A fascinating twenty minutes of photography in this video. I was just in awe and wanted to share it.
I’ve made so many mistakes. And here’s a big cause. Because a certain level of customer service requires a personality that reaches out on a continual basis. To help people in your own business, you have to assume that they need to hear from you frequently. Assume they’ll get upset if you don’t. This is my biggest mistake. I care about the people I help out, but I also have this mechanism in my brain that makes me indulgent in the specifics of problems I solve rather than the emotions of the people I’m helping. That same indulgence puts me into a mode where I don’t want or feel I can’t communicate comfortably until a problem is solved or understood sufficiently.
This makes my clients crazy. I sort of know this, but it’s not always the active thought in my mind. In my field, you come across problems constantly and often there’s no logical prioritization at work. If I’m a surgeon and had 2 patients and I had to operate on both of them, one needed urgent but simple heart valve clearing, and the other had a fish hook really jammed really good through his hand like I’ve never seen, well guess what? Let’s just say I’m not a surgeon for a reason. My brain works on the wrong problems, because those problems are the ones that I obsess over.
Anyway, I’ve accepted that I will always have a bit of chaos to deal with and can reign it in the right leverage. The gold star system. Or the black mark system if you want to call it that. Either way, allow this system to fix your / my lack of communication.
A new client decided to work with me / you because ideally we are the best. Or the best they could afford. Regardless, now that you’re working together, you have a relationship to maintain that is measured by 6 gold stars. You start off with 5 1/2 stars. And your communication and ability to set expectations makes you gain or lose them. For every time, you fail to communicate, you lose a gold star. Every time the client has to call you up and check in, means you haven’t set the expectation. After 5 of these mistakes, (OR LESS!) you’re down to one-star. Basically your client is looking for an out. They wouldn’t hire you back, they are just begging for this project to be completed.
I’ve gotten myself to one star several times. Because of my inability to set an expectation and demonstrate that I care about my clients feelings. And wouldn’t you know it all I had to do was just have that embarrassing call earlier and just get better at it. What I mean is the call that you have to say AGAIN that you haven’t made progress, that you’re stuck something or got sidetracked. And just be a grown up about it. It’s better for them to get sick of you that way than to not hear from you. And you won’t want to keep making those calls so you will eventually prioritize better over the next day or so you gave yourself as breathing room between calls.
It’s common for me or anyone lose a couple stars during the course of a relationship but you don’t need to do THAT much work to keep your reputation and your stars to a good level and manage it.
So next time you / me, when there’s that passing thought that maybe I’ll put off that call until I have something to show, or try to get that fix in just under the wire think of it as a question: “Do I really want to lose a gold star over this bit of laziness, shame, inability to fix or solve or prioritize something on time?”
And the next question should be asked once a week or so, “How might I get 7 stars out of this relationship?” Imagine what seven stars would be? It’d be like you’ll be seen in such a good light that you’d have to make a huge effort to lose a star. You’d have to stab them or something because they see you as such a positive force in their lives.
Let’s not go overboard here, just do your damn job.
I read recently some people wrote down every call they made or received and tracked them with a tearaway notepad. And they could put these sheets of calls into their file folders. I thought this was a great practice, just as part of documenting your day. Easy and you never know, how beneficial
Phones track calls nowadays giving the call records, but I’m kind of privy to clean those out once in a while. I wanted a way to document what was said on the call, any commitments made etc.
I decided, why not make a form specifically for documenting calls. Gravity forms would do. And what I wanted was to list the caller, date, notes from the call and any commitments made.
I then password protected the page and now I can log those calls. And at the end of the quarter or year I can take a look at it. I wanted it to have a simple mobile theme as well. Funny thing is, I used the form for 2 days without realizing that I forgot to add a place for the person’s phone number.
So once I fixed that, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to be able to quickly review those? So I found a plugin called Gravity Forms Directory and you can display your entries onto a page using a shortcode. Boom.
This kind of “hivemind” posting happens regularly on sites like metafilter and reddit, but this one worked because the request was so poignant. What books have you read that gave you superpowers? Instead of people posting their favorites, they really thought about ones that changed them profoundly in ways they were even surprised by. I wanted to share the list.
- The Charisma Myth – How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
- Your Money or Your Life – 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money
- The Big Leap – Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
- What it is – Playful powerful creativity
I created a video tutorial of a sample website project breakdown using some new software I found called OpalCalc. Estimating project costs for my freelance website and design projects is made easier with OpalCalc. I think though you can do the exact same thing using other tools, this little app has a way about that works for people whose brain is maybe wired differently, or who just need something to help lay it all out quickly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity and overall self improvement. I ran across an article the other day that mentioned a few books that can really help a programmer in that regard. But none of the books mentioned really needed to be confined to programming. Since I’ve read these I felt like I could share some favorites.
It’s a book about being a good person, caring about people so they care about you and knowing when to speak your mind and when it won’t matter one bit. It’s intuitive but a good read. It’s an old book so I’d be VERY surprised if you haven’t heard of it. I’ve always found it pretty easy to make friends because I am interested in people. So this book is an arrangement of ideas that I think people can benefit a lot from.
This book is about self-awareness and meditation. Normally I’m turned off by a lot of “old wisdom” that is a nice way of saying bunk. But a lot of the knowledge of Buddhism and Tibet is I think sadly a lost treasure. If nothing else, this and other books like it I hope will convince people that meditation is worth their time. Not in some strange pretentious pseudo-spiritual way but really grounded in the reality of the hyper-present moment. Because our brains aren’t perfect, we are subject to what seems to be randomness, uncertainty, often negative self-talk. What if there were a way to quiet and control your mind so you could feel a little more stable as you navigate everything in your world. Turns out there is, but people in the west haven’t really had a history with it to even have it in their tool kit.
It’s really important to learn to draw in my opinion. I use the computer so often sometimes my dexterity with my hands holding a pencil suffers to the extent where I realize something might be going wrong with me. I encourage everyone to draw and learn to see things flat in your mind, to translate colors and shades into a 2D image.
Start thinking about the process of how man-made things in our world are actually made. In some sense, it’s easy to construct something that is simple and functional, but not always. And competing interests in things like electronics makes it all the more difficult to retain something comfortable, usable, understandable and memorable.
Long ago, I saw networking as this contrived thing where you are pretending and everyone is trying to sell to you while you want to sell back to them. It seems so disingenuous. But I learned over time that humans need a few things that networking sort of solves. Humans occasionally need something to do outside the routine. So instead of the normal work days, mix it up once a month attending an event where new people are expected to be. And of course networking takes out beyond your small pool of friends and neighbors so you can discover opportunities that new people need you and you them. That’s not contrived at all. And if you don’t like the whole suit and tie thing, don’t worry you can dress however you want when you control the events that you go to. Most people would rather be themselves and would very much like to meet a real you. Because it’s not so much of what people can offer each other, it’s about knowing what’s out there from different people who do different things from you.
I almost feel bad for kids who don’t know the world before YouTube. Because you simply couldn’t experience things that were out of reach financially or geographically nearly as easily and instantly as any time before. I want young people to appreciate this more because it’s absolutely insane.
I have probably 50 examples of why this is so great but I’m only going to do three of them.
Show me technology I may never get to touch
For starters, I was really curious about the new Tesla Motors line of electric cars. I don’t know much about the cars, but I was really interested to see the touch screen console that I knew they were pioneering. Here’s a great walk-through of it’s on-board computer. I get to see if there’s a glare, the operation of the temperature guages, media and maps.
Travel and sightseeing
Next, I’ve actually been to this place in Japan before, but I wanted to quickly relive being there and see if my memory of certain details were correct. This is the medicine Buddha statue in Chiba Japan on Mount Nokogiri. The buddha is Yakushi Nyorai. It’s a beautiful little mountainous area with a forest, hiking and views of the bay down below.
Games take 10 to 30 to hundreds of hours of play. And my favorite genre, horror is full of titles that have poor controls and aren’t really all that adventuresome. So I’ve really enjoyed the past few years watching “Let’s Play” video from the many people who record their games using Fraps and share their experience. It can compress a game into less time and you can jump from video to video to see areas throughout the span of the game.
Pewdiepie is this hilarious and lovable gamer in Sweden who has branded his own version of “Let’s Play” game walk-throughs both with narration and a webcam showing his face during the game. His narration with his mixed foreign / California accent has really grown on me. And the thing is, he’s this fun-loving guy who likes to share and embraces the millions of fans that watch his videos each week. Recently he invited people to join him on this Omegle video chat where you can connect to him one on one. He recorded those webcam chats and made a video of his fans reactions when they finally connected with him live on screen.
How strong of a following can a guy named Pewdiepie get? Aside from the millions of youtube views on each video of his, game modders for the game Amnesia the Dark Descent have made special levels and mini games just for him with Pewdiepie inside jokes included. One video in a dark corridor of the game, has a painting on the wall of Pewdiepie himself.. He calls his community the ‘bro-army’ and starts most of his games with a “What’s up Bros” and ends them with Bro-fist bumps to the webcam.
Unfortunately for some, his videos are full of foul language, but if you don’t mind that, see what you think.
Sorry if you don’t like rhymes. So my friend Jake Wheeler and I do stunt shows occasionally. He’s a really good ramp rider. For his day job(s) he does all kinds of things, including making crazy bikes, art pieces and even fun shaped bike racks for store fronts. Give him a mig welder and stand back.
His friend made this sweet little documentary about him, featuring a new project he’s unveiling for a high profile client. Have a look.
Summer is nearing an end once again. The weather has gone from absolutely terrible, to extremely pleasant in a very short time (where I live at least). I don’t like the smells of fall because they always remind me of the dread of winter. But this one is tapering off nice and slowly.
We went to japan for a few weeks. It was a good time as always. Due to the hot summer, the rice harvest began a little early and I was able to help out. Andrew got to see his Great Grandparents and hang with them a few times. We went on overnights and day trips to hotels, the ocean, theme parks and more.
This was the first time I brought my bike with me to ride and the first time I was able to ride and meet new friends on my own. My friends Norio and Hiroshi picked me up several times to take me riding. We rode with some great flatland riders.
Went to Indiana with my friends Tim, Austin and Zunwu to compete in the AMFlat Anarchy in Anderson competition. It was a pretty good day. Rain ruined the end but it was beautiful otherwise.
My run went ok, but compared to my favorite riders who go a lot faster, I look a bit lethargic. I need to work on that. Still I placed 2nd in Vet Class.