What can you learn from a sixth grader?

kids on ipad Attending a school function on technology yesterday evening it become apparent that there is much to be learned from a 6th grader.  The presenter started displaying icons one at a time requesting that the audience of parents and their 6th graders shout out the company names.  The famous white “f” on a blue background got the expected roar of FACEBOOK.  Following was the full participation of the parents and kids when seeing the universally recognized “t” for twitter.  The list went on to include many well recognized platforms with million of users.  However, as the presenter got farther down the list and presented an icon with a white ghost on a yellow background, only the voices of 6th graders were heard saying “SNAPCHAT!”  The white “V” on a green background also drew the “VINE” response almost exclusively from the 6th audience as parents looked on scratching their heads. Read more

Fitness Trainers are Smarter Than Wall Street

Why fitness trainers, hair stylists, and massage therapists are smarter than Wall Street. Forbes recently published the attached article referencing an article published in the New York Times from Sept. 1970 by Milton Freidman which sparked a multi-decade obsession with shareholder value as the centerpiece of all business objectives. This narrow focus spawned a whole tidal wave of sloppy thinking such as 1) “Speed to market is everything” 2) “First mover advantage” 3) “Grow and grow fast no matter what” Over time the biggest proponents of the idea such as Jack Welsh of GE eventually came around to say “On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy… your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.” Read more

Is being connected making you better or just sloppy?

While traveling last week I noticed a family of three at dinner doing something that made me question the way that mobility and connectivity have affected our lives. The parents had both heads down toward their iPhones while their teenage son was sitting undistracted as if dining alone. Don’t get me wrong; I’m just as big an offender as anyone in this area but sometimes clarity can only come from the observation of others. This brief moment made me realize that while we all think that our smart phones have made us more effective, efficient, and successful, for some people and some situations just the opposite is true. Unlike any other time in history, we are living during a time of endless growing possibilities and choices related to how we communicate, work, socialize, and recreate. For those who prioritize and focus the payoff can be profound. The ability to have a family, travel, and be self employed all without missing a beat is possible in a way that has never been possible before. Unfortunately for some, this opportunity turns into a mess of distractions and lack of focus that can result in a never ending workday and lower productivity. The challenge is especially great for the self employed, sole proprietors who need to manage me a client base, scheduling, book keeping, marketing, and support without any outside help. For these professionals, having a clear plan is the difference between success and misery. Read more

The Gondoliers iPhone

It struck me as funny that on a recent trip through Venice Italy that many of the Gondoliers were using mobile phones before, during, and after the guided tours that they so famously provide to thousands of tourists each year. The gondola has retained it’s original design, polish, and heritage in much the same way that the city of Venice has retained it’s authenticity and unique charm. But the gondolier, while traditional in appearance, has evolved to use modern tools that make the impossible task of managing schedules, client inquires, and payment all while providing the actual service they are offering. It really hit home that the mobile technologies, used properly, give the working man (and woman) a chance to keep up and prosper in thousands of different professions. Read more