Q&A Monday: ask me your questions

Here’s an experiment: what question do you want me to answer? Something you want advice on? A topic you always wanted my opinion on? Or perhaps a challenge?

Leave a comment and I’ll pick a question to answer every day this week, assuming the experiment works and you fine folks leave me some questions.

39 Responses to “Q&A Monday: ask me your questions”

  1. Angela Baxley

    As an active blogger and communicator, I’m curious your setup. Obviously love your content, but I’m interested in your process. I assume you’re a one man show, so I also assume you’ve got your process locked down because you’re soooo smooth, man! :) xoxo, @ang

  2. Eddie

    I found your talk at WCSEA very, very helpful. There are no short cuts to writing, as you said. I think what I need help on is finding relevant topics and questions that matter most to my audience. I write about coffee – a huge broad topic. Do readers want to read something that get read on Yelp – or do they want deeper profiles of the characters behind the coffee scene?

    How do you prioritize your posts (in a world where evergreen material is more valuable)?

  3. Gutenberg Neto

    After releasing books both with a publisher and also independently, do you feel like one of the approaches is overall better than the other one? These days, with so many distribution platforms available, it’s easier than ever for anyone to self-release a book, but for a first-time author do you think that it’s still valid to look for a publisher, or releasing independently is the best option even if the writer has no previous experience and audience to leverage initial sales? Thanks!

    1. Anne

      I would like to second gutenberg Neto’s question!

  4. Eric Brown

    Agreed with Jennifer, thanks for doing this! My question is: What is your opinion of Microsoft and their recent direction with regards to Windows 8 (For the record, I strongly dislike 8 but am considering giving it another shot at some point) and now the Xbox One (it seems to me they are trying to be more like Apple even though they have a stronger foot hold in the market, for now). And as a follow up: What do you think of the news that Balmer is talking about a big shake up? The reason I ask this is because I know you spent time working at Microsoft so I’m anxious to hear your opinion. Thanks in advance for sharing and thanks for all your posts!

  5. Ev Larsen

    Assumptions have an unnerving way of becoming facts and received wisdom over time. How do you build some functional assumption-checking into a project team, a process that generates useful feedback and moves the team effort forward?

  6. Anony Mous

    Scott, I’d love some advice.

    After five years of very successful freelance consulting as a DUX/CD, I accepted FTE with a startup. My hiring manager is someone with whom I’ve worked as a consultant over the last five years. I knew he had a temper, which is why I declined his first few invitations to come work with him full time. After about six weeks of full-court press (by him, his CTO, the startup founder, and a key PM), I decided to take them up on this new opportunity and signed on. The salary is amazing, the work is interesting. And he promised to control his temper. It’s been only two months and he had his second nuclear meltdown all over me last week – a total ambush. He’s an out-of-control bully behind closed doors, and rules by fear and intimidation. He’s lost friends and employees as a result of this character trait.

    In addition to this COO bully, the job I signed on for isn’t the job I’m now doing. The players have changed; a new clique-team of developers have been put in charge and are running the show. They seem to disinclined to work with folks whom they didn’t hire. (They just squeezed out our great iOS dev, whom they also didn’t hire). They’re jockeying for control conducting political power plays, micromanaging me (and I’m a Director), and trying to slice my position into being marginally useful instead of being integral to the team and product.

    What to do in this situation? I’m really at a loss on how to improve the situation, aside from walking away.

    Would love your POV.
    Thanks so much!

  7. Greavsie

    Do you have any advice you can share as to how best to make people/organisations realise how maintaining the status quo is flawed thinking? In essence everyone says they understand this concept but how to get them to appreciate that they have this problem on their own doorstep.

  8. Teresa

    How do you handle extremely stupid people when you must work/communicate with them?

  9. Warwick

    When are you tempted to just throw it all in?

  10. Carol Anne Wall

    Several of your early reviews stated what you experienced at WordPress.com is the future of the workplace, and some even said the future is now. In light of the very public policy reversal on telecommuting made by Yahoo!, and other quieter workplace policy reversals made by company, do you think the WordPress.com model **is** the future of work, or an aberration limited to the more entrepreneurial software-/web-focused companies? If you’ve covered this topic in your book, I hope you will forgive me for asking something you’ve already answered. I’ll just read about it in September.

  11. Carol Anne Wall

    Oh yes, I can write. That phrase should read “policy reversals made by companies,”

  12. Christoph Begall

    I would like to see your thoughts on procrastination. Do you ever feel the urge to not write? What do you think about people that are “just not in the mood” to do, what is already due?

    Especially with your background as a project manager (depending on other people’s (missing) motivation) and as a writer (depending on your own) I would expect interesting thoughts…

  13. dave

    Hi Scott

    I’m interested to find out about your writing setup – what tools do you use for writing, do they differ when you’re writing blog posts to when you’re writing a book, for example? Are you a pen & paper guy, or is it all on-screen?


  14. Gan Aaron

    Hi Scott, thank you for the opportunity to post you questions.

    On behalf of archive.st, I’d like to structure my questions specifically on ‘Leadership’ and ‘Creativity’ into Three following parts:

    1. How do ‘Leadership’ and ‘Creativity’ compliment each other in a start-up environment, where individuals or smaller organisations are tested more aggressively in a society overwhelmed with speed and information?

    2. Are there any required pre-requisites within an individual in order to be taught, trained and retained for leadership qualities? If yes, what is the criteria? If no, is he/she mainly affected by ‘not-in-control’ conditions?

    3. Is creativity better practiced and retained for individuals who are given the liberty to define their own role and responsibilities, compared to personnels in departments given a specific set of accountabilities?

    Thank you again for your time.

  15. Phil Simon

    Of which of your books are you most proud? Why? Do you have a favorite?

  16. Rob

    From what I can tell, you are a voracious reader. Do you read just one book at a time, or multiple books at a time? Advantages or disadvantages to either?

  17. Rebekah

    Hi Scott,

    How much reading do you do and what goes into your selection of reading material?

    I am assuming that you need to keep current on others’ emerging ideas. As well, you underpin your writing with philosophy and social science. Who influences you as an influencer?

    Ok, acknowledge that there are 3 questions in that lot! :)


      1. Scott

        Strike that – I added your question about influencers separately. Thanks.

  18. Christie

    If any step of a process could be divided into beginning, middle or end, which would you say you’ve struggled with? How did you push passed it?

  19. Mike Nitabach

    How do you build some functional assumption-checking into a project team, a process that generates useful feedback and moves the team effort forward?

    I second this question. I won’t post details here, but we have very explicit procedures in my lab designed to encourage recognizing and calling each other on our bullshit. And one of the most important aspects is dealing with the very real danger that those with the most perceived authority will be least subject to such open scrutiny, when they are the ones who most need it.

  20. Matt McLin

    In spite of decades of improved computing power, our day-to-day productivity tools often leave us waiting, twiddling our thumbs, before we can do something useful. Of course many other things cause us to wait in life as well (on hold on the phone, boiling a pot of water, etc.). Sometimes this can leave a person feeling guilty for not accomplishing anything useful during that time, and yet switching focus to work on something else can sometimes make us ultimately less productive. Where do you draw the line between keeping your focus and waiting on something else vs. deciding to pursue the next most important thing on your to-do list before coming back to the most important one? I wonder if there is a good rule of thumb for this?

  21. Worden Report

    I’ve been interested in self-publishing. I’m curious that your self-publishing has been accepted by Amazon (as opposed to being a vanity press wherein you order prints). So, it would be helpful if you wrote a post describing the major steps (getting a printer, arranging with Amazon, etc.). Better still, you might want to write a “Self-Publishing For Dummies” book.

  22. Nguyen Thuy

    Hi Scott. I’ve just watched your talk video on Youtube named Saving your creative soul at TED&DePaulU. It’s great, I mean, it inspired me very much. But do you think it’s even hard to say “Yes” all the times?



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