5/2: Plan, execute, and measure your way from start-up to scale.

I was excited that Kasey found me in the networking tangle.  At first, I thought it was an inbox solicitation. But when my probing reply returned a legit response, I saw it as something I should attend. Glad I did.

Hosted at Galvanize, the event was well done.  Very in-vein of SXSW meetups. (get what I did there? snoogins. only kidding) Eventbrite sign-up/sign-in, say hi and thanks to hosts, go grab a beer (good beer) and some noshies, mingle before the agenda kicks in, start with an opener, then into a panel, more beer and hang-out time, now get the fuck out.  Combine that with hip, sociable, tech-nerds and you get a good formula to fit in, learn, and leave wanting more.  I did.
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It IS you. An argument for design that’s never done.

Background.  Nobody knocks on the private bathroom door at work.  They just yard on the handle.  Maybe multiple times.  And it’s repeated by the same people that are unable to take the feedback of when a door is locked, it doesn’t open.  Furthermore, when the door is locked, that means someone’s in there.  We’ve even put a big sign next to the handle PLEASE KNOCK.

Now in their defense, we had another issue with the lock.  The appearance of the button to lock the door from the inside seems to be one that you twist.  However, when they installed it – its only typical use serves as a push button.  It’s alternative use is to more permanently lock the door requiring a key.  So for a couple years, people would twist the lock to lock the door while they were using it.  Because the lock was twisted, it didn’t automatically pop out when the person using the bathroom twisted the handle to exit.  So the door would stay locked requiring the use of a key.  I’ll even give one more defense, the lock that was installed could have had an indicator green “Vacant” or red “Occupied” to visually help the user.  But, that wasn’t what was purchased and it would cost more money to replace.

Now onto the video.  Assumptions were made here that weren’t stated.
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Coachella 2017






4/15 Updated 00:15 MST – PA fuckup for Radiohead set.  Band walks off…
4/15 Updated 00:18 MST – issue resolved, band comes back on
4/15 Updated 00:28 MST – PA fuckup for Radiohead set.  “Please stand by for Radiohead – Audio difficulties”
4/15 Updated 00:32 MST – Band back on

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 12.00.38 AM


3/9 – SXSWedu D4: Rivera Keynote, Mindsets & Movements

D4 roberto rivera keynote






The gist:
Roberto came on the stage to close SXSWedu after 2 stellar performances by Brené Brown and Sarah Lewis.  His focus was on community and its strengths.  Drawing from his own past and his current work that rocketed Chicago suburb communities out of violence to victory.  His #pain2propane premise took a look at post traumatic growth (PTG) and how one can take that trauma and fuel the positive.

My take:
I was happy Roberto closed the closing conference keynote.  I’d say he was the most lively of the 3 and presented me with something that I’d been holding onto, since my days of starting in the education industry.  It’s the people.  The people that can and will push education of this country to its fullest potential.  It’s the community.  It’s great educators, great administrators, great parents, and great kids.  It’s everybody working together to achieve “the break”.

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3/7 – SXSWedu D2/S3: Systems integration

D2S3 whose job is it









The gist
Pain points.  Going from “how do I know where to go” to “there are too many ways to go”.  Maximize time for teaching and learning, and minimize time to finding and using the different tools.  These are known and troubles we face.  The next step after is to tackling the pain points… and who should tackle.  In Houston, they’re big on a learning ecosystem for teaching and learning where everything conforms and comes together.  And coming together is a big push on the directive of finding the who and how for tackling.  Tie it back to the teachers and tie it back to the kids.

The answer? _____

My take
What’s your combination on an academic technology menu?  With so many choices and all you can eat data plans, you take the good with the bad.  So many choices creates a problem because there are so many choices.  How does the data move?  How do you login, once?  And with so many choices, you get the opportunity to select what works for you.  Is it a diner menu where you can order anything from breakfast to surf and turf at 3 in the morning?  Or is it a refined restaurant menu where the chef curates the 4 course meal with wine paring?  Whatever you order off the menu, the big question that’s on the scene more loudly than ever is how to get each choice aware of the other and allow the information to move (without putting the burden on the teachers and the kids).

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3/7 – SXSWedu D2/S2: App overkill

D2S2 app overkill









The gist:

Extremely entertaining and engaging.  This audience participating discussion dove into the bigger questions districts and teachers always face around what’s being used, how often it’s being used, and what’s working.

My take:

The “Oooo shiny” really needs to go away.  Intentionality and knowing what is needed and wanted needs to be at the heart.  With so many apps being thrown in your face, we can’t be the squirrel chasers.  And this is the heart of where I stand with product management as well.  I’m not married to the product, I’m married to my customers.  So when we look beyond the buzzwords, decisions become more intentional to meet the needs of teachers and students.  And if it’s not working, if it’s not intentional – then it’s time to get rid of it or change it.

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3/7 – SXSWedu D2/S1: Paying the price

D2S1 paying the price







The gist:
Staggering stats on what the typical avenues’ loan value power is for students/parents.  Goldrick-Rab told the story of how loan programs and institutions are failing to meet the need of students and parents financially.

My take:
My parents were very generous and paid for my undergrad and much of my grad experience.  Grad was $82k+ not including all the other non-learning stuff.  I’ve only had to pick up about $24k and that comes out to $550/month.  I could’ve gone to a local school in NJ that I got into (that’s top ranked for its ed program in the nation) for $8-12k, all told.  Instead, I made a choice to go to a school that was close to climbing and close to friends and wasn’t as high ranked as the one in NJ.  I had a great experience and did really well.  But $550/month would pay for the van I really want for camping at climbing crags.  That’s a lot of weight to carry and I’d feel a lot wealthier without it.  My parents would’ve been a lot wealthier without it.  I’m fortunate that they’ve worked hard and are affluent enough to support my choice.  But there’d be no way, they (nor I) could’ve carried that weight if we weren’t as lucky.  Was the decision my fault?  Yes.  But it helped in my development.  With loans structured as they are, I don’t see how the non-wealthy could’ve had the same experience.

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3/6 – SXSWedu D1/S3: Data Today, Trends & Predictions for Higher Ed

D1S3 trends predictions










The gist:
Data data data.  How to hone, model, modify, present (the right to know and how to know it right).  Data attracts attention.  Micro-mindset messages.  Can’t take advantage of that if we’re worried about accountability.  So what works has to do with ways in which data collection is being used.  Looking at uncomfortable data has its danger in just looking at the data.  But it’s data for review and for use with other data to enable the human layer.

My take:
I think back to my approaches to university and higher ed.  Being outside that sphere and looking back in, I really didn’t want to be there.  “If I knew then, what I knew now.” kind of thing.  It’s a game changer.  (1) it really is a next level experience and (2) engagement is seen with bigger and sharper teeth in the game than we’d/I’d have ever foreseen.  It’s taken the externalities of the learning process (the beyond-content stuff) that always just seemed to be the magical, awesomesauce experience of an institution and makes it really real for students to understand, apply, and use to their advantage.

(aside: smiling point, I hadn’t heard before.  CASE model – copy and steal everything.  It is education, after all)

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