Be your own story

Vinish is a co-founder of @In23Hours and @ContentHug, and partner at vhite. He delivers value and joy to brands for their content requirements, whether technical communication (product knowledgebase), information architecture (business analysis and scoping), content strategy (audit, models, engineering, calendar), or storytelling (stories, pitching). He particularly loves working with startups on product idea validation, product design, user onboarding, and storytelling.

Vinish Garg

DITA, editing, or Markdown does not define our brand. Let's be our story, let's brand ourselves well. Tweet!

Listen to this article

A DITA specialist. Certified UA Engineer. Documentation Manager. This could be your introduction in a professional community.

But who are you? Let's listen to this audio clip:

 

 

How can we tell whether the clips are from a movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, or RK Films, or by Karan Johar? Because they are a unique brand. A signature. A characteristic flavour. Like red wine. Like Dravid's defence. Like the smell of chlorine.

Your brand is not only what you do because you have to do whether for joy, money, or people. Your brand is hidden behind everything else that you do. A tweet. A movie review. A blog post. A role in any community.

You participate in a conference. The chair that you occupy in a room is too small for what you actually can do. Start working on your brand. You are already known as 'something', either for the way you write emails, or the way you conduct meetings, or for your response to deadlines or challenges. Add clarity and tone to that 'something'. You are your story; you are part of the script. Give it a voice.

To those of you who watch or listen to TED Talks, do you feel inspired? If yes, what stops you? If you want to contact John or Karlijn to learn about DITA1.3, why don't you? Look at how MasterChef India participants give it a shot. As the show progresses, a few of them develop their own brand, a signature about the dishes they make, about their approach to work. If you are excited about something, what stops you? Your manager? Your spouse? Your credit card limit? A broken arm?

Or, a difference of opinion?

Think about those films that are widely liked in this country: Lagaan, Sholay, 3 Idiots, Chak De, Rang De Basanti. We see the finished product and applaud it. There is often some background. A few manageable creative differences. The original star cast might have changed. Different priorities. My way. Oranges and not apples. Chinese please. And not that blue jacket. Still, it is teamwork that unfolds on the screen and we admire it. The applause. The spirit of working together. For the common good. For shared joy. And at least something for the masses, or classes, or both. The power of team, and community. The quest for film maker's personal brand. It becomes the story.

Taxonomy. Madcap Flare. Acrolinx. CMS. Small steps. Twitter or LinkedIn. Mentorship. An article. Give a chance to yourself to be seen. Own yourself well.

Consider two extreme examples of how it generally develops and flourishes.

Raise your hand if you know who 'The Content Wrangler' is? Lower your hands.

Raise your hand again if you know the name of the company where Tom Johnson works. Not sure? We all know him because of his blog. His blog is his brand.

They have taken many small steps to build their brand story.

Who cares about whatever you are doing now? What will happen to your work in 2 years, or 4 years, or 8 years from now? Not sure. Why not make the community know you. Be known. Be the community. We are not merely a DITA specialist or a UI engineer or a documentation engineer. We are a dot in this ecosystem. We are a sub plot in the story. Let's script it better. New bleach. New wine.

That's it!

If your mind is still stuck at Who Stops You, here are a few thoughts to consider:

Now think, who stops you?

Related

Acknowledgements

The two extreme examples are from http://cdkn.org/2012/05/trains-or-ponds-pick-your-metaphor-for-knowledge-management/.

The source of the '...toothpaste left in the tube' quote is unknown.

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Be your own story

Written and narrated by Vinish Garg.