Monday, April 4, 2016

New Podcast Series - IoT Goes Industrial

I wanted to announce my new Podcast series. We cover Cloud, Internet of Things, Architecture and more.

Listen at the Predix resources page.

Monday, April 27, 2015

At SATURN conference this week

Check out my Twitter feed for updates on the CMU SEI SATURN conference!! 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Only 3 days till National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

Only 3 days till November first: The first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!
I am soo excited! For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo, is a month were everyday we have (no GET) to write a 1676 words in order to reach a 50k word novel by the end of the month. Its soo much fun!

This time I've gone further and created a book that combines my love of Improv with my love of novel writing!

I've been improvising on stage weekly since 2010. Even when I was just learning the craft, I could see how improv could impact my writing. Just like being on stage is terrifying (with no script, mind you), so is facing the blank page while writing.
Every week that I improvise, I face this fear. Stage time has built courage in me that I then can transfer to the written page. It's also given me a toolkit for creating characters and generating future plot points.
I’ve boiled down the essentials of improvising a one-act play, beginning with facing your fear and moving on to the nuts and bolts of writing a good novel.
I took those essentials and put them into a fun new book called Improv Your Novel in 30 Days. In my book I share improv techniques to create a riveting plot and interesting characters. But the best part of the book is the day by day exercises that kick start your creativity before you start writing.
I hope that these techniques and tips will help you finally finish your book—all over the next 30 days. I've even turned the book into a video series, one video per day of November!
The videos and book will teach you:
  • Day One: How to brain storming the big life changing event that kicks your character's life into gear.
  • Day Two: How to pull those riveting characters out of your character center/warehouse.
  • Day Three: How to create a rich world by uncovering the laws of your novel's world.
  • Day Four: How to creating the places your characters live by populating them with the things that matter to them.
  • Day Five: How to listen to your characters to find the themes and games to create rich subplots.
  • And more!
Get it now at

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Behavior Modification

The only way to change behavior is to follow these steps: 1. become aware of the exact behavior, 2. identify what triggers it. 3. identify the benefit received from the behavior.

Once we've analyzed the behavior by understanding all three above, then we work on tweaking one of the 3 areas above. If you drink to excess when you walk into a bar and feel less worried when you are drunk, then you can focus on the trigger: Avoid Bars!

The problem is when we keep doing something small that we don't notice on our own. That is where a coach can help.

example: I hold my arm in a weird way while dancing. My dance teacher pointed it out to me and so did Steve. Because the trigger is unknown except that it happens when I am dancing, I just have to learn to notice it and change it as soon as I do. Steve also is watching for it and pointing it out to me all the time.

I am not sure what else there is besides behavior. Mental states create behavior, but most mental states (within NORMAL ranges) can be manipulated via sleep, distraction, friends, movies, improv, dancing, mediation, exercise, massage, drugs if really needed ( sugar, caffeine, alcohol, magnesium, melatonin)

We are just moist robots. We have to learn how our moist robot both the mental states and our physical states reacts to inputs. If we can learn how we react to all situations then we can be fully self actualized. These are all based on my own moist robot: If I eat Carbs I feel tired and my behavior is sluggish and slow. If I drink caffeine I feel hyper and my behavior is nervous and non focused and we make mistakes. If we exercise we feel level and happy and our behavior is focused and productive. If I sit for more than 20 minutes at a time I feel tired and bored and my behavior is distracted and I get less done.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

White Noise Review

White NoiseWhite Noise by Don DeLillo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel is one of the best I've finished. It’s got everything:

1. Excellent dialog between characters. The dialog creates a sketch of reality giving us a fuller view of the character. We get to view how the character is trying to still create their own personality via their dialog. The characters keep misunderstanding each other and are trying to understand. They are grasping for the truth.

2. It tackles the big ideas: Fear of Death, Consumerism, Television, Environment, Family, Divorce, Marriage, Children

3. The plot is subtle and deliciously well done.

I highly recommend it!

View all my reviews

Monday, September 22, 2014

How many hours we should according to science

Interesting article:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Conversation Model

Conversation Model

Prepared by Bett Correa



In the book So What’s your Point? by James C. Wetherbe and Bond Wetherbe, they give models for verbal communication. I highly recommend you read it. Here are the highlights. The models at a high level are as follows:

1. Explanation Model- Used when you are explaining something to someone. You need to first give the problem, and then give the solution. It’s important not to swap these two.

2. Agreement Model – Used after you have explained, and now the person you are communicating with agrees with you. You need to reinforce the agreement by saying “you’re right” or something similar, and expand on why they are right to agree with you.

3. Closure Model – Used after you’ve communicated the points you wanted to make, and obtained agreement. Closure Model consists of reviewing the points, followed by a proposed course of action.

4. Reservation/Doubt Model- Used when the person you are communicating with doesn’t believe either the problem you’ve stated is a real problem or that the solution you gave will work. At this point you don’t want to get emotional. First you need to reassure the person their reservation or doubt is something you also care about. Then you need to substantiate the problem by reiterating, but making sure to elaborate on the reasons why it’s a real problem.

5. Question/Confusion/Conflict Model – Used when the person you are communicating with has questions, confusion or conflict. First rephrase the person’s question with, “You are concerned with, <issue>?” Make sure you say it in a way that is respectful. Get to the heart of the issue. If they say, “No I am concerned with something else,” then rephrase that concern. Make sure you really understand their concern clearly. Once they agree that you have rephrased their question correctly, and then you can answer, clarify or minimize that concern exactly. When you minimize their concern, you do it by reviewing the alternatives to the use of your solution. Show that your solution outweighs the cost of not doing your solution.

6. Query Model - Used if the person you are communicating with just says “No” to your request without any information; then you need to use the query model. An indirect probe is saying, “Oh?” If they still just say “No” without giving any more information, then you should start guessing what their concern might be.

Stay respectful at every stage of these interactions. Let’s look at some role playing with two of our architects. The situation is that the system being developed needs new hardware. The architect wants their director to approve the request.

Now let’s look at a bad example of the conversation for this situation.

John: “Hi Ralph. I came to talk about the hardware that you said you’d meet me about.”

Ralph: “Yes come in and sit.”

John: “Ralph, [Solution] we need to buy a more powerful server, as I’ve laid out in the email I sent you.

Ralph: [Doubt of the problem] “We just bought that hardware two years ago. I don’t want to buy hardware that we don’t need.”

John:[offended] “You think I didn’t check if we really need the hardware?”

Ralph: “Well, I don’t understand why we need more.”

John: “If we don’t get it, the new system won’t work.”

Ralph: [Conflict] “We don’t have any budget for new hardware.”

John: [Offended] “You only care about the budget?”

Ralph: “Yes, that’s right; I don’t think our upper management will approve that extra expense.”

John: “Our upper management never understands what we are trying to do.”

Ralph: “Right.”

John: “This project is going to fail. I tried to save it.”

Ralph: “Hmm. I do not understand why you need new hardware, John.”

John: [Explain the problem] “The hardware isn’t fast enough to support the new demand of our customer service reps.”

Ralph: “Oh. I didn’t realize that. Did you really try to get the hardware to work?”

John: [Offended] “Of course.”

Ralph: “Well I am not sure we have the budget.”

John: “Oh well. You’ll see when we launch, and it doesn’t work.”

Ralph: “Why don’t you come back when you have some proof.”

John: “Whatever!”

Now let’s look at the same situation with someone using the correct models:

Susan: “Hi Ralph. [Verify this is a good time and they are not being distracted by something else] Is this still a good time to discuss the hardware for the new system?”

Ralph: “Yes, come in and sit.”

Susan: “Ralph, [Explain the problem] the new system will be used by all 500 of our customer service representatives constantly throughout the day. To meet our aggressive goals of response time to our customers, we need to have a system that exceeds our current hardware limitations. The director of the customer service representatives has clearly given us response-time requirements. We have tested the current hardware with the new software, and it is not meeting those response times.

[Give the solution] To handle that type of traffic, we need to buy a more powerful server, as I’ve laid out in the email I sent you.”

Ralph: [Doubt of the problem] “We just bought that hardware two years ago. I don’t want to buy hardware that we don’t need.”

Susan:[Reassure] “We certainly don’t want to buy hardware we don’t need.”

Ralph: “Exactly.”

Susan: [Substantiate] “Here is what we are up against. We have robust software that will be collecting a lot more data, and responding a lot quicker to customer service representatives than our current software. We just can’t handle that type of transaction within the requested response time using our current hardware. Our best techs have tested it with a variety of configurations. It’s taking well over the acceptable limits to meet our requirements.”

Ralph: [Conflict] “We don’t have any budget for hardware.”

Susan: [Rephrase with a validation of the communication] “Let me make sure I understand, you are concerned with the budget for hardware?”

Ralph: “Yes, that’s right; I don’t think our upper management will approve that extra expense.”

Susan: [Rephrase again with a validation of the communication] “Ok, so you are worried that we won’t get approval from upper management?”

Ralph: “Right.”

Susan: [Minimize] “So the alternative is that we deliver a system that doesn’t allow our company to meet its response-time goals. That will stop us from winning the best customer service award we are applying for. If you are worried about getting approval, I can put the business case together for upper management so that they will understand the issue and what is at stake.”

Ralph: “Hmm. My end of year is based on us getting that award for customer service.”

Susan: [Reinforce] “Good point!

[Expand] If we don’t get the faster server, we won’t be able to win that award, and that award will really get us a lot of press coverage and put us ahead of our competition.

Ralph: [Agreement] “That’s so true.”

Susan: [Points of agreement] “So to get this hardware to ensure we meet our response- time goals, [Propose course of action] you can click ‘accept’ on the hardware ordering site, and I’ll send over the documentation to review the business case.”

Ralph: “Ok, I’ll approve it, and if they ask, then we can send them your documentation. Thanks for being so thorough in this, Susan.”

Susan: “Glad to do it Ralph. Thanks for the time, and have a great afternoon.”



Every important conversation you have, think about the needs of the other person. How can you help them get what they need?