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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 01/01/21)

Welcome to the new year…finally! I for one plan to use all that I’ve learned from the trainwreck of 2020 to do my very best by 2021.

What does that mean, specifically? Well, I’m doing a lot of reflecting, as I tend to do about this time of year. I’m looking at what worked and what didn’t, not only in the last year, but in life. I’m happy to report that I’m having some new thoughts and realizations. More posts to come on all that.

Along with this, my day job as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec is taking a lot of my time and attention right now. Our main admin just quit, and I just hired someone new, and there’s a lot of chaos in the transition that I have to tend to personally this month. So that’s the main thing, and my main challenge will be in not working like I would work if it were my company…as in 80-100hrs per week. So I’m learning how to be a manager and how to let stuff drop. Lessons I’ve never really learned thus far in my mostly backwards, weird & wonderful life.

In case you missed it, I’m living in the middle of Utah, working as a full-time employee for the first time in my life as of last July. Crazy, huh?

While I likely won’t get to do much outside of this in January, because it’s enough (and because damn, it’s cold out right now!), I do have some personal projects still:
  • Learning Spanish = For this month, I’m focusing on complete mastery of my first 1000 words. I probably already have several hundred that fit in my mouth already, but I don’t really know what they are yet. After enjoying the book Ultralearning recently, I’m inspired to take a more rigorous approach. I have time set aside to work on this every day.
  • Gaining strength & losing weight = I’ve been mostly vegan for a year now. Though for the holidays, I did make exceptions for the traditional turkey and such. Then more exceptions for pies and treats and…you get the idea. I’ve also been tracking my weight for the last month, watching how it cycles through all this. In January, I plan to release 10lbs of fat and gain about that much muscle. So while my weight may not go down very much, I’m also measuring the diameter of my biceps, chest, thighs, & waist which are where I’m focusing my results. Exercise isn’t as easy this time of year, so I’m doubling down what I’ve got.
  • Drop50 cleanup = My annual Drop100 turned into a Drop50 this year, and I had to roll over quite a few things. I’m still chipping away at all that as I can.
  • Tableau Certification = Because I just finished my Data Analytics & Visualization course, I should have the skills to get my basic certification in Tableau now. But probably not if I wait too long. I plan to take the test in a week or so while all this is still relatively fresh in my mind. Fingers crossed that I can pass it!
  • NAS maximization = When I started setting up my Synology NAS last Summer, I didn’t know all that it could do. I had a lot of simple data management to do at the time, and was happy just to have one place to put everything. Now I think I know what I want from it, and I plan to have it fully configured as an automated backup solution for all my devices, mobile storage and streaming for all photos/music/movies, collaborative fileserver, public webserver, local email server, and remote VPN by the end of this month. Wish me luck! We’ll see how far I get. If I get far enough, I plan to set up an offsite backup for this backup in February. And I also want to host this website there by my birthday in March (and transition from Textpattern to Hugo in the process).

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 12/06/2020)

In December of 2020 I’m:
  • straining but continuing to satisfy all of the needs of the role I started 5-months ago at ConvaTec, and learning a ton in the process
  • completing my Data Analytics & Visualization course and hopefully obtaining my Tableau certification
  • doing my annual Drop100 project to clear the decks for 2021
  • upgrading winter vehicles, from a 1996 GMC Suburban hand me down (my Dad’s old touring vehicle still running at 340k miles) to a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee with half as many miles and twice as nice
  • losing 10lbs through diet, intermittent fasting, and better winter exercise habits
Some things I had planned but changed my mind about:
  • selling off any other stuff (besides the Suburban)
  • renewal of Estonian e-residency (getting back to San Francisco has been postponed since April, looks like it may cost me my renewal)
  • moving this website to a Hugo framework — at least until all the stuff I decided to do is done

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 11/01/2020)

The new gig I stepped into back in July as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec is getting real now. I’m building out the team, creating integrations, defining visions, making new processes, and generally throwing everything I’ve got at it. Good things are happening as a result, and I’m certainly flexing my professional muscles in the role. I’m grateful every day to have this opportunity, especially with all that’s going down in 2020.

As I posted about last month, my Snap Synapse LLC is closing up. I considered trying to sell it, but…sadly there’s really nothing to sell. I’m the one that made it all work, and I’m not doing that anymore. I’m getting closer to the official shut down by the end of the year, as well as Clear Mind Products (currently a subsidiary). I’m keeping Clear Mind Products and (for the moment) Doable Change, another mostly dormant business shell that I ended up with as part of my application for permanent residency in Panama. Though I’m looking seriously at the best structures going forward, and pulling out of the entrepreneurial game altogether. The truth is that I’ve been successful only ever through my personal and direct hard work, and have yet to count any passive income efforts as successes. What if I let it all go for now? Spinning it up again if I need it?

My Data Analytics & Visualization Bootcamp program is getting good now! Last week we started with Tableau, which is blowing my mind! I plan to put these skills to good use with some epic end-of-year reporting for ConvaTec. I’m also thinking about modeling more generally useful visualizations that others in the L&D field can put to good use.

The greenhouse is done, I’m happy to report! Well, not done done, but done enough for winter. It’s solid and there are plants in it now. I won’t heat it or try to keep anything alive through the coming subzero months, though I hope to start planting as early as February. We’ll see how that goes. So far I’m very happy to have put in the time and money to get it going this year.

It’s beautiful here in Utah right now. Oh and Denise and I had a fantastic getaway to Yellowstone National Park for her birthday last month! It was our first time going anywhere since February. Stunning scenery at the most colorful time of year, and a great time to cash in on all those hotel points I’ve not been using at all in 2020.

I’ve not really been in touch with many people lately, family included. And I haven’t been making much music either. This year has been full of upheaval for everyone, I think. And honestly I don’t think anyone wants to hear my raw thoughts on it all as they tend to get scared and depressed. Though I did share some of my political predictions recently here. For the record, I am neither scared or depressed, I’m simply cautious about creating any more such sentiment in the world. So I’ve focused inward and on work more…and faded from view.

Here is where I would usually list out the personal projects I’m working on for the month. This month, between the upcoming chaos of the country and the economy and the pandemic, and some more local family issues that will take a lot of my time, I doubt I’ll get to much else.

My partner and her mother are both getting surgeries this month, which adds a lot to my plate in terms of caretaking and coordination. I’ve also got a dear family friend moving to Utah soon, and will try to steal away to go help them move in to their new place. So this probably won’t be a very productively focused month for me. Family is important, and worth it! Personally, I’ll be lucky to keep up and catch up on the boring stuff. If I can introduce more indoor/winter exercise to keep myself healthy and strong amidst it all, I’ll call that success :)

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 10/01/2020)

My new job as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec isn’t as new anymore. Though I’m still learning the ropes and meeting new people every day, I’m also settling in. I’ve got my work cut out for me, that’s for sure!

I just stepped down as Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group. Between the chaotic market conditions, my limited bandwidth, and a change in direction for the company, it made sense. A bit sad after all the work I put in, but I’m handing everything off and we’re parting amiably.

Snap Synapse LLC has one tiny engagement to see it through the end of the year. It happens to be with one of our biggest clients ever, and is basically just me getting tapped for a bit of advice every now and then. After 15+ years, I’m planning to close up the business within the next two months. It sustained me successfully for a good long run, I learned a ton about running my own business (as a Sole Prop, C-corp, S-corp, & LLC over the years)…but I don’t really need it anymore. Besides, I still have Clear Mind Publishing and Doable Change Corp on the books if I get bored ;)

Boredom doesn’t look likely though, as last month I was accepted into a Data Analytics & Visualization Bootcamp program. It’s a masters level course, complete with online lectures, twice weekly meetings, homework, and class projects. I’m learning all about the higher functions of Excel for data science, and soon we’ll be getting to Tableau for the data visualizations part. I need all this to kick ass at my new job, which I plan to do with some epic end-of-year reporting that I have planned. Until then, I’m learning up a storm. It’s hard and it’s worthwhile.

I was hoping I could muster the energy to complete my first Cornerstone OnDemand Certification at the same time as this data course, but…that was over-ambitious of me. I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze that in yet. Maybe sometime before year’s end?

Being off of most social media has opened up a lot more energy and time for me, I’m happy to say. LinkedIn posts are queued up for 2-3 weeks in advance, generally. I check in on how they’re going once a day or so. Other than that, meh. Too much toxicity out there these days. People are so hyped up and strung out and angry and scared so often that I find almost no one on The Socials like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram wants to hear much from a thinking man like me. Will reassess this after the raging dumpsterfire that is our 2020 election…if it ever ends, that is.

Personal projects for October include:
  • Fall Garden = So my greenhouse plans got delayed by about 6-weeks due to COVID, an HOA approval, and a big fat Home Depot shipping error. Basically, I got 3/4 of a greenhouse in August, but that wasn’t quite enough to put it up until the rest arrived last week. This month I’ll finish out the build, the planting, and generally make the best of the time I have left before the temps drop to below freezing and stay there for a while. This greenhouse isn’t heated, so I’d only planned for 3-season use.
  • Denise Birthday Getaway = This one’s just for fun, but is still a sizable thing for the month. I’m working the system and cashing in a ton of travel points to make for a very nice birthday gift for my partner! We’ll be visiting the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in style (I’ve never been!).
  • Raspberry Pi Network monitoring & logging = I still have weird issues going on every now and again, and it’s time to throw some Pi at the problem. I also want to set it up as my DNS once more, and possibly roll my own VPN as a stretch goal.
  • Full Plex & Nextcloud integration = Now that I’ve got my NAS setup and my data mostly deduplicated, it’s time to harvest the fruits of this labor. I want ALL my music and ALL my videos and ALL my documents to be instantly accessible to me (privately!) from my home network, and anywhere else I happen to be. Wish me luck!
  • Financial Plan Forward = Money advice in general has never suited me, because my life has never looked like most people in general. No kids, no faith in my country’s economy long-term, no constants anywhere for either income or outgo. Now that least the income piece has changed, I have the means to potentially pay off the debt I incurred in the last year. So I’m focused on doing that, and making a plan for what happens after. I’ve not been here for a looong time, I’ve not let myself plan like this. It’s time. Time to make the most of what I’ve got and do things a bit differently than ever before. And probably very differently than everyone else, because my circumstances and my perspectives just are.

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 09/03/2020)

Two months in on my new job as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec and all’s well. I’m basically doing a single-handed “migrate in place” exercise with their Learning Management System, while the rest of the learning admin team (one f/t employee, one p/t contractor) keeps the LMS ship afloat. I’m auditing everything everywhere in the system and starting from the ground up to essentially re-implement the LMS while it’s running. Delicate work, with a lot of time pressure to get it done.

I’m also recently certified as a Prosci Change Management Practitioner, and am working closely with a fellow coworker to implement a training intake process utilizing that methodology. Of course I’m thinking bigger than that, and trying to solve all the problems that there are that our department comes into contact with.

And because I have video skills, I’m getting kinda suckered into helping produce some presentations for the top brass too. It is nice to break out the old interview, animation, and video editing skills, as I don’t get so much call for them these days.

Yes, I’m still serving as the Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group, and our price comparison tool finally launched! I’d link to it but it’s only for our corporate partners in deregulated energy markets in Texas right now. When I can share the link for you to compare pricing on green energy solutions in your area, you bet I will :) Now that it is live, I have a plan to hand off the coding work fully so I can focus on the marketing part as I was brought in to do.

Snap Synapse LLC, my company of 15 years, is now almost completely dormant. As of this month, I’ve finally closed out the old contracts. Though I do potentially have two light-duty opportunities waiting in wings with previous clients. We’ll see if that lines up, I’m not pushing. I have plenty to do.

Personal projects for September include:
  • Building the 8×16 greenhouse kit that I purchased last month. Not all the pieces have arrived yet, but most of it has so I’m prepping the site and designing the contents now.
  • Building out the Synology 920+ NAS that arrives tomorrow with 32TB of storage to consolidate, deduplicate, and backup all my data. I’ll also be hosting a Plex media server on it, though I may not get to setting that up until next month.
  • Preparing & delivering a 1hr webinar “eLearning Under the Hood” for eLBX Online, this year’s eLearning Brothers conference which is again paired with Learning DevCamp.
  • Starting my Data Analytics Bootcamp training program that I was just accepted into. Being that my new job will eventually require some heavy-hitting data analysis and visualization skills, I thought it good to refresh and strengthen them now.
  • Completing my first Cornerstone OnDemand Certification. As you may recall, I won a Rockstar of the Quarter award from Cornerstone last year for my valued contributions to their user community. Though I know a lot about their Learning Management System, I’ve never actually gone to the trouble of going through their certification programs. They have several, and this month I plan to begin (and hopefully finish!) what I think will be the easiest one.
  • I may make a brief appearance as The One Mouth Band again online, backing up a friend and fellow musician who’s passing through, Martesimo. In these COVID-times, beatboxing is basically a superspreading event, so I have to be careful where I play. Livestreaming from home should be fine. I’ll probably stream it on Facebook or something.

Speaking of Facebook, I’m barely there anymore. I pretty much abandoned Instagram moths ago after reading too much research about the psychological impacts of that platform in particular. I’ve sworn off of Twitter until after the Election here in the USA. Everything is so hate-fueled and divisive and addictive that…I just can’t hang. LinkedIn I do still post to every weekday for L&D folks. That’s all automated though, I’m not actually on the platform daily anymore. If you’re thinking of doing something similar with social media yourself, I highly recommend that you read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. Even as someone who’s done social media fasts many times before, this was super helpful to me and I hope would be for you too.

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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