Networking when you’re new in town

When I was a student, I was blasé about what it was like going to a new place. I pointed out to someone that it’s startling how often students choose to remain in those new places after graduating, how they so completely fit into the situation that it must surely be easy.

Uh-huh, said this someone. And then she pointed out that when students move to a new place, they meet a gigantic number of other people who have just moved there for the same reason. That’s why it’s at least easier than it would be on your own. So later on moving somewhere else new, by yourself, that’s hard and that’s why fewer people do it.

Can’t disagree. She was completely right, I was completely wrong.

All these years later, it’s an important issue because we don’t necessarily move around a great deal but we do need to meet new people. We need to network for our jobs and actually I’d say for our very souls: I love blathering with new people. The things they know that I don’t, the things they’ve done that I haven’t. The disagreements I can learn from like I did from my fellow student.

All of which is a long way to say that I want to point you at a piece by Meredith Fineman for Harvard Business Review: it’s a short, simple, practical guide to networking from scratch. Do have a read.

New Toy Syndrome

I truly thought this was just me. If I’ve found, say, an app that works for me and I think is good, I maybe over-enjoy using it. Right now I’m havering over my forthcoming review of OmniFocus 2 for Mac because I’m wondering how much of what I like is down to it just being an old feature done in a new way.

Whether it is that or not, I am greatly enjoying using that software and it has changed how I do my work. So I’m fine with that, I’m more than fine with it – except that there is good reason to suspect it will change. It will tail off.

Clive Thompson writing in Medium:

Psychologists have noticed the novelty effect for decades. Back in the 1930s, the Hawthorne Works factory decided to change the lighting for its workers to see which would improve productivity: Higher levels? Lower levels? It turned out that it didn’t matter which way they went — any change in the workplace produced a temporary boost in productivity. Scientists call this the “Hawthorne Effect”, and while the historical record of Hawthorne is still being scrutinized, the novelty effect it epitomizes is seen all over science. Indeed, many scholars suspect novelty effects are behind some “positive” results in social-science experiments. A bunch of researchers will say Hey, let’s experiment with giving elementary-school kids individual laptops! and lo: The children do better! Except the improvement might be not because of the tool itself, but merely because the kids’ world becomes different and interesting, temporarily.

The Novelty Effect – Clive Thompson, Medium (6 June 2014)

I find that last part about kids supremely depressing. But where I might also be unhappy at the thought my new shiny OmniFocus 2 for Mac may lose its iridescence soon, I’m okay with it.

Because OmniFocus 2 for iPad is coming.

Hat tip to Lifehacker for spotting the novelty article. And hat tip to The Omni Group, because.

When is it over?

There’s not going to be some great life-changing Hallmark-Card-like slice of advice here, I’m just wondering about something I have wondered about a lot.

I wonder when things are over.

There must be a day when something is done. This first popped into my noggin some years ago when I read a line somewhere about how Dar Williams‘s new album was coming out soon. (I think it was Many Great Companions, which is so good that when a friend asked what I liked about Dar Williams, I just bought her the album. It’s cheaper to write reviews, but I wanted her to have it. I want you to have it too, but I’m a little short today.)

I can’t remember when this was but I was surprised because up to then, her previous CD had been the new one. My own Doctor Who releases go through a similar thing.

Actually, Doctor Who, there’s a thing. I go through various processes writing those, there are the same types of deadlines to the same types of timescales and in theory I could say my involvement ends when I deliver the last draft. Well, you don’t know there won’t be more to do then. So call it when the scripts are in studio, that’s definitely the end for me. Well, sometimes I’m in studio and working on scenes. Okay, post production. Definitely no involvement there, so that Doctor Who is over and I’m looking for the next one.

Except there are liner notes to write for the CD. Quite often there are interviews to do.

So okay, when it goes on sale. But that’s when I start talking about it all, I suppose officially because that’s marketing and promotion, but really it’s because now I can FINALLY talk to you about it.

I don’t put “Tweet about Doctor Who” in my OmniFocus To Do list. It isn’t a task, it’s what I do for fun. So by the time we reach the tweeting stage, you can bet that my OmniFocus Doctor Who project is long completed. So that’s definitely it, that’s definitely over. I have ticked off everything I have to do, everything I have to deliver, I can mark the entire project as done.

That seems very satisfying.

And that’s why this is on my mind today. I did an event yesterday that has been some preposterous number of months in the making and this morning I’m doing my OmniFocus review, I’m getting to that project and I am about to grandly click on Done, when I don’t.

Because I’ve thought of some more tasks. Well, call them tasks because it would be bad if I didn’t do them. Just wrapping up stuff, there are so many people I want to thank for getting this done for me, for instance. That could go in the fun pile, that needn’t be a task To Do per se, except I’ll feel very bad if I forget someone in the rush. So I jotted down who it is. And okay, I know it’d be handiest for this person if I phoned and for that person if I texted, and so on.

Then there’s the money to do with the event. That truly is a task. That is several tasks in a row.

When that’s all done, then, that’s when this event is over.



I just need to keep the event details around because I’ve had a lot of praise for it that might help in the pitching for the new one.