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Archive for the ‘Commentary and Opinion’ Category

Making Whuffie in the Social Economy Or, How to be a ravenous social capitalist

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We seek a new beginning…

“We seek a new beginning”.  If you have seen the movie  Apocalypto then you know the significance of this phrase.  It refers to a new World – a fundamental paradigm shift.

A “new beginning” can come in many flavors.  In the strong sense, a  “new beginning” could mean  “a break into an apocalyptic end of the world”.  But it could also be a more subtle change.  And perhaps that change is happening now.

What could a new beginning look like? – or at least, what are the aspects of a new beginning?

The science fiction novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow has gotten some people thinking.  One of the people thinking is Tara Hunt.  Tara Hunt is a writer, author, and Marketing Consultant.  Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom got Tara Hunt thinking about Whuffie.


What are the aspects of the post apocalyptic world of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom?

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Written by frrl

January 17, 2010 at 6:15 am

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

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The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English

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“Danger, Will Robinson”

Be careful what you say – it might not mean what you think it means.  For those in the United States that “conversate” with new found friends or business colleagues in the United Kingdom or Australia what you think you are saying might not mean what you think it does.  And what they say, in the UK or in Australia, to you, might  not be, at all, what they mean.  Even though they are using common English words.

The decorum of this web site prohibits me from revealing the  faux paux in interpretation made in a business conversation between myself and a colleague in the UK.

Lets just say that he told me that he was “going to wake up his wife”  in a British sort-of-way.  But “wake up my wife” were not the words he used. (See reference section to look up the phrase)

This encounter netted me a gift from the UK – The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English

The best defense is a good offense

A tag line for The Concise New Partridge Dictionary… is “A veritable Madame Tussaud’s of the vulgar language”.  Not that we are advocating coming up to speed on vulgar language – but, you may find yourself in a situation where had you known the “multi-cultural” interpretations of common English phrases you may have avoided embarrassing situations.  So, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed”

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Written by frrl

December 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

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A Savage Factory: An Eyewitness Account of the Auto Industry’s Self-Destruction

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“Clouds of blue-gray mist, laced with millions of minute metal particles hung in the air and brought to mind the movie about poisonous gas attacks in World War I… The factory floor was made of rectangular wood blocks, about the size of street bricks, saturated with filthy black oil that gave the plant an odor of sour rot as if the entire Industrial Revolution had died and was decaying right here in Sharonville… They were hard, resentful faces; unhappy miserable faces; dulled, stunned faces. Above all, hostile faces. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man glaring at me, and I could read his cursing lips.

Inside there were four dirty, dented gray metal desks. Ed herded me to the desk occupied by a man who looked like a fully clothed skeleton. His face was a mass of wrinkles, and his right eye was obviously false. A yellowish liquid like Elmer’s Glue, or the snot under a three-year-old’s nose seeped from the fake eye, which was tuned to the right even though his good eye was looking to the left.

The skeleton was aware that Ed and I were standing in front of his desk yet ignored us. Ed acted as if being ignored was normal etiquette at Ford Motor Company, and risked a long shot at the corner waste can. The tobacco juice fell short and ran down the side of the trash can over ageless stains of previous near misses.”

On the week of Christmas I took a trip to my local bookstore.  On the new books table I saw this book – A Savage Factory: An Eyewitness Account of the Auto Industry’s Self-Destruction.

Since this was the week of Christmas I thought this would be an uplifting book for the holidays.  I grabbed the book and headed for the bookstore coffee shop. With a  Christmas Grande peppermint mocha in hand, and finding a nice overstuffed chair, I was ready to take a look-see at A Savage Factory.

Unlike a Dickens novel, there is no happy ending to this book.  A Savage Factory has numerous descriptions of the Ford factory that would match that  of a Victorian workhouse and stories of disdain for the working poor that Dickens so often attributes to some of his characters.

After about an hour of reading I decided that this book needed a much closer look than the time allotted by the grande mocha.

Many themes in this book

At the time of this writing, there are 33 reviews of this book at  You can read those reviews for yourself here.

There are many themes running through this book.  The most prominent, of course, is the deplorable conditions at Ford’s largest transmission plant which was located in Sharonville Ohio.  The deplorable conditions are not only the physical working environment of the plant but also the relationships among management, hourly employees, and the UAW (United Auto Workers).  The relationship among these three entities could easily and accurately be described as an ongoing war.

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Written by frrl

December 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

A survey of 2,500 Human Resources and Training Executives… Or, getting HR to hit mark on talent management

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BOSTON, May 6, 2006 — Coaching a performance problem, communicating performance standards and other tactical initiatives are the most common components of leadership development programs, according to a study by Novations Group, a global consulting organization based in Boston.

What is the analysis of the survey data?  And, most importantly, what is so unusual about the result?

First, the survey question and the results from 2,500 HR respondents.

Which of the following management situations or initiatives are addressed by your organization’s leadership development program (please select all that apply)?

Coaching a performance problem 71.9%
Communicating performance standards 69.1%
Coaching a development opportunity 68.7%
Conducting a performance appraisal 66.8%
Handling conflict situations 65.9%
Communicating vision and strategy 59.4%
Selecting the right employee 58.1%
Diversity & Inclusion 55.3%
Gaining commitment to goals 49.3%
Managing priorities 48.8%
Change management 45.2%
Acting on feedback 44.7%
Teaching a skill & delegating responsibility 39.6%
Influencing internal resources 34.6%
Managing a virtual team 27.6%

And why is this a curious result?

This is interesting empirical data.  The survey asked about leadership development programs – not management development programs.  Why is a leadership development program focused on management activities and  responsibilities?

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Written by frrl

November 4, 2009 at 4:45 am

Jack Welch – On Differentiation: Or, making winners out of everyone

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JackWelchOn Differentiation by Jack Welch

If there is one of my values that pushes buttons, it is differentiation.

Some people love the idea; they swear by it, run their companies with it,and will tell you it is at the very root of their success. Other people hate it. They call it mean, harsh, impractical, demotivating, political,unfair—or all of the above.

Obviously, I am a huge fan of differentiation. I have seen it transform companies from mediocre to outstanding, and it is as morally sound as a management system can be. It works.

Companies win when their managers make a clear and meaningful distinction between top- and bottom-performing businesses and people, when they cultivate the strong and cull the weak.

Companies suffer when every business and person is treated equally and bets are sprinkled all around like rain on the ocean.


A company only has so much money. Winning leaders invest where the payback is the highest. When all is said and done, differentiation is just resource allocation, which is what good leaders do and, in fact, is one of the chief jobs they are paid to do. A company has only so much money and managerial time. Winning leaders invest where the payback is the highest.   They cut their losses everywhere else.

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Written by frrl

October 31, 2009 at 5:26 am

Jack Welch on Candor – It just unnerves people… the biggest change for the better

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Jack Welch,  former CEO of General Electric

JackWelchI have always been a huge proponent of candor. In fact, I talked it up to GE audiences for more than twenty years. But since retiring from GE, I have come to realize that I underestimated its rarity. In fact, I would call lack of candor the biggest dirty little secret in business.

What a huge problem it is. Lack of candor basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.

When you’ve got candor—and you’ll never completely get it,mind you—everything just operates faster and better.

Now, when I say “lack of candor” here, I’m not talking about malevolent dishonesty. I am talking about how too many people—too often—instinctively don’t express themselves with frankness.

They don’t communicate straightforwardly or put forth ideas looking to stimulate real debate. They just don’t open up. Instead they withhold comments or criticism.

They keep their mouths shut in order to make people feel better or to avoid conflict, and they sugarcoat bad news in order to maintain appearances. They keep things to themselves, hoarding information.

That’s all lack of candor, and it’s absolutely damaging.

And yet, lack of candor permeates almost every aspect of business.

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Written by frrl

October 27, 2009 at 12:02 am

Accidental Entrepreneurs: YouTube pays David $14K for a months fun at the Redneck Resort

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Revenue sharing

So you thought that all the content that people put up on YouTube was a waste of time?  Not so.  Google now has a Partner program and revenue sharing model with content providers.

If you have good content, lots of subscribers, and lots of hits, you can apply to be part of the Google / YouTube Partner Program.

I must have been asleep on this event – I just found out about it.

And, I was amazed at just how much money people are making on this.

The top channels on YouTube are making six figures a year in revenue sharing with Google based on click throughs to ads that appear on channel video pages.


Well, all I can say, is that all the work that early adopter YouTube content providers made to develop popular creative content for YouTube (at no compensation to them) finally has paid off – unexpectedly.

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Written by frrl

September 26, 2009 at 4:48 am

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