Inspiring things my friends wrote on the internet in 2013

If there was ever a year when my usually placid internal seismograph needle went through an ill-advised thrash metal phase, 2013 was it. Indeed, if it were at all possible to extract the graph paper (flimsy) from my person, the series of recorded megathrusts might be mistaken for a Rorschach test inkblot.
Still, it would be a shame to let an annus nowyourejusttakingthepiss get in the way of a seasonal tradition around these parts. So with more than a nod to the previous four annual recaps, I’ve rounded up a few inspiring things my friends wrote on the internet in 2013. Thank you one and all.

Read more

2012 in articles and blog entries

Apologies if you’ve only joined me under this canopy to shelter from the deluge of year/end of year rundowns, reviews, and lists, but I have something of a tradition to maintain. For the fourth year running I’ve chosen a selection of articles and blog entries penned over the last twelve months which have had the most impact on me personally and professionally.

Read more

The evolving system

While I’d consider myself a keen and committed dismantler and occasional repairer, I’m no natural builder of things. What I mean is that I often lack the skills and knowledge to build something beyond prefabrication. But I believe the assembly of a prefabricated system that works as intended is a more creative operation than pulling something to pieces. While the latter schooled me in the art of classification and labelling the former taught me an even greater lesson: that it’s not the separate component parts that matter, but the evolving system as a whole.

Read more

Long live the online book club

When you’re engrossed in a good book nothing else matters. You could be chilled to the bone, within earshot of a cacophony of noise, or being tossed around like a rag doll in a train carriage, but it’s still not enough to disturb that bubble. That’s one of reading’s many beauties: the opportunity for escapism.

But what’s it going to take for you to pick up that book? You know, the one that might help you finish that essay, broaden your horizons, or increase your earning potential? The one we make elaborate excuses for not reading?

I believe this where an online book reading platform like Readmill has huge potential.

Read more

Order your diagram prints from Society6

After having to disappoint literally ten people who asked if I had any plans to sell prints of my diagrams, I’ve finally bowed to the pressure.

One of the primary reasons for my long-standing reluctance was the thought of organising the printing, handling and distribution of the prints myself. Getting to the stage where I’d be on first name terms with the Post Office cashiers as I negotiated another shipment of thundersticks to a far flung land didn’t exactly fill me with much enthusiasm.

So when I stumbled upon these fine folks at Society6 and realised I could get away with placing any would-be customer in their capable hands, I finally got excited by the whole idea. You see, when you or I buy a product from Society6′s stable of ridiculously talented artists from around the world, they handle the production, packaging and shipping on the artist’s behalf. I know. I’ve rubbed my eyes a few times now and it still reads the same.

Read more

Ending 18 years of self-exile from the stage

I’d long considered public speaking to be a domain other people inhabited. That was, however, until the beginning of this year when I drew up a longlist of things that would take me out of my comfort zone, only to find that speaking in public occupied no less than three items.

I waited until the very last hour before making my submission for CS Forum 2011 before gasping in an equal measure of delight and horror weeks later upon seeing my name and mugshot amongst some of our industry’s most celebrated pracitioners. My mind rapidly turned to the question of how I was going to close an 18-year speaking gap between a school production and an international conference.

So imagine my relief when the chance arose to deliver a 5-minute lightning talk at the inaugural London Content Strategy Meetup event “Wrapping up Confab, unwrapping CS Forum”. I now had an excellent opportunity to put myself through the ordeal of speaking and see how I react under the pressure.

Read more

‘Partners’ diagram: my workings out

Because my diagrams are almost always born out of a desire to solve a problem or align certain things in my own mind I’m more than aware that a diagram such as ‘Partners for the content strategist’ is unlikely to sit comfortably with everyone. So, to help you understand why I came to certain conclusions and shed a little light on my process, I thought I’d show you my workings out.

Read more

Bureaucracy: a tale of fear and loathing

Not only do bureaucrats have to contend with being widely regarded as life’s great water-carriers and spoilers, they frequently find themselves being used as a collective political punchbag — one which everyone, regardless of their political leaning, is invited to take a free swing at. The problem, I believe, is this modern toxic image that bureaucracy conjures up in our minds: one of dull, overly-fastidious drones stifling genuine and blindingly obvious progress, safe within the confines of their ivory towers of power. But wait: wasn’t it bureaucracy and systems of government at their most pure and infantile that helped elevate human civilisation from the laborious rigours of jabbing one another with sharp sticks and trading nothing more than furrow-browed stares? No, not really, but looking back through history we can confidently point to bureaucracy as one of the chief reasons how one empire could outlast another by centuries.

Read more