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#1
David T

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As part of our internal web portal, I am wanting to put together a 'staff biographies' section. Both internally to the staff, and externally to our 'customers', I'd like people to know who everyone is.

I'm a bit stumped at how to approach this. I'd like this to be a little fun, and not completely serious. I'd like to see some standard info (hometown, school, work history), but would like to include one or two pieces of fun information - what does the person like to do in their spare time - and include a photograph of the person doing one of those fun things. When I first started at Maps.com years ago, we had a small bio section for each of us. I remember one of the questions being 'What's your favorite breakfast cereal?'.

Anyone have any ideas? Or examples they'd like to share? Formatting? Should this be written in the first person or the third person?
David Toney, GISP
GIS Manager
United States Marine Corps
West Coast Installations

#2
natcase

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As part of our internal web portal, I am wanting to put together a 'staff biographies' section. Both internally to the staff, and externally to our 'customers', I'd like people to know who everyone is.

I'm a bit stumped at how to approach this. I'd like this to be a little fun, and not completely serious. I'd like to see some standard info (hometown, school, work history), but would like to include one or two pieces of fun information - what does the person like to do in their spare time - and include a photograph of the person doing one of those fun things. When I first started at Maps.com years ago, we had a small bio section for each of us. I remember one of the questions being 'What's your favorite breakfast cereal?'.

Anyone have any ideas? Or examples they'd like to share? Formatting? Should this be written in the first person or the third person?


We have a small bio section on our site. It's pretty basic stuff. I see the bio section as doing a couple of things:

- We are a small company, and one of our big selling points is we do offer personal service. So talking about our people makes sense. I would think carefully about what sort of company you are selling, and so what sorts of details or bio shape will best reflect that

- The information was carefully gone through to be cheerful but not intrusive... "I live in a green house at the corner of Main and Elm, and usually get home after 6 pm, and my dog will be happy to lick your face as you steal my TV" is obviously right out. Note that this may vary with personalities: the "front end" of the company may be more forthcoming than the quiet folks in the back with the green eyeshade and the scriber :D . In our bio, Tom and Jennifer's bios are bigger in part because they are our most public face.

- Making the bios 3rd person helps keep distance from yourself. Having one writer lead the project will help keep them consistent.

- We used to have more "quirky" details, but frankly we aren't selling ourselves as quirky, although being human we all have quirks. It all depends on who you are selling to... never forget, the bio is part of the sales materials.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#3
Dennis McClendon

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Perhaps "focus" the bios with a little assignment. Picking up an idea Derek started here, maybe have them say "the first map I remember drawing was . . ."

Or, since that might not be too exciting for folks who didn't discover this passion til grad school, have them hand draw an impressionistic map of "places important to me." That might have things like the kids soccer field, your local Starbux, favorite skyline view or bicycling destination. Or put them together: map of the person's childhood neighborhood, with the creek, the 7-Eleven, the haunted house, the beehive field, the scary lady's house, the place where the weird guy lived who was always drawing maps. . .
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#4
David T

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I probably should have explained the application of this a little better.

The site that this information will be posted to is a Marine Corps internal website. As the West Coast Regional GIS Center, our job is to support our different 'customers' - which are other Marine Corps Bases scattered through the west. To a certain degree, we need to maintain a professional appearance, as this website does reflect the Marine Corps. At the same time, I would like to make our staff 'personal' to the variety of Marine Corps users (mostly civilian, but some military officers), that visit our site.

Bringing a more human element helps remind the person on the other side of the monitor that our staff members are also human, they are unique, and they bring a lot to the table.

We have a few different areas that we manage and will be highlighted - the management team, our help desk personnel, application development team, SDE administrators, server management, and GIS analysts and cartographers. As you can see, it's a wide range of folks.

I like the idea of "the first map I drew...", but making that a little bit broader. Since GIS management is the overarching theme of what we do (even for the server guys), I will try to incorporate that into the mix. I also like the idea of having one person do the final writing of the bios, to help lend itself to one voice.

never forget, the bio is part of the sales materials


Nat - I'm struggling a bit with this line, and how it applies with us. (Not because of what you said, or how you said it - it's an internal debate). My first impression is to dismiss this, as we aren't selling a service. We are providing a service, and when there is a Marine Corps Order telling us to provide the service, and telling the bases that they are part of that service (they have to use the service, and the service has to be available to them), it's hard to say we're selling anything.

However, I'm also aware that we are, in a sense, selling GIS as a whole, to the Marine Corps. Despite the new Marine Corps Order, we will always need to strive to be at the forefront, and strive to remain current and relevant to commanders and decision makers. So while I want to encourage a little quarkiness to make it a little fun, and to encourage people to remember that there are human beings over here - I always will want to balance that with a bit of professionalism to make sure everyone - from end users to commanders - know that we are a professional organization, with a professional approach, and are capable of getting the job done, and meeting the needs of the Mission.

Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate it. It's been very helpful. (If anyone has any other suggestions or links, I'm interested)
David Toney, GISP
GIS Manager
United States Marine Corps
West Coast Installations

#5
Dennis McClendon

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Well, with that audience, maybe something related to how the staff spends off-duty time would be appropriate. So, if there are only a few of you, maybe pose for photos in appropriate apparel and setting (dirt bike, soccer coach uniform, wetsuit, or whatever). Or have them pose holding a map of their favorite place, whether it's a marine chart of the Channel Islands or a topo of the Chocolate Mountains or a map of French wine regions. Crop in on just the face and shoulders and a corner of the map, maybe.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
travelbug

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the worst/weirdest map that I've seen?
my longest commute?
my best gas mileage
the book I hate most etc. etc.

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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the worst/weirdest map that I've seen?
my longest commute?
my best gas mileage
the book I hate most etc. etc.


Pretty interesting idea for a 'getting to know eachother' section on Cartotalk too...
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#8
DaveB

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the worst/weirdest map that I've seen?
my longest commute?
my best gas mileage
the book I hate most etc. etc.


Pretty interesting idea for a 'getting to know eachother' section on Cartotalk too...


"book I hate the most"? Seems a bit negative <_<
There are books I didn't care much for (and promptly forgot about), but "hate", I can't think of any.

My commute got longer recently. Now it's about an 8 minute walk. :P

Gas mileage isn't that great, but since I usually only drive on weekends I only fill-up every several weeks or so (unless I go on the odd longer road trip). (my 93 pickup has less than 60,000 miles on it)
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek




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