Thursday, August 28, 2008

Online Relaxation Exercises

Some facts about stress in the U.S.A.:
  • 43% of adults experienced adverse health effects from stress
  • 75-90% of visits to a physician's office are for stress-related conditions and complaints
  • Stress has been linked to the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declared stress a hazard of the workplace
  • In the workplace, stress may be related to lost hours due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and worker's compensation benefits. This costs the American industry more than $300 billion annually.

Try out these online relaxation exercises.

Guy Kawasaki's 5 Lessons for Entrepreneurship

Focus on cash flow. I understand the difference between cash flow and profitability, and I'm not recommending that you strive for a lack of profitability. But cash is what keeps the doors open and pays the bills. Paper profits on an accrual accounting basis is of no more than secondary or tertiary importance for a startup. As my mother used to say, "Sales fixes everything."

Make a little progress every day. I used to believe in the big-bang theory of marketing: a fantastic launch that created such inertia that you flew to "infinity and beyond." No more. Now my theory is that you make a little bit of progress every day--whether that's making your product slightly better, increasing your skill in one small way, or closing one more customer. The reason the press writes about "overnight successes" is that they seldom happen--not because that's how all businesses work.

Try stuff. I also used to believe that it's better to be smart than lucky because if you're smart you can out-think the competition. I don't believe that anymore--this is not to say that you should strive for a high level of stupidity. My point is that luck is a big part of many successes, so (a) don't get too bummed out when you see a bozo succeed; and (b) luck favors the people who try stuff, not simply think and analyze. As the Chinese say, "One must wait for a long time with your mouth open before a Peking duck flies in your mouth."

Ignore schmexperts. Schmexperts are the totally bad combination of schmucks who are experts--or experts who are schmucks. When you first launch a product or service, they'll tell you it isn't necessary, can't really work, or faces too much competition. If you succeed, then they'll say they knew you would succeed. In other words, they don't know jack shiitake. If you believe, try it. If you don't believe, listen to the schmexperts and stay on the porch.

Never ask anyone to do something that you wouldn't do. This goes for customers ("fill out these twenty-five fields of personal information to get an account for our website") to employees ("fly coach to Mumbai, meet all day the day the arrive, and fly back that night"). If you follow this principle, you'll almost always have a good customer service reputation and happy employees.

(This was Kawasaki's article contributed at the Sun Microsystems blog)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jana Napoli's Art

Is this art? Some people say no because it's merely the arranging of drawers on to a wall.

But these drawers represent the chaos of Hurricane Katrina. The drawers represent the smashed houses and lost homes of that tragedy. The drawers show you the broken lives of the victims of Katrina.

Jana Napoli has produced something evocative and inspirational. So, who cares if it's not "art"?

Viral Marketing

Your message is the virus! Find out more:

1. Joy. An emotion suited for irrelevant or fun brands and brands who want to revitalize their image. Suitable for products which promise life enhancement.

2. Sadness. Suitable when seeking an immediate response to unfortunate events. Consumer reactions may result in short-term commitments instead of long term patronage. Best to balance sadness with messages of hope or change.

3. Anger. Best suited for single issue campaigns that require an immediate reaction to perceived injustices experienced by the target market or general environment/society. Anger is a fleeting emotion and is not suitable for campaigns which require long-term action. Also does not work well with complex or subtle issues.

4. Fear. An emotion that is a short-term response to a perceived threat. Must be used carefully and sparingly. Likely to receive mixed responses from target market and best accompanied by proposed solutions which solve the fear-causing problem.

5. Disgust. Best targeted towards young males. Suitable for brands with a rebellious image. Should only be used intermittently to avoid unnecessary offense. Males are twice more likely to pass on messages involving disgusting humor than females.

Online Relaxation Exercises

Some facts about stress in the U.S.A.:
  • 43% of adults experienced adverse health effects from stress
  • 75-90% of visits to a physician's office are for stress-related conditions and complaints
  • Stress has been linked to the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declared stress a hazard of the workplace
  • In the workplace, stress may be related to lost hours due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and worker's compensation benefits. This costs the American industry more than $300 billion annually.

Try out these online relaxation exercises.

Asia's Top 10 I.T. Companies

From BusinessWeek:

"This year's version of the BusinessWeek IT 100 has 37 Asian names, up from 35 a year ago, and once again, Taiwan dominates the list. With 16 companies (including Foxconn International, listed in Hong Kong but controlled by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision), the island is behind only the U.S., which has 36."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Long Tail

When you launch a new product or service, you have a choice. Find out from Seth Godin what that choice is.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

12 New Rules of Working

Here's the outline. Read the whole article here.

1. Online apps and the cloud beat the desktop and hard drive

2. Collaborate on documents, don’t email them.

3. Collaboration is the new productivity

4. People don’t have to be in an office

5. Archive, don’t file.

6. Small teams are better than large teams.

7. Communication is a stream.

8. Fewer tasks are better than many

9. Meeting (usually) suck.

10. Open-source is better than closed.

11. Rest is as important as work.

12. Focus, don't crank.

50 Great Books from Zen Habits

ZenHabits recommends 50 all-time great-selling novels for our libraries:
  1. King Lear, by Shakespeare. This list of novels starts with a couple of non-novels, so you might say it’s cheating. But it’s Shakespeare! And I’m not going to do a list of amazing plays, so I’m including Shakespeare here. King Lear is my favorite — it was so ahead of its time that it’s amazing.
  2. Hamlet, by Shakespeare. If Lear is my favorite, Hamlet just barely lost that title. Some of Shakespeare’s most amazing writing is in this play. I also like Othello and Macbeth, among others.
  3. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Just an absolutely poetic writer. There’s a lot of power and beauty in this short book.
  4. Tender Is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gatsby is better known, but Tender is written so beautifully that you have to read it if you haven’t. It’s poetry in prose.
  5. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, by James Joyce. A great introduction to this unmatched of modern writers, Portrait is notable for the development of its language as the narrator’s skill with language improves.
  6. Ulysses, by James Joyce. An absolute masterpiece. Joyce puts the entire scale of human drama and English literature within the span of 24 hours, plotted within one square mile, told through the lives of ordinary people. Also see Joyce’s outstanding book of short stories, Dubliners.
  7. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. I just can’t get enough of Vonnegut, and I was devastated that he died last year. Until then, he held the title of my absolute favorite living writer. And Cat’s Cradle is my favorite of all his books. I think Vonnegut is in my granfalloon.
  8. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut. Anything by Vonnegut is excellent reading, but this is one of his best, and is considered a classic. A more humorous and raging commentary against war has rarely been written. Also see Bluebeard, Slapstick, Welcome to the Monkey House, Breakfast of Champions, among others, if you like the two listed here.
  9. Neuromancer, by William Gibson. Perhaps my favorite sci-fi writer of all time, Gibson is gritty, dreamy, and ultra-cool all at the same time. Neuromancer was his first, and is the start of the Span trilogy. Oh, btw, Gibson, if you happen by the remotest chance to read this blog, drop me a line! I’m a ridiculously huge fan.
  10. All Tomorrow’s Parties, by William Gibson. This tale of the near future features a Zen-like assassin, among other cool characters, who is one of my favorites in Gibson lore. ATP is the third in the Bridge trilogy.
  11. Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson. With this book, Gibson starts a new series, set in the present day. In fact, it’s so much like his futuristic sci-fi that it’s eerie. Gibson has a unique way of looking at our world. I named my youngest daughter (Noelle Cayce, now 2 years old) after the main character of this book, Cayce Pollard, who is in turn a tribute to Edgar Cayce.
  12. Slow Man, by J.M. Coetzee. One of the greatest living writers of the English language, you could pick up any of his titles (Disgrace would be my other recommendation) and get an excellent book. Slow Man plays with the boundaries of fiction.
  13. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. The best of the detective novelists, Chandler took the genre to new heights that generations of writers have tried to reach. He’s the best, and his writing is just as relevant today as it was when it was written.
  14. Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem. If you like Chandler and similar tough detective novels, you’ll love Lethem’s brilliant take on the genre. An excellent story featuring a protagonist with Tourette Syndrome, a killer giant and a Zen crime syndicate.
  15. Gun, with Occasional Music, by Jonathan Lethem. Another excellent detective novel, this one combines the genre with sci-fi. Features talking kangaroos working for the mob and other cool stuff.
  16. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s hard to describe Ishiguro’s writing, except that he really plays with whether the narrator of a story is objective or not. He plays with traditional plot devices and uses the reader’s curiosity of the unfolding story drive the book forward. Never Let Me Go might technically be sci-fi, as it seems to be set in the future, but really there’s not much sci-fi about it.
  17. When We Were Orphans, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ostensibly a detective novel, it leaves you wondering about a lot of things, including what others really think of the narrator.
  18. Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. This guy is such an imaginative writer. Very different from most of the fiction you’ll read, anything can happen in a Murakami book.
  19. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett. One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, a must-read if you haven’t yet. Hostages and hostage takers trapped by seige, and some surprising things unfold.
  20. Run, by Ann Patchett. I just love her writing. This is a moving story full of magic. Also see Patchett’s excellent The Magician’s Assistant
  21. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, by Douglas Adams. The best comedy books ever, you’ll laugh out loud at every book. Adams is simply brilliant.
  22. The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett. Starts with The Color of Magic, but there are well over 20 in the series now. You can just jump in and read any of them, and they’re all pretty much incredible. Second-funniest writer, after Adams.
  23. The Stand, by Stephen King. Anything by Stephen King will be a good read, but The Stand is my favorite and if you’re going to just read one book by him, read this one. A master storyteller.
  24. Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling. A classic series, from book one. Sure, it’s supposedly a kid’s series, but so is LOTR (next entry, below) and host of other wonderful works. Harry Potter made reading come alive for my children, and I actually cried numerous times while reading these books with them.
  25. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkein. Absolute classics. The Hobbit by itself is a great little book, but the LOTR series adds epic drama to the world of the Hobbits.
  26. High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby. Made into an excellent movie by John Cusack (who I also love), High Fidelity is as much about music as it is about relationships. Just a cool book.
  27. About a Boy, by Nick Hornby. Better than the movie, which was pretty decent. The main characters — a do-nothing rich shallow bachelor and a son of a depressed and suicidal mom — are transformed by each other. Also see Hornby’s excellent How to Be Good.
  28. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. I didn’t think I’d like this book, as it’s a historical book about circuses. But it’s a compelling story, and the well-researched facts really bring the story and characters alive.
  29. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera. A classic, and a great read. Set in Czechoslovakia in the late 60s, it explores the insignificance of our actions and existence, in beautiful language.
  30. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. One of the greatest novels of all time, Anna is a tragic heroine brought down by her desire to live and be loved, while Levin is a wonderful character looking for a satisfactory answer to the only important question to Tolstoy: that of death. Incredibly interwoven stories presided over by a roving omniscient narrator.
  31. Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoyevsky. These two classics are fascinating for their explorations of the human psyche under extreme conditions. An existentialist before his time, Dostoyevsky is a powerful writer.
  32. The Broker, by John Grisham. I simply devour Grisham stories. He’s such a good storyteller that you can’t put down his books. I’ve read and enjoyed all of his books but the Broker is one of my favorites. Also see The Runaway Jury and The Testament.
  33. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. A classic from when I was an adolescent, Catcher withstands multiple readings over the years. The main character is just someone you root for, who you want to be friends with. Also see Salinger’s Franny and Zooey.
  34. Aztec, by Gary Jennings. Amazing historical fiction, so detailed and thoroughly researched and fascinating. You won’t believe this book, or any of its sequels. Also see his wonderful story of Marco Polo — so rich in detail: Journeyer
  35. Creation, by Gore Vidal. Another master of historical fiction, Vidal follows a fictional Persion diplomat who meets major philosophers of the time, from Socrates to Zoroaster and Buddha and Lao Tsu and Confucius. Also see Lincoln, another example of Vidal’s best historical fiction, and the best insight into Lincoln you’ll ever find.
  36. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Another one I enjoyed as an adolescent, it’s a gripping story set in a small southern town with memorable characters. You’ve probably read it already — but it’s worth another visit.
  37. Shibumi, by Trevanian. Not exactly a classic, but a hidden treasure of the spy genre. Compelling story with a main character you’ll wish you could be, especially if you’re a guy.
  38. Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris. Absolutely hilarious and brilliant social commentary in the guise of a memoir. OK, this isn’t exactly a novel, but the stories are so exaggerated as to be almost fictional, so I included it. Also read his others, including Naked and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
  39. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. A monumental classic by a master, explores the plight of the poor who are exploited by modern corporations in an epic tale of struggling sharecroppers.
  40. Deep Blue Good-by, by John D. MacDonald. The first of the incredible Travis McGee series, I actually highly recommend all of them. McGee is a hard-nosed “salvage expert” — actually a private eye who lives on a boat (called The Busted Flush) and is one of the most memorable detective characters since Sherlock Holmes.
  41. Watership Down, by Richard Adams. Yet another book I read repeatedly as a teen-ager. I don’t know why I love this story about rabbits so much, but you just find yourself moved by the characters and rooted in the story (so to speak) as they struggle to overcome tyranny.
  42. Lolita, by Vladamir Nobokov. This controversial book will test your moral boundaries, and at the same time push the boundaries of the language. Unmatchable in many ways.
  43. Sometimes a Great Notion, by Ken Kesey. He’s better known for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but for some reason I loved this book more, and I think it’s the better book. It’s a masterpiece, really, with intricately interwoven narratives (which can be a bit confusing) telling the story of a hard-nosed logging family in Oregon. A must read.
  44. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. A charming story of an Indian boy lost in the middle of the ocean with a tiger. A great read.
  45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. A touching story about a 15-year-old autistic boy who is very intelligent, who uses his dedicated detective skills to solve more mysteries than he set out to solve.
  46. The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen. At first, I didn’t like this book much, as the author seems to dislike and make fun of the main characters. But the deeper you go into the novel, the more you begin to understand and sympathize with the characters. And beyond an intricately woven tale, it’s also an interesting critique of modern consumerism society.
  47. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. A beautiful love story, told with a unique twist of time travel.
  48. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. I couldn’t put this book down. The movie disappointed, but you’ll fall in love with these characters.
  49. Noble House, by James Clavell. Incredibly intriguing historical fiction, in this case set in Hong Kong. Extremely compelling stories. Clavell has a whole series of can’t-put-down books set in Asia, including Tai-Pan and Shogun, among others
  50. Don Quixote, by Cervantes. Another of the greatest novels of all time, the tales of Quixote and the amazing Sancho Panza will delight you with their humor and wit. Much of Western literature is indebted to this book, and Cervantes is the only writer who comes close to standing with Shakespeare.

Beyond the Book : A New Role for Students

Edutopia has a blog-post on students training to be Web researchers:

"Students...will train to become Web researchers: They'll learn how to unearth scholarly materials from the Internet, search for opposing points of view, and take control of their own education. Tenbusch believes that this part of the school district's pilot program in one-to-one computing is essential for today's students.

Students, more than just typing keywords into Google, learn how to come to an answer independently, using their own ideas about the lesson, subject, or debate at hand. According to Tenbusch, schools teach kids how to read, write, and add, but they generally don't teach them how to speculate, hypothesize, and free associate."

Read more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

U.S. Blogging Statistics

From the BlogWorldExpo site.

Over 12 million American adults currently maintain a blog.

More than 147 million Americans use the Internet.

Over 57 million Americns read blogs.

1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog.

89% of companies surveyed say they think blogs will be more important in the next five years.

9% of internet users say they have created blogs .

6% of the entire US adult population has created a blog .

Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs .

over 120 thousand blogs are created every day .

There are over 1.4 million new blog posts every day .

22 of the 100 most popular websites in the world are blogs .

120,000 new blogs are created every day .

37% of blog readers began reading blogs in 2005 or 2006 .

51% of blog readers shop online .

Blog readers average 23 hours online each week .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Hotel Industry

This is for the HotCat folks...the rest of us can admire the gorgeous venues (smile):
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: hotel tourism)

Monday, August 18, 2008

21st Century Pedagogy

Pedagogy, defn. "the profession, science or theory of teaching."

Are we embracing these new pedadogies? Find out more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tony Robbins on TED

Recently shown (briefly) at a PDP session with HotCat on Communication Skills.

Global, Rubric, Criterion-Referenced Assessment

Educational institutions today are leaning further towards 'authentic' assessment. These usually take the form of more global 'impressionistic' marking with the help of rubrics, more formative and criterion-referenced assessments, etc. (download a short presentation here).

What are some issues or obstacles attempts at implementing 21st-century assessments would face? How 'authentic' are your (or your organisation's) present assessment methods? Do you even agree with the term?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 Practical Uses of Psychology

1. How to detect lies. Lies are extremely difficult to detect. Research shows the average person barely does any better than chance. Part of the reason may be there's so much misinformation about how to detect lies floating around. Check out exactly how to detect lies.

2. How to make your smile more attractive, more trustworthy and less dominant. This psychology study found that a long-onset smile (0.5s onset) is seen as more authentic and flirtatious than a short-onset smile (0.1s). On top of this, the researchers found long-onset smiles were perceived as more attractive, more trustworthy and less dominant. Head tilting also increased attractiveness and trustworthiness but only if the head was tilted in the right direction.

3. How to persuade others your opinion represents the whole group. If you want to convince others that your opinion is representative of the majority, then just repeat yourself. This surprising psychology study finds that if one person in a group repeats the same opinion three times, it has 90% of the effect of three different people in that group expressing the same opinion.

4. How to have a refreshing holiday. This environmental psychology study suggests that being stuck indoors on vacation can limit mental recuperation. On the other hand, when able to roam outdoors, we can exert ourselves at a favourite sport or simply linger in the park.

5. How to avoid getting scammed. If I had to explain only one thing to someone who knew nothing about psychology, it would be 'crowd psychology'. Being aware and watching out for this one fact can improve our lives no end.

6. Using email to persuade. Before sending an email remember that women may not generally be easily persuaded over email because there is less opportunity to form relationships from which attitude changes can be built. Men, however, tend to be less competitive over email and are better able to concentrate on arguments presented, rather than being distracted by seeing the other man as a threat. Discover factors important in using email to persuade.

7. Find out if you're satisfied with your relationship. Once a relationship has become long-term, although we still talk about love and commitment, in some ways it's satisfaction that comes to the forefront. Indeed, low satisfaction is an important predictor of relationship breakdown. Read about the behaviours important in relationship satisfaction.

8. Reduce your cholesterol levels. The results from two separate studies demonstrated that after only 25 days, the experimental group who had written affectionate notes, showed a significant reduction in cholesterol. These reductions were seen independently from the effects of general health factors like age, drinking, smoking and so on. According to this early data, affectionate writing can reduce cholesterol levels.

9. How to make friends with self-disclosure. Turning an acquaintance into a good friend can be hard. Whether it's romantic or platonic, there are endless reasons why people fail to connect and maintain their relationships with each other. Find out how to make that connection with self-disclosure.

10. Impress people with your knowledge of the Top Ten Psychology studies. OK, technically there's no research into whether knowledge of these studies will really impress other people. But, each of these top ten psychology studies has something to teach us about what is means to be human. And that can't hurt!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers - November Intake

The Diploma will help you to:

1. improve the quality and outcomes of teaching and learning

2. enhance and update professional skills and understanding

3. introduce curiculum development successfully

4. achieve international benchmark of excellence

This international diploma is awarded by the University of Cambridge International Examinations. Read more..

View Nov Intake course schedule

Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers (CIDTT)November Intake is open for registration now!! For more informations, please contact us at 03-77288123, ext: 332 or email to

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to Be a Brilliant Conversationalist

Leadership speaker Paul Sloane offers 7 tips on how to carry out great conversations:

1. Ask questions

2. Listen

3. Give compliments

4. Keep up to date on topical issues

5. Be humorous

6. Speak clearly

7. Enjoy it

Monday, August 11, 2008

21st Century Learning Spaces/Classrooms

21st Century Learners are:
  • technology literate and adept

  • media savvy

  • flexible and dynamic

  • multitasking communicators and collaborators

  • interactive and networked

  • reflective and critical

  • instant

  • creative and adaptive

  • student centric, life long learners & anywhere anytime learners

  • multi-modal learners

...How many classrooms are designed to support and enhance these two mediums (or for that matter have the space to allow kinesthetic learning)? 21st centuring classrooms would need to have:

  • blinds, curtains and sun filters to adjust light levels?

  • controllable lighting systems that enable different areas of the classrooms to be lit independently at various levels - highlighting perhaps the front of the room in one situation and the center in another?

  • suitable whiteboards, and displayboards through out the room

  • sound proofing insulating material in the walls and room? Can you hear the students in the next class? what about road or aircraft noise?

  • sound reinforcement? Built in speakers and wireless microphone to reinforce your voice and provide uniform coverage through out the room?

  • AV gear that can be clearly seen and heard through out the space in all conditions. Is your screen large enough to see detail from the back of the classroom?

Read more.

5 Things About Finding the Work You Love

Zen Habits has an interesting post about loving...your work. Some extracts:

1. It won’t find you — you have to seek it. Doing the same ol’ thing everyday isn’t the way to find the work you love. Sometimes, you get extremely lucky and it just lands in your lap. Most people, however, aren’t that lucky — you’ve got to take action, and you’ve got to seek it.

2. You can’t stop looking until you find it. As Steve Jobs said, never settle. If you find something that’s just a bit better than your current job, that’s better … but don’t stop there. Keep looking. Don’t give up the search.

3. You’ll have to look in lots of funny places. Really explore. Try new hobbies. Talk to new people. Read articles on different blogs, in different magazines and books. Inspiration might come from someplace you never imagined.

4. You might not love it completely until you get good at it. Most likely you’ll know that you love something once you find it … but at that point, you’ve got to work at getting better at it, with all your might. Once you get good, it’ll be something you can’t stop doing, because you’ll get a thrill at doing something great. Once you find it, you have to pour yourself into it. If you find the work you love, you’ve been given a gift.

5. Don’t spoil it — truly pour yourself into that work. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the other loves in your life, including family and friends, but when you’re working, you should devote yourself completely to that work.

Find out how to go about seeking your passion.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Libraries Step into the Age of iPod

Read all about it. Excerpts:

"Available in thousands of libraries across the country, the programs work like this: First you need a library card, access to the web, and some easily downloadable software -- the Adobe Digital Editions, the Mobipocket Reader or the OverDrive Media Console.

At that point, just browse around the library's website, select some titles, add them to a digital book bag and click the download button. If the title isn't available, it can be placed on hold for downloading later."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blogging Tips

Some blogging tips from Sharon Housley.

1.) Stay on topic.Opinions are generally accepted but the content of the items in the blog should all relate to a general theme. Unless you have an uncanny knack for wit, humor or cynicism, the majority of your readers will be interested in the content that relates to a specific defined theme or loosely defined area of interest. Most readers won't care that you eat Cheerios for breakfast. They may, however, be interested in the fact that vinegar takes out stains and that toilet paper rolls make great wreaths. Define a topic and stick to it. This will ensure that you create a loyal following of interested readers.

2.) Stay informative.If you are attempting to create the impression that you are knowledgeable about a specific industry or sector, be sure that you stay current on news. If you are endorsing a product or voicing an opinion, be sure to check your facts; your reputation is at stake. If you are offering an opinion, be sure to qualify your post, making it clear that the content is intended as an editorial.

3.) Old news is not news.While blogging every day can be a drain, it is important that the information presented is current and accurate, writing an article or blurb about something that happened 6 months ago, will not be of interest to many. Telling your audience that Martha Stewart was convicted and will be going to prison, after her sentence is completed will make people question the value of your columns.

4.) Adhere to a schedule. Create a schedule and stick to it. Realizing that blogging requires time and effort, don't create unrealistic expectations and be unable to deliver. An occasional lapse or holiday is generally understood but readers returning to find stale, out-dated content are going to find another blog with similar content. New blogs and RSS feeds are popping up on a daily basis. If you have worked hard to develop an audience and a community you don't want to lose them due to lack of communication.

5.) Clarity and simplicity. Keep your posts and blog entries clear and easy to understand. Remember, the web is global and expressions, idioms and acronyms don't always translate. Sometimes a little explanation goes a long way.

6.) Keyword-rich.If the goal of your blog is to increase your visibility, include related keywords in the title of the blog. Use the title as a headline to attract interest. Each item post should have a title that will attract attention but still be relevant to the post. The title should be no longer than 10-12 words.

7.) Quantity matters. In order to attract the attention of search engines, you will need to develop content and substance. A headline or simple sentence is not going to generate the interest of readers or help with search engine ranking. Be sure to archive old blog posts to develop a large portal of similarly-themed content.

8.) Frequency. If your blog content is updated frequently, search engines will tend to spider the pages at regular intervals.

9.) Spell checking and proof-reading. It only takes a few extra moments and can save you from having to make embarrassing explanations. Remember that whatever you publish on the Internet can be found and archived. Think carefully about what you post before doing so.

10.) RSS. RSS will increase your blog's reach. It is important that you include your blog's content in an RSS feed to increase readership and distribution. Most weblog audiences are small, but with time and regular updates audiences grow. Bloggers may never have more than a few hundred readers, but the people who return to regularly are generally interested in what you have to say.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Art of Visual Thinking

Guy Kawasaski, of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, says:

"The more slides and pages that you need to explain your business, the less likely you will succeed. Truly, the best pitches and plans require nothing more than one page or a picture to explain them."

The picture? That's how Southwest Airlines was pitched. Find out more about visual thinking from Squidoo.

You may also the Multiple Intelligences self-assessment and/or the Memletics Accelerated Learning Styles test helpful.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Power of Story

A story is about a: fundamental conflict between subjective expectation and cruel reality... an imbalance and opposing forces (a problem that must be worked out, etc.).

A good storyteller describes what it's like to deal with these opposing forces "...calling on the protagonist to dig deeper, work with scarce resources, make difficult decisions...and ultimately discover the truth."

Can not a presentation on a technical or scientific topic be a story — with plenty of data and information along the way — about a long journey of discovery, of trial and error? Read more from Robert McKee.

Conscious Competence

Does the diagram ring a bell?

Do You HATE Reason?!

The New Scientist has an intriguing write-up on seven reasons why people hate reason. These include the point that

1. Reason stands against values and morals (from Archbishop Rowan Williams)

2: No one actually uses reason (from neuro-scientist Chris Frith) Watch a related video

3: I hear "reason", I see lies (from sociologist David Miller and linguist
Noam Chomsky) Watch a related video.

4: Reason excludes creativity and intuition (from artist Keith Tyson) Watch a related video.

5: Whose reason is it anyway? (says bioethicist Tom Shakespeare) Watch a related video.

6: Reason destroys itself (says mathematician Roger Penrose) Watch a related video.

7: Reason is just another faith (according to philosopher Mary Midgley).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How to Apply the 6 Hats to Your Studies (Pt. I)

First, review your understanding of the hats by:
Secondly, try to list down THREE 'new' ways of thinking that you've learnt from the 6 hats. How has it changed your 'normal' methods of thinking? If you can answer this, you're well on your way towards applying the hats effectively in your studies.

Thirdly, view this comparison between traditional testing and 6 hats testing. Notice the difference in the nature of the questions asked. Then start thinking about your study and assessment methods right now.
(More coming up)

What Can the 6 Thinking Hats Do For You?

White Hat: With this thinking hat, you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them.This is where you analyze past trends, and try to extrapolate from historical data.

Red Hat: Wearing the red hat, you look at the decision using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally, and try to understand the intuitive responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.

Black Hat: When using black hat thinking, look at things pessimistically, cautiously and defensively. Try to see why ideas and approaches might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan or course of action. It allows you to eliminate them, alter your approach, or prepare contingency plans to counter problems that arise.

Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans tougher and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Black Hat thinking is one of the real benefits of this technique, as many successful people get so used to thinking positively that often they cannot see problems in advance, leaving them under-prepared for difficulties.

Yellow Hat: The yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it, and spot the opportunities that arise from it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.

Green Hat: The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas.

Blue Hat: The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, and so on.

Find out more.