The exception

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Re: visualization post – Colleague drew this during a discussion and there was a lot of pointing going on – imagine having that conversation without the visual aid! *shudder* Misunderstanding time!

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People just can’t ppt, wtf!

Hey Kalle,

I just realized – people at my work suck at Powerpoint! Great ideas gets lost in there. You know that sinking feeling when they switch slides and you see 12 bullets with more than 300 total words staring back at you? I get it all the time. It’s a shame, because most of my colleagues have great ideas in there, but I lose interest when they start semi-reading from each slide, especially since I’ve already glanced at their text block and gleaned the gist of it ages ago.

I think the skills to visualize your ideas should actually be something that you practice if you have a job that require communication. And what job doesn’t in our part of the business? I’m no Powerpoint star, but I just reduce my slides to have less than about 10 words (one concept usually) on each, add a couple of pictures or illustrations that I picture-Google for (with clever use of keywords like “icon” and the size selectors) and doing this I get noticably more attention for my presentations and ideas – a bit undeserved just because I can structure my ideas into ppt.

What would happen if I really got into sketching and drawing and invested some time getting better at that instead of getting better at my main skill set – web tech, managing, coding etc? Did you ever see Tobias’s scribbling notes during meetings at Lavasoft? F-ing pieces of art! Illustrations, typography, composition – omg. You could scan those things and illustrate your point so much better – and better yet, inspire!

There is a whole movement behind this idea, and actually even professional people acting as graphic note-takers now(!). I know, crazy right, but check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID0Nwxyl5eY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efCiPNjEC0I

(Also, this might be one of the best book ads ever:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMCVkyRHbjk

Why not think of visualization (and presentation) skills as a multiplier to your message or idea – regardless if your idea is grand or tiny, a good multiplier can only help in making people understand it better, right?

See you tonight,

Mattias

Ambivalence, confusion, work and culture

Hi Matte,

Being my first post I can’t quite decide how to move forward in this very interesting open letter concept we have going here. I think I’ll response to one of your posts.

Finding your Do I need my own desk? very interesting I would like share my view on the subject. I see the question boiling down to two parts: The level of creativity required by the work and the culture you and your organization want to foster. Mixing things up, like people, surroundings and even routine might be beneficial for creative worker. For the less or none creative worker these things might be nothing but distractions and impediments. Further more, everybody is different, this is where the culture part comes in. If you want “free spirits” and people being creative all over the place (with everything), perhaps none personalized open spaces is the way to go. If you on the other hand want to deliver on time, on budget and according to the client’s detailed specification, there is less value in people being be creative all over the place and maybe a more traditional approach will work better. Maybe.

Personally I like mixing things up, working from different locations, with different people, during different hours, following different processes and so forth. I think this has done good for me and my work (on smaller, more or less creative projects) the last 6-8 months. Working with you lately I’ve got more of a traditional office experience, in shorter bursts. This felt like the right working conditions for the job and I would not want to change it. Most working conditions seems to have their rightful place. Worth mentioning might be that I am not in a team and most people can probably not work like I do, but more probably could…

I feel like I’m rambling and my brain keeps reaching to the same conclusion over and over: “it depends” and everyone should do whatever they like, as long as they like it …If they don’t like it they should try something different and if they do like it …they should try something different.

Over and out,

Kalle

The “Jack of all trades” department

Hey Kalle,

read a blog post that I stumbled across (I think I started with looking up http://dojotoolkit.org/ which seems pretty neat btw) that made me think of you and your path as a freelancer.

It was kinda warm and helpful, and it seemed like a real person had written it, so I though it might be a good read for you:

http://rmurphey.com/blog/2010/08/14/2-years-in-some-thoughts-on-working-for-yourself/

Among all those nice tips, this little line caught my eye:

“My general theory on the economy question is this: rarely is full-time employment of a web worker an efficient distribution of labor, unless you are working for a very, very large company.”

Now, this can interpreted in many ways. But the thought I had was: maybe I’m thinking about my own role wrong?

(This is where this post takes a strange turn, it sometimes happens when I keep writing like this – new thoughts pop up and I’m too lazy to write a new post…) 🙂

I’ve always felt that I should try not to code when I’m hired for managing since it takes time from my managing, and therefore might make my co-worker less efficient and happy. Right now, as you know, I spend my time between project managing, recruiting, selling and coding and I’ve always thought of this as a phase we have to go through since the department is still growing (plan is to be around 10 people in 10 months, up from three right now).

But maybe it would be more effective if I’d still do a little of each even after the department has grown, and eventually hire a couple of others like me who can do a little of everything? A project lead who can sell? A coder who can recruit? A sales guy who can code and do GFX? This way, everyone can always do something where they are effective, even though we might not need coding or project managing right now. Hello cross-functional, flexible SCRUM team of our dreams where everyone can pick any task from the board and go.

I admit: this sounds like a Game Dev Story game gone a bit weird, but I have a strong feeling this could really work (and probably is working in a lot of smaller companies). I just wonder how far it would scale.

See you on Wednesday,

Mattias

 

 

Do I need my own desk?

Hi Kalle,

posting from Starbucks at 9pm while sipping on some green tea and waiting for the bus.

I know that the norm of the average office is that each employee gets assigned a desk when they start where they do most of their work until the day that they either leave or die (usually leave in most companies I hope).

However, since you are a globetrotter when it comes to working from everywhere (open offices, clients, cafes etc), I am beginning to question this practice, since it seems to be working well for you.

I read a really interesting article in Monocle a few months ago about a web agency that had open seating in their office for all their staff (think weird lounge areas, 6-tops, 8-tops, single desks etc) and only provided the staff with a personal locker to store their things safely in. I kinda wonder what the average employee would think about that practice (we, of course, are not average so our opinions don’t count). Don’t people wanna personalize their space? Isn’t there calm in the monotony of working from the same place every day but with different tasks? A solid foundation in a stormy world?

Second guessing someone else is always tough (I think I’ve argued against this practice on multiple occasions), so I have to step back to myself I guess. I think my initial reaction would be “cool! someone has really done some thinking about the space issue here” and I’d happily try it for a period of time. In the long run though – well, the jury is out on that one.

Freedom or confusion? Or just not that relevant? I don’t know – I just know I just made a good rant post.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mattias