52 Weekly 8

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Every week I push my top posts to Flipboard. You can subscribe here.

Another fun week comes to a close. Here’s a big change that’s happening to 52 Tiger as of right now: comments are on by default.

I am a hypocrite. I’ve sworn up and down for years that I’d never allow comments on this site. Why the change of heart? A trial period. I’ve been quietly enabling comments here and there for months now. In all that time, I’ve only received positive, constructive messages. Plus, a few good conversations have been born. And I liked the conversations. So, for the first time, comments are a regular part of 52 Tiger.

I also published my first-ever guest post. Two, in fact. Each from my sister, who is a First Officer with United Airlines. They were very well received, and I got to play the role of proud older brother and show off a bit.

Next week will feature more travel posts. In fact, I want to ask you about that. How do you like it? I’m considering making travel posts a more permanent feature of the site. I’d like to hear  your thoughts. Have a good weekend, everybody. I’ll see you on Monday.

Comments, for a change, are open.

52 Weekly 06 – Passion and discouragement

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Every week I push my top posts to Flipboard. You can subscribe here.

I continued my month-long series on traveling with the iPhone this week. It’s so much fun writing about travel. I’ve got a stack of index cards on my desk full of post ideas. Seeing the world is what I’m passionate about, and writing about it all month long has been a real joy. In fact, my last 27 consecutive posts have been about exploring the world we live in. Travel + the iPhone? I might have found my niche.

I’ve also learned not to succumb to discouragement. Man, it’s a seductive thing. My minor successes seem insignificant when compared to larger gains made by my peers. It’s not fair to make that comparison, and I’ve got to work on it. Here’s to success.

Thanks for reading and enjoy this week’s 52 Weekly. I’ll see you on Monday.

52 Weekly 05 – Making lemonade

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This week I launched what will be a month-long series on traveling with an iPhone. I’m referring to it as “The iPhone Traveler,” but I could have called it “Lemonade.”

More than a year ago, I set out to write a book on traveling with your iPhone. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. The good news is that I have a lot of material written that I can re-purpose as a travel series here on 52 Tiger.

The other nice thing about it is, I adore travel. There’s nothing like it. Visiting a new place, meeting new people and absorbing a new culture is the most life-affirming thing I know how to do. It’s the one thing I’m thoroughly passionate about. I’ve long dreamed about being a travel writer. Who knows? Maybe this month will help 52 Tiger shift focus for the long-term.

This week’s issue features the travel stories I’ve published to 52 Tiger so far. I hope you enjoy them. You can receive weekly updates to 52 Weekly on Flipboard by subscribing here. See you on Monday.

52 Weekly issue 02 – Feeling Super

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Feeling good about things this month. Super even.

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who subscribed to 52 Weekly on Flipboard. It means a lot. Now that the weekend has arrived, here’s a great opportunity to sit down and read the articles that you skimmed during the week. This week I expanded all of the articles that appear in the magazine. So if you read them during the week, you’ll find that there’s more to read in each one, as of today. A little bonus for you, my wonderful readers.

I also want to include an update to my Valentine’s Day Resolution (VDR) for April. This month, I’m committed to making 52 Weekly something worthwhile. Expanding the posts that I push to it is a good step. I’m also committed to publishing nice, original photos with the majority of my posts this month. That’s also going well. I’m not a professional photographer, but I can certainly do better than screenshots and whatever I find on Google. The photos make the site and 52 Weekly look a lot better.

Both of these practices meet my requirements for a worthwhile VDR:

  1. Make me more visible.
  2. Build a product inventory.
  3. Create a reason for people to visit the site.
  4. Build a new habit.
  5. Build excellence (practice makes perfect).

In other news, I came to an important realization regarding my workflow this month. As many of you know, my day job is at TUAW. When my work day ends, I’m father/husband until about 8:00 PM. That’s when I return to my computer and start what I call the “PM shift.” I had been getting frustrated that I couldn’t cover news on 52T during the day as I was at work. By the evening, those stories seemed to already be “old hat.” I’d end up posting nothing and feeling guilty about it.

However, nothing fosters creativity like constraint. So I asked myself: What is the constraint I have? I can’t cover news on 52T while I’m at work. I still want to produce a decent tech site. How to make this work?

Reflection. I can’t bust out breaking news as it happens all day, but I can sit down at the end of the day and think — really think — about the one or two stories that caught my attention during the day. The result is a great post that offers some thought in place of up-to-the-second publication. I’ll publish fewer posts than the big tech sites, but I’ll be happy with those I do get out. I hope you will, too.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe to 52 Weekly, and have a great weekend. See you on Monday.

Aiming high in 2013: V-Day resolution review

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Last February, I was significantly inspired by David Seah. David creates “Ground Hog Day Resolutions,” which are a set of goals that he revisits monthly. The goals and the monthly check-ins are meant to provide a tangible means of fostering success throughout the year. 1 I came across this practice on Valentine’s Day, so my list of Valentine’s Day resolutions (VDR) was born.

Defining a VDR

A Valentine’s Day resolution is a monthly goal. I’m working on professional resolutions, not personal (like lose 20 lbs.). To be considered, a goal must meet certain criteria. Specifically, a VDR must (again, I borrowed this list from Seah, as it’s perfect):

  1. Make me more visible.
  2. Build a product inventory.
  3. Create a reason for people to visit the site.
  4. Build a new habit.
  5. Build excellence (practice makes perfect).

Valentine’s Day Resolution Review Days

A goal that meets all five criteria will be considered. Once a goal is set, it requires a monthly check-in, so that progress/success/failure can be determined. To make things easy, I’ve made the check-in date for each month equal to that month’s number on the calendar. For example, in April, my VDR review day (VDRR) is on the 4th. In May, the 5th and so on. Therefore, my schedule looks like this:

March 3 — VDRR #1
April 4 — VDRR #2
May 5 — VDRR #3
June 6  — VDRR #4
July 7  — VDRR #5
August 8  — VDRR #6
September 9  — VDRR #7
October 10  — VDRR #8
November 11  — VDRR #9
December 12  — VDRR #10

There are no goals set for January, as the beginning of the new year is set aside for reflection and relaxation.

March Resolution Review

In March, I resolved to write one tip per day for 31 days. It was a good idea that satisfied all of my criteria: it increased visibility, built a product inventory, created a reason for you to visit the site, built a new habit for me and built excellence on my part. How did it go?

Success was moderate. After a few weeks, I found it hard to come up with new tips. So I fell short of my goal.

Lessons learned

First, I learned that I need to realistically address my ability to complete a task before agreeing to it. I have this habit of saying, “Yeah, I’ll do that!” and then walking away thinking, “I hope I can figure out how to do that.” Over promise and under deliver is not a good business plan.

Second, I have an Olympic-class case of self-sabotage. I don’t know why, but my system wants to reject success like a mismatched kidney. It’s a real problem and one I’m not sure how to address. One part of me says I’m not qualified to do X, Y and Z, while another puts obstacles in the way, just incase I should stumble upon the answer.

Which leads me to lesson number three: It’s OK not to have every answer. When you present yourself as knowledgeable in a certain area or even an expert in a field, I feel you should have all the answers, all the time. That is, I should have all the answers. Well, no one does, and I guess it’s OK to 1.) admit that publicly and 2.) lean on others for help. When asked, “How does [X] work?”, I should change my internal dialog from “I’m about to be exposed as a fraud for not knowing the answer” to something like, “Admit you don’t know and offer to research the answer and get back when you’re done.”

I also learned about my writing process, and this was the most helpful lesson of all. Because I have the attention span of a tsetse fly, 2 I often put off writing a tip until 10:00 PM or so. Wait, did I say writing? I should have said considering. This resulted in much stress, frustration and a real temptation to say, “Screw it.”

However, breaking the process down to very small steps over several days was helpful. Day one, simply brainstorm ideas on paper. That’s it. That’s all that needs to be done. Day two, draw an outline. Day three, write a rough first draft. After that, re-write and publish.

I’ve adopted this process for my larger projects, too, like my weekly posts on Unclutterer. It’s time-consuming and I’ll bet much slower than many writers work, but it’s working for me. No more late-nice stress tests.

April Resolution

April’s resolution is two-fold. The first is to publish great photos with almost every post. I’ll admit I’ve been inspired by the gorgeous photography on iMore. I can’t compete on that scale, as I’m not a pro, but I also think it’s time to move beyond screenshots and Photoshop hack jobs. So, I will use a nice, custom photo with most posts on 52 Tiger throughout April.

Also, I’ve created a magazine in Flipboard. 52 Weekly will be a round-up of the best posts from 52 Tiger during the previous week. I’ll update it each Friday. The nice photos should also serve to make 52 Weekly even more appealing. Go and subscribe (I’ll have a more detailed post about it up tomorrow).

So here we go! I’m aiming high in 2013. By December I should have accomplished 10 awesome monthly goals and moved my dream of running 52T full-time that much closer.

  1. At least that’s my interpretation. Let me know if I’m wrong, David.
  2. Squirrel!