What's the diff between Citi and the Somali pirates?
A: The pirates are realistic about the value of the cargo in the hold.
2008 has been by any standard a terrible year for me. I woke the other day, the lake outside my window was covered in fog. It seem to be a metaphor for life, e.g. just when you think things are clear, the fog rolls in.
And getting past the fog is much harder than it should be.
As I often tell people, I am at my core a small town Minnesota boy, I grew up in a loving home, with devoted parents and my sister Bonnie. Bonnie was a beautiful baby, a darling child, a pretty teenager, and a lovely young woman. She was almost five years younger than I was, and our parents almost raised us as if we were each only children.
Bonnie graduated from high school, then went to first Gustavus Adolphus College for a year and then to the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy. After graduation, she worked for many years as a pharmacist, and for most of her adult life battled bi-polar depression. This illness had a dramatic impact on her life, causing her to spend time in 5–6 mental institutions. After each stay, she was basically forced to start her life all over again. I once asked her why she didn’t take the medications that had been prescribed for her, and her response was “that the highs (from her illness) were so high, that you forget about the lows”.
In 2002 Bonnie moved from Charleston, South Carolina to Portland, Oregon. She loved Portland, bought a darling place, decorated it, and loved her job, her friends. In February she took a group of her friends to see Bruce Springsteen. She told me that it was one of the best days of her life. Bonnie was generous to a fault.
This spring she collapsed, and post various “scans” was found to have a PNET brain tumor. An unusual form of brain cancer that typically is found in adolescents. Then there were a couple of rounds of chemo, but the inoperable tumor was determined to be growing and had spread to her spine. The oncologist/radiologist we consulted with told us that if the cancer didn’t kill her, the radiation would.
We first moved her to a group home and then to a loving hospice in Salem, Oregon. The outpouring of love and kindness to Bonnie from her friends and our family was extraordinary. I hope I will be able one day to thank each of them.
As her health declined in dramatic fashion, I marveled as to how her short term memory disappeared. And while I have struggled with my faith, I found myself wondering if God had basically taken her short term memory away so as to insure that she would not have any fear or anxiety as to the prospect of death.
From June through October I saw ever every other week, and throughout her illness she retained a very wonderful and dry sense of humor. About a month before her death, I drove down to see her, and when I walked into her room, she announced that “today was a bonus day”. When I asked why, she told me that our mother, who died in 1985, had been there earlier. When I asked her what they talked about, she smiled and said, “You know, I don’t remember…” and then laughed about her inability to recall.
On one of my trips back, I was driving in the dark, and thinking about her, and thinking about what I was supposed to be learning from her illness and the prospect of her death. I realized that I needed to let go of those things that I could not control and I needed to live in the moment. I also realized that if there was anything unsaid I needed resolve it. The next time I was with her, I asked her to forgive me for the things that I had done that might have made her unhappy. She looked at me, smiled and said “I am sure there were things, but I just don’t remember…”
I had wondered the last time I saw her alive, if I would see her again, but I didn’t.
Bonnie died on Halloween about 2 P.M. in the afternoon. Her lifelong friend Mary was with her.
We will have a memorial service for her in International Falls, on August 7, 2009, and per her wishes, her ashes will be buried alongside our parents.
To my extreme regret, I wasn’t to make it to Pop!Tech this year. Pop!Tech streamed a lot of its’ content, and one of the talks that was beyond brilliant was by Juan Enriquez.
I have met Juan at a number of prior Pop!Techs, and have found him to be a Renaissance man.
Juan’s most recent talk is now up, and should be required viewing by everyone.
Watch it… and think about what he says.
One of the companies that I have been working with here in Seattle is Gist.
Gist is building a product that might just change how you think about information/relationships forever. My friend T.A. McCann is going to be on the Scoble Show on WorkFast on Friday, e.g.
Fast Company TV www.fastcompany.tv
then at 10:35-11:00AM Pacific, Robert and T.A. will do some live Q&A on Kyte TV www.kyte.tv/scobleizer
I highly recommend that you what the show. T.A. and his team are on to something, and well worth your time.
And also sign up for the beta, and oh, what does Gist do? Tune in and watch, once T.A. starts his demo, it will take you about 10 seconds to get it.
I keep telling people that there are all kinds of cool products being built and Gist is one of them.
I have mulled over the idea of those who have written about declaring E-Mail bankruptcy, e.g. just giving up, deleting all the E-Mail they haven’t dealt with, and starting over. But have resolved to deal with it in a different way. Right now I have exactly ten unresolved E-Mails in my in box for this past week.
Some I just haven’t decided what to do with, the others have attachments that I need to print, and one I need to think about how to respond to.
Not bad for the week. I tried to get Xobni analytics to tell me how many inbound/outbound emails I handled this week, but the Xobni stats make no sense, to bad as I was hoping to set a new world record, which is true madness.
My absence from my blog has been too long, and caused by circumstances both beyond my control and totally unforseeable, but that is a drama for another day, and one that I will get to, when I have it all figured out.
I have had a great time in prior posts talking about aggregating innovative ideas. My logic has been that it is nobody is building all the cool technology, but rather the test is whether you can find the parts of the puzzle, understand them, connect them, and really end up with something very cool. So, this post is about that idea, and not anything more weighty.
So…stepping back in time, I recall a conversation at a restaurant in Palo Alto probably 2–3 years ago. It was late, and present were Scoble, Winer, Arrington and others. and the topic du jour was whether Pandora would last a day, a month, a year, or whatever. Having no clue what Pandora was, I was not critical to the discussion. I later found Pandora, created an account and promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward to last fall, e.g. 2007, I spoke at the Office 2.0 conference and as a speaker, I ended up with an iPhone. As a long time T-Mobile customer, I figured, that I was basically screwed, and then came “jail-break 101”, and one of my pals hacked my iPhone, and Voila…it worked great on T-Mobile, but it gets better.
When V2 of the iPhone came along, complete with the application store, I again found my nose pressed against the glass, as hacked iPhones couldn’t access the iPhone application store. Never fear, the geeks fixed that almost immediately, the hack of my phone was available in no time flat, and whammo I had a bunch of applications, including Pandora.
But I was close, but no cigar to a very elegant solution. With headphones on the music was great. But pretty solitary experience. The bad news being that the plug on the iPhone was non-standard and such that you couldn’t plug it into say decent powered speakers.
So, I let my imagination run amuck as they say, and realized that my pals at Etymotic Research (*disclaimer below..) would know how to fix this, e.g. some kind of plug combo, that would allow me to connect my iPhone playing Pandora to my wonderful power speakers from Altec-Lansing.
Today the plug came, and tonight I am in something that looks like musical heaven.
The iPhone is plugged into the combo plug and then into great speakers, and I am listening to the “Jack Johnson” channel on Pandora, and right now Nora Jones is singing. No commercials, no cost, and no worries.
The music is great, my investment almost zero, and it doesn’t get much better than this. And as I tell people, a lot of this stuff isn’t magic, but rather about work, e.g. trying to figure out how you put all the great technologies together.
*…Etymotic Research is a great company, great people, great products, ideas, technology and they are my friends. I have done some consulting work for them, their products are extraordinary, and I unconditionally recommend to you…They execute better than anyone I know as to the things they build…
In the ActiveWords Odyssey, I have worked just about everywhere there is Wi-Fi, and that means lots of Starbucks, Kinko’s and Borders.
However in recent months T-Mobile lost the Starbucks account to ATT. What’s the impact? Now the WiFi sux at Starbucks!
I cannot imagine that smart companies would let this happen. The concept of a 3rd office, e.g. home, work and Starbucks is one almost pioneered by Starbucks.
Over the last week I have had endless problems trying to log in. And if you call T-Mobile tech support their responses demonstrate a new level of cluelessnes.
What are they thinking?
Great lunch, fun conversations, beautiful day…
First panel, a conversation on “Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos…
Kara Swisher ( good friend and very smart woman…) Kathy Eisenhardt of Stanford and Shona Brown of Google. Interesting..I can’t recall an all woman panel at an event.
CEO Show Case…all part of the AlwaysOn Global 250 list.
Will get the list later, but some great power point presentations. And I am not sure that the present speaker is not using the SlideRocket product. This is the first time that I have seen this kind of presentation. I wonder how much time/money was spent on this presentation. Too bad the speaker is reading his script.
Gordon Knight…Nanochip…new type of memory chip. Totally new $15B…market. , Fairly remarkable. Running a great video clip showing off what they do. .2 of a Nanometer. I need to figure out how small that is.
Liquid Scenario…running a video. Not quite sure what the product is.
Neighborhood America…Good idea..feel good. Lots of video, and speaker is reading his notes. Too bad…
Vello..conference call system, e.g. You make instant calls. Key is the conference call starts on time. Just did a demo, demo failed. Nothing quite like being on stage and having your demo fail. I have been there and experienced that.
Bob Sutton… “The No-Asshole Rule”
Stanford “B” school prof.
Breakthrough idea, e.g. “The No-Asshole Rule”, more trouble than they are worth. (NAR)
Hundreds of victims. In list of best places to work, includes those who list the NAR as part of their corporate culture. Now the book as been translated into 15 languages. Book has sold the best in Italy.
Even when people hate the title, they do remember the book.
Four main points:
I. The Two Tests
After talking to or interacting with the alleged asshole, their targets feel oppressed, humiliated, etc.
Does the alleged asshole aim his or her venom at people who are less powerful rather than at people who are more powerful. (About 70% of bullying)
Temporary or certified assholes
We all temporary assholes at one time or another.
Producer Scott Rudin (Certified Assholes)
had 119 assistants in 5 years, per Rudin, WSJ, said he had 250.
Intel Motto, Disagree and then commit
Fight as if you are right, and listen as if you are wrong.
Brad Bird.. “I have been fired for being disruptive several times but this is the first time I have been hired for it.”
III. The Damage Done, Assholes are everywhere.
37% of Americans have experienced bullying.
Medicine is bad, especially what they to nurses. 90% of nurses victims of verbal abuse.
negative effects: nasty interactions pack a wallop.
Negative have 5 times the impact of positive.
Mental and physical health…
Good people leave, e.g. total cost of assholes.
People slow down, less effort, call in sick, and less likely to offer up suggestions.
TCA, e.g. total cost of one asshole for one year.
Senior executive time
cost of new secretary
anger management training.
Total cost is $160k per year.
The Rule…Enforcing it and keeping it alive
In most places, certified assholes are tolerated, but only up to a point.
What if you want higher standards.
Point at which time the go from normal asshole to flaming asshole.
Make it Public
No Jerk rules.
“Respect for the individual, no assholes, and its ok to have one, but not be one. All employees sign an agreement.
3. Apply the Rule to Customers and Clients.
Southwest fires demeaning customers.
You can be either an asshole or a late pay, but you can’t be both.
4. Fire Assholes, when you make a mistake.
Hotshots who alienate colleagues are told to change or leave.
When you follow an asshole, everyone things you are a great person.
5. Focus on conversations and interactions
Can you tell your boss that he is being jerk?
Overall Effect..It isn’t efficient to be an asshole here.
Take the ARSE test: http://electricpulp.com/guykawasaki/arse/
Take the ACHE test: