Apparently, it’s much simpler to use Social Software than explain it

Some of us folks in the social software field need to take a lesson from 11 year-olds & Steve Jobs.

Apple Specialists are at the heart of our reputation for extraordinary customer service. You love people. Have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Apple. And can translate technology-speak into everyday language. You’re ready to not just serve up information, but also inspire the next generation of Mac, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV fans.

– Job posting for an Apple (Store) Specialist & the Steve Jobs philosphy of why a customer should care

Background

In my previous post – Early social software adopters eager for extra homework, I bragged about how quickly and effortlessly Sara’s Grade 6 class not just adopted, but embraced their new social software site. But this week, was about The Project & actually working in their Deliverables – modifying Cynapse’s Best Practices Guide For Elementary School Students.

Sample comments posted on their interim deliverables 🙂

I don’t get “getting feedback on interim deliverables”
Mayby you can shorten the text to make it seem less,… daunting.
i don’t get it ????????????
What does surfacing and interim mean?
I guess it makes sense, but 1/4 of your day is a pretty long time – 3-4 hours’ worth!
What does fragmented mean?
What is RSS?
What’s IDC?
What’s 2.0 enterprises?
Kids usually don’t care about publishing!
2.0?????????????
What is tacit knowledge

— from Collaboration – What is it and Why is it needed ?

what does infrastructure mean?
What is this adopting, exactly?
What’s facilitate and aggregate.
well what are we talking about?

— from Driving Adoption

Are you smarter than a Six-Grader?

Can you reply to their comments, like an Apple Store Specialist – translating technology-speak into everyday language 11 and 12 year-olds can understand?

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Connecting the dots – Part 2

There is no plan… well, maybe a little one.

Garr Reynolds' 'Career Advice '08' - Page 99
Garr Reynolds
Background

In my previous post, Connecting the dots – Part 1, I provided three sources of inspiration for this three part series.

Taking inventory of my own dots

While I may not share much in common with Steve Jobs – aside from a first name, I do feel I have to stop trying to connect my dots looking forward. I’ve been in the business of software development for over 25 years now. Truth be told, if I had to do it all over again, I would still be in this business – but I’d do things a little different. There’s nothing I love more than creating things. And the only thing more exhilarating that thinking

Wouldn’t it be great if you could… yada yada yada” 

is actually bringing it to life.

Back in the dot com days, I was fortunate enough to get asked to join a start-up. We put together an e-learning solution & without going into too much detail, I have yet seen anything better. But as you may have guessed, it was a dot com & it suffered the same fate as many. I held on for three years, despite only being paid for one & picking up the odd contract here & there. Others, for their own reasons, clung on to hope even longer. For myself, with a wife (Anna), two kids (Sara & Alex) and many of the other things that come along with them, it was the hardest lesson I ever learned. It was also the best time of my life. From early morning conference calls to one’s that stretched into Sara’s soccer games, or, Alex’ bottle, to working through the night feeling quilty while Anna was alone watching TV, or asleep in bed. We were at it 24×7 and would gladly have worked more if we could have only found a way.

What started from a 10-minute phone call, went to whiteboard, proof-of-concept, alpha, beta and live. For the first time in my development life, I actually understood and contributed to the value of marketing, sales, service & support. It was the best & the worst all neatly bound together. But my dot (com) s were not going to connect as dreamed.

Dot change

Within a few months, I was fortunate to get a much appreciated job with IBM Canada’s Montreal Rational Software Lab. And while it was a great experience, I never really felt my dots would all of a sudden start aligning. And so, as Seth Godin might say, it was a good Dip-dot, but a dot nonetheless.

Value-dot first, Sales-dot second

And so, here I am. If you’ve seen any of my last few posts, then you may know I’ve been trying to build a case for the shared services of a Community Product Manager. To be quite honest, it’s been a tough sale. Not so much because the concept lacks merit, but more so because it’s difficult to only talk about delivering value. Today, you have to deliver value first and then build on that in order to get the business. Unfortunately, the cost of delivering first and selling later – in this particular case, is just too high for me. So I’m going to consider this a little Dip-dot and simply move on.

My next dot

My next and final post in this three-part series will lay the foundation for my next dot. In the meantime, it’d be nice if any of you could share some of your own dot-stories here.

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Connecting the dots – Part 1

There is no plan… well, maybe a little one.

Garr Reynolds' 'Career Advice '08' - Page 98
Garr Reynolds
I was just looking to improve my presentation skills

When reading Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, I came across an example of his work – Daniel Pink‘s Adventures Of Johnny Bunko. Not only is this a great testimony of his presentation style, but it’s an even greater introduction to the book. Actually, it’s a comic book that you could read during lunch. And if it’s one of those days when you’ll be strapping on a feedbag in front of your screen, then you should at least check out the book’s trailer. It’s less than two minutes.

One thing just lead to another

Now with your head hopefully in the right place and your tummy full, let’s circle back to Garr Reynolds’ ‘Career Advice ’08’ presentation. Here lies an even greater find – Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech 2005. This is a must watch video. It’s by no means the classic image I have of Steve Jobs – an absolutely marvelous presenter, effortlessly parading around the stage preaching another Apple keynote speech to his minions. It’s actually quite the contrary. This is the first time I’ve seen him standing behind a podium, seldom looking up from his written speech, almost nervously revealing personal stories of his life. So refill your feedback & take the 14 minutes to watch this!

Up next

My next post in this series will be about taking inventory of my own dots. In the meantime, feel free to you go off and ponder yours for now.

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