Two Weeks since 2014 IA Summit

It’s been two weeks since we all returned to normal life from the IA Summit. I arrived in DC more energized than I have felt in a LONG time.

I am so excited to get to be a bigger part of this community and work with some ridiculously awesome people, including the folks at ASIS&T and my fellow chairs, Jessie DuVerneay and Mike Atherton.

You might be curious what (IA Summit things) we (Mike, Jessie, and I) have been up to the last two weeks. Here are some highlights:

  • Readjusted to our lives as well as possible (as did everyone returning from the Summit);
  • Thought and wrote and sketched a lot about each of our visions for #ias15 and beyond;
  • Kicked off what promises to be an amazing amount of shared documentation and coordination through Google Docs, Basecamp, and email;
  • Met twice (via Google Hangout): once for general brain dump and next steps and once for sharing our visions;
  • Had an awesome IAS14 retrospective (via Skype voice) with the IAS14 chairs—Aaron, Abby, and Johanna (who you should really thank)—and our main POCs at ASIS&T—Dick and Vanessa (who you should also thank);
  • Collaborated with Giles Colborne to launch the attendee survey;
  • Each had lots of individual conversations and emails with a variety of IA Summit people;
  • Heard from over 90 people who want to help with the 2015 IA Summit (and there’s lots of room for your help, too);
  • Talked about how the three of us are going to balance our duties (spoiler: I have to practice when to get involved and when to just mind my own damn business); and, well,
  • Got super excited and thankful about the year ahead!*

If you’re also super excited about the 2015 IA Summit in Minneapolis, we invite you to help us out by:

There will be lots more opportunities to follow our progress and to help out. Please do follow along!

* Reference to the 2014 IA Summit theme not intended, but then appreciated.

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One Medical: A truly excellent cross-channel experience

Yesterday I got to go to the doctor. It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about this truly excellent cross-channel experience.

Last fall, my partner Tony insisted that I go to the doctor. As I was doubled over in abdominal pain, he got out my computer and signed me up for One Medical Group.* It was something he’d been trying to convince me to do. I’d been putting it off, in part because going to a doctor at One Medical requires a $200 yearly membership fee. I wasn’t sure it was worth it, but at that point I just wanted to feel better.

Since the story of that illness is a winding one, here is a case study of my experience yesterday. It shows just how amazing the cross-channel experience of One Medical is (and that the $200 fee is so worth it).

Need identified: Our apartment

As I coughed up a loogie yesterday morning, Tony once again declared, “It’s time to go to the doctor.” (Are you noticing a theme in our relationship?) I like to think I’m a quick learner, so instead of arguing, I decide to listen the first time he says it.

Appointment made: Website

The booking form on the One Medical website allows you to select the provider you'd like to see, what kind of appointment you need, when you'd like to have it, and what you want to cover.I walk out of our bathroom and into our office. I wake up my iMac and go straight to the DC section of They use cookies or some other background tech to know that I want the DC site, and not the main site.

I log in (using 1Password, an awesome mulitchannel experience introduced to me by Tony) and see my dashboard. From there, I can make an appointment online.

When making an appointment online, I select who I’d like to see (“My Primary Care Team”), the type of visit, and when I’d like to go. There’s even a field where I type out a description of what I’d like to talk about.

(By the way, My Primary Care Team is a preference selected in your profile. The biggest difference between One Medical’s approach and the typical office is that you can change your preference whenever you like. The decision can be based on the staff bios posted on the site or after seeing a doctor in person. I really liked the first person I saw, so I’ve stuck with her. If you want to see other options when making an appointment online, you can select, “Any Available Provider.”)

On the next screen, I select the appointment slot that works for me. Five minutes after deciding I needed to see the doc, I was on the calendar.

Checking in: One Medical waiting room

I arrive a few minutes early for my appointment. This is about 2 hours after identifying the need. My insurance provider has changed since the last time I visited, so the receptionist takes my card, then invites me to sit down… in their beautiful waiting room.

The waiting room made a huge impression on me the first time I visited. It’s a nice place. So nice, it almost invites you to come hang out or work from there. There’s modern art on the walls, recent music playing, and glasses and a pitcher of water for your refreshment.

My reverie is briefly interrupted when the receptionist walks over to me and says, “Here’s your card, Veronica.” She walked over to me and used my first name. Most doctors I’ve been to yell at you from behind glass panels, “Msss. Eerrrb!”

I soon feel the need to cough and blow my nose. I go to the restroom, so that the other patients don’t have to listen. Have you ever felt like being polite about your sickness in a waiting room? I don’t know about you, but they usually make me feel sick even if I’m there for a routine visit.

The appointment: The examination room

As I leave the restroom to head back to the waiting room, I see my practitioner doing a little paperwork. Heather recognizes me and invites me to head directly to the examination room.**

I compliment her outfit, which is a lovely texture mixing of a lace button-up shirt tucked into a tweed pencil skirt in pale mulberry. Discussing fashion has become something of a tradition between us—not only are the practitioners and staff friendly and approachable, they wear business casual clothes. And it makes the place feel so darn civilized and welcoming.

Even the examination rooms stand out. Each one has a full sized desk with a desktop computer and proper desk chair. A chair for the patient is next to the desk. It makes me feel more like I’m in Heather’s office than an examination room.

We sit and chat about how I’m feeling. For the exam, she spreads a cloth on the examination table and I hop up, still fully dressed. She warns me when she’s going to look up my nose.

The examination’s pretty quick, and we sit back at the desk when it’s over. Heather recommends an over the counter expectorant and a prescribed nasal spray for the next three days. If I’m not feeling better by then, she recommends that I do a short course antibiotic. Since three days from now will be on the weekend, she voluntarily alerts the weekend phone staff that if I call back saying I still have a “yellow cough,” they’ll know to send the prescription to my pharmacy.

A little break: A park in DC

I’m back out in the world 15 minutes after the beginning of my appointment. There’s a host of food trucks nearby, so I stop for a few minutes to eat some dumplings before taking the metro back to my home office.

Prescription ready: Telephone

As my metro car pulls briefly into a station, I get a phone call. It’s an automated message from my pharmacy saying that the nasal spray is ready for pickup.

Because One Medical is awesome, Heather already knows which pharmacy I use, and she sent the nasal spray prescription directly there. It’s possible that the front desk staff help with this; the process is so smooth that I’m barely aware of it.

Meds acquisition: Pharmacy

I stop at the pharmacy on my way home from the metro. Before picking up the prescription, I find some to-go packs of tissues and the OTC drug Heather recommended. I’m sure it’s the right drug because she wrote the name and dose down on a sticky note for me (again, without me having to ask).

I give my name to the pharmacist, she pulls the prescription, and I buy it and the other two items.

Feeling better: Back in my apartment

24 hours after the need is identified, I’m already feeling better with a more productive cough. But more than that, I’m feeling awesome because I know I have a solid medical team backing my health.

And there’s more!

This short story doesn’t include many of the other amazing things about One Medical.

  • One Medical has offices in six major US cities, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more soon.
  • Referrals are wonderful. The One Medical staff take care to select specialists who take your insurance and who are as welcoming and capable as they are.
  • They have an app that enables you to request basic prescriptions.
  • If you aren’t into the app, you can call at any time to consult an on-call doctor. If you have to leave a message, they call you back.

Tony once used a combination of the app and the phone when we were visiting my family in St. Louis. He was able to get the prescriptions he needed, all while 800 miles from his doctor’s office.

It’s only the beginning

I’m amazed that the best cross-channel experience I’ve had is at my doctor’s office. This is the sort of thing that the 2012 IA Summit chairs wanted us to be creating, and now I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing it first hand.

Not only has it taken the pain out of going to the doctor, but it’s made me healthier and more committed to staying that way.

If you’re in the market for a new doctor, I highly recommend checking out One Medical Group.*

* That’s a referral link.

** Name changed, of course.

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Why the How I Met Your Mother finale makes it the most beautiful and real TV show ever

I admit that I was a reluctant fan of How I Met Your Mother (IMDB, Wikipedia, Amazon). My partner, Tony, LOVED the show, and introduced me to it pretty early in our relationship. So, I decided, hey, if he loves it, I’ll watch it.

If you want to be surprised, come read the essay after you’ve watched the finale. Just trust me that the show will be worth it. [Beware: SPOILERS]

Continue reading

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Announcing: The 2015 IA Summit Chairs

Hello all! I hope I got to see you at this past weekend’s IA Summit. If not, I really hope I see you next year, at the 2015 IA Summit in Minneapolis, MN,  April 21-26!

I would, of course, feel this way about every year at the Summit. Though this year was only my fourth in attendance, I feel so connected to IAS. I prefer not to remember the parts of my life where I didn’t get to enjoy the kind of camaraderie and learning it offers every year.

2015 will be especially dear to me, however, because I have the great honor of being one of three chairs. Mike AthertonJessica Duverneay, and I were chosen by this year’s chairs (Abby, Aaron, and Johanna) to lead the creative direction, content curation, and volunteer management. Happily, we’ll be collaborating with the awesome folks at ASIS&T to make everything happen.

What’s next?

0: Thank this year’s chairs (AbbyAaron, and Johanna) for their awesome, awesome work on #ias14. Year 15 was memorable not just for being a multiple of five!

1: Get pumped about joining us in Minneapolis in April.

2: Let us know if you want news or the opportunity to volunteer or sponsor.

3: Stay tuned! We’ve got a lot of awesome stuff ahead.

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Acoustic Jam at the 2014 IA Summit

Hey all, I am super pumped to see many of you in just one week in San Diego. I adore the IA Summit more than any other conference I’ve attended, and I am excited to tell you a bit about this year’s acoustic jam.

Update: Fakebook available!

We have so many AWESOME songs to sing and play tonight. Thank you to everyone who made this collection possible:

  • Amy Silvers @ A_Silvers
  • Andrea Resmini @resmini
  • Christian Crumlish @mediajunkie
  • Nathaniel Davis @iatheory
  • Wendy AFG Stengel @ wendywoowho

Download Volume 1 (pdf) and Volume 2 (zip)

Do me a favor, and focus on the awesomeness of the songs. If you’re curious about the weirdness of the presentation, I’d be glad to tell you a deliverable war story to add to your collection.

See and hear you all soon!

IAS14 Unplugged

Last year in Baltimore, a number of us very nearly drummed up an impromptu acoustic jam, but we didn’t end up fitting it in.

Thinking of that a few months ago, I sent a note asking this year’s chairs about whether they could supply a room where we could meet. And they greeted the idea with open arms! San Diego will, as in select past years, include an informal gathering of IAs who also happen to play and sing.

How to participate

If you want to participate, all you have to do is show up on Friday at 8pm in Nautilus 5. Bring your acoustic instrument of choice.

If you’ve got some planning in you, I also welcome you to recommend songs for the fakebook that I’m putting together, so folks can sing along without memorizing the words.

How to watch

Well, officially, jams aren’t for watching. They’re informal gatherings of musicians (even beginners), where everyone present is participating. We want this jam to have a fun, welcoming feel, which might mean kicking out observers.

You have been warned!

But don’t despair—if you love watching music without participating, we highly recommend attending karaoke on Saturday night. Of course, we also recommend attending karaoke if you do like to sing!

See you soon!

Don’t forget to submit song recommendations and bring along your ukulele, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, melodica, or whatever other instrument you would like to play.

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The Sketchnote Handbook, now in German!

GermanSketchnoteHandbook-CoverIn 2012, Mike Rhode asked a bunch of other sketchnoters, including myself, to contribute sketchnotes about how we sketchnote. Fifteen of us joyfully added our perspectives to Mike’s awesome Sketchnote Handbook.

And then, at the end of 2013, he got in touch to let us know that the Sketchnote Handbook was going to be printed in German, and we were again invited to contribute. Many of us very quickly agreed, and I’m excited to tell you that it’s available now: Das Sketchnote Handbuch by Mike Rhode and translated by Claudia Herling.

My contribution to Das Sketchnote Handbuch

I admit, the German version of my two-page spread was more fun to complete than creating the English version, which took care of the difficult parts of figuring out what to say and how to say it. For the German version, I also got to work with the awesome translator who did the whole book. Her name is Claudia Herling, and it was so rewarding collaborating with her.

Besides that, I had the pleasure of a one-to-one comparison of how far my illustration skills have come. I completed the German illustration fifteen months after the English illustration, and you can see how different they are. Both the block letters and the illustrations are more confident, and the composition as a whole is tighter, despite the layout being the same.

Sketchnoting is the primary way I practice drawing, so the improvement illustrates just what effective deliberate practice sketchnoting can be.

Be warned: It’s an illustration

Please very carefully note that both English and German contributions are illustrations, not sketchnotes. Since words can mean different things to different people, let me be clear: When I say sketchnotes, I mean live, hand drawn records of someone else’s presentation.*

These illustrations were anything but live—I drew and redrew, scanned, printed, drew again, rescanned, Photoshopped, and cut and pasted before each one was completed. I didn’t need as many iterations in the German version, but as you can see in the photo above, there’s more work in that illustration than the marks you see in the book.

The example sketchnotes throughout the Handbook, on the other hand, are more likely to be created live. Check them out to see what many of us do when we’re under pressure.

When you take a look at the featured sketchnoter contributions in the Sketchnote Handbook, however, remember that none of these flowed directly from our brains to pen to page. Though this makes them excellent at communicating our ideas, they’re optimistic compared to the reality of “live” sketchnoting.

Go try it out!

Whether you prefer English or German (or Russian, or Chinese or Czech, which are on their way), please do pick up a copy of Mike’s awesome handbook. He’s got a ton of great advice about how to use this fun, challenging, and rewarding skill.

PS: In case you’re in the US: You can also order Das Sketchnote Handbuch through Amazon.

* I’ve started to realize that this isn’t exactly how Mike (and others) use the term “sketchnotes.” Since it’s Mike’s term, I don’t want to be so bold to restrict its meaning, but on the other hand, I don’t want to muddy things up by willy-nilly suggesting another. Hence, the clarification above!

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Achieving Goals through Systems

So, it’s January 1st. It’s that time when we can’t help but reflect on the last year and think about how we’ll spend the next one. If you are setting some resolutions this year, I invite you to consider one of these systems to get you started.

Do the same simple thing every day

Years ago, I realized my life was better when I journaled. Writing regularly helped me consciously reflect on my life and my relationships. It made me more likely to act on the parts of my life that I wanted to change.

But, I had a problem—journaling regularly was tough. I felt compelled to provide backstory and complete accounts of events. I rarely started entries because they felt like such a commitment.

The Solution

So I lowered the bar. Instead of making my goal, “Write regularly in my journal.” My goal was this: “Write one short post every day.” Those words are inscribed at the top of the private blog I use for the journal.

The goal came with some rules: Continue reading

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