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Archive for March 2010

The Complete Manual of Pirate Radio

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Or, How the world has been transformed by free global communications

I came across this artifact of the history of radio.

Here is no date on this pamphlet.  But, there is a reference to Radio Amateurs Handbook from 1972.  So, this dates the pamphlet from that era.  In the introduction the author cites the reason for the work

This pamphlet is intended for everyone who has a message to communicate but no means with which to do it.  This piece will provide the information necessary to obtain that means.  So, if you’re interested in providing an alternative to corporate-controlled newspapers and magazines… read on.

In theory, freedom of the press exists in this country.  But in practice, only the individuals and groups with very large amounts of money can take advantage of that freedom.  For example, to start a daily paper in just one major city would require assets of at least five, and probably ten million dollars…. So, taking advantage of the much vaunted freedom of the press in this country is out of reach.

Skip ahead about 25 years to 1995 and the utter transformation of global communications made possible by the Internet.  Who now, in 2010, does not have the means of communication to a global audience – for free!  In fact, you are reading an example right now.  Get your own free blog on http://wordpress.com

Here is a piece of history – for which, the Internet has made irrelevant.

The Complete Manual of Pirate Radio –

https://frrl.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/complete-manual-of-pirate-radio.pdf

Written by frrl

March 31, 2010 at 5:55 pm

On Education, Prosperity, and the Generations

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Stumbled upon… from John Adams (1735-1826; US President March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801)

I must study politics and war that my sons have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.  My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy , geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

Adams wrote this during the development and evolution of the prosperity of the United States.  One generation studies “politics and war” to lay the foundation for the next generation.  What “must” be studied by one generation gives the following generation the liberty to pursue the next level of education and culture.

Adams quote in Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

Written by frrl

March 31, 2010 at 4:54 am

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Apple iPad Review: Laptop Killer? Pretty Close

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For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.

by Walter S. Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal
http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20100331/apple-ipad-review/

Written by frrl

March 31, 2010 at 4:53 am

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ASUS Express Gate –

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Gimmick, Great New Feature, or Stealth Attach of LINUX?

Your new laptop may have ASUS Express Gate.  Boots in 5 seconds.  Is this a gimmick or a great new feature.  Maybe this is the best of both worlds – an “appliance” to check e-mail, browse the web, chat with Skype, get on-line, play a few games, check the contents of a USB, gaming, and do other basic things – without booting a heavy-weight operating system.

ASUS Express Gate can turn your PC into an appliance – do you want that?

Check out some videos to see what it looks like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w41vS3UcZdk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu4CdPRYdVc&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLMy-glv498&NR=1

Tech – New motherboards with ASUS Express Gate – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juGAE-0kuJA

Written by frrl

March 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm

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Dunbar’s number – The theoretical limit on meaningful social relationships?

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Here is an interesting question – Can you have more than 150 friends?  Is there something in human being which imposes a theoretical limit on the number of “meaningful” relationships one can have?

New research is suggesting that if you’re friends with over 150 people on Facebook, the extras are meaningless.

This is a conclusion of some thinking by Oxford professor of evolutionary anthropology Robin Dunbar. He’s recently expanded on some of his original research carried out in the 1990s on the human neocortex–this is a part of your brain heavily involved in language and conscious thought. It’s the bit of brain matter that helps you relate to other people, on a friend-to-friend basis, and Dunbar’s theory is that it can only handle a maximum capacity of roughly 150 ongoing, fully interactive friendships. If you know or are “friends” with more people than this, then actually you’re probably merely acquaintances instead.

Read more –
http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eaton/technomix/if-youve-got-more-150-facebook-friends-theyre-no-friends-all

Written by frrl

March 28, 2010 at 4:55 am

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What’s the Congress up to / LegiStorm – Transparency’s Sidekick

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Stumbled upon –

LegiStorm launched in September 2006. Our web site is dedicated to providing a variety of important information about the US Congress.

Based on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, LegiStorm’s first information product was a database of congressional staff salaries but we have now added other valuable information, such as the most comprehensive database of all privately financed trips taken by members of Congress and congressional staffers.

The information is provided in a strictly factual, non-partisan fashion. We have no political affiliations and no political purpose except to make the workings of Congress as transparent as possible. We expect this resource to be useful to journalists, researchers, lobbyists and current and would-be staffers – as well as regular citizens who simply want to know how their representatives spend public money.

You can be sure that there are more such legislative resources to come from LegiStorm. You may register for updates by subscribing to our newsletter to learn when we launch major new features on the site or when we update our congressional salaries data.

LegiStorm, the publisher of this  web site, is a sister company to Storming Media, a company supplying a wide range of technical, policy and strategy papers from the Pentagon, and PatentStorm, a searchable database of millions of US patents.

http://www.legistorm.com/

Don’t pass up the U.S. Government Accountability Office

About GAO
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States, is appointed to a 15-year term by the President from a slate of candidates Congress proposes. Gene L. Dodaro became Acting Comptroller General of the United States on March 13, 2008, succeeding David M. Walker, who appointed him upon resigning. Mr. Dodaro will serve in this position until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a successor from a list of candidates proposed by the Congress.

Written by frrl

March 27, 2010 at 4:57 am

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Civilization

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Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.

–Will and Ariel Durant

Recommended: Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know

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March 27, 2010 at 4:56 am

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Innovation – Fresh Thinking for the Ideas Economy

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Check out some videos from The Economist

http://ideas.economist.com/content/video

Written by frrl

March 26, 2010 at 4:59 am

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The well-placed question

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If you ask “how” you will always have a job;  If you ask “why” you will always be the boss

Written by frrl

March 26, 2010 at 4:58 am

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Insecurity and the Egoholic

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Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm– but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

— T. S. ELiot

I snagged the quote below off the web (see below).  But first a few comments.

Whoever wrote the quote got it wrong by mixing “egoholic” behavior in political and organizational situations and mapping this to insecurity.

Those is politics who have a desire to control everyone and everything do this out of ego but certainly not out of insecurity.  Quite the opposite.  Folks like Lenin and Marx wanted nothing less than to create a new form of human being and a new form of society – a Utopia – a Paradise on Earth – a workers paradise free from the exploitation of man by man and through the abolition of private property and a class(full) society.

Such a political aspiration to transform human being and society certainly is based on ego, but not concomitantly based on insecurity.

Obama and the Dems that want to control healthcare and everything that can be linked to it have big egos but these actions are not motivated by insecurity – quite the opposite.  If anything, its ego plus ideology and confidence.

Those in organizations who have a desire to control everyone and everything do this out of ego,  insecurity, fear, and self-doubt.  They have the need to find an environment where they can have control to compensate for situations where they have no control and are powerless.

There was this interesting suggestion by Scott Adams the creator of Dilbert …  As a reaction, these people create a fortress of technology competency and an air of superiority which, according to Adams, “is patently a compensation for their powerlessness” within the organization. Scott Adams was referring to people like Dilbert who are at the bottom of the organization and have no management or executive power to determine anything – in short, they are powerless – they do not contribute or control the corporate strategy or direction, control the allocation of resources, make personnel decisions, or even control their own assignments.

The result of this powerlessness can manifest itself as compensation played out as egotistical behavior and desire to control everything and everyone in situations and environments where they can find an opportunity to realize this.  The challenge for these folks is finding environments, situations, and people  where this can be realized.  That is, environments and people who will assent to this type of treatment.  The character of Milton in the movie Office Space is a good example.  Lumbergh can dispatch Milton to a basement office to have him “control the rat population”.  Milton is diminished as a person and Lumbergh can feel good about himself by being able to treat Milton in this way.  Milton and Lumbergh have a sustainable symbiotic relationship as long as each plays their part.  If you saw the movie, you can see what happens when Milton “snapped” and burned the place down out of being treated in this manner.  Milton became his own Lumbergh in this ultimate act of defiance of being powerless.  And so it goes.  ( Watch the Milton clips from Office Space here )

So, bottom line, big egos in politics is based confidence.  Egoholics in organizations .. just may be the facade for underlying insecurity, self-doubt, and compensation for other environments and situations where these folks are powerless.

Here is what I snagged off the internet that got me thinking

The Demise Of The Egoholic

We all know them, we have seen them at school, in work and we see them playing politics on TV and in the news.

The egoholic needs to control people and often to demean and belittle them, in order to validate themselves.

Whatever authority they have relies on their title, their uniform or intimidation.

When I was younger this kind of “authority” was normal, thankfully in modern organisations these characters are increasingly rare.

What drives people to behave this way is their own insecurity.  Insecurity or lack of self-confidence can lead to dramatically different behaviours.  At one end of the spectrum insecurity can lead people to be reticent and hold back, at the other end to be arrogant and intimidating.

The results of egoholic leadership are all around us and are blighting our lives and worse for many.  At the very least we are paying more tax to fund the excesses of egoholic bankers and to pay for the conflicts caused by egoholic politicians.

It is time to say good-bye to the egoholic.  Your drive and determination was valuable in it’s day, it lead us to a far deeper and greater sense of personal responsibility.

Ego and insecurity related to ideology and politics – hardly.
This poem written by Karl Marx

Then I will wander godlike and victorious
Through the ruins of the world
And, giving my words an active force,
I will feel equal to the creator

Ref: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/enlightened-living/200911/ego-insecurity-and-the-destructive-narcissist

The bully’s ego is artifice. His arrogance is a hollow confidence. His condescension is a need to belittle. His rage is a need to control. This ego for him is a fragile thing, driven by fear and narcissism, not by power, nor by the power he wishes so desperately to possess. In fact, the bully is actually quite powerless, for he is only as powerful as the power we give him. He feeds on our fear, but his hunger is driven solely by his own.

The key for the bullied is to recognize that the bully’s bullying is not about us — it’s about him, and his weakness. It’s about his sense of being threatened, and his horror at being found out as an imposter or a poser. He is afraid — quite afraid – and all the time. With this recognition that it’s not about us, we can then stand firm, or even push back; thusly not get lost in the self-doubt and self-victimization that potentially perpetuates for us the abusive and socially sadomasochistic relationships in which we might find ourselves by accident, by choice or by default.

The bully is always the weakest kid on the playground. Push back, and watch with compassion as he collapses into a pale reflection of whom he pretends to be.

Related: ( Narcissistic Personality Disorder )  http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx36.htm

Written by frrl

March 25, 2010 at 4:59 am

Hacker Conferences – What is ShmooCon?

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Different • ShmooCon is an annual East coast hacker convention hell-bent on offering three days of an interesting atmosphere for demonstrating technology exploitation, inventive software & hardware solutions, and open discussions of critical infosec issues. The first day is a single track of speed talks, One Track Mind. The next two days, there are three tracks: Break It!, Build It!, and Bring It On!.

Affordable • ShmooCon is about high-quality without the high price. Space is limited! ShmooCon has sold out every year, so unless taking a chance on an eBay auction to get your ticket sounds like fun, register early!

Accessible • ShmooCon is in Washington, D.C., at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, just a few steps from the D.C. Metro. Fly into DCA, IAD, or BWI, or take a train to Union Station, and you are just a quick cab ride away from the con.

Entertaining • Brain melting from all the cool tech you are learning? Check out some of the contests running at ShmooCon, including the Hacker Arcade and Hack-Or-Halo. In years past, we have also thrown massive parties at a local area hot-spot, so expect that to happen again too!

Forensic Hard Drive Recovery – More than you would ever want to know
Here are the first few parts – there are 7 parts total
Pocket protector required

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5crJ39tgDA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tPJ0ZkytxU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW10HNDGP1Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rXgcagdsW0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv77aiKer_E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CFk0MDs0ns

Find out more here including slides and videos of past conferences  – http://shmoocon.org/

Strap on, my friends – http://myharddrivedied.com/presentations/

Written by frrl

March 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm

The danger of outsourcing everything that is not your core competency

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This is a great story told by Clayton Christensen at a lecture entitled “Business Model Innovation”

Here is the get – “This is a very common phenomenon.  It is how the Indian IT companies are hollowing out the inside of their customers.  They started out just doing the bare bones simple code, and they just keep integrating more and more forward, taking more and more of the value-added until it is really not a, it is almost a, it is not clear whether the IT departments are outsourcing to TCS and Infosys or whether Infosys and TCS are outsourcing the brand from their customers”

Now there is another kind of disruption that occurs that is rooted in the gospel that we should always outsource everything that is not our core competence.  I’d like to just walk you through an interaction between a supplier and a customer that is typical of this interaction in many different industries.  So I am just going to describe this as an interaction between Compaq, a late, great computer manufacturer, and Flextronics, one of its suppliers.  But I’ll just use these as representatives of Dell and Asus Tech and a bunch of other interactions.

So Flextronics starts out making the simplest of the circuit boards inside of a Compaq computer, piddly little Singapore-based company.  They came to Compaq then with an interesting value proposition.  It was, “You know we’ve been doing a good job on the little boards, why don’t you let us do the mother board because circuit manufacturing isn’t your core competence, and if you give it to us we could fabricate those for 20% lower cost.”

Well Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh, they could.  And if we gave the mother board to them, not only could we drop cost by 20%, but we could get all the circuit manufacturing assets off the balance sheet,” because it was very capital-intensive.

So they shoveled that over.  Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved, it felt good to get out of the mother board.  Flextronics’ revenues improved and its profits improved.  It felt great to get into the mother board.

Then Flextronics came back.  “You know we’ve been doing the mother board for you, come to think of it, that is really the guts of the computer.  Why should you have to bother to assemble the rest of the stupid computer because assembly is not your core competence.  Let us do it.  We could do it for 20% lower cost.”

And Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh they could.  And if we gave assembly to them, not only could we drop costs but we could get all the other manufacturing assets off of our balance sheet.”  So they shoveled that over.

Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved.  It felt good to get out of assembly.  Flextronics’ revenues and profits improved, it felt good to get into assembly.

Then Flextronics came back.  “You know we’ve been assembling your computers for a while, doing a good job.  Come to think of it, you shouldn’t have to bother to manage the supply chain, dealing with the component suppliers, working out all these logistics headaches, shipping your dumb computers to your stupid customers.  And logistics isn’t your core competence.  Let us take on the supply chain.  We could reduce the cost by 20%.”

And Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh, they could.  And if we gave the supply chain to them, not only could we drop costs even further, but we could get all the current assets off the balance sheet.”  And so they shoveled that over.

Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved again, especially return on assets, because they’ve got no assets.  And Wall Street loves asset-like companies.  Flextronics’ revenues improved and their profits improved because they are getting into value-added services.  And Wall Street loves value-added services.  It felt good to get out of the supply chain and good to get into the supply chain.

Then Flextronics came back.  “You know we’ve been managing the supply chain for a while.  Come to think of it, you shouldn’t have to bother to design your dumb computers, because design really is little more than component selection and we’ve got all those relationships.  Why don’t you let us design your computers?  We could do it for 20% less cost.”

Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh, they could.  And if we gave design to them, we could fire all of our engineers, drop our costs even lower because our core competence in the end really is our brand.”  So they shoveled that over.

Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved.  Flextronics’ revenues and profits improved.

Then Flextronics came back one more time, but this time they did not go to Compaq, they went to Best Buy.  “You know here we are, one of the world’s best manufacturers and designers of the world’s best computers.  Come to think of it, you know those brands Hewlett-Packard and Compaq and Dell on your shelves, you don’t need to stock those brands.  We’ll give you our brand, your brand, any brand at 20% lower cost.”

And bingo, one company is here, another one takes its place.  And just like the mini mill story, you notice I was able to tell this story without using the words “stupid manager” once.  Because Compaq did everything that good managers are taught to do, focus on what they believe are their core competencies, outsource the lowest value added of the activities they are performing if there is somebody who could do it better.  And yet when this happens you create again that same asymmetry of motivation that one company is motivated to flee from the very market that the other company is motivated to attack, until ultimately the outsourcer liquidates its business model to its customers.

This is a very common phenomenon.  It is how the Indian IT companies are hollowing out the inside of their customers.  They started out just doing the bare bones simple code, and they just keep integrating more and more forward, taking more and more of the value-added until it is really not a, it is almost a, it is not clear whether the IT departments are outsourcing to TCS and Infosys or whether Infosys and TCS are outsourcing the brand from their customers

Written by frrl

March 24, 2010 at 5:00 am

Teach a man to fish…

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Catch a man a fish and you can sell it to him.
Teach a man to fish and you’ve ruined a good business opportunity.

Written by frrl

March 23, 2010 at 5:01 am

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Sneeze! – Seth Godin’s blog and books

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If you are interested in the ever-emerging ever-changing new culture made possible by the disruptive innovation of the internet you should be reading Seth Godin’s blog – and his books.

Seth’s books are quick and easy reads. Quick and easy does NOT mean they lack depth of thought on important ideas.  Quick and easy means that Seth can deliver important ideas cleanly and efficiently.  My experience of reading Seth’s books is that some of them can easily be read in one sitting ( Meatball Sundae, The Dip) but they contain ideas that may fundamentally change the way you think about things.

Here are some interesting snips from a recent blog entry on Culture.

Driveby culture and the endless search for wow

The net has spawned two new ways to create and consume culture.

The first is the wide-open door for amateurs to create. This is blogging and online art, wikipedia and the maker movement. These guys get a lot of press, and deservedly so, because they’re changing everything…

The second, though, is distracting and ultimately a waste. We’re creating a culture of clickers, stumblers and jaded spectators who decide in the space of a moment whether to watch and participate (or not)…

Should I write blog posts that increase my traffic or that help change the way (a few) people think?…

Should a charity focus on instant donations by texting from a million people or is it better to seek dedicated attention and support from a few who understand the mission and are there for the long haul?…

My fear is that the endless search for wow further coarsens our culture at the same time it encourages marketers to get ever more shallow. That’s where the first trend comes in… the artists, idea merchants and marketers that are having the most success are ignoring those that would rubberneck and drive on, focusing instead on cadres of fans that matter. Fans that will give permission, fans that will return tomorrow, fans that will spread the word to others that can also take action…

The difference this time is that driveby culture is both fast and free. When there’s no commitment of money or time in the interaction, can change or commerce really happen? Just because you can measure eyeballs and pageviews doesn’t mean you should…

In the race between ‘who’ and ‘how many’, who usually wins–if action is your goal. Find the right people, those that are willing to listen to what you have to say, and ignore the masses that are just going to race on, unchanged.

You can read the full blog entry (March 16,2010) and a list of his books here –  http://sethgodin.typepad.com

Written by frrl

March 22, 2010 at 5:02 am

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Be, Know,Do: Forming character the West Point Way

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Conventional wisdom says that by the time young people reach college, it’s too late to change them. The U.S. Military Academy begs to differ. The civilian world can learn a lot from the way West Point instills values, shapes behaviors, and builds character.

… West Point embarked upon an intense institutional conversation that continues to this day. We questioned our basic assumptions and reexamined our very essence. In a world that had been remade virtually overnight, what was the purpose of the U.S. Military Academy, and how exactly should we go about meeting that obligation?

Check out the article – https://frrl.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/beknowdo_formingcharacterthewestpointway.pdf

Written by frrl

March 21, 2010 at 5:03 am

The Millennial Generation – “Culture Definer”

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Much of Talent Management and Executive coaching is to get folks through a set of transitions traditionally associated with an achievement-oriented corporate culture in America.

Here are some typical categories in which people find themselves.

Star Performer – People start their career as an individual contributor.  For some, the goal is to become a “Star Performer” – a person at the head of the game of personal accomplishment in a chosen field.  At the level of individual contributor and Star Performer, individuals are in charge of themselves.

Manager – Managers are in charge of themselves and a few other people.  Managers manage the work of themselves and others to achieve a known desired outcome.  There are generally known answers to most, if not all, questions.  A manager strives to achieve as set of pre-defined goals through a known path.  A good manager hits the targets and keeps the place running smoothly..  Managers sometimes become immobilized by ambiguity – choosing perhaps, analysis paralysis rather than a course of action where the outcome is uncertain.  Managers think tactically and color inside the lines.

Leader – Here is where one leaves the safety of known paths to established targets.  This is the land of uncertainty, ambiguity and taking calculated risks.  There may be no clear paths to targets.  At this level one has to manage to an uncertain future.  This is an art as well as a science.  Leaders think strategically and color at the boundaries and sometimes outside the lines.

Culture Definer – These are CEO’s that have to define a culture within an organization.  This is the realm of mission, values, ethics, and the general corporate culture built and institutionalized to enable the organization to achieve its long-term strategic goals.

Legacy Creator – These folks have such an impact on organizations, culture, and/or society that they leave footsteps in history.  These are the folks that future generations will read about in history books and folks from which a certain state of culture or society can be said to be derived from their influence.  In this generation, folks like Jack Welch and Steve Jobs will leave a trail of footsteps in history.

The stages above are successive.  This is the traditional view.

The global connectivity of the internet and the rise of social networking has provided some interesting new paths for the millennial generation.  The millennial generation has possibilities, enabled by technology, which were not available to previous generations.

Emerging in blogs one can discover an emerging generation of “Culture Definers” and potential “Legacy Creators”.  The old model of “climbing the corporate ladder” to achieve “significance” may give way to a new generation of culture definers and legacy creators right out of college – or right in college – for that matter.

When Facebook hits 1 Billion users in the next three years, who could say that founder Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, did not achieve some sort of status as “Culture Definer”.  What about the Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google – are these culture definers and legacy creators?  What about another college dropout, Steve Jobs?  Is Steve Jobs a culture definer and legacy creator with the creation of the idea of “Computing for the rest of us” – which really wasn’t computing at all in the (then) traditional sense of the word of computing as computation.  All these folk, college kids, changed the way (now) mainstream culture sees the World, the future, and one’s place in society.

I wonder how typical this is – (from the blog cited below)

I started this blog as a way to explore what is happening at the intersection of technology, communication, and culture – about how we’re being impacted as a society and where we go from here…

… Then I started poking around in Twitter and wondering if it’s a complex adaptive system and if it might actually grow to become a global human consciousness, of sorts…

… But generally, I think we’re at a turning point in history, where many of the institutional structures that serve as the foundations for how we operate as a society are failing, and in turn creating a tremendous opportunity for us to make a decision to grab a hold of the reins and be active participants in creating our collective future.

College kids today, wanting to be “active participants in creating a collective future”.  These are some very high aspirations outside the traditional mold of corporate success.  Good for them!

Written by frrl

March 20, 2010 at 5:03 am

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The Game of Death – “We were just following orders”

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I read about this experiment a long time ago.  Basically, it shows that people can do all manner of torture to other human beings based on the wishes of an authority figure.  There is a French television show where this experiment was reproduced with basically the same result from the 1960’s.

In the TV show, they found that 80% of the subjects were willing to administer a fatal shock if told to do so … “Makers say 80 percent of those participating in the show were willing to give a potentially fatal electric shock, if show producers said they should…”

The writers of the article try to attribute this as the power of television… “They argue this demonstrates how TV shows can misuse their power and influence…” Well, not really.  The outcome of this experiment shows the influence of authority figures on typical people.  What happened on this French television show is just an instance of a general principle.

The Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,[1] and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.[2]

The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: “Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?” In other words, “Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?” Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs.

Read more – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

Fast forward to 2010

In the ominously titled “Le jeu de la mort” (“The Game of Death”) participants were told to inflict pain on their competition if they answered trivia questions incorrectly.

This was done by flicking a switch to administer electric shocks of various levels up to a potentially fatal 460 volts. They would then watch the reaction of their rival (actually an actor) on a monitor.

The actor screamed in pain and begged for mercy with each wrong answer, until the contestants increased their “shocks” to a deathly level.

Makers say 80 percent of those participating in the show were willing to give a potentially fatal electric shock, if show producers said they should. They argue this demonstrates how TV shows can misuse their power and influence.

The stunt was based on the “Stanley Milgram Experiment” and will air tonight in France as part of a documentary on the manipulative power of television.

Keep reading to see footage. Remember, he’s an actor. But the contestants don’t know it.

http://www.asylum.com/2010/03/17/tv-game-of-death-france-game-show-torture/

Written by frrl

March 19, 2010 at 5:04 am

From Social Networking to Social Finance

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How 1 billion Facebook users could change the face of the banking system

What would happen if you could globally assemble 1 billion people and turn it into peer-to-peer lending?  In 2012 the number of people on Facebook could reach 1 billion.

Suppose the next step up from Social networking is social finance – The Bank of Facebook?

Check out this vide on an intriguing idea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT6b_jXsN6M

There is a model already in place…

Zopa is the world’s first social finance company. In 2005 we pioneered a way for people to lend and borrow directly with each other online as part of our continuing mission to give people around the world the power to help themselves financially at the same time that they help others.

Since then, we’ve expanded across the world. In each country Zopa is a little different, but it’s always the same big idea.

Why not see for yourself?

http://us.zopa.com

Check out how the stats on how Zopa is doing here – http://uk.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/public/lending/meet-dave.html
On the link above you can download “Get Market Data” into EXCEL and see who is lending and at what rates of interest.

Read more –

http://www.fool.co.uk/news/investing/investing-strategy/2009/09/14/earn-6-as-a-money-lender.aspx
http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/business/lending_scheme_sidesteps_banks_1_616495?referrerPath=home
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/savings-and-banking/article.html?in_article_id=491111&in_page_id=7

Bottom line for this one is (from Zopa) – “Your money helps real people, rather than banks.”
Welcome to the world of Innovation enabled by the Internet and Social Networking.

Written by frrl

March 18, 2010 at 5:05 am

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Social Capital is not the same as Whuffie

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Notable – http://emergentbydesign.com/2010/03/06/social-capital-is-not-the-same-as-whuffie/

Notable – http://emergentbydesign.com/about/

I started this blog as a way to explore what is happening at the intersection of technology, communication, and culture – about how we’re being impacted as a society and where we go from here. [I started laying out some ideas with A Metathinking Manifesto and expanded on those underlying trends here.]

Then I started poking around in Twitter and wondering if it’s a complex adaptive system and if it might actually grow to become a global human consciousness, of sorts.  Lately I’ve been looking at how design thinking can be used to better understand human behavior and facilitate innovation.

But generally, I think we’re at a turning point in history, where many of the institutional structures that serve as the foundations for how we operate as a society are failing, and in turn creating a tremendous opportunity for us to make a decision to grab a hold of the reins and be active participants in creating our collective future. (check out this post and the awesome comments that followed to get a better sense of what I mean). I want to explore this potential, write about it, and share it and build upon it with others. It’s the meaning behind the title of Emergent by Design – I think it is what we can choose to be.

At the moment, I’m pursuing a Masters in Media Studies at the New School in NYC, with a focus on how social technologies are impacting society and culture. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, and have contributed guest posts on Georgetown University’s peer-reviewed journal gnovis, SpaceCollective, socialmediatoday, unstrucuture, grow, Blogging Innovation, Media Rights, and MemeBox. Not sure what comes next, but I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Take a ride at emergent by design – http://emergentbydesign.com/

Written by frrl

March 16, 2010 at 5:06 am

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DARPA funding Boston Dynamics to build Legged Squad Support System

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Finally, machines that can walk.  Be sure to check out the video at the end of the article to watch this four-legged mechanical creature follow the soldier down the hill.  How far are we from mechanized four-legged creatures that soldiers will ride into battle?  The horse – your time is limited.

LS3 stands for Legged Squad Support System, and that pretty much sums up what the device is all about: It’s a semi-autonomous assistant designed to follow soldiers and Marines across the battlefield, carrying up to 400 pounds of gear and enough fuel to keep it going for 24 hours over a march of 20 miles.

LS3 is a direct descendant of BigDog, and it’ll be battle-hardened and clever enough to use GPS and machine vision to either yomp along behind a pack of troops, or navigate its own way to a pre-programmed assembly point. Yup, that’s right, LS3 is smart enough to trot off over the horizon all on its lonesome. That opens up all sorts of amazing military possibilities, like resupply of materiel to troops who are deployed in difficult remote locations, as well as the standard “If LS3 can offload 50 pounds from the back of each soldier in a squad, it will reduce warfighter injuries and fatigue and increase the combat effectiveness of our troops” as described by BD’s president Marc Raibert.

http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eaton/technomix/robocalypse-alert-defense-contract-awarded-scary-bigdog

Amazing – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

Written by frrl

March 16, 2010 at 5:06 am

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The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals

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The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.

Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings provide buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning, business activity thrives at the Trade Shows and global networking opportunities abound. Austin serves as the perfect backdrop for SXSW, where career development flourishes amid the relaxed atmosphere. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion.

Find out what its about –

And view the videos from the conference – http://sxswvideos.com/

Written by frrl

March 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

The Legacy of an industrial age educational system?

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The research by Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright provides a taxonomy to understand why people are where they are in an organization and why some people get “stuck” at a certain stage.

The research placed the majority of people in the “I am great – and you are not” category (Stage Three – see March 7 entry).  This is a category where individuals are addicted to personal success at the expense of team goals and a “higher purpose”.

The distinguishing attribute of Stage Three is a group of individuals where there is internal competition and overemphasis  on “Knowing all the answers”.

Here are a few of the  telltale signs of folks in Stage Three  (read the book for the rest)

  • They form a series of dyadic (two-person) relationships.  They get what they want by using some combination of personal appeals, charm, manipulating the truth, distorting information, trading favors, and selectively disclosing facts.  There is one set of communication from the above for each dyadic relationship.  As time goes it it may become a burden to keep track of which communication was used with each set of  relationships.
  • They may say they support team goals, but their behavior  shows they discourage teaming – unless it is a situation where they can be the star.
  • They hoard information – information is power.  To remain on top is to know more, and disclose less, than others.
  • Spoke of relationships.  They must be the center and no communication can be made without their knowledge.  A manager in this position will ask they be CC’ed on all e-mail and/or that all communication outside the team should flow through them.
  • They rely gossip and spies for information.
  • They talk about values but these are always their personal values – not group values.  These “values” are not empowering to anyone but themselves.
  • Managers in this position seldom hire people who they perceive as smart as themselves as these folks pose a threat to the managers “personal superiority”.  This is born out of insecurity.  Managers at this level hire people they can dominate  but can still do that work at a “Stage Two” (see March 7 posting) level.  In the movie Office Space, there is an employee , Milton…  he’s not even worth looking at.  You’re more interested in his space, and where he needs to get out of.  Milton ended up in the basement where his boss asked him to do his best to control the rat population.  This is someone Lumbergh, the boss, can dominate – the perfect hire.

How did folks end up here?  The authors of Tribal Leadership have an interesting take on the educational system…

For most professionals in the United States, Stage Three is the top of the mountain.  How did it get this way?

Between 1890 and 1920, along with the huge influx of immigrants , 80 percent of the rural population moved to the city to take millions of new factory jobs, and they brought their children with then.  On the farm, many children meant many helpers, but in the factory, many children meant many accidents and acts of exploitation.  Children s welfare and child labor practices became the issue of the age, and most people felt that something had to be done to protect and train the children while mom and dad worked in the factory.

The solution was to train a new generation of workers by teaching them inside a system that looked like a factory.  In school, bell rings, go to class; bell rings, recess; bell rings, go to class; bill rings each lunch; bell rings, go home.  At school, children with the right answers get a gold star, then an A.  A star pupil is one who does the homework and has the right answers.

The new system undid the classic liberal eduction, which said that the value was in the well-designed question, and this shift in focus made the worker exploitable…

In between bell rings, children learned what they needed to become effective workers, and that amounted to reading, writing, and math.

The system did not emphasize creative thinking, strategizing, leadership, or innovation.  Stars were smart conformists, and people who stuck to the pattern became model students.  That approach also bred the “I’m great (and you are not)” mentality, based on homework, grades, and knowing the right answer.  It did not emphasize empowerment, creativity, or individual satisfaction.

A star employee is one who knows that right answer to a factory problem, obeys rules, and doesn’t make waves.  People are encouraged to repeat this pattern until they retire.

Interesting.  A friend of mine with high-school age children told me that much of the time in school is spent on “teaching the test”.  The goal is to have the students, and the aggregate for the high school meet ( or exceed ) that expected scoring on standardized national tests.

Is “teaching the test” really an education?  It falls right into the observation above that this prepares children for question and answer rather than framing questions and critical thinking.  The “I am great (and you are not)” mentality and obsession with personal achievement “knowing all the answers” at the expense of others (alpha dog syndrome) and a higher goal beyond oneself  just may be a result of the industrial age educational system.  But, there are other options out there

Read about the Socratic Method of teaching and the value/advantage of a liberal education.

The cost of it all – the missed opportunity

So, what are the costs to a company with an abundance of individuals are at “I am great; you are not”?  One person can seldom have an impact on an organization – that takes teamwork.  But teamwork in a land of “big egos” and addiction to “besting others”, being a “star”, and a “sage on stage”,  does not promote teamwork.  Winning on a personal basis – is self-defeating.

A company with too many “I am great” players undermines the entire organization.  Individuals spend so much time competing with, undermining, and manipulating others, there is little incentive or time to focus on team goals (“We are great”) and tuning the energies of competition for competing with each other on an individual basis to competing in the marketplace with other companies.

And of course beyond competition in the marketplace is the desire to do something of historic importance .  This is best exemplified by a quote from Steve Jobs – “I want to put a ding in the Universe.”

Read more on the research – Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization and find out how to evolve a tribe from an over emphasis on personal achievement to team achievement with others and on to achieving a noble cause.

Written by frrl

March 15, 2010 at 5:07 am

Confessions of a new ( Streaming ) Netflix subscriber

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I have known about Netflix for some time now – I ignored it.  But since I had $8.99 burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to give it a try.  ( You can get a 2-week trial for free ( http://netflix.com ) )

Using a DSL Internet connection and an older 2.5Ghz dual-core CPU w/4GB of RAM with dual monitors (24in and 26in) I found the experience nothing short of amazing.  Even with a slow internet connection there were no interruptions in the 2 movies that I watched.  The sound was good through my Logitec Z-Cinema speakers.  I am even able to update this blog on one monitor while I watch the Netflix movie on the secondary monitor.  Doing both cranks the CPU to only about 40%.

So it begs the question.  What about your local brick and mortar video store – Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Family Video, and the like?  What is the future for these stores in an age of high-speed broadband, inexpensive storage, and a legal environment that can allow for the streaming of intellectual property and still keep all the stakeholders that create, produce, and deliver the movie happy?

  1. Why would I physically transport myself to a video rental store if I can get the movie online on-demand?
  2. Why would I go to video store to browse a shelf-space limited selection of titles when the internet could potentially provide an “infinite” selection of choices  (every movie ever made any time)  (see The Long Tail )
  3. Why would I go to a music store when I can download (purchase) any of 3 million tracks from iTunes?
  4. Why, even, would I want to purchase (own) a music track when I can “lease” a track from Rhaposody through a monthly subscription fee.  (Why do people insist on owning this property? )
  5. Why would I even want to purchase a DVD disk (physical media) or even store the bits of a digital version if I can get it online anytime I want?
  6. How about books? Why purchase any physical book when I can search (full text) and read any of the hundreds of thousands of books online for a montly subscription fee at  books24x7 ?

All of this is about disruptive technologies and its affect on traditional business models.  I hear people all the time complaining about executive salaries – they are too high – they are 100x or 200x what an “average” person makes in the United States.

So, the question is this – What are you willing to pay a an executive team that navigate through an onslaught of disruptive technologies, including movements by a sea of competitors and new entrants, and produces a winning competitive strategy and drive the execution of that plan?

How much are these people worth?  Are they any different than sports athletes that make $25M/yr ?  Both are directly responsible for revenue generation.  Why do we seldom hear complaints about the compensation in the sports industry?  But  a CEO and executive team that can generate $12B in profits shouldn’t earn $30M in compensation? ( CompanyPay.com )

Jim Keyes is CEO of Blockbuster ( compensation package )

Blockbuster CEO Has Answers [ Dec 2008  ]

Blu-ray has extended — and enhanced — the life of the optical disc as a movie-serving platform. As an early adopter, I begrudgingly settle for a digital download in a pinch, but I prefer the quality, flexibility, and special features that come with a DVD or Blu-ray rental.

Keyes doesn’t know if countrywide bandwidth will be there to digitally deliver quality movie experiences by the time Blu-ray discs run their course. He sees an opportunity to fill the gap, providing in-store servers loaded with high-quality releases that can be transferred to flash memory cards in 30 seconds. In the end, it’s all about getting folks into his stores or even to potential Blockbuster kiosks at train stations and airports to serve up speedy celluloid.

He’s the only one who sees it that way, and he relishes being a contrarian.

“Let everybody fight it out, kill each other, and spend lots of money on set-top boxes tethered to big screen TVs,” he says. He prefers a portable solution as the heir apparent to the DVD, and one that hopefully entails a trip out to your local Blockbuster store…

… Keyes’ main goal is for Blockbuster to succeed as a media retailer. When I asked him if he perceives his biggest competitive threat to be Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) or RedBox — the DVD rental kiosks bankrolled by McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR) that are popping up all over the country — he dismissed them both.

“Neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition,” he said. “It’s more Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).”

Read more –
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2008/12/10/blockbuster-ceo-has-answers.aspx

Watch the environment – Mr Keyes… about one year later…

Speaking Jan. 5 [2010] at an investor event in San Francisco, Keyes said the proliferation of “new kid on the block” Redbox’s kiosks and Netflix’s domination in the by-mail subscription business pose formidable challenges in 2010 as Blockbuster spent much of last year establishing new financing ($675 million credit facility) instead of growing its business.

Read more –
http://www.homemediamagazine.com/retailers/blockbuster-ceo-netflix-redbox-taking-demand-out-market-18008

What is Clayton M. Christensen thinking in regard to disruptive innovation?  ( website, books )

Written by frrl

March 14, 2010 at 5:08 am

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A Savage Factory

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An Eyewitness to the Auto Industry’s Self Destruction

We (yes, I have a mouse in my pocket), wrote a review of this book a few months ago (here)

The author, Robert J. Dewar, has a WordPress blog.
For some insights into the auto industry, check out his blog – http://asavagefactory.wordpress.com/

I think Dewars book is an important contribution to the history of the automotive industry.

Written by frrl

March 13, 2010 at 5:11 am

What it takes to be great

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The critical reality is that we are not hostage to some naturally granted level of talent. We can make ourselves what we will. Strangely, that idea is not popular. People hate abandoning the notion that they would coast to fame and riches if they found their talent. But that view is tragically constraining, because when they hit life’s inevitable bumps in the road, they conclude that they just aren’t gifted and give up.

Maybe we can’t expect most people to achieve greatness. It’s just too demanding. But the striking, liberating news is that greatness isn’t reserved for a preordained few. It is available to you and to everyone.

Read the entire article from FORTUNE Mag –
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm
and – Outliers: The Story of Success

and the opposing view…

  • You need the government’s help.
  • No one expects you to make it on your own.
  • Because others are rich, you are poor.
  • You are a victim

Advice for victims

  1. Affiliate with a proven victim group. While this is not essential to permanent victim status, it provides a good head start.
  2. Avoid taking ownership of your behavior.  You may have said something stupid or done something wrong or neglected the important things in your life for years, but that doesn’t mean you should have to face the consequences.
  3. Stay immobilized. Nothing will get you out of victim status faster than doing something productive to improve you situation.  To overcome this urge, start thinking about all the things you can’t do.
  4. Master VictimSpeak. The words you use shape your thinking.  Avoid phrases that suggests confidence.  Come up with a personal list of dis-empowering phrases.
  5. Assume the worst about the future. Affirm the future is likely to be just like the past and probably worse.  Refuse to entertain the notion that others have been where you are and have overcome their adversity.  This is nothing but mean-spirited self-reliance propaganda.
  6. Become a spokesperson for the cause. Reaffirm your victim status publicly as much as possible.
  7. Stay the course. The path to permanent victim-hood can be very rewarding and liberating.  The small price you have to pay today can turn into small reward down the road.  And with very little work on your part, you can become the type of victim that other victims admire.

Read more – The War on Success: How the Obama Agenda is Shattering the American Dream

In high school I read Emerson.  Emerson’s essay on Self-reliance, read at that early age,  influenced greatly how I saw the World.  Read the essay for yourself – Self-reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Written by frrl

March 13, 2010 at 5:10 am

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Do you drink wine out of a box? Then get some help

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(Nearly) Excellent (but not Remarkable – thanks, Seth) – http://tv.winelibrary.com/

Archives by Month and by Subject – http://tv.winelibrary.com/archive/

And why “is there something, rather than nothing”?  The raison d’etre – http://tv.winelibrary.com/about/

Written by frrl

March 11, 2010 at 5:12 am

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Living in an era of Idea Diffusion & the Remarkable Purple Cow

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Another remarkable talk by marketing guru Seth Godin ( bio )

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/seth_godin_on_sliced_bread.html

And a little more wisdom from Seth…

… If you want customers to flock to you, it’s tempting to race to the bottom of the price chart. There’s not a lot of room for profit there, though…In a world that relentlessly races to the bottom, you lose if you also race to the bottom. The only way to win is to race to the top. When your organization becomes more human, more remarkable, faster on its feet, and more likely to connect directly with customers, it becomes indispensable….

…Second, the people that work for you, the ones you freed to be artists [i.e. creators of unique, compelling, and substantial value], will rise to a level you can’t even imagine. When people realize that they are not a cog in a machine, an easily replaceable commodity, they take the challenge and grow. They produce more than you pay them to, because you are paying them with something worth more than money….

… As a result of these priceless gifts, expect that the linchpins on your staff won’t abuse their power. In fact, they’ll work harder, stay longer, and produce more than you pay them to. Because everyone is a person, and people crave connection and respect..

On the power of being genuine and transparent: “Virtually all of us make our living engaging directly with other people. When the interactions are genuine and transparent, they usually work. When they are artificial or manipulative, they fail.

… The linchin is coming from a posture of generosity; she’s there to give a gift [no-strings support of your efforts to succeed]. If that’s your intent, the words almost don’t matter. What we’ll perceive are your wishes, not the script…

…This is why telemarketing has such a ridiculously low conversion rate. Why corporate blogs are so lame. Why frontline workers in the service business have such stress. We can sense it when you read the script because we’re so good at finding the honest signals…

Written by frrl

March 6, 2010 at 5:13 am

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Parsing Corporate Cultures

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A group of management consultants undertook a 10-year study of more than 24,000 people in two dozen organizations and came up with a taxonomy of corporate cultures.  Here is a brief summary of what they discovered.

In their model, there are 5 types of “tribes” and these tribes (20-150 people) make up components of corporate cultures.  The different tribes are really stages in the evolution of an overall corporate culture.  The pitch is that the later stages of evolution make a company (ROI pitch) more competitive, productive, efficient and profitable than earlier stage cultural tribal states.  And, with enough management consulting fees, your company can get to later stages, perhaps Stage Five – or not.

In any case, its a good story.

Stage One – Theme – “Life Sucks”;
Mood – despairing Hostility (2% of workplace cultures)

These are groups of individuals that operate without social rules or values except loyalty to the group.  This is a group the consists of street gangs, motorcycle gangs,  and people who come to work with shot guns.  People at this stage are despairingly hostile and they band together to get ahead in a violent and unfair world. Organizations generally do not hire Stage One individuals.  Most anthropologists say that human society started at Stage One, clans scratching out an existence while fighting with each other.  Giving up is the only enlightened thing to do.  Generally, there are no professionals in this category.

Stage Two – Theme – “My Life Sucks”;
Mood – Apathetic Victim  ( 25% of workplace cultures)

Folks in this group generally use the phrase “my life sucks” and are passively antagonistic.  They never really get interested enough to spark any passion.  Their laughter is quietly sarcastic and resigned.  This is a cluster of apathetic victims.

There is little or no innovation and almost no sense of urgency.  people almost never hold each other accountable for anything.  Most companies have pockets of Stage Two divisions and departments that don’t have any impact on strategy or direction.

(Not) surprising(ly), the researches discovered that this stage was prevalent within an ( un-named) agency of the US Government.  When researchers showed up managers and employees stood in doorways looking out into the hallways holding coffee cups saying “I’d rather be fishing” and “I live for the weekends”

No amount of team building, motivational speeches, discussion of core values, or new strategic plans would make any difference with this group.

Stage Three – Theme – “I’m great and  you are not”;
Mood – Lone Warrior ( 49% of workplace cultures)

For this group knowledge is power and people hoard it.  People in this group have to win and winning is everything and its personal.  This is a collection of “lone warriors”.  In this group people are mostly interested in themselves.  “I am great”.  “A sage on stage”

These are the people with big egos.  For this group “success” is measured on an individual basis.  Values are “my values” not group values.  People talk mostly about themselves and focus on creating appearances to show that they are better than others.  People at this stage may appear to focus on team goals but their action shows that their concern are only personal.  People tend to form two-person relationships.  They rarely bring people together.

People stay (get stuck) at Stage Three due to the addictive  “hit”/enjoyment they get from besting others.

No amount of team building will turn this collection of self-described star players into a team.  Give it a new strategy and they will say they don’t need it.

Stage Four – Theme – “We’re great and they are not”
Mood – Tribal Pride ( 22% of workplace cultures)

The gulf between Stage Three “I am great” and Stage Four “We are great” is huge.  The theme of communication is “we” not “I”.  For people at this stage to take the team away a person suffers a sense of loss.  In the team people feel that they are fully themselves.  People in this tribe hold each other accountable and to shared values.  People at this stage will not tolerate bad behavior seen in the TV show The Office or the “I am great”  personal agendas of Stage Three.

The need for an adversary is built into the DNA of this tribal stage.  The bigger the foe the more powerful this tribe becomes.  The mood is one of tribal pride.  This tribe seeks its own competitor.  Football teams are examples of this type of tribe.

Companies that are run by people who all have the same background, temperament, personality, IQ, learning style are easy targets for competitors.  Disequilibrium is necessary to drive innovation and creativity.  This stage is the launching pad for Stage Five.

Stage Five  – Theme –  “Life is Great” (and we’re not doing drugs)
Mood – Innocent Wonderment ( 2% of workplace cultures)

Stage Five groups are wearing T-shirts that say “Life is Great” – and they haven’t been doing illicit substances.  Their  language revolves around infinite potential and how the group is going to make history – not to beat a competitor, but because doing so will make a global impact.  This groups mood is “innocent wonderment” with people in competition with what is possible, not with another competitor.  The value system is based on “global” “resonant” values.  Examples of people are Stage Five produced the first Macintosh.  This stage is pure leadership, vision, and inspiration.

Each of the five stages has its own set of attributes for these components:

1. Values – What we stand for
2. Noble cause – What we live for
3. Outcomes -What we want
4. Assets – What we have
5. Behavior – What we will do

They put this all in a book – Tribal Leadership.

The book summarizes the five stages above, provides an in-depth description of each, then goes on to provide “leverage points” as to how one can facilitate the movement of groups of people along the stages along with success criteria.  If you are a HR person responsible for career development and/or talent management, an executive, manager, or just anyone who wants to better understand corporate culture, this study is worth taking a look-see.

You can read more about the research here – http://www.triballeadership.net/authors.php

Free Audio book

Zappos found itself to be a  Stage 4 Company.  Zappos is providing the Tribal Leadership Audio book for FREE.
You can get the MP3 of the book by registering at Zappos.com here – http://www.zappos.com/tribal.zhtml
Then download the complete audio book for free (285 MB) !!

We had the wonderful experience spending a day at Zappos.com, the world’s biggest online shoe store. They have truly perfected the art of culture. Not only are their core values well-known throughout the company, they actually have the means to track the values across departments.

In our estimation, Zappos is one of the few companies that have successfully entered Stage Four and are looking to stabilize it before being pulled into Stage Five.  This may seem easy at first glance for a company with happy employees and revenues that just broke $1 billion per year.  However, it’s inevitable that a company of 1600 people with departments whose goals are not always clearly in sync will run into growing pains.

If Zappos can create a culture of coaching and triads, around a noble cause that unites all departments, they will upgrade to a rock steady Stage Four, and as we demonstrated in the book, prime themselves for the world to call them into Stage Five.

Take a tour of Zappos.com – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ZJE9zDpm0

Why Zappos pays people to quit – from Harvard Business

http://www.zappos.com/ ( but they don’t have the shoes I am looking for “Caterpillar Walking Machines”  – Check them out any way )

Written by frrl

March 6, 2010 at 2:59 am

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Are all great leaders Narcissists?

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By choosing the “nuclear option,” Obama is demonstrating do-or-die fanaticism. This makes for great TV football, but it’s very dangerous for the man in the biggest power seat in the world. We are seeing Obama the Radical taking over from Obama the Pragmatist — if that one ever really existed. From what we know about his fanatical associates like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, sacrificing the Democratic Party majority in Congress would be only a small price to pay.

The question is what real damage Obama may do to the country. This man has been entrusted with the greatest power in the world. He will have that power for the next three years at least.

But he may not be able to emotionally tolerate any real limits on his need for self-aggrandizement and power. And still he can’t be allowed to beat the country into submission.

Check out this article on American Thinker by James Lewis regarding an assessment of Obama against characteristics of Malignant Narcissism.

A partial checklist of Malignant Narcissism from the article in American Thinker

  1. Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism).”
  2. When the narcissist’s grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist’s natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth.”
  3. Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies.”
  4. Because the narcissist derives pleasure from the fulfillment of their grandiose dreams (akin to an addiction), anyone standing between the narcissist and their (wish) fulfillment … may be subject to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage will frequently include yelling and berating of the person that has slighted the narcissist, but if strong enough could provoke more hostile feelings.”
  5. Individuals with malignant narcissism will display a two faced personality. Creation of a ‘false self’ is linked to the narcissist’s fear of being inadequate or inferior to others and this mask becomes ingrained into their personality so as to project a sense of superiority to others at all times.”
  6. The narcissist gains a sense of esteem from the feedback of other people as it is common for the malignant narcissist to suffer from extremely low levels of self-esteem.”
  7. The … false self of the malignant narcissist is created because the real self doesn’t meet his or her own expectations. Instead, the narcissist tends to mimic emotional displays of other people and creates a grandiose self to harbor their internalized fantasies of greatness.”
  8. The [false self] is used by the narcissist to present to the outside world what appears to be a normal, functioning human being and to help maintain his or her own fantasies of an idealized self. The narcissist constantly builds upon this false self, creating a fictional character that is used to show off to the world and to help them feed off the emotions of other people.”

There’s ongoing debate about “malignant narcissism” as a diagnosis, and some people prefer to use the standard DSM-IV version. It doesn’t make much difference in this case.

Here is Theodore Millon’s definition of the fanatic type:

fanatic type – including paranoid features. A severely narcissistically wounded individual, usually with major paranoid tendencies who holds onto an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting the reality of their insignificance and lost value and are trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition of support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.

This is the definition from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition,

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Written by frrl

March 5, 2010 at 5:15 am

AxCrypt – Keeping your information private on public backup sites and file storage

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If you are using a public backup system like Carbonite or Mozy and are concerned about the confidentiality of your data maybe this is for you.

Both Carbonite and Mozy tell you that your data is encrypted.  That may be true, but who has the keys to decrypt that data?  Very often, system administrators that work in data centers have all the access and tools they need to decrypt encrypted data.

Consider this.  Even though the data center where the data is stored may be in-country where you live  these data centers may use “low-cost globally-sourced” system administration resources.  Translated, this means that folks all over the world could have their fingers on your data.  If system administrators do have access to data and the keys then you are dependent on personal judgement and voluntary compliance with policy for these folks not to use access and tools to look at your data.  Do any of these public backup systems have a monetary penalty clause in their contracts where you will be compensated if the privacy of your data is compromised?

Why mess with any of the uncertainty of aspects of the privacy of you information that you can’t control or of which you have incomplete knowledge?  Remove the risk.  Why not simply encrypt the data before it gets into the “secure” public backup system?

For information that I allow a public backup service to store for me I use an encrypted folder.  For this I use AxCrypt.

Using AxCrypt ( free, open source ) right-click on a folder to recursively encrypt all the files and folder contained within.  Decrypt the same way – by individual file, by folder, or recursively through a set of folders.

In summary, make your concerns for the privacy of your data in the hands of a backup or file-store service provider go away by encrypting your information before it gets in their hands.

You can get AxCrypt below, plus instructions on how to use it

By the way, Mozy will give you 2GB of backup for FREE

http://www.axantum.com/AxCrypt/default.html
http://www.axantum.com/AxCrypt/HowToUse.html

Written by frrl

March 5, 2010 at 5:14 am

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