Thursday, August 24, 2017

What Project Aristotle Tells Us About Teams

What is Project Aristotle?  It's a recent Google initiative to suss out what truly distinguishes successful teams. Some refer to studying "emotional intelligence" (a term I don't find particularly meaningful).

What did they learn? Apparently they confirmed many things we already this of as common knowledge AND they were able to assign importance to five key traits of successful teams:

  1. Dependability
  2. Structure and Clarity
  3. Meaning
  4. Impact
  5. Psychological Safety
That last one is particularly intriguing. The article notes, "teams with psychologically safe environments had employees who were less likely to leave, more likely to harness the power of diversity, and ultimately, who were more successful."

Apparently when you have these five traits, your team does some interesting things:  
  • they talk to each other - and everyone talks about the same amount, meaning the quiet people get their voice heard
  • team members have a higher-than-average ability to read each others faces for emotional queues
This makes sense to me. A team that cares about their teammates' reactions and makes space for everyone's contribution is exactly what leads to productivity. 

And I'm glad to see it proven! Even if they call it "emotional intelligence."  😏

Friday, July 21, 2017

Collaboration & Scale

Not exactly that scale!

As collaboration (as a useful business concept) has grown, it seems the solutions have settled into niches based on the size of the target participant group:

  • Whole-Organization:  Facebook Workplace, Yammer, SharePoint 
  • Large Group\Divisions:  Facebook Workplace Group, Yammer Group, SharePoint for teams, SharePoint Communities
  • Small-Medium Teams:  Slack, SharePoint for teams, SharePoint Communities, O365 Groups, MS Teams

Why the distinction?  Why does size matter?  Specifically, why can't small-group collaboration be done in a larger forum and vice versa?  I offer that as traditional companies adopt collaborative tools, there is a low-grade user concern that their casual, team-oriented posts might be seen - and judged - by others. We spend a lot of time getting teams to a comfort level where they are most productive and this concern can sabotage that effort. Having a clear delineation between "where the big bosses communicate" and "where we get our work done" is helpful and reassuring.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hashtag THIS

Facebook is getting hashtags!  This, more than anything else, might revive Facebook's market-ability. Once they can more accurately slice and dice their content, with the aid of user-driven meta information (hashtags), their data will be ROBUSTLY meaningful to market analysts and consumer analysts.  Wow.  #bignews

Friday, May 03, 2013

Skype Lands. . .in Outlook

We've been wondering what Microsoft would do with Skype and Microsoft Instant Messenger ever since they bought Skype. Now we know!  Skype is going to be part of Outlook. 

This brings Hotmail within grasp of feature parity with Gmail, and XBox will have an integrated chat\call option.  We'll have to wait and see what this means for it's enterprise Lync client. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 04, 2013


Buffer - for when you have SO MANY choice nuggets for the social media world that you need to spread them out, lest you overload the populace with your wisdom.

A wee bit condescending, non?

What are Your Go-To Utilities and Applications?

I'm always interested in learning about the apps, applications, websites, utilities, and freeware that other IT folks frequent.

According to eWeek and a SolarWinds marketing guy, this is THE list of freeware essentials.

What do you think?

I've used Wireshark (when it was Ethereal) and Skype and Evernote and Symphony before and can vouch for them as being useful. I'm intrigued by VirtualBox and LastPass.  I'm not surprised at the SolarWinds Alert Central pitch, but skeptical.

What are YOUR go-to utilities?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

HP joins UC playing field with MS Lync teammate


Until now, Microsoft has wanted customers to drink their Kool-aid and buy Lync servers - basically invest in the UC stack from Microsoft rather than picking and choosing different vendors for different pieces of the stack.  This is the old "Suite vs. Best of Breed" approach.

But now they're teaming with HP, which, as article author Jeffrey Burt says, "is leveraging its decades-long partnership with Microsoft to make it easier for businesses to use the software company's Lync collaboration platform, not only by integrating it into HP's router but also offering it as a cloud service."

The question now is how many organizations use HP routers?  And is it enough to cause Microsoft to stop playing ball with Cisco (which pretty much owns the router and UC markets)?

We shall see.


Friday, March 29, 2013

March 31 = World Backup Day

There must be some synergy with this being the same day as Easter, but I, for one, will not count on my files resurrecting themselves.

Go!  Do!


Women are underrepresented in high-tech and IT management jobs?  Still?

I guess I can't argue with the numbers, but it's frustrating that we never find out why -- and try to address it.  All I have to go on is my own experience, so here are some possible reasons why IT doesn't attract more women:

  • IT is, by nature, detail-oriented and linear.  Perhaps my sisters, like I do,  prefer themes and multi-tasking? (I make myself focus, though.)
  • IT is fast-paced and it's difficult to keep up with the latest versions, the latest products, the latest innovation.  Perhaps my sisters, like I do, like to be able to master one thing and feel good about it for a bit, without instantly feeling behind-the-8-ball on another topic. 
  • IT is very ego-driven; whoever argues their point loudest generally gets to try their solution first. Even if it's not the most elegant, whichever solution proves effective first generally gets used -- and gets the kudos.  Perhaps my sisters, like I do, prefer to vette the best possible solution, trying a few different things on an equal playing field until one surfaces as the best solution?
  • IT is political. You'd think the line-of-business units would have all the politics, right? Nope. Wherever there's a budget, people will count how many FTEs report to so-and-so. Also, as much as I'd like IT to be about the pure "best choice for the organization," many IT recommendations are trumped by "business decisions," meaning that even though we have a top-notch solution, other factors can reject it.  Perhaps my sisters, like I do, prefer to deal with straightforward decision-making?
I don't have the answers either.  I wouldn't ask women to change their core personality -- or change the nature of IT necessarily, but I suspect that my male colleagues would be happy to have a few more women around.  And women can do the work.  I believe women can find IT work interesting and fulfilling.  Maybe those of us in the field just need to say it loud enough to be heard -- and hold a hand out to the young women who DO take a chance on IT.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bye Bye Lotus

No, not that one. . . THIS one!

I missed the opportunity to say farewell in November, when IBM dropped the Lotus branding, but I feel a bond and an obligation to Lotus, which gave the world a visionary piece of software for the time (Lotus Notes) and gave me not just a job, but the beginnings of a career in IT. Without Lotus (and Iris before it), there wouldn't be Lotus Notes and I would likely be an aging Program Assistant instead of having the interesting and challenging career I do have.

So thank you, Lotus - it's been a good run!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No Bozo!

Hahahahahaaa!  Oh my gracious!

It would have been so easy to write this article, Why Every Company Needs a No-Bozos Policy, from a snarky perspective with thinly veiled references to people the author thinks are Bozos.  But Eric Jackson takes the high road, bless him!  Makes me wonder if I could be so noble.

So Email's Not Going Anywhere, eh?

Not according to this Computerworld article, anyway.  (Thank you for the reference, Lina!)  Then what does this mean for all those collaborative "solutions" that are trying to replace email with "activity streams" and other options?  I suspect they won't do well unless they surface the email IN their streams instead of attempting to replace it with non-email.

Unfortunately, this effort is only happening for the enterprise. Non-organizational email is dwindling, so there's no market for go-getter developers to come up with something new and hip. So we can't hope to social-source an next-gen email--we can only hope that the big corporate solution providers come up with something not-heinous.  Avoiding heinousness requires vision and being in touch with the go-getters.  Both of which become increasingly more difficult, the bigger the solution provider gets.

I am skeptical that we will see a next-gen email come from these sources.  I suspect (and this makes me sad) that we will ride email out until the last of the email-comfortable workforce retires and then replace it -- whole hog -- with something not-email.  By then it may be too little, too late.

Monday, January 07, 2013

I rarely read eWeek, but this caught my eye today:
Cisco, Polycom Offer Tips on Conducting Effective Video Conferences
Have to say, I found myself nodding at most of these. I have to adjust the blinds behind my workstation all the time. Not much I can do about the ambient noise in an open space environment, but I use my mute button judiciously. I would, however, add:
#14: Keep an eye on the time and let your participants know you're aware there's only 10 minutes left, 5 minutes left, and try to end the event promptly (if not early). If participants get the sense that you're off in your own world, they'll bail on you, without waiting to see if you wrap it up on time.
#15: Build in interaction. To ensure people stay engaged (or wake up once asleep), ask questions, send polls, mix your show-and-tell up a bit.
#16: Be energetic. Find a way that works for you (I often stand up when presenting) to keep your voice energized and engaging.
Do you agree or disagree with Cisco/Polycom or my tips?
What tips (#17?) would YOU add?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jargon, Jargon, Everywhere

What the heck is the difference between "collaboration," "unified communication," and "social media?"  Plenty, but they're all members of the same family. 

This dinosaur views:

Collaboration as the largest container, the bucket that they all fall in.  Collaboration, in essence, is about working together.  Shrug.  All three embrace this.

Unified Communication, or "UC" as it's familiarly called, is about collaborating using realtime communciation tools, such as phone, video, IM, web conferencing and marrying them into offline communication tools like email and voicemail.

Social Media has less to do with realtime communicating and more to do with bringing communities together using web technology -- for a teen, that means keeping up with friends; for an organization, it's typically bringing corporate and customer together.

Perhaps the better question is why are these terms used as if they're interchangeable?  And the answer is:  nobody's read this post yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sharepoint Evolves Too

It would appear that Sharepoint is getting a social facelift. Microsoft bought Yammer, now Sharepoint benefits.  Well good.  About darn time.  Sharepoint interface is terrible on its own. Of all the dinosours out there, (and you ARE one, Bill) Microsoft needs to figure out its evolution faster than the rest in order to stay on top.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quotable Quotes: Tim Berners-Lee

I'm borrowing Sima Odugbemi's Quote of the Week here:

Berners-Lee’s belief that his invention is unfinished has turned the geek into an activist. “The web is a social invention as much as a technical invention,” he says. “It’s the whole cat and mouse game between the readers and writers that makes the web work.”

The quote comes from Financial Times writer Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, in his September 7, 2012 article, "Lunch with the FT: Tim Berners-Lee"

I have long believed that tech support is 80% psychology and only 20% technology, so this resonates.  The web is at least 50% social -- nothing shocking there, but we tend to forget that technology alone does not make a thing "work."  If it did, then, as the article also points out, then GOPHER from U-MN might be our world wide web right now.

Techies can forget that the solution is not "the thing." It's the USE of the solution that's the thing.

So techies, don't blow off the public speaking courses, don't deride Powerpoint, don't ignore the phone calls of your communications/outreach teams. Embrace social.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Unified Communications by Another Name

Had a situation recently where a big boss said they didn't like the term "unified communication" and wanted a strategy position prepared that used "some other term."  I was stumped.

How do you take a term that's already pretty entrenched in the industry and change it without losing a lot of the helpful associations that come with it?  We brainstormed and came up with "communication connections" and "universal communication" and "anytime anywhere communication" but none really satisfied.  After a few revisions of the presentation, we put UC back in.  Everything else connoted something we weren't intending!

I completely understand that prunes are now calling themselves dried plums -- sure!  Prunes have a bad rap as cheap, fuddy dud laxatives whereas dried plums sound kinda yuppie and upscale.  But UC was never a prune -- it's always been a plum.  Who doesn't want UC?  No sense discarding a label that actually works for you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Name That Tune!

Do you remember this TV show?  A dinosaur would!

Apparently some intrepid Cisco gnome can deploy 200+ Jabber clients in ONE DAY.  Good on ya, man!  I suspect, however, that as a best practice, one should plan for a slightly longer and more controlled rollout.  I'll be spending a lot of time here when the time comes!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Masters Degrees don't pay off for IT?

New study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce says sometimes a graduate degree pays off -- potentially up to 40% earnings boost.  But sometimes not so much.  Especially in IT (and four other fields I don't care about).

I find it interesting that they quote Modis (a big IT body shop) as saying improved skillsets and interpersonal skills are more important than greater academic qualifications.

So many people I know are thinking about getting a M.A. or a M.S. to get out of a slump, a slot, or otherwise jump-start their IT careers.  Hit the brakes! 


Dino skeleton expected to return to Mongolia

Is that you, Mama?

I wonder if Tyrannosaurus bataar is on LinkedIn. . .

Monday, June 18, 2012

War of the Email: Outlook\Exchange 2010 v. Notes 8.5

I'm intrigued.

I've been living the argument for many years, but I've never seen this particular comparison before.  Author Martijn de Jong is not unbiased, but he is open about his background and tries to stick to facts.  And he's quite right, IBM should have published a comparison like this a long time ago.

Unfortunately this comparison won't change minds when it comes to the Big Picture, but it might open eyes in the Little Picture -- if some people still think certain Outlook-y things can't be done with Lotus Notes (and vice versa).

Well done, Martijn.

"Connections, what?"

Congratulations, IBM Connections!  Worldwide market share leader in social business three years running.  Nice!

So what is it?  A suite of everything you need to get going in the social business world, all interoperable, all streamed together, all together capable of making email obsolete.  35% of Fortune 100 companies are using it.  No other software supplier has anything quite like it. You'd think IBM would be marketing the h*ll out of it.

Have YOU seen a commercial for it lately?  Yeah, me either.

Until they do, here's a 4-year old goodie they could dust off and re-air -- if they felt like selling software.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Have we reached the end of Email?

Thierry Breton of Atos is a bold, bold man!  He is banning the use of email internally.  Wow!  If it works, this man is a KM genius.

I will watch this experiment keenly over there, but not rushing to implement it myself.  I am quite intrigued, but knowing my organization, which is a bit on the older/conservative side, a little skeptical. I note a key passage in the article:

When we don't have internal email anymore we will have fantastic new tools - a
cloud computing environment, social networks, instant messaging, micro blogging,
document sharing, knowledge community - these offer a much better approach for
an information technology company.

An alternate ecosystem for information sharing must exist and be well used before our more entrenched email users will start sharing their information in that forum instead of email. We have some of this, but I would argue it's not well used. This transition will be easier for the 30-and-under crowd, as the article alludes to, and very difficult for those who have already lived through the revolutionary change to embrace email.

You cannot take tools away without first providing not just a replacement, but it must be an EXCELLENT replacement. So excellent that people immediately see the utility and its benefit to them.

I wouldn't take a bone away from a dog, unless I had a steak to offer!

Any different slants on this idea?

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Monday, March 19, 2012

What do Dinosaurs and Social Business have in Common?

I owe Christine Crandell a debt for her Forbes article, "What Do the Extinction of Dinosaurs and Social Business Have in Common?" because she perfectly explains the point of this blog -- "A failure to adapt is the failure to survive," she says and she's right.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Lotusphere 2012

Several colleagues and I attended this year's IBM\Lotus Software Conference. As always, the sessions were intense and very future-oriented. Some key themes they emphasized this year:

Social Business is the way of the future

The pace of business is speeding up substantially (you have 60 seconds to engage your customer -- that's all!) and being productive is increasingly harder these days. According to IBM, forward-thinking organizations are 57% more likely to allow their people to use social & collaborative tools to be more engaged and productive to meet future challenges. Social Business ties information, processes and resources together using collaborative tools to streamline the way people do business. Gone are monthly business trips, on-call pagers, and emailed tasks. Instead, we now see video rich teleconferences, cellphone text messages, and activity driven action items.

At this year’s conference IBM offered some good solutions -- browser based collaborative tools, social analytics, and applications -- that boost user communities to become more productive and social. Not merely allowing, but empowering people to be dynamic in how they retrieve, interact with, and convey information is crucial to making Social Business work. We saw real examples of how IBM technologies were delivering Social Business solutions for various organizations (Bayer, Polycom, Premier Healthcare, GAD, TD Bank) all over the world. Watch a 60-second snapshot of the hottest Opening General Session announcements. "Social" is the new business model. "Social" means engaged, transparent, and nimble. This feeds really well into the work the Bank Group is doing on the Millennium Development Goals, and even addresses our Innovative Knowledge Sharing and Transparency initiatives. Along with "Collaboration" and "Community," expect "Social Business" to be a hot new buzzphrase!

Activity Streams (IBM Connections) bring everything together

Lotus long ago transformed Notes into more than just email -- it's effectively a "collaboration platform" that WBG people use all day, every day. Since it acquired Lotus Notes, IBM repeatedly tried to insert new "Social" features in Notes, but has increasingly focused on a bigger collaboration tool: IBM Connections. In this broader web-based platform, "Communities" could correspond to formal WBG Networks but also less formal shareholder networks -- and "Activity Streams" shows you the important updates from relevant data sources you select, such as internal/external Communities, Social Analytics, Activities, Bookmarks, Profiles, Sharepoint, File system, Group Calendars, Wikis, Blogs, Forums, Microblogging (status updates) etc.. Email is only one source in many! It's a bit hard to describe in black and white, so click here to see what an IBM Connections homepage looks like. This, or something like it, may become your personal work dashboard some day.

Unified Communications

It's not enough to pull all the computer pieces together -- in a Social Business, meaningful communication and collaboration also come from phone calls, Instant Messages, videocalls, and videoconferences -- IBM Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) endeavors to unify the experience. We agree with IBM that people want to have one client that gives us everying -- presence/chat/voice/video -- on our computers as well as on our choice of mobile device. At WBG, we are already in step, as we have ICP providing our Unified Communications strategy and solutions, so this was slightly less relevant to us.

The Cloud

There was a lot of emphasis on IBM's cloud service, which was rebranded from LotusLive to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business (or "SmartCloud"). 80% of the Fortune 500 use one or more IBM cloud computing capabilities. They offer their full suite of collaboration products (including email) and you can get a free 60-day trial if you are interested.

Mobility gets you there

68% of the population accesses social sites via cellphone and 36% have made purchases from cellphone. iPhone/iPad popularity and Android's rapid consumption of market share means we -- and IBM -- can't focus solely on BlackBerry anymore. IBM is working to bring the best of "Social Business" to all of the major devices however they can -- either by developing their own client or by feeding a native-to-the-device client. "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) initiatives in organizations like ours are driving this. We got some good XPages tips and some ideas for Sametime on iPhone and Android!

Oh, and I needn't have worried about lacking gadgets -- I took my Christmas Present (iPad 2) and fit right in!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking forward to Lotusphere!

Ah Lotusphere!  Didn't think I'd see you again!  Very much looking forward to catching up on IBM's new collaborative technologies -- they've embedded a Connect conference in the middle of the Sphere this year.

I always have little prickles of fear that I won't be smart enough to understand what they're talking about, either high level or deep dive.  I somehow survive.  I also, lately, fear going to high tech conferences because (a) I don't have the latest gadgets or (b) I have them but don't know all the latest cool apps and ways to use them.  But I will suffer in silence with my brand, spankin' new tablet and put on an air of world-weariness -- that sometimes works.

Evolve first, watch-and-learn, or get out of the way.  I choose the middle path.  There, I've told you this dinosaur's trick!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Social Business"

So there's social media and there's business, y'see.  And for the most part, businesses don't much care for social media because someone's told them they suck productivity out of employees like eating lemons sucks your cheeks in.  In fact, a lotta for-profit companies ban the use of social media (and games) on company-owned assets, while attached to the company network, and during company time.

Games? Yeah, Is see that, I suppose.  But it still goes back to the age-old Solitaire issue; you wouldn't have to spend the extra hours to strip it off every workstation if you had good managers who had a clue what their employees are doing all day.  Good management solves a lot.  But apparently it isn't found often.

But social media?  Sure, have a social media policy; limit time spent on social media to the exclusion of real work and make employees go through Corporate Communications before they post something about the company. But really?  In avoiding the possibility of a negative comment, you're precluding the good stuff.  You don't want Facebook to know that your employees enjoy working for you?  That they have good days at work?  That they feel trusted and empowered?  Your loss.

Undoubtedly every organization has a public-facing Communications person or department.  Undoubtedly that person or department is engaging in some form of social media to the good of the organization.  And undoubtedly that single entity cannot possibly convey the expertise that employees individually possess.  But Communications doesn't know what folks are up to (c'mon, if a manager doesn't, this crew has no chance) or even what kind of information the social sphere wants to know.

The best possible course of action for a forward-thinking organization would be to marry up the corporate social presence with their internal knowledge bank (employees).  That means letting employees say what they have to say to the world through whatever avenue is being listened to at the moment.  Even letting some of it be negative.  That's truth, baby -- TRUTH.  That kind of candor is gold.  Organizations can't PAY for that kind of honest, transparent public image.  Not even if they hire the best marketers.

Now you might think that embracing social media would add chaos to the organization.  And you might be a teensy bit right.  But embracing change (including a bit of chaos) is not only necessary in today's business world, but also smart.  Mark Fidelman wrote an excellent article about why IBM is in better market shape than Apple.  There were GRAPHS and CHARTS, so you know it's all true.  (wink)

This article alone should convince a tight organization to loosen up a bit when it comes to social media.

Evolve or die, I say.  Y'see?

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

At last - Twitter explained for rational businesspeople

I suspect it took a grad student to write this Twitter Guide up for their professors.  I don't know the author, Jane Tinkler from the LSE Public Policy Group, but the Guide is well done and it takes an understandable teaching\discipline\departmental\organizational perspective.  If she's not a grad student, her writing style is refreshingly knowledgeable and direct and simple!

Honestly, I could see PR departments including this guide when they talk to their bosses about promoting their company's position, too. Not just for academe!

Now if I could get this same author to focus again, I'd like to learn more about organizational uses for some of the 3rd party add-ons such as Moodle and Blackboard (mentioned in this guide) and TwitterWall and others.  Assuming you use Twitter, and assuming it's effective, how do you maximize it?

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Musings on the Missouri Facebook Law

On July 14, 2011, Missouri passed into law The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act.

According to the HuffingtonPost, this law's being nicknamed the Facebook Law because of two key sentences:
No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a work-related internet site unless such site is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. 

No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a nonwork-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student.
 The bulk of the law may be beneficial, but these two inclusions are TERRIBLE.  It shouldn't take a state or federal law to lay out what professional ethics and common sense should cover.  Putting it into law allows Missouri to arrest teachers who violate it, which might sound good.  Prosecuting teachers who have sex with their students is a good thing, yeah?  But we already have laws against that sort of thing.  And adding this law wouldn't prevent student/teacher sex.  It would only restrict the freedoms of other teachers, who are only trying to reach the kids where they live -- in cyberspace.

From my 40-something perspective, kids already have trouble with appropriate language in adult situations, bad spelling from texting, an inconceivably naive notion of privacy online, and very little respect for professions (like teaching) that used to command it.  (And I lay some blame on parents who eschew their responsibility for disciplining their children and demonstrate disrespect for educational professionals in front of their kids.)  The teachers who take on the next generation of children need new tools, new approaches, and all the support they can get.

I would much rather see Missouri issue a requirement that schools receiving public funds must have and enforce a code of ethics that includes appropriate online behavior between teachers and students and administration/parental access to cyber conversations as requested.  And leave it at that.  If you're in violation of your workplace's code of ethics, it could be a firing offense. 

It's more important to nurture self policing via a commitment to ethics than add more laws to the books.  Teachers should not be treated as criminals before they even meet your kids.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

The "80-20" Rule

I refer to this rule all the time, but never had the econo-mathematical backdrop for it.  Clay Shirky's TedTalk on institutions vs. collaboration is an interesting listen with relevant, reinforcing visuals.  And now I know why "80-20" is an institutional reference and not a new-age collaborative reference.  Dinosaur-->me.  Once again.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

IBM "drinks its own champagne"

Really?  I wonder.

According to Jeff Schick, IBM-ers really use all the bells and whistles in their suite of "social media" products.  Daily.  And it really works.

Well, maybe.  I could see this working for project managers and top/middle managers, who get synergy boosts from knowing what other folks are up to, but not so much for "boots on the ground" coders or admin staff.  The grunt work is still grunt work and the folks who have little control over their own direction have little reason to blog or write status reports about it.

How would you get there, though, if you wanted the whole community "drinking the champagne?"

I suppose you could give your workers more autonomy, more empowerment, more control over their destiny, both at work and at play.  Start with unlimited vacation, perhaps?  You know darn well that IT workers are already working nights and weekends, so they might as well have an impressive sounding vacation package.  It's not like they'll abuse it -- geeks always wanna get back to the next cool thing!  Autonomy?  When's the last time your team had a retreat to meditate on your mission and re-evaluate team priorities?  It hurts nothing to remind folks (preferably in a posh, offsite setting that makes them feel valued) about the direction we're all going and why.  Empowerment?  Flatten the hierarchy where you can.  Social media really helps here -- moving your info from your personal email into a topic-based tagged repository allows other people to educate themselves without draining the source.

Carrots or Sticks?

How about both?  I honestly don't think IBM got where (it says) it did by carrots alone.  Social media and a collaborative mindset is appealing to the youngest cohort entering the workforce, but the older cohorts are still in an information-hoarding culture and mindset.  Giving them the opportunity -- even giving them a system that rewards their participation -- will not convince them.  But if your managers encourage you to unload some of your own info AND start giving you information you previously weren't privy to, you might sense that they're serious.  And, as a good friend recently said, making it part of a performance review will too!  I see carrots and sticks being important here.

So maybe IBM is being truthful.  After all, they send more middle managers along with every technical person they let out of Big Blue than any other company I've ever seen. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

ChipIn - fundraising aid

"ChipIn is a Web-based service that simplifies the process of collecting money from groups of people. We make this process quick, easy, and secure, and we provide organizers with numerous ways to get the word out about their ChipIn event."

Enough vendors have finally mastered the art of securely accepting credit card or PayPal transactions, why not extend that to normal people who don't have merchant IDs?  And why not give them a handy widget to toss into their website to make it easy to hand-hold interested donators right to the donation process?  Slick!

Note: I have not used this service, just found it and like the idea of it.  If anyone knows of or has used a similar service, I'd be very much interested in your reviews!

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

"lol" is the new "like"

If you've ever tried to make a teenager aware of how often the word "like" creeps into their speech, you're probably aware that (a) they're oblivious to it and (b) it's now an intractable part of their communication.  They cannot get rid of it.  Even if they want to.

I'm finding that "LOL" (or laugh out loud) is approaching the same level of saturation, but on a written level.  You can't swing a keyboard without hitting someone who's laughing out loud--onscreen.  It's too damn easy.  And it's dumbing down the level of discourse.  Heck, I think texting in general and rampant abbreviations in specific are causing folks to forget how to spell--or worse--forget to CARE that spelling is important.  And punctuation follows.  And grammar.  And syntax.  And context.  And we wonder why we experience communication breakdowns?  Why values don't get passed along?

C'mon.  Try it for a day.  Just spell everything out.  Be explicit.  Instead of "lol" try "[chuckle]" or "[kneeslapping laughter]."  Just be . . . not boring.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Colbert on Social Media


Check out Colbert Nation!

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Google+ and social media overload

I check Facebook news feed daily now.  Yes, it's a security pitfall (even if you lock it down), yes, they don't appear to care about MY content or MY privacy, but it's a calculated risk on my part -- I get a lot from it, so it's worth it.  It is there that I've found long lost friends, remembered how funny and interesting they are, and would miss not hearing about their daily travails.  So OK, I drank the Kool-aid.

Now comes Google+, appealing to all of us geeks, telling us they'll protect our privacy, that they respect our content, that they'll give us all the things we lamented about Facebook, if only we'll shift over. I'm curious, so I signed up.  Only they're not really ready yet -- they're not letting me in -- their pilot is oversubscribed or some such annoyance. A friend of mine (who made it in early) claims it's great, that he's already got 70+ connections on it in less than 3 days, which represents roughly 33% of his Facebook Friend entourage.  He feels that 33% in 3 days is a pretty good indicator that eventually he'll get most of the folks he's interested in.  I don't know. . .

It's taken some folks a long time just to make it to Facebook for a once-a-month check-in.  I don't see those folks being persuaded to check something ELSE.  For the folks who do check in more regularly, they've already done the work of finding and connecting with friends--why should they do it all twice?  For the folks who have exercised every security option Facebook offers, why would they want to get in on the ground floor of something likely to have just as many growing-pains security concerns as any other online community?  For the folks who simply like Google and their innocent, childlike primary colors, are you SURE?  I applaud their standing up to China in the face of its obvious state-sponsored hacking activities, but Google will not save us if it's not profitable. This is not Mr. Rogers' Google.

So yeah, I'll try it out and I'll keep an open mind.  I am a geek after all.  But I will also be looking for a lot of answers.  I'm not investing in "+" if it doesn't deliver.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dysfunctional Teams?

Oh yeah!  I could tell stories. . .

But honestly, it's not FUN being part of a dysfunctional team.  It's a lot like being that little girl who retreats to her fantasy world and daydreams that Prince Charming (translate: manager with balls) comes to save her. A nice dream, but ain't likely. You gotta save yourself, girlfriend!

(Not really - pursuing individual goals is a contributing factor to the downfall of teams -- but I'm having fun here.)

So in that effort, here are some instructional videos on how to get ahead:


~Tongue in Cheek