Cutting the Cord

I’ve been told on a few Facebook comments that over the holiday break I inspired some friends to “cut the cord”. The specific type of cord-cutting they’ve been inspired to try is up for debate, since we welcomed a new baby daughter into the world AND switched our home entertainment services from cable to streaming over the last two weeks.

 
But, I’m guessing most people meant they were thinking of cutting the Cable TV cord. I shared quite a few details of my analysis & decisions in disconnected Facebook posts, but haven’t provided a consolidated summary of my design and how it’s working so far. So consider this that summary now that all of the pieces are final and in place. And I’ll try to describe what I did and why in an orderly and understandable way.


Objectives & Requirements

The clear and primary objective was to reduce recurring monthly expenses, as our cable bill not only felt high to us, but also kept going up despite our efforts to keep it manageable. And I wanted to be careful with the upfront investment to try and break even in about 6 months. 
In early December 2016 we were told by our cable provider that we were no longer eligible for loyalty promotions that were keeping our bill somewhat tenable (even as a 12 year customer) and that our Triple Play package (cable, phone & internet) with three HD DVR TV boxes was going to jump another $20/mo to $192 / month as of January 2017. And that’s without having HBO and NFL Red Zone any longer, which I’d previously had and enjoyed but eventually cut to save costs. Plus we already had Netflix and Amazon Prime and wanted to keep those.

Thus, our “entertainment requirements” I used to evaluate replacement options for the above costs were:

  1. Sports, sports and more sports (Local & National) – I’m a big sports fan. Particularly golf, football and basketball at any level. Local teams (Colts, Pacers, Butler, Louisville, IU, Purdue) and national sporting events. So accessing the major Indianapolis local networks LIVE, not just on demand, was a requirement. As well as major cable sports stations such as ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network, BTN, NBA TV, Golf Channel, Fox Sports stations and very specifically…Fox Sports Midwest (most Pacers games televised there). 
  2. DVR Regardless of Content Source – We now have three kids, one being a newborn, the other two very active in extracirriculars. The possibility of watching anything without interruption or as aired live rarely if ever exists. Yes, many programs can be consumed on demand now, but most only a day later as opposed to “near live” like we’d want for particular things: Colts games (CBS, Fox, ESPN, NBC), The Today Show (one of my wife’s few requirements for after the older kids head to school), Golf Majors (all networks), Major live sporting events, and CBS programming (this emerged when we picked PlayStation Vue…which doesn’t currently support CBS On Demand…and removes the need to additionally subscribe to CBS All Access since we had DVR requirements for non CBS content anyway…more on that later)
  3. Same Capabilities on All Three Televisions – Three floors in the house, three different types of HDTV’s of varying size, age and sophistication. Whether sending the kids to watch something on a different floor, or hosting neighbors or friends, we wanted the same Capabilities & access to all our subscribed content no matter where in the house. Also, of those three existing TVs, only one is a Smart TV that could currently access Netflix and Amazon Prime “built-in”. Although we did already have an Amazon Fire TV on another TV for accessing each. But the basement TV had been relegated to cable TV access only, no streaming content.
  4. Phone Service for Home Alarm System – We weren’t married to having a home phone vs. our cell phones any longer, but had kept it for connecting to our home alarm system and for the kids to be able to call 911 if needed.
  5. Fast Internet Service – We’d had 75mbps service for years at home, and at a minimum didn’t want to go backward given we’d be added to the consumption load, particularly over WIFI by switching to more streaming services on more devices by getting rid of cable. 
  6. Specific Channels – AMC, TNT, Disney, USA, FX & FXX, TBS, News Networks, etc.   

I’d actually researched doing this about 6-9 months prior with a SlingTV & Tivo combo, and decided at that time it wasn’t worth it to achieve our requirements. Our cable bill then was only about $150 / month with active promotions AND the options that I evaluated for being able to DVR the content I wanted across all content and all three TVs was going to be too expensive to justify the switch. The time to recoup my upfront investment was around 12-14 months and I still felt I was giving up a lot of capability vs. our cable situation. So I ruled it out then.
Three factors I discovered in December 2016 that changed my mind:

  1. Cable bill hit $192 / mo instead of $150 / mo and with fewer features included
  2. Playstation Vue upped its channel offerings AND included cloud DVR on live content
  3. I found Tablo as a more affordable option for DVR of over-the-air local networks than TiVo
  4. BONUS: I had a couple weeks off of work for the holidays to focus more time on it!!!! Than helped too.


Final Decisions & Design

After researching things like Vue vs. Sling vs. DirectTV Home, TiVo vs. Tablo, Amazon vs. AppleTV vs. Chromecast vs. Roku, and other cord cutting recommendations, I decided the best model for us was:

  • TV Streaming Devices: 1 Amazon TV & 2 Amazon Firesticks – Each TV needed to be able to consume Netflix, Amazon Prime, PlayStation Vue & Tablo apps over wifi. We already had one Amazon Fire TV upstairs, thus only needed to add two new Amazon Firesticks for other TVs. Even the LG Smart TV needed a new Amazon Firestick in order to connect to the PlayStation Vue & Tablo apps as they aren’t currently supported via LG Smart TV.
  • Streaming Services: Netflix, Amazon Prime, PlayStation Vue Core Slim ($35/mo tier) – Plus planned occasional monthly upgrades to HBO based on new content (Game of Thones, West World) and potentially NFL Red Zone ($40 / season when wanted). The beauty here is, with all other elements in place, I can swap out my selection of streaming services month to month if I really want. No long term commitments here. This is my choice of the current moment. But could change as needs & offerings change over time.
  • Local Networks w/ DVR capability: HD Indoor Antenna & 2-tuner Tablo w/ 2TB USB Hard drive – Serves local network content to all three TVs (and mobile devices!) with only one antenna and one DVR source. Also add $5/mo Tablo subscription service for upgraded TV guide & DVR experience.
  • Internet Service: Xfinity Extreme & Motorola Modem/WIFI Combo – Keep current internet provider but with new internet only plan (this was the hardest part of the entire experience) & purchase newer / faster modem & WIFI router combo to replace Triple Play modem/router I was renting on a monthly basis from cable provider.
  • Home Phone / Alarm Connection: Alarm Cell Block – Converted home alarm system to a dedicated cell block instead of a home phone that communicates with security company, and can be used to call 911. Removed home phone number. Less per month than having a home phone, with no upfront cost from existing alarm company.

For those that like pictures, I made a drawring (not drawn to scale): 





    And I made a spreadsheet too:





    Pains During Implementation

    For the most part the change was smooth, when I had time to focus on it. The hardest part was that all of the new hardware I ordered arrived while we were in the hospital for our newborn baby. So I was sitting on having the tools to finalize the project, but had to wait a week or so until I finally had the time to dedicate to completing the new set up throughout the house.

    But I won’t lie, I had some challenges, most self-inflicted:

    • Tablo & Hard Drive – I started out trying to test HD antenna location in the house for the best signal, but I was getting a lot of connection failures to the Tablo device as I placed the antenna in different locations and tried to serve up the antenna content through the Tablo. Turns out, I was testing without having the hard drive attached to the Tablo because I didn’t think it mattered if I wasn’t testing DVR yet, only antenna reception. Through some trial and error, not having the hard drive connected and configured impacted performance of the Tablo, maybe due to content caching? Not sure. First obstacle cleared once I attached the hard drive.
    • HD Antenna with Amplifier – I learned pretty quickly that the included amplifier didn’t help for someone close to the “big city”, it actually made reception worse. Once I removed the amplifier, I was getting strong reception from the key local stations we wanted to receive over the air.
    • Tablo & Antenna –  Once I’d connected the hard drive to the Tablo, things were working really well, but I still had to hide the wires better around our family room TV. I had temporarily placed them in plain sight for easy testing before finalizing the location of everything, but that aesthetic was NOT flying with my wife. This is where the human error story comes in to play. While squeezing behind the entertainment center to hide the wires to finalize my now trusted configuration, I re-connected the Tablo box to the wrong coax cable. Instead of connecting it to the new HD Antenna that was perfectly positioned for great reception, I unknowingly connected the Tablo to a coax cable abandoned behind the TV, obsoleted by removing the cable boxes. But the other end of that abandoned cable…connected to nothing but air. Amazingly, most of the OTA channels continued to work except for our local Fox network, and I couldn’t figure out why, distracting me from discovering the truth sooner. I moved that antenna and rescanned channels about 30 times, perplexed why it once worked and now would not work. About two days later I finally climbed behind the TV again and discovered what I’d done. I was simultaneously relieved and completely ticked off at myself for being so dumb. But once I connected it to the proper coax, back to perfect reception on all of the key local network stations we wanted to watch and record via the Tablo.
    • PlayStation Vue “7 Day Free Trial” – I “pre-vued” the free 7 day trial and loved the service. Of course I signed up for the highest tier during the free trial period, with the plan to downgrade to the $35 tier before my free trial ended, and binge watching WestWorld on HBO while I could. Welp, of course my 7 days expired while we were in the hospital with the baby and I forgot to change my config before it flipped over to official for my first month. So my first month of PS Vue I’m paying $55 for the top level tier of services, with HBO and Showtime included. But I learned my lesson and already downgraded to the $35 tier for when my second month of subscribing begins. Just moves my break even point out a few days. 🙂
    • Establishing Internet Only Service vs. Triple Play with Cable Provider – Let’s just say that it’s a lot harder to get offered a good deal from a local monopoly when you’re downgrading services with that provider. I was removing cable and phone, but wanted a good price on an internet service level at least as fast as what I had with triple play. I had 75mbps before, and all other competitor options I researched maxed out at 18-25 Mbps. It got complicated because on one phone call we were told we could leverage a specific promotion at a fair prices for 300mbps when we were ready to change our service, but once everything was in place (after being in the hospital for 4 days) and we called back to make the changes official…they told us we weren’t in fact eligible for that promotion due to downgrading services with them…and the alternative prices they were willing to offer were about double what we were expecting. This is where we learned (confirmed) how much better of a negotiator my wife is than I. So from now on, she makes those calls. Keeps my blood pressure in check. But we got pretty close to what we wanted and still have great internet speed & performance without breaking the bank. For now…I have a feeling the drama around this will haunt us on an annual basis.
    • Learning Curve – I’ve had to do some teaching about which apps you open to watching which channels, and what you choose in each service to “record” that content. The experience between Vue & Tablo are a little different in that regard, but I think everyone is getting it. Mostly. And of course the FF & RW behaviors are slightly different across each service. But we’re figuring that out as well.
    • CBS Content – PlayStation Vue has on demand access to NBC, Fox and ABC programming, but not CBS. If I hadn’t gotten the Tablo for OTA DVR, we likely would have had to also subscribe to CBS All Access. Because there are quite a few shows on CBS that we like to watch. But I was able to avoid that subscription by being able to DVR CBS shows from our local OTA network via the Tablo. So now I have the confusing outcome where all of our CBS shows are on the Tablo DVR, but everything else we watch across NBC, ABC, Fox, AMC, etc. we have to find via PlayStation Vue. But that’s a small inconvenience.


    Final Results (So Far…)

    I’m thrilled with the results and actually find the experience better than we had with cable. I’ve only had a few gotcha moments (service hiccups during first half of a college football game that went away by 2nd quarter, limitation of 2-tuner Tablo instead of 4-tuner when visiting guests wanted to simultaneously watch network programming on three different TVs), but those have been far outweighed by the benefits I can already see and the cost savings on the way in a few short months.

    In fact, my kids also love the games they can play on the TV through the Amazon Fire TV & Sticks. We happened to have an Amazon Fire Game Controller that they’ve loved using for some of the games offered by Amazon. My son even thinks it’s just as nice as having a new PlayStation or XBox game console. Glad we have him fooled on that one…for now!  


    Advertisements

    Appreciating the People Side of Working Out Loud

    We just got home late last night from a week long special family visit in across three states. I’m watching my daughter’s gymnastics practice this morning as I write this. My son is reading next to me. My wife is Jazzercizing today. And I have a tee time in 90 minutes.    

      

    It’s all normal stuff for this normal person. It’s who I am. 

    During that trip I made a stop in Louisville, KY to talk about Working Out Loud at the EFM IT Symposium (Louisville also happens to be where most of my family lives). 

    I’ve talked enough on the topic that few reactions or questions surprise me anymore. But this group caught me off guard a little…in a pleasant way. 

    Of course I talked about the personal productivity and business efficiency impacts we’ve observed when people apply WOL concepts to how hey go about things. 

    But I also don’t shy away from sharing about the human benefits we see, even in a work environment. The connections created. People helping one another directly or emotionally. Observable culture shifts from people talking at one another to talking with one another. Conversation that is now more about understanding than convincing, as it tended to lean toward 3-4 years ago. 
    Most of the questions and “recognition of value” reactions I received from that primarily IT audience in Louisville revolved around the potential to realize some of the more human benefits in the workplace. A desire to bring the human back to the work. 

    I’m not used to that. For years I’ve always have to defend those benefits against the “social tools at work can’t be about social, it has to be about work” mindset. 

    I think it can be about both. I think it must be about both. I’m thrilled people took that away from my talk. It made me feel good about that day of “work”. 

    Then I left and took those same parts of me to spend some time with family that I don’t get to see often enough. 

     The same person. The same motivation to be there for and to help people…at work…at home…and across three states. The same person that wants to go set the course record at the golf course this afternoon (even though I know I’m not prepared for that…yet!) 

    A Few Deflated Footballs…

    Admission. I usually post more business related type topics on this blog. But, I’m also an avid Colts fan. And I know better than to blame the Colts’ 38 point loss in the AFC Championship game to the superior New England Deflatriots on a few deflated footballs. Let’s just get that out of the way and get on to enjoying the comedy gold that is a controversy about suspiciously deflated balls.

    Now to the fun part. The light bulb moment. The New England Deflatriots AFC Championship #DeflateGate controversy and A Few Good Men?

    A perfect marriage. I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to imagine…”A Few Deflated Footballs”:

    [Coach Belichick chuckles while on the witness stand]

    Luck: Is this funny, sir?

    Coach Belichick: [face falls to a look of disgust] No, it isn’t. It’s tragic.

    Luck: Do you have an answer to the question, Coach? What happened to the deflated footballs?

    Coach Belichick: Absolutely. My answer is I don’t have the first damn clue. Maybe the balls deflated due to the dropping temperatures. And maybe the Colts footballs were deflated too. I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the pressure properties of an NFL football. What I do know is that we won the AFC Championship 45-7. Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer? Refs squeezing balls and Football PSI? Please tell me that you have something more, Grizzly Adams. Your team lost decisively. Please tell me their star quarterback hasn’t pinned their hopes to a deflated football.

    [Luck hesitates, dumbfounded]

    Coach Belichick: Do you have any more questions for me, 12?

    Commisioner Goddell: Mr. Luck? [pause] Do you have anything further for this witness? I’m now required by NFL owners to dig much deeper into issues than I have in the past.

    [Belichick defiantly gets up to leave the courtroom]

    Coach Belichick: Thanks, Roger. I love Phoenix.

    Luck: Excuse me. I didn’t dismiss you.

    Coach Belichick: I beg your pardon?

    Luck: I’m not through with my examination. Sit down.

    Coach Belichick: Coach.

    Luck: What’s that?

    Coach Belichick: I would appreciate it if he would address me as “Coach” or “Sir.” I believe I’ve earned it.

    Commissioner Goddell: Mr. Luck will address the witness as “Coach” or “Sir.”

    Coach Belichick: [to Goddell] I don’t know what the hell kind of league you’re running here.

    Commissioner Goddell: And the witness will address me as “Commissioner.” I’m quite certain I’ve earned it. Or had at one point prior to this season. Take your seat, Coach.

    Luck: A moment ago, you said that you ordered Tom Brady to tell the ball boys that the footballs weren’t to be touched.

    Belichick: That’s right.

    Luck: And Brady was clear on what you wanted?

    Belichick: Crystal.

    Luck: Any chance Brady ignored the order?

    Belichick: Ignored the order?

    Luck: Any chance he forgot about it?

    Belichick: No.

    Luck: Any chance Tom Brady went to the sideline and said, “the old man is wrong”?

    Belichick: No.

    Luck: When Tom Brady spoke to the ball boys and ordered them not to touch the footballs, any chance they ignored him?

    Belichick: You ever played for a championship team, son?

    Luck: No, sir.

    Belichick: Ever played in a Super Bowl?

    Luck: No, sir.

    Belichick: Ever put your team on your back during a game winning drive to hoist a Lombardi trophy?

    Luck: No, sir.

    Belichick: We follow orders, son. We follow orders or we lose. It’s that simple. Are we clear?

    Luck: Yes, sir.

    Belichick: Are we clear?!

    Luck: Crystal. Coach, I just have one more question before I put D’Qwell Jackson and the game officials on the stand. If you gave an order that the footballs weren’t to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would the footballs be deflated? Why would it be necessary for the NFL to inspect the footballs at half time?

    Belichick: The footballs were low quality footballs. They arrived flat…

    Luck: That’s not what you said. You said the temperature likely changed the footballs.

    Belichick: That’s correct.

    Luck: You said you were unaware of the deflated footballs. I said “you had no idea”? You said…

    Belichick: I recall what I said.

    Luck: I could have Troy Vincent read back to you…

    Belichick: I know what I said! I don’t have to have it read back to me, like I’m…

    Luck: Then why the deflated balls? Coach?

    Belichick: Sometimes men take matters into their own hands.

    Luck: No, sir. You made it clear just a moment ago that your men never take matters into their own hands. Your men follow orders or teams lose championships. So the balls shouldn’t have been deflated, should they, Coach?

    Belichick: You nearded, little bastard.

    Kraft: Commish, I’d like to ask for recess. Maybe a party at my place?

    Luck: I’d like an answer to the question, Commish.

    Commish: The commish will wait for an answer. I’ve learned my lesson this year. Is there a video of the balls actually being deflated available? No. Okay, just checking.

    Luck: If Tom Brady gave an order that the footballs weren’t to be touched, then why were the balls deflated? Coach? Tom Brady ordered the deflated footballs, didn’t he? Because that’s what you told Tom Brady to do!

    Kraft: Objection!

    Luck: And when the refs found out, you blamed the ball boys! You had Brady lie on the radio, Gronk tweet a funny photo, and you blamed the ball boys!

    Kraft: Damn it, Luck!

    Luck: You coerced Tom Brady!

    Commish: Consider yourself on the commisioner’s exempt list!

    Luck: Coach Belichick, did you order the footballs to be deflated AFTER they were inspected by the officials?!

    Commish: You don’t have to answer that question! (Unless of course there’s video evidence…)

    Belichick: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?

    Luck: I think I’m entitled!

    Belichick: You want answers?!

    Luck: I want the truth!

    Belichick: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that only values championships, and those championships have to be won to cement your legacy. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lucky Luck guy? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep about flat footballs and you curse Tom Brady. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Tom Brady’s legacy, while respected, needs another Super Bowl. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins games! You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at practice, you want me to win championships. You need me to win championships. We use words like “teamwork”, “rivalries”, “toughness”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent chasing something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the rivalry and ratings that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “thank you”, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a football, and try to beat my secondary. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

    Luck: Did you order the deflated footballs?

    Belichick: I coached a team that kicked your—-

    Luck: Did you order the deflated footballs?!!

    Belichick: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!!

    Coach Belichick: [Commish dismisses the jury] What is this? What’s going on? I did what it takes to win, I’d do it again! [stands up defiantly] I’m gonna win the Super Bowl and I’m going to $%*&! Disney World!

    Commisioner Goddell: You’re not going anywhere, Coach. Refs… eject the Coach!

    [Refs grab Belichick]

    Commisioner Goddell: Mr. Kraft?

    Coach Belichick: What the hell is this?

    Mr. Kraft: Coach Belichick, you are a schmuck. I told you that after Spygate…

    Coach Belichick: [while Kraft continues lighting in to him] I’m being accused of cheating? Is that what this is? I’m being accused of cheating? This is funny. That’s what this is. This is… [turning to Luck and lunging at him] I’m gonna rip the beard out of your face one hair at a time and shove fully inflated footballs into your huge ass mouth! You messed with the wrong defensive mastermind!

    Mr. Kraft: Coach Belichick, do you understand the impact you’ve had on our team’s legacy?

    Coach Belichick: You f’ing people. You have no idea how to win a championship. All you did was weaken the NFL today, Luck. That’s all you did. You “deflated” the game you love. Good “Luck”, son.

    Luck: Don’t call me son. I’m a quarterback, of the Indianapolis Colts. And you’re a cheating, lying son of a bitch. Beli-cheat is excused.

    Credit: Adapted from the original movie quotes from “A Few Good Men” found at WikiQuote.com

    Working Out Loud: Three Years Later

    1381834_10202024261906476_1546744911_n

    In about one month, my first blog post about Working Out Loud will be three years old: When Will We Work Out Loud? Soon!

    Club Championship

    I’ve been thinking about adding it to the family picture.

    But during recent months I’ve started to feel a bit hypocritical on the topic. Do I practice what I preach within my place of work? Yes, fairly consistently. I’m the fastest converter of an email transaction into reusable knowledge this side of the Mississippi. However, I’ve been severely lacking in the amount of sharing and engaging I do in the real open. In the public domain.

    Cheerleading

    The ironic part about my relative public silence on the topic has been that the blog post (in all of its Spaceballs glory) will receive 10 times more views during 2013 than it did during all of 2011-2012 combined. But certainly not by my doing. We all have the likes of John Stepper, Luis Suarez, Dennis Pearce, Julian Stodd (among others) to thank for so eloquently enhancing, advancing and amplifying the message.

    In fact, finding John’s and my blogs spotlighted in the recently released “Social Collaboration for Dummies” book by David F. Carr partly inspired today’s post. I realized that each pingback I receive and each reference I serendipitously discover gives me a sense of pride similar to what I tend to feel watching my own children achieve. It’s been fun to witness what feels like a mini-movement taking off. Just this past week alone you saw references to “working out loud” on Twitter at #jiveworld, and simultaneously at the #DevLearn conference happening across town in Vegas.

    (No offense John, but the first thought that crossed my mind when I saw us referenced together in David’s book was “Social Collaboration By Dummies, for Dummies!”) :). But it’s also proof that the concept works.

    Full transparency note: I received a complimentary e-copy of Social Collaboration for Dummies from David.

    FFL Coach

    Can I blame my relative silence on an amazing summer of golf club tournament championships, coaching flag football, watching 3rd grade cheerleading events, helping the kids practice piano, and raising a new puppy? Well, I basically just did. But I know as well as anyone that personal discipline is really to blame. But the weather’s turning around here, so as I turn on the heat, I can more easily turn up the volume.

    So how have things changed in the last three years with respect to Working Out Loud? I can think of no better way to reflect than through references to my old trusty…Spaceballs!

    • I’m My Own Best Friend – People are realizing that shifting what you are already doing to a style more conducive to “Working Out Loud” doesn’t just benefit their colleagues and organizations down stream, it increases the Return on Effort (ROE) they get for the time put into the exact same work. More visibility. More potential amplification and recognition for the same amount of work. My three year old blog post is an example of its very own point.
    • You Went Over My Helmet? – We now understand better that one of the most common roadblock associated with Working Out Loud is the fear of potential retribution for bypassing “proper channels of communication” through the enterprise hierarchy. This is an area that I think we need to continue to evolve, share real success stories to give people the tools and confidence to tackle Working Out Loud in a manner that makes them feel at least a little more “safe”…and not subject to “THAT!” What success stories do you have to share that may help people feel more comfortable in this regard?
    • The Bleeps, The Sweeps and The Creeps – The What? The What? And the What? We’re doing a better job of speaking a language that real business practitioners can understand. Instead of terms like “Enterprise 2.0”, “Facebook for the Enterprise” and “Social Networking,” which we used heavily in 2010, terms such as “Working Out Loud”, “Narrating Your Work” and “Higher Return on YOUR Effort” are resonating better with our business counterparts. Even my older post about Horizontal Collaboration has maintained a consistent flow of visits.
    • Ludicrous Speed! – I think three years ago, we were optimistic to think that by 2013 we would have achieved a much higher success rate of “light bulbs” and adoption within large enterprises. Now we are more realistic about how long such a significant shift in behavior and culture will take. We’re now more encouraged by baby steps and daily incremental progress vs. our expectations that “social” was about to “go viral” in 2010 and not getting on the train immediate was a competitive disadvantage. Susan Scrupski captured some industry sentiment on this topic back in 2012. Maybe Light Speed is good enough for now :). I know I don’t look good in plaid, personally.
    • 1,2,3,4,5 – Security and Social. I think we’ve done a lot in the last three years to help dispel concerns around compliance and security related to “social in the enterprise”. In 2010, the main concerns I was dealing with were protecting the loss of IP, preventing people from providing “wrong answers” and inappropriate employee behavior. Now it seems there are enough success stories and examples that the conversation has shifted more to adoption and helping demonstrate the value of shifting our collaboration behaviors. We’ve demonstrated that being “social” doesn’t necessarily open up new risks, but can in fact be more successful at bringing risk to the forefront earlier and when there is still a chance to remedy the issue…in contrast to when inappropriate behaviors occurr out of pure naivete, in private channels, and aren’t discovered until it is too late to remedy…leaving only damage control to come to the rescue.

    So in summary, the most concrete conclusion we can make after three years is that…everything I’ve learned about Working Out Loud…I learned from watching hours of Spaceballs in college 🙂

    I’d love to hear your perspective of how things have changed in the last three years for you with respect to Working Out Loud, and what do you see coming in the next three years?


    “It is Time!”

    I have little difficulty relating most life experiences to movie quotes, song titles and story lines from television shows.  In fact, I regularly hear famous quotes in my head during daily activities, like “I have made fire!” from Castaway, or “I am the law!” from Judge Dredd, “When will then be now?  Soon!” from Spaceballs, or “You have to be careful with eggs.” from Bill Cosby: Himself.  I rarely, however, choose to recite them aloud at the risk of people having no idea what I am talking about and partly because most of my examples are becoming out dated as my knowledge of current pop culture inversely decreases at the same rate that my children’s shoe sizes increase.

    For reasons unknown, quotes from The Lion King always have stuck with me as well.  (Maybe that is because I hear it in the mini-van on trips all the time coming from the back seat?)  For reasons likely known…I remember Timone yelling “What’s going on here!” or Poomba declaring that “You’ve got to put your behind in your past.”  But appropriate for this blog is from Rafiki, the witch doctor baboon that discovers a grown up Symba.  And upon convincing Symba to return to the pride lands to take on the evil Uncle Scar, the baboon declares “It is Time!”  This isn’t much different.

    I am not using that title to directly equate my initiation of a new blog with re-conquering an entitled position of leadership (although I am a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and know that must entitle me to something, right?), but to serve as a declaration that I have waited long enough to start this blog, and the time is right to use this platform for some key goals of mine:

    1. Be an example – Working at a pharmaceutical company brings a necessary set of guidelines to consider when it comes to external communication channels and sharing of data related to the work we do.  But it can be difficult to understand where the boundaries around those guidelines exist, and we shouldn’t discouraged to provide a voice into the Blogosphere and/or Twitterverse if we are so inclined. We just need clarity and examples on how to do so in a manner that protects the integrity of ourselves and our company.  As an internal evangelist for Social Media methods, for my colleagues, I would like to provide an example of treading those waters in a compliant manner but with a voice that is my own at the same time.
    2. Establish an External Network – If my recent engagement with the Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council has taught me nothing else, it is that having a network of people and information to share with and learn from makes me better at what I do. I have seen that occur in my work environment as well, by creating awareness of my skills and understanding the skills of others through basic Social Networking capabilities, I’ve become a more effective employee (IMHO).  This blog is another avenue to continue to expand that network, become a better knowledge-worker myself, possibly provide some entertainment, and hopefully help a few other people with similar interests along the way.  Also, to walk the talk that I have been  talking, I best do some walking beyond the comfy confines of my internal corporate blog.
    3. Enterprise 2.0 Conference – As I am writing this, I am traveling to the E2.0 conference for the first time, and I plan to come away even more enthused (via the information I take in and the contacts I make) about the work I have ahead of me and the impact I can have.  Consider it my baptism into the Enterprise 2.0 profession, accompanied by a web log of the journey from newbie to ????
    4. Have fun – Innumerable times throughout my life I have secretly wished I could be an author of some sort.  Write a book, be a sports columnist, write a movie, write a television pilot, etc.  Unfortunately my thriving golf career has kept me from achieving those goals…so now at least I have a blog to fall back on!

    FYI…I have a Twitter account (@golfinbp) that will continue to be my avenue for raving about my Colts, talking golf and bragging about my children.  But I am starting a second account this week (@TheBrycesWrite) to focus on my professional observations and to accompany my blog.  So if you follow me on Twitter as @golfinbp and are interested in following my Enterprise 2.0 related posts from this point forward, please also follow me @TheBrycesWrite.