Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This Reflects What It Felt Like For Me To Work In Washington D.C. Each Day

I was looking through President Obama's 2014: A Year in Photos today, and while many of the pictures evoke emotion for me, but this one in particular really summed up for me, the very short time I spent in Washington D.C., as a Presidential Innovation Fellow.

The number one lesson I walked away with from my time in Washington D.C., was a respect for the scope that exists is DC. Everything is big. Everything is under scrutiny. Everything is operating at a scale, I never had experienced before. If you think you get it, and have never worked there--you know nothing.

I respect anyone who can actually get ANYTHING done in this evironment--knowing this, I understand that my role is purely from the outside-in. I'm not saying everything there has the best possible motives, but you have to respect anyone getting ANYTHING done in an environment, where everything you do is being so heavily scrutinized.



from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/AtZCmnVRZDI/this-reflects-what-it-felt-like-for-me-to-work-in-washington-dc-each-day

Please Provide Me With More Information Before We Speak On The Phone

As an independent operator, I have to be very thoughtful about how I spend my time. With this in mind, it is helpful for me to have a standard response that I can give to people who make requests for phone conversations.

If we do not have a prior relationship, or a referral from someone I know well, the chances I’ll just jump on a call are slim. Please provide me with as much information on what you are up to, in as short, and concise way as you possible can.

I’m just looking for a title, executive summary and some supporting links to prime the pump. I’m happy to make time, but I need some sort of way to make sure what you need is a fit for you, and for me. I get a lot of folks who don’t quite understand what I do, and if I responded to every request, I'd be on the phone all day--thus I wouldn't be the API Evangelist anymore. ;-(

I appreciate your understanding. Additionaly I find this request helps people articulate their ideas and needs better, making the time we do spend on the phone, much more productive for both of us. I look forward to hearing more about your idea!



from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/4-zRMQhiCws/please-provide-me-with-more-information-before-we-speak-on-the-phone

Please Provide Me Information Before You Ask To Speak On The Phone

As an independent operator, I have to be very thoughtful about how I spend my time. With this in mind, it is helpful for me to have a standard response that I can give to people who make requests for phone conversations.

If we do not have a prior relationship, or a referral from someone I know well, the chances I’ll just jump on a call are slim. Please provide me with as much information on what you are up to, in as short, and concise way as you possible can.

I’m just looking for a title, executive summary and some supporting links to prime the pump. I’m happy to make time, but I need some sort of way to make sure what you need is a fit for you, and for me. I get a lot of folks who don’t quite understand what I do, and if I responded to every request, I'd be on the phone all day--thus I wouldn't be the API Evangelist anymore. ;-(

I appreciate your understanding. Additionaly I find this request helps people articulate their ideas and needs better, making the time we do spend on the phone, much more productive for both of us. I look forward to hearing more about your idea!



from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KinLane/~3/qxLQdJ54nnM/please-provide-me-information-before-you-ask-to-speak-on-the-phone

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When A Developer Does Not Understand What API Evangelist Is

I do not expect everyone to immediately know who I am, and fully understand my mission behind API Evangelist. However I do find it interesting when people have entirely skewed views of who I am, what I do, and then after they meet me, make a 180 degree shift in their perception of API Evangelist.

This post is about one recent encounter I had with a developer at an event. This very nice developer has worked in the API sector for a while, and is very knowledgeable about APIs, and is very aware of who I am, and my presence as the API evangelist, either from co-workers, or the larger web. When I first talked to him in a larger group, someone said do you know Kin? To which they replied yes, they were aware of who I was, but never met me, and didn't seem very interested in a deeper introduction or conversation. They had clearly made up their mind who I was, and what it is that I do, and sent out tones that I was not much more than a blogger. This doesn't happen all the time, but regularly enough that I feel compelled to write about it.

Spanning a couple of days this developer was in various group conversation I participated in, and at no point did they seem interested in engaging me, acting very disinterested, and walking away several times. Now I really have no way of knowing how they felt, or if there is something at play, but I've experienced enough to know these developers are really smart, and often times feel what I do isn't technical enough to rise to the occasion—I know this because many developers have told me this flat out, but in this particular case that hadn't happened.

What did happen is after about 7 of these types of engagement, this developer heard me talking about my vision around the Oracle vs. Google case, and my larger vision about API discovery across the Internet, and at some point during this conversation their energy towards me shifted entirely and became much friendlier, and engaging. After this conversation, they sought me out for further conversations, followed me on Twitter and worked really hard to initiate discussion with me in several other areas.

The message here is that you really shouldn't make assumptions about people in the space until you've done your homework, or quite possibly met them in person. This is something that I think developers are very poor at. I experience this online regularly, and offline less frequently. Someone lands on my site, reads one posts, maybe two, and makes some pretty radical assumptions about who I am, and what I do based upon this limited understanding. I can see how my title of “API Evangelist” might seem superficial to the untrained eye, but once you get to know me you will understand how passionate I am about APIs, something I hope will be contagious, or at least help you understand more about me, and my cause.



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Thursday, December 18, 2014

When Apps You Love Lose Their Utility

With the latest version of Evernote, I’m beginning to look for the next tool for managing my notes. I live and breathe in my Evernote. I am writing this post in there. I depend on the easy note taking via my laptop, mobile phone and tablet. Evernote is the heartbeat of my writing, and I write everything from email, to blog posts, and white papers in my Evernote, then publish to the appropriate channels once ready.

The last version changed the layout, added chat, and recommendations for outside related sources, to name a few of the most prominent feature changes I'm stumbling over. Some repetitive tasks that were one click before, now take me two or three clicks, making my organization of my writing much more difficult. The introduction of chat is not only useless to me, it actually invades my private writing sanctuary and just bothers me everytime I see the button at the top.

As I evaluate what it will take to migrate from the platform, I’m unable to get an API key, it just throws an error every time I ask for one. I submitted a ticket, and will publish a video of the problems I was facing at some point. I exported a notebook as HTML, just to see what was possible for migration from the interface, and the amount of garbage in the HTML is going to create a lot of extra work for me when converting.

We all seem to be infatuated with the constant march forward of technology, and it is something I am able find harmony within, and making sure my content, data, and other assets are well defined, and portable is an important part of this. I know Evernote has a wider audience to please than just me, but I’ve been a paying customer since 2011.

It makes me sad, but moving on for me has become esaier than ever, and I don't have time to dwell on break-ups--I just move on.



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The Future Internet Will Consist Of Many Affinity Networks

As much as I wish for the Internet to remain the open, accessible, neutral, distribute platform it has been since birth, I’m often faced with the reality that net neutrality will lose, in the grip of the powers that be. You see, the AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and other powerful corporate actors in the world do not want it to be open, they want to be able to meter anything people want on the Internet, and maximize revenue, and mimic the existing power flows that exist in the regular world.

I feel like the Internet as it occurred was an accident. Something that these corporate giants didn't notice until the Internet was going full tilt, and had become part of the mainstream consciousness. Now that they have their sights set squarely on generating revenue from the Internet, things will change. Some of these evolutionary events being high profile shifts, while most of it will happen silently, put into legislation without anyone noticing, and occurring behind the boardroom doors that the public doesn't have access to.

We have the technology to work around this, we just need the will, and ultimately I believe in humans, and the power they wield in being able to work around roadblocks and challenges put in front of us. The AT&T, Verizon, and Comcasts of the world will be busy building their fast lanes, charging access on both ends, ensuring their partners content and data are visible, and making sure every possible dime is squeezed out of customers. As technologists, we need to continue building out our version of the Internet, using mesh networks, and other emerging alternative network technology.

While the motivation for large corporations will be money, and they will build networks to meet this vision, our motivation will be based upon the affinity we have with our family, friends, and professional networks. We will need to build out nodes to support our agricultural networks, music communities, and the numerous other levels in which we share affinity. We need to encourage our networks to become network nodes, and ensure our packets, bits and bytes traverse only these networks, unencumbered by the corporate traffic cops that will be spread around the globe in coming years.

Just as Tim Berners Lee, and other grandfathers, and grandmothers of the Internet did, we will have to innovate, and work hard to develop the next generation Internet. One that evades the gaze of our corporate Sauron, and stays one or two steps ahead of the corporate interests that may think they are good, but do not have the collective Internet, or world in mind.



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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sorry I Do Not Want To Take Your Survey

I get a number of emails, instant messages, and other channel requests to take surveys. All of which I say no thank you. I don’t take surveys, I don’t care what you offer me, I hate the format, and refuse to take part. Surveys remind me of taking tests in school or the corporate work environment, where people were trying to measure my knowledge, performance or otherwise.

I’m sure that survey’s work in many environments, where you can incentivize folks to fill out your form. I’m sure some of the answers are even what you are looking for, but I’m sure there are many other folks like me who do not give a shit about jumping through hoops to answer questions, even if it is for an important cause.

In 2014 I can't help but think there are better ways of doing surveys, and wish someone would come along and do something about it. I don't mind being asked questions, but in my busy day I do not have time, or interest in filling out a long questionnaire. Maybe you could do your survey over the course of a couple days or weeks, via Twitter or other social media channels.

Seems to me that you could easily target a group of individuals via social media, populate a list of questions you are looking to have answer, then time questions so they get asked in a simple, conversational manner that is not intrusive, or disrupts my world. I'd be happy to answer your questions (well not always), but for many companies, brands, and on interesting topics I'd be happy to help in a way that fit better with my flow.



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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

No Mojo For Writing On The Road

I’m sure some of you are happy when I go on the road, because the number of blog posts I publish goes significantly down. I get a lot of folks who jokingly complain about the volume I write, and state it is difficult for them to keep up sometimes. Not sure how I can help you with this one, maybe better read it later tools, or ask your boss to carve out reading time at work on a regular basis. ;-)

When I am on the road I find it very difficult to find the "mojo" to write. Ever time I come home from a trip I will have numerous Evernote entries derived from random ideas I've had traveling. There are no shortage of ideas while I roam the world, but the ability to actually think an idea through, flush it out, and tell the full story is really, really difficult for me when I'm in motion. Many managers I've had over the years, often consider writing to be an “easy” task—"just write those 500 words about that topic, it is just words in a certain order, right?" #nottrue

There are some posts that I write that don’t take much energy, but many posts Ineed write in a place that I just can't always access when traveling, worried about making my flight, finding a taxi, networking for dinner, or just plain too tired to even have a deep thought. This is why, when I come home you will find a serious uptick in the number of blog posts I publish, because I'm finally able to settle into my "happy place", where there is endless amounts of “mojo” to tap, when it comes to telling API stories.

This makes me happy to once again be home, and is why I will continue to reduce the amount I travel in 2015, because I feel like my writing is much more important to my own well-being, something I hope contributes to the overall health of the APi space.



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Monday, December 1, 2014

Flipping Through The Online Channels Each Day

I was give my own color TV when I got a Commodore 64 for Christmas in 1980-something. Ever since then, I've had a noisy backchannel in my life. I don’t just like a secondary channel, I often need it to be able to focus on the primary channel--it is just how I operate.

As I reach 20 years on the Internet I can't help compare my current reality with my previous lives engaging with technology. I remember first getting my satellite access in I think 1982 or 1983. It was a big-ass-dish-out-in-the-yard setup, not the little-ass-dish-on-roof you have now.

Anyways, I've spent the last 30 years flipping through the channels of my television, ham radio, dial-up Internet, dsl, broadband, cellular connection. Which channel do I find what I’m looking for? Which frequency actually reaches me? What channel is the most relevant for the time period? There are a lot of questions, and only static answers—I demand dynamic. No real-time. No predictive. D) All The Above.

I monitor thousands of frequencies across about 10 channels, each day. I pay attention to RSS, Twitter, Github, Email, and other lesser traveled channels, looking for the signals that matter. The more I experience, the stronger the patterns I look for come into focus. Some things catch my eye, other things do not.

I’m difficult to reach, unless you know the channels. My daughter knows how to ping me on multiple channels, and various frequencies, and my mother does not. I try to manage the balance across the channels, and frequencies, but if I can't find the right modulation—it ends up being random.

How will we ever find harmony in the channel in which we receive our information? How will we ever know the proper channels to reach those that matter? Our reality is physical, but our minds are moving digital, and we can't keep up. How do we identify the right algorithm for flipping through the channels day, and maintain the sanity needed to keep a forward motion.



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