video, an actual sale. This is the term most likely to get me angry comments suggesting I'm a hack and that I should be calling them something else.  Comment away.

Results - this should prove or disprove your hypothesis.  The only failed test is one that is inconclusive. Otherwise, even a test that performs contrary to your hypothesis is still a chance to learn.  If you find that you are consistently wrong in your hypothesis, you may need to let someone else start coming up with future hypotheses.

Statistical Significance - this tells you that you can trust your results.  This is the likelihood that if you repeated the test you'd get the same results.  This is a really important topic as failing to achieve statistical significance makes your tests worthless and leaves you defenseless if someone challenges your results.  This can't be stressed enough.

Lift/Drag - typically you report on the performance of the Challenger over the Control, this tells the direction.  If it's not statistically significant, substitute the terms "Trend Lift" or "Trend Drag"

Winner/Loser - the experience that performs best towards your desired success metric, with statistical significance

Added Learnings - this is something you've observed, but not something you were specifically testing for.  If these seem valuable, it is important to write a hypothesis and give them their own test.


Multivariate Testing - a whole different topic. This is where you're testing multiple items at the same time. It might be button color, wording and photos. The math is far more complex and it's harder to know which item or items caused the change.  Best done with a website testing tool.

Self-Optimizing - some website testing tools will start to start to show the trending winner more often. If you're testing to make money, this helps you start to make more money quickly.

Ground Rules

Having some ground rules that apply to all testing will be beneficial when results are hard to understand, when someone's pressuring you for results, if you are wondering if you need to invalidate a test and start over or if you're trying to decide if a test is even worth performing.  Create your own to meet your specific needs.

Here are some of the types I've used in the past.

1. A test must run for at least one month and no more than three months.

Why: You need a reasonable timeframe. If you try to read the results too quickly, it could be a fluke or be influenced by things beyond your control - though it is possible that you've hit on some magic and found something so in need of optimizing that it was an instant success.  But, if you drag things out too long, again, things beyond your control can influence your test.  If you can't get to statistical significance in three months, it would also suggest that you're (a) testing something that has no impact on your customers; (b) you don't have enough traffic or (c) you're not being bold enough in your testing.

2. The test must receive at least 10,000 impressions before any results can be assessed.  

Why: Similar to #1, this helps make sure that you've got a big enough audience.

3. A test must receive at least 5,000 impressions a week to remain viable.

Why: If the volume is too low, it may not be worth it to test.  Either you're running too many concurrent tests or you're optimizing for something that may be of low value.

4. An experience must have 300 conversions.

Why: Similar to #3, tries to make sure you're not spending time on low value tests.  Of course, if each conversion is the sale of an Aston Martin, that's different. And an example of why you should establish your own ground rules.

5. Anything less than 3% lift or drag is considered "no change."

Why: You want big changes.  You want to take the kinds of risks that give you solid learnings.  If you can only push the needle a small amount, you're being too conservative in your testing.

6. Results over a year old should be re-tested.

Why: Things can change so much in the course of a year. Technology, world events, consumer tastes are ever evolving. What worked a year ago may make no sense now.

7. A test cannot have more than 4 experiences (control + 3 challengers).  

Why: If you can't pick the best four experiences, you may need to think about what you're really trying to measure for. It might be that instead of questioning whether your buttons should be red, blue, green, purple, orange or yellow you should first be testing whether you should have cold or hot colors.

8. Tests cannot cross seasonal events or major calendar events relevant to your company.

Why: This is especially important if you're in a different group from your advertising team.

9. Control/Baseline/As-Is has to be measured during the test

Why: As the old saying goes, past performance is no guarantee of future results.  You need to know how your control is performing at the same time as the challengers. If you can't do this, your test results will be suspect.

Let's Test!

Step 1 - Form a Hypothesis

"I believe that green buttons on the product page will result in more clicks to put items in the shopping cart than our current blue buttons.  A previous test (link here) showed that when we changed the button size from 20px tall to 40px resulted in more clicks (and more sales). This further tests the notion that our buttons are often overlooked."

Dissecting the hypothesis:

  • Control - blue buttons on the product page
  • Challenger - green buttons on the product page
  • Theory - blue buttons are overlooked by our audience ultimately causing fewer sales
  • Builds on - past test to increase button size
  • Expected outcome - higher click rate for challenger 
  • Measurable metrics - clicks, visitors per experience
  • Baseline/As-Is - click rate (clicks over visitors) for the blue button control during the test timeframe

Plan carefully to avoid creating a reporting nightmare (see below).

Step 2 - Build the test

You'll need to make sure you can serve up the different experiences and measure the outcome.  If it's a website, can the website display the different experiences and track the results independently?  You need to know how many people saw the blue button and how many people saw the green button and how many clicked on each button.

And then you need an easy way to get to the results.  If your dev team is building this for you, the work's not done until you have a way to see the results and a way to turn the test on and off.  There are a number of tools that can make easy work out of this so that you don't need a dev effort to do a website test.

Of course, if it's an email, it's just a matter of splitting the audience and sending different versions to each audience. If you're testing store layouts, you might have to have multiple stores in each design to test.

Clear away any other factors that could influence your test.  If some of your acquisition funnel traffic performs differently, steer them clear of the test and do not include them in the test results.

Step 3 - Check the results

Based on the traffic, I like to present results every 1 to 2 weeks during a test.  Sometimes other stakeholders may decide to end a test, either because the results aren't telling us, or because we've reached statistical significance/confidence and it's time to move on to the next test.

You are always measuring in pairs.  If you have two experiences and one success metric, it's one measurement.

Click Rate of Blue Buttons vs Green Buttons =
A vs B (blue vs green)

But, if you get more complex, your assessments need to get more complex.  Four experiences and one success metric is six measurements:

Click Rate of Blue Buttons vs Green Buttons vs Red Buttons vs Yellow Buttons =
A vs B (blue vs green)
A vs C (blue vs red)
A vs D (blue vs yellow)
B vs C (green vs red)
B vs D (green vs yellow)
C vs D (red vs yellow)

Two experiences and two success metrics is two measurements:

Click Rate of Blue Buttons vs Green Buttons
and Sales Rate of Blue Buttons vs Green Buttons =

Clicks: A vs B (blue vs green)
Sales: A vs B (blue vs green)

And of course four experiences and two success metrics is twelve measurements.

The Super Very Good Absolutely Important Notion of Statistical Significance

In short, Statistical Significance asks "If we run this test again and again and again, will we get the same results?" It involves a lot of heavy lifting of your pairs of data.  You may hear talk of "p-values" but for our purposes, we simplify with lift/drag or winnner/loser and "confidence."  The best site on the internet to make this measurement is

How it works: You punch in your impressions and clicks and it will give you conversion, lift and confidence.  Experience (B) is performing better, just from the conversion rate, which you can get yourself with Excel. Even though it has a lift of 2%, it's not yet statistically significant.

But, compare with this one - the lift is greater, the confidence is greater and now we've reached statistical significance.  (You should feel good when confidence exceeds 95%.)

Enter these (or other numbers) into the tool to see how the results change.

If you work with someone who regularly likes to question facts or "go with their gut," statistical significance is a powerful argument.

Happy Testing!

Your first tests are like the biggest chisels and hammers applied to a block of granite - they can get you to a rough outline for focus. But you need to build upon those tests with new tests with greater precision and focus. Refine with more specific tests or to more specific audiences and soon a picture will emerge.  Because if you don't refine, all you'll end up with are a bunch of rocks and dust.

One last thought... what if you just have data?

If you had no hand in deciding what was captured, how it was captured, when it was captured or who the participants being measured were, then all you can do is attempt to make forensic guesses about what happened -- which you then need to validate with new tests.

(Cross-posted to LinkedIn)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Q&A: Typecast

April 27 - What "type" of person are you?

2014 - Totally "A" - impatient, need to be moving, have a difficult time being still, little patience

2015 - Still type "A". Next.

2016 - A - entered Aug. 23

2017 - Impatient and bad at dieting.

2018 - A+ (I have a pretty healthy self-esteem usually). - entered May 1

Buy, buy, buy the book already: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Feed Sift (04/27/2017)


VENTUREBEAT.COM -- AI Weekly: Watson, Einstein, and Sensei must die


LETSGOLA.WORDPRESS.COM -- L.A. Rain: Skull Emoji Edition


LIFEHACKER.COM -- Stop Yelling at Sinclair's Anchors


ENGADGET.COM -- MIT's wearable device can 'hear' the words you say in your head


MEDIUM.LEARNINGBYSHIPPING.COM -- Nikon versus Canon: A Story Of Technology Change

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Q&A: Cha-Ching

April 26 - How much spare change do you have?

2014 - I think I have 26 cents I found in the Menchies parking lot.

2015 - None right now. Might have an actual bill in my wallet (upstairs).

2016 - There's a bunch of coins in a box and probably $100 in my wallet, wherever it is - I haven't been carrying it. - entered Aug. 22

2017 - None - entered April 27

2018 - None. I can't recall when I last had cash.

If you buy this book, Amazon will give me some virtual pennies: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Q&A: Where is the phone app?

April 25 - Who do you need to call?

2014 - No one. The phone is a dead medium.

2015 - Doctor for follow-up to surgery.

2016 - Ghostbusters. (Not really.) - entered June 26

2017 - Liberty Mutual Insurance - entered April 27

2018 - Nope. - entered April 26

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Q&A: Unreasonable

April 24 - Is life fair? Yes? No? Sometimes? Not today?

2014 - Absolutely not. Le sigh.

2015 - Nope. Whacha gonna do?

2016 - Nope. But today I'm blessed with more than I deserve.

2017 - No. Though today was better. - entered April 27

2018 - No. Fairness is a silly thought. - entered April 26

If life was fair, you'd all buy this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Organizing my day with @RememberTheMilk

Remember the Milk is a great tool for tracking all the stuff I need to do.  If David Allen says the brain is for thinking (not remembering), then I'm so all over that.  I put everything into RTM and then immediately forget about it.  It's surprising to see, even for me, what happens on a Saturday when I don't consult my list.

So they recently had this brilliant blog post about an amazing way to organize and plan for the day.  The writing was superb, the idea fantastic, the author utterly humble.  (I think the author has also been described as handsome, though I don't see it. But I might be biased.)

Unfortunately, by the time the article was posted, it was a bit out of date - the system has been further refined.  This process now takes me less than 10 minutes each morning and really helps me to remain sane and not get overwhelmed when my to-do list is much longer than the available time I know I'll have that day to work on stuff.

If you use Remember the Milk extensively, you might find that you have you could do in a day than you actually have time to do.  This method is designed to get you set for the day.  To start, create five lists:

Today - 0
(due:never OR dueBefore:today OR due:today) AND (priority:1 OR priority:2 OR priority:3 OR priority:none)

Today - 1
priority:1 AND list:"1 - today 0"

Today - 2
priority:2 AND list:"1 - today 0"

Today - 3
priority:3 AND list:"1 - today 0"

Today - 4
priority:none AND list:"1 - today 0"

Today - 5
list:"Today - 2" OR list:"Today - 3" OR list:"Today - 4"

Step 1 - Collect all the possible tasks for today.  
Go to "Today - 0" and type [*] [a] [1] [d] [down-arrow] [enter] [escape].
That selects all items, makes their priority1 and their due date today and then deselects everything.

Step 2 - Plan your day
Your objective is to pick the right number of tasks that you can actually accomplish today.  Go to "Today - 1"
Your goal is to empty "Today - 1"
Use j and k to move up or down the list and select to select items.
Use 2, 3, 4 to prioritize items.
Use P to postpone items to tomorrow. (upper-case P)
Use d to set a due date.

Keep an eye on "Today - 5" to look see how many are in "Today - 2", "Today - 3" and "Today - 4".  Use 2-4 in whatever way works best for you.  For me, I use 2 = before work, 3 = at work/evening, 4 = after kids are in bed.

It may take some time before you have a good handle on what you can have total for a day, and things will always come up, but it's a great way to really force youself to focus on the most important elements.

Step 3 - Get going
Eventually, you have three lists of tasks and one empty list (Today - 1).  You can start attacking your to do list.  

Bonus: What if a list is still overwhelming?

Let's say you start to work on "Today - 2" but it's still overwhelming, or it's a mix of items you can do and stuff you can't yet do (or would rather not do).  You can do a mini-sort moving some items to "Today - 1" to make "Today - 2" shorter.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Q&A: Progeny

April 23 - How would your parents describe you? (You can call and ask them.)

2014 - "Thoughtful" (I think) - entered April 24

2015 - "Loves his family"

2016 - "Loves his family" - entered April 24

2017 - Don't know. They unfriended me for criticizing Trump before the election.

2018 - Don't know. They've pretty much removed themselves from our lives.

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: The Shack

I don't remember where I got the recommendation from, but The Shack by William Paul Young was on my "To Read" list. When someone then also handed me a copy, I realized "Ok, maybe it's time I read this." I checked out the audiobook from the library and listened to it during my drive.

I would actually call this three books, or at least one book, with a different book in the middle. I'm going to spoil it a little bit, so if you're interested in reading it, don't read this review.

The book starts with a narrator telling about a story he's going to tell. Then there's the first story - a guy takes his kids camping. It's a plodding story that eventually leads to tragedy - during a mishap involving two of his children, his third children is kidnapped by a serial killer. Let me back up - the family has this unique name for God that no one else uses and no one else outside his family knows about. With me? So then the guy gets this note inviting to the shack where his daughter was killed and it's signed by this unique name his family uses for God.

At this point, I'm screaming "Call the FBI! The killer probably heard the girl crying out to 'Papa' before he killed her. It's a trap!" But, this is Christian fiction, so this line of reasoning doesn't cross his mind. He determines to go, borrowing a car from someone else and also the gun that car-lender offers him. And then he travels to the shack. And that's where we end book 1. I don't recommend book 1. It plods along and the idea of a murdered child is not my idea of a good read.

And that's where we start book 2. The guy spends a long weekend with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who all inhabit corporeal human form for his comprehension. I think for God's first human form the author is thinking of The Oracle from The Matrix. I liked book 2. It dives into a lot of issues of God's relationship with humanity, why bad things happen, stuff like that. I found it to be quite thought-provoking, quite helpful in its examination of some of my own questions about my own relationship with God. I'd recommend book 2. It is a bit long and at times a little confusing, but I think it mostly works.

Eventually the weekend ends and book 1 resumes. It turns out the guy got into a car accident on his way to the shack and was in a coma all weekend long. Was his encounter with God a dream or did it actually happen during his altered conscience? And what about the note? Anyhow, he also, upon waking from the coma, is able to lead people to the cave where they find his daughter's remains and the sheet she's wrapped in provides enough clues that they then are able to identify and arrest the multi-state serial killer and find all of his past victim's bodies. This left a really bad taste in my mouth. It's a nice little bow to wrap everything up, to provide that final justice, to end on as high a note as you can when a six-year-old has been murdered, a bit of false hope that so many families who experience real pain don't get. It's too perfect. It's a cheat and a copout to try to make readers satisfied (if they don't stop to think about it for too long). So I don't recommend that either - well, plus I just explained it to you so now you can skip it. Oh, he also gets to see his daughter and to see his daughter interact with his other children, things that I don't think real parents get to experience after the loss of a child, at least not while they're still here on earth.

Still I do like the part in the middle. I think anyone can get a lot out of the meat, even if they don't eat the stale bread. It makes sense to have the dad be a grieving angry guy, but he's a bit one dimensional, mostly just someone for God (first a large black woman and later an older Native American man), Jesus (a middle-eastern carpenter) and Sarayu (the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman) to talk at. Oh, and a weird part involving a Judge who is like some weird honorary Trinity-adjacent something-or-other?

Book link takes you to Amazon. If you buy the book, Amazon might give me a penny.

Q&A: Stop it.

April 22 - You wish wish you could stop _______ from happening.

2014 - autism

2015 - child abuse

2016 - child-sex tourism - entered June 26

2017 - diet-cheating - entered April 27

2018 - all things that frustrate me

Don't let me stop you from buying this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Q&A: Workdentity

April 21 - What do you want to say when someone asks "What do you do?"

2014 - At work? I attend meetings.

2015 - I help others be successful in their digital marketing.

2016 - I work for a legendary video game company. - entered June 26

2017 - I'm in marketing. - entered April 27

2018 - I do Email Marketing.

Want do say you did something cool? Buy this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Friday, April 20, 2018

Q&A: @#$@!!@

April 20 - How many times did you curse today?

2014 - None. Happy Easter!

2015 - None!

2016 - None! The desire has been stronger lately, but not today. - entered June 26

2017 - I don't think I cursed today.

2018 - I haven't cursed today. A quiet day at home with my family. - entered April 21

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Feed Sift (04/20/2017)


WWW2.DELOITTE.COM -- The great retail bifurcation


SETHGODIN.TYPEPAD.COM -- Whose meeting is this? A simple checklist


TWOCENTS.LIFEHACKER.COM -- The Death of the Fiduciary Rule Is Bad News for Your Retirement


WEBURBANIST.COM -- Space-Saving Inspiration: 14 Gorgeous Lofts, Nooks and Smart Layouts


BBC.COM -- The Tiny Village Hidden Inside the Grand Canyon

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q&A: Zombielebrity

April 19 - What famous person would you bring back from the dead to have dinner with?

2014 - On the eve of Easter, the answer is Jesus (except he's already back from the dead and mad that would be intimidating)

2015 - I don't have an answer different from last year.

2016 - Bill Klug if Mary Elise and the kids could be there. - entered June 26

2017 - Elvis was the first name that popped inot my head. But would be be normal or a zombie? - entered April 20

2018 - The first person who came to mind isn't dead just yet. But I'm picturing him showing up and me telling him he's dead and then asking him how hell is. - entered April 21

Get this book, not that it will protect you from Zombies: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Camera Obscura - James

I don't think this is me, but if so, my apologies. 

Don't be a reactionary

Someone on LinkedIn posted a meme that said
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
 I think that statement is nice on the surface, but if you start to think, it's not good enough.

Don't live your life in a reactionary mode hostage to outside forces.

Give yourself time to dream, to think, to plan, to strategize and to execute based on what you believe, what you know, what you've learned.

Don't wait for an external catalyst - be your own motivation.

Yes, I must fully recognize two ironic caveats:
  • This post is a reaction to something. 
  • Now I've told you what to do.  Sorry.

Cross-posted to Linkedin.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Q&A: No problemo

April 18 - Write down a problem you solved today.

2014 - I solved that darned "2048" game. Finally. I don't want to know how much time I spent on it.

2015 - I seem to be recovery well from my kidney stone surgery. (2018 note: *recovering)

2016 - I'm going to get this filter to stop "clacking" when the AC comes on (haven't doe it yet) - entered June 26

2017 - I can't think of any. It was a pretty quiet day. - entered April 20

2018 - I'm not sure I have. It's been a quiet Saturday so far. - entered April 21

Solve the problem of remembering your life? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bring Me Problems, Not Solutions (A Work-Related Post)

Often we hear the mantra "Bring me solutions, not problems."  This is great when you feel adequately empowered by your boss, if they have a history of helping you refine your solution and then give you the runway to execute.

Of course, the flip side is the lazy supervisor. They can't be bothered, so if something's wrong, they expect you to have the solution.

But there's another yet option, one that can be completely refreshing at times.  Most often, it's the begging plea of your most technically minded colleagues, especially those in IT:
Bring me problems, not solutions.
In its worst form, this is the mandate from someone who doesn't trust you. You know how it goes.  The condescending look (and possibly an eyeroll), "You can't get your document to print?  Move!" they exclaim as they situate themselves in front of your computer, tapping away.  "Fixed," they proclaim minutes later, expecting you to be in awe of their skill.  Sadly, you're more annoyed at their bedside manner or bewildered at being left in the dark, not knowing what they did, worried that it'll break again and you'll still be clueless to fix and have to once again subject yourself to the abuse.

But, in its best form, this is the rallying cry of someone who wants to partner with you, who wants to come alongside you and contribute to the outcome. They recognize your skillset and they're honored that you asked them participate with them in making magic.

When this happen, it can be fun.  You're going to get more insight, you're going to be able to better stress-test your idea, you're going to be able to solve in the context of the larger picture and in coordination with other efforts going on in your organization.

It takes more time and some people are hesitant to cede control or admit they haven't gotten it all figured out, but when you have the opportunity, be the one who says "I want to help." You'll be amazed at how quickly word gets around that you're someone who should be consulted and who can help get things done.

Cross-posted to LinkedIn.

Q&A: Flaw

April 17 - What do you think is your biggest shortcoming?

2014 - Inability to prioritize, just doing what's easy or take care of what's vying for my time instead of strategizing.

2015 - Not sure. Patience? - entered April 18

2016 - I'd like to be more aggressive, go after what I want. - entered June 26

2017 - I'm not doing so hot with time management these days. - entered April 20

2018 - I am still getting frustrated/angry and not exhibiting patience.

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Monday, April 16, 2018

Q&A: Division

April 16 - What's a political issue that interests you?

2014 - Light rail

2015 - None - entered April 18

2016 - Less than none - entered June 10

2017 - Impeachment

2018 - Impeachment - entered April 16

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Q&A: Fame

April 15 - Which celebrity would you want to interview?

2014 - Kirsten Dunst. She seems like she must be pretty cool from the movies of hers that I've seen recently.

2015 - I can't think of any...? Not sure I care about the celebrity scene and what makes someone one and me not one.

2016 - I think most celebrities are celebrities for the wrong reasons so not sure - though Dick Van Dyke seems awesome. - entered June 10

2017 - I hate admitting he's a celebrity but Donald Trump. I want to see for myself just how stupid he is. - entered April 16

2018 - I think it would be funny to interview Taylor Swift. I suspect she is rarely around people who don't just fawn over her. I want to ask her why she takes four minutes to sing catchy two-minute-songs. It'd also be funny to see her try to cope with someone who couldn't name one of her songs. I also expect posting the interview on my blog would result in a lot of traffic, even if it wasn't traffic I cared about.

Be famous in your own mind - get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Q&A: Instant Skill Download

April 14 - If you could acquire a talent (without any extra effort), what would it be?

2014 - Programming. But that's sort of "re-acquire"

2015 - Alchemy

2016 - Ability to fly - entered June 10

2017 - Flight - entered April 16

2018 - The ability to slow time. - entered April 15

Want to track small aspects of your own life over the next five years? Get this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Friday, April 13, 2018

Feed Sift (04/13/2017)


HBSWK.HBS.EDU -- When a Competitor Abandons the Market, Should You Advance or Retreat?




TWOCENTS.LIFEHACKER.COM -- 401(k)s Aren't 'Bullshit'


ENGADGET.COM -- See all the wild cars and concepts from the Geneva Motor Show


TWISTEDSIFTER.COM -- How Overnight Shipping Works

Q&A: Day1

April 13 - What is your favorite thing to do on a Sunday?

2014 - Start the coffee and iTunes

2015 - Be at church when the service is really rocking!

2016 - Sleep in and go to the second service. - entered June 10

2017 - Coffee and Pandora before everyone else gets up.

2018 - Sitting quietly and drinking coffee.

This is a book, but it sort of works as a calendar, almost: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Thursday, April 12, 2018


April 12 - Write down a new fact you recently learned.

2014 - Google has a computer that learned all kinds of nounds (and their charactertistics) just from watching YouTube for 3 days straight. - entered April 15

2015 - Not sure...? And that's sad.

2016 - I can commute in L.A. using public transit. - entered June 16

2017 - So much of our country exists not because of laws but because of civility and common sense. - entered April 13

2018 - I just read all about compression rations in gasoline-powered car engines. Useless facts about an outmoded technology.

Did you know you can buy this book on Amazon? Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Q&A: Whoop Whoop

April 11 - What sound effect are you most like today?

2014 - Something like and airy, something that signifies confidence, success and accomplishment. - entered April 15

2015 - The sound of silence. I crave it.

2016 - Windshimes (tranquility) - entered June 18

2017 - Wah-what Trumpet. (Though not sure why, that's just what came to mind.)

2018 - Dull, throbbing buzz you can feel right behind your eyes. I slept poorly last night. - entered April 12

Flip, flip, flip: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Q&A: Neglect

April 10 - A chore you ignored today _________

2014 - Looking at my calendar and preparing for the week - entered April 13

2015 - Probably won't make it out to the yard. Weather is weird. - entered April 11

2016 - The final mow. I just need to do a little more and then give away the mower. - entered June 9

2017 - Most of them! And not just today!

2018 - I just prepared my list. I think there's 10 items too many on the list for today.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it - buy this book: Q&A A Day: 5 Year Journal