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I am now a decided voter in a swing county in a swing state, thanks to my daughter #mykidisawesome

I have been very forthcoming with my personal struggle for this year’s Presidential election.  Even today I was researching what I hoped were reliable polls that might help me decide.  I was looking to see who would likely carry the House and/or Senate races.  I looked there to see if one party or the other were to be a stronghold I would then cast my vote for the President I felt could be more productive with THAT Congress.  No luck there, the estimates and polls are all within the margin of error.  It would be easier to be fanatical one way or the other and just blindly pick someone based on their party affiliation.

Until just a few minutes ago, I was an honest-to-goodness undecided voter.  Then my 17 year old daughter talked me through the issues that I care about and I instantly knew where my vote would go.  (Give me a second here to be proud of my daughter for being able to, at age 17, talk about all of these issues in such an articulate manner.  If she didn’t want to be a surgeon she could totally be my President one day)

What issues?  What are my opinions on the issues?  What influenced my vote?

From where I sit the republicans are good for the economy and good for small business.  Those are both important to me.  Democrats talk about small business support, but in my experience and research their plan is more about helping businesses that struggle and then taxing the hell out of the owners when they are successful.  Dems want me to take out a loan. I don’t WANT a loan.  I want to be a responsible business owner and keep some extra money in the bank so I can still meet payroll during those months clients decide to be late with paying me.  I do that now, but get taxed for it, as if it were income.  And let’s just throw in zero-based budgeting every now and then for good measure, k?

The reproductive freedoms of the next generation is a big deal to me.  There is simply not much room to negotiate the mainstream republican stance on this, and it shouldn’t be a negotiation at all.  I hope that as a parent I have taught my children well and that they take ownership of their own bodies and take preventative measures where they need to do that.  But, I know that’s not always the case, by choice or not.  And I know that insurance to pay for prevention is a big deal (especially if it pays for ED drugs).  And I know that a crotchety old man thinking about my daughter’s reproductive life should be ashamed of himself and get a new hobby.  Own YOUR own reproductive parts, and I will do the same for mine.

Then we go to foreign policy.  This is a bit of a tie for me.  There’s three general types of foreign policy, fiscal policy, tragedy policy and who moved my cheese policy.  Republicans get the fiscal stuff.  The dems got the who moved my cheese covered.  Let’s all do our part in the UN to take care of the tragedy stuff.  I am a global citizen and have no problem with outsourcing.  Step it up my fellow Americans, learn something new, we’ll define the next wave and grow some more.  And no one wants Iran to be nuclear, but as a sovereign nation, not sure we have the right to anything more than an opinion on this one.

“Obamacare”.  They are both wrong.  There are some great things in this.  There are some not great things in this.  BUT, repealing it is the wrong approach.  It does more good than harm, so line-item legislate out the wonky stuff.  That would require legislators to ACTUALLY READ it and know what they are voting for or against.  Too bad, get over it, it’s what we pay you for.  Get to work.

Not working together.  Both sides again share this one.  Just because the dems SAY they want to work together, they didn’t put up much of a fight to get something, ANYTHING, done.  And the republicans, seriously, stop wasting our time and money on useless votes to repeal Obamacare.  DO SOMETHING.

The republicans tend to have more people with a pure hatred of anyone with an opposing opinion (like serious, emotionally driven HATE, it gets ugly). 

The democrats would prefer I not take the time or energy to do my research and just scare me into voting for them (I personally know the difference between income tax and capital gains tax and it doesn’t bother me one bit that the second time you get taxed that the rate is less).

Both want our kids to get a college education.  Republicans want my kids to borrow money from ME to pay for it.  Dems want it to be cheaper, but then give my college educated kid a job on a manufacturing line.

And the one that tipped the scale?

Gay rights.  There is no place for gay rights on the republican ticket.  THAT IS NOT OK. 

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Win8 app released #InformedAmerican

My friend and co-worker Hassan Rage has released his super duper cool Win8 app.  It’s called Informed American and it sells for $1.99.  Ok, now that the business is out of the way, the details…

We are deep into the election process here in the US and this app helps you be an informed voting American citizen.  You can drill down into detailed information on any incumbent and any candidate for national and statewide offices.  We wind up talking smack about politics around the office, it produces this kinda coolness. (this app is all of Hassan's doing, but my big mouth can take credit for some of the inspiration)

You can see basic Name, party affiliation and such, but then so much more.  See where they stand on votes and who donates to their campaigns.  Voting records, bill sponsoring, and so on.

Additionally you can see state-wide measures, such as Colorado’s own Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana and who is supporting it or not.

Some screen shots for you.

High level with some summary data

screenshot_10082012_090300

Then drill down for details

screenshot_10082012_090328

Different drilldown detail

screenshot_10082012_090313

Issue detail

screenshot_10082012_090357

State issue detail

screenshot_10082012_090630

 

Let me know what you think?


Rule #1 of CRM- don’t rebuild it if it’s already there

Anyone that’s worked with me on a project knows this is one of my biggest pet peeves.  AND one made by many many many of my beloved developers.  The best way around this tragedy?  Learn what CRM can and should be doing.

How can you do that?

Join xRMVirtual tomorrow for our session with Dynamics CRM legend Larry Lentz. 

More details can be found here, as well as the link for the live meeting (or recording if you’re late to the ball).

And yes, we are a developer user group, but since this is a non-technical session, send us your devs, your BAs, your testers and your PMs too.  We’ll take them all.

(you know I will have a different Rule #1 of CRM tomorrow, but this is today’s rule #1)


Introducing the CRM Field Guide, 1029 days in the making @CRMFieldGuide

So there’s this great new book out there, The CRM Field Guide, How to CRM like and MVP with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The list of authors is a who’s who of global CRM all-stars. Scroll down for the details and some fun stuffs about the project. Follow the book on Twitter @CRMFieldGuide

CRM_Field_Guide

www.crmfieldguide.com

Like always, great discounts for readers of my blog:

JulieYackMVPBoth
JulieYackMVPEbook
JulieYackMVPPrint

This project started in December 2009 when MVP George Doubinski sent out an email to get interest in what was at the time The CRM MVP Cookbook. We had a couple of false starts, lots of great intent and missed deadlines. But we are here now. 1029 days later. So what happened in that 1029 days? Well, some of the authors were not yet awarded MVP at the beginning, but then came thru and added great value to the book. We have five new babies (and a couple of grandbabies I think) and two more babies on the way. We’ve had kids grow up and move out, my daughter was a high school freshman when we started and this week applied for college. We’ve had heart, liver and kidney transplants for one in our family. It took longer to make this book than it took for me to get my MBA.

So what do we do the next 1029 days? That puts us at July 27, 2015. I for one am planning my around the world trip and hope to touch Antarctica by then, it’s the only continent left that I’ve not visited. I’m not a huge goals person, I’m just always trying to become a better version of myself, a little every day.

What does the next 88,905,600 seconds bring for you?

 

The authors

Joel Lindstrom| Richard Knudson | Donna Edwards | Julie Yack

Pablo Peralta | Rhett Clinton | Jakub Skalbania | Feridun Kadir | Shan McArthur | David Berry

Larry Lentz | Leon Tribe | Scott Sewell |Alex Fagundes | David Yack | Neil Benson

Mitch Milam | Jerry Weinstock |Giorgio Garcia-Agreda

The chapter summaries

Chapter 1 - Building the Foundation – This chapter lays the groundwork for understanding the various terms and parts of a CRM Organization. It includes helpful tips not covered elsewhere in the book.

Chapter 2 - CRM Server Installation & Configuration – Learn the requirements, the planning steps, and the process for installing and configuring your CRM server.

Chapter 3 – CRM Outlook Client Installation & Configuration addresses the different choices and troubleshooting techniques for installation and configuration of Dynamics CRM Outlook Client.

Chapter 4 - CRM 4 Upgrade to CRM 2011 – In this chapter you’ll learn the software and hardware requirements, develop an upgrade plan, prepare your database, upgrade customizations, perform and test the upgrade and train your users,

Chapter 5 – E-mail Router Installation & Troubleshooting covers the necessity of the e-mail router, the deployment wizard, the configuration manager, hardware and software requirements, installation and configuration and user settings for the e-mail router.

Chapter 6 - Security Best Practices covers the why and the how of security in Dynamics CRM, including the security tools already built in to CRM as well as a look at special case handling.

Chapter 7 - Sales Management Best Practices examines critical success factors for sales management, activity and lead management, customer, opportunity and pipeline management, and workflows and sales processes.

Chapter 8 - Service Management Best Practices explains the optimal use of cases, contracts, articles, service scheduling and the service calendar.

Chapter 9 - Marketing Management Best Practices is a detailed look at the benefits of CRM’s marketing tools, including marketing lists and campaigns, as well as campaign reporting.

Chapter 10 - The Power of CRM & Outlook explores the benefits of integrating and synchronizing CRM and Outlook and explains how to make it happen and make the most use of the combined tools.

Chapter 11 – Dynamics CRM Goal Management is an in-depth look at the foundations of goal management, ranging from Sales to Marketing to Service and beyond.

Chapter 12 – Processes delves into the power and scope of Workflows and Dialogs, how they work and how you can use them for maximum benefit.

Chapter 13 - Aligning Reports to the Audience helps the reader understand and meet the needs of different users and stakeholders by exploring the varying needs and expectations of users and using the array of out-of-the-box tools.

Chapter 14 - Report Development shows how to create the best (read: most useful) reports by utilizing SQL, FetchXML and other tools to build custom reports in CRM.

Chapter 15 - SharePoint & CRM: Better Together discusses the benefits of SharePoint collaboration tools being integrated with CRM in order to provide the 360° view of the customer, including how to set up integration and how to access CRM from SharePoint.

Chapter 16 - CRM Outlook Optimization & Troubleshooting examines what you can do to optimize the performance of the Outlook client and how to troubleshoot CRM for Outlook.

Chapter 17 - CRM Server Optimization, Maintenance & Monitoring covers CRM server, IIS, and SQL server optimization, as well as maintenance and monitoring of the servers.

Chapter 18 - Data Management Best Practices explores using the Data Import Wizard, duplicate detection, and bulk deletion, plus best practices for ensuring high-quality data in your CRM system.

Chapter 19 - User Adoption shares key concepts and strategies for encouraging and improving user adoption within you organization.

Chapter 20 - Customization Strategies discusses a variety of strategies that can be used to customize CRM to fit your business needs and reviews the solution architecture and management.

Chapter 21 - Introduction to Solutions gives details on custom solutions and components, managed vs. unmanaged solutions, the importing and exporting of solutions, deleting solutions and managed properties.

Chapter 22 - Solution Management and Troubleshooting is a more in-depth look at solutions, covering import behavior, managed properties, layering strategies and tips and tricks to get the most out of your CRM solutions.

Chapter 23 - Dynamics Connector - From Zero to Hero, in this chapter, you will learn what some of the considerations are when combining CRM with other members of the Dynamics family, what options are available, how to choose and implement the best option or combination of options, and some helpful resources for reference.

Chapter 24 - Rapid Development Best Practices is an overview of the strategies of preparation, planning, execution and delivery of customizations in an efficient and effective way that meets the needs of the client without reinventing the wheel.

Chapter 25 - Community Resources is a plethora, a veritable cornucopia, of resources from the global community of user groups, users, MVPs, Microsofties, social media masters and blogs that can help you maximize your CRM skills and guide you to the answers you seek.


Techies in Colorado here’s your chance to give back! @COGiveCamp

We all like to make a difference.  Sometimes it’s hard to figure out a way to do that.  Lucky for you, my fellow Colorado nerds, Give Camp is back again!  The weekend of October 26-28 looks to be a great weekend of long hours, happy charities and overall warm-fuzzies and productive geeks.  This event is hosted in Colorado Springs at DeVry University.

Past events have helped many charities and Colorado is not the only place that has these events, it’s a nationwide effort, but I want to make sure that Colorado opens its hearts and brains and shows how much we care and that we are willing to back it up.

Your action item?  Go visit http://www.coloradogivecamp.org/ to learn more and to sign up.  If you can’t sign up to help this time, go ahead and click on that donate button, give a few bucks.  We need people that write code, people that know SQL, people that understand requirements, make test plans, manage projects…pretty much if you work as part of the software-making process, you qualify.  AND if by chance you read this and are not a techie, you can help out too, maybe with some organization, maybe picking up food for some hungry coders, maybe tucking them in under a blankie in the corner of the workroom for their 2am nap.  Trust me, if you want to help, we can find your skillset and make it happen.