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Save the date: Scott McCloud at BGSU, October 24

I do not have final details, but wanted to get the word out as soon as possible so you can start planning. Subject to change.

Who: Scott McCloud, Cartoonist and Theorist
What: Comics: A Medium in Transition
When: Friday, October 24, 2008, 6:30 pm
Where: 206 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

One of the sponsoring organizations appears to be the BGSU student chapter of SIGGRAPH / Computer Arts Club. The School of Art may also be funding part of this (Todd Childers is the one who gave me the basic info - thanks Todd!).

Poking around some more, I found "The Comic Book in Popular Culture" scheduled in many rooms in the same building at the same time. Which led me to this call for participation from the Popular Culture Department. So I assume Scott's visit is part of the conference.

And checking out "Comics: A Medium in Transition" by Scott, I see these other performances:

Stay tuned for more info...

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Three local job openings in Web UX

This could be a first: three Toledo-area job openings in web user experience, at the same time.

#1 is with the Toledo Zoo as a Web Project Coordinator: "...create a website experience that engages audiences..." is mentioned in the description (in today's Toledo Blade). I do not see an online description of the job to link to, however. Contact the zoo for more information, I guess.

#2 is Web Interface Designer with TolTest, a construction management firm. "...Design web interfaces for TolTest’s next generation of internal and external applications" with "solid understanding of user-centered design principles and methodologies, information and interaction design".

#3 is Web Development Specialist/Designer at BGSU (PDF). "...Continuously improve navigation, accessibility, usability and brand image" based on a "knowledge of designing and implementing site architecture, functionality, data flow, user interfaces and intuitive navigation".

(There could be more - these are 3 that I found completely by accident. Let me know if you know of any other web user experience jobs in the area - I am happy to promote them.)

Perhaps there is something to the idea that customer experience is recession proof.

These 3 jobs are small potatoes compared to the big economic development news in the area, of course. Xunlight getting more funding and hiring. First Solar continuing to hire.

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Internet User Experience 2008: March 31 - April 3, Ann Arbor

It just keeps getting bigger and better - Internet User Experience, the "local" conference with "national" quality. It will be in nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 31 - April 3.

IUE, in its 4th year, has expanded to 4 days. The first day has 2 all-day tutorials to choose from. The second day is the beginning of the main conference with 7 presentations and a night out-on-the-town. The third day has 2 morning panels, a presentation and 2 half-day afternoon tutorials. The last day is an interactive workshop.

You will see how web sites have been effectively designed for many different markets and target groups, ranging from 3-year olds to adult consumers to specialized professionals. You will see dramatic before-and-after improvements to established web sites. You will learn from experts in fields such as search engine optimization, online communities, and user experience management as they explain and debate the current state, future destiny, and current opportunities that exist for businesses with these evolving technologies and professions.

We are blessed to have such a high quality program for a locally-organized event. Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus, a Michigan UPA officer, is the main force behind this, but he gets volunteers from other local groups like MOCHI, STC/SM and Refresh Detroit, to help. It is a great example of how local User Experience Network collaboration can help pull off something "local" that is comparable to the other UX conferences.

Check out the schedule and register if you are interested. I have gone every year and it has been great. I will be there for at least part of the 4 days - see you there.

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Rules and laws are coming

Adding to my December blog posting, more information is coming out about the Peppers and Rogers book "Rules to break and laws to follow". First, the official web site for the book is now online:

Second, I went to Martha's talk last week (thanks for the ticket Marcia), which might have been the first stop on the book tour. It was a great presentation: here are some of my notes.

  • In her previous books, she was focused on marketing but now she sees how things like 1to1 are affecting the entire organization.
  • If customers are not talking to each other, advertising is the critical factor for business success. If customers talk to each other, then customer experience is the most important factor. See Smart Marketing: Making Word-of-Mouth Work.
  • 3 rules to break: Marketing and sales can always get more customers, value comes from your products and services, and the best measure of success is your current sales and profit.
  • Steps to a good experience: Ask, remember and do something in return. The Goldfish principle: Dori on Nemo (no memory).
  • Examples of good experiences: Mayo clinic (carpenters to install ramps, not health care but what their customers/patients need), "Wardrobe management" by men (not just selling them clothes), Going from "explosives business" to "broken rock business".
  • Companies often optimize for making money (short term) but destroy value (long term). Example: a marketing campaign makes $250k but how many customers did it turn off / use up? "Guilty of committing mass marketing".
  • What if Apple and Nike teamed up to count your steps? And other examples to personalized products and services. See Frost & Sullivan: 1to1 Impact Awards for more.
  • Which is better investment? (a) Spend $10 per customer, make $10 profit each, 100% ROI. (b) Spend $20 per customer, make $15 profit each, 75% ROI.
  • The Internet: Increases importance of trust and reputation. Google "Yours is a very bad hotel".
  • Who (within the organization) has the goal of adding value to the customer?
  • Trust: it is good for business.
  • You can always get more capital; customers are the scarce resource.

(When looking for stuff for this blog entry, I also found Creating Customer Value: A (podcast) series with Peppers and Rogers which has many more nuggets. My favorite is in Volume 7: "A good experience is not just 1 piece of theater".)

Third, I am fortunate to now have a draft copy of the book, so I will start writing up reviews of pieces as I digest it. I am not sure yet what cadence will be best - chapter by chapter, the book all at once, themes across the whole book, etc.

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AIGA Toledo chapter

I just discovered that we now have an AIGA local chapter in the area, AIGA Toledo. Yeah! Amy Fidler and Jenn Stucker issued a call for participation in July and had the first organizational meeting in April. Since becoming an official chapter, the group has hosted Marian Bantjes in September and a social gathering in October (with Flickr photos from both events). Amy and Jenn have collaborated on other things, too.

Before the Toledo chapter was formed, local AIGA members had the option of driving to Detroit or Cleveland for meetings. There is also an AIGA chapter in Cincinnati.

I was an AIGA member years ago, when it had an active Experience design community of practice. I am no longer an AIGA member, but one of the hi-lites of DUX was meeting AIGA members (the "dressed in black" crowd): as we talked about user experience, the differences in our backgrounds did not really matter.

AIGA Toledo represents the first truly local chapter related to user experience. As a UXnet Local Ambassador, I hope I will be able to help them incorporate the right mix of user experience topics into their programs so they can help serve the broader UX community in Northwest Ohio.

I will still be hanging out in the Ann Arbor/Detroit, Cleveland, Dayton and Columbus areas to connect with UX professionals in the region, but it will be nice to also have a connection with colleagues closer to home through our new AIGA chapter.

Thanks to Amy and Jenn and everyone else who helped form AIGA Toledo. This is great news for the area.

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October regional user experience events

Many of the user experience groups in the area kicked off the "season" with meetings in September. Here is what is in store within a 3+ hour radius of Toledo for October.

Let me know what else I am missing from this list. Also, MOCHI is gearing up again and a UPA chapter is forming in Columbus.

On November 8th, there will be quite a few regional events for World Usability Day.

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HCR Manor Care: Web Content Administrator

Here is a local job opportunity for a user experience professional (there are not very many opportunities around here).

HCR Manor Care: Web content administrator, Web Design (CSS) / Portal Administration. "This Web Content Administrator position will work with a team to administer our portal, utilize HTML/CSS for our web applications / web sites, manage and enhance our content management system." Two of the skills listed (in the local newspaper ad for this job):

  • Web usability and user experience
  • Information architecture

I know some of the people there - it would be a good place to work.

To find out more about this job, start with a Corporate office job search. You will eventually get to the job description where you can apply.

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Henry Petroski, April 30th

Another interesting speaker coming to Northwest Ohio - Henry Petroski, Monday, April 30, 6:30 PM, Nitschke Auditorium, University of Toledo. "To Engineer is Human" is the title of the talk. Sponsored by the U of T College of Engineering.

Local announcements: (will add more as I find them)

To help me understand what Henry is all about, I did some research into what my user experience colleagues have said about him.

If Josh and Peter and Don have read him, then I think it will be worth going to see him.

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More notes from Entrepreneurial Thinking conference

The Entrepreneurial Thinking conference was well worth it. I look forward to the next one on April 18th, 2008.

Alan Webber (adding to my quick notes)

  • He did not have slides, so this is what stayed up on screen as he talked: Expert on change and innovation in the knowledge economy.
  • Two things matter for business success: Innovation and Leadership. That is where you stand out. (The rest are important but taken for granted.) They are two sides of the same coin. Innovation: upset status quo to create new value. Leadership: guide/create positive change, master the art of change. That means the coin is called Change.
  • Three brutal facts of business life: Globalization, Technology, Human capital. My favorite quote (paraphrased): "Web 2.0 is a buzzword that means: If the work is not moving to India or China, then it will move to the web." Human capital - it really means "hire the best people." Interesting stat: The top programmers are 10,000 times more productive than average ones.
  • In the TINA questions, I of course liked the fact that "customer's skin" and "design" are next to each other. Good quotes: "Know your customers better than they know themselves," "Your web site instantly communicates your brand values" and "Design is a signal of intention."
  • The best question for Alan was about open systems. The old model of a great business was that you controlled everything within your corporate boundaries.

Guy Kawasaki

  • Worth the price of admission. Very inspiring. And funny. Great presenter. (Guy is one of the judges in SlideShare's World Best Presentation Contest.)
  • His talk was titled "The art of innovation" and it was very similar to his "art of the start" talks. There are several copies of his Art of the Start floating around - here is one on SlideShare and another.
  • Since some of his points were different, I will list them here., with short notes. (Update: PDF attached below.)
  1. Make meaning (the money comes from the meaning but you cannot make meaning just from money)
  2. Make mantra (not mission statements)
  3. Jump to the next curve (10 times better, not 10% better)
  4. Roll the DICEE (Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Elegant, Emotive)
  5. Don't worry, be crappy (ship and then test, but only revolutionary products can get away with this)
  6. Polarize people (if you design for everyone, it works for no one)
  7. Let 100 flowers blossom (spread it widely because you will get unanticipated customers)
  8. Churn, baby, churn (hardest part is shifting from "do not listen to the people who tell you it is impossible" before shipping to evolutionary mode - "listen to your users" - after shipping)
  9. Niche thyself (high value + unique product - high and to the right on the charts)
  10. Follow the 10/20/30 rule (for pitching ideas - 10 slides, 20 minutes of talking and then discussion, 30 point font)
  11. Don't let the bozos grind you down (innovation is about seeing the next curve, those stuck in the current curve will get in your way)
  • I now get the last quote in Guy's presentation, where he calls himself a bozo. "It's too far to drive, and I don't see how it can be a business." He interviewed for the job as CEO of Yahoo! when it was first starting, when it was only a hierarchy of links. He figures it was a 2 billion dollar "no thanks." Correction: I originally wrote "was offered" the CEO job - thanks Guy for clarifying that point.
  • One of the questions stumped Guy and set him off on a trail that mentioned his near-divorce and ended up with him buying his way into heaven, on a first class airline seat. I could not hear the original question, but it was something like "How has your coolness factor affected the impact that you have had?" Guy gave an Orel Hershiser answer ("aw, shucks, I am just a regular guy"). Not sure if he was referencing Orel since he went to BGSU or if Orel is some standard for humility.
  • I did not realize Guy was a hockey fan (seems obvious now from this cartoon). He was given a BGSU hockey jersey - I need a copy of the photograph of him and coach Scott Paluch for my office wall. Too bad we could not arrange for Guy to play some hockey during his visit (like he did in Minnesota in January). The guys I play with at BGSU had ice time Friday morning. The next time Guy visits, we will definitely have to get him on the ice and see if his hockey skills are as awesome as his keynote presentation skills.
  • Other things

    • I hung out a lot with the great folks at Hanson. Very nice to have them involved. Shared a lot of great ideas for nurturing the user experience community in the area.
    • BGSU is doing other good things. I did not take notes on this part, since I was eating, but from what I remember: A new program where a cohort of students go thru the business program with a cohort of multi-disciplinary teachers. A way for alumni to come back for "lifelong learning." A new WBGU-TV program of interviews with entrepreneurs, starring Martha Rogers. (I will blog this more as I learn more - or someone who knows the details can add a comment here.)
    • There are other events happening at BGSU this weekend, none of which I can attend. The one I really will miss is Oprah's dress (not).
    • Keith Trowbridge, Executive Quest, is quite the character - I attended the break-out session where he spoke. Stories ranging from how he got the curling rink built to the "BGSU mafia" to his innovative timeshare business.

    Quick notes from Alan Webber talk

    Most people were scribbling down Alan's 12 TINA (There is No Alternative) questions, so I will blog them first and do other notes from the Entrepreneurial Thinking conference later.

    1. Do you have the right kind of leadership for your organization?
    2. Are you playing a bigger game?
    3. Are you getting more than your fair share of truly great people?
    4. Is your culture about teamwork or "all for yourself"?
    5. Is your corporate DNA diverse enough?
    6. Are you living inside your customers' skins?
    7. Do you know what your company's design is saying about you?
    8. Do you know what your company stands for?
    9. Is technology a cost or a way of doing business?
    10. Is your company a talk show?
    11. Are you a fast company or a slow company?

    Update: Were there 12 questions or 11? I think I may have missed one. Also: Technorati tag: entrepreneurial-thinking.

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