Going Paper to Digital

The Infamous Eta Class of Alpha Kappa Omega Beta Chapter circa 2005.

During college I was the webmaster for my fraternity, at the time two chapters. Also, juggling the secretary role gave me the unique privilege of maintaining documents for the organization. I actually enjoyed taking notes and making sure at least one person (me) knew what was happening and decisions being made.

Since my concentration in business school was management information systems, I saw an opportunity to flex the principles I was learning. We needed a way to manage our member’s information. So guess what I did? I built a content management system (CMS) from scratch.

I went about my way designing and making sure the database was scalable and that the user interface was friendly. It was technically sound.We went from information on paper to digital (buzz phrase these days is going “cloud”). I was proud of the work that I did and my brothers were excited about the presentation of the website because it looked cool. However, I was “getting high on my own supply”, per 1982’s Scarface.

The product/services I was providing wasn’t what Tony Montana was selling, but the feeling and lesson was similar.

Let me further explain. I was selling a product to my own organization (at the end, myself), which means, the value of the product was never presented. Because I had the resources and knowledge to get it done, value wasn’t communicated. Only I saw the system behind the pretty presentation.

We had the capabilities of having our own “Facebook” or “MySpace” where we can share private information, make specific information public, etc. There was a place to store documents. The problem? We had less than 50 members and out of all the members, there was a handful who was interested in leveraging the power of the CMS.

So what did I learn?

  1. It’s important to know your customer. This example is a project that majorly served myself and my vision. However, the by product was that it looked cool enough that people enjoyed seeing the face.
  2. Be aware of scaling. The right solution at the right time. In this example, building a CMS in 2005 was overkill for a very small organization.

Overall, no one hated me but I didn’t have a chance to correct my path at that point in time.

Questions? Comments? Always down to share lessons learned. Let’s talk story, holler @ me.

2017 Year In Review

Happy New Year! This artwork can be found at the Honolulu Art Museum. If you haven’t been there, make it part of your resolution. Plenty of inspiration.

Happy New Year!

I want to start off this blog with the top 5 blog posts I had in 2017:

  1. Seniors vs. Technology
  2. Hiking: Paved or the Unbeaten track
  3. Gaining Control: Keyboard Shortcuts
  4. Technology is Spoiling the Game
  5. Kaizen

It looks like I struck a chord with the challenge of our kūpuna (grandparents).  Check out the blog posts if you’re one of my new visitors.

2017 has been a year of growth for me. I got to connect with a lot of great, likeminded people in the community and continue to water these relationships. I went from working as an employee to shopping around for businesses to purchase to finally focusing on scoping my consulting business.  A lot of seeds I planted last year are now starting to grow. It’s awesome to see.

I got an opportunity to volunteer for a great event called Peace Day Hawaii and got to exercise my training skills by training how to navigate WordPress. Not only that but I was able to identify processes and provide an analysis of how the event was executed. All in all it was a great experience and I hope that I can help again this coming year.

Honolulu is not a bad place to have business and tech conferences. (Photo by D. Ramos)

I checked out quite a bit of conferences building up my toolbox and learning about the challenges local businesses are facing. One thing I realized is that a lot of people are operating in silos. I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. It’s just a matter of prioritizing what we’re all facing day to day and that’s not a bad thing.

I was probably more excited about seeing how organized Hawaiian Airlines’ warehouse than most other people. (Photo by D. Ramos)

At the tail end of the year, I was able to tour Hawaiian Airlines with the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals (YP) program. It was awesome to see their operations and I got even more excited when we met the inventory team. Learned a lot about how their facilities are organized so that they are running efficiently.

Join us every First Wednesday and bring your Excel headaches.

One of my biggest wins this year is establishing a meet up titled Spreadsheets n’ Brews. So far I’ve been able to help dozens of people with their challenges using Microsoft Excel. It might seem trivial but it’s part of my long term plans and it’s working. I really appreciate the good people at Village Bottleshop & Tasting Room for allowing my group to meet there since October.

Those are just some highlights from the top of my head. I’m pretty sure I’m missing a lot of other activities I’ve been involved. Got plenty of work to do. Wishing you the best for 2018.