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A new era: moving into learning as products and services

Well I finally did it. Yes, I left my job at PwC, one the top training organizations in the business, a massive organization (40K in the USA) and quite a large L&D function (350 with 40 IDs) with a budget larger than most mid-size organizations. And for what? For Duarte.

Duarte’s tagline:

We help top organizations move people with their ideas through empathy and compelling stories — from keynotes on the big stage to everyday presentations and communications. We also teach our methodology through our best-selling books, workshops, and e-courses.

See that last line “we also teach our methodology through…e-courses”? Yup, well that will soon be my role. For quite some time (2 years more or less) I’ve been trying to move PwC to learning products. It was hard, hard, hard. PwC is a compliance-heavy organization, that does not move quickly, is risk-averse, is only just starting to re-tool its L&D function. And still, for me that’s not enough because I’ve already moved onto thinking about learning as products and as a service. We used to call it “an experience” (who remembers The Experience Economy: Work is Theater and Every Business a Stage?)

Did you also see that part “we help…move people through empathy and compelling stories…”? That is what I’ve been looking for. A place that focuses on changing people through story. Isn’t that at it’s core what learning is/should be about?

I also want to get back to innovating in a smaller space again. I want to be in Silicon Valley. So here we go. Let’s see what the future holds.

April 3, 2017 – Day 1 at Duarte.

Wish me well.

Posted in learning profession.


Comfort zones

I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort zones this week — the zone of comfort, zone of learning and zone of panic.Comfort zone, learning zone, panic zone

The IoT (Internet of Things) class definitely has me in the learning zone. I realize I know more than I thought I knew and it just isn’t as bad as I thought. In fact it’s actually fun cause I work with a laid-back yet engaged team!

And yet when I started the class, I felt inauthentic and incompetent. What right did I have to be there? What did I know about IoT? What the heck was I even doing there as a learning designer.

What’s the antidote to these feelings that make it so hard to even bother try a class, a networking event, or apply for a new job? According to Andy Molinsky in his book Reach, one of the ways is to have a sense of conviction — a sense of purpose —  a belief that I can make a difference in the world.

That’s it, right? That’s what makes Silicon Valley thrive…the belief that I can make a difference, I can change the world. Or simply — I believe.

Posted in Self-management.


IoT: business and technology

As much as I love this IoT class (Stanford Continuing Ed) as it gets me out of my comfort zone, the last couple weeks have been a real slog. Yes, thinking through the business plan and all the different ways that we’ll could be making money (or rather how hard it would be.) That’s when you realize that your team is not aligned on what the product is — when you realize well, there’s a good chance given that this is a start-up you won’t make money. That when you realize it would have been very helpful to do user research and get a real persona instead of a made-up one.

And then there is the technology. So many details to think about at each layer. That level of detail was perhaps the hardest to get through. The communication protocols, the hardware development or even whether we even wanted to do hardware development. The cloud! Oh the cloud. Is it possible we really won’t own the data? Is it possible that big cloud providers would sniff our data and use it in nefarious ways? (Is it possible that FB would use your own photos in advertisements for you? How pissed off was I when they tried that. Yes, they will do what it takes to make a buck.)

So much to think about. The complexity of IoT continues. Next week is security. Remember that famous DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on Oct 21, 2106 that took down most of the internet in the US for a day? Most of that was from unsecured IoT devices. Actually looking forward to the security of IoT conversation – I’m thinking it will be more engaging that the tech talk!

Posted in IoT.