Nerdforce #36 – A Nerded Soliloquy

Misty Jones @MistyRaeJones, Rachel Watson @theRachelWatson

I finally had a moment to bring this episode to you.  As you may suspect, Nana and I had a great time recording with these two amazing women.  I’ll get back to our conversation in a moment, but first…

I wanted to get some things off my chest.  Life has a way of happening to all of us.  I have found myself buried in obligations backing up further and further.  There have been many times when we’ve discussed “Imposter Syndrome” and its proven to be a common theme in many burgeoning Admin out there.  I wonder if there may also be a growing consensus of self-prescribed guilt over all our plans that never achieve closure.  Just a number of weeks ago, I was honored to be accepted as a Salesforce MVP alongside so many great Ohana Leaders; which I am humbled by, immensely.  Still, there is a voice in the back of my mind smirking, “Yeah John, but what have you done lately?”  Just saying this out load, I can already hear Friends like Nana and Ben telling me that I’m being absurd.  I have nothing to feel guilty about…  I know, you two are right.  But really, who out there hasn’t found themselves wanting to be more omni-present?  I mean, there’s an entire film genre of Men and Women who are super busy and productive in Act I.  “Look at me, I’m an amazing Business Dude!”  By the end of Act IV, the Tim Allens, Jim Carreys and Diane Keatons have realized they’re missing the chance to spend more time with their families.

These are fun stories, but they don’t speak to reality all that well.  They were struggling with balancing Work and Family, but how many of us only have two major facets in their lives?  I have a great number of things I want to do.  Family and Work are the least of my worries.  I spend much of my time building toys for World Water Works and goofing around with my kids.  It’s all the other driving forces that aren’t getting the time they deserve.

My house is going on the market today.  I’ve spent the last 2.5 weeks preparing our house for that.  I’ve sat on this amazing podcast for nearly as long because I’m too exhausted to finish the edit after a long day.  I recently joined an RPG campaign because, well… When someone asks if you want to roleplay as a Warcasting Wizard with a Steampunk Robot at your side, you don’t say no.  What about the time needed to build an amazing presentation for a crowd of X-Author enthusiasts next month?  Let’s not forget the time and/or money needed to fix a website infected with some sort of Malware.  I love recording the Nerdforce Podcast and interacting with all the great Ohana folk out there.  I want to do something amazing at Midwest Dreamin’.  I’m not even sure what that may be, but it will demand some prep time from me for sure.  Let’s not even mention preparation for any conferences that may take place in November.  My #AwesomeAdmin game has become an amazing theory, but has yet to become a viable product.  Oh, also, since I’m a glutton for punishment, I’m considering doing a little freelance work in the Voice Over Biz.  At what point does my insatiable thirst to do MOAR become a Bane over a Boon?

Well, I certainly have gone down a rambling rabbit hole, haven’t I?  Look, This Nerded Soliloquy is NOT meant to be a posted complaint.  I know that my position in this world is privileged and blessed.  I’m not really sure what its purpose is other than a venting of my anxieties.  To mold this into a step toward progress, let’s say this is a public declaration that I will continue to achieve my ambitions.  My successes will be celebrated and my failures will be lessons.  I will give all of myself to every project in front of me and weather the storm.  Just as a man piloting his sloop through a tempest, I have no other choice but strive to carry on.

With that said, let’s talk about this episode of Nerdforce.  We sat down with Misty Jones and Rachel Watson, two fantastic Ohana leaders from the Southwest.  Talk about ambitious, these two have Trailhead Badges and Certifications pouring out their ears.  I’ll let them speak for their selves.

On a final note, I’ll say what we’ve all thought before and many of us a thinking right now.

I am Groot.

Nerdforce #35 – Cartoon Monster Mash

Hi Nerds, I was finally able to get all my ducks in the air.  What a Joy it was to talk to Justice Sikikane and Stuart Edeal.  The Episode runs a bit long but its been a minute since we have issued a new episode, so hopefully it was warranted.

Enjoy!

Nerdforce #34 Blazin’ the NerdTrail: LEX Superbadge Edition!

Hey Nerds!  Nana and I catch up after a seemingly endless span of Kids’ Projects and Events.  More importantly, we take a crakc at the NerdTrail by discussing our experiences with the Trailhead Superbadge, Lightning Experience Specialist.  If you haven’t tackled this badge yet, listen to the episode and take a crack at it.  It’s not as looming as you would think.

GrabBag01, GrabBag02, GrabBag03, GrabBag04, GrabBag05, GrabBag06, GrabBag07, GrabBag08, GrabBag09, GrabBag10

Nerdforce #32 – The Ohana of Things

This episode, Nana and I were lucky enough to sit down with returning Guest Accomplice Jeremiah Dohn and the incredible Charlie Isaacs.  I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Charlie Isaacs!!!!  We talked about #BlackGirlsCode, #HiddenFigures, IOT, Nerding out over Salesforce, Benioff & the Bull and the devices we can connect to the cloud.  We are super excited to bring you “The Ohana of Things”.

Mr. Graforium’s Wonderful #AwesomeAdmin RPG Application

There were a number of quiet days of contemplation as I wrapped up 2016.  I spent that time building the first iteration of my RPG (Role Playing Game) #AwesomeAdmin App.  This post is meant to briefly describe how this app has come together.  Even better, all of this was developed in Lightning!  Your thoughts and feedback will be a huge help as I develop this further.  My goal is to have something solid and perhaps used by a few people at Dreamforce this year.

Before I get into the mechanics, let me introduce you to the concept.  I have been employing a productivity technique inspired by Chris Hardwick’s “The Nerdist Way”.  The idea is to treat your life as a Role Playing Game.  By that, I mean you gain Experience points (EXP) for all actions.  The accumulation of experience builds to higher and higher levels in six separate categories.  The gamifying aspect is the increasing volume of experience points required to continue leveling up.  These categories are where the app gets subjective, and I’m completely interested in discussing other’s interpretation.

So what are these categories that make up a well-rounded #AwesomeAdmin?  I’m so glad you asked.  In no particular order, an Admin levels up in Work, Career, Family, Self, Giving-Back and Ohana.  Some of these are obvious and others tend to overlap.  What I find interesting is how an Admin Action can be interpreted in a number of different ways, and in turn can be manipulated for greatest gain; but in the end you are accountable only to yourself.

At the core of this application are two Objects.  Level Up and the Child Object AdminAction.  Each AdminAction Record is where we are logging basic tasks completed.  These records calculate how many Experience points are gained based on a few variables.  I’ll get to that formula shortly.  The Master-Detail Relationship is important because we want to get Roll-Up Summaries to the Level Up record.

So what fields are important for calculating the EXP Points you gain?  We want to be able to quickly create these AdminAction records, so the number of fields need to be reduced to the bare minimum.  At the same time we want to give more credit for actions that demand more effort.  For example, an Awesome Admin should get more Experience for writing a blog over reading a blog.  Let’s take a look at the input fields.

There are two other Input fields to help with review and reporting.  Date simply defaults to Today() and Description allows us to…  well that’s pretty obvious isn’t it?

Now we can get into the fun stuff!  Let’s talk about Formulas!!!

Start with 10 points per Admin Action.  Time Expended is a direct variable, but the longer we spend on one task returns a lower multiplier.  The idea behind this is that we grow less productive the longer we stay on a task. The Outcome of “Consume” or “Create” returns a separate multiplier at a 4 to 10 ratio.  Read over my formula and let me know how you would build it.  Are my numbers fair?

The Attribute Experience Points are separated into six fields at the AdminAction level for easier reporting.  Here is the basic formula that is repeated for each attribute: Career, Family, Giving Back, Ohana, Self & Work.

Moving up the ladder, we see these Experience Points rolled up into the Level Up Parent record.  We have six fields that simply roll up the EXP for each Attribute.  Once we have the total EXP for an Attribute, we can figure out our Level in that particular area.  Just like in Dungeons & Dragons, each level gets progressively harder to reach.  My formula here only gets you to level 30.  Do I need to go further?  Is the progression too harsh?

So now we have six attributes and six separate Levels.  By the way, when you Level Up… Celebrate!  You deserve it.  So how do we figure out our absolute Admin Level?  This one is simple, or at least it should be.  Just take the average of each of your Attribute Levels.  If only it were so easy.

FIE!  FIE ON YOU, COMPILED FORMULA CHARACTER LIMIT!!!!!

Alright, let’s calm down.  There is always a way around an obstacle.  We just need to step back and the path will appear.  How about a Process Builder?

  • Start the Process when an AdminAction is created or edited.
    • Criteria to Execute is when this formula evaluates to be true:
      • OR(ISNEW(),
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Attribute__c) ,
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Outcome__c ) ,
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Time_Expended__c ))
  • Update the Level Up record.
    • Admin Level = ([AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Career_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Family_Level__c +
    • [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Giving_Back_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Ohana_Level__c +
    • [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Self_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Work_Level__c ) / 6

Pretty Straight forward.  We will need to create the single Level Up record to attach all of our AdminActions.  Be as silly here as your grown-up self will allow.  Mine is called “THE BIG GAME”.  This new record will give us our Admin Level.  When you level up here, a real Celebration is justified.  If you think leveling up an attribute gets tough, it is immeasurably more difficult to bump up the Admin Level.  Actually, it is not immeasurable.  It is very measurable.  It is exactly 6 times harder.  Looks like I got busted speaking in hyperbole again.

So we have the guts to the app pieced together.  Let’s polish up this Tin Man into a shiny UX.  We want to be able to quickly log an AdminAction, preferably from our Salesforce1 app.  Here are some steps I took to get the best bang for our buck.

  • Set up a List View for the Level Up Object. Unless you are getting creative, you will only need one Level Up Record, so the list view filter can be as simple as you like.  The important thing is to include all the Level Fields as columns on this list view.
  • Create an Action on the Level Up Object. This Action will create an AdminAction.  Keep it simple by only including the required fields for the AdminAction: Outcome, Attribute, Time Expended and the Description.  I got fancy by including an Icon (a D20, of course) and an encouraging message to myself every time I log a new AdminAction. 
  • For a bit of extra knowledge, we need a report, or more specifically, a chart to show us our progress. I built one showing my total time expended throughout the week.  I LOVE how we can set a reference line, by the way.  It gives me a goal to aim for each day.
  • Now we need to piece it altogether on a Lightning Page. Add a Filter List component for the Level Up list view.  Also add Report Chart using the pretty report you set up showing your progress.  Set the Page up as your default when you log into your org.

So how does it look?  Anything like mine?  I assume not.  I’ve used this Dev Org for a while and there has been some additional branding that I’ve applied.  One of the aspects that I didn’t know about immediately was a quick action slide.  If you slide your Level Up record to the left, you have access to your Actions, including the Create AdminAction you made earlier. 

I truly hope this was a fun exploration for you.  I have loved building it and I’m eager to see it evolve into something larger.  I want to know what you would do different.  I want to know what you would add to make yourself a better #AwesomeAdmin.  Do you have questions about what constitutes a Career Action over a Work or even Ohana Action?  Let’s talk.  Let’s create something.  Let’s all Level Up!

 

Nerdforce Green Light

Well, I don’t know about all of you, but I’m really excited to get this year rolling.  It should be public knowledge by now (to the regular Nerdforce Listeners, that is) that Nana and I had an amazing time with the Nerdforce Podcast through 2016.  We were dumbfounded at how much of a positive impact we had on so many.  The turnout and involvement for Image result for retro sci fi artNerdforceCon was astounding and the Guest Accomplices brought a wide range of engaging conversation.  It may be possible we set the bar too high for the coming year.

Now, don’t think that we’ll just settle back on our heels, though.  I believe it was Vala Afshar who said at Midwest Dreamin’, “Do something BECAUSE it scares you.”  That’s one of the reasons I started the Nerdforce Podcast.  The responsibility of consistently providing content, and semi-entertaining content at that, has not proven to be the petrifying challenge my mind had made it out to be.  I have begun to look forward to our recordings as stimulating and enlightening conversations.  On more than one occasion they have been my Ray-of-Hope during some frustrating and angst-ridden doldrums.  Due to this joy I get out of the Nerdforce Podcast and the impact that Nana and I have had on this community of Salesforce Nerds we want to do more.  It was a couple years ago when I read in Chris Image result for retro sci fi artHardwick’s book to face my fear rather than run from it.  It was this summer on my 38th birthday when I was live streaming Midwest Dreamin’ that Vala said we should do something because it scares us.  For all of these reasons, I want Nerdforce to grow.

“But John, what do you mean by grow?”

Excellent question, Inner Monologue.  Let me tell you.  Some of you may have heard Nana and I spout on about creative collaboration.  You may have heard us ask you to bring your ideas to us so that we can help you make them a reality.  It is not an easy feat to work as a Solo Admin.  Of all your resources, time is always the one that you lose first.  Now work in some time to spend with your family, time to take care of yourself and time to read up on Release Notes, Trailhead and a ton of Salesforce Blogs.  What if you want to participate in the Salesforce Community like you see all these amazing MVPs doing on a regular basis? Image result for retro sci fi art Well, all you need to do is simply learn how to set up and run your own blog site, create new and fun content on a regular basis and promote all of your work so you don’t feel like you’re simply building a matchstick model of the Lincoln Memorial and tossing it into a giant chasm.

The entire endeavor begins to feel like another chore.  The good news is that no Admin (even the Solo Admins) are alone in the Salesforce Ohana.  If you want to write and post a Blog series or even a single paper that you are proud of, let Nerdforce help you with that.  If you have a video series that you want to get up and running, we can help with that to.  OOH OOH!  What if you have your own idea for #Adminfiction and want to get it published or even given the Dramatic Reading Treatment?  I bet we could find someone to lend a hand.  What about you developers out there?  Do you have a great app that you want to test out or promote?  We can help with that too.

“That’s great John, but what about those nerds that aren’t very creative?”

First off Inner Monologue, I believe that everyone has a creative spark within them.  They just need to find a way to leverage that skill into our world.  Secondly, those that are more technical in their skills are just as valuable to the Great Creative Collaboration.  With all these new Blogs, Image result for jetsons artVideos and Podcasts rolling into the Nerdforce realm, we need people to help with the infrastructure.  Here’s one glaring example, I would love for someone to join our Nerdforce family as our Webmaster.  My ignorance and neglect caused the Nerdforce website to collapse for the last few days of the year.  If we have someone who wants to start their own Podcast, they will need a Producer to get the perfect download into the cloud.

The greater Salesforce Community already has many of these attributes.  If you’re ever in trouble in your Org or in your Life, there is always someone there for you.  That’s why so many of us thrive in this community.  What I am trying to do with Nerdforce is condense this magic, this Ohana life-force into an organism by #AwesomeAdmins for #AwesomeAdmins.  Through our creative collaboration, we will be able to generate more than if we all tried to do it alone.  That may be common sense to some, but I have proof of concept.  Image result for futurama artI have been able to have a larger impact on our Ohana because of my Creative Collaboration with the likes of Nick Lindberg, Brian Kwong & Lauren Jordan.  I have built amazing things because of Jeremiah Down, Dale Ziegler, Eric Dreshfield, Jennifer Wobser and Zachary Jeans.  I wouldn’t have been able to live my life long dream of performing a Fantfiction Dramatic Reading at the largest Tech conference in the world; were not for the Nerdforce players Samantha Safin, Benjamin Bolopue and Stuart Edeal.  I wouldn’t have been able to livestream Dungeons & Dreamforce if it weren’t for the greatest DM I have ever tried to hit with a Bo Staff, Mark Ross.  I would not have made a single episode of Nerdforce if it weren’t for the Ford Prefect to my Arthur Dent, Nana Gregg.

“One last question.  What’s the deal with the funky space art?”

Well, those are just the product of a Google search that drug me down a rabbit hole yesterday.  Brings a bit of color to the whole post, doesn’t it?

Come to us with your idea.  Come to us with NO idea but a willingness to be involved.  Come to us and we will all make something FANTASTIC together.

Talk to me here: @ADM_Nerdforce

or here:  John Graf Success Community

Nerdforce #31 – Who DOESN’T have an Eye Tattoo?

We wrap up the year with an elongated chat with the Nerdforce Players.  That is we talked to the vocal stars of our #Adminfiction Dramatic Readings; Benjamin Bolopue and Samantha Safin.  Stuart Edeal also joined us as a new conspirator in some new stories were are hammering out.  This was a much needed conversation with some great friends and I hope you as the listener feel the same way.  Let’s hear it for 2017.

Nerdforce #30 – To the WIT Cave

We got the chance to bring back Guest Accomplice Kristi Guzman and she came with her new Podcast Co-host Melinda Smith.  We had such a great time that we keep the meter running for an extra episode.  To catch the second half, you better subscribe to the Two WIT Podcast.  This new podcast is one of the most engaging new shows to my feed in some time.  We had a great time.  I hope you do as well!

Nerdforce #29 – That Pretend Ninja Phase

Nana and I hang out with one old friend and one new Guest Accomplice.  This is the format we are aiming for future episodes, so let us know what you think.  Dale Ziegler introduces to us his good friend Amber Battershell.  Amber very recently took to Trailhead to learn about all the great things in the Salesforce world.  We learn how enthralled she gets when faced with a puzzle and her first foray into a good sized Salesforce Roll-out.