Best marketing email of the year! We’re the Spork People from Ignite

What is the goal of a marketing email? To get my attention? To make me remember? To show interest in your company? To buy something from you?

We’re the Spork People from Ignite

The subject line is awesome. It made me remember who they are, exactly who they are. (truth be told, it also made me feel a tiny bit guilty that I took the sporks and didn’t really know about their products; but now I know!)

The email text was also pretty clever. I remember them!

Trying to eat a steak with a spork is possible, but it’s a real challenge. Sure, your SPorganizer sporks have a serrated knife edge, but it’s going to take you a long time to cut into the meat. Just like eating a steak with a spork is a challenge, managing your SharePoint environment without SPorganizer is possible, but it’s a tedious undertaking. Check out the SPorganizer datasheet to learn more about how this product can streamline your SharePoint environment. We are also hosting a webinar on Wednesday, October 12th to demonstrate and discuss how SPorganizer can benefit any SharePoint environment, I’d love if you could join us.

Here's some info, click here for a datasheet and if you’re interested join my webinar. Says what it needs to say, respects my time, leaves it up to me to take the next step.

And in this case my next step is this blog post. What a great job!

Happy to offer a shoutout to Cate Godley and the team at DocAuto!  Keep up the good work.

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Are you ready for #CRMUGSummit?

As we get into the last few days before we meet in Tampa, I’ve made a list helpful hints and tips to help get the most out of your time at CRMUG Summit.

  1. Minimize distractions back at the office. Work extra hard now to avoid the trap of trying to work AND attend the conference. If you find yourself replying to emails three times in every session you attend, you aren’t really going to get much out of the session. If you have to keep up with the folks back at work, set aside time and plan for a session to spend working in a quiet corner instead of being partially engaged in several sessions.
  2. To ease the stress of leaving behind people at the office that would rather be at the conference with you, get their questions to take with you. What are their burning questions or concerns? Make sure you find the answers and resources to take back with you. Share the schedule with them in advance and then set up a lunch-and-learn the week you return and share your new knowledge and skills.
  3. Dress for comfort. Now, I will say no jammies for sure. But also, not a suit. Good shoes are the best thing you can bring. Promise.
  4. Stash some good snacks in your bag. You may find yourself in a great discussion and miss a conference meal or break. So grab some granola bars, some durable candy, whatever helps you make it to the meal later on. And drink water. You will be walking more than you plan, avoid dehydration.
  5. Every speaker, planner, expert is approachable, so approach them. Raise your hand in the session. Wait after the talk to ask your question. Find them at lunch and sit at the same table. Go to the medics’ station. They are there to share their knowledge. So let them.
  6. Plan your sessions in advance, mostly. Be open to last minute choices.
  7. Get yourself a fresh CRM trial before you go so you can immediately try that new cool thing you learned. Ok, get at least THREE new free trials. I suggest one that is bare, one that specializes (like sales or service) and one with a solution like Field Service or Project Service in it. Different things work different ways with added customizations or data.
  8. Take notes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pen and paper person (me too!), if you like to scribble on your tablet or if you type it all organized. Take notes. I promise you won’t remember it all the next day.
  9. There will be booze. Don’t be THAT person that acts a fool and gets everyone to pull out their cameras and you find yourself rather embarrassed.
  10. Make friends, make memories.

 

See you there!


What not to do at a conference booth

I’m at Ignite this week. So are more than 20,000 other techies.

Folks are walking around with the swag, and people are of course looking for the good stuff.

Someone walks past the booth with a light saber coming out of their backpack. One of my friends wants one. I go ask the guy where did he get it. He pulls out the swag, shows me the logo and points to the other side of the expo hall.

I’m off.

It takes a few minutes, but I find them. No swag in sight. But a group of 5 or 6 booth folks in a circle chatting to each other.

I ask if they have any more light sabers.

Nope.

I attempt to engage in a conversation. I walked all the way over, so I should learn about these folks and what they do. No?

Me: Well, it seems they were a great hit at the conference

Booth folks: (nodding and shrugs)

Me: I mean I had never even heard of you before and now here I am, at your booth, asking you questions.

Booth folks: Yea.

Me: I don’t even know what you guys do, but your swag got me over here.

Booth folks: Yea.

I was wearing my speaker shirt. With the MVP logo on it. Even if you didn’t know ME, I was fairly obviously identified as an influencer at this conference.

I walked away, still not knowing what that company does.

They really really couldn’t even swing at the slow pitch softball I pitched.

Booth space at these conferences is not cheap. Sending that many people to a conference, not cheap. Paying 6 or more people to be at the expo hall for 5 days, not cheap. Light sabers, not cheap. Do you not want some kind of return on that?


Where are all the high paying jobs?

They are all over the place! Turns out there are tons of them, over 500 of them sitting empty in my Congressional district alone. The average salary for these skilled professionals? Over $100,000! But with all of this opportunity out there, it brings our attention to a big gap in how we are educating our future professionals. Of the 51 high schools in my Congressional district, only eight of them offer computer science. Eight.

This problem is not unique to Colorado Springs. This problem is not unique to Colorado. It is a national issue. Nationwide there sits empty nearly 250,000 jobs. A quarter of a million high paying jobs just waiting for a qualified employee.

Your call to action is actually quite simple.

Ask your representative to support more funding for computer science education.

Some links for you.

Here is some info and a study on the national issue.

Here’s where you can find your representative to tell them what you need. Their job is to serve the needs of their constituents. That’s YOU!

Here's a fun video with stats.  Can you find me!?


The first year of a debilitating diagnosis

It’s been one year since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Time flies when you’re having fun?

In that year I have cried a lot. Had a few pity parties. Gotten angry. Learned tons about auto-immune disorders (or are they conditions?). Took more steroids in that one year than the rest of my whole life combined.  I’ve tried a few meds and started on one that is comparable to low-dose chemo. I’m pretty sure every single day had pain, I don’t remember a pain free day. There were varying degrees of pain. Some days annoying. Some days debilitating.

In that year I have also…

· Spoken at several conferences all over the world

· Had a bear try to get into my house

· Watched a herd of elephants play in a big pile of mud for hours

· Appeared on a career panel for impressionable young minds

· And cursed

· Twice

· Spent the day with my son in NYC

· Celebrated 14 years married to Mr. Right

· Got in a car accident

· Watched my brother-in-law get married

· Watched my son dance with his grandmother(s)

· Found a gas station gravy tap

· Hosted my girlfriends on a wonderful weekend in Breckenridge

· Discovered I am the fox whisperer

· Spent the first Christmas in 20 years without my daughter (I guess it was time for us both to grow up?)

· Had to explain to non-native English speakers way too many inappropriate things in Cards Against Humanity

· Found grey hair in my eyebrows (seriously, eyebrows?!)

· Captured someone’s marriage proposal with pictures

· Spoke to members of Congress about things that are important to me (and you)

· Purchased an acre of land for our next home

· Did not see Star Wars

· Caught a ball at an NBA game

· Celebrated New Year’s on a boat in the Caribbean under the stars

· Said goodbye to an old friend, INETA

· Smuggled gummi bears into the US Capitol Senate reception room

· Went to Spain

· And Turkey

· And Poland

· And Slovakia

· And Hungary

· And Hawaii

· And Africa

· And Holland

· And Belgium

· And UK

· Too many trips to Seattle to count

So, life goes on. And will continue to do so.


What makes a successful meeting on “The Hill”?

I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join a group of small business owners as we meet in Washington DC with Act|The App Association. It’s an annual event, this year in April. The days go so fast, but it’s so worth it. I have been several times, and will continue to return as long as I’m invited. A meeting can be deemed successful based on many different aspects. For me, if I feel that I was heard, it was a good meeting. Even if we didn’t agree or become besties.

Day one is for arriving and exploring DC on your own, then meeting the group for dinner.

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Day two is heads down learn learn learn. Learn about what issues are most current and where we might be able to have some influence. What matters to me and my business? Big topics for us this year include funding for STEM education, government access to data and encryption.

So, day three. Lots of meetings. Lots. Learn something from each meeting. Leave a memory and a story. Here’s the rundown of my day three this year.

Started my day with The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. To talk about encryption and privacy. Just a small little meeting to start my day, get off to an easy start. Nobigdeal. No, wait, this is a big deal. A huge deal. There are active cases likely to go to SCOTUS very soon. There’s new legislation proposed that will overreach and impact every single person that makes software. Not to mention endanger the data and protection of our data as citizens. The meeting was great. They asked questions. Lots and lots of questions. They had their lists of arguments and asked for our counter-arguments. It was not at all confrontational, despite every other sentence starting with “not to be devil’s advocate, but…” I honestly felt heard. I feel that I likely had an impact.

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I was in a great great mood. I headed to my next meeting, at Congressman Doug Lamborn’s office. It’s easy to say that that Doug and I disagree on most things. But, he is my elected representative and I needed to go and be heard. We had a brief chat with a staffer. The meeting was unremarkable. I had the staffer take my picture at Doug’s desk.

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After a quick lunch it was back to the Senate side.

We were supposed to meet with a familiar face at Senator Michael Bennet’s office. We arrived and the senator was in the hallway posing for photos with a group of students. The staffer met us in the hall and we just started chatting as the senator rushed off to a vote. No big deal. Senator Bennet’s office is always receptive and welcoming. A hallway meeting in DC is still a meeting. Turns out I was wrong. It wasn’t a hallway meeting with a senior staffer. It was a walking West Wing style meeting. Walking fast, talking about important issues. Down to the tunnels, on the restricted little train to the Capitol. Yes, there was a vote happening. But we’re going to the reception room to chat with the senator when he finishes the vote. The reception room was this big ornate space, full of other people having there squeezed in meetings. Lots of familiar faces all around. The senator finished his vote and we found a place to stand and chat. He knew about me. He knew about my work with schools. He knew the things that mattered to me. He was either well-briefed or totally stalks my blog and social media.

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Next up was Senator Cory Gardner’s office. Last time I was in DC, I emailed and asked to meet directly with the Senator, not a staffer. They said the Senator was busy but so and so would love to meet with you. I said I was busy too, and was getting on an airplane, the least he could do was meet with me. So last year, I met directly with the senator. He was new to office, had his temporary office in the basement of a Senate building. This year I met with a senior staffer and had a good chat about data privacy and STEM education. Was non-remarkable but just fine.

Last up was Congressman Raul Labrador from Idaho. The staff member we were scheduled to meet had a last minute conflict and we met instead with a senior staffer. I didn’t know much about things in Idaho, other than I’ve been there and it’s almost as pretty as Colorado and I have a few friends that live in Boise. So, when you don’t know what to talk about, try something you might have in common. Education! We all want our kids to be well-educated. Right? Well, the Congressman from Idaho feels very strongly that education is a state issue, not a federal issue. I can see that point, but the reality is that we have currently federal involvement in education and the Department of Education isn’t getting dissolved any time soon. That meeting was not very productive and felt like the longest meeting of the day. Don’t get me wrong, they were totally polite. We were welcome to be there. They gave us Cliff Bars (they are made in Idaho)!

The “we” I reference is different for every meeting. The other civilians like me join together for the meetings and for most of the meetings ACT|The App Association sends along a staff member (they are our saving grace if we forget a point, have a hard time saying what needs to be said, great moral support).

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Denver Dev Day Call for Speakers ends Sunday

Here’s the call for speakers below.  I would personally love to see new speakers sign up.

Denver Dev Day is back! Lucky you, speaker call has been extended. We have new opportunities for you to contribute. Let’s start with the three type of presentations available to a speaker who wants to speak at Denver Dev Day:
Regular session (60 minutes)

This typical teaching session is an hour. It gives speakers the opportunity to introduce and go deep in a topic. From level 100 to 300, technical and soft-skill sessions are welcome.

Lightning talk (10 minutes)

A lightning talk is short and focused. In 10 short minutes, speakers get the chance to introduce a topic or show off a quick solution. No fluff, and a great starting place for new speakers.

Roundtable (45 minutes)

The Roundtable is new at Denver Dev Day. Subject matter experts host an in-depth technical discussion and open question-and-answer session in an open door forum.


Where do you sign up?

Right here: Speaker Sign Up

When is Denver Dev Day?

Friday, June 24th. This is our sixth Denver Dev Day, and the past two have been on Friday. We have had a resounding success targeting a weekday. As a result, we’re sticking to our Friday event plan.

What type of topics?

Denver Dev Day is a developer-focused event without a specific theme (like web) or technology (like Microsoft). This means, if it’s interesting to developers, we want your topic submitted.

When is speaker call closed?

Sunday, May 7.

Submit your session at Speaker Sign Up by the end of this month. The Denver Dev Day leadership team will tease through submissions, making selections the second week of May.

Who do I contact or will be my point of contact?

Do you have questions? Do you need information? Everything you need to know for a successful session will be sent to you after selection. Need answers now? Julie Yack ([email protected])

Must I be a professional speaker?

The only requirement to present a session is that you know the content of the talk. If you are a regular speaker or this will be your first session, you’re welcome at Denver Dev Day.


Executive- check! Legislative- check! Judicial- NEXT WEEK!

I am a big government nerd (not a fan of ginormous government, but a big fan of government). Very fascinated by the government, the political aspects of it. Love the logic and reasoning that in a perfect world prevails. I have the Constitution on my phone and reference it more often that you might think, especially during our crazy current political climate.

Legislative branch- For several years now I have been honored to offer my voice on Capitol Hill. Offering my views and influence on STEM education, technology policy and more. I have met with staffers, council, policy writers and sitting Senators and Congressmen (and one Congresswoman).

Executive branch- I have also been invited to The White House to do the same with the science and technology policy folks. I met my first sitting president in 1992 during George HW Bush’s re-election bid. I have shaken hands with President Obama in 2012 and got to personally grill him with my questions at a town hall in 2009.

Judicial branch- Next week after spending a day on The Hill hoping to be heard, I plan to stop by The Supreme Court to hear oral arguments. I intend to attend the consolidated argument taking on criminalization of refusal to consent to warrantless field sobriety tests. Three cases have been combined based on their similarities to one another. Thanks to the ACLU for providing this quick summary:

Whether states may criminalize a driver’s refusal to consent to a warrantless blood, breath or urine test for alcohol after a drunk driving arrest.

In 2013, the Supreme Court held in Missouri v. McNeely that the Fourth Amendment bars warrantless blood tests in drunk driving cases absent exigent circumstances beyond the normal dissipation of alcohol in the blood. The issue in this case is whether a state can criminally prosecute a driver for exercising his Fourth Amendment right to refuse consent. The ACLU argues in an amicus brief that the assertion of a constitutional right can never be a crime, and that the government cannot avoid this basic rule by treating the issuance of a driver’s license as a blanket consent to all future blood, breath, or urine testing without a warrant.

Watch for a follow-up after my visit.


Tech recruiters failing their clients

I get a fair number of resumes emailed to me.  From friends and professional peers, from recruiters, from random people that find me online.  Today brought a resume that had far too many issues, and it came from a recruiter.  It smelled of recruiter.  It smelled bad.

The resume came to me with no name attached.  I don’t know the location.  I know they want to work remote and they are a he because the email tells me he’s ready to start right away.

So I will start by saying this person is probably a decent resource.  But, if I’m picking apart the resume (which I am because I’m blogging about it), I’d be curious why someone with such extensive experience is going through a recruiter to get his next project.

First problem, they claim 15 years of .NET experience.  15 YEARS!  Problem.  .NET was released in 2002.  Math.

Then there’s the 20 years of SQL experience, but only 18 years as an end user.  So, dude was working on a database, but didn’t know how to use software?

Certifications come next.  I have a love/hate relationship with certifications.  The resume shows certifications in CRM 4.0 and 2011.  Problem here, most recent certs are 5 years old.  That’s like 10 technology generations old.  Don’t brag about that!

There are more, older certifications.  If your most recent certifications are that old, then either remove from your resume or get newer ones to add to the list.  If you know me enough to send me a resume, then you know we only work on new stuff.  Version now and version next.  I’m not impressed that you are certified in SQL 2008 R2.

This final critique takes the prize.  Going to copy and paste here from the resume.

“This is a terrifically well-rounded candidate with a wealth of CRM experience, including 10+ years of Dynamics CRM experience (he was given a free copy of version 3 to test by Microsoft). “

Maybe the resume was intended for someone that doesn’t read them?

I cannot stress enough how important it is to stand up to these folks.  They mean well.  They represent YOU.  They sell YOU.  But, they often don’t know enough to make you look good on paper and paper is all I have when I’m emailed a resume.  Don’t let a recruiter make you sound ridiculous.  Please.  There’s loads of work to be had.  But this will likely cost you some good opportunities. 

(I am happy to review just about anyone’s resume and offer feedback, so if you are out in the CRM jungle and looking for work, drop me an email.  Even if we’re not hiring, I’m happy to help so that you don’t suffer the same fate.  And if by some chance this is YOU that the recruiter is selling, email me.  I’ll get you your money back.)


Events to encourage more girls to STEM

This past week we had a class of 24 students. Two of them were women. We had two instructors, one woman, one man.

This was a level 300 course for technologists.

I was glad that the two female students were just as out-spoken as their male counterparts.

In my experience, that ratio is about right for the students in the classes I teach.

What do we need to do to encourage more women into these jobs? 

What do we need to do to keep women in these jobs?

It starts with helping girls find a comfortable place to explore the sciences.  And not just computer science.  We are losing women all the time and we should be finding ways to encourage each other.

Here are a few girl-focused events to look.  Mentor.  Attend.  Take part. 

Engineers week is in February, with Girls day on February 25.  What do you plan to do to make a difference?

Big thanks to Molly Bukowski from Teza Technologies for contacting me and bringing this back into focus for me and giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get back to writing.

Engineers Week_Girl Day

 

I was recently contacted by Molly Bukowski from Teza Technologies about this problem.  They are trying to do something about it.