Reading Hugh Macleod's post on "living on edges" I was reminded of Robert Pirsig's book "Lila" which describes the concept of "Dynamic Quality" and "Static Quality" which has some parallels. The meme is that any idea (including pieces of music, concepts, films) when first encountered changes the way you think and therefore makes you excited - think about the first time you heard "Anarchy in the UK" or when you first watched Star Wars and the starship flew into shot.
"Living on the Edges" is partially about constantly capturing that excitement (or causing it in other people) - it's also about challenging yourself and making things different - but the reason it's fun is that constant experience of Dynamic Quality.
There is another analogy - it is said that the first sip of beer of an evening causes a euphoric feeling which can never be recaptured - but we keep sipping all night and end up drunk trying to recapture that feeling.
I've been watching a conversation develop today regarding Dell's brand presence - started and facilitated by Hugh of gapingvoid fame but involving many knowledgable people helping Dell become more interesting and relevant (and consequnetly less embarrassing to buy).
This is "the discussion" in veritas that the Cluetrain talked about.
Walkers Crisps have got it too! Take a look at their programme to get consumers to create their products.
Bit by painful bit the picture is staring to filter into consumer market - and I know that the enterprise wants to make it work but is still trying to find the "killer app".
I love it when a plan (starts to) come together as the A-team used to say.
Some months ago I posted about my step-brother's concept and site www.sleeveface.com. There may be a book in the offing and there has been a lot of interest in the idea.
Imagine the surprise to find the idea "borrowed" on the front cover of Esquire magazine - with a reference to the website but no attribution - and worse there was no checking prior to the event with the owners of the idea.
Anyone have an idea on a good approach to this? Comments very welcome.
This is a good parable for why you shouldn't give up when the market gets tough - and why you should stick to your guns. Stoicism is an underrated personal attribute... and the best quote in here is "Our drills were bloodless battles - our battles bloody drills".
Take what you're doing seriously and do it to the best of your ability. Every time.
An interesting piece from Lifehacker which describes a good mechanism for not losing your time in a morass of checking feeds and clickthroughs.
The reason this chimed with me is that I'm preparing for a new assignment and reminding myself of some materials I've spent some of the day reading books (I know ... old fashioned huh!). But in order to do this I had to leave the room in which the (now 3) PCs sit.
It's definitely time I changed my habit - I'm going to disable all my RSS feeds from my Outlook RSS folder(which is a shame because in the main they render nicely) and leave them on my MacBook in NewsFire - it's become too much in my line of sight and too distractive (is that a word?) from work.
Interested to know how others manage their attention.
I see (from several sources) that Plazes has a new home. I used the product in beta form for some years and I still think that location has some way to go - good luck to them but I'll be sad to see them disappear into the Nokia-only world.
An interesting piece from the BCS on IT project overruns analysing where, how badly and why projects go wrong - and a quick analysis of the projects that were reviewed (over 200 in total) showed that around a third of the IT projects ran over time and/or budget.
This led to project cancellation of 1/4 IT projects mainly due to one of three causes - poor Business Process Alignment, poor requirements identification (laid mainly at the door of using the wrong people to do the requirements analysis) or the project was so overspent that the business case no longer stacked up.
Looking at the overruns on the 1/3 projects that overran - 1/2 of those overran by up to a year and £2m - the other 1/2 overran by up to 2 years and £4m.
So...if you use the right experienced people to do your analysis - and you document and manage your requirements well you're on the right track - but once the project goes off track you could be asking for a lot of money from your steering group!
Imagine allowing an external user to mash up figures on road investment (from the local council) with road problems / potholes reported (from someone's own locally created data collection website) with information from traffic updates (perhaps from the Highways Agency) and Google Maps ... thereby giving an instant correlation of the effectiveness of expenditure with outcomes. It's even easier to envisage inclusion of information regarding planned road maintenance to turn that into a forward looking tool to allow the end-users to petition for changes in priorities in the deployment of the road maintenance budge - engaging the citizens in real decision making at a level that makes a difference to everyday life.
In order for this to work we need API's that delve into central and local government data – so what do you think people need? I'm writing a white paper at the moment and I'm interested in any experience that people have in garnering and mashing up information from government sources. Let me know... all input will be accredited (obviously!)
After over 6 years of ploughing my own furrow I've decided to join up with a larger group of consultants. I've been looking to develop my skills and undertake larger projects which is difficult to achieve within one's own business. So over the last few years I've teamed up with Infrasolve (with whom I delivered some interesting Service Management related projects) and latterly with OTC Optima (with whom I delivered Earned Value related projects). Without the support and help of those two businesses it would have been a very lonely trail - and for that I thank them both.
Now I have joined Charteris in their government team to deliver projects in the Gloucestershire and South West geography to an increasing range of clients. It should be an interesting ride - the consultants are "big hitters" and the projects are of significant scope and will make a real difference - particularly to the government's main stakeholder - the public.
So I will keep the blog going and we'll see where the new alliance takes me...
I loved this repost by Stowe Boyd which points to Paul Graham's "Six Principles for Making New Things" which goes as follows: "I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly."
I'm doing the beta for Evernote and it's a good competitor to OneNote (which I use every day and love) - take a look at this page which is generated from Evernote - you can publish private or public pages (I have to look further into the security to be convinced yet) but the UI is good - the idea is pretty nice - I have some suggestions though - but I'll put those on another blog page within Evernote.
This week I¹ve been wrapping up an assignment on which I¹ve been working for around 6 months. There¹s rarely a right time to leave a project (other than the end) but in this case I¹m leaving to join a full time opportunity which I¹ll document later.
But... are there lessons to pick up from the handover?
Some obvious ones like ³leave nothing undone or in progress without explicitly handing it on² and ³make sure that your own team know what they¹ve got to do to finish the project².
Some less obvious guidelines on the commercial side like ³leave a clear point of entry for the consultant following you² (i.e. leave some easy and specific deliverables to be done to get your successor off to a flying start) and also ³use the opportunity to pass on any unpalatable news on project, schedule, and issues on the customer side² which might be unstated you¹re not going to be there to take the flak but take the chance to help the project by offering your honest opinion which the customer can take or ignore but you don¹t have to live with the emotional consequences!
I've now been using my MacBook Air for 2 months. And my iPhone for 3 months. Feedback time...
Firstly the MacBook Air gets a lot of attention. A lot. Probably more than the early USR PDA that I bought in 1998 and transferred my Filofax during a flight from West Coast to East Coast - and could have sold 5 or 6 on the flight. The positive noises are the look, the thin profile, the wide angle of view on the screen, the brightness and clarity of the screen. There are a couple of colleagues who carp about the lack of USB ports (which hasn't been a significant issue) and the lack of a CD drive. I didn't originally buy the AirDrive - but I should have done - along with an external ethernet adapter which I need on most customer sites as many have wired guest networks but not wireless. It's running VMWare Fusion with an XP install which runs business software quickly very adequately. Happy.
Secondly the iPhone with the "unlimited" access to data is invaluable - and I never switch it off. It really works in both the wireless availability and GPRS modes. I have 3 email accounts synched and the only issue is that I would rather it did some better synchronisation - but then I'd have to move to IMAP. Which I can't at the moment. Happy
I also bought the Microsoft Office suite and this is where I get a bit disappointed as the synch between Entourage and iCal / email is pretty unstable. I'm disappointed because I have to use the MS product to interact with work colleagues - but it's still not as solid as I'd like.
But unless I have to for work reasons (like I work for someone who bans Mac - then I'm never going back... and if I can find an alternative office suite which doesn't require me to be online then I'm going to try to exit the MS bundle.
Stowe Boyd may well be onto something with his new business called Workstreamr which may start to address the fact that, whilst every enterprise project management system now has collaboration built in, almost no-one uses this feature - simply because they don't work in the same way that people work - so I've signed up for the beta - let's see how it plays...