5 Things I “Shipped” in 2011

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Last year I compiled a short list of things I accomplished in 2010 and I liked the way it turned out so I thought I’d do it again for 2011.

The idea of “shipping” is to get a project as far along as you can and then send it out the door and move on to the next project.

If it doesn’t ship, it doesn’t count. – Seth Godin

So, here are five of my favorite things I “shipped” in 2011:

  • Completed the Master’s of Communications program at Marquette University and began a full-time position at the Urban Ecology Center.
  • Designed a much needed Case for Support for the Urban Ecology Center. A digital version can be seen here.
  • A “2011 Year in Review” fundraising video for the Urban Ecology Center.
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  • Video coverage of the 2011 Teen Adventure Challenge.
  • And, I completed the Oshkosh Area Sprint Triathlon (my first Tri!).

There it is. I’m pretty proud of each of these.

What did you “ship” in 2011?

Radio Storytelling Inspiration from 4 Experts

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Radio

I’ve been seeking out some storytelling inspiration for projects I’m working on and have found some fantastic wisdom from four of my favorite radio storytelling pros. So, I thought I’d share. In no particular order, here are four storytelling experts talking about their jobs:

1. This American Life’s Ira Glass:

Be sure to check out Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 too!


2. NPR’s Scott Simon:


3 & 4. Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich

RadioLab is probably my favorite show on the radio. Each episode can serve as inspiration for informative storytelling, but in this particular piece the two hosts talk about how they use sound design to enhance stories. They touch on the importance of including differing vocal textures and the musicality and composition of speech among other things.

Making RadioLab

The Power of Digital Storytelling: Climate Wisconsin

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With a combination of great design, beautiful web typography  and an important message, Climate Wisconsin presents compelling stories about climate change in the state. Personal stories about ice fishing, farming, fly fishing, forestry, extreme heat and other climate related topics make the increasingly important issue of climate change relatable and compelling. Ten beautifully photographed, filmed and edited stories and two interactive infographics convey the impacts of climate change on a variety of people, traditions and industries throughout Wisconsin.

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What I “Shipped” in 2010

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I love Seth Godin’s idea of “shipping” projects! Get your projects as far as you can, do your best, and send it out the door. Doesn’t matter if it’s perfect or not, it’s done. Then, you move on to the next project. And guess what, you ship that one too.

If it doesn’t ship, it doesn’t count. – Seth Godin

Godin recently wrote a blog post listing some of the projects he shipped in 2010. Here is my own (far less impressive) list of shipped projects for 2010:

There may be a couple of other things that I’m forgetting, but I’m pretty happy with this short list. Here’s to even more “shipping” in 2011!

Official Announcement: SCVNGR trek is done!

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Yep, it’s finally finished! I put in lots of work and I’m thrilled with the outcome. I’m still interested in any feedback that users would like to share, but I think that it will be a fun experience for most people.

Even though the trek itself may seem simple and fun to do, there were a lot of decisions that went into planning it.

Why SCVNGR?

Mobile technology and location-based gaming is growing in popularity and I don’t think it’s going away for a long time. I wanted to see how I could use that technology to help get people outside and to an organization I care about (and work for), the Urban Ecology Center.

There are plenty of other location-based mobile games for smart phones out there, but when I learned about SCVNGR I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. SCVNGR allows you to string together a series of “challenges” into a trek. Challenges must be completed in a specific location and can include responding to an open-ended question, answering a question with a specific right answer, taking a photo, or scanning a QR code.

Although many people have smart phones these days, one of the really fantastic things about SCVNGR treks is that they can be played via text messages. So, those of us with “dumb phones” don’t feel excluded!

In addition to being exactly what I was looking for, a SCVNGR staff member was extremely helpful in helping me get set up. After learning that Marquette has a SCVNGR trek for it’s campus, I got in touch with the guy I thought was responsible for setting it up, Tim Cigelske (@TeecycleTim). Turns out that a guy named Jeff Kirchick (@jeffreykirchick), the Universities and Independent Schools Specialist at SCVNGR set it up. Tim got me in touch with Jeff (Thanks, Tim!), who was happy to hear about my interest in SCVNGR. He also granted me capacity to create a trek, something you normally have to pay for (Thanks, Jeff!), and had a lot of helpful tips and pointers for trek creation.

With that, I began building the “Explore Riverside Park” trek.

Trek Overview

This trek is meant to be a fun way for visitors to experience the Urban Ecology Center through a mobile gaming medium. I had three main goals in mind for the trek:

  • To help people discover some of the unique, fun and educational features of the Urban Ecology Center.
  • To teach users something about the organization and about nature in a fun way.
  • To get people out into Riverside Park and help them to gain some appreciation for it.

The Challenges of creating “Challenges”

There are tons of things to do at the Urban Ecology Center and many features of the building that are worth pointing out to people, but I really wanted to focus on some of the main highlights and leave a couple of things for people to wonder about and ask one of the knowledgeable employees or volunteers. A little human interaction never hurt anyone!

I also found it difficult to point out some features in a way that makes sense in the SCVNGR challenge format. For example, the flooring on the second story of the building was salvaged from a local school gymnasium and is over 100 years old. Pretty cool, right? But how would I point that out in a challenge? I couldn’t figure it out.

So, I narrowed my many options down to 6, and I think they’re pretty good! There are three photo challenges, two specific text response questions, and one QR code challenge. Even though I think the QR code scanning is fantastic, I limited myself to only using one, because those challenges are not available to people playing via text message.

Overall, I think it’s a fun balance of building exploration, education, and nature exploration. I created this fun promo video so you can see for yourself:

In addition to video, I created a prezi to give an overview of SCVNGR, the Urban Ecology Center, why I created the trek and to show some screen shots of the SCVNGR app on my iPod touch. Feel free to take a look at it:

And here are some of the screen shots of the app:

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So, go, play the trek! Have fun! Then tell me about it!