Previously, I’ve loosely introduced myself. Now, I’d like to use this post to introduce the blog itself. Recently I underwent a small awakening, which has changed my perspective on what I’m going to use this site as vehicle for. Whilst on vacation, I was presented with an opportunity, to consume lots of reading material. Not just normal, holiday volumes – I mean Johnny-5 volumes of quality data. Let me explain…
A holiday tale of woe
This opportunity, as many do, presented itself from the manifestation of risk. Specifically, the TV in our hotel room was broken. In fact, every electrical item, bar the wall plugs, was broken. Couple that to the frustratingly slow internet connection, making ‘junk browsing’ a chore, I was left unable to perform my top-two time-wasting activities. My ‘brain-draining’ outlets, if you will.
Now, to my surprise, there was no distress on my part. If anything I felt liberated! I was surprised at how much time there was of an evening, when one didn’t zombify oneself with electronic Mogadon. It reminded me of my University days where I put myself under a self imposed TV ban for the best part of 3 years. During that time, my academic results virtually turned full circle from sub-par to class leading in my 2nd year.
Then, I realised the trend – when I got my first break in enterprise IT, I imposed a similar junk ban on myself too; I invested heavily in my home IT lab, and I used it religiously every week night to make Breakable Toys. Any outside observer at the time could see the professional development that followed as a result.
Now back to 2011 – The fail-whale had manifested. No TV & no internet on my holiday. Fortunately, sufficient prep manages risk, and I’d done some small, but important preparation; Specifically, I’d packed/purchased a little entertainment insurance:
• Amazon Kindle DX & waterproof case. This allowed me to read something of value during my many, many pool hours
• HBR On-Point & MIT-Sloan magazines brought at the airport. These magazines gave me some of the most insightful plane reading I’ve been exposed to. If I could, I’d make some articles consumption mandatory in my current office
The articles above allowed for a diverse and challenging reading list. Topics including Microsoft product guides, self development patterns, personal & corporate brand management, social networking, IT & business strategy, management approaches (including the undervalued ‘managing up’). A veritable smorgas board of non-fiction, resulting in me having one of the best ‘chillaxing’ holidays I’ve had in years!
So what now?
Off the back of this fortnight, something has become clear to me. The things that have given me the greatest satisfaction in life have been self development based, be it my distance running (my long shelved www.runnersblog.co.uk catalogues these years), my University degree or my professional training, I have always been at my happiest when pushing myself.
Off the back of this self realisation, I’ve decided to allow myself to ‘push’ again, and by extension allow myself to fail too. The truest, ego busting failure of having failed despite having tried your hardest, be it in business endeavours, professional development or in some exercise of self actualisation. The surest road to mediocrity is the one un-walked.
What action points spawn off the back of the vision you ask? The following –
- Limit my ‘junk activities’ to fewer than 5 hours a week
- One technical book a month
- One business or self development book a month
- One paperback a month
- Subscribe to (and read!) the Harvard Business Journal [Note: A fantastic publication – rather pricy, but it has some of the most applied, insightful management articles I’ve every been exposed to in the commercial press]
- and most importantly, use this blog for me
Back On Blog
I’ve been ruminating on what to post on this blog for months, always wondering what would people want to consume. I thought, maybe scriptlets, technical walkthroughs, gadget review; What do other people want?
But then I realised; I’m not taking a product to market. No-one has to pay to read this stuff. It’s certainly not getting floated on FTSE any time soon. It’s a gift, pure and simple. And like all gifts, there should be some joy in the giving.
As such, in order to reinforce the things I’ve learnt, read, or observed in my own mind , I’m going to capture my ‘wisdom’ to the blogosphere.
Now at the ripe(ning) age of 30, I wouldn’t be expecting any Zen parables from me. A lot of it will be second hand. Perhaps I may be offering supporting information to someone else’s studies. I was told once that I was wise beyond my years; I let you, the audience of zero, be the judge of that. I hope that if I capture my thoughts during my less frantic, more insightful moments, perhaps I can apply the lessons during the challenging times. Knowledge is wonderful – being able to apply it, truly magnificent.
I promise to keep future posts somewhat shorter and certainly less self indulgent. I felt it made sense to commit to print the mission of this blog, as it hasn’t really had one to date.
You can also expect a few posts over the next week about some of the things I’ve digested during the course of my break that I’d like to share. Just give me a few days to get over my jet lag, and I’ll be writing about (most of) the following:
- Project Management: Black Swans & the fallacy of analysis by averages
- Apprenticeship Patterns: A guide to professional development, for the every(IT)man
- Management Anti-Patterns: A short treatise on ‘good’ ideas gone bad
- Authenticity: What is it, and why does it matter?
- Failure: Personal & Professional – Can it be a vehicle to success?
- Staying on mission: How core differentiators can define your success
- Cloud Computing Consumption Model: Is it a ‘Killer App’?
- KPI’s: If you fail to measure, the only thing you can count on is failure (projects & operations)
So, until one of those articles rolls of my press next week- watch this space.