Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writing for Busines Final

The purpose of business writing is to convey information to someone else or to request information from them. To be effective writing for business, you must be complete, concise, and accurate. Your text should be written in such a way that the reader will be able to easily understand what you are telling or asking them.
What have I taken from this subject and how will it affect me moving forward? Although there were many things covered in just 8 short weeks, the most valuable item to me was creating a cover letter and rebuilding a resume. My original documents, although it was formatted professionally and had a very appealing appearance, had not been updated since the year I graduated from Kaplan University in 1990’s. I was also very surprised at how much success this resume had produced with poor formatting and simple writing mistakes. Even though the document contain years of experience, it really did not tell a story of what I really could provide if hired. After taking this class and using the material within the Writing for Business text book, I now understand the important structure of how to create a polished resume.
The book provides many interesting topics, some of these rules I now apply in my daily communication at work. As a Computer Technician my previous writings when it came to creating documentation and email, were very short with few details. My communication style lacked the ability to appeal to all audiences. Although I have not implement all idea’s presented by the book, I now use the top down structure.
One topics also covered during this class had to do with Social Media, how it will evolve and if it is being used in my work environment. My company policy states only those using social websites for the act promoting the corporation will have access. The only area’s falling under this definition are Sales and Communication. Due to the risk of Computer Hackers, Viruses and Malware, these sites are not accessible to ordinary users. During our discussion related to Social Media and how your presence on the internet will become your future resume, I disagreed for that reason.  We have determined, until social media sites are both safer and trustworthy, Information Technology will continue to block these sites and approach them cautiously.
Personally I think Twitter and Facebook do offer a good idea. I also believe they will survive in some form. I can honestly say I may never Tweet and blog again. My personality when it comes to social networking is strictly interaction between close friends only.  Although I try not to generalize, Blogs and Tweeter seem to be filled with those whom are either subject experts or standing philosophers. As far as I know, none of my Facebook friends are heavy tweeters. I would also be surprise if many of them have Twitter accounts.
Finally I can say Blogs and Twitter really have become a new way of presenting hot off the press news. News Media organizations have been very successful in their approach of streaming new information. Without realizing how we interact with the Internet, we really have already bought into blogs or Twitter in some form. Websites such as MSN, CNN and have taken the same format. All you really need to do is scroll to the bottom of the article. There you will have opportunity to leave a comment or voice a concern.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Article Why Twitter will Endure

Why Twitter will endure is an excellent article by David Carr. Twitter really is a river of rushing with information and constant updates. The format of Twitter happen to be in the early stages. This Networking site will soon become one of the most powerful news outlets in the world. People connected to the internet with love ones in far-away places currently receive information of changing events via text message and some light twitter activity. I imagine one day, not only will we see flood of information in real time, but also graphics to takes us to that location.
Imagine a riot in a far-away country and seeing the real-time event as it unfolds without waiting for the breaking news stories plaster across your TV. This will enable you to get different point of views from different tweets, not only in one location, but several if it's affecting different places.
By history of social networking, each site improves from the other mistakes. MySpace came along and introduce us to page building with friends.  One mistakes it made in eye was being too busy visually. Facebook introduced a more pleasant look that allowed me to connect to a more mature audience. It also gave me more opportunities to see and control what I wanted to see.  I had more privacy a little more privacy, but still dealing with constant advertisement.  The future of Twitter can grow from what Facebook and MySpace currently offer.  If you are on that likes tweeting your every move movement, why add video of where you’re standing. 
Most of the new outlets have begun to see an edge when it comes to how news is feeds across the world and now have people whom are paid to sit and tweet.  The Organization I currently work for has a tweeter, someone who constantly talks about how well our insurance stacks against competitors. Imagine where this is going, I believe Twitter will evolve into something amazing.

College Football Business

The Business of College football shows its ugly financial head with the demise of many and sometimes recognized Football coaches. Constantly we are reminded by the NCAA for what it stands for and its main purposes regarding student athletes. We can also take notice of how many billions of dollars are made across the country, but the minute an athlete attempt to make profit of any type he is strongly condon and often times the school is painfully scrutinized.
The saddest case I recall seeing over the past years involve what looks like an over blow incident involving Ohio State. One the schools top Athletes got a few favors related to selling merchandise. Not only did this stir up quite a big scandal, but also manage to get one the most well-known and successful coaches in college football fired.
Winning is also everything in the sport, you can call it the end of the year clean up. After most of the games have been played and records have been reveal, it now time to fire someone. The Donald must have brought back the coolness in firing not so bad employee. We see Coaches with records slightly better than the .500 mark and offered to attend bowl games quicklily dismissed. As much as it disappoints to see these things take place, there must be an understanding between both parties not seen by fans like me.
Large contracts overlapping large contract makes me wonder who's really profiting in this business. Schools constantly complain of higher tuition cost and then you see a news flash of a coach being fired but owed several million as part of a contract obligation. The next phase of the story mentions how they are searching the country for the best fit for our institution with even bigger dollar signs attached. I guess the coach with the 6 and 6 record whom had a couple bad seasons doesn't fit the bill. Why spend money to get the guy you'll be firing in 2 years for the same reason.
A few days ago I notice one of a Big 12 schools fired its coach whom did not have his shop setup for more than 2 years. The coach arrived with another coaches recruits, had opportunity to bring in a few recruits for one year and fired for not producing quickly. 
Those are short examples of a tough business in the world of College Football. Like it or not, things are not changing anytime soon.  It is designed and over seen by a complex group of individual whom govern themselves. Until individual state governments and other forms powerful figures take notice, we will continue to see the big dollars drive this business for a long time to come.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chapter 11 for American Airlines

American Airlines a top carrier has file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in effort to reorganize.
Being the 3rd Largest Carrier, American is attempting to remove high debt similarly seen by many of it competitors over the past 10 years. By report American has attempted to avoid taking these steps, but had fallen billions of dollars in to debt.

Several of American Airlines competitors such as Delta, United Airlines and Northwest Airlines filed for bankruptcy years back stating high debt, labor and fuel cost were major factors in there decision to file papers. The move according to Americans competitors have help to strengthen each of them in the Airline market.

Many Customers whom have purchase tickets voiced concerns and flooded the Airlines with question regarding the companies status. In an effort to calm fears, American Airlines stated customers would feel no impact of the debt reorganization and all Pre-purchase Tickets would be honored.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Design elements of Communication

When designing your communication it is very important to know your audience. Most readers of documentation are looking for what is interesting to them. If you are designing a manual about the sport of baseball and know your readers will be players, coaches and fans, it is important to draw enough interest for each particular group. For instance, coaches are interested in statistics, but also would like to know how each player fared over a stretch of time. Fans are interested in statistics, but also interest in the details of their individual favorite player. Baseball players are interest in how they fared and how their opponents are faring. If a hitter is in a slump, it is an advantage to you if you are a pitcher. If pitcher is not having a good year, a hitter can be a little more aggressive at home plate.
To draw each of the three groups into your writing it is important to give them what they would need to draw their attention. In this case, statistics would be you most powerful piece of communication.
By designing manual to first talk about the overall team’s performance and flow into each individual statistic you grab all parts of your audience by giving them what they need to stay interested.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Eurozone waves are destine to send ripples throughout the US economy.  With each passing day, Wall Street reacts negatively with each news feed. Worries that Europe’s crisis could worsen and spread, forecasters have predicted both investors and consumers will be very conservative over the Holiday Season. Ordinary Americans making investments in 401K’s and small stock investments are steadily seeing there the balances shrink and feeling doom as they move towards retirement.
According to the Conference Board, U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $497 on gifts this holiday season. Only 7 percent of consumers said they plan to spend more on Holiday gifts this year, while approximately 40 percent plan on spending less than last year.
Afraid of what’s to come, stores like Wal-Mart and TOYRUS have brought back layaway in hopes boosting Holiday revenue.  Wal-Mart has begun to draw attention by posting its Black Friday specials days ahead of this Holiday season.  Msn money gave a total of more than 60 stores which are attempting to cash in on early bird shoppers, another way to get ahead of consumer confidence.
U.S. makers of cars, solar panels, drugs, clothes and computer equipment have all reported effects from Europe's turmoil.  Small businesses operating in the US relying on Contracts are also feeling the pain.
Although most businesses have suffered during the weeks, the New York Times Article listing Companies such as McDonalds,  Kraft Foods, Sara Lee Corp and Oracle to name are few doing well.
Still the Eurozone continues to influence other sectors, such as banking. surveyed more than 50 Lenders and found the concern of the Debt crisis affects how they do business. Banks have decided on not lending money or reducing the term of how long they will lend money.  If the economic crisis in the Eurozone worsens, we may see the bankruptcy of multiple companies as they begin to struggle.
Banks worldwide are cutting lending and hoarding cash to create more cushion for potentially deep losses on their holdings of Greek, Italian and other government debt. U.S. and overseas banks are keeping what is said to be trillions in reserves at the Federal Reserve.
The US economy as weak as it has been over the past few years, continues to see light growth. According to all sources read, until there is a Eurozone resolution within reach, the US and other economies could struggle for a long time to come.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oil and Gas Business

Over the past few weeks, oil prices have dropped slightly. Like prices of other commodities the price of crude oil experiences wide price swings in times of shortage or oversupply. Throughout much of the twentieth century, the price of U.S. petroleum was heavily regulated through production or price controls. It was not unusual to hear on the nightly news how oil was either being either release or not release to control prices.

What is believed, natural gas and crude oil prices should be related because natural gas and crude oil are connected and based usage and production. If you watch oil prices over the last few years, the price reflected on Wall Street normally influences our price at the pump.

People in the oil business would like us to believe the change seen during oil price jumps are related to consumer demand, oil shortage and refinery cost.

Watching how things from the human eye, oil prices go up and gas prices jump 10 or 15 cents pretty fast. When Oil prices decline, we see gas prices drop 1 to 2 cents at a time. The average consumer believes like I do, the Oil business theory does not add up.

Frustrations with Wall Street trickery and Big Oil have fuel frustration of many Americans and you can see that frustration with Occupy Wall Street. The movement gives ordinary Americans a chance to voice their concerns and try to influence change for the near future.

Finally as long as Oil is being traded on the market and the world continues to use high consumptions, we will play this game of catch go for years to come.

Cause and Effect

When writing documentation cause and effect is a very important. Not only do you need to get your point across to the reader, but you must also take into consideration how it is processed. It is important to capture the reader’s attention by giving details of your topic. Break down the topic by placing things into groups. Using bullet points for each item to discuss is always a good way of drawing readers into my documentation.

While creating presentations, I also use pictures to show examples of what is happening with each of the details. Most of when the graphics can lead each of the readers using my documentation with really reading wording. My audience which is typically technical savvy are only interested in the beginning of the process to the end result.

The less technical reader has the ability to understand each point explained in detail and often feel comfortable with both graphics and writing. The pictures used have to show action of what is actually occurring on screen. Some of my readers want descriptions with graphics, but only short phrase and words.

The less technical reader requires more detail and description, often those who use my documentation not only use the graphics, but depend heavily on details. The details are often writing clear enough for those readers, but technical enough I will not insult the intelligence of my more technical group.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How long should your resume be

How long should your resume be? From what I read from good sources, your resume should reflect your years of service. If you have worked 10 or fewer years, it may be around 1 page. For more than 10 years, it will be a little longer. As long as it takes to tell your career story.
After talking with several Hr professional around my company on this subject, more is better. Not saying you should put together a novel, but cutting it too short could cause you to leave out a strength Employers could be search in for.
Kim Isaac a writer for monsters has a good article and great guidelines on creating resumes.

Eurozone waves to hit US

Problems in Europe have influence the market since the beginning of the Crisis. Daily while watching the Stock Markets, I notice any negative word will cause a dip. The Stock Market by history typically finds
an excuse to either go up or down. Which means they are strongly connected.
Worries that Europe's crisis could worsen and spread are spooking investors and consumers just as the holiday shopping season nears. Some fear U.S. consumers could rein in spending. Europe's slow growth is already dragging on some U.S. companies' profits. This is also forecast to slow US growth.
I can't help but think how the timing in these global issues all seems to come around at the wrong time. For people like me, ordinary investors whom believe that our 401k and other small investments would grow steadily toward retirement,  feel doomed. Looking at my result from week to week and quarterly when I received my statement, is a sinking feeling that we been lead down a wrong path.
It is believe that as things progress through the next weeks, retailers my feel the effect in form of consumers cutting back during the holidays. Will I cut back myself because what happening in Eurozone, probably not.
I still have the same 15 people or so to buy for with a similar budget as last Christmas season.
Am I concern about Euro's issues coming to an account near me? Of course I am.
From what I'm reading, not every U.S. Company is hurting in Europe, of course. McDonald's, Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp. I guess as long as people keep eating fast food, Mac and cheese and pound cake, they'll be fine. Which when I think about it, that's the weekly menu at my house. That could be a sign of in the long run, we'll be fine

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gathering Reader-Centered information

 Organizing your thoughts on paper can often be a key to keeping your document organized. Gathering good resources and doing your research can often make you look as credible to your readers. When doing research I often look to several credible forums. I also check the information gather around other forums and test whether it works as designed.

Planning Your Persuasive Strategies

Persuasive strategies has is key to creating good communication with my readers. Often times my job requires me to lead implementation projects. Project Managers often can come across as pushy and determine. What I have learned over the years is how to get things done by being persuasive and adding those things which will motivate each team member. Breaking down each part of the communication and designing it as positive for  the reader can often affect the attitude toward the project.

Planning for Usability

Planning for Usability is key for designing documentation for your readers. Depending on whether I am writing an email to communicate a idea or writing documentation for new a application being implemented, the approach is slightly different.
When emailing a group regarding a upcoming change, both the subject and the first sentence or most paragraph contain my main point. I then follow with details of the change and timelines. Each detail mentions whom will be affected, how and when. 
Writing Documentation starts with an overview of the product. The overview typically includes what the product does, new enhancement and if it's an upgrade or new features. The middle of the documentation contains graphics and screen shots. I close the documentation out with contact information and document revision numbers. Because I have identified who my audience is, I am better able to determine what each reader needs to complete there individual task.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Identity theft and Social Networking continued

Here's another good article regarding the risk of Social Networking sites.

Your online presence will replace your resume

Here's another good post from Abby Rondot on the topic "5 reasons why your online presence will replace your resume"

5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years

Although our technology has advanced tremendously over the past 10 years or so, I do not believe most Americans have fully embraced it. From conversations with both peers, co-workers and some family members regarding this topic, the majority do not want the exposure. They do not want the intrusion and a few more are concerned about identity theft, etc.
Working in the technology industry fighting hackers, viruses and spyware as a norm, I also believe we have a very long way to go. Robert Siciliano has very good article regarding the subject of identity theft and Social Networking sites.

Online reputation can definately hurt many opportunities

How your online reputation can kill a job for you. After reading a few articles related to this topic, I can understand how it's fair game by companies searching for someone that will be safe for their image.
If you're a company whom lives by the reputation of having a professional staff by image and often sell that image as part of your success, why not be overly cautious and do simple background checks. It's free data provided by the individual. Most companies currently do background checks using several organizations that make it their business to gather as much history as possible.
If you're a banking institution, you certainly don't want to hire a person whom has a record of being a thief or scam artist. Company also view credit history and scores to see how reliable individual are in there finances.
The internet is a powerful snooping tool, I often use it myself to find out whose living around me and shhhhhh, what kind of dirt can I find on my kids new soccer coach. In this day and time, it's very difficult to trust.
Even though you seldom find enough information to draw a conclusion, I agree it takes only one item available for public viewing that can help paint a very bad picture.
In this time of cyber reputation, there have been many company created to search and undo what is consider to be damaging. Several of these companies boast about having a 100% success rate. Don't know what they could possible correct about a bad photo except maybe putting some famous celebrity head on my body and calling it "some other Charles Smith web page". Hey if that works, I'll never use my ugly mug again.
The company I currently work for is a fine example of creating and maintain a clean reputation, we sell Church Insurance.
Check out this link for those in the business world whom have our best interest at heart. This was a great article on PC World.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Game of the Century

Our next 88 years of College Football has already been determine by Sports Journalist as lame and not worth our time. I agree LSU and Alabama will make a good show, but would like to have something more to look forward too.