Pick up the phone!

I have learned, much more than once, that if you have bad news for work customers, make a phone call! If you don’t reach you person, just keep playing phone tag until you connect.

An email just has way too much potential to be misinterpreted, forwarded, both.

You might think it’s the other way around (I did!), but with a call you get to hear the questions and concerns, and address them on the spot.

I am also learning not to kick myself (for very long) when I get it wrong and have to learn something again (and again).

Rock My World

Today I learned about this cool USGS website that lets you see all reported earthquake activity in real time AND lets you report what you feel – no not emotionally, just earthquake-wise – via a page called “Did You Feel It?”


As a bonus, I learned the word “conterminous” for what you usually hear as “contiguous”.  Extra JanesLessonsLearned bonus points (redeemable soon for JanesLessonsLearned merchandise) if you post here that you used this new word in a sentence and referenced where you learned it!


Leaning away from this idea in the future…

I learned that it’s a good idea to freeze water in a plastic water bottle for a hike on a hot day but it’s a bad idea to freeze water in a metal water bottle!

The ice in the plastic bottle just expanded upwards.

The ice in the metal bottle expanded downwards, rounding out the bottom of the bottle!

Here is the illustration of the resulting problem:

Why You Should “Sign Up” for JanesLessonsLearned

If you are reading this in your email inbox then THANKS!

Otherwise (you are on the website), this would be a great time to click the “Sign me up” button on the right, and get automatic updates of new postings.

There are lots of reasons to sign up, but my favorite is this: I love to back-date and it’s hard to see these new posts on the website!  With the subscription, you’ll get every one.

I wish I had (or could make) time to post every lesson as I learn it, but it’s been 1.5 years and that is surely not the trend.  So when I have time like this, a beautiful quiet early summer weekend morning, I grab my pile of scraps of paper, and start typing.  In the past, I’ve posted the lesson close to when I’ve learned it.  You website-only readers may never see those!  Today I’ll post them close by for you to see them, but the best way for you to not miss a lesson, which could be one I learned from YOU, is to go right ahead and sign up.

Thank you for following JanesLessonsLearned!



The Greener Grass of Other The Lily Pad

I learned the grass is always greener on the other side of the street if you are wearing rose-colored glasses when you look in that direction.

What a bizarre experience.  I was able to observe two people long for the position of each other, imagining it to be the solution to most or all of their problems, in the face of evidence to the contrary and/or a significant lack of evidence.

I was calling this a Frog-and-Toad story (they swept each others’ leaves – who remembers?) but it’s not really the same plot.  But let’s use their names anyway.  I’m pretty sure they won’t mind.

Frog wanted what Toad had.  Imagined it to be so different, and in just the ways that would make Frog happy.  None of the same problems would exist.  Where Frog didn’t know the details, she just made them up!  She’s had a lifetime of experience in doing that, so it was easy.

Toad wanted what Frog had, and an opportunity to have it came up.  They talked (they aren’t really amphibians, remember, those are just their names for this story).  Frog told Toad some facts, some good and some bad.  Toad pretty much focused on the good, and told about why she thought being in Frog’s situation would be awesome.  While she was at it, she talked what she was leaving.

Frog looked around and said “Wow.  That is another way to look at this deal”.  Now Frog is happy.

Toad?  Stay tuned!

Fail Early

I once had a CIO who had a five core principles of business and one of them  was “Fail Early”.  I learn this lesson over and over.

The entire Agile software development process is based on this.  I’ve often seen the success of showing early results “Is this what you meant?” to get a Yes, or way more importantly, a No.  So easy to change course early, if you just get that feedback!  So much harder if not.

Nowhere, perhaps, is this more applicable than to driving when  lost!  Why not find out if I am or I am not where I think I am, way before I go even farther in the wrong direction?

In my car, I have two separate devices to tell me how lost I am, and to get me found.  Sure, they don’t always work in the wilds of the places I drive, but they definitely don’t work when I don’t ask them!

It’s nice to putter around back roads when that’s the intention.  But I’ve learned (or I’m fixin’ to learn) that when I am really trying to get somewhere, it’s important to know if I’m driving in the right direction.  Or not.

Unintended Consequences: Free Movies

I learned about free movie streaming from Amazon and I learned it from Netflix!

Netflix started this all, when it raised its prices dramatically, splitting streaming from DVD.  That did it for me, as we weren’t using it enough to justify the new price and I cancelled Netflix.

I was happy to complete the “exit interview” the why-are-you-leaving survey, because I wanted Netflix to know that the price increase drove me away.  There were questions about how I will watch movies now, and “free movies from Amazon Prime” was one of the options.  What?  I’ve subscribed to Amazon Prime for years – the free shipping pays for the membership many times over at my house.

It turns out that Amazon Prime offers 5000 movies and TV shows, as part of something I already pay for.  Score!

Thanks, Netflix!