Archive for Off Topic

An Interesting Foray Into Continuous Feedback

Greetings All.  It has been quite sometime since I have actually written a post.  Apologies for that.  I have been busy.
One of the things that has kept me busy is a new business, Lyve, I started with some organizational development colleagues.  We are looking at ways to improve the feedback that people get to improve their performance.  To test out a few of the ideas we had, we have created a little pilot site to have some fun in this re-election season:
Tell the Candidates What You Think
It is called “candidRate” and it allows anyone to give feedback to the 2012 presidential candidates.  There are six leadership traits and six topical issues that you can rate each candidate on.  Scores are totaled each day to show trends over time.
If you have a few minutes, go take a look and let us know what you think!

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The Inaugural Breakfast Baracktail

Developed as group effort during the chilly walk back from the Obama Inaugural Concert:

  • Whole-bean Kenyan coffee
  • Whole-bean Hawaiian (Kona) decaffeinated coffee (to maintain the “Yes We Can” energy without getting too carried away and upsetting the “No Drama” balance)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract (more vanilla than you expected, eh?)
  • One shot of Kahlua liqueur (please note that “Kahlua” is not Muslim.  Really – it’s not.  Rush Limbaugh lies.)
  • One-half shot of blended Irish whiskey (single-malt whiskeys are not Bono-approved)
  • 4 ounces organic skim milk (preferably from open-range, grass-fed, communally-owned cows that are gently milked while listening to Gregorian chants.)
  • Hawaiian pineapple slices
  • Optional: Chunks of organic ice (preferably chipped from the sidewalks of Chicago’s South Side)


  1. Mix coffee beans, grind, and brew coffee.
  2. Add the vanilla to the pot of coffee.
  3. In an oversize coffee cup, blend the Kahlua, whiskey, and skim milk.
  4. Fill the cup with the brewed coffee.
  5. Garnish cup with pineapple slice
  6. Optional: For those of you who want to feel part of the inaugural cold, allow the coffee to cool and then prepare as above only over Chicago South Side ice chunks in a highball glass.


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Carjacking Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino

Excuse me while I vent.
Media companies are all battling uphill (upload?) against piracy.  One of the questions I often ask them is: “What pricing and distribution model would you need to put pirates out of business?”  One scenario I ask is, “What if we blew up the current stilted distribution model (i.e., theaters – pause – DVD – pause – VOD – pause – HBO, etc.)?  What if we just say “This new movie releases Friday – how would you like to see it?”
We have already seen movement toward a more compressed distribution model in 2008 when some studios announced DVD + VOD day-and-date delivery.  But, how much longer will we have to wait to get to Theater + VOD day-and-date?  When we do, the pirates will lose some of their advantage.  Let me vent my personal gripe to illustrate:
I have an old buddy coming to visit for the Inauguration (yes – we are unbalanced enough to join the insanity down in DC).  He and I used to love to hang out, crack a few, and watch Clint Eastwood movies (mostly the spaghetti westerns, mostly TGTBTU).  So, it would be great if he and I could watch the new Clint movie, Gran Torino, while he is here.  But, of course, the only legal way to see it right now is in a theater.  There is no way that we can work that into our schedule while he is here.  Now, I would gladly pay $25 bucks to be able to rent this VOD in my home.  But I can’t.  C’mon Warner Brothers – the money is yours – just let me VOD!
Of course, if I was The Bad or The Ugly, I could watch the video right now.  All it would take is a short stroll over to Pirate Bay to download a pirated copy (kids – stop that!).  It would probably be crappy quality but since I have a PC connected to my HDTV, my buddy and I could enjoy it any time we chose.  Now, because I don’t want to do anything to upset Clint (he’s always cranky and often armed), I will not do that.  But there may be others with less of The Good that might choose piracy out of last resort.  If someone is willing to pay instead of pirate, why not let them?  Trust me – it won’t cannibalize your box office receipts.  Theater going is an event/experience.  I will still go to movies.  I may even watch something on VOD and think, “Man – that would be great on the big screen – let’s go next week!”
I’m not the only one frustrated by not being able to VOD when I want and the studios are missing a revenue opportunity. How much longer do we have to wait?
(BTW – when I was growing up, my Dad had a Gran Torino.  I don’t think the rifle is standard equipment.)

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Dining Down Under – Longrain Gets 4 Stars

I rarely wax poetic about restaurants, but I had such a wonderful experience in Melbourne that I wanted to share it. I was down under to deliver a keynote and masterclass at KM Australia 2008. (I promise I will have the summary of the keynote posted soon!)  While there, I had the great good fortune to join some members of the Knowledge Management Roundtable Victoria for dinner.  The ringleader for the evening was Michelle Lambert and through her sheer determination, we were able to land a table for eight at Longrain Resturant and Bar. (Much thanks to Geri Overberg for modeling the restaurant’s shingle in the photo!)
The menu is nouveau asian fusion and because we had a large group we ordered a banquet menu.  The banquet include a wide range of dishes and each of they was simply delicious.  From the curries to the seafood, from the silken tofu to the young coconut gelatin – everything was simply delicious!  If you are ever in Melbourne, be sure to make Longrain part of your trip.  You will not be disappointed!
Despite it being mid-winter down under and my only have a few non-working days, I did get out to see a bit of the city. If you would like to see the smattering of photos from the trip that I posted on Facebook, just click the picture below:

Trip to Melbourne Photo Album

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The Road to Singapore (and Australia)

Just wanted to post a note that I will be on travel the next two weeks, so the posting here may be even slower than usual.  I will be in Singapore delivering Web 2.0 & Enterprise 2.0 Foundations masterclass July 17-18 and delivering a keynote and masterclass at KM Australia July 21-23.
My keynote at KM Australia is entitled Abandon Your Content Management System: KM in the Age of GooTube.  I hope to get a synopsis of it up here as a post soon.
I’m looking forward to being down-under and I hope they are having a mild winter so I can enjoy some of my short stay.  If you will be in Singapore or Australia, it’s not to late to register (I think).  See you there?

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The Fax Machine Begins to Slide Into Obsolescence

Ever since the first networked copier/scanner was installed in my office, I wondered how long it would be before the fax machine became obsolete. The copier/scanner makes it easy to scan any document to PDF and attach it to an e-mail – providing greater efficiency, privacy, and accountability than the old faxing process.
Today I received my fist “standardized corporate” business card that did not have a fax number. This was not from a techno-evangelist eschewing vestigial technology – it was from a salt-of-the-earth program manager. When I asked her about she said she wasn’t concerned that the number wasn’t there since she never uses the fax. Think about it. A program manager that coordinates scores of vendors, clients, events, contracts, etc. – and never uses a fax.
I take this as a sign that the fax machine has entered its golden years and will soon go the way of the telegram. My prediction is that we have about five more years before the need to scan paper-based transactions into digital form will become a relic as well.

Posted in: Adapting, Business, Off Topic

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Web 2.0 in Italian and German


This week I have been in Milan delivering train-the-trainer for our Web 2.0 University™ (W2U) partners at Reply. Reply has license to exclusively deliver the Web 2.0 Executive Bootcamp, Enterprise 2.0 Bootcamp, and Ajax Bootcamp in Italy and Germany. It has been an exciting week working with the dedicated and experienced folks at Reply to localize our learning content for their target audiences.
Reply E2.0 TTTDuring the training we discussed how many of the Web 2.0 ideals and applications play out differently in Italy and Germany. From the legal restraints that make music sites like Pandora impossible to the generally more conservative attitude toward social applications, Reply is customizing the W2U content to deliver outstanding learning to their clients. They have become quite Web 2.0 savvy and I’m sure they will do a great job leading the 2.0 revolution in Europe. So, if you want to leverage the competitive advantage of Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 in Italy or Germany, visit the Reply W2U site.
Unlike most trips abroad, I took some extra time to enjoy Milan. Friday evening I had the great pleasure of being treated to dinner by Piero Rivizzigno, the CEO of the soon to be released, (This social website will focus on design and fashion – link to come soon where you can learn all about it.) Piero took me into the city center for the best fresh mozzarella I have ever had as well as traditional Naples pizza that was fantastic. Piero mentioned that the owner of the Buffalo Ristorante (I think that was the name – confirmation to come) is hoping to open a restaurant in Georgetown in DC. That would be a wonderful development! Piero was a great host and our discussion of the future of social applications was illuminating. We discussed data portability and Piero was spot-on in his observation that website-owners who benefit from the content we provide need to do a better job of sharing their revenue (at least a small portion) with us.
Saturday I got to play tourist in full glory and traipsed all over Milan city center. I visited the Parco Palestro, the Castle of Milan, and the Milan Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Sadly, the battery on my camera bit the dust at the Duomo, but here are a few pictures:
The Palestro in the Parco Palestro…

Milan Palace

The drawbridge at the southern “Little Bridge” entrance to the Castle of Milan:

Milan Castle Drawbridge

Inside the Caste of Milan (or as it should be called – the castle of cats – they owned the moat):

Milan Castle

Approaching the Duomo Church (both inside and out, it is simply magnificent):

Milan Duomo

My personal favorite: A beautiful fountain fighting the unbelievable moss that it swallowing it with the Duomo behind:

Milan Fountain near Duomo

Now it is on to the butt-busting flight from Milan to Frankfurt to DC and back to my family (hopefully my son will look up long enough from Adventure Quest to notice I’m home ;o).

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Presidential Candidate Leadership Experience Scorecard

At dinner last night with friends, we discussed politics and many agreed that Barack Obama did not have enough leadership experience to prepare him for POTUS. So, I decided to do a quick scorecard of “leadership experience” of all the candidates. I decided after throwing it together to post it here.
First some disclaimers: This scorecard is entirely arbitrary, quick, and dirty. It is also really a scorecard of leadership/political/management experience instead of a true analysis of “leadership”. The list of qualities of “leadership” is lengthy and arguable, and I will leave that argument to the thousands of books already written on the topic. Finally, as shown below, the scorecard is simply a quickly-assembled list of 11 roles/experiences that might prepare a candidate to be successful as POTUS. The 11 are:

  • VP
  • State Governor
  • Cabinet (heading any large federal government agency)
  • US Senate
  • US House of Representatives
  • State elected official
  • Local elected official
  • Military officer
  • CEO (or any managing executive role in a large company)
  • MBA
  • Political Science, Foreign Relations, or Public Admin degree

And then I checked Wikipedia to complete the scorecard for the three remaining candidates for POTUS (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain). For contrast, I included the previous four POTUSs (POTUSi?) as well. The results:

  H Clinton Obama McCain W Bush B Clinton H Bush Reagan
VP           X  
Governor       X X   X
Cabinet           X  
Senate X X X        
H of R     X     X  
State   X     X    
Military     X X   X X
CEO       X   X  
MBA       X      
PoliSci X X     X    
Total: 2 3 3 4 3 5 2


But, obviously, all these things are not equal. So I decided to weight the 11 categories like this: VP: 5, Governor: 4, Cabinet: 3, Senate and H of R: 2, every thing else gets a 1. I also spotted a few points for Hillary’s First Lady (3 points under VP) and gave Reagan a CEO point for his presidency of SAG. With that weighted scale, the leadership experience scorecard winners are:

  H Clinton Obama McCain W Bush B Clinton H Bush Reagan
VP (3)         5  
Governor       4 4   4
Cabinet           3  
Senate 2 2 2        
H of R     2     2  
State   1     1    
Military     1 1   1 1
CEO       1   1 1
MBA       1      
PoliSci 1 1     1    
Total: 6 4 5 7 6 12 6


So, if we are to judge how successful a candidate will be as POTUS based on their “leadership” experience, the best of the bunch would be both of the Bush boys. And the recent favorites from both parties (Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan) only score a 6 – half of the total for the clear winner, Bush the First. As for our current three candidates, it is a close race. The three points spotted to Hillary for for First Lady put’s her on top of McCain by one point.
Now, to wrap things up, I will spot one last set of (completely arbitrary) points. I start with the assumption that every day you are alive you gain wisdom that makes you a better leader. So, for every year in age, I will give each candidate one-tenth of a point. Hillary gets 6, Obama gets 4.5, and McCain gets 7.1. The final tally this increasingly arbitrary scorecard of leadership experience:

  • John McCain: 12.1
  • Hillary Clinton: 12.0
  • Barack Obama: 8.5

So, when you do this (admittedly arbitrary) math, Obama is considerably less experienced for the job (30% less so than Hillary or McCain).
Now we just need to decide if leadership experience is what we need most in a POTUS now…

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The Inaugural Blogural

Welcome to 2008! This is the obligatory first post to my blog. It offers practically nothing of any substance. You might want to ignore it.
Based on what I have seen of the 70+ million other blogs out there (Disclosure: I have not visited all of them.), in this first post I need to explain that I am new to blogging, that I’m excited to share my thoughts and that I hope you will share your comments. I should then plan to blog everyday and actually do so for the first two days. And then life will intervene (perhaps in the form of a suddenly incontinent pet) and I will miss blogging for a week. This will help me recognize that my life really isn’t interesting enough to share more than once a week any way. So, then I should resolve to blog one a week and will – for two weeks. After that, realizing that no one is actually reading my blog, I should drop in one or two posts before the blog becomes entirely dormant.
But since I hope this blog will not go dormant until I do (Disclosure: I do not actually have a dormant season, but during January and on most Sundays I am quite lethargic.), I will take a different tack. I have blogged elsewhere before, I have mixed feelings about maintaining my own blog, and I really only want you to share your thoughts if they add value (the exception being any comments that are really, really funny).
As for the purpose of this blog, I already put that on the About Page. And as you will learn there, I am a horrible typist so I am not going to repeat it here. That would be an insult to Tim Berners-Lee’s whole hyperlink concept anyway.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the inaugural post. I would have lost interest midway through the second paragraph. (Disclosure: I have self-diagnosed ADD.) I do hope that you will read the other, more substantive posts and share your thoughts. Thanks for visiting – ya’ll come back, ya here?

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