My latest Friend of Simplicity is Steve Sherlock who I first met about 6 years ago through Blogging. Steve has remained a valued friend who I consider to be a few giant steps ahead of me in modern communication technology, including Blogging. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to comments.
Trevor - Thanks for agreeing to contribute to the series Steve. Where are you from in the US and tell us a bit about your career to date
Steve - Trevor, thank you I am honored to be part of this series. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 United States and one of the original 13. I have also lived in New Jersey and briefly in Illinois before moving to live in Franklin, Massachusetts about 40 miles southwest of Boston. After graduating from college, I began working as a substitute teacher and assistant track coach at the high schools in Pawtucket. I was young, single and I did that for six years enjoying every minute of it.
Along the way, I met Dolores. She was a Catholic school teacher making less than I was. We did the math and decided I would get a “real” job. I joined Burroughs Corp which became UNISYS and then switched to Fidelity just over 12 years ago. I have approached the business world keeping my teacher training in mind. I worked to develop great teams and create an environment were the teams could succeed.
Across multiple roles I managed to bridge the gap between the technologists and the end users delivering challenging projects on time, within budget, with a happy team, and a satisfied customer. Dolores and I have been happily married for over 26 years. Dolores is living her dream teaching kindergarten here in Franklin. Our two daughters have grown into young women, both of them we are quite proud of; Allison has finished college and is working as an admissions counselor at Assumption College in Worcester, Carolyn is continuing her studies in business at Northeastern University in Boston.
Trevor - You were one of the first people I met ‘virtually’ through Blogging – how has Blogging changed over the 5 or 6 years we have known each other and what do you think the future looks like for Bloggers?
Steve - I recall our meeting in amongst the comments on Tom Peters blog. Sometime after that we got together to explore synergy with a few other willing bloggers on the Synergy Blog. I think blogging has evolved and will continue to do so. Today, there are so many other social media or Web 2.0 tools available today; Facebook, Ning, Flicker, and Twitter to name just a few. One does not need a blog to be part of this new world. However, I do think that the blog will remain a place for an individual or a company to share their message and create a conversation.
Trevor - Tell me about the annual Blogging ‘get together’ you are involved in over there in the US
Steve - I assume you mean PodCamp Boston. The first one was held in 2006 after a couple of folks went to a BarCamp at MIT. The barcamp uses an unconference format. This core of folks (Chris Brogan and Christopher S Penn amongst others) wanted to use the same concept and focus it on podcasting, video blogging, and other new social media. I had listened to a few podcasts but did not know much about it. So when I heard that PodCamp being held in Boston, and for free, well, I needed to be there. I registered, found out that they were looking for help and I signed up to work at the Welcome/ registration desk. I found it a great way to network and to learn. I then joined the organizing committee for PodCamp Boston 2 and 3 to continue to run the Welcome/registration desk.
Since then, there have been over 50 PodCamps held around the world, including one in the UK (Birmingham in 2007). Check out podcamp.org for the current schedule. There is usually one happening somewhere around the world each month.
Trevor - Are you influenced much by what you read in management books and if so which authors and books do you rate highly?
Steve - I would say a new book could have some influence. I would try to incorporate some thing that I find worthwhile. My beliefs and business practices have developed over time while reading from a good selection of books. Tom Peters occupies a good deal of space on my bookshelf. Several of Seth Godin's are on the shelf. Mark Hurst has been influential in creating awareness around “good experience”. I think Stephen Covey was probably the most influential. I was fortunate to hear him in person at a conference early in the 1990's. His message about “true north” and “trim tabs” I still find applicable today.
Overall, I think Rosa Say's “Managing with Aloha” is probably the best one I have read. She covers much of the same message as the others but she delivers it as a package with Hawaiian values. A simple approach and very well done. I think your Simplicity readers would appreciate it if they haven't already discovered it.
Trevor - I know you are a marathon runner Steve – tell us about how fitness can help motivate us in your work
Steve - I do consider myself a life long runner. I did try one marathon when I was in my twenty's and was not able to finish it. I hit the “wall” so bad. However, it is not something I regret. It was a great learning experience. I am not likely to do another one anytime soon. I prefer to run shorter races. The recovery time is less so I can run more of them.
I appreciate and will support you and Annie in your efforts. I have seen many folks recently who like you have turned to the marathon as a good fund raising effort. I applaud you and Annie for taking the challenge. As I say when I close some of my running podcasts “May the wind be at your back and the roads be kind to you!” I find being in good health the key to accomplishing so much. Running helps me maintain my good health and provide the stamina to tackle each days' challenges. Running is easily accomplished with minimal expense.
Something that fits right in with Simplicity! Just put your shoes on and go out the door.
Trevor - Any plans to visit the UK?
Steve - I would love to visit the UK. Dolores and I did make it to Ireland many years ago, in the days before blogging. We spent two wonderful weeks doing a tour around the country staying at a bed & breakfast each place we visited. As you know, we share an interest in football (your football, our soccer). Dolores and I are fortunate to see many of the MLS New England Revolution home games. To get to see one of the Premier League games with perhaps your favorite Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Liverpool would be a great thing to do.
Trevor - Is there anything else you want to tell Simplicity readers about your work or your Blog/Website?
Steve - I write in a number of places. Of most interest to the Simplicity readers, I think my main blog, Steve's 2 Cents would be a good place to start. The tag line there is "revealing the good experience from the harmonious digital bits of daily life". I am currently between jobs, polishing up the resume (your CV) and actively working to identify my next opportunity to help deliver value. I have a series of posts where I am recording my “job search notes”. This helps to share what I am going through with others. Collaboration and networking I believe are the two most important skills today.
For the Simplicity runners, they can visit Passionate Runner. This blog focuses on my running and features a podcast with running advice.
For those interested in life long learning, I am part of the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog. Each month we focus our writing on a theme. In March we celebrate our love affair with books. About 35 different books will be reviewed and discussed during the month. I am sure something will appeal to the Simplicity readers.
Links to accompany the interview: Synergy Blog http://synergyweblog.blogspot.com
Rosa Say - Talking Story - http://www.sayleadershipcoaching.com/talkingstory/
Steve's 2 Cents http://steves2cents.blogspot.com/
Passionate Runner http://passionaterunner.blogspot.com/
Trevor - Thanks Steve and good luck