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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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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 08/06/2020)

As of today, I’m one month in on my new job. It’s going well so far as the “Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager” for ConvaTec, a medical solutions company with about 10,000 employees globally. I wrote about the reasons for taking this opportunity here.

After working for 15 years as a contractor for primarily tech startups and financial & insurance businesses, it really is nice to work for a company that’s making a tangible difference in the duration and quality of people’s lives. They really do have some of the best products on the market for wound care, ostomy, catheters, & diabetic needs. Nothing sexy, and nothing you ever want to need. But if you need this stuff, then you NEED it to work well for you, and for me this company is great fit. I’m happy with the team, and…I’ve got my work cut out for me as far as technology and learning & development are concerned!

All the other stuff I was up to didn’t quite die down in time as planned, the last month has been overfilled with closing up existing projects and trying not to say yes to new ones. I am still serving as the Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group, an energy broker providing commercial-style pricing of solar & green energy for residential customers in Texas. Our launch got pushed out and I got pushed hard to deliver way more code than I thought this job would entail. But within a week or two I expect to be able to pull back to my original job definition and scale down to few hours a week of testing & iteration can keep that rolling while the residuals steadily trickle in.

Snap Synapse LLC, my company of 15 years, is still a thing for the moment. Maybe not for much longer though. As I’m closing up those straggling consulting engagements, I’m wondering if it presents any future benefit. Right now I’m leaning toward letting it go and letting its subsidiary, Clear Mind Publishing, take center stage. We’ll see.

Music used to be a central part of my life, but any performing as The One Mouth Band would be one big COVID vector. Beatboxing IS basically a superspreading exercise. I still make music, but pretty quietly and to myself. Lots of gentle hang and percussion. It may stay that way for a while.

One of the things I’m way into these days is food security. We’ve been getting more and more into growing plants in the last few years (now even eating and entirely plant-based diet!), and soon I expect to be building a greenhouse to extend our growing season. Seems like a good time to kick things up a notch. I’m also buying lots of long-term food storage because, well, given all that’s going on and all that’s about to, I don’t see any downside being prepared.

I’m working a lot, not doing anything exciting or going anywhere at all. Just did my annual month off from Facebook (also ending today) and that was nice. I didn’t stop my LinkedIn or Twitter posts this time, but obviously I wasn’t posting here for the last month either. That was on purpose. Miss me? Be honest now ;)

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 07/01/2020)

There are seasonal trends…and then there’s 2020.
There are typical years…and then there’s this one.
All bets are off and everything is on the table now.

I’m making some big, systemic changes this month. I think it’s a good thing!

So I’ve taken a job — like a full-time, employee, real jobby job — for the first time in over 20 years. I wrote about the reasons for taking this opportunity here. I’m excited to start my ideal new role as “Learning Technology & Analytics Manager” for ConvaTec next week!

ConvaTec? Yeah, I’d never heard of them either :)

“ConvaTec is a global medical products and technologies company focused on therapies for the management of chronic conditions, with leading market positions in advanced wound care, ostomy care, continence and critical care, and infusion devices. ConvaTec’s products provide a range of clinical and economic benefits including infection prevention, protection of at-risk skin, improved patient outcomes and reduced total cost of care. ConvaTec has 9,400 employees and does business in more than 100 countries.”

Not too shabby, eh? Though I only worked about a year in the medical field prior to this, it’s actually right up my alley for a number of reasons. It’s a fundamental shift for me in my relationship to work. And to be honest, it really feels like time for that.

As for the other stuff I was doing?
  • Producing virtual events & trainings are out
  • Technical writing is done (well, last deliverables going out this week, then done)
  • Coding is being outsourced, thank goodness
  • Music lessons have gone silent
  • Even providing coaching is something I’m letting go now, for the first time in forever…

I am still the Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group, an energy broker providing commercial-style pricing of solar & green energy for residential customers in Texas. This month we go live to a critical new market segment that I was brought on to develop, and after that I think a few hours a week of testing & iteration can keep that rolling while the residuals steadily trickle in.

I’m still wrestling with what to do with my business of nearly 15 years, Snap Synapse LLC. As I wrote about recently, it might make sense to close it up. I am still tapped occasionally to provide high-level strategy and direct non-competitive companies to appropriate learning & marketing solutions though. So I’ll likely just put it into “Sleep Mode” for the foreseeable future but not close out completely. I dunno, I haven’t talked to my lawyer or accountant yet. I will do that soon and should have all this stuff figured out by this time next month.

And as for musical performances? Well, as you may have noticed, they don’t really exist these days. When the pandemic hit, I thought I’d start livestreaming concerts and stuff because I do know how. But what I ended up doing was helping other musician friends get themselves setup for this, and then stepping back. I am fortunate enough to have other skills and avenues for money to find its way to me. Most of my performer friends do not. So I’ll leave the performing to them and not crowd the market any more than it already is. I am still making music, but only at home for the pleasure of it.

One of the biggest struggles for me now is to leave space. I’m so accustomed to filling in all the gaps with new enterprises and projects that I have to keep reminding myself that this is a unique opportunity to do things differently, and to find a new balance that serves me and my loved ones better.

So I’m focused on habits & roles instead of outcomes & projects. Things like:
  • writing at least 10min daily, it doesn’t matter what
  • walking around the lake near where I live every day (about 2 miles)
  • getting up early (my new job will be on East Coast time, which means I’ll probably need to be at work by 7am my time)
  • being explicit about ON vs OFF time with work and with screens of all types
  • promptly replying to people who reach out to me

This last one is something that I’ve never been very consistent at, mostly because there’s never been any consistency in my life or schedule. Now there is, and I’m building in time for you. Feel free to reach out and put this to the test!

By the way, how are YOU doing these days? I’d love to know. Hit me up or leave a comment below. Wishing you all the best for this new quarter and new month of July!

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 06/01/2020).

The pandemic mentality seems to have lightened up of late, and I’m getting inundated by work. Due to my own personal financial panic, I’ve stopped being picky and ended up saying “yes” to far too many things. All totally unrelated. Here’s most of what I’m working towards in June:

  1. Virtual Producer I’m producing online conferences, trainings, meetings, and other events for a few folks, including training industry goto’s like Virtual Learning Collaborative and the legendary Bob Pike. It mostly means I’m doing things getting up at 4am and providing many hours of user support to people who still can’t seem to figure out how a mute button works.
  2. Technical Writer I think that’s what this is called, but I’m actually not really sure. I’ve been hired by an innovative company called Runbuggy to produce their customer-facing knowledgebase. They’re kinda like an Uber for cars. They have an app/website that connects people who buy cars with the people who sell them and the transporters in-between. Pretty cool stuff, but not everybody gets it right away. I’m helping to change that by creating the self-serve support documentation this month.
  3. Coder This is something I thought I’d never really return to, but here I am. As part of my role as Marketing Director for Energy Utility Group (an energy broker startup in Austin), I ended up migrating their website then building out the infrastructure to support new opportunities for them to sell green power with commercial pricing into the residential market. I’m still deep in APIs, JSON files, Javascript, and way more server administration concerns and power utility politics than I want to be.
  4. Consultant/Blogger for Cox eLearning Consultants, providing marketing content & strategy to learning & edtech companies. I’m writing blog posts, providing marketing strategy, and advising an LMS companies.

What’s not getting done from last month and really can’t wait any longer is taxes & finances. Also other clients that I need to follow up with for their music lessons, coaching sessions, marketing copy, YouTube strategy, small-business networking infrastructure, and other other disparate and different projects.

It’s a lot. After getting up early and staying up late day after day after day without a break, it feels like a lot too. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to pull back on the choke and power through on a few things until they’re fully done. Right now that feels like a long ways off…

How are YOU doing these days? I’d love to know. Hit me up or leave a comment below.

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