Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Good are Tech User Groups?

Last week I met Ronan Miles of the powerhouse UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG). Just look at their event list. I put a simple questions to him: Why be part of a user group?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Lesson and a New Goal for 2009

Just interviewed Mike Riley of the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG). He’s in town for the IOUC conference . He didn’t say this on tape, but in the car back to his hotel he said being a member of ODTUG makes him much better at his work and helps him enjoy his job. He’s been a developer and project manager at the same insurance company for twenty years. TWENTY years. He says that ODTUG membership makes him part of a community that is “always trying something new, and always willing to help you,” he said. He also likes that his fellow members, based all over the world, look to him for his knowledge and leadership.

My Up Close video interviews for Oracle Magazine are convincing me that being part of a self-formed group pursuing excellence in any endeavor is a key to maintaining happiness and meaning in your work.

I’ve been toiling on my own for too long. Another goal for 2009: join a group of writers and work with them to pursue excellence -- it is, I am learning from my tech friends, a route to happiness.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Goals for 2009

I just came across Seth Godin’s admonition on goal setting. I agree with him; goals are how we can make sure the work we do every day is taking us someplace we want to go. Upon quick reflection, my goals for 2009 as tech editor at Oracle:

1. Make my new show “One-Minute Oracle,” into a hit. OMO explains Oracle technology announcements in quick, fun Web videos. I want each one to be featured on the top blogs dealing with the technology I’m explaining. I want my videos to feed a large number of eyes to more detailed stories in Oracle Magazine and to resources in the Oracle Technology network. The first show hits Vimeo in early Feb.

2. Bring the Oracle Database Insider blog up in the rankings to be constantly in the top 20 Oracle blogs. This won’t happen over night (and luckily I’ve got several good partners in Oracle marketing who carry a lot of the weight). I will do my part to grow the blog the same way people accomplish everything that matters -- through consistency and relationships. If you’re in product management at Oracle, you might be getting a call or visit from me about this.

3. Turn my magazine column and video podcast series, Up Close, and Up Close Video into a teaching and marketing resource for people involved in the user community. Up Close features interviews with leaders and members of the myriad Oracle technology user groups worldwide. These groups form independent of Oracle Corporation and are one of the company’s greatest assets.

4. Do Lunch. Once a month I will arrange a lunch with an interesting outlier. I have acquaintances with expertise in finance, retailing, design, medicine, religion, and lots more. I’ll book ‘em, pay for lunch, and pick their brains. Last month I did lunch with Xavier Helgesen, CEO of Better World Books. BWB is a top seller through eBay and Amazon, and an example the best in socially responsible business. I learned a lot about retailing online and the meatloaf at Q was delish.

5. For everything else, my goal is to simply show up ready to play. My tactics for this: wake up early, write in the morning to set my direction for the day, run most days, put in a good day’s work, be honest, be frugal, be kind.