Ask Yourself Why Three Times

I'm reading Made to Stick.

Page 201 suggests you can get pass the "Curse of Knowledge," which is the blindness we experience to our own expertise, by asking yourself "why" three times.

For example you might say:

Separating content from design is a best practice.


Because your content and design may evolve independently or you may want to display the same content differently in different places.


Because you want to design the best experience for your customer's context.


Because visitors have high expectations of the Web and features or design trends are constantly evolving. It's not fair nor practical for your authors to also be responsible for every design, feature, or even piece of code (markup) on your site.

You could keep going. Here's another one.

I want you to share with the technical community.


Because it will improve your company's image, showcase your expertise, and help customers. For example it's helped my career.


Because in past roles promoting my favorite software and delivering documentation "by the pound" (lots of pages) interfered with my main responsibilities.


Because I was fascinated by benefits and possibilities that my company didn't take advantage of since there wasn't much public, practical information about the software online.

This translates to something like:
You can share what you know to help software users like me. I saw the power of what your software does, but lacked the power myself to hire you or convince others of what was possible. By sharing what you know and helping others like me, you can shape your career from the outside-in while demonstrating those in your company, software, or industry care enough to help customers.
Replace "software" above with Tridion and you can see just one story of other customers. Five years since joining the SDL Tridion technical community and two after joining SDL, a customer told me our community is one of the reasons we were purchased.

Software scales. You don't scale, but your message can. Get to your core message by asking yourself "why" three times or more.

Keeping Up with the SDL Tridion Community

Question from my colleague, Freddy: “How do you keep up with all this [Tridion] content, Alvin?”
I was just pointing out an SDL Tridion 2013 Preview post by SDL Tridion Community MVP Rob Stevenson-Legget, which happened to have a Bing Background ECL provider Freddy had written.
“It’s like sports with teams and players I follow,” I suggested. I’ve also used “Tridion’s a hobby of mine,” but that only answers my motivation rather than how or why you should keep up with your industry.

How to Keep up

  • Listen. Make a Twitter account. In 60 seconds, you’ll now be able to search and follow #SDLTridion (or #Tridion) or any other topic. Follow tags on Tridion Stack Exchange.
  • Watch the watchers. Follow the corporate blog or look for internal announcements if you work for SDL.
  • Engage. Leave a comment on someone’s post. Check the send me email option on some posts.

Update:  Forgot to mention SDLTridionWorld has a dynamic blog roll on the homepage and a (now outdated) list of Tridion-related blogs.

Parking Lots, Bins, Tables, and WVTTK?

In a Previous Post, I struggled with my temptation to answer Tridion questions in the middle of business analyst and foundation training.
But this week's training session went smoother as I followed a mentor's recommendation to use a "parking lot" list. This phrase is a metaphor where questions are vehicles. When the answer would take too long, put the answer in a spot to get it later--a "parking lot," if you will. Read this nice discussion on other phrases you could use instead including WVTTK.
Do you know the pressing concerns of new SDL Tridion retail customers? Here's a sampling of questions and answers from the community.

How can we integrate our Product Information Management (PIM) System with SDL Tridion?

First read the PIM-and-Tridion architectural overview from Julian Wraith. If you understand the differences between Content Manager (CM), publish, and CD integration, then you know how to solve any Tridion integration.

Carbon 2.0, Standards, and SDL Tridion Education Updates

In a few weeks, the Carbon 2.0 theme now available in SDL Tridion 2013 SP1 will start catching up to SDL Tridion Education materials along with somewhat new "About SDL" slides that describes Customer Experience Management (CXM).

MVP Chat Part 2

Two years ago the MVP group chat was young and innocent. But at some point someone introduced "Sweary Tuesdays." Oh damn. We've also turned the geekery up a bit (hover over text for cypher translations or look them up yourself).

@wntr: It's F-in Sweary Tuesday!
 +Alvin Reyes: Oh hell no!
@nick: John, did you just try to answer that question on Trex? I'm way ahead of you, man.
+Nuno Linharesfuvg, ebg13 ehyrf!
+Dominic Cronin聮聯耬 聦聵聣聫聥聲聳耬 聲聯聴耸耰耰耰 聲聵聬聥聳耡

Congrats to the 2014 SDL Tridion Community MVPs!

Around this time of year I do two things:
  • Congratulate the new SDL Tridion MVPs (2014)!
  • Share some Tridion community insight, this year in a mix of practical, inspirational, and old advice to the MVP 2014 crew. 
Today MVP Chair Nuno Linhares announced the new 2014 SDL Tridion MVPs. It was an impressive year as seen in some 1300+ questions and 2500+ answers on Tridion Stack Exchange, numerous blog posts, and so many examples that customers now ask me where to start rather than where to find informationCongrats and well done!

Congrats and thanks... for making SDL Tridion MVP 2015 that much harder!