July 12, 2011

Google+ Is and Isn't

Google+ is a better facebook. It isn't twitter. Google+ is good for personal friends and family where you want to read just about everything they post. It is not good for following people like +Scoble, +Guy Kawasaki or +Hanselman where you want to want to read relatively little of what they post.

I think it is this misunderstanding that is causing so many of us to create "noisy" circles (or "Noisy Geeks" in my case).

Should Google+ change or should we use twitter for what it's good for and Google+ for what it's good for?

Or should we just stop using twitter? :)

May 22, 2011

Letter to Congressional Representative: VOTE NAY on H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

A.S. Willeke


May 22, 2011



The Honorable Jay Inslee
2239 Rayburn House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515



Representative Inslee:

As my representative in congress I ask you to VOTE NAY on H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Some specific concerns I have about this proposed legislation:

1: The Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) declares that the United States is in an armed conflict with not only al Qaeda and the Taliban, but "associated forces" and individuals, organizations and nations that support such forces. This loose language could authorize the president to engage in acts of war anywhere without constitutionally required Congressional authorization.
Reference: This is in Subtitle D--Counterterrorism, SEC. 1034 and can be seen directly by following this link: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-1540&version=rh&nid=t0%3Arh%3A3860

2: It imposes bans on the transfer of any detainee held at Guantanamo, including those who have been cleared of any charges. This bill not only allows the imprisonment of innocent people, but could mandate it.
Reference: This is in Subtitle D--Counterterrorism,Section 1036 and can be seen directly by following this link:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-1540&version=rh&nid=t0%3Arh%3A3882

3: The bill also prevents the use of Article III federal courts for the trial of most terrorism suspects. This circumvents our system of justice and our protections under the Constitution, showing a lack of faith in US law enforcement and courts which are the constitutional venues for stopping terrorism.
Reference: This is in Subtitle D--Counterterrorism,Section 1036 and can be seen directly by following this link:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-1540&version=rh&nid=t0%3Arh%3A3882

Sincerely,

A.S. Willeke


cc: US House Representative Jay Inslee (via email on his house.gov page)

March 16, 2011

Product Marketers Take Note: Social Networks Are a Waste

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine who works at a company who sells software products to business customers. His company surveyed their customers with a variety of questions, some of which related to social media.

One of the questions asked: "How do you stay up to date on our products?" Half said they use the company's regular email newsletter, and more said via the company's website. About 1% said facebook, and 0% reported that they used twitter (the company is active in both places). Another question was "Would you like to see us have a greater presence on facebook?" Only 3% said yes. The same percentage of respondents wanted greater presence on twitter in a separate question.

So let me prod everyone here into a discussion with a provocative conclusion: Social media marketing is a waste of time and money if you’re selling products to business.

February 10, 2011

Globally Distributed Teams: Are Better Tools the Solution?

Recently I have been speaking with lots of people in the community that work with high tech product teams that have team members all over the world. At ProductCamp I was invited to participate as a member of a panel to discuss this very topic. I wasn't sure what I could tell anyone. Sure, we do it every day and have for many years now, but it is hard.

My first thought was that I don't have the answers. I struggle with the challenges of working with globally distributed teams and I think I need to listen more than talk on the topic. I have learned we do a pretty good job in comparison to others, but still it is challenging and we can undoubtedly improve in many areas.

What I'm finding is that, from developers, to product managers to project managers to agile coaches to PMP-certified waterfall experts, nobody knows the right way. It is a huge challenge. Don't get me wrong. The benefits are undeniable. And if you think you will avoid working with a globally distributed team you're in denial. Wake up, because, being able to work with the pool of smart people from all over the world rather than in your own country (or city!) is a huge benefit.

A couple of agile coaches recently suggested to me that the problem is lack of tools to support it. Since we were just finished with an team collaboration exercise that involved pens and post-it notes as our only "tools" I have a suspicion lack of tools are not the problem.

The reason agile techniques such as using post it notes and simple user stories are so successful is they get people to collaborate and communicate and tell each other what they are really thinking:

Stop reading each other the requirements document we wrote and tell me right now, what is the most important thing to you.
And you: what things are we overlooking from your perspective?

The trick is not the tool -post it notes in this case- it is the deliberate removal of tools that interfere with face-to-face, instant, reactive, collaborative communication. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, right? Right.

February 4, 2011

Condoleezza Rice: For 60 years The United States pursued stability, not democracy...

For 60 years my country, The United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East and we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.

January 31, 2011

The Time for a New Beginning Between the Middle East is Upon Us

Obama finds himself in the painful position of trying to align the United States with Egyptians' demands for democratic overhauls, while trying to encourage Mubarak to leave -- without actually saying so.


Why not say so? This is a defining moment for the US. Either we support democracy or we don't. If we cannot support the people actually fighting and dying for democracy and freedom with words, then how can you support democracy? All they want is the end of a 30 year dictator and genuine elections.

President Obama: Have you forgotten your Cairo speech? If there is ever going to be a real chance for a new beginning between the US and the Muslim world, this is it.

December 5, 2010

Lessmsi v1.0.8 Is Now Available

A new release of Lessmsi is now available. It adds a handful of fixes and features requested by users. Full details are on the Releases page and you can download it from http://code.google.com/p/lessmsi/.

November 23, 2010

The life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (by Thomas Jefferson)

The below excerpt is from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams in response to Adams' request that Jefferson write his "view of the Christian System" which was to be a critique of the four gospels, of which, Jefferson was apparently a scholar of in several languages. Apparently, Jefferson considered the gospels as having much extraneous matter and that by careful pruning there could be selected out those sayings which were absolutely the words of Jesus himself.

We must reduce our volume to the simple Evangelists, select, even from them the very words only of Jesus paring off the amphiboligisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves. There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his and which is as easily distinguished as diamonds in a dung-hill.

- http://books.google.com/books?id=RwAXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA15#v=onepage&q&f=false


Indeed, Thomas Jefferson believed that the "Evangelists" (the author of the gospels) unintentionally misrepresented Jesus' true message and Jefferson himself endeavored to extract Jesus' true teaching -not by adding his own words- but only by extracting some portions and rearranging the four gospels into a single book. The complete title of Jefferson's book was "The life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth: Extracted textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French & English".

Jefferson wrote this book for himself. He never attempted to have it published, and it was not published during his lifetime. It was only in a private collection of his library.

One thing that stood out to me was the last sentence that Jefferson wrote in the quote above: "...arranging the matter which is evidently his (Jesus) and which is as easily distinguished as diamonds in a dung-hill." It immediately reminded me of what Yusha Evans said about the obvious changes one can detect in the Bible when reading it in Hebrew.

Jefferson's book is now in the public domain and can be read for free on Google Books here.

Another version that is more readable was revised by forgottenbooks.org and is also available in it's entirety here.

October 13, 2010

Looking for a High-Tech Job in the Seattle area? Find it at ProductCamp Seattle on October 23

I'm working with the volunteer team to organize ProductCamp Seattle this year. I was just talking with a friend who said they're coming to ProductCamp Seattle this year because they're looking to change jobs and it will be a good event to network at. You bet it will be!

Last year the most common job title of attendees were "Product Manager / Marketer", "Product Planner / Strategist", "Program Manager", "Project Manager", "Business Analyst", "Market Researcher", "Product "Manager Architect", and "Business Development / Sales". So this is a good group to network with. Most  are in managerial positions and they're usually involved in hiring.

This year we have a similar mix. You can click on the "Attendees" tab from the www.ProductCampSeattle.org website to see some of those attending this year. Unfortunately, not everyone shows their profile but those who have registered are usually representative of the larger group.

We also have a great location at Microsoft's Learning Center (building 92) this year. I little birdie told me there will be good food & drink and a nice after party so in addition to the attendee-nominated sessions, there are lots of good reasons to attend.

So if you're looking for work or considering a career change ProductCamp Seattle is a great event!



What: ProductCamp Seattle - You'll share real world experiences of designing, marketing and launching products and learn from each other about the latest trends, tools, and techniques in bringing innovative products to market.
When: October 23, 2010; 9am - 5pm
Where: Microsoft Campus, Building 92

Visit www.ProductCampSeattle.org for more information

September 30, 2010

Seattle from Downtown Kirkland

Beautiful here tonight.

September 28, 2010

Shahada

Bismillah. Peace be upon you all.

For my family and friends: On September 27, 2010, I officially took the Shahada. I decided I want all of you to know and I'm posting the note here since I can't think of a better way to communicate it to all of my friends and family spread around the world.

September 22, 2010

Chicago to Seattle with Grandma and Mom over 4 days.

Home!

Headed out of Wallace Idaho

We left Wallace Idaho this morning and will be in Seattle soon!

Planes on trains from automobiles

We were driving in Montana. Planes headed west; apparently towards Boeing.

September 21, 2010

More Montana

More pics as I drive through "Big Sky Country" with Grandma and Mom on the way from Chicago back to Seattle.