September 2012 Archives

What is your 20% project?

| in ICT4D | Comments (1)

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We are all busy. But you should never be too busy to experiment, explore, and build something new, especially something new that could be a new income stream or professional achievement.

I call this the 20% project.

Yes, that implies you should be spending 20% of your time on new projects, be they for work or outside of it. My earliest 20% project, Belly Button Window opened up a world of friends that helped me cross the earth in style. My most successful 20% project was OLPC News, that beget a whole new career focus for me: 6 years as a thought leader in ICT for education.

Now I am juggling two 20% projects: Technology Salon, which I am working on rolling out as a private company in 2013, and an MBA, which is a long-term 20% project.

But don't think I am the only one.

In thinking about 20% projects, I asked around to see what others are up to. Here are a few of the responses:

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  • Ian Thorpe says: two things 1. internal UN "transformation" network 2. #post2015agenda public conversation platform
  • Linda Raftree says: kids, running, capoeira, TSNYC, curric on Visual Literacy, blog, mYWD research, FLSMS brd
  • Mike McKay says: PouchDB is an html5 offline capable DB with full sync. Phones, tablets & dev countries. me =>80%
  • And Christine Prefontaine says: Maybe too meta, or maybe because I'm a freelance, but I don't think 80/20.

Christine brings up a good point. If you do it right, your 20% is your 80% - you are able to build innovative projects as your job, and that's when you know you're doing it right.

So... what's your 20% project?
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Check Out Inveneo's New Website!

| in ICT4D | Comments (0)

new inveneo website cake

As one of my last acts at Inveneo, I helped design and launch their new website. Well, I did a bit more than that. I spent the last two years bemoaning our old website and lobbying for a new one.

For a small company that sold best though in-person meetings, it was hard convincing others that we needed to invest in a new website. In addition, there was a perception that websites were expensive - at least $100K. So there was a long road to get the green light to change Inveneo.org

I am proud to say that we came in pretty much on time and on budget - and our budget was a tiny fraction of what they thought it would be. I will have to thank Lee Heidel of Heidel Design for both helping me demonstrate that websites can be built for very reasonable investments and actually building the new site within the expected costs. (Yes, I highly recommend him for your web needs)

But enough about the backstory - that's not as much fun as the visual feasts this cake represents. Now dig in to http://inveneo.org!

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gwu-amba-masters-program.jpg

In addition to switching jobs, I am now starting my Masters of Business Administration at George Washington University. Why? Because I don't have enough going on in my life, what with a new job, a wife, two kids, a dog, house, and all my ICT4D friends.

So to just make it that much more intense, I am in the accelerated MBA program at GW, where we cover a semester's worth of classes in half the time. Called the "AMBA", it will still take me two years of Tuesday nights and Saturdays to graduate, but I can work full time at Development Gateway and bring home the bacon that my young family needs.

At this point, there are two dubious records I hold in the class.

  1. At 38 for the second time, I am the oldest member of the AMBA Class of 2014 by at least two years. My goal was to start grad school before I would have such an honor, but now that I have it, I am rolling with the mental fragility prestige this title conveys.
  2. I also happen to be the most traveled member of the class, with experiences from 82 countries, beating out the next competitor by 10 countries. Funny enough, he is Indonesian with an Italian name, and I am the American with an Indonesian name.

Overall, I am excited about the AMBA courses and the freedom to challenge myself. It seems that most course grades are based on essays and case studies versus quantitative tests, and most people maintain the B average required to graduate, so I feel that I'll do well.

Of course, this is the first week, so check back in a year and I may have a different opinion. In the mean time, check out my team's first two work products:

Well, what do you think - worth an A?

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