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In Disney’s Fantasia, Mickey, the sorcerer’s apprentice, enchants brooms to magically do his tedious chore. The problem is, Mickey is only an apprentice and although he can get things started, he is not wise enough to give the brooms an end point, an “enough”. I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot, lately, satiety. (It…

Ferris wheel with purple LED lights on the struts and multicolored baskets.

The virtuous thank-you cycle

We talk a lot about vicious cycles, and how it’s easy to end up in bad places because the incentives are all bad, but let me tell you a story. It’s a pleasant Saturday, my family is watching Star Trek: TNG together, and I’m in my home office, working on a side project and slightly…


New job title: Developer Advocate

I've had a lot of job titles in my career: Technical Writing Intern Queen of Documentation (It was 2000, OK?) Technical Writer I, II, III Technical Communicator Senior Technical Writer Technical Writing Consultant Documentation Architect Documentation Mercenary You might notice a theme there. I've been a technical writer for a lot of different companies, because…

Consulting retropsective

Consulting retropsective

I’ve been doing Agile for too many years to feel like I’ve learned something unless I identify it with a proper retrospective. I’m about to start an FTE job, and my consulting will obviously drop way off (but not entirely). So here we go: What went well I passionately loved the independence. I could fire…

BIG CONCEPTS small docs. User documentation is a failure of user interface. Faster and cheaper than making your developer write it. Elegant writing saves money. Paid by the anti-word.

Why are there no documentation bootcamps or schools?

Sarah Mei and Sarah Fox and some other people and I were talking on Twitter about code school graduates, and how they frequently do really well at mid-level positions because they have communication skills from their previous careers. Yeah, that is super interesting. Thanks for linking it. I guess that's why there's no writing boot…

Open Source Citizenship Award

Open Source Citizenship Award

I was at Open Source Bridge this week, with my kiddo Baz. We were both giving talks, and I was giving a workshop on interviewing with Carol Smith. Also I got to MC the slideshow karaoke part of the after-party, which was huge fun. But the big news is that I won an award for…


Lady Speaker Small Talk

Sometimes, I think the hardest part of going to conferences is the unstructured time – lunches and happy hours and sponsored parties. That’s the time I remember I’m surrounded by 2,445 total strangers. And I’m supposed to be networking with them. If I think too much about this, I end up at “what do I…

New Workshop at Portland Write the Docs

New Workshop at Portland Write the Docs

I’m excited to announce that I’m  going to be presenting a workshop associated with Write the Docs in Portland! Write the Docs is an exciting community-based conference that draws in a mixture of technical writers, support folks, independents of all stripes, API writers, open-source developers, and a wide variety of other types of people. We…

Publish and pull managers

Publish and pull managers

@kwugirl has done some great work around ask culture and guess culture (, and how frustrating it can be when you are framing communication the wrong way so that you are constantly rubbing on someone.  Ask culture says that it’s ok for someone to make a direct request for a favor, and it’s equally ok…

Many hands make a messy wiki

Many hands make a messy wiki

In October, I attended HydraConnect. To my relief, it was not a networking event for evil comic book characters, but rather an in-depth conference for people running the Hydra software, which is used in higher education (and other library-like places) to organize digital collections. When I walked in the first day, I didn’t even know that…

Upcoming appearances

Velocity Berlin
Minneapolis DevOps Meetup

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