I have written four books about CMS or related subjects.
The first was published by O’Reilly Media – it was one of their popular “animal books” (contrary to popular belief, you don’t get to pick your animal; my animal ended up being the Pygmy Flying Squirrel).
I’m told it sold several thousand copies, but O’Reilly declined to publish a second edition because “practice-centric” books don’t sell nearly as well as “platform-centric” books. (Put another way, a book about Drupal specifically will always sell better than a book about content management in general.)
The next two books were self-published through Amazon. The last book was also self-published, through a different vanity press.
I am currently planning a second edition of the O’Reilly book with a co-author. We are shopping for a new publisher (I own the copyright, and O’Reilly has agreed to relinquish their publishing rights).
Here’s an extensive list of other content-related writing.
Other Professional Experience
I’ve been a member of the Boye and Company CMS Experts Group for many years.
I’m currently completing a podcast series with the co-author of my last book. We discuss each chapter, and have an expert guest for each episode.
I started a podcast for The Content Management Bible. I keep meaning to get back to it (I enjoyed doing it, but I’m not great at the technical production aspect). I finished Part 1 of the book, which I’ll call Season 1 of the podcast. Bob Boiko is aware of (and somewhat amused by) this project.
For several years, I produced a CMS-focused email newsletter called Squirrel Notes. I’d like to restart this, but I stopped for specific reasons.
When I was at Blend, I helped organize several conferences. (The key there is helped – I didn’t do logistics, I just hosted and helped procure content.)
I’m the mod of the /r/cms/ subreddit, though it can be tough to do anything constructive with it.
I was on the final board of Content Management Professionals (we shut down the organization)
I have a B.A. in Government and International Affairs with a minor in Philosophy from Augustana University in Sioux Falls. I earned the degree in 1997. (I graduated high school in 1989, but delayed college due to military service and general youthful indecision.)
I was planning to become a lawyer, hence the degree. But halfway through college, the internet broke into the mainstream. I got a computer and never really looked back.
I don’t regret my degree. There was no program back then that would have prepared me for where my career would eventually lead. I still enjoy the complex systems and analysis aspect of geopolitics. In another life, I would have moved to DC and been an analyst for the CIA or the State Department.
I spent a couple of terms on Augustana’s Alumni Council and the Computer Science Advisory Board.
I was a hospital corpsman (a medic, essentially) in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Naval Reserve from 1989 - 1995. I spent time with the Naval Reserve Unit in Sioux Falls, and a Marine Corps Reserve Unit in Des Moines. I ended my service as a third-class petty officer (E-4).
My active duty service was mainly with the Marines, either in Camp Pendleton or Camp Lejeune (the Marines have no medical staff; they’re supported by the Navy in that respect).
During my service with the Marine Corps, I spent time at Amphibious Assault school in Coronado, California; Field Medical Service School somewhere in Wisconsin; and The School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton.
Other Organizational Experience
I was on the trustee board of Sioux Falls Seminary for a period of time, eventually becoming vice-chairman. My tenure coincided with a change in leadership, and I served as the head of the Interim Oversight Team which managed the seminary for six months between presidents.
I serve on the Property Board of Central Church. This board is responsible for all physical property, facilities, and land issues for a large church of 5,000 regular attenders.
I was the president of the Dakota Region Porsche Club of America for several terms.
Things I’m Good At
I have extensive experience with CMS and related fields. But here are some other areas I do well at:
Public Speaking. I’ve spoken at hundreds (?) of events, from small workshops to keynotes with thousands of attendees (I was the developer keynote at Sitecore Symposium in 2018, which had about 5,000 people in the room). Subjects range from motivational to promotional to technical.
Written Communication. I’ve spent most of my career writing about content technology. This includes four books, and a blog that was fairly influential at one time. I’ve essentially made a career out of explaining things, and getting people excited and interested in content platforms.
Industry Networking. I’ve come into contact with a lot of people in the content industry over the last 20 years. I’ve developed an extensive network during that time.
Consultative Selling. I like working with prospects to define their problems and brainstorm solutions. I’m pretty good at painting a picture of future potential.
Sales Enablement. I enjoy supporting sellers in opportunities. I’ve been told that I’m responsible for a lot of sold software over the years. I also enjoy training sellers.
Things I’m Not Good At
To be clear, there are a lot of things I’m not good at. However, here are some weak areas which my experience suggests I should be good at:
Staff Management. I’ve rarely managed staff, and I’ve never done it well. I’d like to try again at some point. However if you’re not good at it, you harm both the organization and the staff you mismanage, so I’m intimidated by it.
Software Production. I have decades of programming experience (my GitHub), and I still do quite a bit of development as a prototyping tool. However, I’m not experienced at production software delivery, and I wouldn’t perform well as a member of a development team. I don’t have the necessary attention to detail or process.
Traditional Sales. My sales experience is extensive, but atypical. At Blend, I did very consultative sales. At Optimizely, I’m brought into very particular types of sales at specific points to consult with prospects. I’ve never done traditional enterprise sales, never done proactive sales prospecting or ABM, and I’ve never been managed to a quota.
Digital Commerce. I fully understand where commerce overlaps with content – I’m perfectly capable of product management and delivery. However, I’m fairly ignorant of the transactional processes and nuance behind commerce platforms (…even though my company sells two of them).
Digital Marketing. I understand the technology landscape of digital marketing and can speak with authority about it, but I’ve never actually practiced it. There’s a vast array of post-publish optimization tools for which my knowledge is purely academic. My empirical knowledge of CMS ends at the “Publish” button.
UX or Design. I couldn’t design my way out of a paper bag. (I mean, just look at this website…)
In addition to those specific areas, I have a some other personal shortcomings worth mentioning.
Idealism. I can be ridiculously idealistic about CMS. The business of software requires balancing product against market requirements, and I’ve never been great at this. I get frustrated with business realities sometimes, and I need someone to call me out when I get on a soapbox.
Shiny Objects. When it comes to content technology, I’m interested in all the things. I can get side-tracked easily. This is has been largely helpful in my current position (I do a lot of R&D), but I sometimes need to be pulled back to the real world.
Didactic Narcissism. As this document might suggest, I like words. I assume everyone will read every word I write and listen to every word I say. I get frustrated when circumstances don’t allow me to fully explain something, or when someone isn’t as interested in a topic as I am. I often need to be told to summarize the high points (which I will do, grudgingly).
General Delusions of Grandeur. Professionally speaking, my appetite is often bigger than my stomach. I think big, but I can get lost in the details. I need to be balanced by someone far more practical than myself.
Perfectionist Procrastination. I’ve been known to avoid working on projects that I consider to be “perfect.” Some things are so good, I’d just rather they exist in theory, rather than get muddled up by reality. This is a constant struggle to manage.
Topics I’m Interested In, Professionally
Clearly, CMS and other content technologies are my core area of professional concern, but there are related areas about which I’m particularly curious.