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Showing posts from June, 2008

The Future is Theirs

My daughter graduated 5th grade today and I was really blown away by what some of these kids have planned for the future. Brain surgeons, authors, athletes, aid workers and more. The ceremony was terrific and despite me having very bittersweet feelings about seeing my daughter graduate, it was a really good day.

Earlier this year, I taught a Junior Achievement class to my daughter's 5th grade class. It was my 4th time doing this sort of volunteerism, and I continue to really love the experience. As with most volunteer activities, I started out thinking this would be a great way to give something back. In the end though, it's me that gets the most out of the time I think.

This year's class wrote me notes after our sessions ended. While it's always nice to get a thank you, these notes really went over the top. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to show some of these kids more about business and to get them excited about their own futures.

Stephen wrote "It was cool…

Podcasting

I recorded my very first podcast for the Microsoft CIO Network yesterday, finally joining the ranks of bloggers who have tried their hand at podcasting.

I was initially nervous about the interviewing/conversation, but got over that quickly. On the way back to my office, I started to worry about how I sounded, and how I would edit the audio.

I think I sounded OK, but need lots of work on how I interview and how fast I talk (I need to slow down a bit). I used Audacity to quickly edit the podcast and used the Internet Archive to find a snippit of sound to use as an intro bumper for the podcast. I'll share the final podcast here if I can (not sure I can use it in public).

What I really love about this way of developing content for a community is it's potential to be really authentic and informal. I'd like to continue to develop and refine a format that will result in a 20 minute conversation that really gives listeners some insights into the topic(s) and the persion (CIO) I'm…

Here Comes Everybody

I just finished reading Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (@clayshirky on Twitter). I took a bunch of notes and wanted to pull out some key things are really impact the development of social network and apply them to what I'm working on at Microsoft.

First up is the notion of "publish, then filter" - with the massive amounts of information being published today both online, broadcast and offline, filtering has become the real issue. As I think about my own ways of consuming information, it's the filters that are available to me that make big differences. For example, Tivo's search functionality, wish list/keywords and swivel search has revolutionized what I watch on TV. Similarly, I consume almost all of news and technology data via RSS feeds from a browser. I still read the NYTimes on Sunday, but I'm not convinced that I do it for any real reason other than I think I ought to.

Emerging platforms continue to accelerate the publish then filter trend - sites li…

Kids Say (and Write) the Darndest Things

My 10 year old wrote this poem for a school project. As I was reading, I was getting more and more alarmed. Had I misread her? Am I a bad parent? Read the poem, and then find out what it's really about at the end.

Over the Wall

The world was spinning
Around and around and around
It left me behind.

The tragedy crashed down on me
Like rocks falling in an ocean.
It broke the surface and stayed below.

Waves lapped against the shore
As people tried to mend my heart

While sadness twisted it
Into crazy shapes.
As pretzel. I'm still confused.
A worm. I don't understand.
A bird. I try to fly above my depression.

It's like a wall, a great looming wall.
It crushes my heart.
It crushes my dreams.

Over the wall I climb.
High, high, high, until the wall is nothing but a memory.
If I fall, I go right back up.
High, high, high.
Into the sky.

So I'm reading this (it was printed and mounted on a purple piece of construction paper) and thinking oh my god, my baby girl has some real issues. When I asked her…

Failure

J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard really struck a nerve with me. In particular, her bits about failure and not pretending to be anything other than what she was.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been re…