Vertical Integration vs. Horizontal Integration

Per the request of a reader, I’m following up on one of my more popular articles on horizontal and vertical organization in companies to talk about horizontal and vertical integration in an industry. While the previous article was about how business conduct operations, this entry will talk about how they conduct strategy. And yes, I will explain why technical communicators should care (audience first, y’all!). Continue reading

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Retrospectives

This year, I was recently reminded, will mark 30 years since I graduated from high school. I’ve also noted that it’s been nine years since I first started doing work for Science Cheerleader, and six years since I finished chairing the International Space Development Conference (ISDC). I guess the 30-year mark is the one that caused me to look back a bit–that, and I was asked to write a brief retrospective piece about the ISDC. Concentrating on the future is good for some things, but sometimes it’s worth pausing, taking a look back, and seeing what progress you’ve made in life. There is a professional point to be made here, I promise. Continue reading

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Writing When Information is Scarce

I’ve written about research when there are plenty of sources to be had (here and here, for example), but occasionally I run into situations where publicly available information is hard to come by. What then? Continue reading

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Generational Approaches to Technology

On Sunday night I was enjoying a meal with my father, bonus mom, and several friends of theirs when I made the “mistake” of checking my phone because it vibrated, indicating that I had an email. Soon thereafter, I was treated to an extended discussion (grilling?) about how “your generation” uses technology. It was a bit like listening to an older version of my lecture to Millennials about what is and is not appropriate to share on social media, and while the conversation was civil, it did lead me to think enough to write a blog about it. Continue reading

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Creative Writing in a Business Setting

I’m a big fan of writing the first draft. If something hasn’t been done before, but needs to be done, I look on that as an opportunity to do something new. This could include anything from establishing job descriptions and codes of conduct for event volunteers to establishing the fields and layout for spreadsheets and tables to developing rules and forms for a contest. Continue reading

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Read the–What Do You Mean, There’s No Manual?

A friend sent me an article about the ongoing demise of hardware and software documentation in the tech world. I have found this trend vexing because a) I have been paid to write tech manuals and b) I actually READ the frickin’ manual (RTFM) when I have a question. Since this entry’s lengthy and I know you folks are busy, the short version is: tech manual readers must depend on third-party online help, which is often written primarily by programmers for programmers and assumes a certain level of knowledge that not all users share. There is still a place (and market) for detailed explanations of technology features or functions. If you have a few more minutes, you can read more of my reactions to the death of documentation. Continue reading

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How to Recognize a Bad Blog Entry

Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, I realized that the entry I was planning to post for this morning was pretty awful. Out of my desire to add value and because of my respect for you, my audience, I got up early this morning to scrap that entry to write about the above-cited topic instead. You’re welcome. Continue reading

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