Friday, November 22, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I go from one meeting to the next meeting with barely a break in between at work. Each one gives me more action items or things to consider. Meanwhile I am multi-tasking answering emails and instant messages with urgent requests. I must read each one to determine if it is a higher priority than my current call. Each of these elements elevates my stress level.
Stress increases the levels of cortisol in my body which actually can cause my brain to stop functioning at its best, just when I need it to be the most brilliant!
If this does sound familiar, let me share a three little 5 minute cure for this:
There are lots of ways to meditate and even 5 minutes is enough to get you refocused.
This is one of my favorites:
Another quick method of meditating is to breathe in deeply and hum out just 3 or 4 times. This immediately relaxes you.
If you feel frustrated when you meditate because your mind is jumping from one worry to the next, relax. That is normal. One way to focus your mind is to think one word over and over. You will get better with time.
If you go in the bathroom and do 5 minutes of jumping jacks or walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes you will flush all the cortisol out of your body and replace it with freshly cleaned blood. You'll feel refreshed and ready to focus again.
To get some ideas watch my new set of exercise videos on youtube:
Laughing is a great way to fill your body with energy quickly. It brings oxigen into your body, gets your blood pumping and makes you happy.
Feel silly laughing for nothing? My friend Sparky Lovejoy, Laugher Yoga teacher, says to pick up your phone and just start laughing. People will think you are having a funny conversation with someone. Even if you are faking it at first, you will still get the benefits.
Try Laughter Yoga!
They have a call in number and programs almost every hour where you can call in and laugh together.
Enjoy your mini vacation!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Let me explain, I started this blog in October of 2010, and it was prompted by my interest in work and its importance in our lives. I was reading a lot of books on work like First Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Strength Finder books. I worked as an architect, which I believed fully was the most fun job ever! I even wrote a book on it.
Since then I've continued to think about work and it expanded into thinking about leadership and making an impact where ever we are. I became a division governor in Toastmasters to help people become the leaders they wanted to be. I’ve given countless speeches on leadership. I also mentored many folks and helped them figure out how their talents and skills could be best used in the world.
obsessed with customer experience.
Write down what you spend most of your time thinking about
What are you feeding your brain?
Are these two items in line with your goals?
Friday, August 23, 2013
Saturday, July 27, 2013
I am using This November Spawned: A Novel Writing Handout as my writing helper because its the best I've found. I've used it for the past two years and I will use it again now as I start my sequel.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
People often ask me how I wrote and published my own book, became a Customer Experience Architect, became a professional public speaker, and became an improv actor.
Here are the simple steps I used to achieve my goals.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
We compared the two industries to learn how building architects approach talking to clients about what to build. How architects build prototypes to get feedback on their design. How architects documenting the design to hand over to the contractor.
We found that software architecture is following the building architecture discipline but we are well behind them. We also talked about what makes a design "beautiful" in software.
Listen to the whole podcast.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Joe: I never really watched Star Trek when I was growing up; I’ve only seen clips and the odd episode of Next Generation. I haven’t watched the old films, but I have seen the remake by J.J. Abrams and enjoyed it immensely. With Abrams directing Star Trek Into Darkness, and with the same cast and crew returning, I was very excited to see the new movie. I was not disappointed.
Joe: The story itself seems fairly straightforward. A villain has attracted Star Fleet headquarters on Earth, and then fled the planet. Kirk and crew are sent to bring him to justice. Of course, nothing is ever as it seems.
Friendship is an integral part of this film. We see Kirk and Spock’s friendship develop. We see what each would do in the other’s situation. We see what happens when a friendship is tested, like with Kirk and Scotty. We see who can be trusted and how far. We also see how far someone would go for their friends, who they see as their family.
The audience also gets to see a relationship develop between two who are more than friends. Spock is adept at concealing his emotions, and often for good reason. Uhura believes Spock is unfeeling, which is fracturing their romantic relationship. While this conflict makes for some amusing fodder for Kirk when he’s nearby, it’s an intriguing problem that is actually quite deep.
Joe: My first exposure to Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting was in Star Trek. I hadn’t seen the British TV show Sherlock, but I’d heard good things, and now I know why. Cumberbatch’ has a dramatic way of captivating the camera when he speaks. He plays a great villain with motivations that the audience can almost sympathize with. I would accuse him of stealing his scenes, if the actors playing opposite him weren’t also so good.
Zachary Quinto does a brilliant job again as Mr. Spock. It must be extremely difficult to play a character who is cool, calculating, and chooses not to show emotion. However, Quinto is able to subtly convey his character’s thoughts in a way that is unparalleled by any actor of his age. We know exactly what Spock is feeling, even if he doesn’t show it.
Bett: I watched the 3D version of the movie. I think the best part of the cinematography/special effects was the fighting scenes on the flying cars near Earth. The characters were jumping between the flying cars and the shots were clear enough to see all the action unlike a lot of action scenes now days that cut so much it’s impossible to see the fight. There were many more amazing action sequences, but even so the movie was centrally about the friendships between the crew and the director did a great job of focusing in on those.
Joe: I did not watch the 3D version, but the special effects and cinematography were still outstanding. It’s quite a feat to make a futuristic film of this magnitude so realistic and believable, but Star Trek is up to the challenge. We fear for Mr. Spock’s safety as he’s lowered into a live volcano at the film’s beginning. We are in awe of the void of space as Kirk shoots from ship to ship, through a debris field, as his suit freezes and his visor begins to crack. The audience can believe that this world, our future world, is real and we care for the characters that are in it.
I also really liked the flying car scene near the film’s finale. The sense of height is palpable and the fight choreography is fantastic for certain hero and a particular villain. As an action fan I also liked the shootout in the middle of the film. I was very impressed. A scene that could’ve been chaotic and choppy was instead seamlessly shot. Fans of the series should be happy to see the appearance of an alien race that was only mentioned in the previous film, but a powerful force in the Star Trek universe.
Joe: Even if, like me, you haven’t watched the series or the old movies, you can still enjoy Star Trek Into Darkness. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I saw it with my friends when it first came out and then again a week later with my Dad. You can see this film with family members, friends, or mixed company. If you’re a Star Trek fan or seen the last J.J. Abram’s film, you probably already know you’re gonna like it. Thumbs up. I give Star Trek Into Darkness a 9 out of 10.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Joe: I really wanted to see Iron Man 3 right when it came out, but I had a busy weekend at work. As a result, I had to close my ears whenever anybody started talking about the movie. Most the snippets I heard were good, though. I finally got to see the movie on Monday night and I was not disappointed. Iron Man 3 is definitely a movie to see in theaters and looks incredible on the big screen.
Bett: I loved the first two movies and was excited to see the 3rd. I wanted to see a few things specifically. First I wanted to see Tony would be changed after the Avengers, and second to see how his relationship with Pepper Potts was developing. I first loved Tony Stark for his attitude of self-reliance, fortitude, passion, and hard work. I wanted to see if he would still remain true to that persona.
Joe: Tony Stark continues to create the greatest and best iron man armor for himself. His latest armor can be remote controlled or fly, piece by piece, through the air to reassemble itself around himself or others. This new plot device makes for some great scenes. It also shows that Tony Stark can still kick some butt with only an iron glove and a boot. In addition, the new armor has some glitches. The thrusters don’t work. It doesn’t always fly. It isn’t battle ready. It’s refreshing to see a suit that is fallible and, like Tony Stark, isn’t perfect.
A large part of the plot in Iron Man 3 was derived from the acclaimed Extremis storyline in the comic books. In the movie scientists and Aldrich Killian, played by Guy Pearce, develop a way of repairing a damaged body and even restoring limbs. However, subjects can burn molten-hot at times and cut through metal…even iron. This process is weaponized, and the Mandarin recruits former soldiers for his army. Along with some fiery special effects, this gives the audience some villains that can actually pose a threat to Iron Man and aren’t just another bad guy in an armored suit. There are some excellent and well-choreographed fight sequences in the film’s finale.
Bett: The story starts out in the past with Tony meeting two people who will be very significant for the story, a woman creating a biological agent who allows plants to self-repair called Extremis and a young scientist who wants to meet Tony. Tony treats the young scientist played by Guy Pearce badly and Tony will live to regret it. There’s fun plot twists along the way, lots of action, a slightly touching relationship between Tony and a small town kid. Tony starts off trying to figure out how he fits into the world now that he knows about the other Avengers. He makes snide comments to the military when they ask him for help asking them to go get the other Avengers. I felt this was a little silly, but I guess the director/screenwriters had to address it.
Joe: Tony Stark is fond of saying, “I am Iron Man.” And I can’t see anyone besides Robert Downey Jr. playing the role. He is singularly suited for the character and his quips and banter with the other characters make for an entertaining movie watching experience.
I like watching the evolving relationship between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow have great on screen chemistry, which makes the audience want to root for the couple no matter what misadventures or missiles are hurtled their way.
Fans of Don Cheadle will be happy to see a greater presence of him as Colonel James Rhodes. Whether he’s hanging out with best friend Tony Stark or taking down the bad guys, he kicks butt both in and out of his own armor as War Machine/Iron Patriot.
I was happy to see Jon Favreau return as bodyguard Happy Hogan. There’s some especially funny moments in a pre-millennium New Years Eve party flashback. Guy Pearce adds his talents to the cast as the initially sympathetic and later malevolent Aldrich Killian. But I had the greatest initial trepidation of seeing Ben Kingsley, veteran actor though he is, in the role of the villain the Mandarin. Fortunately there was no need to worry. Writer/Director Shane Black did a brilliant job with the character and I love his interpretation. It also answers the question asked in the movie of how an international terrorist could exist in a world full of heroes.
Bett: Tony Stark seems to adlib many lines and seems almost to be mumbling occasionally. I don’t really mind this, but sometimes it’s too hard to follow. Pepper Potts and him seem like a happy couple, even though he is still a work-a-holic. Tony’s computer, Edwin Jarvis, has its own personality which actually is one of the most fun characters in the movie. The banter between Tony and his Jarvis keeps the action from getting too heavy. Guy Peace is excellent as the young scientist, Aldrich Killian, then later as the villain. Ben Kingsley who plays Mandarin feels confusing because we aren’t really sure what kind of person he is supposed to be, but all that is explained very well in one of the movies best plot twists.
Cinematography, special effects:
Joe: The special effects and camera work in Iron Man 3 are outstanding. Scenes like the final fight or freefalling airplane passengers rescue can only truly be appreciated on the big screen.
"How many in the air, Jarvis?"
"How many can I carry?"
A riveting scene shot incredibly high over the beautiful backdrop of Miami Beach. Iron Man must try and save as many passengers as he can that have been sucked out of an airplane during mid-flight. Some directors might shoot this scene as more of a continuous shot from the hero’s perspective, like Bryan Singer in Superman Returns. However, director Shane Black distinguishes himself by using a series of jump cuts between our hero and the terrified freefalling passengers. This technique draws the audience in even further and makes an already gripping scene, a riveting one.
This is only one example of the type of directing that distinguishes Shane Black from others who have been behind the camera shooting Iron Man. Personally, I really enjoyed this style of cinema for Iron Man 3.
Bett: I watched the non-3d version of the movie. As would be expected, Iron Man 3 has a lot of amazing special effects, but what I liked was some original action scenes. One of the central plot points is a substance, Extremis, which helps self-repair a human system. This leads to many scenes of humans regenerating. The last fight scene is pretty spectacular especially the very last part! No spoilers! I’ll just say it’s very exciting.
Joe: Iron Man 3 can be seen and enjoyed by everybody. I saw the movie with my Dad, who is also a big comic book fan. But you don’t have to like comics books to see Iron Man 3. You don’t really have to have seen Iron Man or Iron Man 2. The movie can stand on its own. You can even see it with your girlfriend or on a date, because Iron Man/Tony Stark is one of the few heroes with a real, good, and well-developed romantic relationship. This is a great movie all around, 8 out of 10. I give Iron Man 3 a thumbs up.
Bett: Iron Man 3 delivers action, plot twists, excellent acting from all, and great special effects. Tony Stark’s attitude still comes through and is an inspiration! I give it 9 out of 10.
Monday, March 4, 2013
If you follow these steps your book will be available on Amazon.com
1. Create an account and log into http://createspace.com/
2. Click on Add Title
3. Fill out the information and select Paperback
4. Select Guided
5. Fill out all your details on your book
6. Select "Free CreateSpace-Assigned ISBN - We can assign an ISBN to your book at no charge"
7. Click on Interior to upload your book in Word format.
8. Click on Cover and upload your book cover. Make sure it’s both front and back.
9. Complete Setup
8. Order a preview copy of your book to do a proof. You'll get it in a few days. Make sure you check the margins are consistent. I had a lot of imagines that kept running over the sides of the page. Also there is a preview where you can check on your modifications quickly.
9. Set up the pricing and distribution. I recommend setting up your kindle version separately.
Writing your own book is a great feeling, and having a print copy lets you sign it and give it to your mom. Create Space is a very easy way to get a print copy of your book and get it onto Amazon.com.
I actually learned a lot about all of us because the Poor aren't very different from the rest of us. Those of us who aren't poor don't have to think about things that the poor do have to think about. Things like chlorinating their water to keep from getting water borne illness or getting enough nutrition because their food is not fortified off the shelf. In both these cases the rich have running water that is safe to drink and our food often is already fortified with nutrition.
The book was based on a large number of randomized control trials (RCTs) around key questions.
Food- As people get richer, they don't eat more calories or heathier diets, they eat yummier diets.
Education- People will get educated and their children educated when they see a clear economic benefit.
Savings - Banks can't afford the paperwork on accounts so small, so when technology lets the administration costs come down, then banks will be able to offer accounts to the poor. Currently the poor save by building their own house brick by brick.
Loans - To spite the excitement around microcredit, the admin costs around giving out loans is very costly which is why the microcredt groups use small groups which meet every week and repay their loan at the meeting. The loans are too small to do anything really risky and the small group would discourage anything risky. Entrepreneurship - As stated above, anyone who has a brilliant business idea usually can't get a loan. Most of the businesses of the poor are copy cats of other businesses. The people running them don't want to run them and only run them because they can't get another job. They scrape by just barely surviving. Crossing the boundary between subsistence and growth is often too hard.
It's main points where that programs put out to help the poor suffer from the 3 i's: Ideological, Ignorance, and Inertia.
Governments and NGO's create programs based on their own Ideological sometimes with no evidence that their theories will work. Then there's ignorance of the program or how to make it work. Then there's Inertia which keeps poorly created programs working or working incorrectly.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
This is my response to their customer experience survey they sent me:
"Yes, I was very disappointed. My head phones weren't working and it happened once before in July. Last time I came in in July the first person I met swapped them out right away after I showed them my receipt. I was in and out in 5 minutes. This time I had to schedule an appointment then wait for my appointment and then wait again after my appointment time. The first person I talked to said that I could not swap out my headphones even after I showed her a receipt that showed I bought them only 8 months ago. She brought me to another guy who said that they did have a year warranty. Then I made the appointment with another man. I think you should try to get more staff and have work around for easy issues like swapping out headphones. I can understand if I was trouble shooting something more complicated why I'd need to visit the Genius Bar. I really have always considered Apple to be the role model for customer experience but after my visit I feel strongly you have lost your focus."
What customer Experience stories do you have? I just got a new job at my company as a Customer Experience Architect. I am looking for ways that customers interact with companies both good and bad. Please email me or click the comment button to let me know your stories.
Meanwhile I just got Windows 7, yes I am a late adopter, and I really am impressed with it. Could Microsoft be the new leader in Customer Experience?
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
An old man in a hospital bed mournfully crying out, "I wasted it, I wasted my life." In the movie In Time, Justin Timberlake's character lived in a world where everyone had a digital clock displaying the number years, days, minutes and seconds remaining for their life. If you had a digital display of your minutes ticking away, would you use them differently?
How precious is your life? Don't come to the end of it and realize you've wasted it.
Today, I'll be covering two strategies for managing your time and two tactics for managing your time.
Stephen R. Covey said, "The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." Let’s take the metaphor of investing time, we can think about creating a balanced portfolio. Just like we wouldn't want to put all our money into one stock, we also need to invest in a balanced portfolio.
Think about the moment you lay on your death bed. Will you have family and loved ones around you because you invested in relationships with them? Or will you be alone but have millions in your bank account? We all know the PhD student who min maxed and lost his family, his job, and his health. Min Max is when you focus everything on only one goal. To create a balanced portfolio you need to step back and really think about what memories you want to think back on from your death bed. What will you have accomplished? Take your balanced portfolio as seriously as you do your financial investments, becuase actually its probably worth more.
Second strategy is being intentional. Does this sound familiar? At the beginning of the week I intend to save money, but then in my actions I don't. I go to Wal-Mart and buy three things I absolutely do not need. Another day I go to a cloths store and buy an outfit that when I get home I realize I will never wear. At the end of the week I wonder what happened to my savings plan. I am not matching my intentions with my goals. When you created your balanced portfolio, you created your goals. Do you ever get to Saturday and wonder what happened? We need to be intentional in our time usage to match our goals. That means using our calendars and todo lists to ensure we don't lose track of time. I used to have my watch set to go off three times a day. When it went off I'd check if I was doing something effective with my time. Your minutes are ticking away. Don't let timewasters take over your precious time. Be intentional how you spend your time to match our goals.
Next we will move into two tactics for managing your time.
The First tactic is used by CEOs and is very effective. It is called Time Boxing. They create a pie chart of time based on the priority of the area. Then they create time boxes on their calendar where they will schedule tasks or appointments for each area. They slot tasks as they come in into the appropriate time box, and when it fills up, they slot it into the next available time box for that area. This allows them to stay focused on what’s important.
The second tactic is Pomodoro time management. With this technique you set a timer for 25 minutes. You keep working on the current task for 25 minutes. Then if your not done, you set it again for 25 minutes. At that time you can take a 5 minute break before setting it again for 25 minutes and so on. I use this to keep focused on tasks because my mind is all over the place. When I am reading I think of so many ideas and I want to write them down and google things, but when I look at the clock ticking away, I go back to my task and focus. I find it works very well for me.
If you could see your minutes ticking away on your arm like they did in In Time, would you live differently? Would you create a balanced portfolio to ensure that on your death bed you can look over your life and feel like you didn't waste it? Would you be more intentional about your time usage and be sure that your intentions match your actions? Using the tactics of Pomodoro and Time Boxing you can manage your time and make sure you meet your goals.
It’s your life, make it count.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
By Michael Gerber is written for small business owners. He explains that customers want consistency when they visit your business. Your business is a shelter against the disorderly world. They come to you to always get their coffee the same way, or always get their software programs done on time.
There are three types of people in each of us:
1. Technician who wants to do tasks the best they can. Their motto, "If you want it to be done right, you've got to do it yourself"
2. Managers who want to take a group of tasks and make them into a process. They want to create a schedule and organize the work.
3. The entrepreneur who come up with ideas and visions for the future. A better way of doing things. Solving tomorrow's problems causing chaos and confusion for Technicians and Managers.
The problem is that a Technician decides to open a business then only focuses on the tasks they love to do instead of using their internal manager and entrepreneur selves to build a business. They end up burning themselves out and quit.
The solution is that all three personalities must be involved in business development. The entrepreneur must come up with a vision and the mission. The manager must develop processes and manuals around each area and hire people to work in each area when the business can afford it.
The mindset going into any business must be to make a franchise. Everything must be documented and systematized so that it will be repeatable process and consistent results are created.
I really enjoyed this book and found the ideas applicable for any sized business and am currently using them at my own job in a large company.
I highly recommend anyone thinking of starting their own business to read this book and learn how to create business processes to make their business successful and avoid burnout.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Structure your speech. Big opening. Use your story. Use vivid language. Close big. Know your pitch 100%. Don't rely on notes.
Game day morning
Get enough sleep, eat protein, avoid sugar, avoid caffeine, get some exercise, dress your absolute best.
10 minutes before
Warm up your vocal cords by taking a deep breath and let it out slowly in a hum. Warm up your body by stretching out and limbering up.
Get a hug from a friend.
Make eye contact the whole time. Let your full energy flow through your voice. Don't allow your self to say filler words like 'um' and 'uh'.
Remember that the audience is probably tired and bored. Wake them up! Don't bore them. Good luck!!!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Bett Correa explains the Economic Crisis in 7 minutes by reviewing the necessary items needed for a Bubble. Why did the mortgage crisis occur? Sources for this speech come from Dumb Money by Daniel Gross, Wired Magazine's The Secret Formula that Destroyed Wall street, 3 years of Economist Magazines, and This American Life's special coverage of the financial crisis.
Picture from the speech:
Friday, January 4, 2013
First, the word of the 2012 was the Chinese word for "Friend" Pengyou said "Pung Yo"
I met a huge number of amazing people who impacted my life. To list them all it would be too long. I am so glad I met you all!!
Publishing my book You Can Be a Software Architect
Mentoring and Sponsoring Startup Weekend
Travelling to China
Travelling to Japan
Speaking at SATURN 2012
Running the Cloud Architecture Symposium
Organizing and Directing the Christmas Play at my church on Dec 1st
Starting Grad school
Speaking at Tampa Code Camp & Speaking at Sarasota Code Camp
Wrote my novel Engineer Your Perfect Child
Painting my favorite painting so far
Winning Division Governor of the Year 2011 to 2012 for Toastmasters District 47
Learning how to Balbo dance properly
Teaching Improv to my kids at church & Teaching Improv to the kids at Metropolitan Ministries & Performed 1 hour long improv show with no break on Dec 20th, about the end of the world
Being the second most prolific person on National Sketch Writing Month site
Starting the Architectural Concepts Podcast
Over all I think 2012 was the best year of my life. Many more things happened that I don't have room for. Can't wait to see what happens in 2013!!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
We make New Years Resolutions every year.
Does this sound familiar about your past resolutions?
1. They were too unrealistic
2. You got discouraged
3. You realized you didn't really want do it
2013 is the year to change your life! It's time to be successful. The only way to be successful: Build your resolution into a habit.
When you do something for 28 days it becomes a habit. Those first 28 days will be extremely hard if your new activity is very different from your previous lifestyle.
After 28 days it will be harder not to do your new activity than it is to quit it.
1. Pick something you really are motivated to do.
I hear so many people tell me about all the things they want to do. Maybe they are only saying it because others have told them that they need to do it, but its not internalized. They even seem sincere, but deep down they aren't really convinced that their resolution is needed in their life. Change only happens when you are convinced that the old way of living is unacceptable. The tipping point must have been past or you won't do it.
2. Be specific.
Have specific goals with dates. A goal without specifics is a dream. If its losing weight, pick a target weight and a date. if its cutting down on drinking, then pick a target amount and a date. If its getting into grad school use the application date minus a buffer as your end date.
3. If its not an activity, make it one.
Spend time breaking your goal into several reoccurring or one time occurring activities. If you goal is get into a masters degree program, you'll have steps to take like researching the entry requirements, studying for the GRE, applying. If you want to lose weight, decide which activities you want to use:running, biking, yoga, making meals at home. If its saving money, maybe its what activities you shouldn't do, or replacements like instead of going out to the movies, you'll watch a netflix movie.
4. Build the activity into your schedule.
Examine your schedule. Find slots where you can put in the activities. If its reoccurring, then make it reoccurring. If you're using a calendar like google calendar this is very easy. If its one time steps, put them into places where you can focus and not get distracted.
5. Find others to hold you accountable.
Find one or more friends who will text you, call you, message you and make sure your on track. Be honest with them and let them help you with encouragement and forgiveness. If they can join you in activities then involve them.
We use New Years Resolutions to make our lives more the way we want them to be. Using these steps will help you be more successful.