Reflecting on my 2011

Last night (December 10), and I may have been wearing my Santa costume during the conversation, I mentioned to a friend that I’ve studied the concept of time and tell myself I should be free of the tyranny of the agrarian calendar that is the metronome for many of our lives. Nonetheless, every year when the days grow short, I clear away last year’s artifacts and reflect. As Socrates famously said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I plan to examine journal entries, my writings and presentations, photographs, videos, and relationships. I’ll be thinking about

  • what made me happy
  • what “made a difference”
  • what I enjoyed
  • what I accomplished
  • where I missed the boat during the last twelve months
  • things to avoid in 2012
  • how to design a more fun, meaningful life

I will do some of my reflecting publicly. It keeps me honest. What’s more, I truly believe we improve our lives by sharing what we do, know, and feel with one another.

The remainder of this post digs into posts, pictures, presentations, and what-not from my 2011. I’m mulling it over for the next few days. A future post will deal with what I make of it and my aspirations for 2012 and beyond. Unless you were part of my journey this year, you probably want to stop reading about now.

Looking backward
I began reviewing last year by going over my Google calendar. These trips stood out:

January Picasso exhibit in Seattle, Hartford for CIGNA February Ottawa for CIDA and THRC April Florence, Venice, Paris, Glacier Express, Chur, Zurich May Princeton Reunions, Falling Water June Keynote ICELW, Overlap, Jerry’s Retreat August Carmel, Car week, 21C project September Scandahoovia and Poland October Brazil, Laguna, Palm Springs, Portugal November DevLearn Vegas, Online Educa Berlin

I looked back through my tweetstream, but soon lost patience. Too many damned tweets.

2010 Photos
Next I turned to Flickr. I posted 6,200 photos this year. 360 of those were pictures of food for The Berkeley Diet. 550 are photos of Brazil. 500 are from Car Week in Carmel. 144 are from DevLearn (I often capture presentation slides to look at afterwards). 150 were from Overlap. Most of the photos document whatever memorable scenes come before my eyes. I tagged 120 photos that captured a sense of what was going on with “2011″. I created a Slideshow but that comes all at once, and I sought to drip-feed the imagery of 2011 into my consciousness.

I discovered a nifty Flickr downloader named Bulkr. $30 later, I have the ability to download batches of Flickr photos by set (or, for that matter, to back up my entire Flickr portfolio.) I downloaded the 2011 photos to a USB stick and put them in an electronic picture frame. Photos of friends, events, presentations, and journeys are flashing by, six a minute, as I write. Last year was a whole lot of fun. Highlights include playing with glorious food, brainstorming with fascinating people, visting beautiful places, ogling wonderful cars and art, and doing interesting work.

Now I’m turning to my words of the year. I made 156 posts to Internet Time Blog. I closed the Informal Learning blog in February; its job was done. I asked Working Smarter Daily to display my most prominent posts on Internet Time Blog for 2011.

  • Working Smarter in the Enterprise
  • A model of workplace learning
  • Working Smarter: popular posts
  • AT&T Breaks Guitars
  • The Textbook Bubble
  • 21st Century Leadership
  • Ridiculous research findings on informal learning
  • How to evaluate social and informal learning
  • Embedding social learning into enterprise software
  • iPad2
  • Making sense of the world
  • It’s all about working smarter
  • Occupy Education
  • Those who forget the mistakes of history
  • Training departments: wake up, smell coffee
  • 21st century management practice
  • What does a 21st century leader need to do?
  • Learning while working
  • Where innovation comes in
  • Crowd-inspired innovation
  • Serendipity is not optional
  • Kick-starting a corporate social network
  • The 21st century is in play and it’s really, really different
  • Future of Talent
  • Learning in the 21st century workplace
  • Succeed in business: mimic sardines
  • Headlines are not reality
  • Business = service
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Working Smarter Glossary

At the bottom of the list:

  • Jay in Rio (video)
  • Customer spring (vacation)
  • It need not be new to be good (quotes)
  • The Nature of Networks (video)
  • The Chief of Confusion
I don’t have time to re-read my 340-page Journal. I exported it from Pages into Word and ran Summarizer, reducing it to 18 pages. I found a lot of research notes associated with my big project in the beginning of the year. Topics include Sharepoint, Jive, learning+working, rough drafts of articles, resource lists, and notes for various articles.
Paging through the full journal, I see that I spent a good deal of time trying to come to grips with my ADD, doing such things as pondering my second grade report cards:
From my notes:
I have all of the classic ADD behaviors: impatient, poor time management, restless, forgetful, overly talkative, inattentive, easily angered, anxious and depressed, addictive, distracted, and prone to hyperfocusing.

Ten years ago, when I was asking myself if I’m ADD, things weren’t clear. Most physicians were non-believers. Now many therapists and others believe the ADD is quite real. It’s a brain-based condition. It’s not a matter of free will and moral failings.

When medication failed to change any of this, I went to a neuropsychologist and completed hours of tests. The diagnosis: no doubt that I have ADD.  Sorry we don’t know what to do about it.

Another major theme for me was 21st century leadership. I outlined what I thought was required, interviewed numerous people, and wrote hoards. It informs my judgment but has yet to surface anywhere but

Then there’s YouTube. I shot a number of videos; none of them were influential.
  • Occupy SF 37 views
  • 30 seconds on business 54
  • Create Learning Lisbon 171
  • Q&A about Informal Learning 213
  • Relections on DevLearn 129
  • About the Internet Time Alliance 107
  • Jay on Skype to Paris 85
  • Focus on the Business, Stan 106
  • Leader Storytelling, Terrance 78
  • Leadership in Uncertain Times, Kevin 53
  • Organizational Design, Aaron 160
  • Delighting Customers, John 8
  • Performance Reviews, John 15
  • Selection, motivation, and coaching, John 84
  • Connected company, Dave 30
  • 21st Century Business Models, 25
  • Portugal advance 95
  • Kick Ass Meetings, Terry 20
  • Oxford Union Debate, 524
  • Jerry & Jay in conversation, 134
  • Greg Oxton, 19
  • Radical Management, Marie 83
  • Offboarding, Kevin 67
  • Serendipity, Tom 205
  • Moms Rising, Joan 112
  • Impact 280
  • Alpenhorns in Chur 97
The Oxford video accompanied an article in eLearn, so it’s not typical. That means my most popular video is this three-minute rant I prepared for some conference.

Videos are so much fun to make. It’s a pity they’re not very popular with my readers.

A presentation I did for Citrix, Training Smarter, Working Smarter has been viewed more than 3,000 times. I didn’t upload many presentations to SlideShare this year because my files are too big. That’s what happens when you speak with pictures instead of words.

I didn’t write any books this year or even any introductions or chapters. I only wrote a handful of articles, for example:

Working Smarter Glossary 

Learning in the 21st Century

Making Sense of the World

Learning is the New Work

On the Road Again

Sardines Set the Example

The Long View (interview with T+D)

Interview with Bob Morris

MeFrog interview





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