Posted on December 2015
Last Sunday, I stayed up well after midnight watching my favorite football team lose in overtime. My best friend (man's best friend!) and colleague Frank (a dachshund for newcomers to our newsletter) woke me up early the next morning. He wanted to know how the November Edition of the Simply XML Newsletter was coming along. Frank reminded me that it was the last day of November and that the previous Newsletter was published (way back!) in September. "Nice way to start the day, Frank," I said. I told him that I had been busy with two great conferences, Lavacon in New Orleans, and DITA Europe in Munich, but also that there was a lot of end of year purchasing and implementation activity for Content Mapper.
I was feeling a little stressed about the now December Newsletter and then I remembered a recent article on stress that I read in INC Magazine. So I'm happy here to borrow some ideas from Natalie Walters and point you to her very interesting article: 5 things that stress people out the most at work
Ms. Walters lists these stressful things as
It strikes me, again, that we are in the Information Age and that the world would be less stressful if we all had access to just enough of the right information, at the right time, in the right delivery method. At some level we all know this, but what makes this well-known solution so difficult to achieve?
Well I think the solution involves people, information, and technology. It has been that way for my whole career. However, there is something more important that I will discuss shortly.
Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Long story short. Cut to the Chase—We all know that people, information, and technology are the three key components to solve almost any problem in the Information Age.
Here's the more important..... Solutions need to be simple, succinct, easy, and appropriate. The technologists will tell you that you need a sophisticated solution involving hundreds of DITA elements, a CMS, authoring tools, metadata, management and control. As I've said in the past, I hate the word sophistication and its derivatives. Webster says that sophisticated means "deprived of native or original simplicity as: highly complicated or developed: complex with a specific mention of sophisticated electronic devices."
Is that what you want? Sophisticated solutions? Solutions that are highly complicated?
I would like to think that Content Mapper is "elegant" according to Webster meaning (and I'm not making this up).... "simple and clever."
We designed Content Mapper, in a very complex way, to be simple and clever for the author and for implementation in the content supply chain. The UI and visible aspects of Content Mapper are so simple, that many of our customers give their authors a demo and a Quick Reference Card and send them off to be productive doing their "real jobs and actual work."
Our implementation of DITA is also elegant. We hide the XML and the majority of the DITA from authors which allows them to spend their time "simply creating great content." And, very soon, the stork will be bringing Lightweight DITA to Content Mapper and Simply XML. It will be a DITA authoring environment for the rest of us, devoid of visible XML, but loaded with the few important features that a billion MS Word users really need.
The words "simple" and "simply" are currently hot in the positioning and advertising world. We are being told that some of the most complicated things in the world are now simple. But the use of the word "simple" needs to get real.
In our opinion organizational stress will decline with the enterprise implementation of an elegant approach to people, information, and technology. And simplicity has to be a lot more (really a lot less) than a marketing buzzword.