Monthly Archives: May 2006

The Power of Social Networking

No, social networking isn’t about communism. It’s about connecting with other people and leveraging the people you already know to help you. I remember talking about the importance of networking with BPA in high school, but I’m just now realizing the power that it has.

Everyone knows about the importance of networking when looking for a job, but are you aware that it can help you once you already have a job? Did you know that your peers might actually have something worthwhile to say? Social networking helps you communicate some of those things. For me, the best social networking websites are those that can give you benefit even if your friends aren’t already signed up. Del.icio.us is a prime example of that: they are “a collection of favorites: yours and everyone else’s”. Even though I might not know a lot of people that use this site, it’s still very useful to me. I can save my bookmarks and use them from any computer (and I do – I use it all the time from school, at work, and at home). Feel free to read my del.icio.us links.

Websites like this allow for community learning. That’s important! We can’t expect to be able to learn everything by ourselves, or even to be able to find the few needles of useful websites in the haystack that is the Internet. This can apply to spiritual aspects, as well. The ancient American prophet Moroni highlights this in The Book of Mormon (Moroni 6:5), “And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.”

Although this scripture directly applies to literal church meetings, the Internet has plenty of useful websites that allow this type of conversation. Wikis such as Feast upon the Word and MormonWiki.com allow for some of that conversation. Do you know of any more out there? What sites do you like to visit?

The Path to Success

Michael Hyatt is the CEO of a large publishing company. Is there some sort of secret to his success? What did he do to get to where he is now? He is often asked questions along these lines, and he responds to the secret to his success:

I’m not sure I could boil it down to one thing. Life isn’t usually that simple. But if I really, really had to boil it down to one thing, I would say this: responsiveness.

So many people I meet are unresponsive. They don’t return their phone calls promptly. They don’t answer their emails quickly. They don’t complete their assignments on time. They promise to do something and never follow through. They have to be reminded, prodded, and nagged. This behavior creates work for everyone else and eats into their own productivity. Sadly, they seem oblivious to it.

Now certainly, success isn’t simply based on responsiveness, but it is an essential ingredient. It’s also important to be consistent. Remember that if your inbox is flooded with emails, you don’t have to write an essay to respond to each of them. Keep others informed of your progress and work hard. When the ball comes into your court, do something with it.

For a good summary of how to stay on top of your email inbox, partiallobotomy.com gives a few tips on overcoming email overload.

The Importance of Customer Service

Customer service skills are essential. If you can’t put yourself in the shoes of those you serve, work with, or otherwise come in contact with, you should ask yourself what your priorities really are. For example, when someone calls you to ask for information about a project that your whole group is working on, you shouldn’t just give an answer based on what typically happens. Situations can change, and you’re helping no one if you response is inaccurate. Take the time to find out exactly where that project is at, or give them a way to find out for themselves. If you try to blow your customers off, they may come back, but if they do, you definitely won’t want to deal with them then. Smile! Be nice! Remember that it’s only because of the customers that you even have a job to begin with.

You don’t have to work in sales to have customers.

Baseball and iPods

FreeMacBlog.com – Todd Helton And His Hitting Coach iPod

The guys at the Colorado Rockies have found a good use for a video iPod: put video of opposing pitchers on it for their batters. Batters are always looking for ways to better prepare to face certain pitchers. Scouting reports and pitching charts certainly help, but video helps a batter visualize what he might face. Equipped with a video iPod, a player can simply select a playlist to see how a pitcher pitched to him and what his swing looked like in each at-bat. I’m not sure how much batters have benefitted from this, but I think it would be a great idea. Baseball is all about analyzing statistics and situations, so it lends itself very well to technlogical innovations like this.

Now, if only I could get someone to organize all my videos and music to playlists like this…

CSS by Example

When learning how to do things on a computer, I tend to learn best by example. I remember borrowing library books and entering BASIC code into our Tandy 1000 computer when I was younger, later tweaking the code so that I could make my own games. Programming is the same for me today; I like to find a good example, use it, and then tweak it and make it my own. With the ever-changing state of the Internet, however, it’s not easy or practical to find a library book with examples for website design. Instead, a good resource to learn CSS by example is at Dynamic Drive. The CSS section of their site is well designed as has many good examples. Give it a look!