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92% of all search engine traffic goes through Google.
Yours probably shouldn’t.

For 20 years, Google has arguably had some of the most relevant search results. But what Google does with your searches now is very different than 20 years ago. It’s no longer organic, your search results are different depending on what Google knows about you and how Google would like to shape your opinion — yes, even when you’re not yet logged in.

If you’re doing research about a diverse of array of things like we Instructional Designers often do, know that Google is not your best bet. They won’t tell you what they’re not telling you or why, so you’re always peering into a highly curated and mysteriously influenced bubble.

This brings up all sorts of issues in terms of privacy and manipulation that I wish more people cared about. But especially for anyone trying to do research, it’s important to note that Google search results do not represent reality. At best they are a targeted subset of reality designed for “reasons” that will never be clear to the person doing the searching.

DuckDuckGo is my default search engine, which mashes up results from a few web crawling services (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) in a less individually influenced way.

Many people prefer StartPage.com, which uses the same Google-indexed results but via proxy and thus cannot be targeted to you individually.

And there are other options if you want more. Whatever you chose, please know that you have a choice — one that may (or may not!) come up as you’re Googling for things.

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One of the things I do actually love about these days is the high-quality productions coming out of the homegrown, independent, part-time, content creators as seen on YouTube. Every so often I share something from the folks I follow and learn from all the time.

One of those people is Ricky, aka Two Bit da Vinci, and here’s one great example of him explaining something that I’ve known about since I was a teenager, but never really quite understood:

How heating & cooling actually works in our homes!

…okay, well maybe it’s just me but I love a good explanation and I think this one is pretty awesome.

Here’s the video description:
What if I told you there was a type of heater, that breaks the laws of physics? Ok, so that’s not exactly true, but heat pumps are nothing short of magical. See how it can be both 500% efficient, and not break the laws of physics!

Pretty cool, right?
(get it, cool? because it’s about… ah nevermind)

If you have a favorite YouTuber that I should know about, I’m always open to learning more :)

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Somewhere in the 1990s, it became a baseline expectation for most Professionals that they knew how to use a computer (i.e. mouse/keyboard). Before this it was largely the domain of specialists and enthusiasts.

In the 2000s, baseline expectations included that they also knew how to use the internet (i.e. search). Before this it was largely the domain of specialists and enthusiasts.

In the 2010s, baseline expectations came to include some kind of online presence (i.e. social media). Before this it was largely the domain of specialists and enthusiasts.

I believe that in these 2020s, it will become a baseline expectation for most Professionals that they know how to do some form of data analysis (i.e. track/predict behavior). Until now it has largely been the domain of specialists and enthusiasts.

Like with the previous changes in expectations, some people won’t make the jump. Not everyone wants to grow in this direction, and some folks will use the transition as reason to leave their chosen profession.

That’s fine. It’s their choice.

Those that remain in the game are choosing to compete on the new playing field.

Like before, complaining won’t help.
Like before, learning will!

…And the sooner, the better.

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For 6-months now, I’ve made sure I have each of the following blocked out on my calendar every week. My life/work is better for it!
  1. User Interview (30min)
  2. Video production (1hr)
  3. Data Improvements (1hr)
  4. GoGoDone Productivity Hour (2 × 1hr)
  5. Weekly Review (1hr)

Why these work so great together:

One user interview per week helps me keep informed about what really matters to people who aren’t in Learning & Development, and how they speak about their own needs. It also really helps them to feel heard, me to test stuff, and it’s a strategic opportunity to reach out to others in different roles throughout my global organization so I can help connect those dots for others.

Recording and editing one video per week helps me explain the changes happening in ways that people can understand, and it keeps my videos short. It generally takes me an hour to make 2-8min video from start to finish.

Making time for data improvements is critical for reducing the time spent juggling spreadsheets for everyone in my organization. My manager and LMS admin are both invited to this one, but even if they have conflicts, I still spend 1hr per week making the data we deal with daily make more sense.

The GoGoDone that I host every Monday & Friday is a surprise hit for our globally distributed team! They’re basically drop-in coworking sessions that are 2-parts pomodoro, 1-part team bonding, but they’re WAY more fun they they sound ;) If you’re not yet hip to this remote-working powertool, check out https://www.linkedin.com/company/gogodone/

Lastly, the GTD-style Weekly Review is the scheduled close of my week. It’s how I bookmark all the things I didn’t get to “done”, and strategize for the coming week based on all the new info & changes from the previous week. Ideally, this would fit within my allocated work hours, but in reality I often do this is on my own time just so I don’t go crazy. Ok, well…crazier :D

While I can’t always get to each of these every week, having the time set aside in advance helps me hit these targets more often than not — even when it’s super busy.

My world is definitely better for these 5.5hrs of recurring schedule placeholders. Creating measurable habits out of listening to people, making media, improving data, amplifying productivity, & reflection/reprioritization is highly recommended!

Do you have anything like this that you schedule in every week? Do tell!

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First, there is only the mess of data
The initial state of entropy
Data gathered and stored
But in raw and chaotic rest

Perhaps this is all that there will ever be
As awareness and effort are needed
To awaken actionable insights
From this crystalized formation

To prepare this raw material
There are many choices to make
Questions to ask
Tests to apply

We sort and arrange data
In order to shape it
Like carving a block of wood or stone
What we chip away
We still call wood or stone
But it is not the part we are looking for
So we disregard it

The conclusion precedes the creation
It comes from the data
But is not in every splinter or pebble of it
We elicit it
As we define it
It guides us to itself

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