Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in IBM?
My name is Kelly Smith, and I am the developerWorks social lead. I do knowledge sharing, collaboration, innovation, communities, hack day, and anything else shiny I can get my hands on.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I've been working for Rational since 1997, and IBM since we were acquired (2003).
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
I started out doing testing on the Rational Rose 98 and 98i releases. I've subsequently been in test, development, technical support, and now practitioner outreach. :-)
What are you currently working on?
I am actively handling the day-to-day operations of our developerWorks social channels.
Describe a normal day for you.
I'm definitely a morning person, so I use my early morning time to make progress on my projects – which are varied and wide-ranging, dealing from internal collaboration enablers, communication, social networking, project management – before the parade of meetings starts. I love working on strategic initiatives and making things better.
What project are you the most proud of?
I think I'm most proud of the work we've done to adopt Knowledge-Centered Support best practices in Rational Client Support … building a robust knowledge base of our collective experience to date for our support engineers to draw on; encouraging and enabling our engineers to work content in the PMR workflow, and making our knowledge business agile. KCS is a journey, not a destination, and we are far enough down the road now that we are realizing the benefits of KCS, in both our organizational efficiency and in your ability to find the answers you need.
I love to see a plan come together.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I love gadgets, especially Apple ones.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
My iPhone. I use it for EVERYTHING – email, web surfing, GPS, social networking, watching movies, reading books, playing games, and I love the utility apps: I have a spirit level app! Tellingly, my FATHER has just gotten his first smartphone and is rapidly becoming a convert to the technology.
How do you define success?
Making a difference. Go big, or go home.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I am a serial hobbyist. I am interested in EVERYTHING. Well, almost everything. I recently taught myself how to knit socks and how to tat. Sadly, I've only produced one pair of socks.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field?
Key to success here or anywhere is a healthy curiosity and desire to make things better. Seth Godin's Linchpin Manifesto (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/files/thelinchpinmanifesto.pdf) says “yesterday's innovation is today's standard”. Be curious, embrace change and uncertainty and be sure to sit in the driver's seat!
Have you worked on any projects that you feel were exceptionally exciting for you?
IBM's Hack Day, of course.. Hack Day is EXACTLY the kind of thing I love... grass-roots innovation and being just a little subversive.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
Well, I've already met my major life goal, which was to get the children out of the house before I died. Oh, you meant in my career? The best career advice I've heard recently is “do your best every single day, and your career will take care of itself”. And I think that's true. My career has taken me down some very interesting paths that I would have never considered as part of a life plan, but the opportunities appeared because of results I was able to achieve. So I focus on the work at hand, but remain open to new possibilities.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
Oh, I love to read .... dead tree books, ebooks, the back of the cereal box. :-) I just finished Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and have just started The Golem and the Jinni.
What is your favorite technology that fizzled or failed to live up to the hype?
Well, it's probably just me, but while I love the GPS capabilities of my smartphone, I'm not really interested in sharing my every move with the world at large. I don't get Gowalla or 4Square, and in fact, I don't really care if you are the mayor of Peet's Coffee in Lexington. Of course, that could also be because the only places I'm likely to be mayor of are my own house and the IBM Mass Lab.
What future technology would make your life easier?
A replicator (a la Star Trek) to make dinner for me.
How do you grow your technical skills?
How are you using social networking today? It's part of my DNA. :-) It's my job, and my passion.
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years?
The playing field keeps evolving … all I know is I'll be playing along!
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? …
I've had a personal blog (which has sadly lapsed) and have been tweeting for several years as well. My resume is on LinkedIn, and I'm on Facebook. I've also launched the Notes from Rational Support blog in 2009, and helped establish Rational Client Support's web 2.0 presence.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
um.... developerWorks!! :-) My feed reader is stuffed full of fun stuff on the web … some of my favorites: Neatorama, Information is Beautiful, The Steampunk Workshop, and Productive Flourishing.