Tools I Use: digital mind mapping

Ryan Holiday explains “The Notecard System: The Key For Remembering, Organizing And Using Everything You Read.”

This system may work in the physical world (I respect that if you need everything to be physical for some reason).  I see all this possible as a digital mind map to minimize duplication (it is just a link or lines drawn to the same dot), less rewriting, simpler organization that travels with you anywhere and easier categorization for those comfortable using digital tools.

I find it interesting to watch people squirm while I explain how I do this using digital tools as they still have a reluctance (resistance) in giving up their legacy methods using paper due to their own comfort zones. If they don’t want to change and get out of their own (way) comfort zone, it is their own problem to solve.

I prefer tools and information to follow me anywhere/anytime rather than going to where it is all physically located in order to review/iterate it. Especially since new ideas are fleeting, need to be captured (vs. vanish with memory) and get linked to other ideas/needs at some point.

Yes, one of the tools I use is digital mind mapping. Not on a paper, but rather fully editable ideas. I find it a good tool for forming and dissecting ideas. Before creating an outline for a book, I start with a mind map. As I continue existing projects, I mind map them.

Mind mapping helps create dots (ideas) and connect those dots (drawing lines/relations) such as:

  1. keywords/keyphrases
  2. related articles (links)
  3. related images (links to drawings, photos, infographics whether they are mine in Google Drive or from the internet)

Then, it becomes clearer to see what gaps are there and which gaps you want to fill.

Once you are comfortable with scope (self-imposed limits) of ideas you want to cover (and what you don’t want to cover), it is easier to form an outline for writing a book.

I also use mind mapping to cover who and what topics I have covered with my podcast interviews and what I want to do in the future.

Here is a list of mind mapping tools you can use (free or paid). I happen to use Mind Meister.

And that is how I use mind mapping. How do you use mind mapping?

 

Blockchain technology: The power behind bitcoin

With the popularity of bitcoin, I thought I would share my presentation slides on the technology that powers bitcoin called blockchain.

For more on this topic, check out Blockchain Billions

Donating Time vs. Money

In this season of giving and receiving, I wanted to share some thoughts around donations.

Over the past few decades, I have done a lot of volunteering. When I was underemployed, I volunteered. When I was overemployed, I volunteered.

Volunteering our time often has a longer lasting impact and imprint on people, including ourselves.

The first key is finding a channel for impact and value such as a person, an event or an organization we believe in.

The second key is being able to deliver value over time for this person, event or organization. You can confirm your belief of providing it by literally asking if it is helpful to them and then ask them to confirm how it is for them (versus a simple “yes” that can often be tokenized as a blanket answer to any volunteer).

The third key is the repeatable act of volunteering for this channel and/or others. Volunteering is not a checkbox, but rather a commitment and effort on your part.

So why volunteer vs. provide a handout of extra funds to said cause?

Both can help. don’t get me wrong. Often, I hear people talking about writing a check when they can not find the time, even though that sounds like poor time management. I believe the willingness to volunteer is lacking with many people and it extends to far more than helping the less fortunate or funding [fill in the blank].org

I recently listened to well-known philanthropist (billionaire) who analyzed the hundreds of places he funded with sizable donations and then measured the impact after a few years. The impact of those donations were so minimal, he stopped writing checks to most of them because it did not make a noticeable difference (or at least not to the level that was expected at the time). Many organizations are getting increasing criticism on the impact they deliver. Some are better documented and measured than others.

When I attended the VIP event after this interesting Question and Answer session with the philanthropist, the Dean of the business school where I volunteer some of my time as a startup advisor thanked me personally. While I fully realize a business school is a business as well, I am there to assist their efforts in providing unbiased advice to dozens of new startups a month throughout the university, well beyond the school of business or computer science.

The dean also asked why I do this. I simply prefer to donate my time than my money.  My time, advice and experience shared seem to have a longer lasting impact than any money I have ever donated.

In October 2017, I moved from the Washington DC area to the low country of Bluffton, South Carolina.

When I told the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship that I was moving the DC area where I commit to leaving the house by 6am to beat traffic from Dulles, VA  to College Park, MD, they immediately offered to keep me engaged through the use of an online mentoring platform so I could continue mentoring from anywhere in the world remotely.

Before moving, I made sure to find new venues to volunteer as a startup advisor in South Carolina.

I made sure those were available before finding a house to live in. Call it selfless maybe. I call it an opportunity to learn and share. Yes, that is right. I get to learn what gaps and challenges there are in the market today. Filling those gaps and challenges become a future lecture, my next book if there isn’t one that exists (like Keywording Now) or another business to fill that gap if there is a big enough market need for it. Find a solution to an existing problem.

That is why the first question I ask is “How can I help you?”

How do you donate your time?

What lasting impact do your efforts have where you volunteer?

What impact does your money have if you choose to donate?

Which will be remembered more?

 

 

Tools I Use: Fiverr and Upwork

When I need creative or design work done such as book covers or logos, I rely on Fiverr.

When I need technical work done such as podcast editing or copyediting, I rely on Upwork.

I have used these services for a few years now because they provide great value and great results.

The quality of the results is based on the individuals you find and task.

Both resources have a lot of talented people you can find with reviews, ratings, and skills you are looking for. I often filter to the most experienced people in their field who are very actively doing their craft really well.

The rates are very reasonable and you can even pay per task completed.

Keep in mind the remote workers need some context to complete the task you assign to them. Most will iterate the work they produce if you present feedback on what needs enhancement and how.

Most will iterate the work they produce if you provide feedback on what needs enhancement so they have some direction.

Have you tried Fiverr or Upwork?  If so, how did you like it?

 

Tools I Use: Docusign

I stopped using an archaic FAX machine a while back because I don’t believe in using paper for anything.

I no longer run to an office supply store to get signed documents scanned into PDF format, emailed to the other parties and archived for my records.

I do not own a scanning printer because I am often traveling when I need access to it.

Instead, I use DocuSign. The best business investment I made for signing and sending documents in less than a minute. Someone emails you the document.

Here is what happens. Someone emails you the document to be signed. Text to speech reads me the document aloud to understand the terms and conditions at any hour.  If I accept, I login into DocuSign, upload the document, e-sign the document as needed and email it back to whoever needs it.

E-signatures are more accepted in a court of law than some scrolly non-sense signature done with an ink pen. E-signatures are often geolocation stamped, time-stamped, date stamped and IP address stamped. Not so much with a pen.

How long does it take you to sign a document and send it to the respective party in another office? When do you get the countersignature? Have you tried DocuSign?