Zen & the art of unsubscribing

I’ve made a concerted effort over the past 2 months to actively unsubscribe from email notifications. It’s taken a surprising amount of effort, but I think I’m getting there.

Guess what? I don’t feel like I’m missing out on any last minute deals that I don’t care about, or breaking news about product updates for tools I don’t actually use, or instant notifications when someone I don’t know likes a post I commented on over a year ago.

The unsubscribed way of life may not be for everyone, but if you find you’re complaining about how busy you are and posting updates about how many unread emails you have in your inbox after a vacation, give unsubscribing a try. You might be surprised with the results.

“Investment” is the new “Engagement”

I hear the word “engagement” daily, at least.

  • “I want to introduce new technologies into my classroom to promote student engagement”
  • “If we want this project to be successful, we’ll need to make sure the engagement of the staff”
  • “We’re looking for an approach that really encourages engagement”

cc: flickr.com/photos/iloveakira

The goal of having engaged learners, an engaged staff, an engaged team working on a project is an great one, and once met, there hopefully be success and happiness. I’d suggest, however, that there’s great value in moving the goalposts a bit, and considering the difference between engagement and investment. I think the difference is more than semantics, and more than just a tweak. I think that if the goal is “engagement”, the project will hopefully be successful, but if the goal is “investment”, the project surely will be.

A proposed continuum (and the spacing is deliberate):

awareness – interest —- engagement ———- investment


Change is Good.


cc: flickr.com/photos/smemon

Great times of change here.

On the work front:

On the learning front:

  • back to school for all of us it seems, in some way, shape or form

On the blog front:

  • new theme…like it?

Stay tuned for a wild ride.

I’m not your guru!

from my wardrobe:

I'm not your guru

from Jesse Brown’s Search Engine:

from Seth Godin’s, Linchpin:

I’m always amazed when I meet a writer who can’t use a computer, or a lawyer who’s uncomfortable with LexisNexis, or an executive who needs a corporate IT person to help him navigate an e-mail system. If you’re a marketer unable to leverage your skills by using online tools, you’re merely linked to machines owned by the corporation. That’s power they don’t deserve.

The world just gave you control over the means of production. Not to master them is a sin.


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Quotes from Seth Godin’s Linchpin:

An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.

…art is the ability to change people with your work, to see things as they are and then create stories, images and interactions that change the marketplace.

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My Table of Contents

For the Human Library event (today and tomorrow). I thought I’d come up with a bit of a table of contents:

I. The Art Path
II. The IT Path
III. (bonus chapter) The ED Path
IV. What a Bunch of Art Fags
V. What a Bunch of IT Geeks
VI. I’m Not Your Guru

Looking forward to this.

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Think of yourself as a platform

I think the real leaders in my life, the people who have influenced me the most, share a common thread; they excel in creating the conditions in which good things can happen. Think of yourself as a platform. A utility or an environment that enables sharing, builds relationships and is extensible, allowing others to easily create other platforms on your building blocks. Be open source, sharing codes and secrets about what you do and why you do it. Join communities. Build communities.

Talk. Share. Learn. Create. Publish. Architect. Design.

A lot of what I do professionally is to create the conditions for education to happen. I work with a stellar team to configure tools to meet the needs of instructors and learners. We promote and support the effective use of these tools to better education. I’m passionate about it.

I’d love to know you’re passionate about. Let’s go for coffee sometime?

Malcolm, I think we need to start seeing other people


I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. True to form for my relationship with Gladwell’s books, the first 40 pages draw me in, but by the time I hit page 70 or so, my interest wanes. As my former classmate, Arthur Loik says,

I think his problem is he builds and tells every story the same way, so even while each individual chapter deals with different people and different circumstances, it still sounds like he’s repeating himself. He’s a master at arguing something into the ground and still sounding unconvincing (or unimpressive, perhaps).

Malcolm, I’ve tried. I’ve read the first pages of The Tipping Point, Blink, and now Outliers. Maybe it’s just me, but I think we need to move on. I do remember this time we spent together fondly:

It was short and sweet fling, to the point. Thanks for that. Bye for now.

So now, folks, I need a new book to dig my self into. One of my resolutions for 2010 is to “read more books”. Maybe you can help me out with your suggestions. Here’s what I’ve read and enjoyed lately:

The Medici Effect (Frans Johanssen)
Small is the New Big (Seth Godin)
The Ingenuity Gap (Thomas Homer-Dixon)
Here Comes Everybody (Clay Shirky)

…non-fiction…environmental focus…education…technology…that type of thing.

So, what do you think I should read next?

“In a digital world, the gift I give you almost always benefits me more than it costs.”

If you have yet to read Seth Godin’s new free ebook, What Matters Now, you probably should:

download free pdf

Broad thinking about “Things to think about (and do) this year” featuring:
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You Know What Gets My Goat?

I’ll tell ya, if you’ll listen. The thing that gets my goat is when people you’re working with prolong on a project and make it far more complex than what it needs to be, not because they necessarily disagree, just b/c they think that’s part of their job.