May 5, 2004

Tinderbox and 90% of Success

Woody Allen quipped that 90% of success is just showing up.

At Alwin Hawkins's last performance review, he proposed to give a series of lectures. "I'm going to hold you to that," says his supervisor. But Alwin is undaunted, because this is an easy goal:

People at work still don't 'get' the weblog thing, but it's my secret weapon. I snag all kinds of interesting references into different Tinderbox files every day, along with the weblog commentary. Scanning for patterns, I think I'll be able to come up with some interesting mashups that will make for an interesting presentation or six.

At first, I thought this anecdote was just another example of Alwin's way with words, but it's more than that: simply having Tinderbox handy as a place to store ideas, and as a place to find and organize them later, is terrifically valuable.

That's especially true when you have important commitments piled on plain old commitments piled on obligations, requirements, expectations, and necessities. A lecture series that's written into your performance review is a commitment, but Alwin has one of those life-and-death jobs, and that's another order of commitment. Getting something in your weblog every day a different kind of commitment.

The challenge isn't the schedule. The challenge is knowing about all your promises, and remembering the things you need to do to prepare to meet those promises. An elaborate calendar isn't the answer. Writing stuff down, in a place where you can find it, organize it, and share it -- that's a big part of remembering to show up.