We all solve the same problems

We’ve all been in that position where we are trying to work something out and wish we had someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone who knew us, what we were going through, who had expertise that was the same as ours. Only different. Someone we could leverage in real time, right now, to get us through our current predicament.

We all solve the same problems

Only the order changes

Just because you’re doing DITA or XML doesn’t mean your project matches someone else’s.

Every project moves at a different pace. And every business has different needs at different times. We all solve the problems that we need to solve first and put other problems on the Later Stack.

For example, need Translation? For some companies, the answer is “Eventually” but today, they need to get content to the web. Like, yesterday. So they put the Translation project on the stack and deal with getting good web output and making sure the right customers get the right information.

A different company might have translated content as a top priority. Today. They don’t need web content right now (but eventually, sure). Again, one problem gets tackled, the other gets put on the stack. A problem to solve tomorrow.

Each company grows expertise in-house. The problem solvers have good lessons to pass on to others.

To pass on to each other, in fact.

It gave us an idea

And so we’re trying something new

We created a mastermind group for technical communications professionals and invited all of our active customers.

It’s one of the things I love about working for Single-Sourcing Solutions. We’re always trying things. We constantly look for new ways to collaborate and share and to grow the expertise of the professionals around us.

We’ve been privileged enough to see our customers grow into experts, to have real knowledge to share with others.

We limited it to our customers for a year: Monthly meetings where our customers would get together to share their experience with each other. To leverage each other.

It worked–really well

Especially for the small teams

For the small teams, there was no more waiting for an expert to get hired (not that someone was actually going to give us more headcount). No more waiting for the next conference to figure it out (even if someone was actually going to give us budget for a conference). No more waiting for an answer that may never come when we write a vague description of the problem and post it to a mailing list. No more trying to get our deliverables out while still trying to find time to figure it all out. Alone. Fastfastfast!

Instead, they got a team of experts they could leverage. The virtual environment means they can share their screen talk about their real problems, in real time, and get answers.

Access to the mastermind groups made it seem as if they had all effectively grown their teams–without adding to their headcount.

It worked so well, we now have three different masterminds — one for General Technical Communications, one for Arbortext users, and one for Windchill IT Professionals.

You can have it too

Join the TC Mastermind Group

For less than $40/month — less than your cable bill — you get the benefit of having experts at your disposal who can focus on your problems. Right now. Today.

Groups are kept small to preserve the intimate atmosphere and to encourage close relationships. Group members are static — the same people meet week after week, so the close relationships can develop and members don’t have to worry that some stranger is out there listening in.

We don’t share company secrets, we share strategies, expertise, and our networks. We talk candidly about things like working out linking strategies and legacy data management and developing instincts required for good topic based authoring.

Think of it as part support group, part networking group, part discussion group. With the mastermind group at your side, you’ll never be alone again.

Give yourself the support you need and join the Mastermind Group.

New Forums available to Mastermind Members

When we checked in with our TC Dojo Mastermind members, they asked us for a place where they could collaborate with each other outside the regular meetings. Until this point, we had a wiki where everyone could collaborate, but it just wasn’t meeting their needs.  So, earlier this week we stood up a community forum site to make it easy for Mastermind members to share their knowledge and experience.



Continue reading New Forums available to Mastermind Members

Need Help? Check out our YouTube Channels

Last week we launched three YouTube channels to make our videos more accessible and more generally available for everyone out there. Over the next few weeks we’ll be launching the iTunes channel again: Interviews with people doing interesting things with Arbortext, XML, and Content Strategy. But that’s the next project…

For now, there are just over 30 videos available on three YouTube channels:

Every presentation, video, and podcast we do serves to bring tribal knowledge to light. Learn more about using Arbortext from real users. At Single-Sourcing Solutions, we all started as customers. We all learned from other people — customers, users, PTC and Arbortext resources.

We have found that people who learn Arbortext are premium resources to their companies. Very few Arbortext specialists are out in the wild; None have been out of work in my memory. Every new customer grows their own specialist. The learning curve is high. Not only are you learning a new product, but you’re learning how to implement it well, and make the tool work for you and your company. That takes time and resources.

To become a journeyman, an apprentice must first become a craftsman.

Consultants play a part similar to that of the journeymen of the guild systems: They often travel a lot, work at many different companies and spread new practices and knowledge between companies and corporations.

Our goal here at Single-Sourcing Solutions is to is to expand the resources available to everyone in the community. If you’re working with the product — or just want to learn about it — please join us! We do these things so that we can all achieve what we all want to do: To be masters of our craft.