Monthly Archives: September 2005

Seiri, Discardia, and findability in a world of unneeded clutter

“Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management” (Masaaki Imai) has a few pages on seiri, removing unneeded items from the workspace – use Amazon to find them starting on p. 63.

The first step of housekeeping, seiri, entails classifying items in gemba into two categories – necessary and unnecessary – and discarding or removing the latter from gemba. … All sorts of objects can be found in gemba. A close look reveals that only a small number of htem are needed in daily work; many others either will never be used or will only be needed in the distant future….An easy rule of thumb is to remove anything that will not be used within the next 30 days.

This of course brings up thoughts of Discardia, which still has a few days to run this season. Discardia is a floating holiday to celebrate letting go; seiri is a part of a process of continuous quality improvement to make letting go part of a workplace ethos. And, for that matter, how can you have findability of key items in a workplace if the place is full of unused and unneeded objects?

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NSFNET notepad in Cornell Notes style

.flickr-photo { border: solid 1px #000000;}.flickr-yourcomment {}.flickr-frame { float: left; width: 150px; text-align: center; padding: 3px; margin-right: 10px;/* a suggestion – Flickr pink! *//* background-color: #FFE8F4; *//* border: 1px solid #FDD8EB; */}.flickr-caption { font: 75%; color: #666666; margin-top: 0px;}.flickr-buddyicon { margin-right:5px; vertical-align:middle; border: solid 1px;}.flickr-postedby { font: 75%;}

This is a page from the scratchpads used at the NSFNET project. It illustrates the “Cornell Notes” style of note taking, with a separate left and right column, and uses a quadrille grid for sketches.

I was at the University of Michigan Computing Center when the NSFNET project started, and did some contract work for CICNET, one of the NSFNET member networks.

Posted by Edward Vielmetti from Flickr.


Ann Arbor IT Zone: Search Engine Marketing with Laurie Baldwin and Andy Seidl

Good presentations at the IT Zone on Thursday. I didn’t live blog because there were too many questions I wanted to be a part of, but here are a few notes after the fact.

The presentation was a case study of a medical alert company that was disappointed in their Google adwords buys in driving traffic and business to their site. They engaged a team of people including Laurie Baldwin and Andy Seidl to fix that.

Two basic problems to address were that the cost of customer acquisition was too high ($150) and that their tracking of what sales channels were producing results was not good enough.

The solution involved tracking clicks and phone calls and mailings back to their source so that you could get customer acquisition cost on a per-acquisition or per-keyword basis, tracked all the way through to the sale and not just to the hit. Some good basic analytics helped figure out which keywords were working and which were too expensive or didn’t result in purchases.

A second part of the equation was to use a Blogsite to create a river of “long tail” content relevant to their market, so that people searching for eldercare resources would happen along their advertorial content as part of their search, clearly marked as such but still written in the style of a blog with relevant links and frequent updates.

The discussion turned to spam and blogspam. As long as you stay on message, make it clear where you come from, and don’t game Google, you are doing marketing, not blogspam. The content writing can be in-house if you have experts with time and a need to show their expertise, or outsourced to PR firms, marcom firms, or Blogomatic.

A useful source of inspiration for in-house experts is a competitive intelligence clipping feed so that you get a river of content to react to and link to if it’s linkworthy.

Some other people there:

Some people or folks not there but that I took notes on along the way:

A good chance to be out for an evening, headed home afterwards.

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Kim Chi Pok dinner recipe at Ypsi Dixit; a2b3 at BeWon

ypsi~dixit has a great simple illustrated recipe for Kim Chi Pokeum Bop using ingredients from the Korean grocery on Michigan Ave. next to Abe’s. Kim Chi Pok is “kim chi fried rice”, with an egg on top.

I will be out for the a2b3 lunch tomorrow at BeWon – you are all welcome to join in – and please help me join in my exploration of Korean food and groceries in the area. The comments on ypsi dixit include a helpful one from Doug who says

If you go as far afield as Canton twp., O’Sushi on ford road has excellent Bi Bim Bop-sizzling hot in the stone bowl,as it should be.

Adding that to the list for a field trip!

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Paperpoint: pocket presentations, on paper.

First, look at the pocketmod pages for some context. You take a piece of paper, cut, fold, twist, and you have a little 8-page book. It’s pretty neat.

I’ve been using blank PocketMods for prototyping presentations. Turn the paper sideways so that it’s in landscape format, and then use pairs of facing pages to do quick slide layout at the top and notes at the bottom. The name that came to mind immediately was PaperPoint. You could probably preprint something to make it snazzy, though I am finding that plain quadrille paper does just fine for me.

It’s remarkably liberating to use small cheap pieces of paper to do thinking on, knowing that if/when something good comes of it I can either scan in the works and mail a JPG or just photocopy and mail pre-folded. I’m using it at the moment to do the elevator pitch for The Vacuum Group LLC, my consulting firm, even though I don’t regularly go up and down elevators in this two-story town.

Paperpoint happens to be the name of an Australian fine consumer paper merchant, an Italian industrial paper information exchange, and a cool ETHZ paper and Bluetooth tool for driving a Powerpoint preso using a Nokia digital pen. An endodontic paper point is a device made of paper intended for use during endodontic therapy to dry, or apply medication to, the root canal of a tooth. A paper point is also a long narrow piece of paper used to mount beetles or other insects.

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Market report for September 28 2005

From the Ann Arbor farmers market.

End of basil season.
Tomatoes plentiful.
Tat soi is delicious.
Apple crop in. 1 peck seconds for sauce 5 dollars.
No lettuce.
Big nice butternut squash 2 or 2.50.
Lots of peppers, sweet and hot.
Quince from Mandy and Scott.
Farmer Glen has sweet potatoes.
How do you cook bitter melon? Sweetwaters kerrytown is hopping.
Jonathan is sleeping.
Pocketmod makes a nice market list and wallet.
Next stop food Coop and then school to pick up Saul.

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.