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Where Did All the Energy Go? Working with Volunteers

Have you ever noticed how many people, at least in Western cultures, think money is kinda dirty? That there is some kind of nobility about working towards a greater good without monetary compensation? An idea that people spend time on only because they believe it is good, fun, or otherwise meets some kind of intrinsic […]

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But There’s No Pressure: Organizing and Facilitating a Virtual Workshop

Earlier this year, a team within Google reached out to me for advice on engaging with the people in the IAM field who would give them the feedback they needed to progress their WebID project. Since WebID is all about federated identity on the web — one of my favorite topics — and the engagement would let […]

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Be Brave. Say No.

Being a freelancer, while not for everyone, is my idea of a fantastic career. I get to build my ideal job. I get to see the big picture across organizations and even entire industries. I get to interact with some of the most brilliant people on the planet. But to have room for all of […]

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The Gaps Are Where Life Gets Interesting

One of my favorite parts about starting a new contract (which also applied to starting new projects when I had a more traditional day job) is hearing the goals, dreams, and aspirations the client has for the work they want me to take on. Not only do I get to listen to smart people talk […]

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The Power of the Outline

Congratulations! You’ve been asked to contribute some written material to a newsletter, blog, e-book, or how-to guide. Now that the initial excitement is wearing off (which usually takes me about 1-2 minutes), the existential dread of facing a blank page is setting in. As an editor, I can usually tell when someone has written their […]

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Public Speaking Tips for Virtual Conferences

It’s common advice that you should watch and listen to yourself via a recording in order to improve your public speaking skills. There are few things more uncomfortable than doing that, but I had an opportunity this week to discover something even more uncomfortable: watching and listening to myself on a recording with 50 other […]

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Succession Planning in Consulting

I recently read an article about how United Airlines developed strong succession planning for the changing of their CEOs. I remember the days when I could focus on succession planning! It was one of my KPIs as a traditional employee and it was quite rewarding.It gave me the opportunity to mentor someone (or someone’s) to […]

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The Case of the Unclear Antecedent

Every once in a while, I’ll find myself hung up on a particular quirk of writing and develop a visceral twitch every time I see it in action. This post is about one of those twitches… If there’s one thing I see writers do with alarming frequency, it’s sprinkle their material with sentences like “This […]

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Index: What’s it like to be a …?

The Internet requires so many different types of people and roles in order to function. As much as people tend to assume degrees in computer science or experience as a software developer, that’s just some of what you might find in the Internet ecosystem. To explore the roles that are out there now, I’ve been […]

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A World of Only Carrots

There are a wealth of books, blogs, webinars, and even inspirational tweets about motivating a team. Most of the ones I’ve read, however, assume a rather traditional model of a manager motivating their employees. This motivation takes on an entirely different character, though, when you are working with volunteers. I’ve been coordinating technical projects entirely […]

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