On “Side Hustles” and Being Your Own Boss

podcast with Eric Stoller

Every time I make it “around the horn” to celebrate another successful year of consulting, speaking, and writing, I get a bit reflective about the journey. As if on cue, Dustin Ramsdell from the The Student Affairs Spectacular Podcast, invited me to do an interview about my endeavors.

Here’s the full audio interview where I go into detail about my journey as a student affairs professional / higher education consultant. I manage to throw in some thoughts on work/life balance as well as some insight into what my typical day is all about.

Spoiler alert: life is great, work and life aren’t a dichotomy, and it’s been 4 years since I started doing this work full-time. Thanks Dustin for giving me some time on your show.

[image credit]

Survs – Epic Online Surveys

Survs - Online Surveys

I was perusing the interwebs the other day, prior to the QuestionPro account termination debacle, when I came upon a blog post that linked to Survs.com.

I had never heard of Survs before and thought that it was worth looking at for an online survey solution:

Survs is a collaborative tool that allows you to build, deploy and analyze online surveys.

It is collaborative in the sense that you can cooperate with your teammates through the journey of building, deploying and analyzing your surveys. You can even share your surveys results, templates and themes online.

Being a web application, no special software is needed. As long as you have an Internet connection and a web browser you can access Survs wherever you are.

The blog is the place where you can keep in touch with all that is happening with Survs. But if you want first hand news don’t forget to check out our Twitter page

Survs is a product of Enough Pepper, a (proudly) small company located in the engaging city of Lisbon, Portugal.

I created an online survey in a couple hours using Survs. The experience was phenomenal. Survs works like Flickr. Editing is very easy and intuitive. The learning curve with Survs is very shallow. I was able to create questions with numerous logic rules (conditional branching elements), side-by-side matrix-based questions, open-ended questions, etc. Survs is amazing. The interface for customizing surveys is extremely user-friendly. It effortlessly allows for a user to create sophisticated surveys. A tremendous benefit of Survs is that they do not require that their logo or branding be present on your surveys. Your surveys can look however you want them to look. It is an extremely refreshing experience.

Continue reading Survs – Epic Online Surveys

QuestionPro – failing epicly

QuestionPro - online surveys
QuestionPro used to be my favorite online survey tool:

I just wanted to contact QuestionPro and let you all know that your product is terrific. As a full time graduate student at Oregon State University, I have used QP to create and deliver 2 surveys with functionality that other free services could not provide.
Eric Stoller

Back in 2005, I created a couple of online surveys using QuestionPro for some projects while I was in graduate school. I was impressed with the overall functionality and flexibility of QuestionPro’s system. Years later, I noticed that the above quote of me praising QuestionPro was on their website. In October of 2008, I sarcastically tweeted that I should get some kickbacks for their use of my quote on their student research website. Shortly after I posted that tweet into the Twittersphere, I received an email from a QuestionPro representative asking me if I would like a “partner license.” I’m always up for trying out new levels of technology access, so I said yes and all of a sudden, I had a partner license to QuestionPro.

Continue reading QuestionPro – failing epicly

Student Affairs Technology: To Boldly Go

Student Affairs Technology: To Boldly Go

“They should have explained the basic concepts at the beginning (e.g.: podcasts, blogs, wikis, etc.).”

“Be less technical.”

“Helping me to boldly go where I’ve never been before.”

One of these statements is not like the other two. I’m sure you can guess which one gives me hope as a student affairs techie that we as a profession have not lost our willingness to learn, to explore and to stay positive about new technologies. This article represents a call to action for student affairs practitioners. The microblogging site, Twitter, has a feature that lets you “nudge” someone that you are following. This is me providing a gentle nudge to my fellow higher education administrators. I hope that you nudge me back. Let’s push the envelope. Let’s shift our professional paradigms. Let’s make technology (and learning about new technologies) a part of our daily practices.

Continue reading Student Affairs Technology: To Boldly Go

Kicking ass in the sphere

Kick Ass Blogger Award

Kevin, a long-time blog buddy, thinks that I am a kick ass blogger. I am honored to be given this award. A lot of the bloggers that have received this award have been mainstays in my RSS reader since I started wading into the blogosphere pool.

There are some rules/regulations for the awarding of a Kick Ass Blogger award. According to Kevin, if you neglect to follow the rules, then your ass kickingness card will be subsequently revoked.

  • Choose 5 bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
  • Let ‘em know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they’ve received an award
  • Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to MammaDawg
  • Hop on back to the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky then pass it on!

So without further ado, here are 5 bloggers that kick ass:

Professor, What If…?
A relatively new addition to my feedreader, Professor, What If…?’s posts are insightful and kick serious ass. Asking tough questions and providing critical analysis are the hallmarks of this site. Critical educational ass kickery. Add this feed to your reader. Go. Now. Do it.

Michael Faris at A Collage of Citations An ass kicking blend of rhetoric, composition, and pedagogy. Michael does not need nor want awards which is exactly why he should win them. Pretentious? Yes, in a he’s-smart-so-listen-to-him-as-he-puts-down-some-kick-ass-thoughts kind of way. Brilliant? Mostly :-) Don’t let him know about it. His head can’t take the swelling ;-)

Crip Chick Kicking ableism’s ass and putting up some amazing posts. One of my favorite bloggers. Go check out her stuff. Pronto.

Feminist Philosophers A multi-author site, Feminist Philosophers is a great read for anyone who wants to sit back, think, and learn. Learn a lot. Oh and they have cat posts on Sundays :-) Ass kicking cat posts.

Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican He’s blogging the DNC. Redesigning his site. Shooting video for MTV. Feeding zillions of posts into our feedreaders. Tweeting from morning til night on the twittersphere. Nezua kicks ass on so many levels. Every post is like a poetic essay that forces us to think while enriching our spirits.

500th Blog Post

This is my 500th blog post. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now. Time flies when you’re blogging. I never thought I would last this long. I’ve had a few breaks here and there. It takes a lot of juice to keep blogging on a regular basis. The blogosphere and the brickosphere require a lot of energy.

The most rewarding aspect of blogging is the community that I have grown to know and love. Brownfemipower, Kevin, Vegankid, Kortney, Kai, Jenn, and Rachel are all bloggers that I connected with during my initial dips into the blogging pool — people who I have never met in person (hopefully someday!) that I admire and respect. It is the blogging community that makes blogging so special to me.*

I appreciate all of my friends, colleagues and family members who continue to read my posts and provide spectacular comments. I have learned a lot from your shared wisdom. Thanks for visiting!

*I want to also acknowledge the following bloggers as they too have helped me grow as a fellow member of the blogosphere:

Columbus Junction, Iowa

flooding in Columbus Junction Iowa

The flood stage for my hometown of Columbus Junction, Iowa is 19 ft. The floodwaters reached 28.3 ft. in 1993. The current prediction is that the flood waters will crest at 33.2 ft. I remember how bad it was in 1993. This is much worse. My parents live out in the country and are at a high enough elevation that they are safe from flooding. My mother told me yesterday that they cannot travel north or east as the roads are closed due to flooding.

Columbus Junction’s Mayor Dan Wilson says they’re trying to save the town’s business district. All the stores in the district were closed Friday afternoon, including the town’s only grocery store, bowling alley, doctor’s office and senior center and child daycare center. All were surrounded by stacks of sandbags. “We’re in uncharted territory,” says Wilson. “We”ve done everything we can.”

via the USA Today

The Economart, Columbus Junction’s grocery store, has the potential to be inundated with up to 4 ft. of water if the levees fail. I used to work there as a teenager. I’ve bowled at the bowling alley. The doctor’s office that is at risk is the clinic that I used to go to when I was growing up in Columbus Junction.

Continue reading Columbus Junction, Iowa

Community forum series

Daily Barometer Community forum series isms at Oregon State University

I was in Waldo Hall about a month ago when I came upon a larger version of this poster. I’m a fan of inverted black and white posters as they remind me of my graphic design days in Chicago.

The poster was advertising a community forum to discuss “isms in media.” I moved a little closer and read the list of “-isms.” Sexism, racism, ableism and classism. Okay, those are all forms of oppression. What? Why was alcoholism on this list? It just did not make sense to me as it did not fit with the rest of the items on the poster. And where oh where was heterosexism? A list of institutionalized oppressions and a disease. I do not understand why alcoholism was included…?

The Daily Barometer, Oregon State University’s student newspaper, has had yet another year where the paper prints something racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. and then attempts to do a better job (usually folks of color start appearing in the photographs on the front page during Winter term). It’s a cycle and the pattern has occurred since I moved to Corvallis in 2004 and became a member of the OSU community. Year after year a student editorial board and their lackluster faculty advisor bring about copious amounts of harm to the community, apologize and then attempt to rectify what happened in the fall. I can understand that student editorial board members come and go, but the faculty advisor remains…

Continue reading Community forum series

A letter to Ikea

Portland Oregon Ikea

Dear Ikea,

Many years ago, in 2001, I purchased two beech-colored items of furniture. The items, a bookcase and a CD tower, were bathed in a lovely golden brown veneer. Recently, Wendy and I decided to embark on a trip to the new Ikea in Portland, Oregon. We decided that we would like to procure another beech CD tower. Upon our arrival at the Portland store, we grabbed a golf pencil and used a gps to locate the CD tower on the demo floor. I was gleeful when I discovered a fleet of benno CD towers in all sorts of different colors. I wrote down the stock number and we proceeded downstairs to the loading area. The box containing a beech benno was loaded onto the neatest handtruck ever and we rolled to the checkout counter.

Three days passed before I decided to build the benno. I opened the packaging and that’s when I realized that something was wrong. The beech on the new benno was much lighter than my seven year old beech colored furniture! Gasp! I showed Wendy the color disparity and we knew that we did not have a match.

Continue reading A letter to Ikea

Exclusion through language

letter from Ron Wyden senator from Oregon

A couple months ago Brownfemipower posted about the Inhofe Amendment. The amendment was contained within the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, S. 1348. (Note: S. 1639 has a similar English language amendment) This amendment would have amended title 4 of the United States Code to “declare English as the national language of the Government of the United States, and for other purposes.”

I was upset to read that Ron Wyden (D) from Oregon had supported the Inhofe Amendment. I quickly wrote Senator Wyden and I received a response this week:

Continue reading Exclusion through language