Closing a Door

Today, February 19th marks my final day of employment at Cerner Corporation. I’ve spent just under a year here as a member of the Online Marketing team. Like I blogged previously, I am leaving the company to take what is in many ways a dream job for me: Community Manager at AMC. I’ve received an outpouring of support from my wife, my family, close friends, my church, the readers of this blog, my followers on Twitter and my friends on Facebook. Even the people that I work with at Cerner have been amazingly supportive (despite now having a rather large awesomeness void to fill) and they know how well-suited I am for this position and how much I’m looking forward to it.

All told, I’m really overwhelmed by the support that people have given me.

And as easy of a decision it may have seemed from the outside, you should know that I struggled at times. See, despite what everyone says, Cerner is a really good place to work. I wasn’t really actively searching for this position. In a lot of ways, it found me. But when your dream job comes knocking, you open the freaking door.

Unfortunately, that meant that I had to close a door at Cerner. During a time of uncertainty last year, I was given an amazing opportunity to join a great team at an industry-leading company that is poised to have a huge next several years. And not only that, but I got to do work that I was proud of, that I was good at, and that I enjoyed:

  • I worked on the team that launched uCern, Cerner’s collaboration platform for its clients and partners.
  • I led the social media efforts for the company during their annual health conference last October.
  • I helped write the best practices for all Cerner associates as they get engaged in new social, collaborative platforms and channels.
  • And most recently, I’ve been able to work on another large web initiative with some of my professional design and development idols, Happy Cog Studios.

It was that work that made my experience different than the one that had been described by all the friends I worked with at Perceptive Software that had left Cerner with a sour taste in their mouths. My experience was very positive. I worked with smart people on great projects and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s true that Cerner expects the best out of its associates, but that’s one of the keys to their success. Having an open mind when I was hired gave me the right expectation.

To all my Cerner friends, I salute you. You made going to work enjoyable and rewarding. To the Online Marketing team — Sara, Jake, David, Lance and Jason — keep crushing it. You guys have been a blast to work with. If it were any other position at any other company, I would not be leaving.

But as they say…”it is what it is…”

My iPhone Experience

For the past several weeks, I’ve been using an iPhone.

iphone-3gs

Anyone who knows me understands what a big deal this has been. I had access to an iPhone through work for my social initiatives that I was driving during the Cerner Health Conference (which were featured on KCTV5). I was controlling 4 Twitter accounts, a blog, a Flickr account and organizing a group of great volunteers.

My iPhone experience was predictably awesome. I spent about an hour getting used to it, downloading the apps I needed and then spending the money to download the apps I wanted.

There’s a ton to love about it.

The App Store

The user interface is slick and intuitive, but the biggest win for the iPhone is the iTunes store, which now boasts over 75,000 applications ranging from games to task managers to weather to about 500 applications for Twitter (not exaggerating). I downloaded several free apps and then with some Paypal money I had laying around (is that what cyber-money does?), I purchased a few other apps that I had either heard recommended or thought were interesting. Apple approves (or rejects) every application that is submitted and that is helpful in separating horribly designed apps (I’m looking at you, BlackBerry developers) from the pack.

One device for everything

I can’t tell you how much I hate filling my pockets with extra crap. I carry an iPod and my BlackBerry. While my Curve has the ability to handle music, the user experience of playing any sort of media takes far too many clicks and trackball movements. Imagine the difference between using a mouse with a scroll wheel to navigate web pages vs. navigating with arrows and keystrokes. It works, it’s just not very efficient.

It just…works

Everything about the iPhone is intuitive. From the gestures to the navigation…it takes about 10 seconds to get used to it and then you are multi-touching with relative ease.

Mobile browsing has no equal

Mobile Safari, the iPhone’s built in browser is so far past every other mobile browser on the market that it is almost unfair. And don’t even bring up your Opera Mini garbage. That doesn’t play here. I’ve used both. The iPhone browser is better in every possible way. It’s fast and awesome. It’s easy to switch from landscape to portrait browsing (just turn the phone). And you can make any of your favorite pages launchable like an app (which I did for Google Reader and Google Talk, since they don’t have apps).

BUT. There’s also stuff that kinda sucks.

Push Gmail is NOT Exchange

I don’t know if this is really Apple’s problem, but I really don’t like how Google decided to use the Microsoft Exchange settings to enable push Gmail. For people like me who want to have both Exchange email for work and Gmail email for home, I would need multiple Exchange accounts, which is not allowed. I ended up leaving Gmail as an IMAP account and using the Exchange account for my work. It made the most sense to me.

The network…UGGGHHHH

Much has been said about the complete suckage that is AT&T’s network. Not only are their costs ridonkulous, but they have completely under-delivered with nearly everything that they promised. MMS rollout took forever. People still can’t tether their iPhones to their computers. All these things are technologies that have been around FOREVER on other networks. Additionally, the 3G network doesn’t feel any faster than the Edge network and there are so many dead spots that you can never count on a consistent connection if you’re driving around.

Multiple calendars

I really like that the Palm Pre offers multiple calendars. With the iPhone, you only get one. If you want to check your Google calendar, you’ve got to go to the Google calendar mobile site (which is a nice experience in Mobile Safari, but still). I don’t get much use out of a calendar that doesn’t show me everything that is going on on all my calendars. I have multiple points of entry. This is one major reason why my next phone will likely be a Pre. (Well, that and I’m a loyal Sprint customer…)

What’s next

I’ve got a couple weeks before I can replace my BlackBerry. I’ve got my eye on the Pre, but the HTC Hero is on my radar as well. Unfortunately, I’ve likely ruined any semblance of a chance that they had at being happy with any non-iPhone device, but we’ll give someone a shot. It has to be a Sprint device for the time being.

Because I’m loyal to my local telecom like that…

But man…do I ever wish that Sprint had taken the opportunity to get the iPhone back when it had the chance.

In a silo

I hear you, Jake.

I’m well aware of the lack of actual blogging that I have done lately. I really feel disconnected to everything outside of work, home, Alli and Dreyfuss. The only thing I am positive of outside of those things is that in football, the Chiefs stink worse than my fantasy football team, the Long Haired Hippies.

At work, they call isolated focus “being in a silo”. So I guess this is me just looking outside.

The Cerner Health Conference is just around the corner and I am driving the CHC Connect blog and the Web 2.0 initiatives surrounding the conference. To do this, I have been given the services of an iPhone. DID YOU HEAR THAT? AN IPHONE.

In fact, I am writing this post from the free WordPress iPhone app.

So there’s that.

Evenings I come home and spend time with my favorite dog and the best wife ever.

It’s simple. But it’s a very good life.

Social Media Life at Cerner

I got interviewed on Monday by Whitney at Spiral16 about some of the exciting projects I’ve been working on in the four months since I joined Cerner. It’s the start of a series that S16 is doing on their blog about people who work with social media every day, but don’t work for strategy or analysis agencies. It was exciting and nerve-racking to represent my employer this way, but I’m really pleased with how it all came out.

The interview is 16 minutes, but it’s all great stuff. [Spiral16 is] trying out a program that records Skype phone conversations, which explains the ugly watermark on the video.

If you interested in learning what I’ve been up to since I joined the Kansas City-based healthcare company, give it a watch. I talk about our exciting new social network uCern, our efforts in Second Life and getting involved in social media at a large corporation. If you’re not interested, well…

First week on the job

It’s actually been two weeks since I officially began at Cerner Corporation, but I only joined my team on Monday, spending the first week in orientation. The last week was overwhelming as I’m doing my best to navigate my new company and yet still do my best to contribute as quickly as I can.

The blog is taking a backseat for the time being (not at all surprising), considering that I’ve got the new job, Alli’s dance team’s spring show, and March Madness (Rock Chalk!) going on right now. Plus, I haven’t had a lot to say lately. Maybe next week.

Until then…