Tag Archives: management

Interesting stuff from July 12 to August 7

The periodic roundup:

  • Do Things that Don’t Scale – Technologist and venture capitalist Paul Graham with advice for start-ups (it IS his game, after all) … it’s the stuff that can’t be automated that makes a difference, so do that.
  • How Drucker Thought About Complexity – You could be forgiven for thinking that since Peter Drucker worked in a simpler time, his thinking might not apply in our more complex environments these days. You’d be wrong … check out what John Hagel III has to say (read it quickly – it’s a limited access HBR article)
  • Overcoming the Barriers to Enterprise Collaboration – All the time I’ve been involved with technology, people and organisations have been pre-occupied with technology as a “silver bullet”, the magical answer to their problem(s) – enterprise social/social business has been no different. This is a reasonably balanced view of enterprise social media, and where/how it might help with your collaboration efforts
  • Robert McNamara and the Dangers of Big Data at Ford and in the Vietnam War – “McNamara felt he could comprehend what was happening on the ground only by staring at a spreadsheet—at all those orderly rows and columns, calculations and charts, whose mastery seemed to bring him one standard deviation closer to God.” Big data can be a powerful tool, but sometimes what you really need is eyeballs on the ground, where people do real things … either that, or we all just become part of the body count


Interesting stuff from July 31st through September 19th


The periodic round up:

  • The Connected Company – As companies and their environments grow in complexity, we need to rethink the way they are put together – we face diminishing returns from growth because they are sub-linear (more growth, less productivity) … This post (and the book) suggests that rather than build companies like machines, we build them like living organisms:
    “To design the connected company we must focus on the company as a complex ecosystem, a set of connections and potential connections, a decentralized organism that has eyes and ears everywhere that people touch the company, whether they are employees, partners, customers or suppliers.”
  • If you want to get paid for your freelance work … – Then you have to have a valuable difference to all the amateurs who have the same tools, and are happy to do it for free. “Professional” might have been enough when skills and tools were scarce; now that they are abundant you’ll need to demonstrate why you’re worth paying for.
  • Race Against the Machine – Digital optimist or pessimist? Will robots and artificial intelligence be the end of our usefulness? Are we doomed? Andrew McAfee doesn’t think so, and explains why in this TEDx video …




Interesting stuff from June 25th through July 31st

The periodic round up:

  • The future of outsourcing – A short and succinct piece on both the advantages and the dangers of outsourcing, and the implications of it for your business. And the importance of drawing the line in the right place:
    “Only a fool would outsource their heart or lungs by choice.”
  • Turn Big Data aspirations into business value – Big data is one thing; finding the business value in it is a bit harder – MIT’s Sloan Management Review suggests that
    “…a large percentage of stored data serves no useful purpose because management has not specified how it will be used: who will make what decisions or provide what services with what data.”
    Interestingly, the research suggests starting at the operational level rather than attempting analytics.
  • - The Obvious? – State Of The Net 2012 – Euan’s talk at State of the Net 2012 – a primer on not only what internal use of social media organisations can adopt, but a consideration of the implications of doing so for individuals.
  • Atlassian’s big experiment with performance reviews – My opinion of individual performance reviews is fairly well-known, and anecdotally well-supported. What has been missing, though, is a viable alternative to the process that most HR software supports. Atlassian found this too, but being software developers weren’t prepared to let that lie. They are not only hacking together a working alternative process, but are sharing it for our interest and education …
  • At Large in the Post-Normal Beyond Futurism – If you struggle with what we consider “normal” at the moment, you may have bigger problems with “post-normal”, and the ubiquity of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Boyd considers what we might need to make sense of the world, and sees “speculative design” which considers “implications” as more important than “applications” of design




Interesting stuff from May 1st through June 21st

The periodic round up:

  • Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: Chasing After the ‘Purple Squirrel’ – Despite the number of unemployed, employers are still complaining they can’t find the right people and skills. If that’s your situation, maybe you’ll find it’s your own fault: you’re chasing a “purple squirrel”. Another interesting question: do you know how much a vacancy costs you? The answer to that might indicate that your accounting is inadequate, and more concerned with costs than value …
  • All Hail the Generalist – This post floats the idea that being a generalist better prepares you for dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty than specialisation; and that both prediction and perspective are improved with less focus on the specific.
    And yes, I realise this could be my own cognitive bias at work …
  • On the death of great companies – The disruptive effect of commoditisation, and how ubiquity opens up higher orders of activity – and what the cloud might mean for Microsoft. 
  • Willful Blindness: When a Leader Turns a Blind Eye – The concept of “willfull blindness” explains a range of societal disasters, from the GFC to the glass ceiling … and the effects are amplified by power. This post speaks to the necessity for asking unpleasant and awkward questions, especially when we feel least like doing so.
  • How to avoid the post-crisis crisis – “No crisis improves with age” … despite that, companies are still deluding themselves that they can control the message in times of trouble. Increasingly the public can tell the story way faster than the PR crew can craft a careful message – how do you deal with that? More truth, less spin …




Interesting stuff from March 14th through March 20th

The periodic round up: 

  • The Great Devolution – It seems we have to get to within a hair’s breadth of catastrophe before we realise there’s a problem. Haque describes our current devolution as institutional failure, and leaves us on an uncharacteristically pessimistic note … 
  • The New Rules Of Innovation: Bottom-Up Solutions To Top-Down Problems – Another look at innovation and creativity; with some slightly off-centre ideas about how we can improve our chances of solving the “wicked” problems facing us. Major points: re-invent education to put it back in touch with the needs of this century, rather than the 19th; find a different type of capitalism to reward the productive economy; and rethinking government’s role in assisting innovation.
  • How to Be Creative – Interesting article about how everyone of us can be creative – it’s a skill rather than a gift. What may be “gifts” are the techniques of creativity, but they’re not exclusive to any of us; they can be developed.
  • Are jobs obsolete? – Douglas Rushkoff suggests that, as has been happening for centuries, technology is doing away with jobs as we know them. While the current idea seems to be to let the people who lose jobs suffer, Rushkoff posits that it is time for a rethink of whether or not the idea of working for someone else still makes sense. It is after all, a relatively recent phenomenon …



Interesting stuff from February 19th through February 23rd

The periodic round up:

  • What Makes The Most Creative Teams? – Somewhere between “complete strangers” and “have worked closely together for years” is a sweet spot for collaborative innovation; where the overhead of building relationships is done, and the team hasn't settled into groupthink yet.
  • Why Love Matters More (And Less) Than You Think – Written around Valentine's Day, this is neither romantic or un-businesslike, but a continuation of Umair's ideas about living a better life, and creating a better economy as we do.
  • Google Transit: A Search Giant Remaps Public Transportation – One of Google's un-heralded map applications may be one of its most useful, and becomes more so as more data is made open by transport operators and municipalities. Never used it? Maybe you're driving too much :)
  • Privacy in the Age of Big Data – A balanced discussion on the privacy cost: public benefit trade-offs we make (wittingly or not) with the increase in data collected and aggregated. The data domain under discussion is one (health care) where both privacy concerns and public benefit are magnified … some interesting points made about personal control over data, too.
  • Now Every Company Is A Software Company – and the reason is the explosion of data: “Big data can get us to business at the speed of thought … But the reality is that most companies do business at the speed of the weekly meeting.”
    Companies in all industries are finding that software and the data it manages are becoming core to their business, rather than a back-office prop.
  • Social Business – or whatever happened to Enterprise 2.0? – Possibly the most balanced, nuanced, and comprehensive look at the structure of Enterprise2.0/Social Business I've seen in quite a while. Key point – it won't work too well if you haven't got Enterprise 0 and 1 working as well.

Interesting stuff from February 14th through February 16th

The periodic round up:

  • Adapt or Die? – My post on social media adoption and commitment … (I warned you)
  • Meetings: Where Work Goes to Die – We all hate them, but that's probably because we're doing them wrong. Here's some good ideas about effective meetings. The one I liked most? Make ALL attendees optional, and if nobody shows up, maybe they're right.
  • Does Airport Security Really Make Us Safer? – The questioning of billions of dollars on useless security theatre in out airports is going mainstream … the problem is overblown, the "solution" is expensive, and ineffective to boot.
    What works? Locking the cockpit door, matching luggage to passengers, passengers who will fight back. Best place to invest? Good old-fashioned intelligence and police work …
  • Why Oracle May Really Be Doomed This Time – It's become popular to start writing off the software dinosaurs – this is another recent crack at it, suggesting that Oracle will be done away with by a new generation of users and cloud/SaaS.
    It's a story that's been told before, but the conviction is increasing …
  • The End Of ERP – So what happens to monolithic ERP software in the age of service-based offerings? According to this guy (who has a vested interest, it should be said), they die …