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The Journey of a Team

Apprehension.
Confusion.
Doubt.
A glimmer of hope.
Progress.
Encouragement.
A setback.
Learning.
Lessons.
Unity.
Transformation.
One.
Team.
Clarity.
Growth.

A team doesn’t become a tight-knit, unbreakable unit overnight. Getting to the point where trust is apparent and effort is instinctive requires hard work. A coach can uplift a confused, meandering lost team, but real focus requires the actual team members to step forward as leaders. The fight, drive and motivation must come from within the ranks. A inevitable setback won’t be a crushing blow to a team’s evolution, but a learning place where growth is free and fluid.

Team on.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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BREAKING: Two Conference Handouts that won’t end up in the Trash Can.

If you’ve been to a trade show lately, you’ve seen the ‘material’ that fills most booths. The white papers and collateral hope to gain attention, while giveaways, such as Frisbees and hacky sacks, aim to attract even the most skeptical conference goer.

But what’s a vendor to do when he’s up against hundreds of vendors and attendees who’ve seen everything before?

Create something different.

cardboard1

Create something that will get people talking.

Our company @VersionOne hosted an agile learning event recently called #AgilePalooza; it featured some of the sharpest agile minds in the business. Two of our partners spoke at the show and set out a free ‘giveaway’ or informational handout at the registration table that stirred conversation.

David Hussman (@davidhussman) of DevJam brought CardBoard to the marketplace recently as a strong, yet simple entrant into the world of sometimes overly complex agile and productivity tools. And is there a better way to get attention to the CardBoard product than handing out pieces of cardboard saying, “If Google Docs and Post It Notes had a kid, it would look like CardBoard.” Who wouldn’t want to see that product?

Dave Sharrock (@davesharrock) from Agile42 was also in the spotlight at this particular event with some keen promotion. His Agile booklet, complete with ring for easy transport, was full of metrics, stories and arguments to sway even the most jaded software development executive. Seeing this in the bottom of your conference bag causes you to take a 2nd look, not throw it in the trash like most conference giveaways, handouts, collateral.

I am a firm proponent of the power of live events. You must, however, think and execute at a high level to get noticed. Don’t settle for predictable, lifeless collateral and giveaways. Keep eyes open and minds alert to see what the best are doing to stand out from the competition. You just might be able to develop something similar to CardBoard or Agile42.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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When your team grows, check your attitude – Part 2

In Part 1, we shadowed Bill as he struggled with the expansion of his marketing team. Two new hires joined the team and added value right from Day One. Bill’s behavior, however, was selfish and harmful to him and his team.

Are you Bill? Or are you a teammate who welcomes new mates with a smile and helping hand?

With the economy improving, your company might be expanding. If so, here are a few tips to help new teammates get up to speed faster.

See new teammates as a welcomed opportunity to shine and grow.

See new teammates as a welcomed opportunity to shine and grow.

  1. See the addition of teammates as an opportunity:

New people aren’t out to steal your job. They were hired to help the company grow. Ask how you can help them. Remember how nervous and unsure you felt during your 1st few weeks at a new job. The new teammates will appreciate that you’ll help them through the new job transition.

2.   Leverage the fresh eyes and perspectives:

If you’ve been with a company for a few years, you may know ‘too much’. This isn’t a bad thing to have deep domain expertise and a solid understanding of the company’s processes and paths to success, but you lose the ability to see things with fresh eyes and open minds.

When new employees join the team, ask them for their views on your market segment, messaging, promotional strategies – whatever initiatives where you feel stuck. Most likely, they’ll have some unique perspectives that will unlock higher levels of efficiency for the entire team.

Don’t be a ‘Bill’ who is short-sighted, selfish about new team members. Stretch for a ‘Bill’ who is eager for the new perspectives and experiences brought by new colleagues.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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Wake up, the dog’s ready to run

When the alarm sounds, it might as well be a starting gun.

As I stumble down the stairs, my knees creak as if to say, “Are you serious? Not again; isn’t it too early?”

As I approach her cage, she’s in the ready position.

Mouth open; tongue wagging; a faint smile appears.

We exit the house and grimace as a harsh winter chill splashes across our faces. This isn’t quite Minnesota, but this particular Texas morning toughens the skin.

Sometimes I am the puller; most of the time, I get pulled.

Sometimes I am the puller; most of the time, I get pulled.

We press onward – four feet hit the ground in melodic fashion, breaking the morning’s quiet cold. My feet shuffle awkwardly; I’ve not yet found my center. The dog’s in full stride while my legs feel as if they are blocks of wood.

Another morning jog begins; dog and man drifting into the distant darkness. We only see a few cars; they briefly paint our path with their incandescent headlights.

My knees and joints take 5 minutes to get accumulated, but Ruby, our athletic Labrador, strides fully, chasing a scent; the malevolent remnants of skunk or the markings of a coyote on the lookout for an early morning snack.

With a few hundred strides behind us, we run in unison. Ruby knows the twists and turns; she guides me as we appear under the faint hiss of a streetlight.

This won’t be our last run, although she sprints for home as if this were life’s sole purpose, a final push to define the day ahead.

At run’s end, I gasp for breath while she sneaks a furtive glance at me; her countenance saying, “Is that all you’ve got?”

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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Part 2: M is for Marketing on the Internet in the mid-90s

 

In our first installment back into the time machine with Internet Marketing in the 90s, we cruised through letters A-M. Why stop the fun there? Here’s the rest of the alphabet.

Got a memory that you’d like to share? Make a comment.

www

The Web wouldn’t be what it is today without the work of some intrepid 90s trailblazers.

N is for Netscape – the first graphical browser. Life was much easier when you had to design for just one browser. The pulsating ‘N’ brings me back to a slower time.

O is for OMG: Not sure when this abbreviation became one of the most texted phrases/acronyms on the planet, but it must have started in the 90s!

P is for Prodigy – Can you fathom that we actually used to pay to belong to an online dial up content service? In the 90s, Prodigy was a big deal before AOL arrived on the scene.

Q is for Quicktime: Apple first released this multimedia framework in 1991. The company’s been a little busy since then with other things.

R is for Real Video – The quality wasn’t quite there, but it was amazing to think you could watch a streaming video on your computer. Today, it’s like turning on a light switch.

S is for Splash Pages – The annoying persistent interruption that is the Splash Page started taking over computer screens in the 90s. Where’s the ‘Close’ button when you need it?

T is for the theGlobe.com: Prior to Facebook, my space, Twitter becoming the glue of our lives, there was theglobe.com, an IPO high flier that never scaled audience or profits.

U is for Under Construction. Before the Web became the iterative, fluid, dynamic, organic community that it is today, we felt compelled to post hideously ugly ‘Under Construction’ graphics.

V is for Video. Yes, you could watch Web videos in the mid-90s. The quality though was mediocre at best. A 28.8 modem could only do so much; it was like trying to suck an elephant through a straw.

W is for What’s New at Yahoo: In 1994, I was able to review every new Web site that launched. Today, I’d have to hire hundreds of people to keep up with the volume.

X is for Text. Hey, there an ‘x’ in the word. The Web in the mid-90s was highly text-based because bandwidth was very scarce.

Y is for Young. The Web was VERY young in the mid-90s; a toddler just working to find his way. Today’s Web is mature, confident, and many-layered. It’s hard to picture the Internet of 2023.

Z is for Zine: Webzines were HUGE in the 90s, and we started to see niches. Webzines have now morphed into blogs, communities, and sites on anything and everything your heart desires.

Have a favorite 90’s digital memory that isn’t listed here? Let me know and I’ll gladly share it.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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