What do I write about?

Taxedo tags for my recent posts@MiaD just turned me onto an excellent new word-cloud tool - Tagxedo - and I couldn’t resist giving it a try on my blog… so if you’d like to understand the sort of stuff I write about here - take a look through my tag-cloud above.

I’ve also just added a link to Tagxedo on my Links page - and you’ll find it next to what was probably the original word-cloud service Wordle. My native SquareSpace blog tag-cloud is also available on my About page.

Sort flights by agony with Hipmunk

If you’re anything like me - you waste ages sorting through flight options looking for the best possible flight, at the lowest cost, hopefully using the alliance that you prefer, and flying through the closest airport. I have a couple of go-to sites that I’ve been using for a few years - SkyScanner for low-cost carriers, and kayak for all others, but I’ve just added hipmunk to the list.

Hipmunk is a service from Steve Huffman, co founder of Reddit and Adam Goldstein co-founder of BookTour, that’s funded by Y Combinator.

It allows you to set your preferences on take-off and landing times, preferred airlines, and then see all of the flight options - sorted by ‘agony’ in a really easy to understand table view.  Agony combines a number of factors including price, duration, and number of stops. You can also sort by the usual price, stops, times or duration.

Check the demo-girl video below - or just give the website a try.

Thanks to @rovingengineer for tweeting about this this morning.

10 ways to shoot yourself in the workplace

An interesting talk on 10 ways to limit your career, from Nora Denzel who’s worked the corporate ladder at both IBM and HP - speaking at UC Davis in Dec 2008. It is a 1-hour session - and worth watching, but just in case you’re in a hurry - I transcribed the highlights (in terms of things you should be doing!)
  1. You have to control your own PR agent (yourself…) by being careful about what you say.  You need to to leave people with the impression that you want to move up, you’re career oriented, and you’re good at what you do.
  2. If you really want to move up - aim high, and articulate it early and often. Don’t shoot for middle management.  By articulating a lofty goal (vs no goal), people will help you to get there. You can always turn down a high-job if it’s too much… but if you dis-qualify yourself - you’ll never get the opportunity.
  3. Learn how to ask; or tell your boss what you want. Remember… your manager isn’t a mind-reader - and they often don’t have the time to think about who’s best for a position - but if you’ve asked for something of that nature - they’ll probably think of you first.  The best assignments don’t get posted to the job-boards…  Another tip is to ASK someone you respect if you can shadow them for a week to learn from their experiences.
  4. Lighten up and separate. If you can’t deal with something - but you have no control over it - then ignore it and move on to something else. You have to understand where to engage, or not - and ‘pick your battles’. Or in other words - “it’s just a job…”
  5. Kill Miss Congeniality; or in other words - nice girls finish last. Are you in it to be loved; or do you want to win?  (Sports analogy… be the quarter-back…)
  6. Learn to act.  What helps you if you’re inexperienced and moving up quickly is to learn how to act. Be confident (or just act as if you are…)
  7. Feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re heading up in the world - you’ll come across areas that push you outside of your comfort zone into areas you don’t understand. Get used to it - because if you’re not uncomfortable - you’re not learning - and if you’re the dumbest person in the room - you’re learning faster than you would be otherwise. Don’t fall back into your comfort zone.
  8. Embrace criticism. Don’t get defensive. Ask for it, and accept what you get. If you receive negative feedback and you don’t buy it, just take it, ask clarifying questions, say thank-you; then later think through it; and if you still need to respond - do so a day or so later.
  9. Leaders have attitudes that they make the rules. Rules exist for the ‘cattle’ to keep them in line - but the true leaders believe that they make the rules. If you don’t ask… you don’t get.
  10. Always remember what you’re judged on: RESULTS! No-one cares about the constraints you were put under (such as you were only given 4 out of the 6 people you said you needed). The only thing that matters is the results.

I'm declaring war on spam

Ok. This is war. I’m taking control of my inbox.

I’m officially taking an unsubscribe, or filter approach to all marketing emails. If you still want me to see your marketing materials, then make your stuff so good that a reputable blogger will write about it, and I’ll see it rise as a popular article on twitter, or through one of the blogs I’m following on Google reader + feedly. If you’re a company of interest to me I may tune in to your twitter feed - but only if you’re using it for important news, and not just filling the twitterverse with incessant spam. If your stuff is really interesting, I might just subscribe to your RSS feed directly.

You have permission to send me information I need (like a service I’ve subscribed to is about to expire), but you no longer have permission to use that opt-in to sell me stuff I haven’t asked for.  If I want it - I’ll search for it.  If you send me unsolicited offers intermingled with important stuff - you’re going to lose me as a customer because I’ll have setup a Gmail filter to add your email address to my killfile (a simple filter that checks for email address or domains that I’ve got annoyed with and silently deletes the messages).

As someone in the marketing business myself… I promise to continue to influence my peers to provide choice - so that you can access our content on-demand, and on your own schedule (via blogs, twitter), OR via an email newsletter if that works for you.

Image Creative Commons: freezelight