Soon after my announcement that I joined OpenLanguage as content lead I received lots of emails and comments that anticipated I would not do video interviews from now on. Actually, the opposite is the case.
Yes, my new role at OpenLanguage cuts out a nice chunk out of my daily schedule, but I would never quit something I have built over several years “just because” I have a new commitment. I had similar commitments in the past, yet I have always continued with my own projects – nothing new here.
That said and as people often ask me how I can possibly keep up with all the different things I am doing I wanted to share two key principles of my work ethics with you today.
Several birds, one stone
On Friday I finally had Farbood Nivi on for an EDUKWEST interview. Farb is the founder of Grockit and now Learnist and I have followed him and his team pretty much from the beginning of my blogging career and onwards. I have always been fascinated by all the small side projects the team created over the years, to see them experiment with different business models and Farbood’s personal involvement in early stage education projects like Startup Weekend Edu.
In our interview Farb shared that one of his principles is to never do a thing if it does not have multiple effects and outcomes. That’s exactly what I do, as well. Most of what I am doing (blogging, interviews, mentoring, consulting) is part of building the Kirsten Winkler brand. Yes, I know, personal brands are so 2010/11 but I believe that in the education space it is still key. No matter if you are a teacher, curriculum designer, author or consultant people are generally looking for personalities. But that’s another post.
Coming back to my new role at OpenLanguage. Being content lead means that I need to tell stories around the brand and its products based on our core beliefs and values. Those stories are around an increasingly busy yet connected lifestyle and a globalized world which requests language and cultural skills from its workers and managers.
Running Fair Languages since August of last year part of my daily routine has been to constantly scan the interwebs for interesting language learning / teaching related content. And though Fair Languages is a more general approach on language learning there are of course overlaps with OpenLanguage, as well. Hence, I can combine the research for both entities and also tell stories across the two sites.
The same is true for all other subjects and topics I am following on a daily basis. Technology, startups, politics, science and so on also have an influence on what I am writing about. Generally speaking, the more I read, the more ideas come to my mind. I believe that you need to learn as much as possible from different fields in order to see a bigger picture or trend early on. Connecting the dots is what it is all about.
4 hour Work Week
Second key principle: only do what you are passionate about. Passion will get you through the longest days because all of a sudden work won’t be work.
When Tim Ferris rose to fame with his 4 hour Work Week book people said that this can’t be true, he is cheating and so on. What most of them did not understand is that Tim simply has a very clear definition of what work means: things you have to do but don’t like to do.
If you follow Tim you know that he “works” as hard as any other startup founder or workaholic. The thing is that it does not feel like it. Everything he does he wants to do. The same is true for me.
Of course, my days don’t have more minutes and there is a natural limit of what I can work on. And yes from time to time, I also have to cut back on projects I love but that are not profitable. But again that does not mean that I am closing them down.
If we take my oldest online endeavour Deutsch Happen as an example (it turns 5 in April!) I am surely not doing as much video content than I did two or three years ago. At the moment I do any at all to be precise. Yet, the Facebook fan page (pages if we include the slightly different concept of Deutsch Sprechen) and Deutsch Happen’s Twitter are far more active than they has been all the years before. Also I have a natural audience for my new Sprichwörtlich Deutsch podcast I publish on Fair Languages.
I am spending more time on Facebook managing a variety of pages and therefore adding content and engaging there fits into my workflow. Again: one stone, several birds.
Coming back to the beginning of this post, last year was pretty weak in terms of EDUKWEST interviews as we focused more on news coverage and other show formats. A post on my motivation to experiment with this along with more context around building the EDUKWEST brand will follow soon.
This year, I have already done 25% of the number of interviews I did in 2012 in the first two weeks and I am planning to do many more. On top of that you have the Today’s Campus Innovation Interviews which we want to get to one interview per week, as well (if you are interested in sponsoring the series, shoot me an email).
Finally, I want to thank all of you for your kind wishes and concern about the future of EDUKWEST. I hope this post can help some of the edupreneurs out there to prioritize their tasks in order to develop a better, more healthy workflow.