Pocket

When Google Reader was snuffed out in 2013, a little part of me died with it. It was a great tool for aggregating RSS feeds in order to have a regular stream of news and information aggregated right in front of me.

Although Pocket isn’t a direct replacement, it does provide a great way of easily bookmarking the information which comes via other means. The app is well-integrated into my phone and browser and it provides a great means of providing a way of off-line caching and categorizing all this content.

It also seems to do a good job of providing a very relevant “explore” view, pulling in popular content from others whose interest seems to match my own. I’m sure like any other app/service where I am paying nothing, they are using my reading choices to feed DMPs to sell me more crap somehow, but it at least provides me good value in exchange.

Books

I love me a good spy thriller, and it seems like the absurdly jaundiced, funhouse-mirror London in Mick Herron’s “Slough House” series (six books) and the straight-man “realistic” world of John le CarrĂ© and his latest “Agent Running in the Field have completely collided into each other. (“Brexit and the Ruskies, you know, old chap”).

Zwift

The one downside about living in Ottawa is the, shall we say, “less than ideal” cycling weather for about six months of the year. Zwift is a virtual cycling world with both “free riding” and structured exercise plans. Paired with an electronically-controlled bike trainer, it is one of the few things that keeps me sane in the off-season (particularly until we have enough snow for skiing). When riding on structured training plans, in the past I actually tended to get in better cycling shape in the winter vs. unstructured summer rides.

If you’re already on Zwift, feel free to add me.

Re-discovering blogs…

One of the tools I used on a regular basis when doing strategy work was known as a “four corners” analysis. This is a somewhat uncommon and far less “analytical” strategy model (compared to those that look at addressable markets, growth, etc.) as it’s much more concerned with competitor motivation. The key questions in the center really get to the heart of the matter of many competitor moves and can help clarify decisions or inevitable actions or reactions.

I found this framework extremely relevant in WCM; an industry which still has a large number of founders involved in most strategy decisions. As a result, I used to do a lot of reading to try to get a sense of founder or corporate motivation. This type of regular analysis allowed me to use both a technical and market understanding paired with a motivational understanding of the players involved to write an article like “the Salesforce investment in Automattic is primarily not an enterprise WCM acquisition play“. (Matt Mullenweg writes regularly, and while Marc Benioff doesn’t blog, but he does write books and his positions on many societal structural issues are well known).

The nice thing about having left Sitecore is that I get to have far more open conversations with a lot of folks (rather than just being a passive consumer). What I find amazing is the amount of considered thought put into a lot of output – especially those areas that aren’t directly related to their company/product.

Some active bloggers at WCM vendors:

Active bloggers in WCM, not at vendors

… and Podcasts

I have also gotten into a routine of spending more time outdoors of late, so listening to podcasts is now second nature when I walk the dog or shovel snow.

My favourites;

Lego Star Destroyer

If you have made it this far, you probably know me personally and know I am a big fan of Lego. When I was doing my MBA, building large Technic Lego sets was a cost-effective therapeutic way to clear my head of facts, figures and frameworks (which is how I ended up with a discount bucket-wheel excavator from Costco among others). The Apollo Saturn V rocket and lunar lander also great sets.

The new Lego Star Destroyer is an absolute beast of a set with insanely accurate scale and detail. It’s on my list for Christmas gifts to myself. My wife is threatening divorce if I buy one, but I think she’s bluffing.

Categories: Personal

1 Comment

Peter Madsen · November 14, 2019 at 5:59 pm

Hi Mark – Google Reader’s death was painful for me as well.

Podcasts – check out “How I built This with Guy Raz” and “RadioLab”. Also if you’re a fan of “The Office” check out the “Office Ladies” podcast as well.

Final Note – I’m a huge Lego guy myself. Just built the James Bond DB5.

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