Sunday, December 9, 2007

New Year's Dinner, Now with less chicken.

Straight to the point:

On November 30th, I made my New Year's resolution. Playing it safe, I've nailed down a few realistic yet vague goals for the year all premised under one theme.

I can only talk about my New Years resolutions after I've started or nearly completed that resolution.

I've decided, based on the coaxing of a friend of mine, that if I wanted to talk about a resolution near New Year's day without breaking my own rule about talking about New Year's resolutions I would need to have one New Year's resolution far enough along so I could talk about it.

Resolution #1: Work less and enjoy work more.

I've humped through my job 50 hours a week for the past 15 months. I do well, make good money, and like the technology industry. Some of the things I like most about the this industry are the people, the events, the ideas, and the renewal of knowledge. The last point, the renewal of knowledge, is the best. Once a technology is understood, a new technology comes out that is just as important. Like HTML, to PHP, to AJAX and onward.

My goal for the next year is to meet more technical gurus, learn more in depth technical elements that define the value in any business proposition, and get involved with it.

I've already started. I've knocked about 4 hours off of my work week by being out of the office at technology events. Last week I met Robert Scoble and hung out with the 6 apart, facebook crowd. TONS of fun.

Now number on to #2 --- what's it going to be? I'm almost there. Almost.

Investing in me: Steven B.

Consider this: my New Year's resolution.

Part of my primary resolution this year is to work less - any way I can. I don't mean do less an effective job or slack off, I mean do less of the things that I consider work. Here are a few of the things that I'd assume that people would have the strongest associations with Work. 1. Showing up at the office everyday, at the same time. 2. Meeting where people talk about nothing and accomplish nothing. 3.dealing with other employees that don't like their job and want you to know it every day. 4. hourly paid work weeks 5. having several unofficial bosses all who want to tell you what you are supposed to be doing. On and On and On and On.

Work is hard.

So, I want to work less.

I would like to work for 20 hours a week, and spend the rest of my time investing in myself. Fortunately, I like the technology industry and even if I was a plumber I'd still be involved in it. So why not spend the rest of my time learning and innovating in the technology industry. For the other 20 hours of my paid hours, I will focus on making myself a better worker in any way I can.

I would like to become the most efficient worker in my job that I can. This way, 20 hours of my week will be worth 40 of anyone else's. I'm already finding this to be very easy.

I'll tell you how it goes.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tis the Season

So someone suggested they thought of the coolest Halloween Costume. I asked what it was. They said a Christmas tree. Well, well, well. Isn't that interesting.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nice Quote: Peter Block :The Empowered Manager

Nothing impresses me more then quiet ideas. Ideas that don't hit you over the head with meaning. Like this inspiring quote from Peter Block's The Empowered Manager, "Every act of creation is an act of faith. The essence of faith is to proceed without any real evidence that our effort will be rewarded. The act of faith in choosing to live out a way of operating that we alone believe in gives real meaning to our work and our lives." and to quote Richard Barrett's, Liberating the corporate soul, "because creativity involves uncertainty in outcomes, it is easily blocked... Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity..."

Thanks Richard for the summary and Peter for the quiet idea.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fuzzy Boarders

I think the tribble is the most commonly known fuzzy boarder out there. They come on board the Starship Enterprise with a clear purpose (some guy was selling them as pets) and soon become a problem. Their use (cuteness) yields to the more pressing issue of how to deal with an out of control and growing population of fuzzy boarders.

As I'm whittling my "Hiring employee's that like/respect your corporate mission" essay, *upcoming*, I'm starting to see where some problems may begin with start-ups and their employees. I've summed it into halves.

First half, when you are a boss hiring for your start-up - HAVE A CLEAR JOB DESCRIPTION. Stop the "Requirements to be determined at a later date" stuff. Since I'm from the worker bee category, not privy to the lunch time management meetings, I can just speculate on the motive to the fuzzy job description. It's because you as management know that committing to something means you've limited your capacity to make people do what you want. It's a pure power play. Stop it - it's not the right starting point for a healthy relationship.

The second half, new hires listen up, when looking for work with a start-up, make your perspective boss commit to the performance metrics that you will be judged by over the first few months. If you can't get that commitment be ready for relentless flow of new responsibilities and extra hours of work on stuff you don't give a damn about (TPS reports anyone?). You are officially a member of the Fuzzy Boarder community.

It's the employee who is hired with a specific job purpose but who is slowly strangled with other unrelated responsibilities that will become a liability, slow and unproductive. It's the employer who doesn't see the value in explicit job descriptions that will become the authoritarian micro manager that doesn't understand why you won't stop complaining when asked to put together the company directory because you are the only one who knows how to use the software.

This is, of course, up for debate ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Still waiting for an answer... M.F.I.

So, Dr. Thomas Cargill, what's the deal? You to busy to answer a stinking email. I spoke with one of his students and he commented that the guy doesn't have a lot of love for people. In general.

I know I'll need to call this guy and got a sinking feeling it's going to be unpleasant.

On the side, I'm looking for an opportunity to have someone work with me on the review of my really fun hiring strategies and long term employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, no one cares (friends and co-workers), so I'll probably need to pay someone to look at it. You know nothing like a couple of Lincoln's to get people interested.

Monday, November 26, 2007

the Espresso Book Machine - Beats Kindle hands down

So, I spent this weekend looking into the Espresso Book Machine. It's a Star Trek Esque device that prints books on-demand for about 1 cent a page. What a deal! I'd finally be able to lend out one of my favorite books, Skornia's "Television and Society" , without the fear that I'd never get it back.

Unfortunately, there are less than 10 of E.B.M.'s in existence. Also, I suspect that the affordable 1 cent per page amount will probably go to 2 to 5 cents a page making it not so cool (economics 101). But still, it's about time something like this came into existence.

Also, Open Library , a San Francisco based book company/internet book archive has one but I can't figure out how to get access to it. All I've seen is this number... 415-561-6767 . I need an excuse to call them. Anyone interested in this?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What is Transactional Alignment?

While I'm awaiting the response from Dr. Thomas Cargill, I've moved onto my next topic and actually hammered out the outline in a few hours. And so...

Chip Conley
, CEO of Joie De Vivre Hospitality , recently released his book titled "Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow." If interested, hit his website. I'm sure you'll enjoy a picture of a laughing man wearing clothes in a bathtub... right?

I thought the book was worth the few hours it takes to finish and I'd suggest reading it if you are a leader in your company. Not so much if you are an employee. This book is for management... wrap it up with a bow and place it, anonymously, on your CEO's desk. Maybe you'll strike a chord and have a incredible 2008 - they say New Years is the time for change.

I've taken a look at a few books sited in "Peak" and revisited his concept of the Investor Pyramid. The ideas on investor satisfaction can be converted into a simplistic strategy for hiring practices in a company. I think it makes perfect sense. Who is the number one investor in a company. Employees. The era of the scared cog employee is past for a while.

I'm happy with what I have completed thus far and I'll try to get someone to review the work I've done before I post it. If I can't get any help, I'll post by the end of the week.

Wait for it...

Still digging for M.F.I. references.

Apparently, this modest proposal of writing a quick summary on the concept of Market Financial Innovation is slow going. I had read the concept in the course reader for Economics and Banking from the University of Reno, Nevada. Professor Thomas Cargill, the author of said book, mentioned it as one of the primary reasons why there is difficulty measuring the money in the economy. Being the go getter I am, I've emailed him and I'm awaiting some explanation why the rest of the world is oblivious to this term. I've google'd the hell out of it and used a variety of other searches like Yahoo, Ask, and even the new and upcoming favorite of mine, Surf Canyon - no dice.

Before I hear back from him, I'm sure that there is some interest in why I'm focusing on the concept of Market Financial Innovation as a primary topic. No? Well, what if I told you to imagine this... when you were a young kid watching the Discovery channel or Nature, remember when you'd be watching a show on how lion cubs get killed by other adult males as a means to preserve the genetic homogeneity? Oh, I know you do. Then the camera would show a bunch of cute cubs getting slaughtered by the big male cat, and you'd be thinking, why doesn't the camera man do something, this is messed up? Well, this is a parallel to Market Financial Innovation.

No, you say? Ok, maybe it's exaggerated, but it's what I got until I actually see what Dr. Cargill suggests.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

On the topic of Market Financial Innovation

My first post will be a brief summary of a review on the concept of Market Financial Innovation. What's that you say? Well, it's one of the core tenets of why Economists have such a difficult time measuring the ebb and flow of money in a market economy.

Why should we know about it? Because it's a little sheisty.

Wait for it...

Less than usual

Who's the guy that can't cry at funerals but gets a little misty when he sees a 2 year old kid hanging off an old Golden Retriever's ears? This guy. I'm not quite weird, but I'm not quite normal. I'm somewhere in between.

Why the blog? Catharsis. Maybe. It's more likely self aggrandizing. Meh... A good Italian boy just can't do anything right, especially with the de facto guilt tossing Italian mother and a Catholic school upbringing. I'm lucky I ever made it through the potty training.

Where this blog is heading? I'd like to use it to post summaries of essays I'm expecting to write. I'd hope to draw a small group of critical thinkers interested in offering well thought suggestions. Hopefully I'll stay on target.