Being My Own CIO – 2008 Update

Diagram produced at

Time flies. It’s been about a year since my first My Own CIO entry, and I keep meaning to do a refresh, so here it is. Now is an appropriate time, since now that I’m now working part time for a very large organization, I will also begin to experience not being my own CIO for part of my life. I’m looking forward to all of it.

To review the guidelines:

  • Open source or public source (avoid proprietary standards)
  • Affordable
  • Web 2.0 friendly (maybe I’ll create Web 3.0) – incorporating social networking, tagging, interaction
  • Easy to maintain (and maybe to tinker with)
  • Compatible with Apple produced products (which typically means open standards)

The guidelines haven’t changed. I’ve tried a whole bunch of things, and one assessment I’m going to make is that a person can alter their workflow only so much, so as I found stuff that worked, I stuck with it:

  • E-mail: Apple Mail. Desktop and iPhone. Since 2007 Microsoft has released Entourage 2008, which did not make the cut (see the next bullet point). Apple Data Detectors are incredible time savers.
  • Documents: Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and TextEdit. Still a “goodbye” to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I remember a time when using a Macintosh meant that all the open applications on my dock were manufactured by Microsoft. Now those have been replaced by open source or Apple alternatives, and this is not based on any specific feeling about Microsoft, which I have a lot of respect for. It’s simply about what works.
  • Project Management: Paper. Yes, paper. I’ll post about this later.
  • Firewalled opaque Intranet: I didn’t create one of those. I still use a transparent blog. Still on WordPress.
  • Content Management System: I use this blog and for maintaining my links.
  • Image Management System: iPhoto. I recently upgraded to an image stabilized Canon Powershot IS 770. A camera in 2008 is as important a business tool as pen and paper (yes, paper).
  • Weekly/monthly/yearly business memos: I have discovered Twitter in the last year. 140 characters is long enough for most situations.
  • Mobile e-mail/web: iPhone 3G, magic cell phone of the future. Since 2007, I’ve discovered the breakthrough that GPS is in a device like this. I know people complain about the ability to type e-mail using this device, but then again, that’s from the perspective that e-mail is still useful as a primary communication tool. In the last few months I have also been given a competitor device (named after another fruit), for my other role, and I have found that the vacation from the competitor device has caused me to type less well on it relative to the iPhone. I am also a MobileMe user and find that it works pretty well for managing contacts and calendars (using iCal and Address Book). There still isn’t (in my experience) a grand calendar application that you can delegate some access to for scheduling, and combine with different parts of your life. My vote would be for an extension of iCal that allowed delegated scheduling, because I think Apple is closest.

That’s the updated list. Here are some new arrivals since 2007:

  • Meeting scheduling: Timedriver. No more back and forth about when someone is available via e-mail (there’s a theme here about the value of e-mail I am noticing). I could actually write a bit more about this tool, and disk space is cheap, so I will. I’ve been using TimeDriver since it was available to beta users, and it is a great example of how Web2.0 tools promote “listening” and by extension, respect. There is something fundamentally different about offering people a clean list of available times that they can use to connect with you, at their convenience, compared to asking them to wade through your calendar on an enterprise calendaring system, or asking them to send you an e-mail list of times. In today’s virtual world, it’s actually important to tell people what you look like with a photograph when setting up time as well. Both are accomplished here. I’ve linked Timedriver to MobileMe using BusyMac’s BusySync software so now I can manage my availability from my computer or my iPhone. I like it. People who schedule with me say they like it. Win-win, win-win-win.
  • Virtual Library: Bookswim. One area where Washington is challenged relative to my former home (Seattle) is the public library system. I would gladly put forth effort to change that, as a huge fan of the libraries. In the meantime, this is a service that functions like Netflix for books.
  • Voice service: Skype. The Pro Version.
  • Transportation: Zipcar. A great invention. Metro, another great invention. As of 2008 I no longer own a car. Don’t miss it.
  • Documents & Bibliographic References: Zotero. Free. Integrates into Firefox. No more Endnote.
  • RSS Reader: I used to believe that a desktop application was required for this, but I just switched over to Google Reader. It works best on the desktop and on the iPhone. It is a great demonstration of the power of cloud computing. I’ve also begun using the iPhone application Byline, which syncs to Google Reader.
  • Pedometer: Omron HJ-151

Feel free to chime in with your recommendations and reactions, as always.


Great tools. I have not used Timedriver but was checking out TimeBridge. Did you ever try TimeBridge and compare with Timedriver?

Ted, thanks a million for the great words about TimeDriver. I think you "get it" better than anyone else; in fact we ourselves might have been a little embarrassed to say it as glowingly as you did. <wink>

Thanks, too, for suggesting we start a TimeDriver user community on Obviously, we listened, as you teach us all to do.

Dave deBronkart (aka e-Patient Dave)

TimeTrade Systems, maker of TimeDriver

(and great big enterprise appointment systems too)

And now with my other hat on – man, that's quite a Mindmeister map! Never saw that – I'm gonna check it out. I've only just started mindmapping in 2008, and it's truly transformed my presentations.

Hi Jason (and Dave feel free to chime in),

Both are great products, and thank goodness for people working to solve this problem. Timebridge (corrected 12/19/08) seems to be geared more for getting groups of people together. The challenge I had with it when I tried it was that I couldn't set aside more than 4 time blocks of availability.

Timedriver lets me establish availability months in advance, with as many timeblocks as I want, so once I set up some general rules, I don't have to go back and free up more time. If I want to take some time back, it's as simple (for me) as putting a time block on Apple iCal, which is migrated to Google and eventually to TimeDriver, so the time is no longer offered.

Feel free to give both a try and report back here, and/or provide feedback on the TimeDriver GetSatisfaction site,


One correction to your 11/14 comment. When you said "Timetrade seems to be geared more for getting groups of people together," I think you meant TimeBridge. They're the ones who do meeting negotiation.

We (TimeTrade) do one-person appointments, both with TimeDriver (the personal invitation tool) and TESA (our enterprise scheduling application).

Thanks for the correction! I updated the comment above just in case. I continue to enjoy the self-adjusting capabilities of Web2.0,


Wow! What you've created here is some sort of bible-road map-nirvana living, breathing dynamic map of how you organize your bits. And, in true Gen X style, after making order out of chaos, you leave a trail of helpful info for others to learn from, adopt or adapt. 🙂

Ted Eytan, MD