TGIF: Occam’s Razor

It was a long and stormy night….

Actually, it was a bright, sun-filled Saturday morning, but it began to feel like a stormy day. After I had showered, with no issues, my husband took his turn while I cleaned up the breakfast dishes downstairs.

I heard him shout. From downstairs. From the kitchen, away from the stairway.

“The pipes are going to burst!”, cried out my damp (and clothed, again) husband. Running back up the stairs to the bathroom, I stood in shock as he turned on the water. The vibration rattled the shower.

Being the Internet and social media type that I am, I immediately went to my Web browser and searched on “plumbing+vibrating+pipes”. I thought about tweeting in a panic to my Twitter peeps, but the Web search kept me busy enough.

My husband reviewed the research and resolved that it was air in the pipes. He shut off the main and cleared all water out of our pipes. That didn’t work. Then, we suspected it was from our local water company’s system. Nope. No evidence there.

We even called the president of our homeowner’s association, a very handy man. He couldn’t figure it out, either, and in despair we began to anticipate a potentially high plumbing bill which would have been a financial storm at the time.

In a short moment of desperate calm, my “fix it” husband stared at the shower and at the hanger that hung from the shower head, holding various wash cloths and soaps.

And…his razor.

His battery-operated, fancy-schmancy razor.

As far-fetched as this may sound, the way the razor rested in the hanger apparatus caused it to power on and buzz against the shower wall when my husband turned on the water. And boy, did it make a racket!!

The razor must have shifted its position in the hanger after I showered and hung up a wash cloth. To this day, we still can’t figure out how the water running up through the pipes turned on the razor.

This is a true story, and we both learned a huge lesson that sunny and potentially stormy Saturday.

Occa's Razor image

Occam’s Razor: A simple solution to what was perceived to be a much greater problem.

We made assumptions about the “exploding shower pipes” but they were the wrong ones. Our assumptions were too complex. We failed to stop, look around, take a step back (and a breath) and consider the simplest, most obvious causes.

We failed to apply Occam’s Razor to our little razor situation.

After we laughed and calmed down, we sat in the kitchen and reflected on how this happens in businesses. We discussed different projects at our respective employers, and the “craziness” that could occur among team members and cross-functional colleagues when faced with a problem (an “opportunity”).

How do you and your colleagues handle business “opportunities”, especially those that seem to present a crisis? Do you review them calmly and apply Occam’s Razor?

Occam’s razor is a principle that generally recommends that, from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.

Most of us do, and that’s good for business. I wanted to share our true story as a fun reminder to all of us. When there’s a situation to solve, remember to KISS, first, until proven otherwise!

(KISS = Keep It Simple, Silly!)


Dave Grady: The Conference Call | Video of the Month 2010_09

I know. I haven’t posted a Video of the Month in quite awhile. However, “The Conference Call” by Dave Grady on YouTube had me laughing out loud. As a virtual ( telecommute, at-home ) worker, I have experienced what Dave depicts in this video. And, it just cracks me up!

My thanks to my sister who posted it to her Facebook wall.

And, no, I haven’t been the “bloop-bloop” person. I call in early! 😉

“Hi, who just joined?”



My New iPad for Mobile Learning and Beyond!

Jenise Cook and Apple iPadThis month, I broke down and bought an iPad from Apple Inc. I had registered to attend The e-Learning Guild’s first annual conference on mobile learning, mLearnCon, to be held June 14-17 of this year in gorgeous San Diego, California.

My cell phone isn’t a smart phone (next purchase in 2011), so I walked into my local Apple store to buy a WiFi iPod Touch. How could I attend a mobile learning conference without a mobile device in my hands? (So, I reasoned.)

As I began to play with its features, my e-learning design and development brain just couldn’t wrap itself around the iPod Touch’s very small screen. (That will change as I learn to design for small mobile devices.) Plus, most every thing was displayed in Portrait orientation and not Landscape. Against my better fiscal judgement, I walked over to the crowded iPad table when a person finally walked away and left an opening.

I picked up an iPad.

It was love at first swipe!

Yea, gang, I broke down and bought an iPad, even though I tweeted on Twitter that I would wait until 3rd Gen because I wanted the camera for Web conferencing capabilities. That’s why you see the Comic Book effect applied to the photo above. I’m still cracking up at myself.

(I’m planning to get a smart phone in 2011, when my Verizon contract is up for renewal. By that time, I’ll have even more options to choose from than today, so I’m excited. I am an Apple Fangrrl, but one with an open mind and a love for all tools. So, an Android smart phone could be in my future!)

How I Use My iPad

Here’s a list of how I’m using my 32GB Wifi-only iPad so far:

  1. e-Learning Demos in Videos: I used Screenr to record mini videos of my e-learning samples. Now, if I’m at a F2F networking event, I can show people my samples quickly and easily if I don’t have my MacBookPro with me. And, the iPad’s screen resolution is very sharp; amazing, actually.
  2. Voice Over Demo Reels in iPod: Similar to #1, I uploaded several voice over audio files via iTunes into iPod on my iPad. The iPad’s speakers have an impressive sound quality, and I look forward to using iPad to demo my reels. (My demo reels are also on the WWW at: )
  3. Twitter: I sit my iPad next to my MacBookPro laptop to monitor Twitter while I work. This “second screen/monitor/device” enhances my social networking for my business a lot. In fact, it increases my productivity because Twitter is now off my main computer and on a second device with a 9.5-inch screen, and I can monitor my Twitter feed without switching away from work on my primary computer. (My Twitter account: @jenisecook )
  4. e-Mail: Second in importance to Twitter, as an independent consultant it’s important for me to check for new e-mail messages in a timely manner. I can now do this with the iPad, and the larger screen and intuitive virtual keyboard make reading and writing messages much easier than on a smaller device. I’m training myself to use all fingers to type, and it’s working!
  5. Emergency Preparedness: I completed my city’s CEPA program, Community Emergency Preparedness Academy, and I’ve downloaded several apps (mostly free, one only $5.00) to help me monitor news when The Big One (earthquake) rocks California, and to communicate via SMS as we saw people do after the Haiti and Chile disasters. The iPad’s battery life is extremely impressive! It does last all day, and if I use it only for SMS after a disaster, I bet it will last almost two days. I’m very grateful for that feature above all others.
  6. There’s an App for that: Of course, apps. I’ve downloaded several free apps, plus many Project Gutenburg ebooks that line the shelves of my iBook Library.

In summary, I love my iPad. It’s a mobile device that has features and a screen size suited for my current needs. As my iPad and I get to know each other better, I’ll share more in future blog posts.

I’m looking forward to taking my iPad to mLearnCon in a few weeks. I’m sure the mobile learning experts that I’ll meet there will open my eyes to a new realm of possibilities… on any mobile device.

I feel grateful!


Freelance Client Relationships | Video of the Month 200907

Humor and Reality Do Mix

As of today, this YouTube video has had 993,374 views: The Vendor Client Relationship – in Real World Situations, posted by zeorge497.

I’m guessing that you may have already viewed this video. It touches a nerve because it’s close to real situations many people have experienced. Take a look, and then my comments follow below.

The good news is that I’ve had very few freelancer/potential client conversations like what you see in the video. I try and be up front with services and fees, and discuss project needs in a way that may fit the client’s budget.

But, I’m posting this video for July because I feel it’s well done. And, funny!

It also encourages me to finish some client communication pieces I’m developing to help make the project/service fees conversation easier to have with new clients.

Hope you had a good July, and now Happy August!

You may also like:

How to Estimate Training Time and Costs

May 2016: Minor updates. As of this month, the video has reached 2,733,344 views. I still enjoy it.



You Don’t Know Jack! on

This gets filed under the “Humor” department…. The screen shot below appeared on my monitor when I chose to make a connection to a professional colleague with a very basic first name. The result on screen made me laugh out loud. Other users will also see the humor.

You Don't Know Jack

I shared this with my husband, and even he thought it was funny. So, I post this screen shot on my blog to share with you, and to have it available to me the next time I need a laugh.

I’m “Always Learning” that humor appears in the strangest of places, and often when I need it most. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Discover how I approached a dilemma: Creating a Profile for a fine artist. Go to my blog post “Creating a LinkedIn Profile and Feel You Don’t Know Jack?”  ~May 2016.