My Love Hate Relationship with LinkedIn

I was an early adopter of LinkedIn and about 10 years ago I had a lot of success in networking, building leads, and developing a presence on LinkedIn. In an effort recently to network more and stay more "alive" on the web, I dusted off my LinkedIn profile and was, frankly, horrified at what I saw. Once I was more established in my professional path, I dropped down to only using LinkedIn to accept connections. About a week ago I decided to start using the platform again to see if I can drum up some new connections, tap into old ones, and live their mission of "connecting all the professionals around the world to make them more productive and successful." I could not disagree more. I think that LinkedIns motto should now be "we are basically Facebook, except you get to see people you are supposed to be connected with professionally acting a fool politically. Oh, and enjoy your inbox full...
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The Best Books I Read in 2020

Every year I have gotten into the habit of narrowing down the best books I read to just a handful of the best. These books inspire me to chose the sets of books I'll read the following year, and commemorate awesome years of reading. While I didn't necessarily utilize the stay-at-home orders of 2020 to read more, I was able to average about a book a week (which is usually around my yearly goal). Every year, I try to narrow down all the books I have recommended and read for this email list down to just a handful of the best. The kind of books where if they were the only books I’d read that year, I’d still feel like it was an awesome year of reading. I know that people are busy, and we don’t always have time to read as much as we like. Nothing wrong with that (though if you want to read more—don’t look for shortcuts—make more time!). What matters...
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Digital Minimalism in a Noisy World

I recently finished reading Cal Newport's latest book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. Cal Newport describes Digital Minimalism as: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else. Explained in more detail, Newport writes: This process requires you to step away from optional online activities for thirty days. During this period, you’ll wean yourself from the cycles of addiction that many digital tools can instill, and begin to rediscover the analog activities that provide you deeper satisfaction. You’ll take walks, talk to friends in person, engage your community, read books, and stare at the clouds. Most importantly, the declutter gives you the space to refine your understanding of the things you value most. At the end of the thirty days, you will then add back a small number of carefully chosen online activities that...
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Jay Nine Inc, 10 Years Later

Jay Nine Inc, 10 Years Later

I started this company 10 years ago. It was 2009, and (at the time) I was working at a call center for a large propane company. I was in the midst of wanting to become a famous rock star. I started Jay Nine, Inc (then it was Jay Nine’s Social Media Marketing) to focus on building websites and helping businesses with social media and SEO. 2009 was a hard time for a lot of people. The Great Recession was in full effect. Businesses were shutting down. We started to see local coffee shops replaced by Starbucks. Local banks by chain businesses. We saw Blockbuster start to falter and then go completely under. Many mom-and-pops and people's dreams came to a halt as the economy suffered. I was driving one night in May and drove past a strip mall in Rocklin, California. I had worked at a mailing center in this strip mall when I was in high school and was shocked to...
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FAQs, The BoomBox and More with Jerry

FAQs, The BoomBox and More with Jerry

I'm kicking off a series where I answer some common questions asked by clients and readers and show you what I've been listening to this week. What's in the Boombox Year of the Tiger by Myles Kennedy. This album came out last month and is Myles Kennedy's debut studio album. Kennedy comes from heavier rock projects (Alter Bridge, Slash's band). His new album Year of the Tiger is a more singer/songwriter album, and it just cooks. A lot of Zeppelin-style guitar and composition, especially Zep songs like "Battle of Evermore" or "Going to California." The Kennedy album makes use of little rhythm sections and fantastic songwriting. The lyrics are great, and that guy sure can sing. "Love Can Only Heal" is my favorite song on the album, and there are some nice acoustic guitar parts throughout the whole album. Highly recommend checking it out, especially if you like listening to more 60s influenced singer-songwriter style music. The album does have his "hard rock" kick to it, but it's subtle and...
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The Five Best Books I Read in 2017

The Five Best Books I Read in 2017

The Five Best Books I Read in 2017 Creating these lists every year is a good reflection on the books I read, what I’d learned, and some fulfilling moments throughout the year. Here are the five best books I read in 2017: So Good They Can’t Ignore You, By Cal Newport After enjoying Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” on a plane ride to Ireland in 2016, I immediately picked up “So Good They Can’t Ignore You" at the beginning of 2017. “Follow your passion is dangerous advice.” The first third of the book argues (quite well) how often people are lead astray and feel lost because they can’t find their “passion.”  From Steve Jobs to Steve Martin, Newport utilizes famous figures to demonstrate the true art of mastery, and how most people develop their passions later on into a career, rather than “following their passion.” I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Steve Jobs. I think in the “Apple” genius, not enough attention goes to...
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The Jay Nine Inc Development Pipeline Explained

The Jay Nine Inc Development Pipeline Explained

Jay Nine, Incorporated utilizes a development process heavily based on DevOps and “Continuous Integration” principles. We’ve found that an easy way to boost the productivity and quality of our business app development is by utilizing continuous integration. Continuous integration provides safeguards for teams—even across different time zones—to create large and complex systems with a drastically higher level of confidence and control. The apps those teams build and deploy are more efficient, providing rapid feedback on any problems we may introduce with the changes we commit. Amazon.com says “The key goals of continuous integration are to find and address bugs quicker, improve software quality, and reduce the time it takes to validate and release new software updates.” In essence, we want a fast flow of left-to-right from development to IT operations to the end user (customer). To maximize this flow, we need to bring small pieces of a project to production faster, using more efficient intervals of work. For the sake of explanation, I’m referring...
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What is DevOps? How Does DevOps Improve Software Development and IT Projects?

What is DevOps? How Does DevOps Improve Software Development and IT Projects?

DevOps (a play on "Development" and "Operations) is an enterprise software development concept meant to join Development and IT operations with improved communication and collaboration between these two business units. To the outside looking in, "IT" generally encompasses all areas related to technology, be it programmers, the guy who fixes your printer, or the guy who maintains your current systems. To the non-technical types, there is a myth that "being good with computers" means you can do any field of computing expertise. In the medical field, if you have a vitreoretinal illness that requires a specialized surgery, you're going to contact an ophthalmologist--not an orthopedic doctor. While the latter will likely do better than say, myself, you want someone who has studied that particular field of medicine and does it all day. DevOps is a system that helps merge these different IT fields together, specifically focused on making sure the people who will maintain and use the application are involved in the process from start to...
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Applying the Socratic Method to “Problem Solving” in Project Management

Applying the Socratic Method to “Problem Solving” in Project Management

When utilizing the Socratic method, an instructor asks her pupils a series of questions designed to stimulate more complete thinking and insight. Applying the Socratic method forces you to look more closely at your ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Did you know, more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race?  While the ramifications of having access to this much knowledge are still to be determined, one thing is clear: we have (at our fingertips) access to an unprecedented amount of data. The key point of the Socratic method (that we apply to our project management systems) is using cooperative argumentative dialogue to stimulate true critical thinking. Put another way, we don't let opinions and non-facts stand in the way of making the best decision. In web and software development, a lot of tasks that seem like much simpler tasks are often found out to be more difficult. Take this example of updating the...
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The Pros and Cons of Scrum

The Pros and Cons of Scrum

SCRUM is an Agile framework used for working on complicated projects, generally with a close-knit team. Simply, Scrum is a project management system. A High-Level Overview of the SCRUM system: Scrum consists of three distinct roles: product owner, scrum master, and team member Scrum works by setting sequential goals that must be completed in a fixed length of time (called a "Sprint") First, the product owner creates a "backlog," which is a fancy term for a wishlist of tasks that need to be prioritized on a project. This is the set of deliverables needed for the product. Second, the Scrum team conducts a sprint planning session where parts of this wishlist are broken into smaller chunks. Next, the team creates a sprint backlog, plans for the implementation, and settles on a time duration (usually 1 or 2 weeks) for every sprint The team gets together every day for a scrum meeting where they share daily updates and access the progress of...
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