My current Crowdfunding projects…

So moving into the world of customer service for just a minute, this company does a great job. Blog2Print is the organization and frankly the name tells you their end game. They take your blog (here or anywhere) and make it into a physical book. I have now printed 4 books total and 4 PDF books. All of them are of amazing quality. My only complaint? If you have blogged for a long time (11 years for me) and have thousands of blogs (5400 so far) they don’t really have a good system that supports printing multiple books easily. You have to break it into ranges and print each book. It takes too long for me so I haven’t done it.

I haven’t done my Kickstarter and Indiegogo project blog in a while. I kind of drifted away from those in the past few months. So, without further ado I shall return to them.

Kickstarter

1. Pebble Time 2 ok, so this is the third Pebble project I have backed. I backed the very first one (and still have that Pebble on display). I also back them original Time (color!!!!) and now backing the time 2. What can I say about thus team? Great products, well built and I just love the functionality of the smart watch. Smart watches are a huge market now, and Pebble is one of the first (and in my opinion still the best by far!)

2. How do you know that a market exists? When an aftermarket is born. Pal Strap is a great new campaign that extends the functionality of your Pebble. Adding a wrist based GPS and extended battery. It makes the Pebble even more effective as a tool and is my second Kickstarter project I am focused on right now. This one makes the Pebble better and also shows that the market for both the smart watch and the Pebble are growing!!!!!

Indiegogo

1. There have been dozens of Universal Translators that have come to the crowdfunding world and most of them have failed to deliver. Pilot is the first I’ve backed in a while (still licking my wounds from the long promised never delivered others). They have a very intriguing concept, use cases and delivery concept. An ear piece that does your translation on the fly. I also like the fact that they included a couple of use cases focused around tourism. If you think about a market rife for improvement it is the world of international travel. I am super excited for this one.

2. The last campaign is a testing device. Qualmeter. It is interesting idea and one I wish I had access to right now, or at the least had access to for say the past 10 years. Know what your cables are outputting and if they are actually functioning as needed. There are so many USB cables on the market and so many of them are crap. It’s frustrating to plug your device into a USB hub that produces 1.5 amps only to find that your cable doesn’t support the required voltage. Or worse only supplies half a charge. Instead of starting your day ready to roll you start the day ready to roll over and scream. I can’t wait to test my cables. Also it allows to test your devices to make sure the cables you have are maximizing your charge time.

My rules are simple; I have to back the projects I review. For me that means that have to catch my eye, to find something and share it, that I am missing. So far of all the campaigns I have listed here on my blog only two haven’t delivered. One went dark almost a year ago, so I am going to write that one off. But of the other roughly 50 campaigns I have shared, 48 have or are in final stages of delivery. There is a risk in Crowdfunding. I have another 14 campaigns I never advertised that frankly haven’t delivered in more than two years. So you do have to accept that there is a risk. But the risk is often well less than the reward!

.doc

IoT/CPS guy and Crowdfunded

Once more into the SCRaaS breech!

The concept of IoT/CPS and layered integration. There are a number of interesting IoT/CPS solutions out there today. Yesterday I talked about the mobile worker and two products that will change the cellular device. It is about input and it is about screens. I talked about for the 100th time about my concept SCRaaS or the Screen as a Service. Where the screen is an available and consumable service like any cloud service provider is today. You simply connect and if there is a usage change it is per use not per ability to connect.

I also talked a little bit about the changes that people don’t always consider when evaluating the SCRaaS potential. You can actually modify the way you interact with your devices radically. For example you can create notification systems that take advantage of where you are and what device you have. Get a text while driving, ask Siri, Cortana or Google to read it to you. You can even respond via voice and NEVER pick up the cell phone. Yesterday in our neighborhood a young lady literally almost hit as as we were walking, she was busy talking on the cell phone and driving. What about software that tracks how fast you are moving and the activity of the phone, and forces your phone to be off. It is scary to me when you consider danger. As I said, if not for quick thinking and reactions one of my sons and a dog would have been hit.

So a notification system using the SCRaaS devices. Information you reference four or five times a day goes on the 2nd screen (PopSlate). Information that is critical or impacts you right now goes on the smart watch screen. Your cell phone screen locks when the phone is in motion above 9 mph. It isn’t safe to run and text, it also isn’t safe to drive a bike or car, motorcycle or boat and text. But the rest of the time allow the user to interact with email etc on their cellular phone. Push larger display items to a larger display (Nexdock) or Chromecast.

My device, my message and ultimately my delivery. The concept of SCRaaS offers flexibility beyond anyone device. Your smart watch becomes your instant notification system. For example texts. Today I have all my texts go to my Pebble. In the future I would probably reconsider that and reduce the messages to urgent ones. Family always, work only during certain hours and so on. If it isn’t family then put it on the 2nd screen on my phone (PopSlate). The use cases are simple here. Reduce the clutter in front of me. Increase the velocity of some information critical to me. Decrease the rate of information that isn’t as critical to me. Use the 2nd screen to reduce the clutter of my phone when I power on the actual phone. Make it

When the information requires interaction but is larger than is effective on my cellular screen, push it to the Nexdock or other large screen as a service devices. You could using network connected projectors quickly provide screen services in virtually any setting. If you were concerned about the security of anyone grabbing a screen you could add security to the connected screens or force additional login information on the device. Seeing someone hack the giant screens around Times Square, cool once but annoying if every tourist in N.Y.C. posts their pictures to Times Square.

What we gain here is a structured notification system. An ability to interact with devices in a number of structured and managed ways. We begin to reduce the clutter of information that blows up our days. We decide what is screen worthy and what screen it is worthy of.

SCRaaS take control of the screens around you. Take control of the information flow to you. Never miss that important message again, and always know what the weather is when you step outside. Once we move to the reality of SCRaaS, the next step is VR. Imagine for a moment you are on a business trip in another country. Sitting alone in the morning in Japan with your family 12,000 miles away. Connecting your phone to the VR service, you can be there with your family as they wake up for the day. Connected and present while you are far away. A reality that isn’t beyond the horizon.

.do

SCRaaS and VR dreamer

Expanding the SCRaaS concept…

Innovation is something to cherish. It is a unique or even a simple way of looking at a problem and finding a better way to solve the problem. It is a safety feature like an air bag or a seatbelt. It is lights that turn on in your house when you open your garage door at night. It is automation, it is simplification and presentation.

Recently there have been a number of interesting innovations on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that intrigue me. The products include the Nexdock, and PopSlate. Both are extensions of the concept that you only carry your cellular device and not a computer or tablet. Interesting in that they make interacting with your cellular phone easier. PopSlate is a detachable screen you add to the cellular device while Nexdock is an interest screen. Over time using the software of the systems they will enable USB and other devices so that you will have more memory, and additional capabilities.

360 degree cameras are available. I use the BUBL camera all the time. I love seeing what a room looks like from every angle possible. Its integration with the cloud (for image processing) and the cellular phone make for an impressive presentation. That market continues to grow and expand. This explosion of innovative ideas in part because of the IoT/CPS reality. In part because the reality of tech savvy users and that tech base of users has increased. The integration of your cellular device to the IoT/CPS potential is amazing. There are already great points of integration being the smart watch, and the two new products I’ve mentioned Nexdock and PopSlate. These devices extend your cell phone to a Screen as a Service device (SCRaaS). There are more of these devices coming. Keecker is one that presents interesting potential changes. Keecker is a SCRaaS that adds flexibility to your devices. Because it is also a system running its own OS, it can also operate independently of the cellular device. This comes back to something a very smart person told me a long time ago, while the Swiss Army knife is a great tool, you wouldn’t use it to cut down a tree.

New solar backpacks are emerging. These include the ability to increase the solar panel size when you are stopped, at the same time doing a trickle charge while you are walking. It extends and expands the concept of a micro grid to create the new concept of a personal grid, a home grid and a neighborhood together creating a micro grid. Where within the micro grid you have power production and power distribution that never leaves the micro grid. As more and more houses in a neighborhood add solar power the reality of shared power becomes greater. Of course the reality of multiple solar providers creates a different problem but that one is economic not technology limited. How do you manage the distributed production if you have four solar companies producing the energy? IE WHO GETS PAID!

So I can ask the what’s next question. I won’t but I could. Its why I think Shark Tank whiffed on PopSlate. They didn’t understand the SCRaaS concept fully. I have a smart watch. I have ordered a PopSlate. My intention is not to stop wearing the smart watch. It is gives me direct information that is short. For example, if you get a text that says meet me outside, you wisely check your watch (see text) and then you do what? I look at the weather personally. That is simply taking the phone out of the pocket and seeing what the weather is, always displayed on the PopSlate SCRaaS. Simple, reduces the number of times I have to unlock my phone considerably. Any information that is critical to you can be a notification on a smart watch and further information on the PopSlate system. I wouldn’t however use either to reply to a detailed email. That would be when I would grab the Keecker system or I would grab the Nexdock. Within the concept of SCRaaS is the concept of functionality. The more screen RealEstate you have for complex tasks the better. The smaller the message is, the smaller the SCRaaS can be. Smart watch = quick small information consumption. PopSlate (slightly larger screen) = information I consume frequently but not as small as would present on the Smart Watch and then Nexdock for information I need to see, evaluate and respond to. My favorite that I have used for years is the reality of an Excel spreadsheet or a web meeting. In both those cases you don’t use your cellular phone screen, your smart watch but instead you use Keecker or Nexdock as your SCRaaS.

The screens are coming. The data is already there. It is now surfaced in a way that will make us smarter!

The context of what you say is as important as….

One of the things I have long believed is that everyone should have to spend a year as a public school teacher. I have in recent years amended that to everyone should serve in one of the following roles at least once in their career. Police/Fire or first responders of any form, Military in any form or being a public school teacher. Why?

Each of those professions teaches you to approach people differently. To access quickly the situation and respond in a measured and effective manner. Don’t walk from the problems that impact you right now, because they are going to get worse if left untended. Problems don’t improve with age. They simmer and bubble and eventually create the caldron of hate.

It isn’t feasible, my belief. There aren’t enough jobs in the professions listed for everyone to be in them. But it would help solve a number of communication and interaction problems we have in our world. It is about building, maintaining and improving structure and order. People are really hard to build order around. They like the many facets of the world they are a part of and consume.

Communication is such an integral part of how we enter this world. Things that impact us as people are so often wound around communication. The conversation where the person dismisses your feelings ends up spinning you into a deeply negative thought process. Why? You think. Why you ponder? Why you ask over and over and over and over. Until you realize that the why isn’t anything to do with you. The why of communication is always one of two things. Something between the two of you, or something between the two of you.

Ok so it’s really one thing. Between the two of you. Communication is about the connection of two people. Even one to many communication is still a connection. It either resonates with you or it doesn’t. That resonation is the connection. That connection or lack of connection changes the communication. Sometimes we listen to a speaker and we wonder if they speaking to us. Sometimes we begin formulating arguments against what they are saying, because they are speaking near us but not with us. Communication is such a fragile framework.

That’s why I believe everyone should have a balance of teaching and first responder/military training. It gives you the ability to build and understand teams. In building a team to expand that team and make it stronger. It gives you a framework for the communication you are driving and delivering.

I won’t argue the need for ethics. I believe ethics are a given. Organizations that have systemic ethics issues have many other issues as well. Ethics drives so many communication processes and interactions that you can’t hide that behind false communication. That one to many, when I don’t trust or believe you is nearly impossible to bridge. It becomes a gap and that gap is ethics.

Back to my beginning theme, for me there is a missing piece that impacts people. That quick ability to access a situation and respond with that situation. That’s why I believe teachers, first responders and military trained professionals are successful beyond their original professions. They are trained to calmly access the situation and quickly get to the root cause. Clear, concise communication with the intent of sharing and solving quickly.

My final conclusion, having grown up in an educator’s home (the inquiry method) and having learned the OODA Loop modeling later, there are many points of intersection. OODA Loops are designed to improve decision making. The inquiry model is designed to get students interested, involved, engaged and learning. Both end up with the same result, connected communication.

.doc

communications dreamer

Failure isn’t a one way street.

What are we responsible for as human beings? What level of interaction is wholly our responsibility? Is there one? Do we as humans have responsibility (solely) for any one specific interaction in our lives? Probably not, right? We are always engaged and involved, and own a portion of every interaction but frankly the reality is we aren’t the sole owner. If a relationship fails it is because of both sides. There are cases where one side is wholly responsible but those are the ones that are outside the realm of normal like Domestic Violence and murder. In those cases, the perpetrator is responsible for what happened.

In the course of normal human interaction there are varying degrees but in all cases a joint responsibility. Both sides own the interaction and therefore any failures that occur. But if one side never owns up to their responsibility what happens next?

My father introduced to the Novel Flatlands many years ago. I spent hours reading that book (he reminded me of the book when he gave me a copy much later on). All things are lines and therefore relationships fit within physical space. Simple point to point connections that result between people have shared responsibility.

I have mentored many people over the years and one of the hardest things to learn as a professional is that reality. We all want to spend our time blaming someone else for what happens around us. We want to place the negative view of that relationship wholly on them. As long as it is not an abusive or bullying situation that just isn’t the case. People are always responsible for ½ the bad connections.

A good friend of mine is an Electrical Engineer. One of the things he always talks about is the quality of the connection. If power doesn’t make it to both sides, the connection is bad. The same is true for interpersonal connections. Both sides have to be engaged and wired properly.

Another good friend is a phenomenal public speaker. I love going to his DC area talks. He is simply riveting. He always says the path to miscommunication starts with two people. One message, one discussion, two people and a disagreement. Both parties own what happens next. Interestingly one party will always blame the other party for the failure. Why? We don’t want to accept responsibility for failure.

I fail all the time. I often publish my blogs with early morning grammatical errors. I try to remove most of them but frankly I fail. I fail in communication all the time. Things hat I think are clearly said sometimes aren’t. I accept that about myself and I work to get better. I am responsible for this problem. Yes, there are times I wish I could blame someone else. But when I start blaming instead of taking responsibility I ultimately lose. There is genius in other’s. I sometimes realize this. That the ideas of others are so much better than my own ideas. That I need to change my thinking. I need to be responsible for my communication and change that because someone else is right. I accept. I own. I change. Maturity tells us that the path to understanding is the wisdom of age. Reality tells us that sometimes people don’t mature. They continue to be angry. It continues to be the fault of others. Blame isn’t just a path it is a way of life.

I choose to accept that I fail. I am failing now. I have failed in the past. I will fail again. My goal is to put myself in a place where all the failures will add to success. That I can succeed as a person, as a parent as most important as a human being.

I am wrong. I do fail. I do fall. But it doesn’t matter how far you fall, or how many times you fail it only matters how high you bounce.

I love this failure is an event not a person. When we fail, it is just that event that fails. Not the entire person. When you close a person out because they failed once you really aren’t doing them any good.

No learns unless they are told where they failed. But reality is that some failures (HR or Domestic Abuse) can’t be accepted. You move on from those failures. In the case of Domestic Violence or HR type issues it is ok to blame the other person and move away. Self-preservation dictates that we never accept that kind of treatment.

Failure is an event in everybody’s life.

It is something we all do.

Forgiving failures is what makes us human.

.doc

Trying to be a human being

The three rules for great teams!!!!!!!!!!

If an employee comes to you with something that bothers them what should you do? I know that I was offered a great training opportunity as a manager in a previous job. The training talked about not forcing employees to feel bad ever. That you listen and offer support. If someone says something that hurts your employee you do the right thing. I know, I tried and frankly as a manager it isn’t that easy. I lose an employee because I didn’t accept being told no, but I didn’t find a fast way to solve the problem and the employee left. I still feel bad about that. I could have resolved that faster.

Managers that strive to be leaders look for a team path. Building a team isn’t hard. Keeping a team moving forward isn’t hard. It takes three things:

· Honest Communication

· Listening

· A goal

The first two should nicely drive the third. Honest communication means there isn’t back trails and back channel communication about people. As a leader you communicate with everyone involved. As a manager you always put your team on the CC line even if your boss didn’t include them. If the goal is a solid functional team they have to know the good and the bad.

I’ve built good teams over the years. How did I know my classroom was a good team? We could quickly within hours take a new student and make them part of the team. I’ve had great teams as a manager, how did I know they were great teams? They succeeded, even when my directions were at best wrong. They still managed to take the concepts and make it into something amazing. I’ve sadly also been on bad teams. I know now quickly when a team is bad. They don’t follow the three rules above.

Now honest communication is a two-fold process. As I said you have included them on the upward and downward communication. The other side of that is you have to tell them when they do a good job. That failure is ultimately the end game for your team if you don’t. Teams don’t function on negative. They just don’t. They wither and eventually they crumble. By the way, if someone is on your team and they do nothing good or worthy of praise then why are they there?

I’ve had managers over the years tell me that a specific team member wasn’t preforming. I watched that person and realized that in fact sometimes they are preforming but the manager isn’t. To build a good team you have a good manager.

Support your team. Tell them when they do something right. Regardless. Leaders always tell people when they have done the right thing. Managers often forget. Don’t in your honest communications adopt the what have you done for me lately perspective. Remember to balance the good with the bad. Reward the good, pull the bad aside and have a one on one conversation.

Public shaming is interesting in that it is still one of the most prevalent management techniques used. It does no good in any form. Public shaming creates resentment in the person shamed and fear in the non-shamed public. Who knows when it is you that will be shamed.

So building a team requires honest communication. Be fair with your own evaluation. If you are weak at something, tell the team. They know, but the honest communication will help the team accept and move on.

Teams are living creatures. They need three things. Honest Communication, listening and A Goal. If you give your teams all three, they will save the world.

You cannot take away my dreams. But if you never hear my stories what have we all lost?

To those who read these words I apologize for the probably 50th time for the many Typo’s and grammatical errors I make. I write these blogs at 4 in the morning Eastern time and most of the time am not awake. So please excuse the typos. I am trying to live to my ideal of sharing information rather than focusing on presenting perfect information and while I am accomplishing the former the latter is still important. I have cut down the error rate over the years and will continue to strive to improve.

I had a discussion on LinkedIn with a dear friend reminding me about the typos and trying to reduce them but also reminded me of the importance of getting information out of your head and into the world. As a child I grew up on the stories of my father and my grandfather. More my grandfather than my father, although dad did share great stories from time to time. My grandfather had many great stories that he shared. I grew to love, wait for, and remember those stories. I’ve shared some of them in the family history project I started a couple of years ago.

In the business world and in government services the processes that are not documented and the concepts that are never written down are the ones that eventually are lost. The person leaves the company or retires and the information never does anything except wither and die. We lose so much data over time. So many ideas and concepts that we lose. It is not perfect we think therefore it shouldn’t leave our thoughts. Keep it tight inside until it is polished and perfect. But instead that makes things worse over time.

There is a concept that I learned as a beginning teacher called Whole Language. Where you taught young children to produce writing regardless of the words and concepts. Just to get the ideas on paper was the critical process. Mixed with science it made for a fun classroom. Don’t worry about if it’s perfect, get it down and get it out.

I would argue that getting out into the wild is as important as having it in the first place. One idea may spawn 100 more. One great concept that you in passing come up with may spawn the next great thing. Ideas are free. They are as the great writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said the one thing (ideas) that you can’t take away from a person. My ideas (and your ideas) set you free. So get them out. Share them.

Don’t worry about typos, I’ve put enough out to change the world 12 times. The typos don’t make the content less. What makes the content less? Never being shared. Yes, Solzhenitsyn was right you can never take away someone’s ideas. They are in your head. But to use the project management rule, what happens if you are hit by a bus? What happens if you sit in a dark room and never that sliver of light that makes the world a better place?

Dylan Thomas told us “Do not go gentle into that good night…” Don’t take that idea, that concept that wonderful story into that good night. Write it down, share it someone. Find a place where you can post it, and share. The world will be a better place if we are able to share all the brilliant ideas in all the heads of the world!