Every job has its benefits. I don’t mean 401k or paid sick leave. No, I’m talking about the unforeseen side effects of working in various industries. I remember getting free pizza at my first job as a dishwasher and I felt exceedingly blessed. I also remember getting free books from my time working at Eastern Washington Univ., but again I digress. So the question, what is the side benefits for working at a company filled with successful bloggers? Since I started working for LexBlog, I’ve wanted to try my hand at a serious blog.

At LexBlog, I will be attempting to use the LexBlog platform to launch my new blog. Unlike my failed attempt at a food blog years ago on google blogger: Grim’s Gratitudes, or my “never-was” blog Tech Comm Corner last year, my hope with this blog is to gain access to a community of scholars. Currently, I have two blogs on WordPress, my nerdy friendship club Currently Undecided and my courtship with my significant other, Intentional Vulnerability. I also write from time to time here on donuts. While blogger was meh and I haven’t had any issues with WordPress, when offered to use LexBlog to launch my new blog, I couldn’t help but think of all that I could learn.

So far, I reach out to a multitude of bloggers to add them to LexBlog for free, but I don’t ask them to switch platforms or even use LexBlog in any capacity though many of them have started subscribing to different channels. However, I never thought to ask what the process looked like to make a blog on LexBlog. I’m curious to see the result. So far, there has been mention of a checklist and I’ll be reaching out to the Success Team for more info. In any case, I’m excited.

My day is filled with looking at blog after blog, some good and some, well, not-so-much. I even follow several law blogs now. My day is filled with people collectively thinking, writing, and sharing about experiences, thoughts, ideas, and innovations. They are doing this at no-cost. Sure, many of these people want to advance their careers, but otherwise, the motivation seems to be more valuable. They want to share and explore the world. I use to have a professor that talked about the “power of thirty people in the room all knowledgeable about a singular subject”. The room has now expanded to incorporate the entire world. Blogs, allow you to step into that room. I hope to take that first step.

Between process and motivation, I feel as though I’ve stacked the deck in my favor. In a few weeks I’ll write another donuts post about all the things I’ve learned. Maybe my motivation will take on a new form different from the “collective experience”, but we’ll see. Right now, I’m in the planning stages. I want to give the serious effort of 2 posts a week and have a good idea on the tone I would like the blog to take. I have images already set for the first several posts. I even have a logo. With all the ingredients for a good blog, I hope to bake me a delicious multi-layered blog. The process will be the most interesting.

In the meantime, I will continue to reach out and learn what good blogging looks like. I’ll sift and sort as many law blogs as I can learning what good blogging looks like. I won’t go into details about what my new blog will entail. I will only say that it involves something that lawyers know all too well. So, stay tuned. We’ll see what we learn.

Lately, I’ve been think a ton about lead theory and how it concerns all of our jobs. In manufacturing, lead time is the amount of time between initiation and action. For example, you press a button on your coffee maker and 10 minutes later you have a full pot of coffee. For a full moving process like making a car, there can be hundreds of initiations within one major one. Look at Rube Goldberg machines if you want to know what I am talking about. Lead theory, in my mind, is the missing “verb” in the sea of adjectives that make up gestalt design principles, but now I’m just diving into the nerdom of information design. What I’m terribly getting at is this: you change 1 small part of a process, it can change the whole process.

I recently changed my email process. Instead of treating attorneys like I’m Oliver Twist asking for scraps of attention, I cut-to-the-chase and just tell them, “I want your blog”. In my new process, of which I have cut down dramatically, I can get through more than 20 emails in an hour. In the past, my record was 18 in an entire day’s worth of work. Match this with sorting 100+ websites a day, I can get through a ton of blogs. Honestly, it makes me feel like I’m sorting legos sometimes and I really like sorting. This whole change was not just, “fix your email”, but a whole series of small changes. Now we can dive into nerdom together.

The process, in its entirety, is fairly complicated with many small moving parts. Here is only some of the major steps: I look at the master list of contacted blogs. I pick one that is blank. I look over the website. I try to find author, size of the firm, contact info, style, and about 15+ other small things. If I get the sense that the website is already on LexBlog, I look for our logo, search on our contributors list, check hubspot, and look in our blog dashboard. Most of the time, I don’t have to dive that deep, but only every so often. If a blog does not meet our standard, I click the “r” button that highlights the row red and click from a dropdown as to why I chose to mark it red. If the blog is from a larger firm, has 5+ authors, multiple blogs, etc., I mark the row yellow for “let’s come back to this”.  If the blog is not red or yellow, I mark it blue meaning, “I call dibs!”. The blue blogs are mine. I’m going to email them and they will be my responsibility. I then get to finally email them.

You  can imagine why I’m able to max out sorting at 100/hour. This is of course assuming that I don’t have anything else going on. That is only one small part to the whole system. Emailing is its own process, responding to calls/emails, adding the memberships (seriously takes the longest time), checking hubspot, double checking other’s sheet work, and the extra work that I add for myself is really a ton. I would like to get through the master list as soon as possible and that’s why I keep trying to improve the process. At the 1st of December, I was happy to get through 10-20 blogs a day with emailing 5 bloggers. I was happy to get anyone responding. Now, the process is still a bit of a clunky Volkswagen beetle, but is able to keep pace at the Indy 500. I know the process can be faster.

This whole thought of “lead theory” and the correlation to the LexBlog method, as I am coining it now, was spurred by a documentary I watched multiple times every year in high school. I was a runner and my coach was none other than Pat Tyson. If you’ve worn Nikes, he is one of the guys to thank. In cross country, Tyson would show documentaries and movies all the time. Billy Mills was one of my favorite. When Billy talked about going just “snap his fingers” faster, I would be filled with a drive to do better. By the way: Billy Mills interview can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfLLNksZmoY. If you watched it, you could understand why focusing on just one small instant can change the outcome of an entire race. It also makes sense why this interview reminded me of manufacturing theories. In the case of my work at LexBlog, small instances define everything that I do.

So, if you made it this far into the post, I hope that you glean one thing: change one small thing at a time. Find the small things that work. For the things that don’t, see if you can’t make them just a snap faster. The picture is the first bite of a well deserved donut.

Today, our Director of Product, Jared Sulzdorf, announced in our Slack channel that the Gutenberg editor plugin was installed on our Donuts blog so I thought I would take this opportunity to try out the new editor and write something!

I’m not the type of person that’s afraid of trying new things or taking a risk, especially if I think the risk is worth the reward. For example, one of my favorite hobbies is fire dancing, which is inherently full of risk (yes I burn myself sometimes). But when the news of this new WordPress editor came out there was a lot of controversy and backlash in the WordPress community. The unknown(s) of this new editor seemed scary – will it still work with my plugins?? Will the bugs be resolved? Will my blog implode??

I looked at the Gutenberg test editor a few months ago and was surprised with just how different it looked. What happened to the familiar post editor that I knew and loved?? I’m ashamed to say that instead of trying it, I closed the browser tab and didn’t look back, rejecting the coming change instead of embracing it.

I’m not surprised that the new editor is a very different writing experience, the “blocks” feature is pretty cool and interactive. I like how I can move individual blocks of text and even apply custom background and text colors to my blocks! Apparently you can even format and save blocks for future posts. Adding media in a block is a breeze! I also like how Publishing tools, Categories, Tags, Featured Image and Excerpt fields have moved to one location in the “Document” tab:

Sometime in the near future, I read this post in WP Tavern that offered an explanation for why its time for WordPress to make a big change. It reminded me that change is sometimes hard, sometimes scary, but its necessary for us to learn and grow.

Now I’m using the Gutenberg editor to figure out my thoughts and share them just like I always have, and its not so scary.

Kevin O’Keefe’s schedule over the past year has been filled with travel to such interesting locations. Speaking engagements, meetings, and conferences in London, Amsterdam and New Orleans etc.

As a lover of travel I must say I was a little jealous when an instant message from Kevin popped up telling me he was enjoying the pub culture in London and in particular the beer.

Kevin’s visit to Amsterdam was of particular interest to me as it is absolutely one of my favorite places in the world.

Upon his return from far flung locales Kevin will often stop by my office to chat about his latest trip. I’m always curious to know if he had a chance to go to this or that museum etc.

What he invariably talks about is the people he has met and how they inspire him.

This week through a FaceBook live interview that Bob Ambrogi and Kevin did with Kate Fazio, I too was inspired. She is a woman who has transitioned from the corporate world to further the mission of Justice Connect, an NGO that provides legal assistance to people and other NGO’s. She was inspired by how the use of technology could efficiently provide help to more people and also help people to help themselves.

I was inspired by how Ms. Fazio was using technology but more than that, I was inspired by the mission of Justice Connect. As someone who spent many years working for what was predominantly a criminal defense law firm I know that there is a justice gap.

Take the case of David Milgaard who spent 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. I was so proud of the lawyers I worked with who spent untold hours/years to get justice for David. I still remember the happy day it was announced that he would be released.

Sadly the case of David Milgaard is not an isolated one. Organizations throughout the world are working to close the justice gap and young women like Kate Fazio are out there making a difference.

Thanks to Bob and Kevin for interviewing Kate Fazio. She inspires me. Her enthusiasm is infectious.

I was looking forward to writing about an intriguing bug in the new FireFox Quantum browser. I was looking forward to depicting the obscure CSS syntax that it bungles, and I was looking forward to explaining just what I plan to do about that. Given the rash of workplace abuses in the news lately, I’m not going to write about technology this week. Instead I’m going to write about the best advice I’ve ever heard:

Be absolutely professional in everything you do.Larry Ullman

Larry Ullman is the biggest influence on my career as a programmer. I’ve devoured all of his books many times. It is no exaggeration to say that the reason I have a family is because of the words this man has written in many, many books. And from all of his sage wisdom, that right there is the pearl. This advice was originally in reference to something quaint, like code or clients or invoices. It still works for that stuff.

Honestly, I struggle with this advice every single day. I often re-read myself in tickets or emails and wish that I had found a way to be more patient, more thorough, more researched. But what I can’t fathom is a workplace where this struggle includes the desire to harm a coworker physically or mentally.

It’s been a while Larry, but there are many of us out here who still read your books and still take your advice. And many more who should.