The beauty of small groupthink


It’s been said that groupthink is bad, that the group influences individual opinions and leads to conformity and discourages the free flow of good ideas.  I was recently involved in two group meetings dealing with sticky issues, one last Monday and one tonight.  Group one included eight people trying to put together a schedule and arrange logistics for an important meeting.  Group two included three people tackling several critical issues.  The first group spent about five hours locked in a room, trying to build concensus from a spectrum of opinions.  I left, somewhat disillusioned, long before it ended.  The second group spent 50 minutes tackling equally weighty issues, and with razor-like precision, the three of us resolved all outstanding issues–and more. 
 
There’s a lot to be said about small groups working through tough issues.  Having large groups with many stakeholders who need to have their say and forging concensus is a bit overrated.

Being someone else


I’m sitting here typing at a colleague’s work station in Shanghai, someone I’ve never met.  We’re on a work exchange.  We swapped jobs for a couple of weeks.  Right now he is probably at my home in Seoul after a day at work sitting at my desk, working on work I would normally do.  I’m doing work he does here in Shanghai.  I will soon walk back to his home where I am staying for a couple of weeks.  It’s an radical sensation when you feel like you’re living someone else’s life.  For a brief moment in time, we will glimpse each others’ lives.  We don’t really know what it’s like to actually be someone else, but still we’re immersed in a different reality than our own. 
 
His life here in Shanghai isn’t too shabby–I’m doing my best not to clutter it up with junk.  I wonder what he thinks of mine, especially since he doesn’t have any children.  I can tell our personalities are different, so who knows what he’ll think after living my life for a couple of weeks.  He lives a DINKs lifestyle (double-income, no kids), whereas my life is built around child rearing.  Maybe it will be enlightening.  I doubt he will play with play dough or drink juice boxes.  If his wife becomes pregnant in the next couple of months, I will definitely wonder whether she became enamored by all the children’s toys laying around the house.  His life has certainly been enlightening to me.  I’d forgotten what it was like not to have any children.
 
If nothing else, it’s been fun.  Trying exchanging your life with someone else for a change.  It’s pretty cool!

One moment in time


I didn’t come up with this, but I thought it was intriguing enough to share with you:
Tomorrow at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 a.m., the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.  That won’t happen again.

Indeed. 

 

Where was I on 06:05:04 03/02/01?

 

It was a Friday morning.  I was getting ready for work in the Seattle area, looking forward to the weekend.  The weather was probably cool and rainy.  The Great Earthquake hit just four days earlier, on 2/28/01, and 9/11/01 was still months away.  The Seattle area was still struggling with the aftermath of the devastating 6.8 earthquake. 

 

06:05:04 03/02/01.

 

How did I miss this significant milestone?  I tremble at the thought.

 

Dear Reader, where were you and what were you doing at 06:05:04 on 03/02/01?

Warped time


It occurred to me that the time difference between Korea and the U.S. seems to be working in my favor.  I usually post a blog entry daily around 8 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time, giving American readers something new to read virtually every day.  Most visitors read World Adventurers at some time other than when I post a blog entry.  When I post an entry at 10 p.m. in Korea, it appears at 8 a.m. on the East Coast and at 5 a.m. on the West Coast.  Readers usually visit this site hours later, long after I’ve retired for the night.  Blogging from Paraguay will be different.  Paraguay is just one hour ahead of the U.S. East Coast and shares its time zone with Eastern Canada.  While not so advantageous to blogging, this means I will have a longer window of time to make business and personal phone calls to the United States.  In Korea, calling back to home to America is a tricky proposition.  I have a time window of about six hours when I can call at a reasonable time, usually between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.  2 p.m. in Korea is midnight on the U.S. East Coast, and people get cranky when you call them after midnight.
 
I’ve noticed that Asian readers visit this site at all times of the day, although the majority visit in the evening while I’m writing a blog entry.  I usually post a draft blog entry, edit it, do some fact checking, edit it some more, and tinker with the theme.  Sometimes what I actually write turns out to be completely different than what I intended to compose.  The blogging process can be a time consuming venture, resulting in multiple updates at different times as the piece evolves.  Some readers read an unfinished, draft World Adventurers blog entry.  Case in point–tonight’s title evolved from "New Every Morning" to "Time Warp" to "Warped Time" as the entry evolved.  I like pithy and eclectic titles with an ironic and punny twist.
 
I often joke that I live in the future.  I really do while living in Korea.  After all, I live more than 12 hours ahead of most Americans.  When I talk to someone in America, I sometimes joke, "Hey, how’s the past?  The future isn’t so bad!"

Best of MSN Spaces, Part Deux


I’m honored that World Adventurers was featured a second time on "The Best of MSN Spaces."  As Jim Carrey said while portraying Stanley Ipkiss, a man bestowed with powers by the Norse God Loki in the movie, "The Mask"–You love me!  You really love me!  Someone on the MSN Spaces staff must like what I write.  Thanks, I’ll take the entire MSN Spaces editorial staff out for lunch at Pho Hoa near the Microsoft campus when I return to Seattle next May…contact me!  Seriously though, I was surprised to wake up (in Korea) and find that this blog had over 25,000 hits in the last day or so.  Dear Reader, thank you for stopping by to peruse World Adventurers and posting your comments.  Stop by anytime.  I’ll try to respond to as many comments as I can.
 
World Adventurers was initially featured on "The Best of MSN Spaces" in September 2005.  From time to time, MSN highlights the same blogs twice when they fit more than one category.  This blog was previously featured when MSN Spaces highlighted "Travel."  Now it gets the nod for "Adventure."  If you have a blog on MSN Spaces that hasn’t yet been featured, you might be wondering…hey, how come this guy’s blog gets featured twice when my blog has never been featured?  Well, I don’t really know why the editors at MSN Spaces decided to feature this blog twice.  However, I can give you some suggestions that could help your blog earn some laurels from MSN Spaces:
  1. Choose a theme for your blog, and write about related topics.  Pick a theme you think your blog audience will find interesting.  Some themes are more interesting than others.  Religion and politics always seem to attract attention, for better or for while, while niche topics do not.  Travel and adventure are popular themes.  Sports, fashion, and day-to-day insights are good.  Zany, quirky blogs do well, as do blogs with goals and objectives (e.g. if your quest is to climb Mount Everest and you’re documenting your training program, readers will be interested).
  2. Write frequently, and write well.  Frequent postings is definitely a plus.  Write in complete, grammatically-correct sentences.  Through in a few witty remarks and some seldom-used words.  Don’t be too long-winded (I’m guilty of this) or too terse brief in your postings.  If your focus is on photography or art, post intriguing, high-quality photos or sketches like my fellow blogger mars_wolf.  If you’re an artist, post samples of your work.
  3. Add original content, but document references.  It is better to document your own ideas than to recite from other sources.  Citing other sources is fine, but be sure to give credit when you refer to other people’s work.  If possible, avoid posting copyrighted material without permission.  Minimize the amount of recitation in a blog entry unless it fits into the theme of your blog post.  For example, on Martin Luther King’s Day in 2005, I cited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s entire "I Have a Dream" speech because few have read the speech in its entirety.  (My condolences to the King family, who lost Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., this week.  It has been a very tough year for the King family.)
  4. Avoid focusing too much on your personal life unless it is absolutely riveting.  Expand your blog entries beyond discussions of your personal life, whether it be personal photos, discussions of friends, or family matters.  If you write about personal matters, tie it into your blog’s theme (e.g. your quest to win a marathon or taking care of children or getting a good job).  You can also highlight people’s personalities.  I have occasionally bantered on this blog with readers I know.  Maybe you have a crazy uncle or a quirky friend.  People love soap operas, so decide up front whether you want to play out your life on a blog.  You’ll get a lot of hits, but you may regret playing your life’s drama out on the blogosphere.
  5. Enhance your blog with photos, lists, music, and a variety of topics.  Blogs serve an entertainment purpose, so it’s good to be entertaining using a variety of methods!  If you post a blog entry, try adding photos.  Photos truly are worth more than 1,000 words.
  6. Start an e-mail writing campaign.  If you think you have a good blog, don’t be shy!  Let MSN Spaces know.  Also, you can encourage your avid readers to submit your blog to MSN Spaces for consideration.
  7. Harness the power of the blogosphere.  The Internet is about interconnectivity.  Feature links to your favorite bloggers, and ask them to link to your blog.  This will create cross-traffic.  After I met Korea’s top blogger, R.J. Koehler, aka "The Marmot’s Hole," we featured each other’s blogs and generated significant cross-traffic between them.  We also listed each other’s blogs in our favorite bloggers’ list.