The Cheese Party

Throughout the last two years at my job, I have had a significant focus on culture. How? By starting with a simple idea and building relationships with folks throughout the organization using an event I coined “Cheese Party.” We merely built ourselves into a group of consistent people who like cheese AND invite others. The goal? To be cheesy and embracing to others around!

John Kotter talks a lot about how transformation takes place, and one of his points is creating a climate for change, and that is our primary goal with these conversations. And you know, it has stuck, and even other folks have started their versions of the cheese party after leaving the company. But why I do share this?

I know this may seem like an odd comment to make but I someone quoted me with saying: “I am still for putting lipstick on a pig since people will at least laugh at it.” If you don’t know what this expression means, Wikipedia states “to put ‘lipstick on a pig’ is a rhetorical expression, used to convey the message that making superficial or cosmetic changes is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of a product or person.” And I think this is key… Cheese will not solve the problem of changing the culture but we know the urgency, we have a coalition of folks wanting to support, and we all laugh at the lipstick that lives on the pig! Every company has a culture war that will go on, and you must know it is there and simply work towards fixing it with a smile. So, I will keep putting smiley faces up and aiming to be cheesy to not coverup culture but to at least laugh at the issue!

Focusing on Notes at Work

Nathaniel Elliott Notes

I have been aiming to take better notes for clearer follow through and action after meetings at work. For the past few weeks I have been trying many different techniques and finally found one that works for me. First, it starts with using a notebook: moleskin then finding the right method for you. What techniques are there? Here are two that I checked out:

  • Bullet Journal – http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/
  • Cornell Notes – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornell_Notes

Personally, I am pushing the two together in some ways while making sure I have the “area” set up for optimal use. Michael Hyatt points out that “note taking also captures in-the-moment insights, questions, and commitments.” Not all of these things can be solved immediately, and this is why some hierarchy becomes essential.

PS – here are the other articles I read while defining the process that I aim to use:

Taking a Break – Work/Life

Nathaniel Elliott Builds Fire

I am someone who loves what they do most days. If you were to ask me how I am, many days I would respond that I am living in paradise! Why? Because I sincerely love what I do and the team that I work with at Inovalon. I understand that this isn’t the case for most, but there is a downfall of doing what you love: work/life balance. Also, when I say work, I don’t just mean the 9-5 you may live in but also the honey-do list and the continual task list that will never be completed. All of these things need to be balanced out, and I’ve seen three significant steps that have helped me and encouraged me to have a better work/life balance:

  • Start Small – Simply start making time outside of a work a priority by taking small moments here/there for yourself that aren’t focused on work or the next to do item. Take a walk and purposefully not think about work!
  • Plan It & Do It – After you start small, start planning the priortized time that you will take and use for the balancing of work/life. More importantly than just expecting it, you must follow through and execute on it and take time for yourself. Take a weekend away with no technology and breath!
  • Separate from It – When you start small, plan your work/life better, and execute, you also need to make sure you separate yourself from the work that you have going on. With a connected world, this is hard, but also with how our brains are wired, we like to solve problems but take a break and separate!

Why is this at the top of my mind? Well, this past weekend I took my wife and kids to a cabin in Maryland only an hour away from home for a reprieve. We spent time outside, we didn’t use technology, we spent quality time together, and it reminded me of the importance of these type of moments for my kids, my wife, and myself. And, when I returned to work, I was rested and ready to tackle what work had coming to me. My mind, spirit, and body were revamped and capable of doing what I do: solving problems.

What steps do you take to help with the work/life balance that we all need?

Chromecast Two

Yes, I had been planning on sharing these images of the “unboxing” of the Google Chromecast for a while now and had promised a few people I would do this ASAP. Well, a month or so later, here it is…

And the reason for writing it now, I just got my second one for the other TV in our house. It has been the best $35 spent in technology in a long while for me. Simple and usable. I am a fan on so many levels.

Let’s put it this way, receiving the first of my Chromecast’s was like Christmas, the second that just came a week ago was like a birthday surprise. There simplicity of setup, use, and enjoyment is great. I bought both of my Chromecast’s from the Play Store. The packaging came like so: chromecast box

chromecast chromecast features chromecast unboxing chromecast the product chromecast it's here chromecast what is inside

The set up was extremely simple as well. Honestly, you just go to one link while on your WIFI and it finds the ChromeCast, connects, lets you name it, and then set your preferences for it. Truly, that easy of a process for this. I have those screenshots as well but didn’t know if it would make anyone want it more. So, after one month with this, I finally received my second one and did the same thing. Setup took around 5 minutes from start to finish. It is a must to have in your house. Though, if you have an Apple TV, there really isn’t a reason to get this. But, if you don’t have one, this is the product to have!chromecast plugged in chromecast live

 

So, what do you all think of it? Have you seen it’s capabilities and features? Would you use one? Do you have one? I will be writing an article about this vs the Apple TV soon as well but would love to hear your thoughts prior!

Continually Learning

Continual education is something to be desired, not simply something you are required to do… Khan Academy gives you that ability to turn education into a desire. Khan takes a moment to encourage folks to keep this same learning desire in their lives in his commencement speech. He made points that makes you want to keep learning from day one, or at least it did for me!

Have you used the Khan Academy? Any videos / thoughts you would want others to check out? What sites do you use to keep learning? What do you recommend?

Working out in the AM?

Recently, I have been trying to analyze why I like working out in the morning. For me, it helps my day ‘go smoother’ and stay more focused. But why?

“If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF(Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and like things are clear after exercising. At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, are released in your brain…”

Full Article: What Happens to Our Brains During Exercise (and Why it Makes Us Happier)

Until I read this article, I didn’t realize why working out even made a difference with my mindset. Nor did I realize why a simple walk would be so soothing and relaxing for the mind. What do you do as a mental exercise / physical exercise to sooth your day?

iPhone Time

I am still trying to figure out if I want an iPhone or if I should stay with my Android. Either way, here is some interesting information that I just found on iPhone about codes that you should probably read, here is the reblog:

 

Developer reveals common Iphone passcodes

Poor security is widespread
Wed Jun 15 2011, 12:52

AMERICAN APP DEVELOPER Daniel Amitay has published the most commonly used passcodes on Apple Iphones in his blog.

The post on student and Iphone developer Daniel Amitay’s blog reveals the passcodes most commonly used to get onto Apple’s shiny Iphones. He conducted the research using his own app called Big Brother Camera Security.

The 10 most common passcodes according to Amitay’s findings are, in ascending order, 1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 5555, 5683, 0852, 2222, 1212 and 1998. The top ten passcodes used to unlock the Iphone make up 15 per cent of all passcodes in use.

Amitay didn’t spend forever looking over peoples shoulders and writing down passcodes 204,508 times but used his app to record the data. He anonymously recorded passcodes that people used for his application.

His app for the Iphone, which takes a photo of anyone using your phone without permission, uses a lock screen that’s almost identical to the one used by the Iphone itself. For this reason he thinks his findings should correlate well to what people use for their passcodes for the Iphone.

There’s also the fact that most people like to use the same codes for things to avoid confusion and forgetting things.

Among the same digit passcodes are ones that spell words, that is, 5683 spells ‘Love’. Amitay wrote that passcodes ranging from 1990 to 2000 are all in the top 50, and 1980 to 1989 are all in the top 100, and he said, “I would interpret this occurrence as a subset of users that set their passcodes to the year of their birth or graduation.”

If the findings really do match the actual passcodes of Iphone users then with the top 10 codes making up 15 per cent, nearly 1 in 7 Iphones can be unlocked within 10 blind attempts.

A day after he put his blog post up Apple removed Amitay’s app from the App Store. In a tweet Amitay said, “The Apple gods that be have removed Big Brother Camera Security from the App Store. Working on getting it back on!” µ

Read more: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2079154/developer-reveals-common-iphone-passcodes#ixzz1PLXwR100
The Inquirer – Computer hardware news and downloads. Visit the download store today.

So, with that being said, and the fact that there are ‘unlocked’ phones now, makes me think that I should head that direction at some point soon, what do you think?

The News Catcher

The world of news is endless and in many ways there is a sense of news overload. But, yesterday someone did ask what websites I watched for technology related to Randomly Famous, LLC. Here is my short list of websites that I check on a more regular basis, in no particular order. I do want to say though, news is news and needs to be filtered because some of the content isn’t news worthy. This is no perfect list so if you have suggestions, please let me know, I am truly trying to learn more about filtering the good news vs. the bad news. Plus, looking for aggregation tools, new sites to check out, and so on. Fill me in below!

And for the news, generalized:

Now, tell me more things for this list! Even your personal sites that are brilliant, I want to hear them all and will personally check them out!

Pages: 1 2