3 simple questions to help you ask better questions.

 

Is there such a thing as a stupid question? I say Yes, I think there is. I think stupid questions are questions that people who fill time but don’t get to the root of an issue. I think stupid questions are questions that are so generic they can’t help anyone including the person asking them. I think stupid questions are questions you ask because you know the answer or think you do and you are more interested in sharing your answer than learning from the person you are asking.

So you might think I am an anti-question guy, on the contrary. I think question asking is a skill all good leaders own. In my opinion, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you ask someone a question?

1. Am I willing to be vulnerable? – Most awful questions come from here. We want to sound like a good leader, not a good learner. I am a leader but guess what I am a learner. I don’t know lots of stuff. If you want to ask a good question be vulnerable enough to ask something that isn’t so generic it doesn’t help anyone.

2. Can I find the answer to my question on google? Don’t ask questions you can google on your iPhone. Ask something that demands the person you are asking to think before they answer. To ask clarifying questions to help understand what you are trying to say.

3. How am I going to apply the answer I receive from the question I am asking? Am I asking this question to gain more information or am I looking for ways apply it and have it help me grow. Questions asked from a framework of application rather than from knowledge acquisition will always lead to growth.

One of the things I love most is how Jesus was able to cut to the core of an issue. He saw past the question to the heart of the matter. He also answered lots of questions with even better questions. In order to ask better questions of others, I think we need to start by asking ourselves better questions first.

Jim Wideman Google Easter Egg

Google Search

I have always found Easter Eggs in video games and movies fun. I stumbled upon an easter egg that had to have been put there by Jim Wideman. Searching google for the answer will do two things 1. You will be trusted by Jim Wideman – He trusts no one who hasn’t Googled at least once today 2. You will find out the answer to a question Jim asks often. “What is the loneliest number?”

The Jim Wideman Google Easter Egg – Google “What’s the loneliest number”

Here are a few others I thought were fun.

Tilt – Type in the world tilt in your google browser and see what happens.

Firefox logo in a wheat field. Type 45° 7’25.87″N 123° 6’48.97″W  in your google browser then switch to satellite view.

Find any actor or actress bacon number – 

Six Degrees Of Bacon is a popular game where people try to guess how actors are connected to Kevin Bacon through movies they’ve been in. Now Google is making it easy with a new “bacon number” search.

To get the “bacon number” of any actor, simply start your search with “bacon number” followed by the actor’s name. For example, “bacon number Jim Carrey”

No Chuck Norris? – Is it possible?

Google “zerg rush” to play a video game with your search results.

Gravity – Google “Gravity” and click on the first link.

Here’s one for Kenny Conley – Walking directions in google maps from “The Shire to Mordor”

Google space. The Google meets Angry Birds.

Google sphere. Pretty straight forward.

Epic Google. Think Google is getting to big for its own good? You may enjoy this one.

 

Why I picked Feedly to be my new RSS reader

feedly

After looking online for other options due Google killing it’s still very popular Google reader I settled on Feedly.com.

1. It’s Free – I didn’t want to pay a subscription for my RSS service.
2. It’s Web-based and mobile
3. The workflow is very like Google Reader but with some welcome changes.
4. It’s social media integration is better than google’s
5. Syncs across all devices.
6. Seamlessly imports all your google feeds

Importing your Google Reader account
To import your google reader feeds and categories over to feedly, simply login to your feedly using your google account. Feedly will automatically sync your Google Reader account with feedly.

7. Allows for minimalistic reading (my favorite) or a more visual approach (love the flexibility)

Overall have used feedly for the past week and so far so google who?

Google kills Google Reader

rip-google-reader

In case you missed it last week Google decided to kill google reader. Lots of my readers use google reader as I have for the past 5 years. I see RSS readers as functional so I have never really looked for anything other than google reader. When I heard that Google was killing their RSS reader I started looking for new options for the first time in 5 or 6 years.

If you are going to continue to subscribe to my blog how are you going to do it?

There are two ways to still receive content from my blog. 

1. Email subscription. 


 

2. New RSS reader. 

Here are the top 5 RSS readers in my opinion –

1. Feedly – Really like this one. like the interface and options to share content.

2. The Old Reader – Probably the closest thing you will find to Google Reader.

3. Newsblur – Another close cousin to Google Reader. Great user interface.

4. Flipboard – very interactive interface iPhone, iPad and Android only.

5. reeder – Mac app, iPhone and iPad versions as well.

 

Check them out for yourself and consider adding my feed to your new reader Thanks!

http://feeds.feedburner.com/samluce/sUyT

Free Online Collaboration Tool: Teamlab.com

I came across this tool the other day on Techcrunch. It is a free open-source collaboration tool. A few months ago when we were working on God To The Rescue we used Google Docs. It worked but it was a bit cumbersome. We are about to start working on a curriculum for Summer of 2012 and Christmas of 2011. This time around we are going to try Teamlab.com I think this tool is going to be perfect here’s why.

1. Has milestones – You can keep your project on task with goals and milestones. We got God To The Rescue out a bit later than we wanted. I do much better with deadlines so this is very nice in a collaborative setting.

2. Has chat – you can do a live chat with one or more of your collaborators

3. Has document editing.  I like this because it is keept someone different than google docs. I use google docs quite a bit. I like it but the interface is a bit cluttered and I prefer editing in Pages.

4. They are working on internal email – again this would be perfect for collaboration everything in one place.

5. It’s free – free is always nice.

6. It’s a great way for me to work on multiple projects at one time in one place.

 

I’m using it to work on collaborative curriculum development – Other uses I could see

1. Multi-site anything
2. A great way to leverage and empower volunteers
3.VBS planning tool
4. Camp planning tool
5. Leadership development.

It’s a great free resource that you need to at least check out even if you don’t end up using it.