Joining a seminar session on practical semantic web applications yesterday evening, I found myself in a conference room at Hamburg’s Haus der Wirtschaft, mostly among what seemed to be scientists, consultants and librarians.
While the talk by a Adobe representative’s talk on XMP did not exceed much what can be found on their respective websites, Hans-Peter Schnurr, CEO of Ontoprise GmbH, brought in not just some very insightful experiments with the audience, but also impressive case studies showcasing their Service Resolution Management software, a structured and centralized repository of technical repair information to help companies fulfilling contracts all over the world learn from mistakes.
Having joined the OBML workgroup‘s 1st workshop at the University of Leipzig Max-Planck-Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology for the last two days, I am left quite impressed.
Not only by the presenters’ track records, but also by the sheer number and diversity of researchers and practitioners Prof. Dr. rer. nat habil. Heinrich Herre managed to bring together for the event. Commonly such gatherings here in Germany would consist of ten people at most — this time there were more than 50 experts, including international guests, from institutions and companies all over the country.
Nevertheless, something extremely re-assuring that I am taking away is not only the obvious development progress in the ontology sector, but also the fact, that even the most renowned experts in the field struggle with the very same technical insufficiencies as we do, when designing new data models for our SemaWorx application base.
Therefore we also had a very enlightening (entertaining goes without saying…) evening at local Cafe Madrid, where over the delicious meal discussion focus lay more on the practically achievable short-term benefits of current semantic modeling approaches, rather than their long-term optimization wishlist (hopefully I didn’t get this imprecise now… ;-)).
O.k. it’s been some time, since I visited or even wrote about the tables for coding regulars taking place the second Tuesday every month in Darmstadt. What has changed since then not only is that you now get your invitations mostly via XING instead of e-mail (though you’re of course still welcome to join unannouncedly as well…), but also location and size: the crowd regulars gathering there seems to have grown pretty much from intimate (once) to almost intimidating size; rarely finding a pub capable of seating the now at least 30 people together every month. Even though I did not meet with all too many acquaintances, I had a very pleasant evening with wonderful insights from most any part of the IT industy. Convince yourself and drop by next time you’re in the area…
Do you know, what it’s like to drive a real Ferrazzi ? Well, as far as this book is concerned (with a German Edition available as well), this Ferrazzi (model "Keith") clearly is driven by making both a connection and a difference.
Once you got used to sentences starting with expressions such as "networking super-hubs like me" ;-), you find this book to be a suprisingly complete guide to enhancing your very own interpersonal skills — always one connection at a time. At the beginning Keith Ferrazzi convincingly explains, why he believes reaching out to other people and offering your help being together the most effective (if not the only) way towards a happy as well as successful life, constantly telling examples from his own experience. You learn how to define your personal goals and then identify the right people to help you complete it. Then one gets instructions on how to get into the right mindset, while avoiding common pitfalls. Afterwards, Keith Ferrazzi teaches you the trade of how to successfully making connections, from in-advance research on the people you would like to meet, over pre-warming "cold" phone calls and adding meaning to small talk by showing some vulnerability, to detailed advice on how to make sure, the people you once contacted won’t forget about you, while you still successfully survive the information flood caused by phone calls, appointments and contacts you gather. Then you proceed to the advanced concepts, containing guides to mastering typical business scenarios: You learn to systematically expand your network by e.g. finding "anchor tenants" out of other social groupings, getting most out of conferences by adding your own events and finally, well, not eating alone by inviting other people for dinner. Here it has to be said, that Keith Ferrazzi knows the art of pulling together the right people inside out and that his single chapter of tips on running successful dinner parties probably makes up for more substance than some entire magazines devoted to solely that topic.
Though some of the author’s advice may need some adjustment to your particular cultural environment, following his guidelines building your own brand by neither giving in to hubris, nor getting boring, will inevitably allow you to get along with other people in your own life much more joy- and successfully.
Want to give Ferrazzi’s practical approaches a try ? Take this video as an example: