What Should I Buy to __________

source: http://www.marriedtothesea.com/index.php?date=110410

Plenty of my friends who look at me as their IT guy always ask, “What kind of computer should I buy? What kind of software/service should I put my money on?” I end up asking questions to help shape their decision. On the other hand, most of my time in workplaces, decision makers have invested money into software without including IT in the early stages. That window of opportunity of providing valuable insight has passed compared to my friends who ask my opinion.  This approach is a problem but not impossible to fix.

To get started on the fix, here are a few of the questions I ask decision makers:

  1. What are you trying to get done?
  2. How can you measure your activities?
  3. What’s your budget?
  4. When are you trying to get this done?
  5. Who’s your audience?

These seem like common business questions but from experience, I’ve seen many people invested in the day to day, heads in the grass activities. I don’t blame them but I want to help. I sincerely believe that if basic questions like those are answered initially, we have  a stronger chance of finding an appropriate solution and success. Also, it’s not too late to establish those basic answers and shape the current. Nothing is impossible but we have to manage expectations and be realistic about the process.

Have you experience the phenomenon of putting the carriage before the horse? How do you deal with it? Feel free to holler @ me and we can talk story.

Old Technology Meets New: Honolulu Bikeshare Program

Biki Racks across the street from the Honolulu Museum. Super convenient especially with all the locations. Can’t wait for the bicycles.

I was walking through my neighborhood to get to an appointment noticed something new. All these bicycle racks with a charge box popped up. My mind started thinking, “This is awesome”. Instantaneously I saw the benefits.

A little background. 5 years ago I was an avid bicyclist commuting from work to home. I enjoyed the breeze, the commute, and the activity. However, one faithful day my bicycle was stolen and I said “nevermind, I don’t want to risk having my property stolen again.” Thievery is rampant in paradise.

Now that there is a bikeshare program, Bikeshare Hawaii BIKI, I am extremely interested in riding a bicycle again. some benefits I thought was awesome is the following:

  1. I do not need to register the bicycle. The responsibility becomes the community and from what I learned recently the for profit company maintaining the bikes and bike racks. Meaning, if something is stolen, it can still be reported, but the for profit company/community is more invested in a) replacing or b) finding the culprit. When my bike was stolen 5 years ago, let’s be honest, even I didn’t care because of the weight of responsibility vs. the convenience.
  2. Conveniently get to places. I hate parking out here in Hawaii. Driving around for half an hour is something I don’t want to do if my destination is a 15 minute walk away from me which could mean a 5 minute bicycle ride. Not only that, but paying for parking.
  3. Technology to gather data. Each bicycle rack can conveniently keep track of the usages. Being able to keep track of usage also helps anticipate maintenance costs. Anticipating maintenance costs means we can have better estimates of how many parts are needed to keep the system going. I’m excited to see how this rolls out.

Do you have experience with Bike Shares? What’s your opinion? Feel free to holler @ me.