Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dear Readers, I have created a new blog at This page will soon be retired. I invite you to view my submissions at my new domain.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

10 LifeHacks You Should Live identified by Guy Kawasaki

Challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Accepting the known and resisting the unknown is a mistake. You should do exactly the opposite: challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Now is the time to take this kind of risk because you have less to lose and everything to gain. Great things happen to people who question the status quo. Be brief. Contrary to school, in the work place there are few minimums. In my entire career, I can count on one hand the instances when an email, presentation, or report was too short. The perfect length for everything is when it is “complete”—more is less, and “shock and awe” doesn’t work in business or war. Here are guidelines: email—five sentences; presentations—tens slides and twenty minutes; report—one page. Tell stories, do demos, and use pictures. The most enchanting people tell stories, do demos, and use pictures to influence and persuade others. They do not belittle or berate. They paint a picture in people’s minds whether the medium is social media, email, in-person presentations, phone calls, or video conferences. There is only one Steve Jobs, but if you want a shot at being the next Steve Jobs, learn to communicate using stories, demos, and pictures. Don’t sweat your first job(s). Over your lifetime, you’ll probably have five to ten jobs in two to three industries. Your first job is not going to be your last. It’d be great if your first job was to be the fifth employee of the next Google, but the odds of this are small. The only mistake you could make is taking a first job where you couldn’t learn anything, and if you can’t learn anything, it’s probably your fault. Just get in and work hard and stop thinking about finding the perfect first job. Live in the present, work for the future. The day after you start work, no one is going to care what school you went to, what your grade point average was, if you were captain of the football, robotics, or debate team, or who your parents are. All that matters is whether you deliver results or you don’t, so work hard to make your boss look good (see next). Make your boss look good. Your job is to make your boss look good. The theory that you should make your boss look bad so that you can advance above him or her is flawed. Trying to do so will probably make you look disloyal to your boss and stupid to the rest of the organization. You want your boss to succeed so that you can draft behind him or her. Continue to learn. Learning is a process not an event, so you should never stop learning. Indeed, it gets easier to learn once you're out of school because the relevance of what you need to learn becomes more obvious. Indeed, the day you graduate is when the real learning begins. Don't get married too soon. Thirty-two. That's about the right age. Until you're about that age, you may not know who you are. You also may not know who you're marrying. I don't know anyone who got married too late. I know many people who got married too young. Obey the absolutes. When you were young, it was absolutely wrong to lie, cheat, or steal. When you enter the workforce, you will be tempted to think in relative terms. As you grow older, you will see that right and wrong seems to change from absolute to relative. This is wrong: right is right and wrong is wrong forever. Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone. Nothing--not money, power, or fame--can replace your family and friends or bring them back once they are gone. You probably have delusions of immortality right now—that’s natural. At least consider that while you may be immortal, those around you are not. One more thing. When you were a child, you thought your parents were always right. Through high school and college, you thought your parents were always wrong. After college, you’ll realize that your parents were often right. And then, believe it or not, you’ll eventually become your parents. Wrap your young mind around that....

Saturday, 17 May 2014

How To Remain Relevant

1. Change Before You Are Forced To: Most businesses wait to innovate until their hand is forced. As Steve Jobs once observed, if youre not willing to cannibalise your own business, someone else will do ti for you. Consider Blackberry and Nokia. Rather than recognise the seismic shifts prevalent in their industries, both these tech giants essentially relied on this horizontal size and market positioning until the writing on the wall was too dire to ignore. 2. Become Clear On the Business You Are Actually In: Many businesses fall into the trap of defining themselves by the products they sell or the markets they are operating in - all the while losing site of who they are and why they exist. Consider how Kodak did this and veered off track in the 1970s and '80s. Rather than remaining focussed on their core DNA as a memory preservation company, Kodak started to see themselves as a film company - a paradigm that left them unwilling and unable to embrace the post - film world. 3. Prune Dead Wood: Any gardener knows restoring vitality to a garden required pruning away the old in order to make way for the new. It is the same in business. Sony has also recognised the importance of this in turning around its flagging fortunes. The end of it is decade, a long marriage with Ericsson and the spinning off of entire business units is an attempt to restore the tech giant's agility and innovative flair. 4. Seek A Point Of Difference: "It is better to be different than better". Rather than trying to outdo the competition in your market, how can you pursue a new market in a new way? Consider the way Cirque du Soleil did this by building a flourishing business in a dying industry (circuses).

Is Social Media Prompting Syria's Savage War Videos?

If you were to post the latest Beyonce video clip on Youtube without permission, don't expect it to stay up long. Beyonce's management will swiftly notify YouTube's corporate owner, Google, of the copyright infringement and Google will likely take your video down before Solange has a chance to throw her next punch at Jay Z. But, if you post a clip of a Syrian rebel commander biting into the organs of his enemy, your content may well be safe. The graphic video that shows Khalid al-Hamad desecrating his victim's body has already been viewed some 900,000 times. Duplicates of the clip can be found elsewhere on YouTube. If those outcomes seem inconsistent - toughness on copyright, leniency on cannibalism, that's because the rules of policing social media are still being invented. Some 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, which is far too much for the site to even attempt to pre-screen for inappropriate content. Assuming of course, there's a perfectly acceptable definition of 'inappropriate content'. The argument here is that a graphic video that a user might flag as containing graphic content, with something closer to journalistic intent to inform is more likely to remain up - albeit with warnings and checks to ensure someone underage does not view it (the Hamad video had both). Facebook, like YouTube, decides to err on the side of public interest. But with >30 billion pieces of content shared each month, the site is constantly playing catch up. As can be said for all of us. There are on clear boundaries yet for a world where anyone wit ha smartphone can be a video reporter. And so the online battle over Syria remains every bit as morally murky as the real one.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Nowhere To Hide!

Thanks to GPS, the apps on our phones have long been able to determine our location. This would have been a privacy breach 20 years ago and scared most users away from acceptance. And today, we are looking at technology so intelligent, that with enough precision, could influence your buying behaviour by tempting you with the right coupons depending on whether you were hovering near the white bread or the multigrain! Whilst this may sound far-fetched, there’s a good chance the technology is already built into your iPhone or Android device. All it takes is for retailers to tap into it are small, inexpensive transmitters called beacons. Confused? Using Bluetooth technology, handsets can pinpoint their position to within as little as 2 cm by receiving signals from the beacons stores install (similar to how investigators track a black box from a plane wreckage). Apple’s version of the concept is called iBeacon; it’s in use at its own stores and is being tested by Macy’s, American Eagle and Woolworths (to name a few). Companies can use your location to pelt you with special offers or simply monitor your movements. But just as with GPS, they won’t see you unless you’ve installed their apps and granted them access. By melding your own physical potion with facts they’ve already collected about you from reward programs, retail businesses can finally re-gain their profitable competitive advantage from e-commerce businesses who typically take this technology for granted. The possibilities extend well beyond coupons. Pay-Pal is readying a beacon that will let consumers pay for goods without swiping a card or removing a phone from their pocket. Doug Thompson predicts that people won’t even know that these beacons are there. They’ll just know their app has suddenly become smarter. Some examples: Line hints at sporting stadiums: When you step away to buy your Four ‘n’ Twenty meat pie or 4 pack of drinks, an app directs you to the closest concession stand with the shortest line. Instant coupons in department stores: linger in the jewellery department without buying anything and a coupon will pop up onto your phone. Tempting much? Deeper context at museums and galleries: An app that tells you historical information about each piece of art as you walk through the room. Reminders at grocery stores: Heading out to buy milk and return home realising you’ve bought everything but milk? How about an app reminds you of each item on your list when you’re in the right aisle so you don’t forget to pick it up.

Cloud Computing Explained - To A 5 Year Old...Simples!

You don't like making your own cheeseburgers, so you hire a chef to make a cheeseburger for you. It's a tasty cheeseburger, so you invite all your friends round the next day for a cheeseburger party. But the chef can't make 100 cheeseburgers for your 100 friends, he's too busy! Lots of your friends go hungry! So, the next day you hire another 99 chefs, to make sure everyone can get a cheeseburger. However, that day, half your friends can't come round, so 50 of the chefs make 50 cheeseburgers for the friends who did come round, and the other 50 chefs stand around doing nothing. But, you still have to pay them! So you're wasting money. Now, imagine the four other people living on your street are also having cheeseburger parties, and they are all having the same problem. Sometimes they have more chefs than guests, wasting money, and sometimes they have more guests than chefs, so people are going hungry. Nobody can hire the exact number of chefs because nobody knows exactly how many friends they are going to have round that day. Also, everybody has to build huge cheeseburger kitchens, taking up room in their house they could use for other things. And to be honest, it's a hassle having all the chefs in your house. They're grumpy and annoying. You don't really care about keeping chefs happy, you just want to eat cheeseburgers. So, someone comes along and builds a massive kitchen with 200 chefs, and all the people on your street get rid of their own chefs and kitchen, and instead pay that person to do cheeseburger deliveries for them. Some days you have 100 guests, so you use 100 of these chefs, while other people have only 25 guests and chefs each. Another day you might have only 10 guests and chefs, and your next door neighbour has 150 guests and 150 chefs. You each only pay for the number of chefs you use each night, even though that changes unpredictably. And you don't have to use half your house for cheeseburger kitchens. You don't even need to know or care how many chefs are employed by the kitchen. Because the cheeseburger kitchen has lots of customers effectively pooling their money together, you can each be pretty confident there will be enough chefs to go around, plus, you have one totally amazing kitchen instead of five kinda ok kitchens.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Dehumanizing of Others

The dehumanising of others is what we often refer to as 'stereotyping'. It starts from a deep insecurity within the self which is also where conflict begins. Psychologists know that most of us tend to remember negative things about others more than positive things. We hold people responsible for their bad behaviour and dont give them credit for their good ones. This happens because seeing others in a negative light helps us to feel superior to them. When people develop a healthy, REALISTIC regard for themselves, the negative memories fade away. This is why the paradigm "I See Myself" preceedes the paradigm "I See You". By reducing people to the status of things, we think we can better control them. That's why companies refer to their employees by the ironic term "human resources" as though they were just another liability on the balance sheet, like taxes or accounts payable. Thats why most people im most organisations are seen only in terms of their function, even though they possess far more creativity, resourcesfulness, ingenuity and intelligence than their Manager's realise. It is the responsibility of Managers to work with their teams/subordinates to cultivate these strengths and talents to address any weaknesses. So often during performance management time, Managers find it easier to base feedback on isolated incidents which have not highlighted the strengths of an employee leading to unbalanced performance reviews.