Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why rapid change is in our future

The Tipping Point
The Tipping Point (Photo credit: Go Gratitude)
Just a short post to capture some thoughts I had today about how social technology, online capabilities and mobile are changing the way we behave, interact and live and what we can expect in the future. My primary premise is that technology is the driver that is going create rapid change because with adoption of technology comes changes to human behavior.

Although I wasn't impress with the book, the Tipping Point, I do agree there are points in time where something really starts to take off - the hockey stick phenomenon where the change is accelerated and happens faster than it did previously.  I believe this is where we are with technology; it is accepted and generally adopted and in the future is going to change things much quicker than it has previously.

A good example of technology driving change is the way marketing a brand is done.  Previously, companies could position a brand the way they wanted to because they had the ability to influence individuals and individuals didn't have much ability to influence the company or their neighbor.  Then social technology came along and now an individual can voice a concern on Facebook (for example) and others can pile on and turn that single voice into a crowd chat that grows (and is heard) around the world.  Do you think the public will believe the positive Nike advertisement on TV if 50,000 people are voicing their unhappiness on the internet about how Nike is using unfair labor practices in Asia? No way! (and I don't know this to be true... just sayin'...)

My point here is not so much about what is happening today, although it is definitely a big shift. My point is more about the future.

  1. Technology is at the stage now (with the internet, mobile and Social software) where it will quickly change the way we interact with each other and with businesses.  
  2. Technology growth and evolution is happening much faster than it did even 10 years ago, driving faster  and more frequent change.  
  3. In addition, people are getting much more comfortable adopting new technology, also leading to more rapid change in behavior (since the technology itself drives that change). 
  4. The additional realization that has come to me recently is that although people generally resist change, it seems technology changes are much more palatable and even pursued by many individuals.   It is almost like flying for the older generations - it was novel and cool so people didn't mind changing the way they travelled even though it might have been more dangerous initially.   Accepting change drives even faster adoption. 

Bottomline is that businesses need to be more agile in the way they do business and how they interact with their customers.  If they don't they will not keep up with their competition now and will not be positioned well for the future where change is going to continue at a fast rate. They have to watch technology which is going to be at the core of the way their customers behave and change their business processes accordingly.


Have an outstanding day!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Take: Chapter 3 - The Law of the Mirror

245/365 John C. Maxwell book collection
245/365 John C. Maxwell book collection (Photo credit: CR Artist)
As I mentioned in 2 previous posts, I am reading and rereading John C. Maxwell's 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  I have summarized chapter 1 and 2, and the title of Chapter 3 is "The Law of the Mirror".  He says, "you must see value in yourself to add value to yourself".   There are some very valuable points in this chapter, and having 2 preteen boys I realized a few things about myself that is probably contributing to their view of themselves as well.  The same thing applies if we are managing a team or organization... we must see value in organization if we are to add value to the organization we are part of. 

His first point is that we shouldn't be too concerned with what others think about us, we should be much more concerned about what we think about ourselves.  If we have a running negative dialog with ourselves, (and all of us have a running dialog with ourselves, positive or negative), then we are creating a negative self-image of ourselves.  And where do many of us get a negative self-dialog?  Well, as a parent I probably say "no" to my sons many more times than I say "yes".  Maxwell talks about the average 17 year old and that they have heard about 30 "nos" to every 1 "yes".   This was a sobering and mind-changing point for me as I thought about my sons and my expectation that they have a positive outlook on life...

So, the first point is guard our self-talk.

The second point is stop comparing ourselves to others.   Compare ourselves to ourselves and simply strive to become better today that we were yesterday.  I think watching others for things we can do differently/better is valuable, but if we start comparing that is either defeating (because they are better than us) or creates self-pride if they are not as good.  Neither of these are positive.

The third point is move beyond our limiting beliefs.  I like the 4 step process that Maxwell lays out that could help us overcome the limitations we put on ourselves:
1. Identify a limiting belief that we want to change.
2. Determine how the belief limits us.
3. Decide how you want be, act or feel.
4. Create a turnaround statement that affirms or gives you permission to be, act or feel this new way.
In the end, it is not what we are that holds us back, it is what we think we are not.

The fourth point is add value to others. Add value to ourselves by adding value to others.

The fifth point is do the right thing, even if it is the hard thing.  Being true to ourselves and our values is a tremendous self-esteem builder. 

The sixth point is practice a small discipline daily in a specific area of our life.  Discipline is a moral booster.  I do wonder if this is one reason our children today (at least for the upper middle class and above in the US) are not as positive about themselves.  There is not as much "required" discipline in our lives because we have life pretty good (e.g., not many daily commitments are needed to go through life in a comfortable way). 

The seventh point is to celebrate small victories.

The eighth point is embrace a positive vision for our life based on what we value.   He recommends we tap into what we value and see what inspires us to take positive action.  Taking positive action helps to take more positive actions building on itself.

The ninth point is to practice the "one-word" strategy.  Pick a word that best describes us.  When we pick that word it focuses our attention and intention and helps us expand even more in that focus.   Obviously, if the word is negative for us (and we want to be more positive), then we have to change our word! I decided my word is "positive" - I maintain a positive attitude even if the situation is not good (not sure my wife would agree in all cases :-))

And the tenth and final point is take responsibility for our life.  We all have potential and we all have value.  If we just keep moving forward and keep believing, we can learn and grow. 

This was a really valuable chapter for me. I recommend reading the book to get the detail. 

Have an outstanding day!


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Friday, February 8, 2013

IPaaS - Integration Cloud

English: Diagram showing three main types of c...
English: Diagram showing three main types of cloud computing (public/external, hybrid, private/internal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS, not to be confused with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)) is a cloud based service that exists to integrate applications/services, both cloud based and internal. I just read a whitepaper from IBM on their IaaS service called Cast Iron (here).  Cast Iron just announced a go to market solution with Salesforce CRM (Sales Cloud). Disclosure: my wife works for IBM but is in research not connected to the Cast Iron service.  

Some of the competing services in the IPaaS space are Software AG, TIBCO, Jitterbit, Informatica.  (Thanks to Dave Masefield for giving me this quick list).

Interesting service that still has alot of hype about how easy it is to integrate on-premise and cloud based services (which we know is typically harder than expected), but still a valid service that I am sure will grow as more cloud based services are used and trusted.  

Have an outstanding day! 
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Social CRM: what is it in a nutshell?

During a conversation a few days ago someone asked me what Enterprise Social really meant, and what is "Social CRM".  I will leave Enterprise Social for another post, but I like the definition of Social CRM from Wikipedia.  The last statement sums it up... "It's the company's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation.".  Because companies can no longer control the message about them and their brand, companies need to determine ways to deal with what is being said about them.  Social CRM starts to do this by monitoring the various channels where people are stating their views, gripes, and praises and giving the company the chance to respond to the posts in a proactive manner.  Responding gives the company the chance to resolve the issue or even gain new customers by showing they really care.    A little more detail on this came from a Hootsuite Blog where they talk about 3 benefits of Social CRM for the Financial services companies. Quick read that gives you a sense of what Social CRM can do for a company.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why is Dell going private?

Image representing Dell as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
This question was on my mind this morning as I read the article on Dell in the NY times. So, I did a little research.  Quora is my current favorite site to see what people are saying about a topic so I went there. I think this opinion sums up what I expect is the primary reason (and future possibilities for Dell)... the ability to focus on the long term evoluion of Dell and not the quarterly expectations of a public PC company.   Quora on Dell buyout

Have an outstanding day!

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Synthesis of Maxwells 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth - Chapter 2 Awareness

In chapter 2 of Maxwell's book, "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth", the topic is "The Law of Awareness".  The key point is that to reach your potential you have to know where you are and where you want to go.   To know where you are, you have to spend the time to determine it, and to know where you want to go you have to look at what you really want to do, what your passions are and what is the vision of what it would be like when you get there.
This is pretty standard advice, but Maxwell makes some additional points that are valuable.  The primary one is that the key is to get moving on something so that you are taking action.  Your passion fuels the action, and then the action fuels that passion!  For example, I have always enjoyed solving business problems by thinking about better ways to do them and applying technology to make things better.  I moved from Software research to Consulting for this primary reason.  I also have always wanted to be a leader, showing people how good things can be and frankly, getting the recognition that goes along with doing good things well.  As I continue to develop this "muscle", I am realizing in our world where technology is more and more prevalent, I want to move toward a role as Chief Digital Officer or equivalent.  My point is that I would never have gotten to this place if I had not taken steps that were moving me small steps toward what I really wanted to do yet were somewhat unclear as to where they would ultimately take me.
One point about doing what you are passionate about - I read an article recently that really captured the issues I have had with this thought for a long time now - that many times I think about what I would do if I could do anything, and end of taking no action because I don't see how I would make money doing that.  The insightful point was that many times to make money our passion can't be done in a way that we would enjoy it - that has to be factored in to the equation unless we are so financially secure that we can ignore it.
The final point that I will share from this chapter is this: The question is what will it be like when you get to where you want to be?  Maxwell make 3 key points which I expect are almost always true:
  1. The end result of your efforts will be different from what you imagined.
  2. When you do what you want to do, it will be more difficult than you ever imagined.
  3. When you do what you always want to do it will better than you ever imagined. 
 There are a good set of questions at the end of the chapter that if answered with thought will help point out what our passions are... and then we just need to take action!

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Friday, February 1, 2013

2 more useful tools in your online publishing toolbelt

Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
I started using 2 new online tools today - Zemanta and Klout.  Zemanta is considered a publishing assistant which works with your blogging tool (at least some of them) such as Blogger, Wordpress and (in the future) Tumblr.  One of the most interesting features is that if you type in the key idea into your editor, Zemanta will bring up related articles. For example, I typed the first line of this post which included Zemanta and Klout, and I am now seeing articles on these 2 products in my related articles section of the Zemanta toolbar.   Zemanta also helps you as a blogger by providing pictures, links and other related features of a blog.

Klout is a tool that helps an online writer (blogger, tweeter, etc) understand their "influence".  It basically provides a score that represents your influence.   Of course, they are aggressively looking to get as many people signed up to use Klout as possible, so they are pretty aggressive about tapping into your network.  Annoying, but we all know the drill.  One big issue I found with Klout was when I opened my preferences tab and found my login and password populated my first and last name field!  I changed it, but not clear how this happened and if I hadn't gone into preferences would it have been published in some way?

I see a need for both of these tools as a blogger and tweeter, so bring on the features!
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