Attributes of Successful People

Posted by one of my friends on LinkedIn .. Attributes of Successful People

Successful people:

  • Have a sense of gratitude
  • Compliment others
  • Forgive
  • Give others appropriate credit for victories
  • Read everyday
  • Share information and ideas
  • Embrace change
  • Keep a to-do and/or project list
  • Set goals and develop life plans
  • Continuously learn
  • Keep a journal
  • Accept responsibility for their failures
  • Operate from a transformational perspective

How to get a standing ovation

In HP Enterprise Security Products conferences, there are many presentations made by System Engineers, Customers, Product Development types.  Sridhar Karnam gave some excellent advice on how to get a standing ovation for your presentation.  I’ve saved his posting here:

In many surveys conducted people have chosen to jump off the building rather than face the crowd for public speaking. As I am typing these sitting in my cube and not facing people trust me with these tips, you WILL get a standing ovation at HP Protect or HP Discover events whether you are delivering breakout sessions or technical talks such as turbo talks.

My top 10 tips that will help you get the standing ovation:

  1. Number of slides: Divide the number of minutes by 2 and that is the number of slides you need to prepare. For instance, a 45 min breakout session would need a maximum of 22 slides and a 25-minute turbo talk would need a maximum of 12 slides
  2. Structure your story/ not content: Do not worry about adding too much content on the slides. You deliver the content. Use PPT only as a pointer not as a newspaper. This of your presentation as car driving and PPT as a GPS device. Use it to navigate, but you will drive the car to your destination
  3. Images/ graphics: Text is meant to be heard, and visuals are meant to be seen. People usually read faster than you if it is on slides. So, use PPT to put bullets and images, but have texts in the notes section so that you can still refer to notes when you need
  4. Entertain and storytelling: Even if you are presenting the advanced deep dive technical topic, make sure to entertain your audience with examples, use cases, results, and benefits. Always have a story. People can read story later, but they are in your room to listen to your side of the story
  5. Know your audience: Understand your audience. Start with a poll or few questions so that they know you and you know them. Ask them questions (quiz) in your presentation to make sure they are engaged and they interact with you
  6. Start with your Story: Who are you? People want to connect with you as a person before they want to hear your content. Spend a minute or two giving them your story and connect with audience personally. Tell a funny story (not a sad one). Also do not overdo it. Limit your story to 2-3 minutes max.
  7. Show & Tell: It is better to show than tell. Giving demo in the middle of presentation may be a lot of work. However, you can always embed 2-3 min videos in your PPT. At least create a screen shot storyboard if you don’t have video demos. Change of pace from slides to images to videos keep your audience engaged
  8. HP brand: Stick to branding requirement. You are a brand ambassador for HP. What you say or show becomes what HP thinks or shows. Use proper logos, messages, images, color, templates, and be a brand promoter
  9. No Architecture/ marchitecture diagrams: Avoid rectangles, arrow marks and abbreviations of words to showcase marchitecture. There will always be 10-20% of the people who have no idea of what those abbreviations are.
  10. Practice: Practice until you get it right. Record, look in the mirror, screen shot with voice recording, do whatever it takes to provide your best foot forward.

Good luck and go get the standing ovation…

Memories of Daniel Lawrence’s 3301 Westland Drive

Most realestate agents will tell you “buyer beware” .. certainly true purchasing property and used cars. Even the Romans knew this “caveat emptor”. So when we arrived new to town looking for a place to rent, it’s too bad the rental market was quite hot so there was really not much to choose from. After looking at over 50 places with our amazing realtor, we finally decided to sign a lease for 3301A Westland Dr. Now some opinions were it was the best of the worst, but we were actually quite happy to rent it at the time .. seemed like a nice enough place and we were under an immovable deadline.

Probably due to the unfortunate drainage issues at the front door area, but during the first couple of months there were quite a few spiders and other small bugs we found, I just thought that was relatively normal .. until the cockroaches started showing up. The first one was a bit of a surprise since the very attentive landlord indicated he had a pesticide treatment applied in January –  shouldn’t be due for another touch up for another six months … right? Well, at least it was dead when we found it. So when the other cockroaches started showing up alive, we started getting a bit concerned. To the landlord’s credit, he got right on the cockroach problem and was caulking any cracks or holes the buggers could be climbing in through. Easy enough since the landlord lives right next door.  Not the best if you’re a college student, but as mature adults, no problem.  No matter, we actually got quite proficient at dealing with the next four or five we found.

Hopefully the extremely loud furnace has been updated and it’s housing ripped out and upgraded .. even if to get rid of the mold found under the furnace that obviously wasn’t picked up in the home inspection.  When we looked at the unit, of course the furnace/AC wasn’t running so it sounded nice and quiet .. it wasn’t until much later when laying in bed in the master bedroom we realized just how noisy the HVAC was.

On to the next adventure .. with the bottom seal of the master shower completely decaying, with a strong mold odor that lead us to believe there may be water damage behind the wall, good lord, more mold?  Being good tenants, we agreed to remove the caulking for the landlord .. in hindsight we should have left that for him, since it appeared the mold was deeper than the surface.  Again yuck.

We certainly found the PitStop behind the house to be very convenient to have our annual vehicle inspections done, and really didn’t think much of a car repair shop located right behind us, since they would be quiet at night when we’re home, right? Oh, yes, that’s assuming they didn’t start work at 5:30-6:00am .. including air power tools. The worst was the schedule on which the industrial trash bins are emptied .. you can set your watch to it on Tuesday and Friday at 2:45am, but I have to admit there were a few nights I was tired enough I slept through the weekly cycle.

With the landlord living right next door, it was very convenient to discuss the state of his property, which we quite enjoyed. There are advantages to having a very involved landlord .. he certainly stayed on top of what he could.

Although there was a beautiful vine growing at the front of the house, they are often quite invasive, this one being no exception .. into the gutter drains, even the eves under the roof. Having the good fortune to have some good landscapers, they started the huge task of cleaning out the vine. So imagine the surprise when the landscapers came aross a garden snake as they are finally digging out the vine. Not a poisonous little guy, so No harm, no foul!

Well, the day eventually came when we had to move out, so caveat emptor part: beware when you move out to take pictures of the walls, hallways, etc. as the land lord did charge us for repairing nail holes in the walls … according to the Texas landlord / tenant act, damages cannot be charged to “normal wear and tear”.  Even though he did not have paint for us to use to patch and paint over larger mounting holes that had been put in the walls for mounting mirrors and such, we selected paint chips to get a good match, got the landlord’s approval with the color, bought the paint and then he charged us for having some areas repainted.  May be an area of mutual disagreement, but just be careful since he sets the bar pretty high.

Moving to a new place closer to downtown was nice, but we sure miss the walking distance to Red’s Porch, Kerbey Lane and Torchies.. nuf said.  We won’t complain, since we’re within walking distance to Maria’s Taco Express and Black Sheep Lodge – and with no landlord .. so it worked out even though we had to buy out our lease.

Reputation and Success Formulas

Your reputation is built from not only what you do but also how you do it and the level of knowledge others have about what you’ve done.

Reputation = Accomplishments x Communication x Attitude

Your probability of success on any endeavor can be calculated by ranking the following elements 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high) ..

Motivation  1-10

Belief  1-10

Effort  1-10

% probability of success = ( (M + B) x E ) / 200

In other words if Motivation = 10, Belief = 10 and Effort = 10, probability of success = 100%

Drive for Meaning

Sometimes staying motivated in any particular role for a long time can be tough. In the information security world, the upsides include proactive customers that take protecting their company values, mission and intellectual property (shareholder value) seriously. The downside includes prospects that are completely clueless about the risks they face. Some very wise investors whos advice I follow say when evaluating a company to invest in, there are four M’s that potential shareholders should pay attention to: Meaning, Management, Moat, and Margin. The company has to do something that resonates with you, they need to have skilled management that has shareholder value in mind (they aren’t traitors that spend shareholder owned money for their own luxury or enrichment), they need to have some inherent competitive differentiator, and finally they need to have a current valuation that gives prospective shareholders a return on their investment.

Equally, to stay motivated in a role, individuals need a sense of accomplishment. Paul G gave a great synopsis of this by condensing it down to four key attributes that any role has to have to provide an individual with the motivation to do great things: Compensation, Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery. It’s been proven that money is not an effective motivator by itself .. an example being the difference between a cash payout versus some meaningful memory.  If an individual receives $5,000 in bonus money, although it’s appreciated and goes to some purpose, three months later, it’s difficult to recall exactly what that money was spent on.  Where that same individual receives an equivilent value item (prehaps a mountain bike or a trip to a vacation spot), three months later, the reward is still very tangible. Purpose, autonomy and mastery are all needed to give an individual the tools and space to make a tangible difference, where it may be difficult, if not impossible, for them to make a lasting difference without all three attributes.

The parallel between these two sets of concepts is clear: a company needs individuals that are motivated to be the best at what they do and compete for the win better than our competitors.  Individuals need a company that will not only provide these motivational tools, but has the capability to do so.  For a company that is not managed well, doesn’t have a competitve offering, or is under capitalized, they won’t be able to attract and retain the best individuals that they need to win and thrive.

With any major change, such as starting another degree, changing jobs or moving cities, things can be overwhelming. It takes every ounce of strength and stick-to-it-tivness to navigate these changes and focus on the end goal.  Finding ways to motivate yourself can be challenging when faced with the overwhelming task of taking on that degree or life change. Just like strength training in any fitness program, one fantastic outcome of these challenging circumstances is the realization that we can do it .. and that new strength is our new norm.

Al’s Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list. Some are written down, some are just in the person’s head. Sometimes it’s just a list of really interesting stuff you’ve done. This is kind of both for me. To get the creative juices flowing, I have both stuff I’ve done and stuff I want to do on here .. in no particular order. Maybe I should put some pictures in here some day too.

Live in a different city
Become a minister to officiate a wedding
Get a Masters degree
Take up mountain biking .. learn to ride technically challenging terrain

Learn how to pick a lock
Hike Mount Kilimanjaro
Learn how to swim laps
Re-learn how to shoot a pistol and how to handle a gun
Dive off Belize, Bonaire, Curaco, Great Barrier Reef, Mediterranean
Learn how to roll sushi
Become proficient in Spanish .. spoken and reading
Run a half marathon
Go bare boat sailing