Farewell to Technical Communication

Last May, I attended the STC Technical Communication Summit in Denver. It had been a couple of years since my last Summit, and it felt good to be there. I was among friends, on familiar ground, sharing expertise and tall tales, reveling in a kind of homecoming. But it was also a bittersweet occasion. At the end of my presentation on living in volatile contexts, I announced my farewell to technical communication.

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A Long Silence

Dear Readers,

Not for the first time, I break a long silence. Perhaps my longest silence ever.

In the past, I’ve written about being busy, lots of excuses for not writing, etc. All the experts on blogging say it is an error to not post regularly. I am in error.

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The Latest From Our Research

Here’s the latest update on “Probing Our Future,” the current research project conducted by The Transformation Society with the collaboration and support of Adobe Technical Communication:

Our Guest Blog Post, “Blazing the Future TechComm Trail” by Ray Gallon and Neus Lorenzo is on line at TechComm Central by Adobe. It provides a first reflection on the other activities in the project, “not to research new technologies, tools, or delivery channels, but to understand how the evolution and ongoing use of these things affects our practice, our needs, and the needs of our users, so we can better understand our path.”

Recording of the Webinar “Probing Our Future” from October 4, 2016 on Adobe Events

Webinar slides “Probing Our Future” on SlideShare

Storify transcript from the live Twitter chat on October 6, 2016

Earlier post on this blog about the project

Watch for our white paper, coming soon.

Enjoy!

Why the EU is Better Off Without the UK

Shortly after the Brexit vote, a French diplomat was quoted as saying,

Before, Britain had one foot in and one foot out. Now, they have one foot out and one foot in.

Ironic truth. To me, it is crystal clear that the European Union needs the UK, but not as a member – as a friend. Dear Britons, I am so glad you voted to leave – and I am also glad that you’re not going very far. You’ll still be there, just over the channel, playing in our back yard, vacationing in our sunny climes (unless that changes – global warming, you know…), and enjoying our food and wine.

Not only that, you’ll still be trading with us, fighting by our side – at least some of the time, and probably even welcoming Polish plumbers.

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Why the EU is Failing

News flash: The very day of this writing, former president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso announced that he has been hired by the banking firm, Goldman Sachs, in a “non-executive advisory role.” Goldman Sachs was the bank that advised former Greek governments how to paper over their excessive debt, and then speculated on that same debt. José Manuel Barroso was EU commission president at the time. You can understand why the average European citizen doesn’t like the EU when news of this sort comes out just after the Brexit vote.

Oh, yes – Barosso’s main job will be to mitigate the impact of Brexit – hah!

Note: This is not part 2 of Brexit, as I promised – that will come soon. I think this is needed first. Warning: it’s very long, this post is – but read it anyway.

In the flurry of post-Brexit hand wringing, I think there is an important point to be made, and the leaders of Europe aren’t going to make it, so I will (never say I don’t have hubris…).

J’accuse !

Yes, I accuse each and every European government, regardless of its political colour, of deliberately fomenting hate for the European Union among its nationals. Most European newspapers and magazines also bear responsibility for this.

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RIP Michel Rocard

Michel Rocard is dead. It will be a long time before any political figure appears, in France
or anywhere else, that has his rigorous intellect, his ethical position, or his clarity of vision.

890635-michel-rocard-psu
Michel Rocard, socialist militant in 1971. Source: Agence France Presse

He saw the need for France to disengage from its colonial holdings well before anyone else.

He was a true believer in the possibility of government by the voice of the people, with social justice – in short, a social democrat in the true sense of the term, not the way it’s been mangled by ideologues of all sort.

He was a true lover of Europe – a Europe of federated nations, working collectively for the common good – not just economically, but politically and socially as well. Not managed by technocrats, but by European citizens who felt themselves to be European citizens.

He saw, back in 2014, that the UK had done a lot of damage to the EU and needed to get out – about which more in my next post.

He was a staunch defender of open source software.

As prime minister, he passed the minimum revenue allocation for all French residents.

He believed that good decision making requires reflection, that you have to take the time to accomplish that.

He believed you need to be practical, and deal with reality as it is, in order to make life better, without losing an idealistic vision of how that might be.

He shall be sorely missed, even by people who don’t even know his name.

Four Years on the STC Board – A Review

Dear readers, I have just completed two terms as a director at large of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). I think those of you who are STC members deserve a review of what those four years have – and have not – accomplished.

When I first ran, I had a long list of issues that I wanted dealt with. I was going to insist that they be taken seriously, my intention was to be a real pain until the board looked at all of them. Much to my amazement, all the issues on my list got raised within the first six months of my board tenure, without my having to insist on anything! This despite the fact that from my first day, we were faced with the need to find a new Executive Director. Life on the STC board has been a series of surprises, obstacles, successes, and disappointments.

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