Category: Food for Thought

What if Google used Nokia instead of HTC for the Google gPhone

I was thinking about the Nokia acquisition of NavTeq and Google phone. I asked myself what if Google was going to use Nokia for the handset in place of HTC. The more I thought about it the more I thought the combination would be a great one. Google the King of the services and Nokia the King of the device (sorry Apple). Google has cash, developers and the applications. Nokia makes great handsets and now adds content critical for the age of the location aware and networked phone. Wow, if they got together Apple would be screwed. I know Eric Schmidt is on the board at Apple but man imagine a Google powered Nokia N95. I think Google and Nokia would make a powerful pair.

Just my 1.5 cents worth.

Living in the Now

There is nothing like the pure unadulterated joy I see in my Daughters eyes. I see it when they are swinging on swings, running through sprinklers and when they giggle. I guess my point is we spend a great deal of time thinking about the future and what can be, all the while sacrificing what is now. We miss so much at times for so little.

Be Still. Be Now.

Don’t change your average get more at bats

Marc Andreessen continues to impress me, this time as a blogger. He writes today about how age relates to creativity, derived from an ongoing debate about how age relates to entrepreneurship. Marc provides a study by Dean Simonton covering his life’s work on the subject of age and creativity. The study by Dr Simonton is nothing short of profound and Marc even takes the time to break the study down into understandable chunks for us knuckle draggers.

This is a must read post. I’m not going to try and steal Marc Andreessen’s thunder just go and read his post.

Curse of Knowledge

Ron del.icio.us’ed me a link about the Curse of Knowledge. I have to say I have been party to the curse of knowledge on more that one occasion. What I learned is that the curse of knowledge is really a symptom of flawed communication. As the complexity of the information increases so does the impact of flawed communication. So as I have had to deal with this in my career, I have developed some simple rules to help improve the communication and reduce the curse of knowledge.

  • Make clear any assumptions you might have about the topic or the listener’s/reader’s understanding of the topic.
  • Allow the listener to ask refining questions and respond in a supportive manner.
  • Break the topic into small logical chunks. (This is one can be tough)
  • Don’t expect the listeners light bulb to go off as soon as your done communicating.
  • Use pictures and/or a white board when ever possible.
  • Actually listen/read and consider the responses from your explanation.
  • Be willing to be wrong and admit it.
  • Avoid email at all cost, when the information is important only communicate Face to Face, For the less important stuff the telephone will do, and only use email for the mundane.
  • Communicate until you feel like your being a bother. It is at he bother point you are just communicating enough.

Remember it never seems obvious to the listener.

Leaders Encourage Transparency

Ed Batista has a post about Maj. Gen. Jeff Hammon’s response to an article by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling titled A failure in generalship in the Armed Forces Journal. The article was called “blistering critique of the Army brass,” by Greg Jaffe of the Wall Street Journal.

On June 25, The New Yorker published a story titled The General’s Report by Seymour Hersh. The story details what happened to Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba, who lead the army investigation into Abu Ghraib. (via tompeters.com)

These articles are examples of how not to deal with critical information. Leaders must embrace both positive and negative information. There is always a short term cost of negative information, but reducing transparency within the organization to minimize the impact of negative information is WRONG. The reduction of organizational transparency will carry a larger cost over the long term, than that of the negative information. Reduced Transparency results in less trust, increased transactional and operational costs.

The saddest RSS feed ever

The Department of Defense News Releases feed allows technology to present a view of the the Iraq War that news does not. This feed contains the public press releases of the names of the casulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. I for one find this feed to be filled with nothing but loss and sorrow. I consume a fair number of RSS feeds and this is one feed that makes all others trivial.

If you are anti-war here is a feed of information that only motivates one to fight for an end even harder.

If you are supportive of the Iraq war you should subscribe to this feed to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the impacts of your support.

A feed that pains my heart to read.

Can you serve others better than you serve yourself

I have thought about this a great deal. The degrees of abstraction are endless. I have thought about it from a systematic perspective, from a social perspective, from a business perspective and so on. The answer I come to consistently is NO. Now let me explain.

The guiding point is: You cannot serve others any better than you serve yourself. I am not saying, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have a nice car. Nope, what I am saying is, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have the ability to give a nice car. At a personal level the actions we take that define us, are the foundations of our interactions with others. The personal side goes down a deep meta rabbit hole and is best left for another time.

The part that is more plain is from a business and systematic perspective. I had previously written “A provider cannot deliver a continuity of experience greater than the continuity of experience the provider has internally.”

You cannot manage a customers inventory any better than you can manage your own (definitely if you are using the same systems, people, and processes).

Do you think Ford could build cars for toyota better than they could build Fords, uh Nope.

Do you think that the U.S. can run a country any better than we run the U.S., uh Nope, just look at Puerto Rico (Usually worse).

If you have variability in your business process when you share those processes with your customer, guess what they get the same degree of variability.

If your email system sucks when you use it, it will suck when you host it out for your customers to use.

Do you think that Google employees have better mail services than Gmail users, I bet they do, but all services being equal I bet its darn close.

The reality is the systems, people and processes we use internally will never generate better results just because your using them on someone’s behalf.