I’ve now been an Assistant Vice President and Deputy CIO for just over a month. In some ways, it feels like no time has passed at all. In other ways, it feels like it’s been forever. Continue reading The first month
I have just a few weeks left at Drew. One of the things I keep realizing about this transition is that it’s something I’ve never done before:
Firmly in uncharted territory now.
— Mike Richichi (@chairthrower) February 22, 2016
But I had forgotten something when I tweeted this: As a child, I moved three times before I graduated high school, and my parents moved an additional time right after my graduation, and another time 2 years later while I was in college. As an adult I have moved to a new domicile 4 or 5 times as well. So I do have some experience with transitions, they’re just more personal than professional.
Every time I’ve moved, there would always come a point in the move–usually when the movers had packed everything up and the house was filled with nothing but the clutter of the move–when I didn’t want to be there anymore. There was something about that trigger that made my mind say “Yes, now, it’s time.”
I’m starting to feel that, but it’s not because I’ve physically packed up my office (I’m going to start that soon) but because I’m “packing up” my job. I’m making sure I’m giving things to other people to take on, deliberately not taking on most new things, watching as the organization makes the first steps into doing things without me. Soon, my job itself will be nothing but a cluttered house, empty except for the pieces that are too unimportant to deal with.
And that is when I will be completely ready to go.
None of this means I won’t miss the place or the people. Of course I will, and it will be very hard. But I’m reminded that there’s something about the nature of transitions that readies you for the next step, just in time for when you need it.
I’ve been in higher education for nearly 25 years now, and I’m finally doing something I’ve never done before.
Teaching a college course.
One thing I forgot to mention about Wednesday is that a few weeks before the conference I got an email from a video producer for EdTech Magazine (published by CDW) asking if I wanted to be interviewed for videos they were making about EDUCAUSE. I figured the only right answer to that question was “sure!” so I said yes. I got a call sheet with several questions on it and a warning that they would not have hair and makeup on site so to arrive camera ready. A few extra brushes of the hair, and a good shave were thus necessities in the morning.
I’ve been home for a while now and it’s a good time to collect my thoughts and musings about the conference. Continue reading EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 1
I wrote an article on my more personal blog (which I’ve used in fits and starts over the years) about how the gadgets my dad brought into the house growing up shaped my sensibilities about technology. I link to it here because it’s a bit of an “origin story” for my professional career, and it’s an interesting journey into some older computing and electronics technology (which especially for people younger than me will seem irresistibly foreign and exotic).
I think we are shaped by the technologies we’re exposed to in ways we don’t fully understand. It’s probably valuable to reflect upon the tools you have used, and how they affect how you attack problems these days. Both to take stock of what your experience brings to you, and what you might perhaps need to discard to move forward.
In my previous post about EDUCAUSE, I mentioned that I needed a new bag instead of my very heavy and unwieldy Samsonite leather laptop attache I’d been using, and that I was down to either a Tom Bihn bag and a Timbuk2 bag.
Well, I ended up getting a Timbuk2 Command Messenger TSA Laptop bag in black. Medium.
It’s really good. I’m still finding pockets in it. I just noticed a few days ago a zipper that led to a pocket near the bottom of the bag–would probably work well for a compact umbrella. It’s got tons of organizer pockets but they somehow don’t get in the way either. The main big compartment seems almost big enough to put a weekend’s worth of clothes in, for the right weekend. The shoulder strap is super comfortable and wearing it messenger style works.
The laptop compartment is basically awesome. It has a large part which can easily fit a 15″ laptop, and fits my 12.1″ ThinkPad Yoga very well. The compartment also has another pocket for a tablet, which I use to put my Nexus 10 (and sometimes Nexus 7) into as well. The whole thing unzips from the main case to lie flat for TSA purposes, which I got to check on our trip back from Oklahoma this Christmas (oddly, on the way down they didn’t have us take anything out of our bags or lie them flat–they didn’t have any bins at the TSA checkpoint and were just running things through intact.) It’s filled with this cool foam that is more like webbing, lined with nylon mesh. It is super cushy and super comfortable. There’s also the Napoleon pocket which you can jam all the stuff from your pockets into when going through airport security, which is great because then you can just pull it all back out as well and it doesn’t get mixed in with your other stuff.
The bag is at least 3 pounds lighter than my old leather attache and is so much more comfortable to carry it’s not even funny (I think I messed up my knee carrying my old bag around EDUCAUSE and it’s just getting better.)
I’m sure a Tom Bihn would also have been a great choice. My only complaint about the Timbuk2 is is’t not an elegant bag. I mean , it looks good, but it’s decidedly geeky. I almost got the Proof bag but I decided to save the money in the end.
At any rate, I’ve been using it for work and for air travel at this point and I keep being impressed with its capabilities, so I can recommend it. I’ll have some more travel this year and I’ll check back in on its performance and capabilities then.
I realized something recently.
I am, in many ways, quite cynical. The reasons are numerous and varied, and perhaps not entirely all good. It’s not that I don’t care about anything, it’s that sometimes other people care a whole lot about things I don’t consider important. This came about when I said that most of the decisions we make on a day-to-day basis in our work, things like what software to use, what specific methodology, etc., basically don’t matter. Or, while we might agonize over the criteria used to evaluate one item over another, many of the differences in choices are not discernible before implementation, and may not even be discernible after implementation.
Again, I woke up at 4:00 or so on Wednesday, despite being out a bit later the night before. I understand waking up early when EDUCAUSE is in Denver or Anaheim or Seattle, but it seems wrong on the East Coast. I guess I just don’t sleep well in hotels. I did kind of get back to sleep a little bit and got out of bed at 6 to shower and get ready for my first meeting, a 7:00am appointment to be part of a focus group.
I had an uneventful flight into Orlando, despite waking up before 4am. I got my hotel shuttle, was able to check into my room early, and took a nap. I then got to the convention center around 1:30pm, got my registration badge, and hung out waiting to see anyone I might know. Sure enough, I found some people and we grabbed a quick lunch at the buffet at the Rosen Center hotel. Continue reading EDUCAUSE Day 0/1