Monday, July 09, 2007

Something Else - Early Feedback

Tucson, Arizona. I am receiving feedback from the publication and most of it is positive. I have a theory that those tuned in to Web 2.0 are just a little more in touch. The last election made it pretty clear that bloggers have access to a larger reality. We just do.

Responses, mostly through email, confirm my anticipation that the document talks to both sides of the aisle. When I say I am an Independent, it is heartfelt. Certain folks can tell. My responses have come as much from the right and the left. I lean left, but I understand a lot of what the right has to say until they get to sex and Jesus.

I'm not kidding about modifying content based on input from others. I have already implemented changes, including remarks from conservative bloggers. A certain conservative blogger (and no, not Framer) knows this to be true.

In a couple days I'll return to normal blogger mode.

Something Else is not fixed. Chapter 15 changes daily.

13 Comments:

Blogger Sirocco said...

I am curious about the Magma Copper leadership program. I have heard reference to it off and on in the past, always extremely positive. What's the fate of that program now? Is there a market for pitching that program on a private basis to large firms? or making it available to individuals maybe?

I could see large companies being willing to invest the time (9 months, I think I read) to send some of their managers to a program like that.

I could also see motivated individuals possibly being willing to invest a year in a program like this if the "certificate" developed real meaning.

Any thoughts?

7/10/2007 8:53 AM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Oh, as an aside ... I am glad to hear you are getting what sounds like a good bit of feedback via email ... but I am disappointed people are choosing to give their thoughts to you privately, rather than make them publicly available.

7/10/2007 8:58 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Sirocco,

As a senator, Gabrielle Giffords and Dr. Alan Brown of ASU explored the idea of introducing a program based on the LDP to government, with yours truly leading it. She endorsed the idea and it was his to put together.

I don't see how to make it happen. I can however, point you to good literature. The literature cannot deliver the program, but it can give you taste.

The following are excellent:

The Fifth Discipline
Masterful Coaching
Leadership and the Art of Conversation
Leadership and the New Science
Extraordinary Relationships
The Language Instinct

The ultimate insight is that everything is a conversation, and that humanity is a network of conversations, and that leadership is generating context and managing conversations.

The above has the words. The light bulb, is, well, a different conversation.

7/10/2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

x4mr,
This is just some preliminary feedback because I'm not finished yet.

Politics aside, it is not clear to me why you have written so much about Giffords. Perhaps I've missed something, but her actual role in all of this seems trivial and mostly limited to telling you to "not worry about the variables you cannot control." A compassionate neighbor could have done the same thing. I kept expecting more, but most of what you have written is about your admiration for her. I believe that it diminishes the power of what is otherwise a very powerful document. I would rather have seen just a little more depth to the characterizations of some of the real players. I somewhat understand the inclusion of the CD8 election and the blogosphere because that more or less describes your own interests in a way that is relevant or at least loosely connected. The same is true, for the most part, about the family related digressions and some of your personal experiences with rattlesnakes, etc...The Giffords gushing drags the story down a bit because it goes nowhere and seems almost irrelevant.

7/10/2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

Also, x4mr, the above is all of my "negative" feedback (I know you will consider it negative.) My positive feedback is still forthcoming.

7/10/2007 11:00 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Liza,

Thanks so much. Your input is spot on, and if that is the only negative feedback you have, terrific.

The material is not fixed. Others have made similar remarks. I'm eager to hear anything else you have to say. I don't know where this is headed, but a formally polished product would address your points and reduce or eliminate the content you've mentioned. Chapter 15 would be far more rigorous and reference academic literature. Also, anything "for real" would adhere to appropriate citation standards.

Yeah, and there's the orthography, too. The current document is not suitable for Barnes and Noble.

Thanks again.

7/10/2007 1:08 PM  
Anonymous the doctor said...

As Sirocco noted, you are informed, but I would go farther than that. You are mega-informed. You became a certified Java programmer in six months, and then certified to teach it by Sun Microsystems a month or two later?

Dang.

As I said, AMAZING, but I completely concur with Liza's remarks. For what they are worth, my suggestions:

1. Cut or eliminate almost all of the stuff about Giffords. You support her. We get it.
2. Reduce some of the family stuff but keep the best of it. The dog part of the end of guardian felt like a punch in the chest.
3. As you already said, 15 needs more work and research support. I know you already know that.
4. Neaten up the political content. Say more with less.

I have read it twice, and it is amazing how much you have in between the lines that I did not catch the first time.

With the above improvements and a good editor, you should seriously consider publishing for real.

7/10/2007 4:16 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Doc,

You are correct both about the depth of the document and what you and Liza have noted. I have already modified chapter seven in the direction you have suggested.

Thanks, all.

Word on the street is that at least one person in the press has given it a good looking over. Will they do anything? I have no idea.

7/10/2007 6:11 PM  
Blogger AZW88 said...

Have any of the parties mentioned or talked about gotten back to you directly or indirectly?

I do know of one individual mentioned by name who may have looked at it or be looking at it soon. E-mail me for more info....

7/10/2007 10:29 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

azw88,

Your link does not provide an email address. Mine is clearly stated at the profile and the home page. Please send a note.

You are the first to touch upon one of many concepts the publication explores - the bridge between Web 2.0 and brick and mortar. So far, I have received NOTHING indicating the brick and mortar world knows a thing, except that a brick and mortar reporter has explored the publication. So far, only the blogosphere seems to have the slightest awareness.

It's fascinating. When I posted about x4mr technology, the inventor responded at this site within twelve hours. He is ONLINE. As far as I can tell, not one person in our economic development community gets Web 2.0 or knows anything about this site.

What I find interesting is that Framer hasn't said anything to Carol Somers.

7/10/2007 11:11 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

In terms of editing, I generally agree with what the Doctor and Liza have already posted. I rather liked the family background, but I agree in general most of it could be cut out without harming the overall narrative.

I'll re-emphasize the need to citations. That's not just in 15, although it's most applicable there.

Neither of them mentioned it, but I found the little interludes, while interesting, seemed extraneous to me. I found myself reading through them quickly so I could get back to the main storyline. Unlike the Doctor I have not re-read, so it may be they would be more appreciated a second time through.

Also, there is a fair degree of repetitiveness of certain points. For example, you discuss in several different chapters the history of the finances. This information is obviously a critical element to the story, but perhaps could be reworked to not sound like a rehashing. Alternatively, maybe a quick mention with a link back to the earlier, more detailed presentation might work better.

7/11/2007 7:27 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

I’ve given this more thought.

I see this story on three levels. The main story is, in my opinion, a powerful indictment of the local “economic development” community. The story is focused on SAIAT, but x4mr provides a tremendous amount of insight into what is behind the overall dismal performance of that community. This alone is a good story. It’s the kind of story that Frank Rich of the NYT could nail in about four or five op-eds without missing a thing.

However, x4mr’s underlying, autobiographical story is equally important to this narrative. He transitions his career from engineering to workforce development because of a major life event, losing his job as well as witnessing the meltdown of a company that employed thousands of people. While dealing with his own situation, he begins the transition that is driven by his belief that, with just a small investment from the community, many people can achieve far more than they do. His vision and commitment take him as far as the CEO position at SAIAT, where he continues to prove that small investments in training yield large returns. He creates an organization that, because of its flexibility, focus, and resources is able to support a wide range of training needs within the local community. Rather than expand this model, the local “economic development” experts decide to starve it and, aided by a couple of arrogant and malicious individuals with their own agenda, force x4mr out of the organization. The underlying story is one of personal anguish and self reflection.

Superimposed on the two stories is the ever present message of hope as evidenced by, first of all, writing the story. Clearly, x4mr hopes that by writing this story, it will enlighten and perhaps become an agent of change. Throughout the narrative, his testimony gives the reader insight into what is possible when visionary leadership, commitment, and resources converge. X4mr’s mission is to affect the future, not to vent the past.

So, having read the other early feedback, I mostly agree with what has been said. The family related digressions assist the autobiographical component of the story. In other words, X4mr has to develop his own character. Most people would pick and choose pretty carefully here, and I think that x4mr has done a good job in that respect. The digressions also provide relief from the sad story that is unfolding.

I agree with “the Doctor” and I would recommend losing Giffords in her entirety. She is simply not relevant. Perhaps, x4mr, at some later time you can be her biographer. I also agree with “the Doctor” that the political content should be trimmed down considerably. I would suggest treating the CD8 election as your introduction to the blogosphere, allow it to be an enjoyable digression, capture a couple of highlights that interest or amuse you
and end it. Remember, this is about YOU.

I mentioned earlier that some of the characters who are central to the story might need to be fleshed out. As a reader, I am having some trouble retaining a mental reference for these people, and they have become interchangeable “cementheads.” I would not hesitate to include some physical descriptions or even unrelated stories about them that support character development. Not a lot, just enough to distinguish one from the other. Kathryn is an example of a fleshed out character.

Unlike Sirocco, I was not bothered by any of the repetition of financial information or other redundancies. Well placed redundancies can help a reader stay on track or even absorb something important that was missed earlier. It’s especially helpful if the material is being read over a period of time as opposed to one sitting.

And, finally, chapter 12 is awesome.

7/11/2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Liza,

See my most recent post. Words cannot capture my gratitude. Thank you so much. You see a lot. I think of you as a friend.

I am not thanking you for positive feedback. I am thanking you for straight feedback. I am sure you understand.

7/11/2007 9:32 PM  

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