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Business Life

The journey versus the outcome

We’ve recently had some landscaping done, at home. While the end result is absolutely beautiful, there is one aspect of the project which didn’t sit too well with me. While working from home, I’m aware of all of the goings on with the landscaping, can view the progress day to day and can also hear the project lead bossing her team around. I use the term “bossing” as my personal interpretation of how the project was handled. This got me thinking about project management and what the project manager cares more about; the journey or the outcome.

Categories
Business Life

Knowing Your Limits And Gaming Yourself

Since starting this blog several years ago, I’ve tried several techniques to keep up a regular blogging routine. From blogging daily for a week or two, to attempting to blog every day for an entire year, I’ve tried them all.

While this blog isn’t a business for me, it’s a great way to share knowledge, thoughts and interesting discoveries. At the same time, I simply cannot dedicate all day every day to blogging, researching and constructing articles. Ultimately, it’s also not how I most enjoy writing.

So here’s what I’ve done.

Categories
Life

You Are Who You Meet

Folks often say; “You are what you eat”. What does this even mean, anyways? While the underlying meaning is relatively clear (don’t eat junk food or you’ll become unhealthy), the saying itself makes little to no sense. I prefer to subscribe to the “you are who you meet” approach.

I’ve heard several folks say that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Over the past few weeks, I’ve observed myself quite carefully and can confirm that this is mostly true, save for one key element.

Categories
Business Life

Fostering creative thinking

At Woo, we recently picked up on the next steps of a StrengthsFinder assessment we conducted within our leadership team towards the end of 2013. This assessment aims to identify your top 5 strengths and assist you in harnessing them, while creating a better understanding of the strengths others possess and how best to relate to those you work with daily. The follow up steps of this assessment included a call with a leadership coach, where in we discuss our strengths, answer a few questions and better understand how to create the next steps in our strengths finding journey.

During my call with Horace (our coach), he mentioned the following, which stuck with me; “If you can explain to someone how you perform a particular task, that task is a learned behaviour. If you can’t explain the exact steps, that task is an inherent strength”. For me, this task was product architecture and analysis.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy listening to podcasts. I listen to a wide variety of different topics, and attempt to glean value from each, and apply that value in different contexts. One of those topics relates to creativity.

Categories
Life

Starve fear. Feed courage.

Every negative thought we have, or action we take, feeds our fear. When you trust in your heart and take enjoyment out of your day, this feeds your courage. I feel it’s important to include this short summary at the very beginning, rather than at the end, as it’s important to regularly emphasise this key principle.

I’m really enjoying listening to podcasts lately. While I switch from time to time, the most fun I have across all podcasts I listen to is extracting the “hidden meaning”. How to apply what is being said in an alternate context. In this case, the meaning was a bit less hidden, given the episode was about courage and listening to yourself.

Categories
Business Life

Create customer loyalty through storytelling

The craft beer craze has been around in Cape Town for some time now. While out for a day in the sun with friends this past weekend, we got onto the subject of what sets craft beer apart from commercially brewed beer. While not a huge beer drinker myself, I found something really special in this conversation.

The key point in favour of craft beer, aside from the taste, is the story behind the beer and the brewery. Through the discussion, we ascertained that one feels more connected to the beer, and thus more likely to purchase and consume it, if one understands a bit about where the beer came from. This is creating a sense of connection and loyalty between the customer and the product/manufacturer.

Lets try and prove or refute this concept by applying it elsewhere.

Categories
Business Life

The 30 Day List

I really enjoy listening to podcasts. Over time, I’ve racked up a few ranging from game design and theory, all the way through to fitness and personal finance. I’ve recently really enjoyed listening to Listen Money Matters (thanks for the tip, Patrick!), a podcast about personal finance.

During an episode I listened to a few weeks ago, the concept of a 30 day list was mentioned, as a way to curb impulse buying. The premise is, if you want to make a purchase, place the items on a list and ignore it for 30 days. Once 30 days are up, revisit the list and see if you’re still interested in making the purchase. If you are, go ahead and plan for it. If not, you know it was just an impulse purchase. I did this a few months ago without even realising it, when I had a sudden urge to purchase the (then new) Nintendo WiiU while attempting to summit Lion’s Head on the hottest day of the year, in 2013. Clearly, this was an impulse purchase, as I’m not a huge gamer anymore (yet I love Nintendo games!).

Categories
Life

Reflections on 2014

2014 was a tough year. The toughest year for me, yet. I’ve been debating for a few days whether or not to write a reflections post. I’ve just returned from my first gym session of 2015, and feel pretty positive, so I reckon what better time than the present to write this.

This year past brought several life challenges I’ve never had to endure, until now. These challenges are deeply personal and not entirely appropriate for this blog, so I won’t go into specifics. One interesting characteristic of a challenge is how it forces you to re-examine and re-evaluate other areas of your life. Large portions of 2014 were spent reflecting inwards, inspecting myself and my lifestyle and making small, yet highly impactful, changes to how I approach the world. One of these changes was to hack myself and get my fitness lifestyle under control. While this happened from late 2013, 2014 was the year where I kicked this into high gear… and it feels great!

Categories
Business Life WordPress

On Knowledge Sharing and Being Frank

For the past few months, I’ve been following the “Advanced WordPress” group on Facebook. I joined the group thinking I would be exposed to advanced questions around WordPress development work.

What is it that they say about assumptions, again? 🙂

Through observation, it is apparent that the group is more focussed around advanced uses of WordPress for client websites, rather than development topics. I figured I’d keep following the group in any event and see what comes up.

Categories
Life

Hacking Myself

For those who have known me for some time, there are a few realisations which are pretty evident; one of which being that I’ve always been a “big guy”. Call it what you like; a “strong build”, a “wide frame”, whatever. It’s all the same. I’m also not really a fan of being told what I “should” do. Think along the lines of “Matthew, you should be exercising 6 days a week, you know”. Not very encouraging.

Couple these points together, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Someone who is a big guy and is being made to feel like he doesn’t want to exercise, even though he knows he should be. Not. Smart.

The tipping point

At the time of writing, I’m 27 years old. While I’m not a walking mountain, I’ve not been happy with my weight for some time. Not being a very sporty person, and being the ultimate pizza lover, are not character traits which sit well together.

It was time for a change, and the only person who could action this change, was me.