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Monday, September 29, 2008

Why don't we?

Who is the smartest person you know? Who is the smartest person you know that does what you do for a living? How much time do you spend with them? How much time could you spend with them? Why don't you spend more time with them?

From our very earliest learnings we pick up things from the people around us. From our parents, our siblings and our peers and yet when we come along to our work environment we forget that and look for knowledge in other sources.

How does it stack up if you compare the number of days you have spent on training courses, e-learning or reading journals in the last year with the number of days you have spent being mentored or mentoring others?

Personally, I feel that sharing information is essential and I encourage it everywhere I can. The most powerful expression of this sharing (for me) is mentoring and my experiences to date have included some amazing mentors who have accelerated and opened my thinking, my networks and my career.

If you don't have a mentor at the moment, I encourage you to look for one. Take a stroll around your organisation and seek out the smartest person you can find in what you do or what you want to do and then ask them to be your mentor. You'll be amazed how keen some people are to take on that role and also the results that a great mentor can help you to achieve.

Friday, September 26, 2008

PEST - September 2008

Fantastic Stuff! PEST this month was another great event.

Huge kudos go to Dan, Jess and Rachida for putting together such a fun event.

The team tested the PEST portal, the new internal job board and the new facebook application.

We also got a chance to use the new wiki - and the testing nuggets that have been posted on there by the experienced testers in the company.

The thing I enjoy most about these events is the good spirit in which they are conducted. We all came over to the PEST venue yesterday after our working days. The event started at 7pm and we didn't leave before 10 - and we had a blast along the way :) If this wasn't so much fun, we really wouldn't do it!

We're looking for some new ideas for products to test next time. Qwerky stuff. Out of the norm stuff. Hardware. Coffee Machines. Anything goes. If you've got some ideas then let me know.

In the interim: Long live PEST! I think its brilliant :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

The things we learn when we look around a little

I've added a new thing to my Firefox browser - to see how it works. Its called stumble upon! Take a look at it here:

The point of it is that it profiles your preferences and then looks for random stuff for you that might be of interest. A way to break the chain of going to the same old pages each day - without much thinking involved.

I wanted to see how it profiled things, and to date its doing OK, but it hasn't had much chance to learn my profile yet so I am holding my judgement back for a week or so.

Anyway, the point of this blog article is to say that when you look around a little sometimes you learn something new and today I was pleased to be directed towards the following essay......

"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people -- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...

"I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves -- this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts -- possessions, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible.

"My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude..."

A prize for the first person to contact me via this blog or email with the name of the author :)

What this stumbling experience reminded me of this morning was that there are some great minds out there. Some from the present, some from the past and some developing for the future. It's impossible to keep up with all of them, its almost impossible to keep up with some of them, but its absolutely essential to keep trying! Knowledge is life.

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