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About Did you know...?

Written by | Monday, 28 June 2010 18:17 | Published in Topics
When I first volunteered for magazine duty, I was instructed to report for duty directly to Sergeant Orwig. I was told that 'papa Paul' runs a very tight ship and he never takes off his cap. I really didn't know what to expect when I first encountered him through the open (Skype) window. He looked at me and said "Well, what would you like to do in this persons army?" Now that's a first, I thought. I am offering to assist and I am asked what would I like? And he is also politically correct ('persons' army). "Hmmm, interesting army this guy's running here...", I thought to myself.

First impressions are important and Paul made a great one. Making people feel wanted and appreciated is the only way to sustain motivation and get things done. Creating a nice and fun environment for contributors is key and instrumental in making good things happen. Sometimes this simple "fun parameter" is overlooked and downgraded. Also, it's better to assist the learning process instead of providing immediate solutions. Perhaps it's my technical management background speaking here, but Paul reminds me of myself in this aspect. The most painful but rewarding managerial task is to see the mistake coming and abstain from offering the solution in order to give subordinates or peers the opportunity to "learn".

The most valuable skill anyone can learn is how to learn new things. All that is needed is the right motivation and maybe even a subtle push in the right direction.

Well, this is exactly what the goal of the "Did you know ...?" section I proposed to Paul is about. We would like all related articles to give just enough information to motivate the reader in order to trigger the learning process. There is no need for an in-depth tutorial (I am sure there will be other more appropriate sections for this), we just want to tickle peoples minds just enough to make them smile and think. The rest will be up to them. People need to relate with basic use case example and not case studies - this is what triggers the imagination and gets people thinking in different dimensions. 

I remember telling Paul that a successful "Did you know...?" article would be one that would generate a comment like: "Wow, I didn’t know that! I will use this in my XXX project to accomplish YYY."

Well, I am here and the "Did you know...?" section is a reality, so its safe to assume that Paul liked the idea. He even found me an excellent partner Babs Gösgens who also has strong feelings about the goals of this section. Babs and I have a number of short articles prepared and will be publishing them in the following issues of "our" magazine, but we would like to invite everyone to share his or her basic use case examples with the rest of us in the form of a 'Did you know...?" article. Together let's make the magic happen. Quoting Uri Geller, "The Stage is yours"!

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Nicholas G. Antimisiaris

Nicholas G. Antimisiaris

Nick, an Electrical Engineer and Computer Science veteran with extensive experience in the Telecommunications / Software industry in US and Greece, has been involved with opensource projects since 2002 and is loving it. He is a member of the Community Builder team on Joomlapolis as is known as nant in the Joomla universe.