The other day I was following a conversation in regards to personal development days as they related to teachers. There was great discussion about the need for PD days for teachers as well as discussion as to why it was equally important for a number of other professions. This led to a discussion in regards to whether or not personal development days were important to all professions. The answer is a resounding yes, but in most cases it just isn’t possible. Usually it’s because the employer is short sighted and doesn’t understand the need and importance of doing the right thing. But there’s a very simple solution. The answer is personal personal development.
A few days ago I was watching a couple of skateboarders out front of my house. For some reason, skateboarders have decided that my little block of west end family living is a pretty damn good place to skateboard. Unlike some of my elders in the community, I really don’t mind. In fact, they often provide entertainment for my son and daughter who enjoy watching them glide along and also are fascinated by the occasional tumble. Those of you who have read my stuff before know that I tend to connect a lot of things that don’t seem immediately related or connected. And so it is that I came to realize that entrepreneurs can learn a lot from skaters and the best startups go through a process pretty similar to learning to board.
I always thought the Internet would look a lot better than it does. I mean, I thought we’d have jetpacks and transporters so maybe I’m not the most reliable person to be basing your vision of the future on. But I always thought the Internet would look a lot better than it does. I was recently reminded of this when my boss sent around this amazing example of what a website can look like. And then I logged in and took a look at what all the websites I regularly use look like and I realized that there is a serious disconnect between what is possible and what is actual. This disconnect exists for a number of reasons. Money. Time. There are a lot of reasons why some pretty ordinary things get built. But it doesn’t excuse it.
My twitter bio states, among other things, that I “teach people not to be terrible online.” What exactly do I mean by this? Well, essentially, I’ve spent the last few years helping people understand some of the nuances of social media. These have included, at times, such things as; don’t call people names, don’t weigh in on hot topics with terrible opinions, be consistent and clear in your messaging and make every conversation a two way street. But recently, I was called out failing to walk the walk.
I’ve launched or at least planned a couple of failed ventures over the past couple of years. They weren’t bad ideas. In fact, one of them still sits and lingers as something that I might revisit. But one of the real struggles that I found was the partnerships that I built during that time period. They weren’t bad people. Quite the opposite. They were amazing people with outstanding work ethics, incredible skill sets and remarkable personalities. But it didn’t work. I’ve written piece after piece on why those projects didn’t work and I’m not here to revisit those articles but rather to talk about the way that I’ve decided to go about partnerships moving forward. I’ve always started with the project I wanted to build and then sought out partners to work with me on it. No more. From now on, it’s people first.
My wife hates my Xbox. She doesn’t hate that I play it too much. She doesn’t hate the colour, or where it sits, or anything like that. My wife hates my Xbox because of its virtually imperceptible high-pitched whirring It’s hard to hear. For a long time I didn’t notice it. But it’s one of those noises that once you’ve heard it, you can’t un-hear it. Now, whenever my Xbox is running, it’s the only sound I can hear. So, here’s my solution; I don’t turn my Xbox on very often.
There are entirely too many flavours of chips. There. I said it. I’m not suggesting that chips aren’t the greatest thing on the planet. I’m really not. I believe they might just be made of unicorn wishes and fairy dust. But there are entirely too many flavours of chips. Now some of these flavours are delicious, but I shouldn’t have to wade through an entire aisle of chip flavours to make a decision. In most cases, most of these chip flavours are simply cannibalizing themselves. For example, my favourite chips are salt and pepper kettle chips. When I go to the grocery store looking for chips, that’s what I’m looking for. But the company that makes kettle chips has recently decided to add roughly 100 new flavours or chips. From Siracha to maple bacon, pepperoncini to yogurt and green onion, they’ve decided that the key to their business will be the introduction of lots of new flavours. The new flavours are great. So what’s the problem?
The battery on my iPhone sucks. Now, if you own an iPhone you know that there’s nothing wrong with my battery that isn’t wrong with everybody else’s iPhone battery. While I love Apple products, I recognize that they have a miserable battery life. But it’s not all their fault. The other day I realized that one of the reports I can view in the settings allows me to see some specific details about not only how much battery I’ve used but also how I’ve used it in terms of what apps are wasting my battery the most. Here’s what I came to learn; Twitter and my need for constant feedback are destroying my (battery) life.
At the end of my day, I’m wired. When the miniature humans go to bed, I’m at full speed. I’ve typically got 3 or 4 devices all running at the same time with browsers, video, audio, documents and chats all going crazy. After 4 or 5 hours, I’ll be “done” my work for the day and I’ll get to turn everything off. There’s only one problem. I never turn everything off. Half the time I fall asleep with an iPad in my face watching some TV show that I don’t really care about or I drift off with an iPhone in my ear listening to whatever podcast or stand up comedian that I’m into right now. But lately I’ve decided to try something new. Turn it off.