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Why the Tectonic Speed of Government?

The original name was "The Glacial Speed of Government” but that title is both cliché and inaccurate, as today it implies a faster pace than it used to. I decided that “Tectonic Speed” is more accurate because you can push very hard, but change in government shows tremendous resistance.  However, when change happens it can occur in significant outbursts - and in those moments, there is great opportunity!

Part 1Part 2  |  Part 3  | Part 4 | Now the Video Version!
Recent posts

The Tectonic Speed of Government, Part 4: Momentum

This “Tectonic Speed” series is about why Government IT Projects take such a long time. The name refers to tectonic plates, rubbing against each other. No visible movement for a while then… CRACK! Government change is like that; it can take a long time to build, but when it happens it can be intense.  For more on that here is my 20:50 speech on this theme from the Code for America Summit 2020, which turned into a virtual event. (I can tell you that it’s 20:50 because of the PechaKucha-ish format: 25 slides for 50 seconds each.)**************************************************************************Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.**************************************************************************One impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a shake-up of priorities, including for IT Projects. (Note #1 - notes are below) For IT managers, March and …

Tectonic Speed of Government – PechaKucha Version

In March, I was scheduled to speak at the Code for America Summit about the “Tectonic Speed of Government,” which is my metaphor that Government change happens slowly (after the exertion of a lot of force with no visible result), but when it does happen it can be disruptive.   Then the Pandemic hit, the conference was canceled, and… we went through a Tectonic Shift (to a remote workplace). *************************************************************************Disclaimer:All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.*************************************************************************In March, like many of my peers I was too busy dealing with the Shift to have time for much else. However, in April and May, I had a little more time and some new perspective so I re-wrote my presentation (cutting it in half, for the Internet) and now planned it as a video.   One thing t…

But First... Let Me Take a Selfie

This piece began before the pandemic, but the use of our phones as tracking devices for contact tracing prompts tough questions about privacy and tracking that make this timelier than I expected. See the middle section for thoughts on this.***********************************************************************************************Disclaimer:All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.***********************************************************************************************“OK Google… Track Me All Day Long” Google Location History logs your every move, every day – if you turn it on. (To their credit, it’s off by default.) It’s worth asking - why would anyone want to do this? Well, I did it for a few years because I was curious about the results, in a narcissistic kind of way. What would it say about me? (Spoiler alert: not much but see below for details.) But also,…

Movie Theaters - R.I.P.

Last week, I posted an upbeat blog update about my system for managing vendors.  This week's update on a past blog is far bleaker: Movie Theaters as we know them are done

***********************************************************************************************Disclaimer:All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.***********************************************************************************************In January, I wrote piece about the movie “1917” and the movie-going experience, and how streaming services were hurting attendance.  You can find it here: https://blog.tectonicspeed.com/2020/01/movie-theaters-end-is-nigh-1917-and.htmlLittle did we know that two months later would come this crushing combination of events:1)    Movie theaters were forced to close for weeks (months?) - and they may only be able to re-open with strict seating limitations to maintain…

Update: A Success with Vendor Spam

How I'm managing vendor e-mails and phone calls...
I’m posting this to suggest that my peers may want to try it, also!

For the past few months, I’ve been setting aside Thursday afternoons from 4-5 to take vendor phone calls.  This was my response to the problem I wrote about as "Thank You for Your Sales Call/e-mail... Here's Why I Didn't Respond".*********************************************************************************************
Disclaimer:All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.
*********************************************************************************************Setting aside this one hour has proved to be a success on several levels:I feel zero guilt about ignoring the tsunami of incoming phone calls and e-mails.  (Note #1) What led me to write the first blog were my mixed emotions about the waste of human effort vendors were expendin…

How To Videos: Lucity Queries with Microsoft SQL Server and Excel

What follows is not a blog, but some suggestions on using Microsoft SQL Server "Views" to query your Lucity data using Excel.   This information is intended to assist Lucity software users, and not for any nefarious purposes.

I recommend watching the videos in Full Screen view and with HD resolution.  They're not as blurry as they look on this page!!  Each of these about two minutes long, but the original actions only took 50 seconds each.  (After recording them, I decided to slow them down to make them more watchable.)
1. How to create a SQL Server "View".  The video shows how to create a new View from the core Work Order table.  (WKORDER - see the data dictionary here.)  The video first shows the simple method of creating a view with all fields, then shows the more effective method of including only needed fields, and re-labeling them with their on-screen names.

Music: "A View to a Kill" - Duran Duran


2. How to Connect to the View with ExcelWith a view …

Working for Government IT Sucks... and You Should Do It, Too

Are you an IT worker who is dissatisfied with your current job? Are you burnt out from repetitive projects? Too much travel? Seeking something more fulfilling than company stock? (And if you’re not those things, do you know someone who is?) Then this is written for you!
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Disclaimer:All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.
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You are needed because government IT is going through a wave of employee retirements (along with the rest of government... it’s not just IT!)  Like employees, technology systems and devices are also retiring after serving well for many years. That’s a lot of change all at once; this is both a calamity and an opportunity. It’s also an example of the tectonic speed of …

Movie Theaters, the End is Nigh! 1917 and Netflix

Thoughts on Netflix and its Impact on Movie Exhibition After Seeing 1917First the review (with no plot spoilers beyond what's in the trailer)As a film, 1917 is excellent. The story is exciting, plausible, and well-told. The leads are likable and underplay their roles effectively. (These are British soldiers, after all.)  Some of the action scenes are stunning – the plane crash teased in the trailer is a high point. Another sequence in a bombed city was flashy (in both senses of the word), but I don’t understand what was lighting up the town he ran through at night. (Bombs? Flares? Who was firing them? Why?) The famous actors play their bits well, particularly Colin Firth, but I’m glad that the two leads are not well-known as it helps with the “it could be anyone” idea of a soldier grabbed at random on whom so much depends. More relevant to this post is that 1917 is a BIG SCREEN MOVIE. On the big screen the movie’s visually immersive, something that works particularly w…

Thank You for Your Sales Call/e-mail... Here's Why I Didn't Respond

Venting about the disruption of unsolicited sales calls and e-mails.  These modern scourges are enabled by new technology and allow sales to be more efficient but definitely not more effective.


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Disclaimer:All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.
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Look, I get it. Salespeople have a job to do; their job is to sell. That means reaching out to prospective clients and offering their products. (Note 1... notes are below.) As one of those prospects, I want to be clear about why I don't respond to unsolicited sales calls or e-mails. (Note 2

It’s not you, or your product, it’s the sales process.Here are three ways that the current one is flawed:
Time Constraints In my role as an IT Director, I receive about 30 ma…