Tag Archives: heart

A little bird told me: Leading from the heart

A little bird told me to vote for Bernie Sanders.

I won’t tell you whether I plan to take the bird’s advice, or whether you should. Today I don’t want to talk about politics. I do want you to watch the video of what happened last Friday when the bird interrupted one of Sanders’ rallies in Portland, Oregon.

First, notice the enthusiasm and the energy of Sanders’ young supporters.

Seeing those young people exulting in the moment, I feel like I’m 18 again. I feel like I can see symbolism in a little bird, and that I can have a part in changing the world.

Second, notice what Sanders does. He feeds the energy, and he feeds off of the energy. He ad libs a few lines. You can sense everyone at the rally jumping onto the Sanders bandwagon. Within a few minutes #BirdieSanders is a thing on Twitter.

After the video ends, after I return to my real age (which is considerably more than 18), here’s what I’ve learned.

Bernie Sanders, who wants to be the leader of this country, showed me that a wise leader tunes in to his followers’ emotions and channels those emotions for his, and for everyone’s, benefit. Continue reading

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The heart and mind of technical communication

I’ve seen the future. I turned my calendar to today’s date, and there it was.

And when I saw the future, do you know what I realized?

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of Technical Communication had better learn structured authoring.

I invite you to look into the future too. Just observe what’s going on today. Here’s what you’ll see:

  • Content comes from all over the organization — and sometimes from customers and others as well. Gone are the days when all of the technical content came from the Tech Pubs department. With all of that collaboration going on, we need to have formats in which everyone can contribute content so that it’s easy to mash up together.
  • People read content on all kinds of devices: tablets, smartphones, desktop PCs. If the content can’t at least be adapted to the screens where it’s displayed, it’s of no use. The industry leaders are going beyond adaptive content: they provide content that’s responsive (it changes format to fit the screen) and smart. Smart content changes based on the readers’ attributes: the product features they’ve purchased, their geographical location, and their preferences.
  • Our employers demand content that affects the bottom line. One way to provide bottom-line value is through efficiency: content is developed once and then reused in many different contexts without the need for reformatting.

StructureNone of these scenarios would be possible without structured authoring. Structured authoring allows each piece of content to be tagged for a particular display format or for a particular user attribute, and it allows content to be reused.

Continue reading