This, I’ve learned…

Smile

Photo courtesy of gapingvoid
 

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books…and [not] forget to make some art … And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
— Neil Gaiman

 

So another year has gone by, with its successes and failures, joys and sorrows, opportunities and challenges. I'll spare you [and me] the lengthy list of mistakes I made, goals I failed to attain, opportunities I missed etcetera etcetera. I'll only share what have been the most valuable lessons I learned.

Some I learned alone, others were hinted to me.
Some came with great sorrow, others along joyful notes.
Some I knew but didn't dare accept, others surged in aha-moments …
I just thought I'd write them down as a tribute for how they changed me; and I really hope that along these humble lines, someone somewhere will draw the power along with the knowledge that he is not alone…

 

I learned this year that

  • Unless you move outside your comfort zone you'll never know what you're capable of.
  • If you're waiting to be ready, waiting for it to be perfect, you'll wait forever… Sometimes you just need to make the jump and figure out how to miss the ground.
  • One learns more from his failures than from most of his successes…
  • Ideas are either shipped or dead. There are no other alternatives.
  • It gets lonely once you unplugged the matrix, learn to live with it or join the herd for the rest of your life
  • Some things are just not meant to be… accept that and move on
  • It's about the extra mile…
  • Everyone is an artist, they just don't know it yet
  • Changing the world around you really begins with changing yourself
  • Nothing is as empowering as having someone believe in you
  • And finally you should Never Never apologize for who you are.

What’s next?

While going on stage II of last year's mission "Get out there and do it" (with a mindset of ship ship and ship), I'd like this year to be the "back to basics" year. We live in changing times and unless we are anchored to our principles, our identity, our values… the currents of life may throw us on unpleasant shores. Let's make it a point this year to spend more time with our families, read more about our history, learn to appreciate our culture and religion, draw our powers from deep within us and live out to achieve what we owe to ourselves.

 

May all your days be filled by the cheer power of will!

Lamia Ben.

Sunday Fun: The next-Gen desktops

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Anand Agarawala, the creator of BumpTop.

As I was browsing through some files of mine this morning, I stumbled upon this really cool (3 years old but still cool) video about a software called: Bump Top. The software came to challenge our traditional desktops and added up more interactive 3D and red-pill aspect to the whole desktop user experience. I remember watching this video over and over again and thinking that this is gotta be what I want for my birthday. Here is a demo on TED.com from Bump Top creator himself: 

Funny I totally forgot about this up until today. I went looking for updates on the software and guess what?

Bump

Can't say no one saw that one coming huh! (hint: Chrome OS). Here is to Google then, the innovations collector.
Have a great Sunday everyone!

Lamia Ben

Where is the sense in that?

Priority

Photo courtesy: Dan4th

As I came to the office this morning and tried to log in, I had the nice surprise that nothing works. No messaging, no SAP, no Internet. Early morning so no employees either. I throw a quick call to a friend in admin and asked her to check the SAP servers. Few minutes later everyone is on the move. Something is clearly very wrong.

During yesterday’s storm (which is not that much of a storm if you ask me) there has been a quick electricity outage.  It was quick enough to break down the air conditioning system in the Data Center. This morning the center was so heated that you could feel it through the glass. A data center bathing in tropical weather is bad news, really really bad news.

Now let me get this straight, we have blackberries in the hand of every head of department and yet no one thought it would be pertinent for us to monitor the temperature of our data Center? No one considered backing up our air conditioning system a priority?

I’m puzzled, really. We spend Big money on virtualization, ERPs, network monitoring systems, Business Intelligence platforms etc. and yet we take the ABCs of IT systems so lightly…

Funny thing is it’s very similar to an access system I once been acquainted to. No one comes in or out the offices without having to go through lengthy procedures, but no one asks you what you’re doing walking around sensitive areas. They give the illusion of high security when in fact they’re vulnerable from the inside to a grand extent. We live in the appearacnce of a state of the art IT system when in fact our bases are shaky. Where is the sense in that?

Many organizations seem to be falling in this trap. They follow the latest trends, buy the edgiest gadgets, implement the latest sensational platforms but forget the ultimate aim behind the whole IT system itself. And as we’re in December, holy month of strategies, wrapping ups, prediction and can’t-afford-to-ignore lists; I urge IT folks to take a moment and prioritize, ask themselves these questions (among others): Do we “really” need that upgrade? Is implementing the new shiny system our competition acquired that necessary? Does vendors claiming a system to be obsolete means it for your organisation? Are we building up a multiple floors tower on shaky grounds?  

Maybe 2011 shouldn’t be a year for implementing new technologies; maybe it’s a year for going back to basics…

Lamia Ben.

Sunday fun: How to make a splash in social media

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"Alexis Ohanian co-founded Reddit, a social-voting news website with geek allegiances, a small-town feel and a penchant for lighting up the memes your friends IM you about next week."

Here is a video I always liked from Reddit's Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social Media. A quick 3 minutes video that encapsulate what makes social media as powerful as it is today: Power given to the crowds. Enjoy and have a great Sunday! 

Lamia Ben.

Enterprise 2.0 reads – November 2010

Here are some of the reads I really enjoyed this November. The biggest highlight of the month is of course Santa Clara’s Enterprise 2.0 Conference which brought out a rather heated debate on Enterprise 2.0 vs Social business. I’m not going to go there, I’ll just leave you instead with what Larry Hawes wrote about it: Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business: Who Cares?!

A thorough coverage of the conference is available thanks to Jim Worth’s: wiki page.


Want Value From Social? Add Structure. by Tom Davenport on HBR

Many managers these days face a social dilemma. They want to use social media because they know that an organization’s judgment is improved if its ideation and decision processes incorporate insights from multiple perspectives. But they can’t bring themselves to let employees use social media at work, because they fear too much social activity will hinder productivity.

I’m becoming convinced that the way to gain value is to combine computer-based sociality with computer-based structure.

…the combination of the social and structuring aspects of technology ensures that online social activities are oriented to getting work done. The addition of structure makes everyone more conscious of the work tasks at hand, which limits the desire for purely social interaction.

Purely social applications are too social, and purely structured applications provide too much structure. Combinations of the two are where the work gets done fastest and most effectively.

 

Time to socialize your business processes? by Oscar Berg            

The main reason why I am interested in social software is that I believe we can use the reach, immediacy, richness and interactivity that these technologies bring to shrink large organizations and make them more agile and collaborative.

…If someone asks me how social software-powered communication and collaboration ties into business processes (without being specific about their processes), I can give them quite distinct answers:

·       They help you to improve existing processes by connecting different teams, or actually the people and their ideas, across organizational and geographical borders

·       They help you to fix broken processes by allowing anyone who might have an idea for how to solve it, or even a solution ready, to get involved in the problem solving-process

·       They help you ensure that the information resources you need to do your job are supplied, accessible and findable by involving everyone in the challenging tasks of information management instead of just a few select people.

The State of Learning in the Workplace Today by Sumeet Moghe 

The traditional approach to workplace learning has been about managing and controlling the learning experience, keeping it really top down…We need a shift.  …Three practical steps towards the new era of workplace learning:

·       We need to encourage people and support individuals and teams to address their own learning and performance problems.

·       Provide performance consulting services.

·       We need to provide advice on appropriate tools and systems.

 

All of us are better than one of us: thoughts on collaboration by Edward Boches

Want to get better at collaboration, as a company and an individual?  Here are some thoughts.

Become a collaborative company: For starters, get rid of walls and departments and silos. Mix people up. Put technology in the creative or marketing department.Second, change the teams.  If you once started the process with a writer and art director, mix it up. Include UX or social or mobile.Third, consider changing your incentive and compensation programs to reward the kind of behavior you want to encourage. People follow leaders. But they also follow the money.

Become a collaborative partner: Step one is to embrace a mindset of contribution versus control. Two, try and align yourself with companies that think the same way.Finally, if you’re the lead, get the other parties involved at the beginning before everything’s figured out. Only then will everyone feel truly invested.

Become a collaborator: Get yourself in the room before all the decisions are made, even if you have to push your way in.  Learn how to make other people’s ideas better and at the same time make sure they know what you can add.

 

A Sea Change? by Andrew McAfee

To motivate the business case and convey why pragmatic, skeptical executives should be interested in [the strength of weak ties, open innovation and emergent expertise..], I used former Hewlett-Packard CEO Lew Platt’s great quote that “If only HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more productive.”

As I listened, I realized that a fundamental shift had taken place: these executives were no longer talking mainly about their concerns, hesitations, or reasons for caution around Enterprise 2.0; instead, they were talking about their frustrations that their companies weren’t moving faster toward it.

In short, it felt like a sea change had taken place… So I inferred from our discussion that Enterprise 2.0 is no longer perceived as a wild new idea. The CIOs I was talking with apparently considered it just a good idea, and one whose time had come.

I find this very good news, and wanted to share it.

Lamia Ben.