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Sure, you can pick my brain. Provided I can pick your wallet.

Pick my brain

Pick my brain published on No Comments on Pick my brain

I find people vary in how delighted they are to get requests to pick their brains. Some jump at them, possibly because they’re otherwise deprived of social contact, or because they’re highly altruistic, or because they really like free coffee.

But a lot of folks I know bristle at the question. My wife Alexandra calls it the “can-I-have-$500 call.” She points out it’s like asking someone to give up two potentially billable hours. (That’s once you factor in figure-out-a-date time, travel time and so on. And recognizing that different people bill at different rates, and some people drink coffee much more quickly than others.)

She understands that generating business often involves a courtship of coffee meetings and mutual exploration. But…

…there is a big difference between meeting with a consultant to assess whether you want to hire her, and asking her to simply give you a couple of hours to do the work you need. When you are talking to someone whose work includes analyzing problems, offering insight or making recommendations, “picking their brain” is the same as asking them to work for free.

Important cartoon milestone: This marks the first time I’ve created a Noise to Signal cartoon and post end-to-end on an iPad. The 12″ Pro was my birthday present, along with the Pencil and Logitech’s “Create” keyboard/cover. After a little hunting around, I’ve settled on Procreate for drawing and Autodesk Graphic for assembling the cartoon with its caption and logo. And writing this in WordPress with the keyboard was a breeze.

When I talk about the ease and precision of cartooning on the iPad Pro, it’s not so much to sell people on them. (Although, holy Hannah, it’s amazing.) It’s more to say that this is why you’re seeing a lot more cartoons this week from me. I’ll settle down into a more sedate schedule soon, I’m sure… but in the meantime, I’m having a ball.

Noise to Signal’s gift for you

Noise to Signal’s gift for you published on 2 Comments on Noise to Signal’s gift for you

Introducing the 2011 Noise to Signal calendar!

This is for everyone:

  1. who encouraged me to create a Noise to Signal calendar, or
  2. who needs a calendar of their own, or
  3. who is about to walk into an office gift exchange party empty-handed, and desperately needs something.
Update: It’s also for all you nice folks coming over from Kim Komando’s site. Welcome aboard! And check out the 2010 year in review.

It’s a free downloadable PDF. So just print that puppy out double-sided, then take it to your corner print shop and ask them to spiral-bind it, and my friend, you have a wall calendar. Update: Okay, let’s have some fun. Share a picture of the calendar hanging on your wall, and you could score a signed cartoon print! The details.

Here’s the download link (PDF, 10 MB). (If you’re sharing it – and I hope you will! – please link to this post rather than the PDF itself. Thanks!)

I’ve also posted it on SlideShare:

If you don’t have the time or means to print it out, and don’t mind waiting for shipping, I’ve also created a version on the Zazzle store:

Noise to Signal 2011 calendar

Thanks for all the support and kind words over the year. And happy holidays from Noise to Signal!

(By the way, I discovered while I was making this that there’s a real shortage of decent-looking free calendar templates out there. So while the calendar as a whole is Creative Commons licensed, I’m releasing the actual calendar grids into the public domain.)

Updated with shameless bragging: This just in – Last night, SlideShare made the calendar its Presentation of the Day. And then a few minutes ago, this email came in:

“A free cartoon calendar for 2011” is being talked about on Facebook more than anything else on SlideShare right now. So we’ve put it on the homepage of (in the “Hot on Facebook” section).

Well done!

– SlideShare Team

And if you’re enjoying looking forward to 2011, maybe you might like taking a look back at 2010: