Don’t troll on LinkedIn

by Joey deVilla on June 25, 2015

This appeared on my LinkedIn feed this morning:

ballsy good luck fixed

Commenter’s name redacted because everyone deserves a shot at online redemption.

In the end, the only reason LinkedIn has stayed a social networking site for professionals is that its users treat it as such. There’s lots of room for funny (or attempting-to-be-funny) replies in discussions on LinkedIn, but once the trolling begins, we lose a valuable forum for making those connections that make business possible.

(And seriously, trolling the Cancer Society? Ballsy! Good luck!)

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Taylor Swift to Apple: I knew you were trouble

by Joey deVilla on June 21, 2015

taylor swift - i knew you were trouble

“But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

If you read one article about Apple today, make it Taylor Swift’s piece about Apple not paying artists during the three-month trial period during which Apple Music will be free to users. If you read another, make it The Loop’s commentary on Swift’s piece.

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Mobile roundup: BYOD, FYOD, and SYOD

by Joey deVilla on June 17, 2015

BYOD: Four big benefits

byod

Entrepreneur cites a couple of studies from last year that say:

  • Most companies have some kind of program allowing employees to use their personal mobile devices for work, and…
  • More than a third of the mobile devices in today’s workplaces are employees’ personal devices.

They point to four reasons why BYOD — that’s short for “Bring Your Own Device” — boost productivity. If your organization already has a BYOD program, you’ve prObably already internalized these, and if not, you may want to think about them:

  1. BYOD gives employees the freedom to choose where and how they work. This sort of freedom is so valuable to a significant number of people; 20% of respondents to a Flexjobs survey of 1,500 people looking for work showed that they’d take a pay cut for flexible work options.
  2. BYOD instills a greater sense of ownership. Letting people use personal devices helps them extend that sense of ownership to their work. The end result is often motivated, engaged employees who “go the extra mile”.
  3. BYOD is a way to attract and retain creative talent. Allowing the use of personal devices is a signal to employees that you trust their judgement on a number of dimensions: their personal choice of technology, their preferred way to work, and to work outside the constraints of the office. It says “we don’t think of you as a corporate drone, but as an intelligent, capable human being,” which is a powerful statement in a world that seems to be increasingly commoditized.
  4. BYOD can reduce your operating expenses. A well-crafted BYOD plan can cut the cost of purchasing, managing, and maintaining a fleet of mobile devices, and reduce your IT team’s workload.

The trick is to make sure that you’ve thought out your organization’s approach to BYOD. A key part of this process is coming up with a set of policies on appropriate use of BYOD devices for work, and educating your users about these policies and how to use their personal mobile devices effectively and securely.

FYOD: Fix your own device! (or: Supporting increasingly self-reliant users)

self-reliance-in-it

FierceCIO points to a recent study that features two seemingly contradictory observations about employees and their relationship with their companies’ IT departments:

  • They’re generally satisfied with their companies’ IT departments and the service they’re getting from them.
  • They’re also more self-reliant than ever and are willing to take care of their own IT issues, despite the fact that IT departments of all sizes are quick to respond to requests for help.

In fact, going to IT for help with a technical issue isn’t the first thing most employees with tech troubles do. The vast majority prefer to take matters into their own hands:

The practical lesson that you should take from this data is that if you want happy, productive people with a minimum of downtime from tech issues, you should provide them with IT resources that enable them to help themselves, especially for issues that can be handled without IT department intervention. Simple “how-to” guides for common tech problems posted on an internal company site — perhaps even contributed to and edited by your employees themselves, and edited and enhanced by your IT department — are often all you need to help maximize uptime and free your IT team to work on the issues that can’t be dealt with by end users.

SYOD: Smuggle Your Own Device

SYOD

The downside of the growing tendency towards IT self-reliance is something that we like to call “SYOD”, short for “smuggle your own device”. That’s when employees use personal devices for work, accessing corporate online resources without the knowledge or approval of IT departments. Ernst and Young have pointed out that SYOD often arises in the absence of any BYOD program, and in 2013, research firm Ovum reported that:

  • Nearly 70% of employees who own a smartphone or tablet use it to access corporate data.
  • Of those employees:
    • A little more than 15% access that data without the IT department’s knowledge.
    • Almost 21% access that data in defiance of an anti-BYOD policy.

If SYOD is happening at your organization, it means that there are needs that aren’t being met, and that people are being self-reliant, actively helping themselves and looking for solutions. This as an opportunity to help them, and perhaps even to recast IT as an enabler rather than a barrier.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

this article also appears on the enterprise mobile blog

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work the room

Here’s the third in a series of tips for making the most of your experience at the GIANT conference taking place this week in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. In case you missed the prior ones, here they are:

Breaking and entering is NOT a crime (not in the “working a room” sense, anyway)

Susan RoAne, author of How to Work a Room, has codified a technique for mingling at parties and conferences that I had to learn the hard way: breaking and entering. Here’s how it works:

1. Pick a lively group of people you’d like to join in conversation.

pick a group of people

As people who are already in a conversation, they’ve already done some of the work for you. They’re lively, which makes it more likely that they’re open to people joining in (and hey, this is GIANT. The attendees by and large are a friendly, lively, rad group). They’ve also picked a topic, which saves you the effort of hving to come up with one. It also lets you decide whether or not it interests you. If they’re lively and their topic of conversation interests you, proceed to step 2. If not, go find another group!

2. Stand on the periphery and look interested.

I know, this part might remind you of this introvert’s nightmare:

man trying to join conversation

Click the photo to read the Onion article.

Just do it. This is a conference, and one of the attendees’ goals is to meet people. Smile. Pipe in if you have something to contribute; people here are pretty cool about that.

3. When acknowledged, step into the group.

keep calm and join the group

You’re in like Flynn! Step in confidently and introduce yourself. If you’ve got that one-line summary of who you are that I talked about earlier, now’s the time to use it.

4. Don’t change the subject.

Hey man, you’re guest at this convo, and you’re not campaigning. Contribute, and let the subject changes come naturally.

Now go forth and mingle. I’ll see you at the parties!

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work the roomHere’s the third in a series of tips for making the most of your experience at the GIANT conference taking place this week in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. In case you missed the prior ones, here they are:

You may be a guest, but you are also a host!

The people behind GIANT are fantastic conference organizers; it’s my favorite conference since RubyFringe and FutureRuby, which were so mind-blowing that they led a number of attendees to quit their jobs and start their own Ruby-based companies. Those conferences had such a special vibe and brought together such great people, and GIANT is the only conference I’ve been to that captures that same feel.

Just as RubyFringe and FutureRuby brought together some of the coolest, smartest, most interesting developers you’ll meet, GIANT brings together some of the coolest, smartest, most interesting designers you’ll meet. In one way, really don’t belong here — I’m really a developer who turned into a marketing guy — but in another way, I really do. I’m an extrovert in a field where a lot of people tend towards introversion, and I serve a useful role here: I will introduce people here to other people.

Think of the parties that you enjoyed most. What made them so enjoyable? Was it the venue? The food? The drinks? The bathrooms? I’d lay good odds that what made the party enjoyable was the people.

The GIANT organizers know this, which is why they went to great lengths to make their conference attractive to “people who do rad work”, as they put it. They’d love to make sure that the rad people they invited mix and mingle, but they’re vastly outnumbered by their guests. They can’t do it alone. They need you to play host.

That means that if you see someone who’s standing at the periphery of the room, looking lost or lonely, walk up and introduce yourself! If you’re in a group conversation and see someone hovering at the periphery, invite them in! If you’re one of the fortunate people who knows other people at this shindig, do introductions! The best guests, the ones who get invited back to parties, the ones who strike up friendships and opprtunities, are the ones who also play the role of hosts.

See you out there at GIANT! I’ll be the one with the accordion, pretending to be a host.

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hello

work the roomHere’s the second in a series of tips for making the most of your experience at the GIANT conference taking place this week in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. In case you missed the first one, it’s over here.

was going to call it “your personal elevator pitch”, but that sounded a little too Silicon Valley (the TV show or the real place, take your pick) for me. So I’m calling it “your one-line self-introduction”.

A one-line self-introduction is simply a single-sentence way of introducing yourself to people you meet at a conference. It’s more than likely that you won’t know more than a handful of attendees and introducing yourself over and over again, during the conference, as well as its post-session party events. It’s a trick that Susan RoAne, room-working expert and author of How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections In-Person and Online teaches, and it works. It’s pretty simple:

  • Keep it short — no longer than 10 seconds, and shorter if possible. It’s not your life story, but a pleasantry that also gives people just a little bit about who you are.
  • Make it fit. GIANT’s tagline is “the conference for people who do rad work”. It should give people a hint of the rad work that you do (or, if you’re slogging it out in the hopes of doing rad work someday, the rad work you intend to do.)
  • Show your benefits. Rather than simply give them your job title, tell them about a benefit that your work provides in a way that invites people to find out more. Susan RoAne likes to tell a story about someone she met whose one-liner was “I help rich people sleep at night”. That’s more interesting than “I’m a financial analyst”.

Here’s the one-liner I’m thinking of going with: “I’m a rock and roll accordion player, but in my side gig, I help Fortune 500 companies with mobile and write mobile apps.”

I have an even better introduction for my accordion: “This? It’s social hardware.”

See you at GIANT!

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work the room

Last year, I was at the GIANT conference in Charleston, but not as an attendee.

My then-fiancee, now-wife attended the conference while I spent the days working remotely from a number of wifi-equipped cafes and snapping pictures in Charleston’s lovely downtown, and the evenings attending GIANT’s many interesting social events as her “arm ornament”.

Despite being a non-attendee, I got into a number of interesting conversations, talking both shop and non-shop topics, and making friends and connections who occupy my contacts list, social media feeds, email and online reading today. This happened because I worked the room.

The second GIANT conference starts this coming week, and this year, I’m an official, paid-for, proper attendee. For the benefit of my fellow attendees, I’m sharing my “how to work the room” tips and tricks, which I’ve learned over the years as a conference-goer, tech evangelist, and street musician in installments.

I’m posting this one first, because I want to make sure I’m catching GIANT attendees who are packing right now…

If you have a reasonably portable musical acoustic instrument, bring it and play it proudly!

I like to refer to my accordion as “social hardware”. Ever since that fateful day when the accordion made me an accidental rock star at Toronto’s most notorious goth bar, I’ve taken it to social events and conferences, and the payoffs have been nothing short of spectacular, from making friends to landing job offers to meeting The Missus.

I thought I’d be the only non-official musician at the parties last year, but I wasn’t! Katie Greff (pictured above) brought not just her ukulele, but a stack of lyrics and chord charts, and we had a grand old jam session at the closing night party at the Blue Ion offices. If you’ve got an instrument and sheet music, bring them!

The accordion worked well beyond just jamming with fellow musicians. It’s a conversation starter, a way to add an interesting touch to someone’s birthday (at a large enough conference, it’s always someone’s birthday, and how many people get a personal accordion performance of “Happy Birthday” at a conference?), and if there’s a karaoke night — and yes, there is one at this year’s GIANT — people will invite you to back them up onstage. I’ve you’ve never done karaoke with an instrument before, I will lead a master class on quickly looking up song chords, getting a quick practice session in, and then rocking out on stage.

If you feel a little weird about bringing an instrument to a conference, don’t! If there’s any conference that does vive la difference well, it’s GIANT. And hey, the last conference I attended with my accordion was one full of people who spend half their waking weekdays wearing button-down shirts, misusing the word “spend” as a noun, and making PowerPoint presentations out of walls of bullet points, and I got them into sing-alongs by the end of the night. You can be sure that GIANT’s decidedly less buttoned-down crowd will be into hanging out with a musician.

The only thing you have to remember is that you don’t have to play it all the time. Read people’s faces, and look for the sign that it’s time to stop playing and starting conversing. After all, that’s what we’re really at the conference to do.

Go forth, harness the social powers of music, and bring your instrument! And look for the guy with the accordion — I’ll be happy to jam with you in just about any genre (and I do mean any).

 

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