I’ve been doing these “where I’ll be at the NTC” posts for many years, but this year I’m lagging behind the pack. Steve Heye and Cindy Leonard have beat me to it! But I’m excited to be back at NTC after a rare skip year. This will be my 11th ride on the NTC train and it is always a great one. First up on Wednesday will be #ntcbeer! This year we’re back at the Black Squirrel, the place we filled to capacity three years ago, but larger options weren’t really available. Booking the Squirrel was a bit last minute, and it supersedes a plan to… Read More »Where I’ll be at the 2017 NTC
This article was originally published in NTEN Change Magazine in June of 2015. What kind of challenge does your organization have supporting technology? Below are several scenarios to choose from: Little or no tech staff or tech leadership: We buy inexpensive computers and software and rely on consultants to set it up. Our IT support is outsourced: there is no technology plan or any staff training. We have a tech on staff who does their best to keep things running: no staff training, no technology planning. We have a tech on staff and an IT Director, but no technology plan: IT is swamped and not… Read More »Creating A Tech-Savvy Nonprofit Culture
I ask because my articles are up, including my big piece from NTEN’s Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits on Architecting Healthy Data Management Systems. I’m happy to have this one available in a standalone, web-searchable format, because I think it’s a bit of a signature work. I consider data systems architecture to be my main talent; the most significant work that I’ve done in my career. I integrated eleven databases at the law firm of Lillick & Charles in the late 90’s, using Outlook as a portal to Intranet, CRM, documents and voicemail. We had single-entry of all client and matter data that then, through SQL Server… Read More »How Easy Is It For You To Manage, Analyze And Present Data?
This post was originally published on the LSC Technology Blog in May of 2013. Note that “LSC” is Legal services Corporation, my current employer. One of the great services available to the legal aid tech community (lstech) is LSNTAP’s series of webinars on tech tools. I’ve somehow managed to miss every one of these webinars, but I’m a big fan of sharing the tools and strategies that allow us to more effectively get things done. In that spirit, I wanted to talk about my new favorite free online tool, Trello. Trello is an online Kanban board. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, you are still likely familiar with the… Read More »Trello: A Swiss Army Knife For Tasks, Prioritizing And Project Planning
Not every NPO needs a full-time IT Director, and outsourced services can provide some guidance, but there aren’t a lot of them that get the particular needs of nonprofits. I’ve had considerable experience running IT Departments, consulting and advising NPOs, and developing strategies for maximizing the impact of technology in resource-constrained environments. This gives me a unique skill set for providing mission-focused guidance on these types of questions:
This article was originally published on the Idealware Blog in February of 2011. There’s been a ton of talk over at the NTEN Blog this month about Accidental Techies. I had a few thoughts on the phenomenon. If you don’t know, Accidental Techie is an endearing and/or self effacing term for someone who signed up for a clerical, administrative or other general purpose position and wound up doing technical work. Many full-blown techies start their careers accidentally like this. The NTEN discussion has wonderfully run the gamut. Robert Weiner, a well-known NPTech consultant, started things rolling with “Going From Accidental Techie To Technology Leader“, a… Read More »Accidental Technology
Congress can take a vote and change the time that the sun goes down. So why can’t they give me the 10 additional hours in each day that I keep lobbying for?
In addition to my fulfilling work at Earthjustice and the quality time at home with my lovely wife and Lego-obsessed 10 year old, here are some of the things that are keeping me busy that might interest you as well:
Last week I had the thrill of visiting a normally closed-to-the-public Science Building at UC Berkeley, and getting a tour of the lab where they examine interstellar space dust collected from the far side of Mars. NASA spent five or six years, using some of the best minds on the planet and $300,000,000, to develop the probe that went out past Mars to zip (at 400 miles a second) through comet tails and whatever else is out there, gathering dust. The most likely result of the project was that the probe would crash into an asteroid and drift out there until it wasted away. But it didn’t, and the scientists that I met on Saturday are now using these samples to learn things about our universe that are only speculative fiction today.
So, what does NASA know that we don’t about the benefits of taking risks?
It’s T minus 67 days and counting to the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference, which has risen to THE social and professional peak event in any given year for me. The conference runs from Sunday, April 26th through Tuesday, the 28th this year, and it’s at the Hilton in downtown SF, quite convenient to Bay Area based Techcafeteria. Let me tell you how excited I am, then share a couple of recommendations on how you can have a great time and support the work that NTEN does.
I’m a big fan of maxims, adages, anything that sums up an important, and possibly complex point in a sentence that can convey, if not the whole point, at least a conversation starter. The main challenge for a technology manager is communication, particularly with those who are uninterested and/or threatened by technological terms. I live and breathe this stuff, but I understand that I’m in the ten percent, the ten percent of people who like and are completely comfortable with technology. The rest of the world ranges from averse to highly competent, but not gaga over it all, like I am. Remembering that, and approaching each project and decision with that in mind, has helped me accomplish significant things for people who aren’t necessarily bought in to all of my ideas on first listen.