How can technology resolutions help lawyers grow in their practice? In this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell announce their technology and podcast resolutions for 2019. They give advice on how to make a good resolution, encouraging listeners to carefully consider how measurable and manageable their goals are. They also talk about what new things may be coming to the podcast, including more guests and an increase in featuring listener questions. If you have a technology question for Dennis and Tom, call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 — Your questions could be featured on the Kennedy-Mighell Report!
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and TextExpander.
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Resolutions for Tech Improvement in 2019
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode #228 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we would like to thank our sponsors.
Dennis Kennedy: First, thanks to TextExpander for sponsoring our show. Communicate Smarter with TextExpander. Gather, Perfect, and Share Your Knowledge. Recall your best words instantly and repeatedly. Learn more at textexpander.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: And we would also like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted, prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology, and understand the litigation process. Visit serve-now.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode we wrapped up 2018 with our version of the ESPN Pardon the Interruption show format. It’s a fast-paced and fun episode that I totally recommend to you if you haven’t already listened to it.
Another tradition we have on the podcast is launching each New Year, or as we record, ending each year with our technology resolutions for the coming year.
Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, we will indeed be publicly announcing our 2019 technology resolutions. In the second segment we will talk about our 2019 resolutions for this podcast, and as usual we will finish up with our parting shots, that one, tip, website, or observation that you can start using the second that this podcast is over.
But first up, technology resolutions, around this time of year we always find that there are a lot of podcasts and other resources that give you holiday gift lists, technology predictions for the coming year. We take a slightly different approach here at The Kennedy-Mighell Report because tons of great resources on gift ideas, we would hardly know where to start, there are just so many good resources and frankly, I stink at predictions.
So seriously we find that focusing on the year ahead and how we might improve ourselves from a technology perspective is a real practical way of ushering in the New Year.
So let’s get started. Dennis, first off, how did you do on last year’s tech resolutions? Should people go back to last year’s episode to check?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, Tom, as always, it’s the journey more so than the destination and I think I did okay. I changed directions. There were a lot of changes for me over the last year, so a lot of adaptations, moving to a new city, all the things that happened, retiring from Mastercard.
So I think that the basic theme of my resolutions carried through, but probably the actual implementation went in some different ways. And so I think that the thing with the resolutions is accountability is important. So you can’t go back and look at what you initially started with, but so is flexibility and adapting to your circumstances.
And in some cases part of a resolution is that you may want to fail fast and move on to the next thing, or maybe I am just making excuses. How about you Tom, how did you do?
Tom Mighell: Well, I went back and looked at them and one of them was a big fail. It’s going to reappear as one of my resolutions this year. It feels a little bit like having a weight loss resolution that goes from year to year. The other two, I think I did pretty well. I had resolved to improve team collaboration at work and we have been using Microsoft Teams for the past year and I think it works really well.
The other resolution was making my home smarter, made a little progress on that, although as we were talking before recording the show that it is a struggle sometimes working with smart devices. But in all, I am sort of pleased, generally because as you say, there are often things that hit us that take us in a different direction that you didn’t expect. And it turned out that this was a year that I wound up not really wanting to focus on resolutions. I guess that’s the good thing about them is, is that since they are just resolutions, if life takes you in another direction, then there are things that you can — that they are not so critical that you can’t put them aside or resolve to come back to them later. I wish I could have done more, but I am not unhappy with my progress.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, and I guess Tom, I think that I have learned over the years with resolutions, as you were saying about losing weight, is that what really makes sense is to kind of take a look at what you do want to accomplish and focus on some practical things that kind of move the needle forward as they say.
And so I think there are a number of techniques out there and usually in this episode we talk about a couple of them. For me, it’s always rule of threes, has become really important, so I don’t have like a list of 35 different things that I want to do. If I could say if I can break it down to three things, and they might be bigger things, they might have some subparts to them, but if I can do the three things, that makes a big difference, because I can keep that in my head and it seems manageable to me.
The other thing that we have talked about a lot in the past and a lot of people talk with resolutions or goals in general is the notion of SMART goals, which are things like specific, measurable, time-bound is another one. So SMART.
Tom, can you tell us what all those letters stand for?
Tom Mighell: You really are going to ask me that?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, that was the idea. No, people can google it. I just wanted to put you on the spot.
Tom Mighell: Thank you.
Dennis Kennedy: But there are a couple — there is some variation in what you do, but generally the notion is that you want to have these sort of SMART, measurable things that it’s easy for you to be accountable to and break it down into chunks.
I mean Tom, are there other techniques that you use?
Tom Mighell: No, I don’t. And putting me on the spot about SMART, it reminds me that there was a time that I could recite what those meant, but I think I have boiled it down in my head to say that whatever resolutions you have, they need to be manageable, they need to be not so over the moon that they are impossible and are so daunting, but they need to also represent real progress. They need to not just be an incremental step too. They need to be something that you feel a real sense of accomplishment once you have got through the end of your year.
So to me, that’s why I think about things that I am, one, genuinely interested in doing, excited about doing; and that two is, I am doing in a way that makes sense to me, that it’s something I can achieve during the year and it doesn’t feel like I am biting off too much. So to me, that’s how I boil it all down. I am not much for looking at the systems and everything, I just try and figure out what’s going to work and what I am interested in doing and do my best.
Dennis Kennedy: So I have been using or I guess — and looking this year specifically, it’s a three-part approach. So first, is there a technology pain point that I would really like to alleviate or even remove? Second, is there a new technology, a new skill or a more advanced use of a technology I already used it, I would like to learn or get better at? And third, is there something I can do to advance my career, accomplish more with technology, improve processes or enhance client service? And can I get something in each of those categories.
Tom, do you use Themes or you just buy whatever new thing Google announces?
Tom Mighell: Well, that’s rude. So last year I used Themes and I generally tried to — I like the idea that you have those Themes to try and break it down into something. This year mine are really just what I want to do and what do I want to accomplish. So there is not really a theme this year. Although, I suppose that one or two of them could fit into your categories of wanting to learn. That’s usually what I try to do. It’s things that I feel like I need to be doing, but also things that I want to try and learn, and that’s generally how it breaks down to me, those are the things that are most important when I make resolutions.
Dennis Kennedy: So let’s go to the resolutions.
Tom Mighell: Let’s get started, and Dennis, what’s your first step?
Dennis Kennedy: So the first one is sometimes people talk about whether lawyers need to learn to code or not. So I am kind of — this is not really in that category, but this is sort of my way of thinking and that is, I noticed that a number of things that seem like I do over and over again that I could automate in some ways.
And I want to look at more of those things that I can say something — I will do something and then other things automatically happen, and I am looking primarily in organization, maybe capturing ideas and making them useable, moving things between files and kind of get things out of me thinking about it and have it happen automatically. And I just think that’s a good area, like I said.
So there is a number of tools out there, the scripting tools and some other automation tools, and I think that that is definitely one area where I am looking to — and then I will set something where I will say here are certain areas I want to do this in and certain number of automation results I would like to achieve within a certain period of time. So very standard approach, but automation is a big area.
Tom Mighell: My first resolution is not nearly so ambitious, but it is a problem that I have been struggling with for a couple of years that I really think it’s time to make a decision, and that is, I need to standardize on a note taking tool. I need to decide which — I need to be all in on one, because right now I am using both tools for different purposes. I use both Evernote and OneNote and they both serve a good function and I like to say that I just want to continue on and use them what I am using them for, but that doesn’t make any sense. I would like everything to be in one place.
These days I use OneNote almost exclusively for work and frankly for vacations. I love creating notebooks. I love that I can share them with people. It is such an intuitive tool to be able to use. It just feels right.
But the one thing that I really struggle with is being able to save things that I want to come back to later when I am checking up and reading my news or my RSS feeds or if I have an email that I get and I want to save it. Saving to OneNote is really not very good compared to Evernote. Evernote has I would say the superior clipping tool and I can — in my Gmail I can save an email to Evernote and it’s perfect, it works great. OneNote, it stinks, it’s just not good, it’s not there yet.
And I hate to say that’s really the only problem, but those are my two use cases. I take notes and create notebooks and I like to save things from the web. And this year I am going to have to kind of figure out is there a better way in OneNote, because that’s really where I would like to go. I would really like to move away from Evernote and go towards OneNote, but that’s really going to be the decision. I am going to have to find a way to live with one or the other and I am still not sure what that’s going to be yet.
Dennis, what about your second one?
Dennis Kennedy: My second one is in some ways not dissimilar from your first one, but I am going to put it in a different term. So I want to go all in on an iPad Pro experiment, and you and I have been talking about this over the last couple of months for me. And so I want to go to the iPad Pro as my sort of everyday, the device I use all the time. I want to get the Pencil. I want to get a Bluetooth keyboard and I want to try to live on iPad Pro as much as possible. And each aspect of that is important to me, and especially the Pencil piece, because I want to do better at capturing ideas. I want to connect things together. I do a lot of mind mapping. I am using Kanban Tools. I am doing other things like that.
And I do have a bunch of notebooks, and it just makes sense to get everything together in one device. And then like you Tom, I am looking at OneNote as possibly a thing, but also a flow between a number of programs that I use.
But it all would be off of the iPad Pro and then it would — that of course would be my travel tool as well, but also my everyday tool. So that’s a very ambitious resolution, but it’s also something I think that I will know within three months or so that it’s been a success or what part of it has been a success.
Tom Mighell: All right, my second tech resolution is I guess my technology version of the weight loss resolution, and that is, I am calling it this year Create Content. I have not been, other than the six times a year article that I write for Law Practice Magazine, I don’t really have time. I haven’t had time to create content. I have been trying to re-launch my blog now for at least a year to a year-and-a-half and I just haven’t had the time to do it and I am hoping that that’s not going to prevent me from getting it out there, because I really think that there is value to producing the content.
One, I miss that writing. I love writing blog posts. I love being able to communicate like that. Even though I enjoy using social media tools, that style of communicating has not been as friendly to me as writing blog posts. I like the longer form and I just enjoy being able to do that.
I got very close to launching the blog again this year, and it just didn’t work out and I think that what this comes down to mostly is, it’s been very interesting to notice that when I had a blog, when I was writing content, when I was producing information, it really worked to get me noticed. It worked to get me involved with things. People were reaching out. People were talking to me. Since that time when I am not producing, it’s the opposite.
So I would argue that what people say about social media, what people say about producing content really is true. You get out there and you produce it and it has results for your network, it has results for the things that you are going to be wanting to do and getting invited to speak and do things, getting invited to join groups. I think it has a really positive effect. I want to get back to that, and I am hoping that 2019 is the year that I can start to do it.
Dennis, what about your third resolution?
Dennis Kennedy: So my third one I think is a timely one, because we are in another phase of everybody deciding and then announcing very publicly that they are quitting Facebook for one reason or another, largely because of the crappy content of their newsfeed and stuff like that. And you go like, hey look, you have a lot of control over your newsfeed, you have a — it’s hard for me not to chuckle a little bit when you complain about what the friends that you have chosen post on your newsfeed. But people are really starting to think about Facebook and how it makes sense. And part of it is when you have such a massive social network, how you use it is different than when you have a smaller social network.
And so what I am looking at is one tool in particular that I want to learn called Mighty Networks, which allows you to create these sort of specialized niche communities. And so that’s one thing that I want to do to say okay, so if I do Twitter, I do LinkedIn, I do Facebook, it’s sort of this sort of mass appeal and it doesn’t really allow me to have this dialogue or conversation. And I ranted about the tweetstorm phenomenon on Twitter.
But can I do something where say in connection with this podcast or in other things I am doing, we create a small network or community, not designed to be an advertising tool and not designed to scale up to billions, but to be really focused, and can I experiment in that space as something new to do. And does a tool like Mighty Networks, which I like the feature set that it has and the philosophy of the network, is that something that I can use to build out podcast audience, other professors teaching in legal technology and other space, the audience of Tom and I’s Collaboration Book, can I start to use that in a way that allows those communities to be created, and that to me is an experiment that I feel is time for me to try again.
Tom Mighell: And my final resolution is under the heading of learning something new, but I will confess that it’s almost learning something new or something old that’s new again, because I think I probably talked about these on past podcasts, but I would argue that these are finding ways to reinvent them — these topics are finding ways to reinvent themselves or become new for different reasons. And I really haven’t decided what I am going to plunge more deeply into.
So I am listing two of them. One is data privacy, with the California Consumer Privacy Act coming on, with the idea that more states are going to pass privacy laws, with the fact that everyday now we are hearing about a data breach that’s compromising somebody’s records, data privacy I think is going to be one of the bigger topics of our time. I am already certified in privacy for the European Union. I want to get more involved and understand it more and get so that it becomes a second language to me, like the law became at one point in time, because I really think it’s going to be important, and especially if the Federal Government decides to weigh into it, no telling what’s going to happen then.
The other one that I want to learn more about is I really want to catch up to what Office 365 and SharePoint are doing. I have got to say that as many errors and potshots as we might have wanted to take to Microsoft in the past, I have got to say that the Office 365 tool constantly surprises and amazes me. They are always evolving. They are always coming up with new features and new ways for you to be more productive and get things done.
SharePoint has really evolved to a tool that’s much easier, but much more powerful to use. I just don’t know how to use it very well. I don’t know how to configure it. I get in and I still feel like I am kind of a novice at doing that.
So I am going to try and learn more about Office 365 and SharePoint, learn how to configure sites and design things, and I am going to kind of bounce between those two learning goals for the coming year.
Dennis Kennedy: Hey Tom, what’s the cost of a privacy certification? Is it like in a $500 range or something like that?
Tom Mighell: No, I think — well, to take the training course for a privacy certification I think it’s somewhere just north of $1,000 for the training course, depending on what kind of course you take. And then obviously you are going to pay dues from the International Association of Privacy Professionals, but yeah, it was about $1,000 to get certified.
Dennis Kennedy: Because I think that’s a tremendous resolution for a lot of people, because that’s one of those things, it’s sort of like take a course, because I was thinking of an example of a SMART goal because I — people are always talking about cybersecurity and the fact is that when we did the presentation that we did in Boston, we kind of walked through what the goals of somebody breaking into your system are, but a lot of people don’t have that and it’s hard to know what the techniques are and stuff.
So if you said I want to — so if your resolution is I would like to get a lot better at cybersecurity, it’s probably going to be like losing weight, but if you said what I am going to do is I am going to find a cybersecurity class at the Community College and I am going to take that class and I am going to finish it and I am going to get at least a B+ in that class, then I think you have a great goal that’s going to really help you say in cybersecurity and obviously the certifications in data privacy. Or another thing that you can do in your spare time and like you said it sounds like probably for $1,500 is not a bad investment in your career and your technology knowledge.
So I think we have given people some ideas. I don’t know, Tom, do you have some smalls that you might add to the list that you are also thinking about?
Tom Mighell: I think my only small is, and we have kind of danced around talking about this, it’s I want to get better at social media. And when I think about social media, I don’t think about blogging necessarily, but I think about — I haven’t quit Facebook, although I am not incredibly participatory on it, but I want to get better at Twitter or at Instagram. And I feel like that just takes some time and investment and understanding.
I wouldn’t mind at some point having a YouTube channel to talk about technology, that part doesn’t really seem like a small goal, but I really want to try. But part of it is just stepping out there and engaging and actually doing things, and again, that’s a function of time, but that’s kind of one of my smallish resolutions for the year.
What about you?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I would like to point people back to our LinkedIn challenge that we did, because I think that’s another notion where you say I would like to get better at LinkedIn, and we did this method where you can just add connections and there is a lot that you could learn about that. That’s something where you say I would like to add whatever number makes sense for you, but say let me set a goal of adding let’s say 500 connections this year or within a period of time and then actually do that. You are going to learn a lot about LinkedIn. You are going to learn a lot about your networks.
I guess the other resolution Tom that you and I should have is that we keep talking about these online courses, we have got to get those done and launched. So I think people should be looking out for that, and it would be great if our audience held us to account on that, because I would like to get those out in the next three or four months.
Tom Mighell: I agree. Can’t wait to do those. I think those will be exciting. So what are you waiting for Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: I am waiting for 2019 and a fresh start and getting off the ground and for you to say I am not quite as busy.
Tom Mighell: And I guess that’s all we have to say about that. All right, we are going to take a break now before our next segment to hear a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. In the grand tradition of anthropomorphism, in this segment we have acquiesced to the request of our actual podcast to tell the audience its own resolutions or at least to read off its list of wanted resolutions.
Tom, what does the podcast have on its wish list for 2019?
Tom Mighell: Well, interestingly enough, the podcast also believes in the rule of threes and it wants three things, at least from what it’s been telling me. Number one on its list that it wants are guests. It wants guests desperately in 2019 and so Dennis and I are going to work on getting guests, right Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Yes, we are.
Tom Mighell: And the second thing that it wants is it wants people to call in with questions or topics on our answering machine line, and that’s (720) 441-6820. We miss featuring your questions or comments during our B Segment. That’s during this very segment that we are talking right now and we can only do it if you folks call in and leave us a message. So please do it, (720) 441-6820.
And then the third resolution of the podcast is really a dig at Tom, at me, because the podcast wants Tom to update the show notes blog. As bad as I am at updating my own blog, I am bad at updating the show notes blog, and so that is another goal of the podcast is to get Tom to update the show notes blog.
Dennis, what about you?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, what it’s whispered to me is pretty much the same thing. So the guest is a big thing and we want to go outside the world of legal and legal tech. So it’s another place where we are looking for some suggestions. We have some stuff in the work.
We had Whitney Johnson last year, one of our best shows ever. And so we have some things in the work that we are working on, but the suggestions people can make, and there is plenty of podcasts interviewing people in legal tech, so we are going to go in a different direction that really interests us.
The questions thing is huge, and I think the podcast believes that some of our audience thinks that they don’t — maybe their questions aren’t cool enough or interesting enough or hard enough for us. That’s not the case at all. So any question is good.
And as Tom is talking about doing the show notes, on the Dennis side of things, Dennis does the scripts and so Dennis is very much in favor of people doing questions, because that means that Dennis doesn’t have to write the B Segment every time.
So I think those are the main things.
Tom Mighell: So you are saying that the podcast wants me to work more and you to work less, is that what you are saying there?
Dennis Kennedy: Yes. That’s always been the case with the podcast, because as I said, I write the script for the podcast, so you shouldn’t be surprised that that’s the way the podcast thinks.
So get the word out. Of course, podcast loves sponsors, so there are a lot of things out there, but mainly we want to get ideas from the audience. The podcast likes Tom and I enough, but they would like to include you, the podcast’s actual fans and not just us. So that’s what the resolutions are from the podcast.
So now it’s time for our parting shots, and the last parting shots of the year, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second this podcast ends.
Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So my parting shot is not technology related in its strictest sense, but it is a website that I have become obsessed with lately. It is explore.org. explore.org is a series of around about 200 live webcams that are out there that only show you pictures of animals. And so they might show you the puppy room of a Great Dane breeding facility. It might show you an eagle’s nest or other wild birds with their nest. There is a donkey bar and there is a sheep barn. There is something in the Grand Cayman, so you can see underwater, you can see the fish. There is a camera for the aurora borealis that goes off every night. Right around 7:30 at night you can see the pandas in China.
I am obsessed with watching these. It’s so relaxing and fun and quiet, and I could just leave it on and do stuff with it, but it is definitely worth your time to go and find some of the great animals on explore.org.
Dennis Kennedy: Is there like a virtual reality channel to that or is it all just 2D at this point?
Tom Mighell: It’s all just 2D as far as I know.
Dennis Kennedy: I am loving the idea of virtual reality. That could have been on my list this year as well.
So the thing that I am recommending is something that’s been around for a while in other contexts and it was something I looked into in connection with the class I am doing at Michigan State and start to adopt for myself. So in the lean methodology and the Toyota method there is this notion of Kanban and Kanban Boards, which is this way of kind of showing your work in motion and I just find it really helpful.
So basically, I take a whiteboard and it has four vertical sections with a heading and on the left it says backlog, then it has a column that says ready, and then one that says doing, and one that says done. And so what I am able to do is put everything that I think I need to do on a project into the backlog thing and then I move it to the right column.
So I am grabbing things, I am moving things forward, I am focusing on two or three things that I am actually doing and then I am able to see in one place what I actually have done. And it sort of allows me to move things around by priority, to see what’s been accomplished and to see the whole project in one space. And I have been using it personally on a few things and it’s really handy and it’s another aspect with the iPad Pro notion and OneNote of something I would like to do with a Pencil on an iPad.
But very handy, just google it, see some examples. There are some templates, but very helpful for kind of tracking a project and seeing it visually and then giving yourself credit for what you have actually got done.
Tom Mighell: Yeah. And if you are interested in tools that adopt the Kanban approach, Trello is one of those that is actually a really, really good task manager type tool, like Dennis described.
And then if you just want to try out a free technology-based one, Microsoft Planner actually comes with your Office 365 subscription and it is also a Kanban based task manager or planner, so definitely worth trying out.
So that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report and another great year Dennis, definitely with some of our best episodes. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode at tkmreport.com.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site, where you can find archives of all of our previous podcasts.
If you would like to get in touch with us, please reach out to us on LinkedIn, or as the podcast wants, to leave us a voicemail at (720) 441-6820.
So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy and you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts. And we will see you next time in 2019 for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.