This comes up frequently on the business end of the Internet world, often with respect to a release, or a specific feature in a release. These conversations can be easy when it's obvious to all involved that a given action would most definitely benefit or, alternatively, harm the company, and they can be hard when it appears to be something close to a 50/50 chance of benefit or harm.
But after reading this article, most of those conversations seem so pedestrian. This guy is catching tuna while on a kayak, and living to tell the tale?
Makes you think about adding a new hobby to your list, and I don't mean golf!
He's a Dev Manager, and has been through this before, so he told his Supervisor that he had an offer on the table. His Supervisor had also been through similar before, and said, "So, are you done here, or can we do something to keep you?" My buddy said that he was not done, and laid out conditions that would make it worth his while to stay.
His Supervisor then said, "O.K., let me see what I can put together for you, and I need to check in with HR." So, my buddy put on his waiting hat and returned to his work.
A couple days later, the Supervisor came back with an answer. Yeah, the counter had arrived!
This was at least 24 hours too late. This small process had reminded my buddy more and more of all the things that he disliked about the place. The bureaucracy, the red tape, HR making a mess of things, the inability to just get stuff done.
Could be almost any company, except it's not. It was Microsoft.
People matter. When business process gets in the way of people's lives, and their ability to make informed decisions that improve their lot in life, then that business is probably getting less nimble, less innovative and more likely to fail in the future.
Why couldn't the Supervisor in question just have done the right thing in a timely manner?
Techcrunch has an thought-provoking post about three firms which have just recently gone through lay-offs. They are:
More doom and gloom regarding the economy? Nah. Just companies which have internal problems or challenges with their current products (or both).
Historically, job growth during an economic turn-around comes from new or small companies which are highly innovative and bringing new products to a market that may not yet exist.
If you want good economic news about how our economy is rebuilding, look for newish companies bringing products to market which make you go 'hmm, that's something new', and avoid the news about older companies - unless it's about a new product for a new market by a team which is running unfettered.
My mind goes to the nooks & crannies of the graph.
How are the workers who used to make cars in the U.S. doing? Is the economic stimulus plan in China working, and if so, how have the workers creating the infrastructure faring in all this? What products are just about to be brought out into the world that will make our lives better? What longer-term behavioral shifts will we see in how people handle money, and assess risk?
Finally, it's nice that it's going up and to the right, but my hunch is that it is about to flatten out. Or maybe worse, the part of that graph that comes from the U.S. will.
For as long as I can remember, I've been a technologist.
But, I've not been necessarily good at communicating the future need. Actually, this is not my problem to own alone, it tends to be true for anybody who is selling the future without a picture or a demo.
This does lead to funny conversations, though:
Me on Email, ca 1985, "See, you can send a letter to people without using paper, or a stamp. And, they receive it immediately!" Mom's response, "But how would I send you a fun card for your birthday?"
Me on streaming media, ca 1996, "You could watch all your TV programs via your computer!" Sister, "Why would I do that, when my PC's monitor is 1/3 the size of my TV screen?"
Me on operating systems, ca 1999, "Microsoft's virtual monopoly of the Operating System market for PCs is bad for consumers." Sister, "You're such a lib (liberal)." Then, ca 2006, sister says, "You know, I hate all the crap about problems with my PC, viruses, malware! All I want is a PC that works. You were right when you said Microsoft's monopoly was bad." (I love my sister!)
So, today, I'm super-pumped by an article by Robert Cringely, What Goes Around: Teledesic 2.0. I would really love to see this plan come to fruition, because it would alter our lives in some really great ways (and probably some bad ones, too). Here are a few things that would be great about this technology:
Don't need to worry about where we put cell towers any more.
EVERYONE has access to the grid, no matter where they are on the planet surface. Now, coffee shops can focus on making great coffee instead of how to reboot the wireless router. More importantly, stupid, moronic authoritarians have even less control over the lives of others.
More on the defeat of stupid, moronic authoritarians: EVERYONE would have a communication device with a camera that creates digital movies. So, any stupid, moronic authoritarian moves to suppress people would be documented in real time.
A third bit about the defeat of stupid, moronic authoritarians: This would also be the last nail in the coffin of the control of news organizations (are you listening Mr. Murdoch?).
Think your iPhone will work better once it's untethered from AT&T? Yup, I do, too. But too bad for all those wireless companies.
We'll be able to watch everything move on the planet surface. Bet on RFID tags being everywhere. I know, yawn, it's already here. But, I mean EVERYWHERE. Imagine having RFID tags in the four corners of your house. And in all the four corners of all the houses in your neighborhood. Then, when any movement of the ground occurs, say due to an earthquake, or a mudslide, you get alerted immediately. So does your insurance company.
Despite all the news about the state of our economy at present, there are some really good things going on that will yield a much better, brighter future. Plan on it.