Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for giving so many people a place to vent their spleens, making it even easier for me to spot those poor souls I’ve known for decades but would never have had any idea they were such an emotionally stunted, poorly educated and latently racist bunch. As one of those “Pretty-Much-an-Atheist” types, I can say with conviction, Facebook truly is a gift from God.
Google Chrome is my favorite browser, as evidenced by the proliferation of extensions I have loaded up. I’ve reached the point where I should probably consider a little housecleaning and uninstall those least used, though I fear that I’ll have a pressing need for that deleted extension after the fact. It can happen. Nevertheless, the sheer productivity gains I’ve realized with this collection overall are, quite simply, insane (or at least they may appear that way to the casual observer).
Chrome Extensions in Order of Usefulness. To Me. Sort of.
Post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Fill your “Buffer” with up to 10 tweets (free version) and schedule them for delivery when your followers are likely to be online. Use an integrated app like SocialBro to analyze your followers, see when they’re typically online, and adjust your Buffer schedule within seconds.
Share to any of the main social networking sites. It’s fully configurable, of course, displaying your top 8 sites in one click.
It sure feels like I’ve been looking at far fewer ads lately. I think I’m much calmer as a result.
Schedule posts on Google+. Your browser must be open an active in order for this to work. Apart from that, it works like a charm.
Clean up your Google Plus stream. Hashtags appear in the right column where you can selectively view and mute them.
Dashboard for social networks with GMail integration. See Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other conversations all in one stream.
Clip an article, selection, full page or URL to Evernote.
I used to be fascinated by this 3D wall of photos, until I got an iPad and started discovering things like Flipboard.
Pull up a list of active Google Hangouts, with notifications and even a world map.
Create links to pages that provide counter-arguments. There’s tremendous potential here if people actually start using this. Of course, I’m still wishing more people would use Editz (like me).
Streamline web development by previewing instantly on connected devices.
It’s text search on steroids. I have yet to work out the kinks with the keyboard shortcuts on my MacBook Pro.
Resize the browser window to emulate different device screen resolutions; configurable list of screen sizes.
Do we need groupware? Perhaps the question is, "Why do we need groupware?"
The primary groupware business assumptions are that people need it and that they would be willing to integrate another piece of software into their individual workflows. Let’s look at an assumption along with a possible user persona and scenario:
Groupware assumes people will add software to their workflow.
Joe Media has a killer to-do list app that he uses. It’s sort of like Evernote, but it integrates actionable, time-based items that trigger force feedback on his iPhone when he marks them as ‘Done,’ a sensation he now equates with the taste of the best raw oyster he ever had. Joe is not giving up that app. The app also sends e-mail reminders. Joe uses Outlook at work, albeit a bit reluctantly, since he’s no big fan of Microsoft, but he considers it a necessary evil in his workplace, particularly since his organization does business with other businesses who also tend to use Outlook. Scheduling meetings is just much easier that way with people trading meeting invites. They’re not ditching Outlook any time soon.
Joe’s early-adopter-to-a-fault I.T. buddy at work keeps pushing for some kind of group collaboration project management Kanban-style social media-integrated tool to assist their team with meeting deadlines. They tried Yammer for about three minutes once because his friend heard they were well funded, after a customer mentioned that it would be really cool if he could he could chat with other meeting attendees in advance to arrange things like hikes, bike rides, lunches. That was eight months ago. There was no traction.
Joe and the I.T guy constantly bemoan everyone else’s inability to stick to processes, many of which don’t exist in any documented fashion but should, in their eyes, be “Common Sense.” Their big pain point is in communicating deadlines.
People Already Have Collaboration Apps
We all have e-mail, though by default e-mail is far from ideal for project management. For instant communication, the telephone used to be ideal, but phone calls are time consuming and, thanks to the variety of tools available now, the telephone is all but history. Social media services are tribal in nature, thus there tend to be rabid followers for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (which is decidedly NOT a ghost town, you naysayers), though rarely the twain shall meet. Regardless of the lack of intersection, the messaging infrastructure is already built many times over, but e-mail is the common thread.
Adjusting e-mail to accommodate project management methodologies has been discussed for years, with add-ons developed for Outlook catering to fans of GTD and the like. I’ve been using the free version of ActiveInbox for Gmail. There is a lot of potential there.
The idea is to migrate the important data out of individual e-mails into actionable items with visual cues, calendar integration, and customizable reminders.
E-Mail Is Intensely Personal
Content of e-mail can certainly be personal, not to mention incriminating, but e-mail itself has been woven into the fabric of our society, regardless of the rich ecosystems of apps that have been developed around mobile devices. E-mail is ubiquitous. E-mail is a noun and a verb. People use e-mail for project management whether or not they admit it. It may not be the primary tool for more evolved organizations, but it is highly integrated into processes nonetheless. It cannot be avoided, as everyone else uses it. The popularity of such systems as Getting Things Done is a testament to people’s need for something more, but perhaps a replacement for e-mail is not what we’re all asking for.
Successful collaboration software needs to integrate with existing e-mail along with other popular time management methodologies. It needs to be familiar, with a virtually nonexistent learning curve.
Groupware should not be just another app.
The ‘Lean’ (as in ‘Lean Startup’) methodology may prove instrumental in guiding us into the Information Age, but perhaps it is time to disassociate ourselves from the perceived need to be ‘Mean,’ at least within the context of entrepreneurship. If we agree that we’re striving to contribute to society and improve upon the human condition, we might want to be mindful of the language we use in the process.
Here are a couple of quotes to support my position. I always welcome any feedback to the contrary, all the while making no claims whatsoever that I am immune to cognitive dissonance.
So you are lean and mean and resourceful and you continue to walk on the edge of the precipice because over the years you have become fascinated by how close you can walk without losing your balance.” Richard Milhous Nixon
These sounds like the words of someone with a death wish. Without question:
[tweetherder]Risk is a necessary component of every entrepreneurial endeavor.[/tweetherder]
Nevertheless, pathological ideations in a group setting can lead to the ruin of many lives. That’s the reality. I’ll spare you the history lesson.
In America, we hurry—which is well; but when the day’s work is done, we go on thinking of losses and gains, we plan for the morrow, we even carry our business cares to bed with us…we burn up our energies with these excitements, and either die early or drop into a lean and mean old age at a time of life which they call a man’s prime in Europe…What a robust people, what a nation of thinkers we might be, if we would only lay ourselves on the shelf occasionally and renew our edges!” Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad
Anger can be a great motivator. Over time, it will wear you down, if it doesn’t kill you outright. In the meantime, it might turn you into a miserable bastard no one else wants to be around or worse, foster an angry mob.
A German boy must be lean and mean, quick like a greyhound, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel. He must learn self-denial, to endure reproaches and injustice, to be reliable, silent, obedient, and loyal.” Motto of the Hitler Youth
I do not consider myself a Pacifist, nor do I advocate rolling over in the face of adversity. Self defense is our prerogative. Rather, I caution against exclusionary, adversarial tactics.
It’s worth noting that both Stages Three and Four require an adversary. When we work with people and groups, people in Stage Three groups will say, ‘I’m great because I sold more last quarter than anyone’ or ‘I just bought a huge house.’ They begin to notice that these statements are all comparative, netting out to ‘I’m better than others.’ At Stage Four, people will say, ‘We’re great because our team is winning’ or ‘We have the best people.’ Again, this language system implies ‘We’re better than them.’ At Three, the enemy is other individuals. At Four, it’s another group, or a company, or even an industry. Only at Stage Five does the need for an enemy go away.” Dave Logan and John King, Tribal Leadership
Logan and King are referring to the Five Tribal Stages, the fifth of which is embodied by altruism, a focus on values, a ‘noble cause.’ At this stage, the need for adversaries vanishes. After all, we’re in this to make the world a better place, together. Aren’t we?
[tweetherder]Are you operating like it’s “You Against the World?”[/tweetherder]