Utah Technology Council Meeting October 29, 2010

The purpose of this article is to share my experience at a technology council meeting with many prominent people in business and technology. It is to share my learning and intentions after attending.

I just got back from a technology conference in Salt Lake. You see, something very interesting happened. I was planning on attending Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Growth Workshop – which takes place this Halloween weekend. But I had this nagging feeling that I shouldn’t go. I wasn’t sure why. The workshop would have been valuable. His workshop is going on now and today I can see why I had the nagging feeling.

Our CTO at work asked me today if I would like to attend a technology conference in Salt Lake City. Our company had someone back out and I was one of the next people he thought of. Of course I said yes! My sweet wife was very understanding in allowing me to take a Friday evening away from the house. Let me share with you some thoughts from this conference now.

Prominent People

First off, wow! What an amazing environment. A stark contrast to the daily struggles I see. This was a room full of people – and about people – who are making a tremendous difference in the world with technology. The current governor of Utah, Gary Herbert was there. Utah’s former governor, Michael Leavitt was there. Many prominent people in business were there as well. And by prominent, I mean people who have created multi million/billion dollar companies with focuses in health care, internet, and other technological areas. Let me share some of their names for you to digest and lookup should you desire.

  • John Chambers – CEO, Cisco Systems
  • Gary Herbert – Utah governor
  • Dale Ballard – Pioneer in disposable medical products
  • Gary Crocker – Medical deivce/biotech entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • Michael Leavitt – Entrepreneur, collaborator, visionary and statesman
  • Richard Nelson – founder and CEO of the Utah Technology Council
  • Alan Hall – Chairman and master of ceremonies
  • Jeffrey Nelson – Vice chairman
  • Eric Clafson – Vice chairman
  • Orin Hatch – Utah senator

The keynote speaker was John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco systems. I learned that John took over the company in 1991 with just a few hundred employees and now the company has over 70,000 employees. He has a billion dollar net worth. He has an amazing vision for the future and his ability to convey and meet market demands for technology staggered me. John gives me something much greater than myself to shoot for. There are many steps for me to take and much for me to learn before I can take the stage like John did. But I want to.

Key ideas by John Chambers

  • Collaboration and video in the future will be essential
  • Using technology to improve education and health care
  • Innovate before your peers
  • Everything is becoming connected
  • Think 5-10 years down the road

I am joyous and overwhelmed at the same time. Businesses, Universities, and other organizations attended the conference in Salt Lake. It was suit and tie / your best dress event. I sat at the table with 9 other people from our company, including our CTO. I just tried to sit and listen and take everything in. The tickets were a few hundred dollars a piece to this council meeting. This was not your average get together!

What I realized

When I listened to John Chambers talk, I felt my energy increase. I know I’m just one man looking to make a difference. So is John Chambers. So is Gary Herbert. So is Jeremy Johnson! I realize that it is possible to make a huge difference in the world. If the CEO of Cisco systems can do it – if he can gain the prestige, power, and sophistication to make the difference he is, then why not me? I think the only limiting factor is my ability to overcome fear and go get it.

I can accept nothing less than CEO or CTO of a company that makes a difference on a large scale. I can accept nothing less than the responsibility and wealth that come with such a position. It is my destiny – my created destiny to have an impact on this level. And I say this not with a young, naive look in my eyes. I know full well I will be stretched well beyond my current understanding of myself and what I feel comfortable with. I know there are unknowns that will test my limits to achieve this.

But make no mistake, I am going for it with all engines firing. I have a meeting at work tomorrow with my team. I am going to tell them that I have a high standard for excellence. Those who don’t want to meet this standard should find another team. Those who want to meet the high standard better buckle up for a difference making ride.

I have my intent. I may not have the expertise, plan, or knowledge yet to fulfill it. But it starts with an intent. I will use my excellence in understanding details to flesh out the plan to get there. Thank you for joining me on this adventure.

Chasing Greatness

For those of you who don’t know, I am a senior web developer and scrum master for a leading online company. It’s a great job, I love the people I work with, and I’m skilled at what I do. I’m sure many of you are employed and doing a tremendous job wherever you work. I’m also willing to bet that many of you look at your current position and wonder, “Is this as far as I will go?” Let’s tackle this issue now.

That’s an important question, “Is this as far as I will go?” I think about it daily. My standards of what I should expect in my life continue to jolt me to exceed what I am currently doing. But the results I am hoping for are just not happening. I can even predict that if I continue to do a great job and bring people together over the next year, that I will be having this same conversation with myself this time next year. With that realization, here’s what I’ve discovered.

A better question to ask would be, “What am I going to do daily to set me on a new course for greatness?” This is a big reason I am writing about daily disciplines. This is the one area needing major tune up for me. Perhaps some of you reading are struggling with the daily disciplines such as retiring to bed early, arising early, healthy eating, exercise, reading the right books, increasing memory, persuasion, speaking, and more. I believe these small things are essential to doing the great things. Here’s why:

Humans are creatures of habit. It’s a simple statement. We are the product of what we do consistently. If we consistently eat junk food, our body shape generally tells the story. If we exercise regularly and lift weights, our physique tells the story. If we study the best books and become an expert, our knowledge tells the story. If we master communication and persuasion, the results tell the story. You can get a good idea of the habits of someone by seeing them and speaking with them for a few minutes.

Therefore, to be great, consistently do the ‘little’ things that will repetitively increase your skills. Jim Rohn said it well, “If you want to become good at something, then you’ve got to do it often. Repetition repeats the skill.” This is the charge of greatness. It is the daily disciplines that I am currently writing a series about. That is where it starts. Let’s master the daily disciplines together. Stay tuned for more disciplines so that we can become great together!

It’s Goal Time #1

UPDATE: Many of these goals have already changed and such is the nature of adapting. I look forward to sharing with you the big changes when the time comes.

I wrote an article about a few of my goals when I first launched my website. It’s been a couple weeks since I started working regularly on it and it’s time to show the power of my first set of goals! So far, I have completely achieved 4/5 of them. The one I have not achieved is guest posting – but I know where I want to guest post now and what I will write about.

This is a series of articles outlining my goals for making this website a useful, valuable, and heavily visited place for people to get hope, inspiration, learn, grow, and find the secrets of other people’s success.

Previous goals

You can read my previous article on my first set of goals here.

  • Goal 1: Get that Alexa website ranking under 10 million.
    This has been achieved as the Alexa ranker on the right will testify. Is there a guarantee it will stay under 10 million? Of course not – but if I keep fueling this website, I am certain it will continue to improve. I have improved it by creating useful content, commenting on other blogs, finding related sites to get back links in, and telling those closest to me about it. I’ve really just barely started networking with people and working on traffic.
  • Goal 2: Create 10 posts of valuable content before I start the launch of the website.
    I’m happy about this one. I’ve created more than 10 posts now that solve real problems with actual strategies and techniques. Now I just need to work on getting people to see them and realize their value.
  • Goal 3: Guest post on 1 well known blog.
    The only goal I have not yet achieved. But I know where I want to do my guest post. I just need to think of something interesting to say and then write it and submit it to them. If they say no, that’s okay – I will try a few other blogs and if nobody accepts it still, add it to my website here. :)
  • Goal 4: Create a live chat room where people can be assigned a key to join the room
    This one wasn’t so bad actually! I have a little ‘chat’ link in the top right that will let you chat in real time with other people. Guests can login without a username and password, and once logged in, changing your display name to whatever name you want is easy. There are some more customizations and rules I need to add, but I’m very happy with this.
  • Goal 5: Launch the website by notifying on all my websites about it, notifying about it on Twitter and Facebook, and submitting the site to Google.
    I decided to do this without the guest post. I’m using Twitter and Facebook now for my website and put links on my other websites to here. The site is officially launched!

New set of goals

First and foremost, I must continue on with some of my first set of goals! I must create useful content and continue to network more and more. But there are new things I can do now. Now that I have achieved most of the previous simple goals, I can add another small layer!

  • Continue to add useful content that will help people in their lives.
    Strategy: Limit posting to 2-3 times a week. The reason is that I need to spend time researching more about what people want to know and the major problems they are having. Starting March 1st, I will only do 2-3 posts a week so that they are more valuable and well thought out. They are good now, but I can always do better.
  • Grow my networking of websites and commenting to 20 websites. Make a list as a post and put it on this website.
    Strategy: Use Google, other blogs, and Alexa to find what sites I should comment and post on. Create an article that shows this list to the world (and so I can keep track of all of them, LOL).
  • Do a complete site evaluation every weekend to see if it is going in the right direction.
    Every Sunday, simply examine the traffic and interaction on the website. If it isn’t improving, come up with things I can do better and ask for help here on the website for what can be done. I am also reading what ‘experts’ are saying to do on other blogs.
  • Do 1 guest post and no new goals until it is done.
    Strategy: Do it by the end of March, no excuses.
  • Alexa ranking under 8 million.
    Strategy: Alexa is not the end all to seeing how trafficed your site is. Still it is some measure of it and the best I can think of at the moment for a concrete way to measure traffic success. I will do this by increasing my networking and adding more content. I will also add a visible way to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Also, my next goal will also help with this I believe.
  • Announce a live chat session and get at least one person to show.
    Strategy: Announce this via Facebook, Twitter, and this website here. I will have my first chat date sometime late March. It will be an open discussion centered around questions to ask me about anything.

This is a small step up from what I’ve been doing. And that’s good. I’ve got my site launched, iterated through the theme of it many times and will now spend time evaluating what the site should really be about and continuing to add useful content. I look forward to reporting to you on these goals!

The wizard wants to ask you if you have a set of goals you have not started on. Have you made your first set of simple goals? Just make a simple list like walk for five minutes a day, or eat two apples this week. Are you with me? We will do this together!

The REAL Secrets To Impressing Your Boss

Boss
image by chriscarlston

Let’s get real here for a moment. How many of you are so independently wealthy that you don’t have a job you go to and you can just do whatever you want whenever you want? Not many of you – the reality is most people have a full time job. And especially if you have a family, then finding a way to get an edge in that job is very important as it is probably your primary source of income. I’m going to share with you a simple guide about standing out from the rest of your co-workers.

By the end of this rich and in-depth article, you will have several key areas to improve in at work. You will also have strategies for how you can increase your worth and gain favor with your boss at your place of employment. Let’s get started!

Don’t try to impress

Do you try and force attention to work you’ve done? Are you complaining that nobody is recognizing the efforts you are putting in? If you are generally finding yourself unappreciated, then I ask you to think about this. Why are you feeling unappreciated? My guess is that it is you have a perception about those around you and things that are wrong with them. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. What matters is your attitude.

I had a good attitude when I was 19 years old at a library data entry job. It was ultra boring and I fought to stay awake. But I always smiled at people and treated them with respect. I always gave my best effort. Even if you are working at a tedious job, you have control over how you react to people. You’ll find that people will be impressed with you if you just have a good attitude and look for ways to help others.

Be proactive and innovate

Being proactive means taking steps to do work that nobody else wants to do. How many of your coworkers hear about something that needs to be done and the first thing they say is, “I’m not familiar with that area” or, “That’s so and so’s responsibility.” It’s natural to try and defer work. But if you are going to stand out, then it’s time to fill in the gaps that nobody wants to do. You’ll be known as the person who gets things done.

You can innovate at your job and really stand out. I recently had a project I needed to work on at my full time job. I sat for an entire day thinking about how to write a program to handle a system we were building. There had been talk for a while about ways to do it, but nothing had really stood out as the best way. As I sat and thought, I realized a way that would work and be easy to maintain and save processing power on the web servers. When I presented it to my boss, he was very happy with it and gave it the thumbs up.

What are some ways you can innovate at your place of employment? Chances are that the systems are old, the structure has been the same for years, the employees morale could use boosting, and there are ways to improve upon existing products and services. What are some things you could do right now? Do not let yourself fall into the trap that you can’t make a difference because you are not high enough up. Be aggressive and do it.

Be a leader

Ever seen the movie Braveheart? If you have, think about Willam Wallace, the protagonist of the movie and what a tremendous leader he is. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an inspiring movie. If you wanted to learn about leadership and just watched the movie and examined William Wallace’s character, you’d be well on your way!

There are simple ways to be a leader. Give someone at work a pep talk and boost their desire. Find work that needs to be done and do it. Take charge on existing work and then ask your boss to be in charge of it. Create internal systems and processes that enhance other employees work. Being a leader and being proactive go hand in hand. You must take initiative – and you must work harder than anyone else. That’s what leaders do.

Who are some leaders that you know of? What makes them special? What else would you add to being a leader?

Show savings

Showing how you can save a company money will get you noticed right away. If you can understand how your business works at your place of employment enough to the point you can actually create an improved system somewhere, then diagram that system in great detail and understanding, and finally add charts and graphs that show savings for the company – then you can probably approach the head of your department or even the CEO with your proposition.

Think that could never happen? I have a coworker (as of 2/20/2010) who did just that. He saw a way to improve upon a system the company was using. He created a lengthy and detailed presentation and presented it straight to the CEO himself! He showed how the company would save hundreds of thousands of dollars by using his new system. He was able to work at a new position as a team leader of a team that headed this project! If you just work a little harder understanding your business, you might be able to do something similar.

Learn and increase your skills

Have you learned anything new lately? Are you using skills which are dusty and outdated? Is there anything new you have learned in the last few years? If not, then the wizard humbly asks you to think about something. What would happen to you if you lost your job today? “But I have my job and I’ll deal with it when the time comes,” you say? Would you rather feel the pounding of a massive earthquake, or the discomfort of bumpy ride? This is the difference between losing your job without any valuable skills and taking the extra effort to increase your skills.

You can use new skills to add value to your company. Is there a technology that would make a piece of your company’s website oh so much better? Is there a method of management that would increase productivity? Is there a way to hammer faster, better, smarter, with more quality? Become someone who examines everything relentlessly and you will find areas for improvement and possible skills to solve the problem!

Not sure what skills you need to acquire? Find companies you would like to work for. Then find the position they are hiring for. Then see what skills they are asking for. Then go use Google to go find out about them and learn. Then the fun part – create your own project using these new skills – something YOU are in charge of! You’ll have something you can show a new and better employer as well potentially.

Don’t apologize

Have you ever erased something crucial at work? Maybe you messed up your company’s website somehow. Perhaps you forgot to send off a letter. Or you sent an email that was incorrect. Have you ever panicked because of something you did wrong? The wizard says to stop worrying. The deed is done. Put all your effort into fixing it. Work with whoever needs to be worked with to get things back how they should be. Show that you care by admitting you made a mistake and then fix the problem with zeal.

I personally believe nobody likes someone who says sorry all the time. The wizard says that impressive people are the ones who quickly fix what mistakes they make and then do what it takes never to make the mistake again. Your boss will see that you are cool under pressure. He will see that you’re not focused on your screw up. This will increase your worth in his eyes!

Be happy, positive, and optimistic

Would you rather work with someone who whines and complains or someone who compliments and succeeds? What is your attitude like? Do you dread going into work each day? Do you blame everything on management? Oh yes, that’s a big one! Is everything always management’s fault? If so, an attitude adjustment hammer is in order. Watch most people – they do blame management for almost everything. Be the person who is optimistic and happy. Your boss (and others) will like being around you.

The wizard can’t stress enough the importance of being happy, positive, and optimistic. Be realistic, but always see things as possible. Avoid blaming management as you would a serious disease. It does no good. If management really is the problem, can’t you be the leader who goes and fills the problem by presenting a solution directly to management? Think about that :)

This has been an in-depth review of how you can impress your boss. Let’s do a quick recap.

  • Don’t try to impress. Have a good attitude and lead by example.
  • Be proactive and innovate. Take charge and find areas your company can improve in.
  • Be a leader. Boost the confidence of those around you.
  • Show savings. Find ways to reduce company spending/reduce current costs.
  • Learn and increase your skills. Learn new and cutting edge techniques/skills. Be worth more than anyone else.
  • Don’t apologize. Stop saying, “Sorry about that.” Instead collaborate on solutions.
  • Be happy, positive, and optimistic. Be someone who always believes in a solution – someone people want to be around.

Phew, I think you should read this one again. There’s a lot of information about how to impress your boss, including ways you can improve yourself! Your strategy is to now apply some of these key areas at your place of employment. Find people who are having a tough time and lead them. Find flawed processes and systems and make them better. Save your company money. Spend an extra hour each day learning something new and valuable. What do you think of impressing your boss for the right reasons? Have any of you tried these or other techniques?

How Creating Your First Simple Goals With Strategies Will Radically Change Your Life

The goal (pun intended) of this article is for YOU to put in writing a few simple things you know you want to do and then come up with some simple strategies you will use to accomplish them. Then finally, take action and follow through fully with them. Do this, and you will have succeeded.

Goals with strategies will give you an edge in life that few people have. Most people are pretty good talkers when it comes to starting a business, getting in good health, or achieving great wealth. And it sure is fun to talk about isn’t it? Just dreaming about it all can make you tingly enough to almost float above the ground. But lets get to reality.

Goals with strategies puts you ahead because it gives a clear picture of what your success requires. Otherwise, how will you know if you are achieving success if you have no measure of it?

Goals give you the opportunity to take some action instead of talking – this means they put you in check to see if you are simply just talking a good game. Goals with strategies are wonderful. And if you start simple, you will feel good knowing you can accomplish them.

What are some of your own simple goals right now?

My first simple goals are listed below, including strategies I will use to accomplish them. In some cases, part of the goal is to figure out the strategy to use. Your goals should be relative to what you want to accomplish. In my case, there are a few things I want to accomplish with my website.

Please note, I am not creating goals for my short term, medium term, and long term life. I am not trying to figure out everything today. I am not going into why I am setting these goals. I am just trying to get started, which is where most people fail. I am not putting a set ‘date’ on when I will accomplish these goals. However, I will be working with sheer relentlessness to accomplish them. I believe if you work in this manner, that ‘dates’ will take care of themselves.

Here are my first set of goals. Goals are a tremendous way to measure success. These are nothing fancy, just simple goals I know I can achieve – it’s important to be realistic with your goals.

  • Goal 1: Get that Alexa website ranking under 10 million. It’s at 20 million as of right now (2/10/2010).
    Strategy: That’s okay, I’ve not done any traffic building steps yet. So I will create quality content that actually helps people. Guest post on popular and well written blogs; submit to Google; tell friends about the website via social networking; create an announcement on all my other websites. Also, come up with more ways to generate traffic and list them here. Figure out more ways to increase my traffic.
  • Goal 2: Create 10 posts of valuable content before I start the launch of the website.
    Strategy: Come up with 10 topics I know that people struggle with and are seeking answers for. Then create posts about it including what I’ve learned, what others have had to say, and product/service recommendations that will help further solve the issue.
  • Goal 3: Guest post on 1 well known blog.
    Strategy: Find some well known blogs through searching the internet. I will ask around and be resourceful. I already know some of them. Then contact their webmaster AFTER I’ve written my first 10 content posts, and ask if I could guest post.
  • Goal 4: Create a live chat room where people can be assigned a key to join the room (this one may be a little ambitious, but I want it).
    Strategy: The most lofty of my goals here. I am going to research open source chat tools and see if I can use my programming skills to customize the chat so users of this site can talk to each other quickly and effectively. In the future, with enough traffic, I’ll create a forum as well.
  • Goal 5: Launch the website by notifying on all my websites about it, notifying about it on Twitter and Facebook, and submitting the site to Google.
    Strategy: My most simple goal. It just requires me doing the first four and I’ll consider the website launched. When this happens, I will be moving these goals to a goal topic where I will consistently make my goals known.

I now have a simple measure of success. If I achieve these goals, I will consider myself successful. But when that happens, it’s time to upgrade to new and more challenging goals. But not until I achieve the simple ones. If I can’t get simple things down, there’s no point in thinking big.

What are five simple goals you can accomplish right now and what strategies will you use?

As I said before, it’s fun to talk about starting a business, exercising, or having lots of money. It’s another to start making a list of things to do to get there. And it’s even further still to start researching the best strategies to get there. I’m new at this, but I’m going to get better. There’ll be a history of my goals and how I accomplished them here to view on my website. I look forward to this challenge!

What strategies should you use? Start with what you know how to do. Then find people who are successful in the area(s) you are trying to achieve in. Find out what they are doing and look to them for advice. More than that is beyond the simple scope of this article.

Finally, how will this radically change your life? Because you will be taking action. As you do this, you will shift from a talker to a doer. And you may not succeed every time, but that is ok. You will begin to condition yourself to take action as you do it more and more. This is where the radical change will take place.

What do you think about this? What is your experience with goals and more particularly strategies. You’ve read all of this right? Now it’s time to take your favorite writing/typing device and get down those few simple things you can start doing right now. Get the strategies of how you will accomplish them, and get going! Talk to me about what you plan to do so you have some accountability.