Archive for October, 2010

meeh and a bit about discrimination sensitivity

i’ve had the longest Friday ever. It is really annoying when someone higher up the chain is being a total ass and you have to pretend that you really don’t care much and supposedly go along with him/her. Today I realized that the UK is not nearly as discrimination sensitive as the US is. There was this *sales guru* that I talked a bit about. Same guy that got very close to making me hate my job in the last couple of days. The prick is a bit old school and today he was sitting in the middle of the room and telling 11 people how women tend to be treated differently than men in business. How women are expected to be stupider than man and how man give them  special attention once they proved themselves. And then he kept going on and on in the same spirit for 10 minutes. Apparently he thinks that women are more reliable to call you back then man. For 10 minutes I was sitting there not believing my ears. I know for one the term special treatment in the US is borderline sexual harassment. Apparently what happened today is quite acceptable in the UK. Well at least none of the women in the room seemed to be offended by any of what was said or the manner in which it was. Ok, granted that the actual meaning was benign it seems like English people are not very sensitive when it comes to gender inequality and quite possibly racial inequality.

Who knew that the UK is a lot less sensitive than the US when it comes to discrimination …

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On educations and management

I just watched a video that summarizes and clarifies everything that I believe about education and that I have found out through being taught both the proper way and the wrong one. And well if you have half a brain you know that there is something wrong with the way that you have been taught in school.

Education aside I think they hit the nail right on the head with the corporate analogy and what they are saying about managing. I have spent the last 2 days with this self proclaimed sales guru trying to convince me that I should do things his way. There are a lot of things that the prick does wrong but what relates to the video is

1) you don’t segment something like a sales pitch and analyse it sentence by sentence (almost) and then tell me what I could have said better.

2) you don’t just feed me sales theories and your askewed view of how to sell

 

You don’t do 1 because it is not important for your wording to be in any particular way. What is important is that you have a goal and you do not forget what the objective is. Yes be respectful and yes be human and kind and empathetic and do follow your own style. There is no write or wrong way to sell. The single most important thing when selling is that you find your own voice. Your sales pitch has to feel natural and it has feel like you and someone else talking about your product. It is not about you promoting your product. It is about you and your customer discussing the customer’s business and the two of you discovering a void that can be filled by your product. It is a in a way about need but it is more about want and desire. You are filling the company’s need but the personal desire of the company rep that you are talking to. And this you can only do if your are natural and real and are yourself. You see a good salesman does not pretend to be someone else. Forget all the BS that people tell you about being such and such character. If you are a technical person be a technical one. There is nothing wrong with being the knowledgeable salesman. You see at the core of the process it is much like finding friends or should I say making new friends. You are yourself but you do look out for signs of boredom and you do behave.

As far as #2 goes … well you simply don’t do this ever. I don’t care about your life experience. I need to try doing something and face a problem in order for it to get me thinking and for me to be ready to learn. Then we need to have a discussion where you, the teacher, ask me questions that stimulate me thinking and not regurgitating and only if I cannot make a decision do you help me. After I have made up my mind then you can tell me what you think and let me decide which one I like better. And this is the only way that you can stimulate creativity in a company and coincidentally it will cost you less. You see the way it works is there are several roads to fulfilling your employees needs/desires. Money is certainly one, benefits another, etc. However, what noone will ever refuse and what will make each one of your employees think long and hard before they consider leaving the company is job satisfaction. And if you allow for creativity it will lead to job satisfaction and I do not mean eventually. So as a result you will have to pay a bit less for your work force and you will have loyal employees. Well that’s something that is worth it’s weight in gold and something that you cannot achieve by enforcing common rules and regulations.

And yes I know it is a business and yes I know that some rules are required. However, the main rule should be to follow the company’s short term strategy and to do everything you can to make the company look good.

 

And look I am not discovering a new continent here. These are pretty much some of the principles that Japanese businesses are build on. It’s just insane how hard it is for the western manager to learn from his/her eastern colleagues. And if you ask me it’s a damn shame too …

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Patents

So I have been doing some research on ways on counterfeiting and the ways that companies protect themselves from it. And it is such a complex issue that it is making my head spin. You have laws and organizations regulating things in order to protect the public and companies from individuals or organizations trying to either use a name that they do not own for profit and/or just having a total disregard for the public health and safety. And then you have governmental bodies stepping in and supposedly protecting the publics interest. But then politics got entangled and it all turned to shit and well we have the current mess.

All my troubles of navigating through the sea of complementing trade agreements and laws it turns out that patents are very essential to international trade. And while the system might not be far from perfect you cannot remove patents because this essentially will destroy international trade. Currently the only way that a company can protect it’s profits and name from others infringing on it is by enacting it’s patent rights. Provided that we are talking about a country which does recognize WTO’s agreements it either goes to court or the contraband goods are destroyed leaving the market to the real owner of the brand name.

All that is great however, when you look at the list of the ACTA participants you quickly realize that none of the large counterfeit originators are there.

So how relevant is the ACTA even if it does cover over 80% of the world’s goods manufacturers? It looks more like an assembly of the manufacturers rather than the potential markets and I am afraid it is not really going to have the desired effect. But anyway I was surprised to what extent patents actually control international trade and how without patents one cannot even start thinking about protecting a company’s profits in international trade. This essentially means that a company trying to engage in international trade would have to be very weary and a lot of companies will probably choose not to engage in international trade until they are a lot bigger and their infrastructure can really cope with problems. Only that will likely increase the price of traded goods and in turn increase the demand for counterfeit. So in a way patents are very good for international business and for customers. … who would’ve thought …

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OS X installer security

So today I was installing iLife ’11 and I noticed that Apple has started signing their installer. It is nice to know that the company is actually taking a proactive approach to security and making it a bit easier to know where a file came from regardless of what channel you used to obtain it. it is not a required part and even if the certificate is invalid you can choose to trust it  but you will get a warning message. This is much better than what any other OS provides currently. Windows is the closest one allowing you to specify a company that created the executable in the properties of a file. Only that stuff is not signed and I can easily create a file that looks like it came for anyone I choose to. It’s a bit more difficult to do so with OS X and yes I do realize that it is just the installer that is signed and not the executable itself.

Anyway another step in the right direction for Apple!

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Google TV dead on arival

ABC and CBS have announced that they are blocking Google TV devices from accessing their free online streaming service. The reason is alleged security concerns however, you can read between the lines. A colleague of mine recently published a press release saying the he believe Apple TV is doomed because of Google’s competition but I really like to see his face when he find out about the ban. What surprises me is that Google has taken this college student approach to product design and decided to go over the heads of TV studio executives. Plus if studios are refusing a $1 per episode watching fee than why on Earth would they ever let anyone watch the programming for free? Also Google seems to forget that the way you make money online most of the time is through advertising. This is exactly what is keeping them afloat. Yes you can still advertise with a flash streaming service but just go to any US TV website and count the number of adverts that come up …

 

Unless Google really steps up Sony is about to loose a huge amount of money and all the rest of the TV manufacturers sitting on the fence will never touch a google tv device. A move like that could even hurt Android so Google it’s your move now …

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Insomnia

So yeah I couldn’t sleep last night. Got this insomnia crap going on for the last couple of days and it’s making my work days a living hell. But on the up side, since I was feeling really bad this morning I am working from home now. And much to my surprise, it is very much possible. The access to the company’s Application Server is quite good and while it is not as fast as when I am at the office, it is very much usable. So now I have a Mac desktop and a Windows 2008 one … best of both worlds and I have the same information in my Outlook 2011 client as I do in Outlook 2010 on the server.

All technical crap aside, I find myself just as productive at how as I am at the office. Only there is no one making noise. The annoying constant whine of the servers is gone … don’t even get me started on why I have to listen to the servers all day and why the door to the server room is open all the time … oh and in the last hour I have managed to get quite a few things done while still in a t-shirt and boxers.

Ok so I am not advocating working from home, I am the biggest procrastinator after all, but I think there is a merit to letting people work from home once a week or whenever they just don’t feel like going to the office for whatever reason. I can definitely see the appeal of being a part-time mobile worker when your job is market analysis. Well wouldn’t want to be out of the office if I had to call 5 people abroad and have a couple of hours of international calls but for when you are finishing a report or just need some peace and quiet I think it works quite well.

… we’ll see how it all goes by the end of the day. I do have a lot of work today and the last couple of days at the office have proved to be very unproductive.

A word of caution though, there is a huge temptation to kind of reward yourself for managing to not go to work although there is nothing worth rewarding there. But there is the urge to just drop everything and go out or not do much and watch TV. Catch up on the things that you could never do on a regular work day. Well just DON’T. Plus day tv is crap and going out alone or shopping with house wives is not exactly what you want as the highlight of your day. You are still working after all even if you office is temporarily different and the dress code is anything you want it to be!

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Guess who joined the HTML5 party

So you know how there is this company Adobe that keeps insisting that the only way to enjoy the *full* web is by having  Flash Player installed on your computer? Well they just announced that they are releasing a guess what … HTML5 player … picking up jaw from the floor and slowly composing myself … did monkeys just fly out of my ass or what? I guess they are indeed not going to just roll over and all that crap about Flash was just them buying time so that the developers would be able to write something before it gets announced. And since Adobe is creating an HTML5 web player all I can say is the king (Flash) is dead long live the king (HTML5). And good riddance actually. Even with the latest and greatest “optimised” version of Flash using it under OS X puts a decent amount of strain on my MBP and quite a bit of heat on my lap. Oh and that is with an i5 CPU inside …

Anyway Adobe truly has my respect for this move. Now how about all those developers that still use Flash banners? Wake up it’s not 2000 any more. In fact it hasn’t been 2000 for 10 years now.

Oh wait come to think about it, our new company site has an absolutely atrocious flash banner on top. It serves no purpose whatsoever yet this self proclaimed marketing specialist likes it a lot so it’s there. Anyway, if you are indeed thinking about doing something similar DON’T! It is a bad idea on so many levels and it does not make your site more attractive, especially if it’s a business one.

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