Our last interview before IBM Innovate 2010 is with Kelly Smith. Kelly is Rational Support's social media guru and Knowledge Activist, as you've likely already seen. You can meet Kelly at the IBM Innovate 2010 Support Cafe' (agenda here) where she'll be talking about Support 2.0 specific to communities, social media and knowledge sharing in RCS. Kelly will also be roving the Innovate floor both live-tweeting, photographing, and blogging the conference here on the NFRS blog. Read on to learn more about Kelly, and stay tuned here for here words from the Innovate floor. And if you missed them, check out our previous interviews with other presenters and RCS peeps!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
My name is Kelly Smith, and I am a self-proclaimed Knowledge Activist for Rational Client Support. I do knowledge sharing, knowledge management, collaboration, innovation, electronic support, 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(!)
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 and client support, all for IBM Rational.
What are you currently working on?
See above. Plus, you may not be aware, but Innovate 2010, the Rational Software Conference, is coming up. I'll be there, taking pictures, blogging, tweeting and talking about electronic support, and support 2.0. You can follow along here or on Twitter.
I call tweet-up!
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, knowledge management and electronic support – 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?
Ha! My current nightstand books are Galileo's Daughter, by Dava Sobel, and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, by Walter Isaacson. However, these have both been on my nightstand for MONTHS. The problem with reading material on my nightstand is that I rarely get through more than a page or two before falling asleep. I should finish both by … oh... 2012. On the coffee table is Blindness, by Jose Saramago. I hope to finish that soon.
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?
On a personal level, surprisingly enough, not as much as I used to. Not sure why, but this (http://www.productiveflourishing.com/launch-fatigue-and-how-not-to-be-an-infomercial/) might have something to do with it.
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years?
I'm not sure. I was a bloggers' blogger until twitter and microblogging came about. I joined Facebook rather late in the game. 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 since 2006 and have been tweeting for several years as well. My resume is on LinkedIn, and I'm on Facebook. I've also launched this blog, Notes from Rational Support, and helped establish Rational Client Support's web 2.0 presence: we are @RationalSupport on Twitter, IBMRationalSupport on Facebook, and IBMRationalSupport on YouTube.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
um.... Notes from Rational Support?!?! My google reader account is stuffed full of fun stuff on the web … some of my favorites: Neatorama, Information is Beautiful, The Steampunk Workshop, and Productive Flourishing.