Cheeseburger Gothic

The Next Year Here

Posted March 7 into House keeping by John Birmingham

I think I've figured out what I'm going to do with the Burger, for the next twelve months or so, anyway. I've been feeling guilty and anxious about the amount of time I'm not putting in here. So guilty and anxious that worrying about it has been taking up even more time and energy than simply posting would have.
It's all down to time and energy, and how much I don't have any more. Family commitments aside, without the safety net of big publisher advances I have to earn every dollar that comes in. The last 12 months have proven I can do that, but it's hard work. Good work, and fun, but hard. I'm looking at my whiteboard right now, where I have my major projects for the year listed. All of them 100 000 word novels.
The Cruel Stars.
World War 3.1
The Golden Minute. (The sequel to A Girl in Time).
Sleeper Agent. (A conventional thriller).
Stronghold. (Dave Hooper 4)
In addition to this, I have my remaining media commitments and my new investment in Alien Side Boob. That turns out to be a lot of work, writing a private column to a standard that people are willing to pay for. There's also the fanfic collections, a couple of collaborative projects I'd like to work on, and a screenplay for A Girl in Time.
It doesn't leave a lot of time left over from blogging. And yet I'm not willing to simply close down the Burger. As I explained in a comment in the entry below, I trust this place and the people here in a way that I don't trust, say, my 3000 closest friends on Facebook. I can put out a call for beta readers here and know that the manuscript isn't going to turn up on BitTorrent 24 hours later.
But I don't have time to run a full service blog any more. Not for the next 12 months anyway, while I get my indie publishing business up to full speed. Last year was just proving the concept.
So what I've decided to do is keep the Burger open, but basically as a link blog. Mondays Tuesdays and Fridays I'll put up a link to and an extract from whatever column I have written that day. That will mostly be it. I won't be writing book reviews or movie reviews or even personal entries unless something really strikes me. I just don't have time. As more of the fanfic entries come in, I will publish extracts from them. And as my own books come due for release, I'll drop sample chapters here, but also at Medium, FB etc.
That should be enough to keep the place ticking over, but not so time-consuming that I hesitate to even open the page.

18 Responses to ‘The Next Year Here’

Bangar reckons...

Posted March 7
Food on the table is what's important, you've been more than indulgant with us fans/friends and we appreciate it. Your work and time has to pay for itself in a timely fashion. So continue as you think is best. Bangar

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sharky is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7
Well done JB,
What a truly Solomon like compromise.
perhaps there could be a way for Burgers to submit a link or article to help keep the place ticking over???

Cheers

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Halwes mumbles...

Posted March 7
I don't surf the net much and was initially drawn to CBG because I'd reread Falafel and wanted to find out what else you were doing. My point being that without CBG I probably wouldn't have known about much of your other work nor been drawn to it. I've read five of your books that I wouldn't have probably even known about without CBG. I have always read your newspaper stuff and enjoyed it immensely. I'm loving ASB because it's so much more irreverent than you'd be allowed to be in a mainstream newspaper. I think that CBG may play more of a role in your book sales than you imagine however I fully understand how much work it must be to maintain.

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 8
500k words is a whopping big chunk. I've written 290k over a four year period and I thought that was a lot- young grasshopper bows to the master!

Think of us here at the 'Burger as your backbench- if there is a tough nut to crack, just holler and we will produce.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted March 8
Decommissioned and froze The Pondering Tree years ago. It was simply proving to be too much of a time sink. Where it once seemed to be at the intersection of the internet it now feels like a backwater bypassed by other social media services.


I do far more networking and market research using FB, as well as building a potential fan base. Something I was never quite able to do with The Pondering Tree.


It is what it is.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 8
I think you've hit on the best strategy; you've invested a heap of time and energy into building the burger into the trusted community it is, and it would be a shame to mothball it. Leverage the best elements of the community you've built here (the beta readers, word of mouth referees for new works via sample chapters, fanthology contributors) and focus on the things that we chose to stick around for - 'splosions, occasional monsters, time travel and thinky, and more 'splosions. If I had my druthers I'd rather have Burger Lite and get 5 new JB novels this year :)

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Surtac mutters...

Posted March 8
Sounds like a sensible plan to me.

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Oldy would have you know...

Posted March 8
Ditto she_jedi.

Between FB, ASB and the Instrument I'm getting bulk JB updates. And that's a big whack of work you've got ahead of you. Blogging on top of that, other than announcements and shit, is a big overhead (oh wait, you said that already).

Blah blah support blah blah focus blah blah on your team*





*Millennial members: just substitute # for blah blah...

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Gutz mutters...

Posted March 8
Hey, whatever keeps fuel in the hovercraft!

Plus i am lazy, i have found your books and this place...i am in no great rush to go anywhere else. i have even managed to bookmark so it saves me some carpal-tunnel.

If you build it we will come. no wait..we are already here...um..

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted March 8
Set on 'idle' is good. Its easy to increase revs if required.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted March 8
as long as you don't let havoc get a hold of the keys to the burger it should be here when and if you want to get back to it.

HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted March 15
OI FKN. Thats prolly the best FKN IDEA I HAVE HEARD ALL FKN DAY!

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Don Bagert mutters...

Posted March 9
Thank you, John. Best wishes to you, and I'm glad that WW 3.1 is high up on the list!

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Dave C swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 9
Burger lite sounds good. Do what you need to do to get those awesome new stories out, JB.

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Dave W mutters...

Posted March 9
Sounds like a plan.

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted March 9
Just did a quick bit of project management for you. 500,000 words worth of novels, plus columns (let's call that 50,000 words). You have two options, stretch time (which comes with it's own issues) or buy at least two coffee machines.

Tough schedule.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 11
Do what you've gotta do.
It's been a hoot.


(Greybeard smells like old newspapers.)

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted March 12
Silence = assent

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Ten Years of Blunt Instrument

Posted March 7 by John Birmingham

I dont want to alarm anybody, but it's been a decade since I published the first entry at BT.

Link's here.

I seem to recall thinking I'd probably last a year or so there.

Of course, I've been doing this blog a lot longer in one form or another. It's been hard to find the time to update recently because of the publishing schedule I've set myself for this year. Five books, all long form. Two trade published and three indie.

The two long form releases (GIRL and STALIN"S HAMMER) have gone very well. They've totally proved the model. So now I have to ramp up to full production.

I've thought about putting the Burger to sleep for six months, like I did when drafting Weapons of Choice (or maybe it was Designated Targets). I seem to recall it helped, both with the book writing and with my enthusiasm for blogging when I got back to it.

Still pondering that though. I have reasons for not putting it on hiatus.

Curious to hear everyone's thoughts.

12 Responses to ‘Ten Years of Blunt Instrument’

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7
It's good to get the odd random thought or discussion instigated by you. But it shouldn't distract from the stuff that pays the bills.

So low maintenance blogging, I guess.

My $0.02.

Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted March 8
THIS - and perhaps the odd book update or relevent opinion/information seeking. Low maintenance, engine on idle I guess.

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7
what dave w said

i'd also add that what with asb and the twitterz and this and writing and family and whatever, you're spreading yourself thinly, so if all we get is a smear of olive paste on our sandwich, or burger even, then that will have to do.

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jason mutters...

Posted March 7
You should look at "How to be a Writer" by John Birmingham, lots of good advice there. But seriously...

This stuff is fun but I am all about the writing. So happy with less burger, plus i get my fix from Alien Side Boob which I would recommend to everyone.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted March 7
I have to agree with the earlier commenters. Do what you need to.

The sweary glory that is ASB more than makes up for the sound of crickets in here, imo.

And I should be working on my AoT fanfic anyway.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7
Blogs are turning out to be like archaeological markers anyway. It's good for a sounding board for the group in here but it don't pay the bills.

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Don Bagert mumbles...

Posted March 7
It seems like you couldn't stop all posts e.g you would need somewhere for your posts related to the new books. You're still planning to use us as volunteer editors, right? Also you usually ask for feedback concerning a certain aspect of the book (especially with AoT)?

Also, would that mean that your AoT and Disappearance "fanthologies" would be on hold? :(

jason has opinions thus...

Posted March 7
Or is this an opportunity to allow for greater fan input into the fanthology with us doing the work and John polishing it once it has been well edited, cover art, etc.?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 7
And this neatly captures my reluctance to put the Burger on hiatus. I trust this channel ad the people here in a way that I wouldn't trust, say, my three thousand very close friends on the Book of Face.
To answer your question, yes. I am still planning to do the beta reading program.

jason reckons...

Posted March 8
I am happy to do proof reading of any fan fic to allow you more writing time. I have a little editing skill to if that helps.

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trib swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 8
JB, you do you. It's not like The Instrument generates dollars for burgers and beers; OTOH publishing does.

So, drop in here for "shit you idiots should be checking out", rather than trying to maintain a schedule of publishing you can't legitimately keep.

It's not like most of us aren't reading ASB (where such things could also go).

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Chirurgean mutters...

Posted March 9
Seems a wee bit trite to say, but change is inevitable. No ancient Chinese proverbs here, but it is true. Do you want to spend the rest of your life doing the same stuff? I thought not. Enjoy — plan your next 20 yrs and move on. Human beings are remarkably plastic and are moulded by events around us. Heck, I am affected and changed by reading your books (in a small but significant way).
Looking forward to the future!

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More of that Ranger interview by Jason Lambright

Posted March 7 by John Birmingham

There's another entry available and worth a look.

At the Interstellar valley.

Me?

I'm busy as hell.

1 Responses to ‘More of that Ranger interview by Jason Lambright’

jason asserts...

Posted March 7
Less posting more publishing works for me. I want my space opera and I want it now.

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Pete's Ranger School Overview

Posted February 22 by John Birmingham

You'll find this entry on JasonL's blog interesting. The first of a couple of interviews with former war fighters.

Check it out.

7 Responses to ‘Pete's Ranger School Overview’

jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22
I've been keeping an eye on this and I am hooked on Ranger Pete. I want him as my friend and to rescue me from a besieged embassy in sub Saharan Africa. Hopefully both will happen.

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jl reckons...

Posted February 23
Pete would be fine with that. He's versatile. Just as long as you keep him supplied with Grizzly chew and Natural Light (or its local equivalent).

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Senator Texas mutters...

Posted February 24
Got a link?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 24
Hit the test link that says Check it out.

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Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted February 24
I remember reading of the Rangers Course years back - it's certainly up there in terms of difficulty with courses like SAS Selection for intsance.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27
Did Pete get f*ked by the fickle finger of fate?

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Senator Texas is gonna tell you...

Posted February 28
Magic!

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NEMESIS: a Dave Vs the Monsters Story, by Don Goodrum

Posted February 21 into The Dave by John Birmingham

I've had a few submissions for the collected fantholoy later this year. (Yes, I just invented that word and I like it). Nemesis, by Don Goodrum runs to to more than five thousand words. This is just a taster from the opening pars.

Hero’s Log: Tuesday 2:24am CST

I stand watch over my city. Watching as the night chokes the tiny metropolis in thick dark folds like a blanket or a shroud. Watching as the light from the city fights its way upward like a drowning man fighting the current of a river. Watching as a gibbous moon casts a baleful eye across the stage below, waiting for the show to begin.
Watching. And the city watches back.
I am the Crimson Avatar. Defender of the Weak and Protector of the City of Pensacola, Florida, I patrol these mean streets, stopping crime; turning back evil; making the world-

“Hey, Doug-?”
-making the world a better place. Safer, cleaner-
“Seriously Doug, are you in there? Are you awake?”
And unfortunately, I don’t work alone.
I turned and looked at the person standing next to me on the roof of the Saenger Theatre, overlooking Palafox Avenue. Shorter and slighter than my own chiseled physique, he wore a yellow tunic with red piping and red pants tucked into matching red boots. Top it all off with a red domino mask and his own mop of curly red hair, he looked much like a combination between the original Kid Flash from the comics and the current leather-clad one on TV. A fact I’ve pointed out to him more than once.
“Cameron,” I said in a long-suffering voice. “Wildfyre. Haven’t I asked you at least a million times not to interrupt me when I’m making log entries? And you know the rule; we don’t call one another by our real names when we’re in costume. You’re putting our loved ones at risk.”
“What loved ones? What risk? When was the last time we did anything other than stand up on this rooftop like a couple of morons in their skintight suits telling lies to one another?”
“We stopped that mugger a few weeks ago,” I said, lamely. “And we work in the soup kitchen every Wednesday.”
“That mugger was a panhandler begging for loose change,” Wildfyre snapped. “And dishing up bowls of chicken noodle is not my idea of fighting crime.”
“We just need to be vigilant.” I said, trying to convince myself. “Sooner or later, our time will come. What we need is a purpose, a calling. What we need is a Nemesis.”
“A nemesis? You mean like Lex Luthor or the Joker?” Wildfyre got some kind of alert on his phone and pulled it out of his utility belt to look at it. “We can barely hold our own against a down on his luck alkie with brain rot and you want to go looking for a super villain? Give me a fuckin’ break, Doug.”
“I will not warn you again about the profanity,” I said sternly in a voice that sounded eerily like my mother. “And please do not refer to me by my secret identity.”
I waited impatiently for a response while he focused on his phone. “Wildfyre?”
He had least had the decency to look chagrined as he said, “Sorry Doug-uh, I mean, Avatar,” but it didn’t last. Brandishing his phone in my face, he said, “But have you seen what’s going on in New Orleans? It’s amazing!”
“You know what I think is amazing, Wildfyre? That you’re spending your time watching YouTube videos when you’re supposed to be keeping an eye on this city and its citizens.”
“But you gotta see this Doug,” he pleaded, sticking the phone right into my face. “There are monsters in New Orleans, man. Fuckin’ monsters!”
“Hey! Language, dude,” I barked, snatching the phone from his hand. “I told you, we don’t use that kind of language when we’re in – costume.” By this point my eyes had finally focused on the video in front of me. It was shot somewhere in the French Quarter, apparently; Bourbon Street or somewhere close to it, given the number of Mardi Gras beads everyone was wearing. But verifying the location wasn’t really on my mind just then; I was too busy looking at the hideous Lizard-Man centered in the frame. Standing at least seven or eight feet high, the creature wore what looked like leather armor and chain mail and carried a huge sword he was currently using as a street sweeper to clear the area around him. Fuck.
Hey, I didn’t say I don’t curse. I just don’t curse in costume. Out loud.
“You see, Doug?” it’s those same things they were talking about yesterday from that oil rig. Only this time there’s more of ‘em and there’s pictures!”

...

13 Responses to ‘NEMESIS: a Dave Vs the Monsters Story, by Don Goodrum’

insomniac asserts...

Posted February 21
It is an interesting opening. I'd read more.
I was wondering about story length. Doesn't make me worry so much about 3K and rising.
I also thought the next set was Disappearance or AOT. Is there another Dave too?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 21
Any one of the series will do. If I get enough for three books, great, if not, I'll just bundle them together.

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted February 21
LIKE

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted February 21
LIKE

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DaveC ducks in to say...

Posted February 21
Big ups. Like.

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WarDog mumbles...

Posted February 21
You're missing a 'g'. 'fanholoy' -> 'fanthology'.

Do I get the job as your editor now?

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 21
Why would autocorrect do that to a poor fellow?

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 21
If you Google "fantholoy" it comes up with 4 hits ... and you have three of them, so yes you have just invented a new word.

she_jedi reckons...

Posted February 21
Outstanding. It's a great word

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted February 21
Nice.

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Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted February 22
V. good.

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted February 23
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C5UXIkvVUAAU9lK?format=jpg&name=large

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Ceramic asserts...

Posted February 27
Cool. Very cool.
Speaking of fan stories, JB, are you able to update my text with what I sent you. I'd really appreciate it.

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Project management and the arts

Posted February 15 into Writing by John Birmingham

Just did a really fascinating interview with a project manager. (Surprisingly enough, on commission for a feature in Project Manager magazine). It was fascinating because although this guy came out of the Navy and into mining and marine engineering, almost everything he said was directly applicable to managing a writing career, especially juggling a couple of different projects such as books, columns etc. For once, I'm actually looking forward to transcribing the interview.

15 Responses to ‘Project management and the arts’

Rhino asserts...

Posted February 16
Project Managers, for the most part, are Gods Among Men.

Before we were wed, I provided my then fiancee with a process flow chart of relationships so that she would have a clearly defined process of inputs and outputs.

She laughed and ripped in half.

A typical management response.

Leftarc reckons...

Posted February 16
I recently built a wood fired oven, and as I say, I had to PM the shit out of it. There was a schedule, bill of materials (broken down into capex and opex costs) and a risk budget. Mrs/Fin Controller was impressed.

damian asserts...

Posted February 17
You still need a stakeholder map and a business change plan. Did you buy beer with the risk budget?

GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted February 23

Rhino reckons ...

"She laughed and ripped it in half"


I imagined the project flow chart of relationships to be as large and thick as a Telephone Book.

I still visualised Better Half of Rhino tearing it shreds.

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jason puts forth...

Posted February 16
Part of my full time role is project management. Unfortunately I have been unable to use the skills and experience from this role in the writing process. It's a lot easier to work with paid employees than loved ones when it comes to getting things done.

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Leftarc reckons...

Posted February 16
JB,
Your book "How to be a Writer' is a good book to add to one's PM toolkit. Deadlines, timeboxing, customer engagement/management, and conflicting priorities are all part of a Project Manager's remit (trying to replicate the routine of Hunter S Thompson as you described is more of an aspirational goal though). At the end of the day, if you organise stuff, you are using project management skills. And that is not to demean this dark art, as I am one. Looking forward to reading your interview.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted February 16
What the Rhino said.

Forty years of working in IT has taught me that good PMs are hard to find but are definitely worth keeping and feeding.

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted February 17
I tend to channel Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction in my professional life. He is the ultimate PM.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17
I'd have pegged Mr Wolf more as a Delivery Manger.

Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted February 18
Wolf in the Manger.

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Vovchara mumbles...

Posted February 17
there is no reason why it shouldn't be. Project management is basically management of resources to achieve set goals. No matter if you build bridge, house, road, computer or write a book, piece of software etc. you 've got to have clearly defined end result. And a path to it. And every step on it is an abstract mile stone, pretty much every part of said management is an abstract concept.

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Dirk swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18
*nods*

Being one myself (even got a mastersdegree in it) I only can underline that ...

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Ceramic puts forth...

Posted February 20
I've made a project plan for my writing (dare I say it?) career.
Its got basic things like a budget, phases and timeline, but also things for business planning. Future projects, compatable services, marketing plan, and am working on a competative analysis.
I'd love a link for your interview if its online.

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Aaron has opinions thus...

Posted February 20
As a creative person and now dad I can definitely vouch for the benefits of embracing organisation. When I first started in radio my fear was how will I keep generating the content but I quickly learned I had mire to gain from the organisation skills picked up in previous jobs. It's ordering the chaos to allow for some actual work to get done. I am actually doing a degree in project management. I couldn't do it without project management skills!

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Justin asserts...

Posted February 20
well JB, seems you are onto something here, something about your writing style appears to attract us PM types.
never knew so many of us lurked around this forum.

Here's a bit of PM humor for you;
What is the collective noun for a group of project managers?

A 'Concern'

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