Wednesday, March 31, 2010
They came back to me and said that I wasn't 'up to their standards' which perplexed me because creating content for the web is actually an area that I am known to be very good at. So I sent the original and my rewrite to a friend who is a professional editor for her opinion. Sure enough after reviewing the materials she agreed with me that what I had done was certainly professional quality.
That's when it hit me: this company has no customers. As a result, they have no need for new people. And rather than sign up a bunch of people who would get no work, signalling their lack of success, they chose to pretend that their standards were "too high".
Sometimes it's hard to figure out who is for real when you're out on the Openwater.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
What the players found was that it wasn't the best chess players or the players with the best chess playing software that won these hybrid man-machine tournaments but the players that best integrated their chess skills with their automation. It turns out that one has to know when to take the software's advice and when to reject it. It was the integration between the automation and the expert that made the most powerful match.
This has profound implications for how we design software. Quite a bit of software seeks to replace the business analyst or decision maker with codified business rules that 'always' do the right thing. But all systems have exceptions or areas at the limit where the decision tool is not robust. Therefore the key to competitive advantage in these highly automated decision environments may end up being in the expert human - computer interface. In other words, in having humans with the expertise to know when the system doesn't maximize outcomes and to intervene accordingly.
Training experts to override rather than simply operate the software. Something that knowledge based businesses need to think about while riding their cyborg hovercraft out on the Openwater.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Wordperfect Axiom
When the platform changes, the leaders change.
Wordperfect had a virtual monopoly on word processing in big firms that used DOS. Then Windows arrived and the folks at Wordperfect didn't feel the need to hurry in porting themselves to the new platform. They had achieved lock-in after all, and why support Microsoft?
In less than a year, they were toast.
When the game machine platform of choice switches from Sony to xBox to Nintendo, etc., the list of bestelling games change and new companies become dominant.
When the platform for music shifted from record stores to iTunes, the power shifted too, and many labels were crushed.
Again and again the same rules apply. In fact, they always do. When the platform changes, the deck gets shuffled.
Think this only applies to software?
- First, they chose to specialize in video - video being the most effective medium for conveying information
- Second, they broke the training exercises into segments no more than 10 minutes in length because that's the longest someone can effectively focus on and competently absorb new material
- Third, they emphasized 'just in time' training - the concept of viewing a short training concept right before engaging in the task so that the steps are fresh and reinforced by doing
- Fourth, they used skilled training designers and professional presenters to translate expert generated content into effective skill building
- Fifth they made it all available on line via smart phone or PC so that trainees could access any material any time that it made sense for them
- Sixth, they made chat and social media tools available for specific training courses so that those taking a course could rebuild in a virtual world some of the community that they lost when moving from in person training to on line.
- They set a cost reduction objective: the new EJ4 tools and methods should reduce total corporate training costs by half.
- And finally, they set specific performance goals for training: payback within one year. If training doesn't 'move the needle' for a client, then it's free.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
- '3 questions to ask and 2 people to talk to before you bail'
- 'Is that P-Diddy below hip pant style appropriate for my client site?'
- '3 expense items that will defo get you fired'
- 'what to do with that cute client who won't leave you alone'
- help! my job is boring! what do I do!