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Tech-Tav Documentation
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Techie Technical Documentation Services and Software Israel
Techie Technical Documentation Services and Software Israel

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ThinkNext! 2012 was one of the best tech events we've ever attended. Kudos to Microsoft @microsoft  #startups  #thinknext2012

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Our CMO tries out driving as an alternative to public transportation. It does not go well. 
I spent 4 hours of my afternoon in a car today. And I didn't get anywhere, either. I ended up exactly where I started. (Here! Home! Writing to you!)

I planned it, too. I actually planned this afternoon this way. I rented a car, purposefully, with the intent of leaving work at 2 pm and spending the entire afternoon, until 7 pm, driving my children around. I don't own a car, but I wanted my son to try out a new basketball team, and it wasn't clear how else to work out the logistics.

At 2:30 I picked him up. We got to his dad's home a bit before 3, ate something, and left at quarter to 4. Then we swung my house, to pick up my daughter's boots, and dropped my daughter off at her afternoon activity at 4:30. By the designated 5 pm, we were at the basketball court. It took a few minutes to get things arranged, and then I got right back in the car, to pick up my daughter, with a whole 20 minutes to spare, so we swung by the vegetable stand to take advantage of that time.

At 6:38 I picked up my son, and then proceeded to the kids back to their father's place and drive back to my home, thinking about stopping at the gym on the way, and realizing I didn't have my gym stuff. So I'm home.

Literally, from 2 pm to 7 pm, I did nothing productive in my business. I sat in traffic. I sat at endless traffic lights. I looked for parking and worried about paying for parking for the 20 minutes at the vegetable market.

I got increasingly irritable, until my daughter said "Well, aren't you grouchy. Le'ts sing a song." She chose "Driving all the way to Minneapolis in my car." We laughed. My kids are much to old for that song. That part of the drive was pretty good.

I'm thinking, thankfully this is a rental and I return it tomorrow. That one comforting thought has been in my mind for the 4 days I've suffered with the rental. It would have been bad with any car, but it was even worse in this automatic-transition Fiat Punto with a key you turn in the lock because it doesn't have a clicker, and roll-down back windows. I couldn't even figure out how to open the hatchback so I threw the veggies on the back seat. As my father always told me, Italians know how to make good food.

Let's pretend that the cost of the car was nothing. Let's pretend that it is fun to drive. Still...

5 hours of my time. Even if I didn't have billable work during that time, and I didn't, I could have been:

Making 20 sales calls.
Writing 5 blog posts.
Promoting my blog posts or myself.
Arranging my accounting or paperwork.
Doing all those other things that you know need to get done and didn't get done.
Working on my community project (I'll tell you about that some day soon. It's a project with the refugees; let's just say it's a lot more valuable to people's lives than my billable activity.)
Holy you-know-whating-what. That's CRAZY. People do this every day.

People. Ask. Me. How. I. Manage. Without. A. Car.

How do you manage WITH one?????

As we're driving home, though, I'm thinking, damn. My kid did really well at tryouts, and it's an excellent team. That's 4 practices a week. If he gets there on his own, and dad drives twice, that's still 2 taxi rides a week, that's wow, NIS 400-500 per month ($100-120). I need a car. And then I started thinking, can I really afford losing 2-3 hours per week on this? The taxi started sounding pretty good.  I need to make that time worth it. I need to build up my business so I will really be working those 2 hours and paying off the taxi rides. I can do that.

And as I'm thinking all of this to myself, the boy pipes up from the back.

"Mom?

"Yes."

"If you had, like 2 million dollars, and electric cars got really popular, would you buy one?"

Kids really do ask the funniest questions, don't they?
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I have struggled with this question a lot recently. I get a lot of phone calls and emails from angry 3-month-course-takers who can't find jobs. (Not angry at me, since we don't offer technical writing courses; just angry at the universe.) They beg for my help after spending many thousands of shekels on a technical writing course that did not lead to a job. Will they get a job with Tech-Tav if they don't have a technical degree? Probably not. I truly believe that the best people to work with (in our specific niche) are very technical to start. If you didn't major in a science or engineering degree in college, there was probably a reason. Either it wasn't something you loved, or you didn't have the math/science skills to pull it off. Folks - technical writing is TECHNICAL, otherwise we would all be fabulous creative writers. When a company calls me asking for someone who has programmed or scripted XY or Z, sending them a candidate who has no previous technical background is not only insulting to the company, but useless. Yes, inquisitive Rabbis who study the Talmud and have a thirst for knowledge can and have become great technical writers and get into the technology, but at least be honest and admit that it takes them longer and they must spend hours of either their time or company time getting an education that a programmer or engineer would already have. For a short project, except in rare cases, it is not realistic or financially viable.

For "Ddaphd," who called me out for not having a technical degree: you are absolutely right, but that is not something I hide or am embarrassed about. I don't and, as far as I know, have never once claimed to be a technical writer. I would never be hired at Tech-Tav as a writer and for good reason. I am the CEO and I manage projects and make decisions about tools, strategy and direction. I don't do any technical writing. I leave that to the trained and talented staff on our team.

So in short, I stand by what I said. If you are thinking of taking a 3 month course and someone is promising you an amazing salary afterwards, think again about the promises they are making. In my experience, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have what it takes and need a kick in the pants to motivate yourself....realize that we are at the crossroads of so many new tech and scientific discoveries. Social media is only in infancy and cures for cancer and other devastating illnesses are so close. Get a job where you can make a difference, connect to your users, change lives and you'll never regret taking a chance and investing in yourself. Remember why you majored in the sciences to begin with and take all of that drive and motivation and apply it for the good of your product users. If you think your product is silly, find a different product/company. The market is hot for qualified writers with deep technical skills who can cross the chasm of good content towards next generation content delivery and user interaction.

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How to install an AuthorIT plug-in.

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Upcoming Documentation Managers' Forum -- we still have a few places left. We'll be covering how to manage your career and get budget for your projects. This is for team leaders and documentation managers only.
Details:
http://www.tech-tav.com/services/doc-management-forum

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Our CEO's impressions of the big +Microsoft Corporation event last week.

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This is our trial balloon for the real thing. We had a good time and learned a lot about video filming and editing.

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Does your company give you high-calorie gifts?

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Our CEO learns a management lesson from a toddler.
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