Tanabata, Plus Groundhog Day Resolutions Review Day 5

Tanabata Streamers Today is Tanabata, a Japanese Star Festival that falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunarsolar month. That’s actually 2007-08-19 this year according to wikipedia, but 7/7 also corresponds to the fifth Groundhog Day Resolutions Review Day, on which I review my Groundhog Day’s Resolutions and figure out how things have been going. It’s particularly nice to celebrate Tanabata because the festival has a tradition in which you write down wishes related to bettering yourself. Afterwards you hang them in a bamboo tree, where presumably some universal force will notice and help bring them to fruition. This is very compatible with GHD Resolutions…we can all use a boost.

Tanabat Last year I made some printable streamers, which I again printed out and wrote wishes upon. I didn’t choose specific wishes, but wrote down forces that I would like to have more of right now; I’m trusting the “universal wish-granting force” to handle the implementation details for me—how’s that for effective executive delegation? The wishes themselves were just single words describing what I’m in the mood for:

  • Camaraderie
  • Silliness
  • Receptiveness
  • Delight
  • Resolution

Then I hung them on the tree. I’ll burn the wishes at midnight on my grill, as I understand the tradition to be.

PICKING OFF FROM LAST MONTH

The basic premise behind Groundhog Day’s Resolutions is this: Make resolutions on February 2nd instead of January 1st when we’re caught up. Check your progress every “month plus one day” (3/3, 4/4, 5/5, and so forth).

My three main 2007 resolutions:

  1. Make Money from Writing and Making Stuff
  2. Build a Sustainable Social Network
  3. Sell a Product This Year

Last month I had stumbled slightly and not gotten my action items done. This month, the same thing happened: I completely blew off my action items, which were as follows:

  • June 13: Get the ETP Printed, Dang It!
  • June 20: Put the HUB statement on the website.
  • June 27: Create some original content, like a booklet or number of thoughts, and sticking it up on Lulu.com or Blurb.

I had forgotten to schedule these on my Google Calendar. It was a pretty busy month from both a business and personal perspective, and I dropped the ball. Although a lot did get done, the whole point of having a resolution is to really make a change, deliberately.

Here’s the current status:

1. Getting the ETP Printed!

This is the new pre-printed emergent task planner sheet I had designed, for selling as an actual product. Convenient, beautiful, affordable…that’s the idea! And, this is a way to dip my toe into productive development without risking too much.

I did draw up an initial plan on how to get this launched, and talked to my friend Scott to get it priced out at various area printers. It’s been taking longer than expected with my busy schedule. My next action item, once we have the pricing figured out, is to put up some kind of order page for “pre orders”, so we can arrange to have exactly that number printed. After that, it’s figuring out payment, packaging, and shipping. Because we’re looking at using an offset press instead of print-on-demand, after the initial run our incremental cost will much lower.

2. Put the HUB statement on the Website! A HUB statement is a form of elevator pitch that emphasizes your “hottest undeniable benefit” to a very specific target audience. By having a HUB statement, you can really effectively communicate what you do to people who actually would be interested in working with you. By putting this statement on my website, it would likely improve the chances of people figuring out they want to work with me.

I have been slowly getting clear about what it is that I do well and is worth paying for:

  • critical analysis, architecture, and planning
  • information graphic design
  • experience design

and how I do it:

  • investigative design
  • scientific creative methodologies
  • using media to create stories that unfold in real life

All this information, in addition to how people can initiate the process of working with me, has to go on the website. It’s been driving me nuts for the past few weeks, because I feel the website structure and navigation is somehow holding me back.

There has been some movement though: I’ve decided that I’m going to use Expression Engine for the base of my next website path, because it has the features I need in one fairly inexpensive integrated package. I have slowly been figuring out how to transition the features of my existing WordPress installation into an Expression Engine equivalent.

3. Create Original Content and Stick it on Lulu.com!

I originally thought of rewriting some of the Printable CEO materials into book form, but this didn’t happen. If I’d scheduled it into my google calendar maybe I would have remembered. There were a couple of book-related activities, however:

  • Last month I had worked on my first print piece, a perfect-bound printed book of glossy photos. I got to use InDesign for this project, and found that it was actually a rather pleasant environment to work in.

  • I was talking to a friend of mine about writing children’s books, so I decided to use what I’d learned while using InDesign for the print piece to try laying out A Bee Story, the writing experiment I did last August.

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p>It took a while to figure the best way to import the text—I copied the HTML from the browser and pasted it into InDesign. You can take a peek at the Bee Story PDF, formatted for a 6×9 Lulu run. I’m not planning on printing it; for one thing, it hasn’t been proofread or reworked in any way. Each story segment was written in one sitting, four periods for 4 days, without any planning. It’s at best structured stream-of-consciousness writing. However, I picked up some knowledge of how I would lay out an actual book: this likely will be some kind of PCEO-related booklet. In the meantime, it’s just convenient to see the entire bee story in one document.

ACTION ITEMS

Since the website is so much on my mind, I’m scheduling a two-hour block of time tomorrow to try to resolve the remaining issues. These are largely related to just learning EE’s template langauge, though I also need to redesign the large photo header at the top of the page to visually define each distinct content area. July 8.

Getting the ETP printed is a big deal, so I’m hoping to have a good idea of the pricing required on a good piece of paper. After that, it’s time to figure out how to create some kind of pre-ordering system, and it’s time to formally think about customer service. July 12.

Finally, creating some of the new original content for printing: I have a lot of content that can be repurposed and clarified; it’s just outgrown the simple blog-journal / category model of information hierarchy; I need to start making this site look like a real website while retaining the community model of the blogosphere. I think that will be a huge relief. Until then, I can at least start creating review PDFs that describe every system on the website, and move them to the Wiki. I’ve scheduled some time to do this. July 19.