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Rural Housewife or Tech Entrepreneur? You Decide

Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Hints for Presenting with Sliderocket

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A friend suggested I look through VMWare’s job listings to see if anything jumped out at me.  Frankly I didn’t expect to find anything that matches my skill-set because, I don’t fit the standard mold most corporations create.  However, as I perused the surprisingly long list of openings I came across a listing for a Sliderocket Coach.

I checked out the listing for 2 reasons.  First, what’s Sliderocket, and, second, what kind of coaching?

Then the shocker,  I might actually be the type of person they’re looking for.  Most of the time I work to create my own opportunities because it’s easier than trying to find a job that’s well suited for my odd combination of technical knowledge and entrepreneurial kung-fu.

One requirement of the application was that I submit a presentation along with a formal resume and truthfully, I was a bit nervous about that.  I’ve created slide decks, but never as a cover letter and never with the level of sophistication I thought I’d need to get my foot in the door.  I was also concerned since I’ve never used Sliderocket and wondered if I’d be able to use it effectively?

The good news is that the user interface was straight forward and anything that wasn’t immediately apparent was fairly easy to figure out.  Even more “advanced” techniques like creating my own template weren’t all that hard to do.

In just 2 days I managed to create this presentation…

I say 2 days, but that was more like a total of 8 hours.  The first 4 were spent thinking about what I wanted to say, how to say it and learning to use the software.  The final 4 were creating the slides.  Though that’s not completely fair either.  I could have finished an hour earlier if my inspiration hadn’t run out.  For some reason the only closing I could muster was some sort of Southern Belle saying, “lookin’ forward to talkin’ real soon!”

Now, if you’ve never used it before, Sliderocket.com is a cloud platform, so your work lives on the internet.  The advantage is that you don’t have to maintain the software and are always using the current version.  Also, because it’s a native to the internet, it’s designed for sharing and collaboration.  The only disadvantage right now, and this is a disadvantage for all cloud applications, is that connection is key.  For whatever reason you’re caught without a local copy and can’t get online to get one, you could be sunk.  But I suppose this is just a new way to look at the old mantra of “back-up, back-up, back-up!”

If you haven’t done much with cloud applications or just want to see what kind of presentation you could make, sign up for one of Sliderocket’s free accounts.

If you’d like to create a presentation like this one, here are my top 4 hints;

  1. Get inspiration for your theme by seeing what collateral is available first.  The only reason the Ninja worked well for this presentation was because I was able to find just the right photo to kick things off. If I had wanted a picture for every slide I wouldn’t have been able to do it with the choices that Flikr presented me with.  So make sure you have what you need, or know how to work around what you don’t, before you go too far into the process.
  2. If you need a soundtrack for your presentation, check out Jamendo.com.  There’s lots of Creative Commons licensed music for you to choose from.  The song I chose, Plastic & Flashing Lights by Professor Kliq, was found there.
  3. If the text is all you have to convey your ideas, make sure the letters represent you well.   I used a version of the drop shadow that was available in the software to give the white on black words some depth.
  4. I used a QR code because I wasn’t sure the link I added would be click-able or easily copied/pasted to a browser.  Using it gave me one more way for the viewer to go where I wanted to send them.

If you have any questions or comments about presentations, or how I managed a certain effect with SlideRocket, feel free to leave me a note, below.  Otherwise a tweet, Thumbs up or sharing on your favorite service would be greatly appreciated. ~Karlie

Written by Karlie

October 21st, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Health Care Reform is good for Business

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Every break my children have from school, we make the trek from Rochester NY to Clio Michigan and spend our vacations working on projects that will bring us closer to our eventual move. This week, we finally brought the first load of our belongings and in between wind and snow storms, we managed to get our internet connection installed.

While talking to Mike, the Comcast installer, about our need for bandwidth so we could keep up with business tasks in between trips to Goodwill and cleaning the gutters, he mentioned that he liked working for a big company because he had benefits like Health Care.

While it might seem like a casual comment, it speaks volumes about the state of our economy.

Small Businesses account for more employees and a larger portion of the US GDP than all large companies put together. When it’s hard for people like Mike to leave health insurance behind, health care becomes a barrier to economic growth.

Now I’m not saying that Universal Healthcare is a silver bullet for the economy, because losing a steady paycheck and is also an important consideration, but what if health care wasn’t one of the barriers to entry into small business ownership?

Written by Karlie

April 21st, 2011 at 4:28 pm

The Rule of Two

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I was following a thread this morning on the TeachingOpenSource.org Mailing list about using Scribd for source materials.

Five messages in, there’s a reply that sends up a red flag for me.

This is the second time hearing a story that’s so similar that it can’t be considered a coincidence.

I’ve mentioned my “Rule of Two” theory of customer/community relations before. It states…

If one person comments, take note but use your best judgment on how seriously to take it. If a second person tells you almost the exact same thing, there’s no guessing, you’ve got trend.

While I would hope that the trend isn’t larger than the two accounts, there’s no way to ignore the fact that Adam’s email echos what another developer said to me just a few months ago while standing in my kitchen drinking beers with my husband.

The trend conveyed by both guys is that there is a tendency for Fedora/Red Hat people to start from scratch rather than start with the finishing touches.

This worries me not because two guys might be feeling frustrated, but that these guys work with different parts of the FP.o/RH organization and have similar stories. I’m also a bit concerned because I’m not up on day to day operations yet I know of two cases.

That leaves me wondering… Who else might be feeling the same way? Is there something about the project culture that encourages people to avoid collaboration outside of the project core? Is it that there are so many resource available that the practice of external collaboration is rusty? Or maybe just the communication conduit between internal and external projects needs a look. (as in – this is why we decided not to collaborate, or this is why I want to collaborate with you)

I’m also a plan-for-the-worst-hope-for-the-best kind of girl and at the moment am thinking not just about the missed opportunities to collaborate on solutions that meet everyone’s needs, but also about letting these concerns grow to become community rifts and/or future barriers to collaboration. You can’t please everyone all the time, but I’m looking the future potential for this to get out of hand.

I can’t pretend I know the answers to any of the above. Just that the Rule of Two is in effect and the powers that be need to give a little time to address the break down.

Working together 3 by Mark Robinson

Written by Karlie

June 25th, 2010 at 7:01 am

Resumes and Cover letters.

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A few weeks ago, I received a response to a resume that had been floating around Monster.com for who knows how long.

Then, shortly after that incident I had a SCORE client tell me that he’d been keeping his resume up-to-date. It’s not that he feared loosing his job at any moment, but it sounded like it was more of a just-in-case sort of thing.

When the universe keeps telling me about Resumes, it’s probably time to get my ducks in a row. So yesterday, I completed one version of it and then for kicks I uploaded it to CareerBuiler.com and even found a very intriguing little company’s want-ad on Craig’s list and threw my hat in the ring.

Then this morning, the Universe, by way of my trusty StumbleUpon button, told me my cover letter could use some work. While I was thinking it was pretty good and not bad for being out of circulation so long, I see now that I should up my game if I write another one.

One major boo-boo I did know to avoid was the form letter, but that makes me wonder what HR departments are thinking of when they send one to me?

It seemed like moments after I got done reading about great cover letters I received a response to my resume at Career Builder. In it the recruiter said;

“I place qualified individuals in various franchises that fit within the realms of their previous work history and acquired talents ultimately training (and equipping) born entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to take the leap towards owning a business and taking control of their futures.”

With that I’m pretty sure I never even got a read. Because had she even browsed my Resume, she would have seen that I have already taken the leap and do, in fact, own a business.

Written by Karlie

March 26th, 2010 at 8:33 am

Full Spectrum Tech Writing – Defining the process

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My first blog post about Full Spectrum Copywriting was a little short on details. While I’m not a fan of excuses, I can say I left the post short because I’m not sure how much is too much for the blog.

With less than 20 full blog posts under my belt, please bear with me as I find my blogging rhythm.

So let me take Mel’s questions one at a time and see if I can’t clarify things.

How do you figure out what terms (and phrasings) are at what level of beginner/expertness?

Part of it is basic knowledge of the field you’re writing about. The rest is putting yourself in a position to see where the questions might come from. Can you anticipate the FAQ?

So let’s say On-Disk.com is listing a 6 DVD Repo set. First, I need a draft of what needs to be said. Since I’m pretty good with Linux jargon, my first draft will most likely exclude any entry level terms.

For the second step, I’ll look for variations that include opportunities to define the draft without the use of Jargon. Since I’m listing a Repo, I need to use the variations on that term in my listing — Repository, Extra/Additional software, etc — as I strive to find the lowest common denominator.

Lather, rinse and repeat for any of the other industry specific terms from my basic draft – Mirror, Package manager, Dependencies, and such.

Balance is key. You’re not trying to dumb things down or show people how smart you really are. Instead, think about how you can bring people up to speed without taking too much time to do so.

The inspiration for the technique came from my uncle John. He was the first person I ever knew with a PhD (Or at least associated with a PhD). Because I was still a child and feeling that he was probably much smarter than everyone else I told him so. He then explained that no matter how “smart” someone might be, if they can’t explain a concept to someone else, they don’t really know what they’re talking about.

How do you learn these terms if you’re copy writing for a field you’re encountering for the first time (or does that not happen much)?

The thing is, you don’t need to be an expert to take advantage of the full spectrum. Being on the middle ground is also a good place to start.

Most of the time, the copy writing process is more like a translation service. It doesn’t really matter what the product is, since the person/people on the bleeding edge of the technology usually know all the terms and jargon. They may also supply a draft for you to write from.

Have you ever done an experiment to see how much more effective full-spectrum is (over writing entirely for a novice or an expert audience, over writing with the reverse order – expert terms at the beginning, beginner at the end)? That sort of data would make an incredibly compelling pitch for FSC.

Not a formal study, but I do have anecdotal evidence to suggest the benefits.

It kind of plays into one of my other beliefs about customer service.

If one person comments, take note but use your best judgment on how seriously to take it. If a second person tells you almost the exact same thing, there’s no guessing, you’ve got a serious problem.

Full Spectrum copy writing developed as I wrote and rewrote listings and web pages so we could stop tripping up our customers.

~Karlie

Written by Karlie

January 18th, 2010 at 9:18 am

So what is the right domain name?

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Domain name can play a role in your business success, but it’s not as vital as it once was.

People use to worry that a long domain name would be hard for people to remember as if it were a long phone number. But the reality is that your new domain name can can be almost any length as long as it describes your business well.

While I’d avoid BigTonysAllKazooPolkaBand.com* due to excessive length, it’s not inappropriate if, in fact, you are Big Tony and you lead an All Kazoo Polka band.

Now if the name you want is already taken, you’ll be better off finding another name. If the site is established, the registrant isn’t going to be too keen on giving it up and they won’t do it cheaply. If it’s simply a squatter, you might be able to negotiate a good price. Just keep in mind that a year of domain registration is usually under $10, so if you’re paying a few thousand dollars to a squatter the name should be really fantastic.

~Karlie
* Factoid of the day – once upon a time I was the owner of BigTonysAllKazooPolkaBand.com

Written by Karlie

December 23rd, 2009 at 10:24 am