Creative Commons

Worried that your good work could be plagiarised or that someone’s going to steal your thunder on the Internet and not reference your writing appropriately? There’s a solution to every problem and this one comes in the form of Creative Commons. An offshoot of a US non profit organisation, Creative Commons was founded in 2003 with the help of the University of Ottawa Law and Technology Program and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.

The service allows you to license your work easily and at no cost. With various different license offerings based on how much freedom you want to give people to use your writing and in which forums, Creative Commons steps you through an easy process to find the right license and then you simply download some HTML to your web-site and your covered like so:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License

People using the works are then morally and legally obliged to use them accordingly (or not at all if you so choose). Whether or not people act appropriately remains to be seen and there’s also the issue of the global reach of the Internet with different laws governing different jurisdictions but if this plagiarism is a concern for you then Creative Commons is definitely a step in the right direction to protecting your work.

Enterprise Wikis

Imagine a large dispersed staff collaborating on projects just as effectively as they would do if they were all in the same location or a small organisation avoiding costly overheads for bricks and mortar premises. This is not a pipe dream but reality for many organisations taking advantage of wiki technologies. Wikis are on-line tools that allow users to collaborate in real time over the Internet.

The best known example of a wiki is perhaps Wikipedia the on-line encyclopedia where anyone can login and contribute. Take that functionality and apply it to organisations and the ability to interact easily to get the job done is reality. Right now the most common applications of wikis are text based knowledge management, light project management and documentation related but wiki functionality is quickly being enhanced by the incorporation of voice, video and IM capabilities. Users are able to work on documents whilst simultaneously discussing and even viewing each other’s actions.

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Serve your clients, no matter what they need

Over the last two days I attended a self-employment workshop at the Sunshine Coast Employment Center, offered by Cassandra Gierden of Prophet Coaching. A valuable idea she offered was to create your own personal “yellow pages” – get out and meet somebody from every possible profession you can think of.

The idea is to be of service to your clients no matter what they need. If they can’t make an appointment with you, don’t just ask to reschedule. Ask them if they need a mechanic and refer them to a great one.

You can make the creation of your yellow pages like a scavenger hunt for yourself: find X contacts by X time.

The concept of serving your clients, no matter the need, is similar to what this blog and indeed many successful sites are all about. Share a little information or service for free, and you become a valuable resource that stays top-of-mind. In the end isn’t that what marketing is all about?

Forget Innovation! Solve Problems Instead.

The myths of innovation by Scott BerkunI had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Scott Berkun at a VanUE event this week. In his often hilarious, entertaining presentation, Scott discussed some of the topics covered in his new book “The Myths of Innovation”. His discussion focused mostly on the perceptions of innovation (eureka moment) versus the historical reality (lots of sweat, hard work, and collaboration).

During the Q&A period, people were obviously engrossed in his ideas and wanted to know more about how to be innovative and how to reach the Eureka moment. Scott provided us with the best advice I’ve heard for a long time.

Forget about innovation. Don’t use the word innovation.
Heck don’t use the word design. Solve problems.
You have a problem? Fix it.
Your client has a problem? Fix it.

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Incentives are a great way to keep your site up to date

Back in my days as a student, I swam competitively with the University of Ottawa. I can’t say that I was very good, but it did keep me fit and I owe it to the sport for making me who I am today. I don’t swim much anymore. Swimming is actually really boring. Going up and down the pool with your head in the water is really not that exciting. In fact, the only place I like to swim these days is at Kitsilano pool.

Kitsilano is home to the largest pool in Canada. It is 138 metres long, outside in a breathtaking location and filled with salt water. Swimming is still boring at Kits but just not as much. So every year, to motivate myself, I sign up for FastLane. FastLane is a training program that runs twice a week from mid-June, first thing in the morning. So, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 5.45am, you’ll find me working out in the pool with lot of other like-minded people.

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