Not Stranger Danger

Many moons ago, we were going to my uncle’s place for dinner. As we waited in the lobby for the elevator, a lady and her kid entered the pre-lobby area, where you have to get buzzed in, whatever that’s called. They knocked, I went over and opened the door.


The lady said “oh, thank you”, as a normal polite person would.
I said, “…”, nothing and just stared for 2 seconds. Then walked our separate ways.


When I was younger, I was a quiet kid and a mumbler.


In this specific case, my sister pointed it out my super awkward interaction with a “what the heck was that, you just stared and walked away?!” Because although I meant to say “you’re welcome”, it got lost traveling from my brain to becoming human words.


Anyway, the point is, talking to strangers is usually weird. But it’s also important, can’t do much in life without interacting with strangers. Then they become acquaintances, then maybe friends.


Read a good article about talking to people – One Simple Trick To Have Successful Conversations


Good excerpt:


Here are some very simple ways to help you ask more open-ended questions:

  • Start a question with “What do you think about…” this signals very clearly that you want more than a simple one-word answer.
  • Another good starting phrase is “Tell me about…”. These words also send a signal that you are passing the ball over to the other person and expect them so say a little more than the bare minimum. Great ones that work for me are: “Tell me how you chose this career?” or “Tell me about your home city”.
  • Another great trick is to follow up a short answer with a “Why?”. For example, if the question was “What do you think about the candidates in this election?” and you get back “Not much”, then you can simply follow up with “Why?” or “Tell me more”
I came across the concept of learning how to small talk through a book with that title, The Fine Art of Small Talk. I listened to the audiobook first, or a speech. Highly recommend it.


This is a good intro to her ideas:

It’s not so much what to say, it’s how to say it. Just eye contact and speaking clearly. Their response indicates if there’s more to talk about or just leave it at hello.


It’s good to keep a simple hello in the bank so when you see them again it’s fine to say it again. It’s so awkward if you’ve crossed paths with someone like 10 times and never exchanged words. Too late to start now.


My current arsenal:
  • Smile + “hi”
  • Nod + “hi” (that smile usually goes away by the afternoon)
  • “What brings you here?” – I like the tone, keeps it open-ended. As opposed to do you work here, what do you do, etc. along those same lines.
  • “What’s new or interesting with ______?” – insert name of workplace, organization, or sumn for context

Trying New Additions:

  • “What keeps you busy at work?” – better than, “so what do you do?”
  • “What keeps you busy outside of work?” – digs deeper and then I can talk about DeenUP Athletics :)
  • “Tell me about ____?” – how you started working at X, how you met Y, when you learned Z, etc.

As I re-read that, it occurred to me that most of what I use now are conversation openers and new additions are continue-ers. Natural progression I suppose, like a shift from building rapport to relationships. Insight received.

Good night.

Starting With Trello: Part 1

With a sudden surge of angry energy (y’know, when you procrastinate something and suddenly want to just get it done. Now. Aggressively), it’s 1:10 AM on a Friday. I want to finish creating our DeenUP Orientation in Trello so the task doesn’t linger around through the weekend.
Sidenote: waiting for Adeel to pick up camcorder and other equipment to take for DeenUP’s Ottawa CYBL Tournament

== Starting Point

I’m continuing from my first draft/brain-dump of everything a new staff, volunteer, advisor would need to get acquainted with what we do and be able to contribute.

This is what I had. Our overview presentation, reference to Trello’s “Welcome” card (which was the inspiration for creating our “Welcome” card), Trainers’ and Operations’ guides…all with links connecting it to files in our DropBox.
But, problem 1. it looks shitty, and 2. I should attach the files here directly and create a new Dropbox account for the shareable stuff.Side issue: I’m contemplating how to share information through Dropbox, it’s generally been sending links for whatever that person needs. But that’s messy, but we can share the whole folder, it has a lot of sensitive information we don’t want to share immediately, and stuff they just don’t need (clutter). So, tentative solution is to create new dropbox and share that folder with any and everyone involved.

== Additions
1. Pictures
2. Pretty Colors
The important stuff and “Headlines” need to draw attention and guide the person through this. Colors would help prioritize and compartmentalize what things mean, without having to click into them.
== v1.0
At 2:31 AM this seems like a functional v1.0 to start using within the team.

== Next Steps

  1. Test it with the team – if it makes sense for them and is useful
  2. Create DeenUP’s own Dropbox and link to folders in there
  3. Revisit GoogleDocs and link relevant docs; social media calendar, clothing purchases, blogosphere research, etc. — but that’s probably irrelevant at this stage, it’s only Orientation. The beginning.
Also, learn Trello Shortcuts. I had the tab open, but no more brain good.
Secondary Project: Create secondary “Orientations” for the project areas, includes resources and logins etc.

Manual Work vs. Systems

Recently, I’ve been thinking about our project management framework, creating SOPs, administrative guides, etc.
Mainly, how to chunk things down and connect the dots to create processes?

To build systems that connect our basketball/training/teams to marketing/operations/administration. I liked this one’s pretty colors.


Experiment: For creating business processes, mindmapping might be a good starting place, to get everything out on paper. It’s kinda visual, keeps thoughts connected, and isn’t linear like a word document. A brainstorming tool.


Experiment: For “Photo Tracker Process” to go along with a spreadsheet. It’s a simple chart, but I made it using Gliffy, online diagram and flowchart software. Instead of writing manuals, rather create a useful flowchart for marketing and media-related processes.

DeenUP - Photo Tracker Process

Along with mindmapping tools, I do like (as cliche as it sounds) creating things in Excel. Not so much with formulas and graphs, moreso for the ease of organizing information and color-coding. For example, creating an tree in a spreadsheet, throw in some branches and leafs.

Other uses for mindmapping:

  • Types of content to post
  • Admin manuals and guides used within DeenUP
  • For grants and applications; building out our “content bin”

Context: On the subway going to the gym, listening to podcasts and interviews. That seems to get my mind going to write, as opposed to reading stimulating the same thoughts but I don’t change apps to note things down.

App: Day One. My phone diary.

Business Processization: Social Media Publishing

Over the past few weeks, I spent a good chunk of it playing around with social media related apps and software. The ones below made the cut and are now in use:

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer

This is what I was looking for, tool(s) I can use to plan and execute my social media plans at once. That’s one reason our “Social Media Calendar” didn’t work, because the content planning was separate from execution (posting and publishing). I wanna be able to spend TBD amount of time per week to plan out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts for the upcoming week.

Automate, so we can focus on interaction.

And it’s not the dumb automation so many businesses do, use these tools like a media channel to push themselves “out there”. I want continuous activity so we can remove our personal touch from publishing and apply it elsewhere (experiment with other micro-content, get the BTB blog running, and please if we can finally use the gigs and gigs of video from camps, games, just messing around).

Starting with Hootsuite

It’s weird when you’re registering for a website and it says “this email already has an account”, I seemed to have forgotten that I went through this phase of researching tools. Clearly it didn’t work out.

It doesn’t let the same Facebook or Twitter account be connected to multiple Hootsuite accounts. So I started with some spring cleaning, two accounts then. One for my personal accounts and one for DeenUP Athletics.

Thoughts based on the 2 week experiment:

I love their tabs and multi-column setup [especially Twitter mentions, #hastags, and lists]

I didn’t like how images appeared through an external links, instead of natively appearing in the Twitter feed (or maybe I did it wrong)

I tried the scheduler and posting across multiple channels, but didn’t like it very much

The Verdict: Hootsuite serves as a great listening and monitoring tool, not for my publishing needs

Enter Buffer

With more research, Buffer was exactly what I imagined for a great content scheduler and publisher. Great green button.

Oddly enough, I was a huge fan of buffer even before I tried the app. The Buffer Blog is my favorite social media blog (and I rarely choose “favorites” for anything)

Thoughts based on the 2 week experiment:

It has a smooth setup and a simple enough UI to get going.

Spent about half hour reading up on “Starting with Buffer” type posts and came out with my first buffered tweet.

Buffer tweet

Similar to Hootsuite, I keep business and personal accounts separate

It’s also the first time I ever made a LinkedIn update. Finally.

The Verdict: Buffer’s my go-to content scheduling and publishing tool

In conclusion

For social media processization, our content-type-ratio will be 2-2-1:

2 things from us [camp pictures, past articles and videos, etc.]

2 things from others [articles, pictures, shoutouts, commentary, quotes, current events]

1 thing about us [story about a coach/trainer/player. Something personal]

Now that we’re scheduling things, we’ll have to keep it in mind to customize the post for the network.

I recently read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. That’s what we’re gonna do, be awesome on a regular basis and sell the sh*t out of our training camps when we need to.

Other Areas to Explore:

Connector Tools – Came across IFTTT and Zapier, for connecting channels to auto-post from another. I generally don’t like that, but it may have a place here I donno. Will see.

Analytics Tools – beyond the vanity metrics of likes, retweets, and “reach”, understand what type of content work for which audiences, and when.

Next Steps:

Photo Management – Bridge the gap between processing photos and posting them, we don’t have a proper system to manage the crapload of data/content we have. They’re stored all over the place (dropbox, mediafire, local computers, etc.)

Audience Data – channel demographics, types of content, ideal posting times, etc.

I came across the term “Stacking Bricks” – like building something, we have to connect the components of the business to support each other, instead of being independently managed.

We have too many projects and “things” happening in silos. Gotta connect the dots.

Blogging – Thinking and Planning

Putting my thinking cap on to figure out what to focus on for the immediate future. This is a chance to practice the “” approach, start doing and strategize later.

Since this is going to be a personal blog, the goal isn’t actually to get readers or anything. It’s more of a space to get my thoughts out and point a few people towards it to get feedback. I’m publicly practicing writing and blogging.

First, brainstorm a list of things I can do here.
Second, select 2-3 posts I will do.
Third, take step one.

1) Brainstorm

Thinking out loud, few “series” ideas [I realized that I work better in a framework than trying to be creative every single time]

  • Teach Me – in a separate post, create a list of 10-20 things/skills/tips I want to learn and scour my own network for people to teach me that.Examples:
    Design Software 101 (raster vs. vector, intro to Photoshop and Illustrator)
    How can I set up Hootsuite to manage personal social media accounts
    How to create an exercise plan
    What are “healthier” alternatives to my junk food collection :)
  • How do you… – talk to people doing interesting things and how they did themExamples:
    How did you meet Person X to get feedback on your business
    How do you track your monthly bills for accuracy and automate the payment
    How do you create a “templates” for video production through Sony Vegas
  • Audio “Interviews” – donno topic or title, but actually talk to real people
  • Inside DeenUP – get into the nitty gritty of what we’re doing; spill the goods and expose challenges

That’s what comes to mind for now.

2) To-Do

Looking at the list above, I’ll choose 2 relatively easy things and get at least one done for Sunday Mar-23 (it’s now Thursday).

  • “How can I set up Hootsuite to manage personal social media accounts” – I’ve used Hootsuite in the past and at work, but for some reason, neglected it for myself or properly using it for DeenUP Athletics.

    To Do:
    Get my account, connect to FB/Twitter/IG, create few streams, then get feedback from a seasoned user
  • “How did you launch that” – I’ll hit up a friend that recently put out an app and is getting some good press. Find out what went into that.  I’ll leave them nameless for now

3) Start

  • Get Hootsuite and get it connected to my accounts
  • Drop an email, arrange a time to speak


Parting thoughts – it took ~35 minutes to write this. But at least the “ideas” will no longer loop in my head, since it’s now on paper, my mind should be focused on the task at hand. Hoping that plays out as expected.

It also kinda helps being out of home, but in a quiet place. At our DeenUP workspace, CSI Regent Park, signing off at 7:42pm.

#selfie :)


On Becoming A Content Curator

There’s a lot of “stuff” out there; articles, blog posts, Youtube videos, pins, tweets, etc.

Personal Goal: Read less of new things, revisit tried-and-tested quality content. Then balance self-education with becoming a content curator for others.


“A content curator is a person who finds, collects, organizes and shares the most relevant and the best items for a particular collection. With this, content curation is basically archiving and curating within the digital world.” – Rohit Bhargava

Photo Credit: 1


Accelerated Learning – Level 1

Introduction to concepts of accelerated learning [speed reading, listening etc.]

via Tim Ferris

Article – Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes

Video – A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times

via Scott Young

Article – How to Read 70+ Books in a Year

Article – Double Your Reading Rate

via Josh Kaufman

Book Summary – 10 Days to Faster Reading – Abby Marks-Beale