2009 predictions: Mergers, Netbooks, Smartphones, Linux and Energy

comparison of the sizes of a package of handke...Image via WikipediaWhile I think all of these are pretty safe bets, I think the author got it right on. And in 09-10 I think that safe bets will be the only bets, but that still doesn’t mean they’ll pay off.

TG Daily - 2009: Year of mergers, platform changes and conservation

Analyst Opinion - 2009 is shaping up to be a nasty year, in fact it looks like 2009 and 2010 will be years we’ll want to look back on as briefly as possible. But these years will also clear out of lot of the dead and dying companies that have been clogging up the market. I believe the U.S. and the technology industry will both emerge stronger than they went into this cycle. Let’s look at some of the trends that likely will dominate 2009 and a few of the bellwether companies that currently define the tech market.

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Book writing progress report

I feel pretty good about my progress to date. You can follow my progress via The Book category. Here’s a list of my most recent posts:

I’ve pounded out all of my big rocks. They’re just really rough and need some polishing. There are also still several areas that I need to go back and fill in some of the logic and expand my reasoning/thinking around several of the points I was trying to make.

For the rest of the year my posts won’t be following any type of logical progressions. I’ll address each post and attempt separate posts that fill in the gaps I see. I’ve already received some great feedback and comments on many of the posts but I’d still welcome any additional suggestions you have.

What you’ll see in the 6 posts I’ve written is the general outline; the major themes. Now I want to go back and fill in the outline. I can’t decide if I should go back to some of my much older posts that cover some of these topics yet or not. I probably will if I get stuck on a topic.

My big challenge over the  next two weeks will be finding time to write while still spending Christmas with my family and getting in as much snowboarding as possible. You gotta have balance right?

So far I’m really pleased with this process. I hope you’re getting something useful out of it along the way.

I’m still not sure what I’ll do with the book when I’m done. I vacillate between seeking a publisher or just self publishing. I guess it’ll ultimately depend on how confident I am with the final product.

What are your thoughts?

This post is part of my ongoing effort to blog the book I’ve been working on for too long before the end of the year. These are all rough first drafts that have not been edited or even proofread. Comments and patients are requested. You can follow the whole series through the category The Book

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Web 2.0 Has a Higher Return on Total Investment

So far I’ve talked about capitalism as a metaphor. I know that the business owners and the skeptics who are reading this are saying “Great, but I have to worry about real capitalism.” This post is for you.

When I first started working on the ideas for this book, the economy was great, markets were booming and everyone and their dog was buying a house (take two we’ll finance you). Those days are long gone. Today, even more than then, companies have to watch every dollar. If it doesn’t absolutely have to be spent don’t spend it. But what if I could  show you a way too achieve all the things I’ve talked about without any additional variable of fixed cost. I won;t say it’s free because there is one cost: time. Time is money and I won’t disregard it’s value by saying that this is all free. But especially now, I believe the real value of social media is waiting to be realized.

Let me show you what I mean.

What does it cost to ideate a new product, conduct several focus groups, prototype the idea, run more focus groups then if the idea is still alive after being beaten and dragged through the streets take the product to market? For large companies the answer is in the millions of dollars. Even for a small company creating Web based products the answer can be easily thousands of dollars (a figure more significant to a small company than the millions is to the large company).

How much does it cost to reach out to an established online community that’s made up of various social networks both internal and external to your company, share some ideas and come up with an idea? How much does it then cost to take that idea to a slightly wider group of trusted connections for feedback and input? So far are incremental costs are zero. Even the internal social networks can be built using open source software.

There may be some incremental costs when the idea is prototyped, but this can be significantly reduced by using mock-ups and again shared with an ever wider group of trusted contacts internal and external to your company.

Then when the product is launched you have a community of people that feel some sense of ownership because they helped create the product. Their input was instrumental. They become your army of advocates helping spread the word about this great new product. Best of all the total cost is closer to the thousands or hundreds of dollars instead of the millions or thousands.

In this scenario not only is your total cost significantly lower but your product will most likely be better than if it had been designed and built in a vacuum. A better product equals greater returns and if your total costs were lower to begin with you just crushed you Return On Total Investment (ROTI).

This model can be applied to every area that we’ve covered in this series. How much does trust cost? What’s the value of knowledge? Your company is spending some amount on all these activities today. Why not add to them, or where possible, replace them, with the more effective, organic tools that social media provides? Your additional costs can be minimal and your upside can be huge.

The biggest cost to your company will be that, in most corporate settings, processes will need to be adjusted or completely re-worked, and unfortunately big companies just don’t  do this very easily. The bigger your company (or at least the bigger your company acts) the harder this will be to implement. The good news is that no one feels very big in this economy and almost every manger in every company around the world is willing to try something new. Especially if it doesn’t *cost* them anything.

There’s no better time to step up and be the hero in your company.

This post is part of my ongoing effort to blog the book I’ve been working on for too long before the end of the year. These are all rough first drafts that have not been edited or even proofread. Comments and patients are requested. You can follow the whole series through the category The Book

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Creative Interactions Lead to More Innovation.

Image via WikipediaThere isn’t a CEO alive who doesn’t think more innovation is a good thing and something that their organization needs more of it. The problem is, no one’s really sure how to maximize it in a cost effective manner.

We all have vague notions of where it comes from and there is no shortage of research on this very topic. I’ve spent the last several years combing through the books and research and in a very general way I’d like to summarize what I think most of them are saying.

Increase creative interactions. The general consensus also seems to be that outside influences create better innovation than influences we are already well aware of.

Unlike my previous two capitalism metaphors innovation is not actually the capital. Innovation is the product that is purchased with the capital. The capital is creative interactions.

What do I mean by creative interactions? I believe it is the interactions that people have that pull them out of their current line of thinking and expose them to new possibilities. This can be interactions with people from other groups within the same company. It can be interactions with customers or employees at partnering businesses. It can also be (and more frequently is) interactions with new content.

Web 2.0 technologies enable all of these to happen more frequently and more rapidly.

Social networks like Facebook, allow people to interact with a variety of people they know on varying levels of familiarity. Twitter allows people to be exposed to conversations and often links to valuable content at a dizzying pace.  RSS and RSS aggregators allow people to subscribe to multiple magazines worth of content a day. Internal blogs and wiki’s allow people to explore what other groups and people are doing and how to learn from their mistakes and innovations. There are even a growing number of tools that enable co-innovation with customers.

Unfortunately, of the three areas I’ve talked about so far measuring the ROI of innovation investments is by far the most difficult. Coupled with the difficulty of measuring the value of creative interactions is the fear that many managers have that employees are just wasting time.

I sympathize with companies and the fear of unproductiveness, social media can be a huge time suck if you let it. But I also believe that the more dependant you are on a person to be innovative in their job, the more you have to trust them to manage their own time and the more of it you have to let them “waste”.

There is another argument for the ROI of social media and like most of my financial arguments, that I’ll get into in more detail later, is that of total cost, or Return On Total Investment (ROTI).

The simple answer to ROTI is that Web 2.0 *can be* cheap, even free.

You can deploy an open source tool or sign up for a social network for no increased cost and decide if it works without ever having to go through procurement (that in itself will speed up innovation at an exponential rate).

Web 2.0 tools and social media allows individuals to fail often and fail fast while others are deciding if something is a good idea. It also allows them to succeed where others have decided to abandon an idea because of uncertainty.

Creating more creative interactions will create more innovation. Nothing I’ve ever seen will create more creative interactions than social media. But like all innovation the value will never be realized unless their is a process in place to feed that innovation into action. This requires that all people involved in the process are familiar and comfortable with the new tools that exist.

The companies that will succeed tomorrow are the ones that enable interactions, create a process for tracking, vetting and realizing the innovations and then feed those learning’s back into the organization.

This post is part of my ongoing effort to blog the book I’ve been working on for too long before the end of the year. These are all rough first drafts that have not been edited or even proofread. Comments and patients are requested. You can follow the whole series through the category The Book

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IZEA’s no worse than traditional advertising

Ted Murphy Halloween

Image by tedmurphy via Flickr

I wasn’t going to weigh in on the IZEA issue, but I couldn’t help myself.

Most of you probably don’t need a back story but for those that do I’ll try and be short.

IZEA is most famous as the company that started PayPerPost. Basically you could pay their bloggers to write about your company. It was not transparent, know one knew that it was a paid post, basically caused a lot of problems.

Since then they’ve learned a lot and changed a lot of their approach. They now operate in complete transparency.

But people still have issues with it. It just doesn’t “feel right” to some people. To others it’s completely legit. They’re both right of course.

Most bloggers are not journalist, but people have come to trust them like they are.

Steve Spalding responded to the criticism he received for his recent participation with IZEA.

Chris Brogan also responded to the backlash he received.

Back in August I wrote a post in response to all the blogger burn out I saw. What I said there directly applies here.

Welcome to the watered-down reality of all that you loved. You can never go back through the door you came in

This may come across as harsh but I’ve dealt with this cycle my whole life.  While I am ranting a bit my comments aren’t meant to bash anyone more to offer a friendly kick in the butt.

Anytime a trend that develops on the fringe gets adopted by the mainstream the “cool kids” whine because now every “poser” has jumped their train.

Congratulations bloggers, you finally got what you’ve been asking for. You can now join the ranks of all the cutting edge musicians, fashionistas and artists.

You really have two options at this point: A)Give up B)Dig in

You can accept the fact that corporate America is hip to the business advantages you’ve been preaching all these years OR you can throw a fit, take your ball blog and go home. With Corporate America comes the late adopters we pride ourselves in not being.

If you stay you can help make sure that the watered down version of what you’ve helped build keeps the core elements that make blogging great.

If you leave you become a “what ever happened to…”

Over the last year I have come to know IZEA through their infectious CEO, Ted Murphy, he really is a good guy. I’ve also come to know Dan Rua who’s firm invested in IZEA, once again, a really good guy.

IZEA has done a remarkable job of turning around their business despite a really really rough start.

So I like the people, what about the business? It depends. If Ted didn’t do this, someone else would have. Does that make it right? I don’t think it’s right for everyone. I think the approach has to fit the audience and honestly that’s where I think most people really have a problem with it.

It’s just like advertising.

We all know that no matter what the traditional media says, advertising effects their content.

Chris posted the IZEA post on his Dad-O-Matic blog not his social media blog. The Kmart post is probably very appropriate in that case. Some of the bloggers IZEA works with though don’t separate their content and the result can be less than relevant content.

But this is business. And all the rules of business apply here. If you don’t like it don’t follow the person doing it. Vote with your RSS subscription and page views. If you don’t like it blog about it. If you do then do the same.

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Creating Smarter Organizations.

Personification of knowledge (Greek Επιστημη, ...

Previously I attacked the prickly area of Trust. This time I want to tackle an equally tricky area: Knowledge.

There are few areas inside a company, large or small, that are trickier to track than knowledge. There’s an entire professional disciple dedicated to knowledge management and even they struggle with how to measure the ROI of knowledge.

The Wikipedia entry on knowledge sheds some light on why this is problematic.

Knowledge is defined (Oxford English Dictionary) variously as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. Philosophical debates in general start with Plato’s formulation of knowledge as “justified true belief”. There is however no single agreed definition of knowledge presently, nor any prospect of one, and there remain numerous competing theories.

Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning. The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate. See Knowledge Management for additional details on that discipline.

How can we measure something that we can’t even define? It’s a philosophical dilemma that I doubt will ever be resolved. I’m not going to immediately give you the answer to the ROI question just yet. For now I’m going to make the assumption that we all see value in knowledge and we all agree that our companies would be better if we could create more shared knowledge.

For my purposes I would like to use the very loose definition of knowledge:

The theoretical or practical understanding of a subject

Where does knowledge come from? Once again I don’t want to join the raging debate of how we obtain knowledge so I’m going to take a very easy approach. I believe there are two main ways we obtain knowledge, processing information and/or doing something. For my purposes I want to focus on the first of these two.

Most knowledge workers spend the vast majority of their time, finding, processing and creating information. The entire Information Technology industry is founded on helping people inside companies do these three things better. But technology can only process information, not knowledge (my apologies to all the Artificial Intelligence people out there). As one manager said to me, “I don’t care about what’s in their reports, I want to know how they came to their conclusions.”

Social media and Web 2.0 have given the dusty old disciple of Knowledge Management a new found purpose and a whole slew of tool sets. You think knowledge management was tough in the 80’s and 90’s? Try managing exponential information.

But that’s exactly what we’re asked to do. We now have to search, filter, process and re-purpose more information in a single day than our ancestors had access to in their entire lives. And it’s only going to get worse.

But do you know what the worst part is? For all the knowledge that knowledge workers create, most of it never leaves their head and the stuff that does make it out ends up in someone’s inbox or shared over a phone call or in a hallway conversation. What happens when that person leaves the company? What happens when, even if they stay in your company, someone from a completely different department tries searching for that information on the company intranet? The results are usually the same: net = 0. the company doesn’t really benefit any beyond the reach of that one person.

To date we have seen the first promising signs of social media’s ability to manage and create knowledge. Bookmarks, tags, and other types of folksonomy allow people to sift, categorize and share information as they come across it. Wiki’s, blogs, micro-blogging and social networking tools allow people to collaborate, share and teach each other in both real time and time shifted. Add increased search capabilities, meta-data and RSS on top of these tools and you’re starting to see the promise in social media and Web 2.0 technologies.

While we’ve only really talked about the value of knowledge as it applies to employees, the same holds true for customers, partners and all of a companies stakeholders.

The great thing about these new tools is that they simultaneously capture information as it’s being created and shared. We will never be able to fully capture all knowledge inside an organization, even if we wanted to, but by enabling and encouraging the use of an integrated tool set with these capabilities you allow the rules of capitalism to apply to knowledge. The more that is shared, the more that is created.

In my next post I plan to show how innovation will also follow the same rules.

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This post is part of my ongoing effort to blog the book I’ve been working on for too long before the end of the year. These are all rough first drafts that have not been edited or even proofread. Comments and patients are requested. You can follow the whole series through the category The Book

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How Much Does Trust Cost?

Paying people to hold signs is one of the olde...

Because of some of the reasons I outlined in my previous post, Corporations, The Government and The Media are all struggling with a severe loss of trust.

Who’s trust is it that they’ve lost exactly? Well that would be The Public, aka everybody. I’d like to break down why it’s important that these groups regain trust and how they can do it. Some of this may seem like a no-brainer but I figured it would be better to cover everything as opposed to leave some pieces out or up for debate.

Loosing Trust is expensive.

Well, I guess that didn’t take long after all. Why should you, dear reader, care if people trust you? A lack of trust costs you money. It’s that simple, it really is. Let’s take a closer look.

The obvious example is your customers. If they don’t trust you they won’t buy from you. If they don’t trust that you will deliver to them a decently functioning product no amount of advertising will help them believe you. Why? Well they don’t trust you, or The Media (double whammy). They don’t trust you to tell them the truth so anything you say is a lie.

If your employees don’t trust you it is probably even more expensive. If your employees don’t trust you then they won’t be as productive or work as hard. They just won’t give you everything they have because they don’t trust that they’ll be adequately compensated.

If your employees don’t trust you they’ll take the first reasonable offer to leave. I’ve seen employees leave their existing company for a position that paid less because they felt it had more long term potential.

If your shareholders don’t trust you when you tell them that this next quarter will be better than the last then your stock price suffers.

To overcome this lack of trust many “Social Media Experts” (SME’s) advocate complete transparency. I don’t adhere to this notion. There are some things a company should never divulge. There are the obvious things like employee records, customer data and trade secrets, but there are non obvious things that vary from company to company and situation to situation. Things like: new products, product features, strategic partnerships, the list could go on. These are often things that will become public eventually, it’s just a matter of how long before they come out. I may be splitting hairs here but to me complete transparency isn’t subjective to timing.

Despite SME’s loudest and most ardent cries I find it laughable that the biggest violator to their rule is one of their most beloved brands.

Apple is the most opaque company I’ve ever seen. I would argue that they are as opaque as Big Oil or Big Tobacco. That may seem harsh but how many companies in the tech sector could get away with forbidding and even terminating employees for blogging? How many companies could get away with suing bloggers who blog about their up-coming product releases? When Apple does this where are the cries of “Foul” or “Transparency”? Sure people cry out but it is quickly forgiven. Why? It’s simple really: People trust Apple.

People trust that Apple will continue to deliver cutting edge products that astound and redefine any market they enter. People trust Apple to to deliver on the promises they make. Apple never promises to be easy to communicate with. Apple never promises to be a low cost leader. Apple never promises to be transparent. So they don’t need to be.

Transparency is a bandage for lack of trust.

People think that if we see everything a company is doing that there’s no way they can deceive us. Companies just need to be trustworthy. The problem is, how do you regain trust once it’s lost? If we extend the metaphor that trust is capital, then it should behave as any other capital when the rules of capitalism are applied to it.  If we go back to my earlier definition of capitalism it’s this:

Capitalism is the belief that the more freely you distribute capital the more capital is created.

So how do you gain trust? You first have to trust.

This has been one of the major hurdles many corporations, governments and other entities have struggled with when it comes to social media. They don’t want to blog because they don’t trust their employees to not say the wrong things. They don’t trust that their customers won’t leave nasty comments. They don’t trust those that they want trust from, and their customers and employees know it.

Instituting a company blog really has little to do with being transparent. It has everything to do with trusting.

You have to trust your employees. You have to trust your customers. If you don’t how can you expect them to trust you. If you’re fortunate enough to not have lost trust then consider yourself lucky. But if you feel that your company would benefit from increased trust than you need to start trusting. The actual implementation that you use will vary. You may start internally first. You may start externally first. You may start a blog, you may start a forum, you may start a wiki or any other number of tools but don’t do it if you aren’t willing to trust.

It’s been well documented that people trust other people they perceive are like them. Glossy messages from the company don’t seem real. Real words from real people like your customers, or better yet, other customers will have a much stronger effect than any press release.

This is why social media can be so effective. It’s also why so many corporate blogs aren’t effective. Rehashing the same marketing junk in a blog doesn’t make it any more effective.

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This post is part of my ongoing effort to blog the book I’ve been working on for too long before the end of the year. These are all rough first drafts that have not been edited or even proofread. Comments and patients are requested. You can follow the whole series through the category “The Book“.

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The Reality of the Corporation

Contrasting yesterday’s post, I would like to discuss the realities of the corporation as I see them. I would first like to preface this that I am not an economist. I’m merely a slightly jaded Gen X (aka Slacker) with an MBA. I’ve owned my own businesses and have been, and currently am, an “employee”  (although I wear that label very, very loosely).

The fairytale Corporate America that I talked about yesterday operated in an American capitalist ecosystem. The “global market” didn’t really exist yet and technology had not enabled the rules of capitalism to play out world wide…yet.

Sometime during the ’80’s that changed. This is while most Gen Xers were just starting college or still in high school.  First we watched this new discipline, “Information Technology” hold the promise of the corporate fountain of youth. Then we watched as Europe unified (kind of) under a common financial agreement. We watched Japan go through a major generational shift that enabled a younger more business savvy generation show us what capitalism was capable of. More recently we’ve watched China and India catch their own strain of capitalism - the full effects of this are still far from being fully realized.

During these titanic shifts corporations had a decision to make: Follow the rules of capitalism and take advantages of the wealth of lower cost resources - computer and human - or try to hang on to their fairy tale existences.

It is at that point that corporations realized that employees were just another resource on the spreadsheet. Once that happened “labor” fell under the same effects of capitalism that all resources are subject to. Companies began shifting those resources and a new wave of innovation swept through the country sweeping away the obsolete and propelling the prepared to new heights.

Today, thanks to the Internet and technology there are very few jobs in America that can’t be done somewhere else for nearly as good, just as good, or often times better by someone overseas or by a computer/machinery. And if you think your job is safe, wait and hold that fairytale close to your pillow at night.

There are only two American jobs that are safe in the future. Those done by a true specialized, expert or those that don’t exist yet.

This reality is not necessarily better (although many of us think it is) or worse (although many people do) it’s just different. But it’s the reality that we live in.

Because of these huge changes, everything that I mentioned in my previous post about work in the fairytale version of Corporate America is radically different.

Information flows through a company faster than it is capable of capturing it, and that which it can capture is so huge that we haven’t figured out how to digest it effectively yet. Large global companies are not capable of housing all of their employees in one location, and because all but a very few companies that don’t compete globally (I would argue there are none) most small businesses aren’t housed all in the same location.

A company is only as loyal to their employees as long as their position (not necessarily them) can add value to the organization, and likewise an employee is only as loyal to the company as long as it is providing the most value to them (although sadly not every employee grasps this yet).

Employees are mobile and transient. Most corporate jobs are now classified as “knowledge workers.” Knowledge workers do not learn their job their manager. They do not move up in the company. They usually move diagonally, or to another company to move up. I have heard many a manager confess that, in some companies, it is easier to move up within ones own company if they leave to another company and then come back years later. This is the employment equivalent of corporate parkour (see video).

With so much transient information, both in the form of people and data, the need for the collaboration and the simultaneous capture of knowledge is proving to be one of the last true competitive advantages companies have. With knowledge and collaboration comes innovation.

It is also important to note that something else happened during these huge shifts. People were turned into line items on a spreadsheet, you were either a customer or an employee and either way you represented a certain dollar amount. Once CEO’s took the faces away from the people they relied on, they became greedy and were able to rationalize all kinds of things (I believe a very similar thing happened with the government years before).

Corporations violated (and still do) the publics trust time and time again. Even the Media (which is just another group of corporations) fell victim to this greed.

People no longer trusted the Government
People no longer trusted Corporate America
People no longer trusted the Media.

What’s even more important beyone the loss of trust is that people no longer rely on these groups for the things they used to (the one arguable exception is the Government, but like I said, that’s arguable).

The solution to these problems lies in the, yet to be fully realized, power of Social Media. Moving forward I will use the metaphor of Capitalism to show how government agencies and politicians, companies and even local and national media outlets can use the tools and trends driving the social media revolution to earn back trust and gain substantial competitive advantages by better capturing knowledge and enabling innovation.

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This post is part of my ongoing effort to blog the book I’ve been working on for too long before the end of the year. These are all rough first drafts that have not been edited or even proofread. Comments and patients are requested. You can follow the whole series through the category “The Book“.

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The Myth of the Corporation.

Sears Tower from the John Hancock Center Obser...

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There was a time, supposedly, when large companies  resided in one building. When you worked your way *up* the company ladder, you literally moved up in the building. The higher you went the higher the paycheck, until you reached the top.

Information traveled in the company the same way. Information came into the company at the bottom levels, usually in the form of mail, telephone calls or information in people’s heads.

That information was turned into reports and memo’s and sent up a level. From there I imagine that someone took a series of reports and condensed those into another report for another level of management and sent it up. When the reports reached a high enough level orders were passed down the ladder again, getting broken up into smaller and smaller actionable items.

Being old enough to remember my mother typing reports up in triplicate on carbon paper and sending inter-office memo’s, I can’t imagine how long it took to get work done.

Now of course I think most of this was theoretical. It’s the version of Corporate America we still see portrayed on TV and in movies, but I doubt it ever functioned this precisely. There are obviously a million opportunities for error and deviation in this model. I’m sure this is why IT was seen as the second coming of the messiah in the eyes of CEO’s everywhere. And those who didn’t bow in humility were wiped from the face of the earth.

People, and knowledge, stayed inside the company. You learned your job from your boss and you got promoted when he moved up or retired. People rarely left the company they started with. You were loyal to the company, and in theory, they were loyal to you.

Companies competed with other local or regional companies. In rare instances, companies competed with other companies nationally. To stay on top companies only had to understand their business. Product cycles were long. Innovation was something that happened very slowly. The only global threats facing a company were political in nature. A war was the most disruptive thing that could happen to a company.

In this fairytale Corporate America, companies provided all kinds of community service. One such service was that they paid for our radio and television. They also provided valuable bit of information about the most wonderful things we’d like to know about and they conveniently placed these treasures of information in the shows we were all already watching as commercials.

People trusted the Government.
People trusted Corporate America.
People trusted the Media.

The Media was the most trusted organization in America. The News was the most trusted source of information. Media defined us (some argue that it still does). Media unified us (some argue that is does the opposite now). Media validated everything that we believed about our fairytale lives and what we believed about the rest of the world.

Like all fairytales this one also be turned out to be not true.

This is the fairytale I was told growing up. In order to be granted admittance to this mythical land all you needed to do was do well in school, go to college and when you graduated you would be able to choose from all the awaiting jobs.

That obviously isn’t the world that me and my Gen X brothers and sisters woke up to. Someone changed the rules and didn’t bother telling us what the new rules were. So we made up our own. I think this is why Gen X has been the most entrepreneurial generation to ever walk the face of the earth, and we’re only in our 30’s and 40’s.

In my next post I’ll contrast this fairytale world to the one we live and work in today. Have any thoughts (of course you do)?

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Writing a book before the end of the year.

Illustration of a scribe writing

I’ve been talking about this for two years now and it really bugs me.  I have a book to write. And I am going to write it before the end of the year.

Ambitious? Yes. I have been writing pieces of it on this blog, I have an outline. I have pages upon pages of notes scattered across multiple Moleskine’s.

As are many companies, HP is mandating a two week holiday that starts Friday the 19th and we’ll return to work on Jan 2nd. I have decided that since it doesn’t look like the local ski resorts will be open by then (can we blame this on Al Gore for inventing Global Warming?) I’m going to use this time to write my book.

Phase 0.5 - Get ready

I will break my outline into individual chunks. I’ll quit reading the 5 or 6 books I’m reading. As much as possible I’ll clear my calendar and To-Do lists (I’ll still have to break for the Holiday festivities, of course).

Phase 1 - Blog more

I have decided to cover the bulk of the content I haven’t written down yet in blog posts. These will be rough and ugly first drafts that may not even be totally coherent. I invite any and all feedback and criticism to these posts.

It’s my goal to write multiple posts everyday. I’ll start just in the evenings and weekend until the break, then write as much as possible during the day as well.

Phase 2 - Scrape up all the loose pieces

Before the end of the year I hope to have the bulk of the content written so that I can then scrape together all this content and try and organize it into some semblance of a first draft.

I’m making this public so that I am more motivated.  In that spirit I encourage you to harass me as much as possible if you do not start seeing multiple book/blog posts between now and the end of the year.

You can also follow updates on Twitter of course.

Image via Wikipedia

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