Sunday, January 26, 2014

APE 2013 Debrief

Okay, it's been a helluva year. I'm just now getting around to documenting the cool stuff we saw at APE 2013. Here goes:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My theory of "literally"

I haven't bothered to see if anyone else has put this theory forth so here goes.

Today, there was some article on how the meaning of literally had been co-opted in recent slang. This got me to thinking - why do we say literally all of them were delicious or literally everyone was there. What's wrong with all or everyone?

I think that Gens X and Y are part of a language movement towards exaggeration. So much has happened in the last forty years in the US, in the World, in technology - we are overwhelmed by possibilities. In such a world, where a human ear can be grown on the back of a mouse, how can we make sure our words have enough emphasis? We exaggerate.

I do this all the time - subconsciously. If there were three of something I'm describing, five comes out of my mouth. If there were in actuality ten thousand, I'll say millions. Maybe I started it as a way to make what I was saying more interesting. Maybe it's a self-inflicted impostor syndrome defect. I don't know. But I do it. I try to catch myself, but it's such a habit that I don't always catch the words before they spring forth.

It seems to me that literally everyone in Gen Y does this. Maybe not all Gen X'ers, but we definitely planted the seeds with Valley Girl slang (totally! awesome!) and now we reap what we sowed. Why say something was amazing when you can say it was literally the best thing ever. Isn't that more fun? And who cares if it's not true - some new amazing thing will come tomorrow that we can honestly label as literally the best thing ever.

What a fucking year

This last year has been gnarly. New job, illness, family crisis, surgery, move, more illness. I've finally gotten a handle on it, so I plan to start writing again.

Thank god the blog doesn't complain when I neglect it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Renegade Craft Fair Finds

We took a few hours today to visit the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair, which was held at Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion today. The following places were super cool and we don't want to forget them.

The full list of vendors can be found on the Renegade Craft Fair site.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pro Tips from a Project Manager

As a project manager, my main job duties consist of being organized and communicating clearly. I pay attention to the reasons for mis-communication and have developed a mental catalog of ways to avoid them. Here are some organization and communication tips that will make your day easier.

1. One topic, one email

If you want to send a new email to someone, don't find an old one from them and reply to them with an unrelated item. Copy and paste their email address into a new email (if your address book doesn't automatically populate their info) and add a new subject line. This alerts them to the fact that a new issue has arisen, and also prevents old content from being shared with others who may need to be included on the new thread. Finally, you avoid "thread fatigue" in which the interest level of a recipient is inversely proportional to the number of entries in the thread. Intro email > response > final reply is much more effective than Intro email > response > reply > response > new topic > responses!

2. Write things down

It never ceases to amaze me that people will attentively listen to feedback, and walk away without having written any of it down. In a busy office environment, who has the mental capacity to remember important details despite the constant flow of cross-talk, meetings, context switches, and so on? Pretty much no one. Do yourself a favor and get a notepad you can comfortably carry, and a nice pen that you enjoy holding, and start writing stuff down. You can always convert the info into notes later -- having the ability to jot down notes and questions at any time will make a big difference in your ability to be accurate and complete in your work.

3. Ask questions

When talking with team members about a topic, don't just smile and nod when unfamiliar terms are presented. Instead, find a good time to ask what they mean. If you don't have an opportunity to ask at the time, write the issue down as a follow-up item on your handy notepad (see above) and pursue the answer later. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, because you are letting your team members know you don't know absolutely everything...but hey -- realistically no one can know everything. By asking questions you improve your ability to do a good job. Take the plunge and get the data you need to do a better job.