Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Appreciating Finance Committees(!)

Sometimes we don't really appreciate how well run an established organization can be until we work with a newly formed one.  For example, I sit on the Finance Committee of BCNet, and have been part of the committee for several years.  Over the years there have been several opportunities to improve the process and the reporting.  Although I would characterize these changes as minor tweaks to a well oiled machine, I always thought we had lots of room for improvement.

In contrast, the Canadian University Council of CIOs (CUCCIO) is a developing organization.  I'm on the Finance Committee for this organization too.  Although CUCCIO's finances are in good shape, I've discovered we have a long way to go before it is running anywhere nearly as smooth as BCNet.  The irony is that I don't think I ever really appreciated the BCNet committee until I started working on the CUCCIO finances.  Trying to model a new organization on an existing one certainly makes one appreciate the effort and complexity of the existing model.

I'm happy to be able to apply a number of lessons from BCNet to CUCCIO, and just as importantly, I'm humbled by the success of the BCNet process.  A double win!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Online Publishing

I published a short book last year using blurb.com.  The service was easy to use and helped a publishing neophyte like myself produce a relatively professional looking book.  To accompany the book I allowed a 15 page preview to be available.  There was a lot of interest in the book but nobody bought a copy.  So I figured I might as well put the whole book online for free.  That's when folks started buying copies!

I think it's interesting that completely free content lead to my first real sales, and now I've received my first royalty cheque.  Of course, after tax, that cheque is barely enough to buy myself & a friend a couple of coffees at Starbucks.  But I'm proud of it!

P.S. Here's the free link:  http://www.blurb.com/books/960910