The Baby Boomer Millennials Article

Someone shared this article with me today and I felt the need to respond in poem.

This analysis does nothing to undo our paralysis. The author tries hard to assign blame, but has no idea how to win this game. He can paint people with a large brush stroke, but has he even talked to regular folk? This was nothing novel; it was more of the same. If government debt is our frustration, Our solution must be innovation.

Live Streaming Events

Last night I helped present a webinar for folks in the Code for America network about live streaming their events. Most of what I learned about YouTube and live-streaming came from my friend Lon Seidman whom I helped film and edit with at CES a couple years ago. You can spend a lot of money on live streaming but ultimately the goal is to get a decent picture of your presenter and really good audio.

If you are using an iPhone you can get an inexpensive lav microphone and a long cord, along with a tripod and mount to record individual speakers. However you can also invest in some fancier equipment. The equipment I used included:

  1. Elgato Camlink - connects camera to laptop for livestreaming purposes.
  2. Alta Pro Tripod - to better position the camera
  3. Sony a6000 camera
  4. Zoom/gun microphone for focused audio
  5. MacBook Pro
  6. OBStudio
  7. Facebook Live

When recording I faced several challenges. The first was that the camera only transmits audio over HDMI when it is in video recording mode. Due to some EU regulations, video recording mode automatically stops on the a6000 after about 30 minutes. So I had to keep re-enabling recording mode. Another issue is that the a6000 does not recharge from its regular charging port while it is on. So having a backup battery or Sony’s official wire would have made it easier.

Ultimately it took a lot of tinkering to get to a setup that worked well and to understand the potential kinks. I strongly recommend testing your setup before trying to live stream for real.

Decoupling Myself

One of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis, especially at Code for Boston, is trying to remove myself as a dependency from the organization. There is a difference between success because you are good at something and success because you have built an organization that is good at something. As Al Gore is fond of saying, “if you want to go quickly go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

The hardest part of decoupling is effective delegation. As you try and remove yourself as a dependency you quickly realize that the vision in your head of what needs to be done does not exist in everyone else’s heads. Yesterday I put up some community asks to the folks at Code for Boston and after I put up those asks some members asked me about them. I then realized I had not given everyone all the information they needed to fulfill those asks. Delegation is not a free activity.

The individual hero is the opposite of organizational success. If you want to test whether you have succeeded in decoupling yourself you might try to step back when a big project is due. It can be challenging to step back and watch something you are a part of fail. However that failure is and should be a signal to the rest of the world that the team you are on is not resilient to your absence. In the words of a co-worker of mine, your team has a bus number of one.

Tools for Journalism

One of the places I think is ripe for innovation is journalism. That is why I have been working on some side projects with Doug and Christine of CTNewsJunkie. Last week we launched bills.ctnewsjunkie.com, a tool for sharing your opinion about activity in the Connecticut legislature. We are using software as lever to help inform the public about their world.

Over a year ago I worked with them to launch the CTNewsJunkie Voter Guide. The idea behind the voter guide was to better make available to the public information about the candidates running for office. The app has seen large year over year growth, especially as we focused on providing information on municipal candidates last cycle. People are clearly starving for information about their communities and they want something that is a little more authoritative than Facebook.

Check out my two apps and share any feedback you have in the comments below.

The Decline of Social Networks

Up until a few months ago my primary outlet for writing has been on Facebook. Facebook provides a great user experience and importantly to me has an integration with the sharing features in macOS and iOS. This made it easy to copy a quote from an article I found and link it to my friends so they could get a glimpse into my own thinking. Unfortunately due to recent changes in the news feed and maybe the progression of life, it feels like Facebook is turning into a ghost town. I find myself spending more time on Twitter.

While I do not dislike Facebook and other social networks as much as some people, I have decided that in the long run it is better to own my content. Going forward I will talk more about my work and my experiences at Code for Boston along with interesting writing and videos that I find.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.