This Week in MakingBetter (3 April, 2014)


It has been a *fantastic* night. #FinalFourBound

— UW-Madison (@UWMadison) March 30, 2014

First off… Go Big Red! That’s my Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four, and while others in the MakingBetter family are bigger basketball fans than us, doubtlessly none are as big a fans of UW-Madison as I am.

Anyway, can you believe it’s April already? Wow. This last month has been a whirlwind for us and we are on the cusp of some pretty damn huge announcements. How huge? Well, let’s just say that if you are hoping for some big things with Experience API and, really, the practice and industry of learning, education and training… well, I think we’ll have some things (plural) that will pique your interest. Stay tuned.


March came in like a lion and out like… well, a lion with dragon wings breathing fire. Maybe that’s a Gryffin? Regardless, my well-worn copy of Pema Chödrön’s “Comfortable With Uncertainy” has been in my hands for the past week or two and when I’m not cleansing the palate with her insights, I’m reading Scott Burkun’s “The Year Without Pants” as well as Jason Fried’s “Remote” which I got in my swag bag from ORDCamp back in January.


The last week has been so full of great links we have to chill on sharing all the awesome we got to.

Allan Branch of Less Accounting started up a Coworking space and his own conference… only to find it was distracting from his focus. There are a lot of lessons in this post and his points about what it takes to put on a conference… well, they are wholly on-point, to the effect that it could well be at least a year-long part-time job. At any rate, I applaud the insights gained from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to those guys and the strength of will it takes to cast aside what, for Less Accounting, were distractions.

Brian shared not only the story about Less Accounting above, but this one by Chris Lema on how to price “risk.” Like pretty much everything, it starts first with doing your homework, doing everything you can under the sun to figure out as much of what you don’t know as possible, and then ask questions back to your stakeholders that are specific, that are targeted at filling in those blanks. Then, reach a mutual understand where everyone feels the cost (and therefore the accountability) for mitigating potential risks. It makes a lot of sense, this guy.

This last Monday I met up with some friends, including Jim Remsik, fellow community leader, conference organizer, Madisonian and world-renowned hugger. Seriously, he gives amazing hugs. I wish I had a picture of our epic hug. Anyway, Jim shared a great post relating how the author’s approach to filmmaking is also an approach to self-improvement (which, we can all agree, is a pretty loaded term in and of itself). “There’s no way to perfectly and reliably generate only perfect, fantastic, interesting, award-winning ideas and to know ahead of time that everything is going to work or guarantee they will all connect brilliantly with other people. The messy, vulnerable, failure-prone process of getting them out – in conversation, on paper, on a cocktail napkin, in a photo, in a tune you can’t stop humming – is how you figure out if they are any good. Megan said it perfectly, in the essay about essays linked upstream: “As E.M. Forster wrote, I don’t know what I think til I see what I say… The stuff that makes you vulnerable and imperfect is the stuff that makes you interesting. Relatable to others. Perfectly yourself.” Lots of connections back to that John Hagel post we shared last week about influence.


The next IEEE xAPI Study Group Meeting will be Wednesday, April 9.

Megan and I will be joining Ben Betts, Dave Tosh and others in the Learning Locker/Curatr booth at the ASTD International Conference from May 4-7.

There’s much more we’ve been doing, and we’ll share as soon as our details get locked down.