In keeping with their annual tradition, Dennis and Tom share their technology and podcast resolutions to ring in the new year. They take a look back at the resolutions they made for 2020, discussing the progress they made and which goals they met. Then, they look forward to 2021, outlining the importance of making specific, measurable, and achievable goals related to technology and discussing what they hope to accomplish for the podcast this year.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and Colonial Surety Company.
Mentioned in This Episode
A Segment: Our 2021 Technology Resolutions:
B Segment: 2021 Resolutions for the Podcast:
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Cheers to a New Year! — Dennis and Toms 2021 Resolutions
Intro: Got the world turning as fast as it can? Here 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 277 of the Kennedy-Mighell report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors.
Dennis Kennedy: First of all, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bond you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: We’d also like to thank ServeNow. A nationwide network of trusted pre-screened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit servenow.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And we want to mention that the second edition of our book The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies is available on Amazon. Everyone agrees that collaboration is essential in today’s world, but now more than ever before knowing the right tools will make all the difference. In our last episode we had our friend Debbie Foster joined us for look back at legal technology in 2020. Now, we’d look ahead to 2021. We aren’t big believers of predictions on this show, especially after all the unpredictability of 2020 but we do have an annual tradition of sharing our own technology new year’s resolutions each year in our first episode of the year and it’s that time of year again. 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 sharing our technology resolutions for the coming year. In the second segment, we will talk about what resolutions our podcast might have for 2021, and as usual we’ll finish up with our parting shots that one tip website or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over. But first up, new year’s technology resolutions which is a — has become a long time tradition on this podcast. We see in legal technology field a lot of people saying, let’s make predictions for the coming year but one — I’m lousy at predicting anything. Two, like you said, after a year like this how can anybody predict anything ever again?
I would predict it will be another year, so before people start to claim that that they saw the pandemic coming and things like that in 2020. What we don’t see a lot of and what we think is important is rather than doing predictions, new year’s resolutions probably get a tough rap because nobody likes to keep them but the idea of technology resolutions — to me is a little bit different because these can be goals that benefit you that are easier than I’m going to lose weight or I’m going to get that new job or something that seems to be daunting and doesn’t always be something that you can achieve but it can be something that you actually can get you, but if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. So, Dennis sometimes likes to avoid telling us how well he did on last year’s resolutions but I get the sneaking suspicion that this year might be different. So, I’m going to start with that and say, what did you resolve in 2020? Then I’ll talk about what I resolved and how well we both did. How did you do this past year Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, first of all, Tom there was a pandemic so we have to be realistic about our expectations but I did go back somewhat reluctantly to my last year’s resolutions. My first was to revamp my whole tech stack and I looked at that I realized, I just got a mac mini today. I changed so I’m moving from laptop to desktop focus, new big monitor, streamlined all my software and services and I actually think I did that one. My second one I was going to focus on video production and again, I took a look back and I said, I’ve done all these webcasts I’ve taught probably 60 or more hours of online classes in in the past year done all these learn Zoom and these other platforms. I’ve actually, I did pretty well there too. And then, my third one was simple automations and I look I’m doing if this then that text expander, keyboard maestro some other things to automate things and I’m thinking Tom, “Oh my god, I think I actually rocked all of my resolutions. How about you?
Tom Mighell: Well, it’s funny at the beginning of the year or throughout the year we’ve heard that it’s a pandemic year. People are all staying at home. And staying at home means, you have more time to attack the things that you ordinarily wouldn’t have time to do, but what I didn’t really think about when I made the resolutions is as far as I was concerned other than the fact that I didn’t get to travel and that I didn’t get to go anywhere on the weekends. The weekdays were pretty much the same for me. I mean, in a business where that wasn’t really affected by the pandemic. It doesn’t leave a lot of time to focus on resolutions. A little bit different and that said, I did a decent job.
My three resolutions were one to launch my blog and do some things around that. I finally after forever launched the blog whether it was successful or not we’re going to talk about here is as one of my follow-up resolutions I launched a newsletter as part of that blog experiment too and we’ll talk about that more in just a little bit. So I would say that in terms of the resolution, I was successful. I launched the blog. I was going to get better at power automate and power apps, I would say, yes and no. We at our work we have learned how to deliver one of our key deliverables, record retention schedules as a power app and I was part of developing that tool so I definitely think I succeeded there.
Personally, I didn’t do a lot around it. I was more professionally but that counts and then, I think in the work, in getting ahead at work, I wanted to learn more about CCPA and privacy. This was a quiet year for privacy. I think that because of the pandemic CCPA, they really haven’t been enforcing it yet. Nobody was paying attention to it but back in November, they passed the newest version of CCPA, the CPRA which is going to take place in two years which if you thought CCPA was bad just wait until CPRA comes around. I think that, this just wasn’t the year for privacy so even though I didn’t get to do as much I would say that it really wasn’t the year for me to do that. So I felt like I did a decent job even though I really didn’t have time to focus on them.
Dennis Kennedy: So I got to say that CCPA in the hot focus on it seems like something that happened five years ago and it was total blast from the past for me.
Tom Mighell: Wait until they start enforcing it they just haven’t enforced it. Nobody’s done anything about it. So, if they ever enforce it that’s when it gets interesting.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, we have to do contact tracing so privacy is we’re going to have to rethink it one more time. So let me also note that I did one more small resolution of starting up a community on mighty networks which I’ve done. So Tom, you were dancing a lot of victory dances in the last episode, but I think in this department I am the winner of winners.
Tom Mighell: I think when it comes to resolutions we’re all our own winners, Dennis and so it’s not that you can do better than me. It’s just that — and when someone’s retired and has time to do all sorts of things sometimes that makes it easier to accomplish those resolutions but –
Dennis Kennedy: I notice you didn’t have losing gracefully on your resolutions. Maybe, it’ll be on the ones for this year as you get prepared for me trouncing you next year.
Tom Mighell: I’m not familiar with the concept.
Dennis Kennedy: I think 2020 really demonstrated something about resolutions and plans and all these things and especially the importance of experimentation as we both talked about in how we kind of readjusted what we had planned to do with technology, and in my case, I completely rethought my approach to hardware – software in services making adjustments and even pivots. As I’ve said, I just suddenly this year all the decisions I had made in the past were based on lots of travel and speaking and things like that changed and so the technology I was using that have changed. So, we’ve time I think learned a bit over the years about technology resolutions and we usually talk about that so one of the biggest things is SMART Goals which I always like to make you say what the SMART acronym stands for so I don’t have to kind of make it up as I go. So let’s talk a little bit about smart goals and how they fit into our resolution process.
Tom Mighell: Well, SMART Goals are at the very least one way to make sure that whatever resolutions that you make, they’re reasonable. That they’re something that they’re achievable for you. So a SMART Goal is one as specific. That means, that it can’t be vague it has to be a specific goal that you have in mind. It has to be measurable, you have to be able to measure it at the end of the year. How did I do this? How you have to be able to say, yes I did it or no, I didn’t or in what degree did I do it. Achievable it has to be something that you can get to, if you can’t achieve it why make the resolution. It has to be relevant. It can’t be something that doesn’t apply to what you’re working on and in this context it can’t be not about technology. And time bound and we like to think that it’s a resolution for the year so hopefully you are making that resolution for something to happen within the course of the next year. So those are just the things to think about as you’re setting your resolution that there are sorts of the parameters to say does it meet all of these, and if it does then chances are it’s a pretty decent resolution.
Dennis Kennedy: And I think the SMART approach really helps you avoid the super vague types of resolutions that like lose weight — to lose weight type things that are easy to fail at. So I’ve been using a three-part approach and that’s what we’ve used here I think last year and maybe years before that as well. So the first one is there is specific technology pinpoint that I’d like to alleviate or remove. Second, is there a new technology, a new skill or a more advanced use of a technology that I’d like to learn and third, is there something I can do to advance my career accomplish more with technology, improve processes or enhance client service. Time to use a theme, are we going to stick with my three-part theme?
Tom Mighell: Well, ever since I heard your theme, I’ve liked it so much that I’ve tried to adopt it myself, so I’m happy to use the same theme even though I think that my resolutions this year will not track to that theme exactly.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay, so let me start with number one, which I put number one, so I could take it from years’ time but this is our Second Brain Project. So I think that Second Brain Project is — I’ve always conceived of it as a way to alleviate this pain I have of not being able to track all the things that I collect, the notes that I take and then make them usable again, so our past podcasts and future podcasts on Second Brain Project we’ll talk about that.
So that’s going to be my primary focus and I was thinking about SMART Goals and I thought — this seems very doable to me but it’s also sort of ambitious. I think by the end of the year I’d like to see that at least 80 percent of my new notes, bookmarks, other things like that are actually going into the Second Brain Project on a fairly seamless basis and maybe 50 percent – I feel like at a 50 rate I’m finding documents, templates in two minutes or less so those would be the types of specifics that I’ll track too and then the other thing, I want to do is more of a process approach to say, I want to map out for each month of the year. What I want to work on and accomplish on the Second Brain Project for myself.
Tom Mighell: And the fact that you took it from me first, doesn’t mean that I can’t take it for myself, for my first resolution because I think for both of us it’s important. It’s something that we’re both working on. It’s something that we’re recording podcasts on so there are multiple many reasons why we want to — why it should be one of our resolutions. I think that for me what makes it specific for me is I want to be better at how we’ve already announced this. Be better at how to use Notion.
What’s interesting about Notion is, it’s not like Evernote that we would have used before. We can’t just throw something in there and there it is and it’s there. It is a very powerful multi-faceted tool, that many would say is too complicated. It tries to be too many things. That said, there are so many different things you can do with it, I want to fully understand all the things that it can do. Right now, I have quite a bit that’s organized in there but I feel like I’m limited. I feel like I’m not pushing the boundaries of what I could be doing. One of the things that a lot of people use Notion for that I’m probably not going to do is a lot of people use it for task management and I feel like why would I set up a manual task management system in there rather than use the good automated one that I use with Todoist.
But I am intrigued by the Notion of using tools like Notion for project management or managing the types of things that I want to do, the goals that I have throughout the year. So I’m interested in that. I think that that’s kind of where I want to focus my second brain effort is to get really good at the tool so that by the end of the year I’m confident in how I plan to get information in there. How I plan to access it and the automation that I plan to use within Notion in order to keep it maintained and get to the stuff I need to get to when I need to get to it.
Dennis Kennedy: So my second one is to really level up on video production and online education and online skills, so those three parts which are all to be pieces of video so presentation, presence facilitation and then I think video editing and so the way I’m going to do that is really work on a video studio setup. Look at some online facilitation courses and just getting a lot of practice in experiments, which teaching several online classes is going to — and I’ll probably be putting on some webinars as well. I think will help with that, but that’s sort of the approach and time we talked about this while back at the Notion that I feel like my home office is probably going to become a video studio that I also work in, and that is a theme for me for 2021.
Tom Mighell: So my second one, I’m going to have to make a confession and that is that I am not really happy with my online presence. I did achieve the goal of launching a blog this past year. I launched a newsletter. I really enjoyed putting the newsletter together, but I didn’t get the level of engagement that I really expected and so I’m just taking a step back and I’m and I want to spend 2021 figuring out what my best approach is for an online presence. I’ve been out of the legal technology field officially for a number of years. I’m legal tech adjacent at this point and so, I feel like there’s lots of people who can talk about legal technology much better.
I would point you to those people much better, but I feel like where I offer lawyers benefit is to talk to them about standard technology that they use every day that wouldn’t be strictly legal technology, about the phones they use, about the password managers they use, about the different tools, about Notion, things that are more consumer related. I just feel like I’m not really hitting my stride so my goal is going to be to figure out is the blog the right thing to do? Is the newsletter the right thing? Do I need to do courses like everybody else is doing? Do I — what should I pour into video and I’ll talk about video in a little bit more but I need to figure out what that content is and what it is and the best way to deliver it and part of my problem is, is that for me this is a side gig.
I mean, I have a full-time job and when you have a full-time job it’s hard to do some of these resolutions on the side because you just don’t have time to do it. But that’s where I plan to go is to say kind of it’s my passion where should my passion lie online in 2021.
Dennis Kennedy: And my third one which is using technology to advance your career and related things. I think I’m going to choose — because we’re on the podcast I am going to choose virtual reality. The context will be Michigan State University’s Center for law technology innovation where I’m the interim director. In the spring, I want to try to do a virtual reality in the practice of law online education event so that will be the goal and then, I think otherwise in VR, I just want to do a lot of experimenting and maybe try to do sort of like one unique VR experience a month that I wouldn’t otherwise do.
I mean, I have talked about my experience this skin diving, virtual reality thing with the hammerhead shark swimming over me. I talked about my sense of wooziness on the top of the Matterhorn. But I think there’s virtual reality that allows you to kind of try some different experiences that you probably can’t do these days physically anymore and even if you could do them, you might be a little bit scared to do those, so VR will be a resolution number three for me Tom.
Tom Mighell: So I was thinking about what I should do for work and it was a little bit hard this year.
Because there’s not been much that has come up that needs doing right now. So I’m focusing on things that would help my team a little bit more and some that would help clients. One is finally getting to use the workflows within Microsoft 365 to be able to have things happen automatically. Right now, just for example our sales process where we review proposals and send them out to clients goes between three or four different people all by email. All are terrible process, all very clunky and time consuming and we’re finally putting together. I finally want to put together something that is an easy workflow where we all get things in line and it is all very seamless and it’s all collaborative and we’re all using the same document. I want to get better at those types of workflows among the team.
The second thing is that I want to get better at sort of being an Excel power user. We produce deliverables for our clients that are often in an Excel worksheet and they’re very simple and I just came across someone who works for one of our clients who use these formulas to just do amazing magical things to be able to call up information that previously, we wouldn’t find a good way to do it. I want to learn to do that a little bit better so that I can deliver those types of products better to the clients who want them in Excel. Although Excel is not my preferred way of doing it. Some enjoy having it that way. I want it to be as professional as possible so I’m going to be trying to learn those tricks to make them even more valuable.
Dennis Kennedy: So we always like to talk about like some smallish resolutions sort of like the small ones are small one in addition to the big three. So I jotted down here time that I want to learn enough about Microsoft teams and all Microsoft 365 suite to actually impress you, which is a big, big target for me and then I’m definitely going to be working on upping my game and mining networks in the communities and the online courses I’m putting together. How about you Tom?
Tom Mighell: Well, so even though this is really not a small resolution, I really need to get better with video part and this may be an excuse but my office is really not conducive to setting up a video studio type atmosphere and so four months ago, I bought a very nice desk that would I’m going to pull all this furniture out of this room, get rid of it, put this new desk in and have a better more efficient better workflow for doing videos and it’s not here yet. It’s taking forever. It’s killing me and I don’t know what’s going on. I may be using that as an excuse but I need to get better at video. I need to finally set that up so to me that’s a small win if I can just get that desk and kind of set everything up finally.
And then, the other thing I want to do is, it occurred to me the other day that I had subscriptions. I just get charged for a software tool that I bought. That I never have used in the past year so I’m going to actually take a look at all those subscriptions that I did over the past year. Whether it’s an email, whether it’s something else. But something I might be paying money for and there are a couple of services that can keep track of these for you, but I’m going to take a look at those over the coming year and get better about and say, do I — maybe do a recondo and say, does this service spark joy for me and get rid of the ones that I don’t need. Save some money and simplify the tools set that I might have accessed at some point in the past but don’t anymore.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah that’s a great one Tom. I’ve suggested that to a number of people like why — and this is I take part of that cable cutting thing too is that you’re trying to say what are these monthly things and why am I just paying this amount per month like if I just look at it what cuts can I actually make and can I kind of rationalize this and so that was part of my revamping my tech stack. So I don’t know Tom, I think that I don’t know that I’ll do as well as a next year as I did this year but I think the SMART does having three goals using the SMART Goals approach breaking them into chunks. I think really up my chances and everyone else’s chances. So how are you feeling about either my chances or your chances?
Tom Mighell: Well, I mean you’ve been rocking it so I feel very bullish on your chances. I’m happy that I have resolutions that I know that I want to do. They’re not necessarily things that I have to do although, a certain extent I do have to do one or two of them but I actually want to do them, and I think that makes hopefully increases my chances of success but we’ll see, who knows what is coming in this year and what’s happening from a work standpoint and whether I can balance the that work and second passion between the two this year to see what happens. I’m hopeful but we’ll check back a year from now and see what happens.
Dennis Kennedy: Then, let’s just challenge our listeners to do the same thing. What are your resolutions? We’re happy if you share them with us of course but I just think this is a great exercise like who — anybody can predict the future these days. There’s no shortage of people trying to do that but like what is it that you can actually do and accomplish in a targeted way just makes a lot more sense than trying to guess what’s going to happen in the future.
Tom Mighell: And with that, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. We also wanted to create some resolutions for the podcast itself, so let me throw out a few starter ideas and Tom can react and add to the list. So I’ll let Tom talk a bit more about this, but I think a good resolution for the podcast would be to do a new version of our collaboration tools book, because collaboration tools have never been more important so there might be something coming along. I think we can achieve that resolution actually. Even more guests, the guest experience has been wildly successful just great, great guests. Great shows this year so took a long time for time to convince me but I liked that.
We do want to get audience questions into our second segment this B segment and I want to build on our team success and Tom, this may shock you but maybe we drop Zoom for our actual calls we’re on for our podcast and US teams and then, my usual I think this actually comes from the podcast itself not me, but to convince the Legal Talk Network to do podcast t-shirts and stuff like travel mugs and those kinds of things for the podcast. How about you Tom?
Tom Mighell: Well you know, I’m not sure that I can find a better — anything add to that list to make it any better. I guess the one resolution that I might have for this podcast that is probably sacrilege for me to say it out loud is that if we could maybe get to the 30-minute podcast that would be the holy grail and I’d love to get there. We’re trying but as I’m looking here at the timer and we’re just now passing the 30-minute mark, oops, that’ll have to be a resolution for 2021. Dennis just let us in on the secret, we are indeed working on a new version of the collaboration tools. Book a work from home version. So, we’re excited about that and we hope you will be too we’ll tell you more about it in coming episodes. I would say that we stand a better chance of convincing the Legal Talk Network to do t-shirts if they do it for all the podcasts because I know that I would love an Adriana Linares t-shirt. I would wear that in a heartbeat and so all I can say, is if you’re going to do it for us you should do it for all the hosts. But I think that that is also a resolution worthy of carrying over into 2021.
Dennis Kennedy: So now, it’s time for our parting shots that one tip website or observation you can use this second this podcasts ends, Tom take it away.
Tom Mighell: I have two and a half quick ones and they’re all just pure fun. The first one is to go out to google or just google — I’ll put a link in it and find the Blob Opera. The Blob Opera is four little Blobs that you can manipulate with your fingers and go up and down and back and forth and they change notes and they become a choir and they sing in harmony and it is just amazing fun to sit there, for I sat there for 30 minutes just making them make noise and it was so much fun to do. They’re singing Christmas songs right now, if you’re listening to this around the holidays.
Otherwise, they’re there for the for you to make anything. You can even record them singing something. The other thing the tech tool that I recommend is something I’ve been using here for a couple of weeks now. I’ve recently purchased a subscription to TeaRunners, where they send me four or five bags of different kinds of teas every month to try out, and I realized in drinking tea that my tea gets cold very quickly and so, I’m using the new ember mug. E-m-b-e-r, I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s a smart mug. It’s something that you put on a coaster, you can control it with an app where it will go to the exact temperature, whether you have green tea or black tea it’ll keep it at that temperature for as long as you want to as long as it’s on the coaster. It does run by batteries so it has a 90-minute battery life outside of the coaster but I am amazed at how good it is at holding the heat of that tea. I see the steam coming off the tea an hour after I’ve after I poured it out of the tea kettle. It’s just a great thing it is helping me to start drinking more tea. I’m enjoying it a lot the ember mug.
Dennis Kennedy: I would totally go for an ember mug with an LTN logo. It wouldn’t even have to be our podcast logo.
Tom Mighell: That’s an awesome idea.
Dennis Kennedy: I was thinking time that we did about 30 minutes on the ember mug before we started recording this podcast. So, I have a couple of plugs and then, one actual parting shot suggestion. I did a couple of online courses in the latter part of the year, so one is on personal quarterly off sites and this is the time to do one of those. The other is on LinkedIn Essentials that Allison Shields and I did those are both available on my mighty network site with for the he Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory. Also doing this cool new online innovation course that you can find more about it exponential.legal.
And the one thing I want to recommend is I love Soundscapes in ambient playlists and trying to figure out a good way to do it because I don’t like to wear headphones all day long, but I have these little creative speakers. They’re little round speakers and it comes with a subwoofer and they get excellent reviews and they sound great and they’re only $39 and combining those with the either apple music, Spotify, whatever ambient playlist just gives you like a really nice vibe to your workspace and really helps with your home office. So these little creative speakers with a subwoofer.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up for this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode on the Legal Talk Network’s page for this podcast. 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 shows along with transcripts. If you’d like to get in touch with us, remember you can always reach out to us on LinkedIn or as Dennis said earlier, leave us a voicemail. We love to get voicemails for our B segment. That number is (720) 441-6820. So until the next podcast, I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy and you’ve been listening to the Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an internet focus. If you like what you heard today, please rate us on Apple podcasts and we’ll see you next time in a new year for another episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Tom Mighell: Happy new year, everybody.
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.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
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