Sunday, May 31, 2009


WorldatWork 2009 - Day 1 - Expo

The conference is off to a great start here in Seattle. The exposition opened at 4:30 and closed at 7:00 PM with a steady stream of folks walking through the hall. I saw quite a few friends tonight, including David from Virgina Mason, Tammy and Ann from the Port of Seattle, Doug from Applied HR Strategies, David from Equilar, Bill and Diane from The Regence Group, and a host of new people and hopefully prospective customers.

My original plan for today didn't pan out as expected. I brought my 10 year old and 6 year old sons with me to the exhibit hall. My Dad was going to walk with them up and down the aisles so that they could see what it was like and collect some trinkets of course. Well the conference center staff didn't like the idea of having kids in the hall. Apparently about a dozen kids were turned away. So my Dad took my kids to Gameworks and they played games and ate pizza. Not a bad way to spend time with Grandpa!

But I did get to visit with my Mom at the show. She's in town from Montana for some work. Here's a photo taken by Diane from The Regence Group. Thanks Diane!

Here are a couple more photos from the booth.

The booth with the new banner on the front. Here's a link to the original photo of the mountain.

A row of the best pens in the world...

My plan for tomorrow is to try and get a couple of interviews and post another video tomorrow night. We'll see how that works.

I'll be at the booth tomorrow from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and again from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM. Maybe I'll see you there!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009


WorldatWork 2009 - Day 1 - Setup

It's conference time again!

This year the WorldatWork show is in Seattle. I live 30 minutes from Seattle. The whole experience is much less busy and less stressful since I can stay at home and just drive into the city during the show hours.

Here's a video of the first day of getting the booth setup. At the end is an interview with Audrey Johnson, Visibility Manager for WorldatWork. She's great. Very energetic, enthusiastic and supportive of the sponsors and exhibitors. Thanks Audrey!

This video is also available on Youtube.

Here's what the booth looks like all setup in Seattle.

Audrey really is dedicated to her work. She even had her toes painted with the WorldatWork logo!

We're hanging a banner on the front of our table at the booth this year. Here's what the banner will look like...

Tomorrow I'm taking my sons with me to the booth and Grandpa Bob is going to go along and walk the aisles with them so they can pick up some of those great expo give-aways.

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Friday, May 08, 2009


Updates Tracking Blog

I've started a new blog for tracking updates and changes to Version 3.

NextComp Updates Blog

Check it out!

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DEMO - Version 3 - Search Surveys

We're busy preparing for the 2009 WorldatWork show. There are lots of details to keep track up, including ordering booth giveaways, making sure the booth furniture is ordered, and of course finishing up Version 3 development.

We're making great progress and I had a chance yesterday to make a short demo of the new Search Surveys page in Version 3. I wanted to share the process with you, just in case you wonder how these types of demos are made.

It starts with a general idea of the flow of the demo. I ask myself questions such as:

  • What do I want to show?

  • What do I not want to show for this demo (trying to keep it short and on point)?

  • What do I show first, second, and third, etc.?

I hand write some notes and then I run through the demo, without recording it, a few times. I usually end up practicing the demo between three and five times. Then I'll setup a camera and actually video record myself making the introduction to the video and the closing comments.

Here's my high tech camera stand! I forgot my tripod, so I made do with a box and some books. It worked just fine though.

It was interesting this time since we're in a new office. I had to try a few different locations and angles of the camera. I didn't want too much clutter in the background. Notice that I covered up a few boxes with some artwork, in the background on top of the closed cabinets.

It's little stuff in the video that I'm looking for at this stage.

Once I've found the right angle, I'll actually record the introduction and wrap-up. I may do this a few times to get the wording correct and the framing of the video correct.

Next I'll switch to the screen recording. I'm using a tool called ScreenFlow. It's awesome for screen capturing. It's Mac only, but since I'm running Parallels virtual machine I can screen capture my Windows desktop if needed.

The next step, once the screen capturing is complete, is to add the zoom and pan effects to the captured video. This is a fun exercise and really lets me focus in on the important aspects of the demo. It's also really easy to accomplish with ScreenFlow.

I'll watch the video a few times and I may edit out some segments that seem off point or don't add to the demo. Then I export the movie for importing into iMovie 09.

iMovie 09 is where I combine the live video introduction and wrap-up with the screen capture. I add transitions to the video and titles. This is another fun part of the process because I can be creative with the titling.

Finally I export the finished movie to iTunes in three sizes: mobile, medium and large. The mobile version runs on iPods and iPhones the medium and large versions are used for uploading to the web for embedding in web pages.

The large size video is uploaded to Viddler where it's converted to a Flash video format. I can then embed the video in my web pages for viewing in any web browser.

That's about it. It takes some time, but hopefully the end result is worth the effort. We have many more demos planned and they will all be available on the Help Page in Version 3 under the Videos section and some of them will be available on the Demos page of our public website.

Here's the finished video.

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Friday, May 01, 2009


We've Moved Offices!

Here's our new address:

1275 12th Avenue NW
Suite 12
Issaquah, WA. 98027

Our phone number and fax number remain the same:


A little history on our company may help put this move into perspective.

My Mom, Dad and I started an HR consulting business out of our home in the early 90's. As the business started to grow we moved to a small three person office in Seattle, near Seattle University. It was cozy and it was fun. Plus, having and official office made all of us more efficient.

As our business grew in the mid-90's we could afford a nicer space, so we moved to the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square. This is the classic building in Pioneer Square that the "Underground Tour" starts. We loved the building. The neighbors were friendly, the location was amazing (just two blocks from Puget Sound), lots of local coffee hangouts and restaurants, and best of all the building had a classic beauty, both inside and outside.

Our family grew along with our business and soon my wife and I, and other employees, had happy little children coming into the office with them. We expanded our offices and soon we had 1/2 a floor of the building. It was at about this time that the "work-life" movement was getting traction and more press and attention was paid to the balance of our work lives and our personal lives. We had achieved an integrated work-life culture - we just brought the whole family into the office, including the dog! The local neighborhood association even did an article featuring our family and business. The firm was called Johnson/Lindstrand consulting, contrary to the misspelling in the article.

As the Dot-Com boom took hold in Seattle, office space, especially "hip" and "cool" space in Pioneer Square was at a premium and our rent increased very quickly in the late 90's. Parking also became very expensive, not to mention the rising cost of gas at the time. It wasn't affordable to have 1/2 the floor anymore, so we moved to another location in Seattle and eventually we found a space closer to home in Issaquah.

The space in Issaquah had a large play room for the kids, we still had small children coming into the office everyday. We each had our own office and we had all the accumulated furniture and equipment from our earlier growth period.

As happens with kids, they grow up, and now all of the office kids are in school full-time. We had a large space with mostly empty offices and way too much equipment and furniture for the new way of doing business, which is virtual. We can work from anywhere, we don't need copiers, offices, and all the other trappings of a traditional office space.

But we do need a "place" to go and call home for NEXTCOMP.NET. So we found a great location, still in Issaquah, only two blocks from our original Issaquah office.

Before we could move, we needed to shed some of the furniture and equipment that we had in the office. Our first call was to the kids' school district administrative offices. The offices were hit hard by the flooding earlier this year and they were more than happy to come and get desks, shelves and chairs to use in their office. Plus, we had a nice collection of wall art that we didn't have room for anymore. Here's a note from the school district regarding the donation.

"I wanted to express our gratitude once again. Everything you gave us has worked beautifully in our offices here at the District Office. We have some very happy people. I’m taking the framed pictures to the drama teacher at Mount Si today. They lost a lot of their props in the flooding so Kim is very excited to receive these. "

We also donated our full sized fridge to a single dad who had just had his fridge break the week before.

And now we're all moved into our new office space. Here are some photos of the office building.

Here's the story behind the building. It's the first office building built in Issaquah. Built in 1961, it stood in the middle of a cow pasture with a dirt road in front of it for quite a long time. The local farmers and ranchers would ask the owner "Why the heck did you build an office building out here in the middle of no where?" And his response was "Someday, there will be white collar workers in Issaquah and they will need a place to work." He was right! The building eventually became the City of Issaquah courthouse. And now it houses a variety of smaller businesses. The current owner is even renovating the outside an inside, so it feels very modern in the offices.

We have just the right amount of space, equipment and furniture for our current business. It feels really good to go into the office and know we're the right size and we're not carrying along all the years of stuff that we had accumulated over 20 years and two businesses.

Here's my desk, where I hope to continue working with you and building NextComp into the best market pricing system out there.

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