I feel comfortable making the assumption that this is a family in either a newly-added TV room or in a newly-occupied house. I feel less comfortable making assumptions about what they’re watching:
Last Saturday at the Horseshoe Tavern, The Cybertronic Spree, a band dressed up as characters from the 1986 Transformers movie, put on a killer show featuring tunes from the film’s soundtrack. They opened with Stan Bush’s cheesetastic and oh-so-eighties The Touch, and they’ve just posted their own video of their performance on YouTube. With audio straight from the soundboard and video shot from several vantage point, including a GoPro camera mounted on the headstock of Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime’s bass guitar, it’s the highest-quality video of the show that you’ll see:
For reference, here’s one of the scenes from the movie in which the song was used — the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron:
Some of them had harder day’s nights than others.
College Humor hits the nail of the head in their parody, Every Tech Commercial, which features the tropes and cliches of…every tech commercial. It also says what I’ve been saying — and demonstrating — for years: you can’t properly promote technology without an accordion.
A few years back, Daniel “A Whole New Mind” Pink wrote and Rob Ten Pas illustrated a manga career guide titled Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. The trailer — that’s right, this book has a trailer — gives a quick overview:
One of the key pieces of advice that book gives is “Think strengths, not weaknesses”. It’s covered in this excerpt, in which Johnny, who’s trapped in a dead-end job, gets an important lesson from Diana, the magical career advisor who appears whenever he breaks apart a pair of special chopsticks:
The names on those two bobbleheads are:
Buckingham, with Donald O. Clifton, wrote a book titled Now, Discover Your Strengths, which is tied to a Gallup personal assessment system called StrengthsFinder. It features a test that measures you along 34 dimensions called “talent themes” that everyone has to varying degrees. The goal of the test is to find your “top five” themes — the things that have the greatest impact on your behaviour and performance — so that you can focus on them.
The themes fall into four different domains of leadership strength…
…and the themes themselves are:
The accented themes — Activator, Woo, Positivity, Ideation, and Strategic — are special, at least to me. They’re my strengths.
As I wrote in an earlier post, there were a number of things I enjoyed about my tenure at Microsoft. One of those things were the many perks that they provided for their employees, which included some personal health and development goodies, and one of them was the Gallup StrengthsFinder test. As part of the annual team-building exercise for the Developer and Platform Evangelism group in Canada have taken it, I’ve taken it twice (on Microsoft’s dime, of course), and the results have been consistent. If you get the opportunity, you should take the StrengthsFinder test. There isn’t much better advice than “know thyself”, and having seen my own results, as well as those of my former teammates, I’d have to say it’s pretty accurate.
While going through some paper files in my home office, I found my last StrengthsFinder evaluation and thought, “Hey, why not post this for kicks?” A quick scan and an OCR later, I had something ready to copy and paste into a blog entry, and here it is for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
My “top 5” strengths are, in order, with the first one being my strongest:
I think that sums me up rather nicely. The detailed report appears below.
You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.
Action items for the Positivity theme:
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path—your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.
Action items for the Strategic theme:
Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet—lots of them.
Action items for the Woo theme:
You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
Action items for the Ideation theme:
“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still some things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
Action items for the Activator theme: