There is a cottage industry in conducting executive tours of Silicon Valley, and now increasingly San Francisco SOMA, to expose teams from other parts of the planet to what is admittedly a uniquely successful culture of innovation and wealth creation. I’m all for it up to a point. Where I part company from the herd is with the notion that global corporations have a chance in hell of playing the same game. They don’t. Here’s why.
Best wishes to each and everyone of you. We hope you make 2018 what you want it to be.
Our apologies for the apparent silence over the past three months. To the casual observer, this might seem like a quiet place but it belies the frantic activity running under the surface. We plan to make out work public in the next few months, so watch this space.
Until then, take the sentiments of Cyril to heart.
If you don’t know who you are, there is little you can do to improve the lives of others. You have to make your own way and help yourself before you can help others, as we seek to help others at People First.
Don’t forget that you can follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest activities.
As technological innovation continues to disrupt industry after industry in waves of what Joseph Schumpeter taught us to call “creative destruction,” executive decision-making is being driven down in the organizational hierarchy, closer to the customer, nearer to the action. This in turn is putting pressure on the HR function to deliver programs to develop executive talent faster and better than ever before. They are going to need help.
All development programs are intended to change state, so as good program designers, it behooves us to answer two questions at the outset:
- What is the current state a candidate needs to have achieved to qualify for entrance into the program?
- What is the future state a candidate needs to achieve in order to graduate?
Here is a template for getting started: Continue reading
In the Age of the Product, customer service ensured that the product lived up to its specifications. Everything after that was the customer’s responsibility, not the vendor’s. In the Age of the Customer, the bar has been raised. Now it is the outcome that must live up to the customer’s expectations, else it is the vendor who is left holding the bag. That requires a whole new function, what the SaaS sector has taught us to call customer success. Let’s take a closer look at what has to change.
First of all, we still need customer service. Products still break, implementations still go awry, and parts still wear out, and they all need to be attended to. The traditional CRM customer service model is admirably suited to the task. It is organized around a trouble ticket generating a case which is managed through to a resolution with the data captured in a knowledge base to better inform the next case. This is by design a product-centric model, putting a premium on accuracy of information and reduction of errors, with productivity being measured first and foremost by the number of cases closed and the time taken to close each one.
What this system does not measure well is the customer side of the equation. Continue reading
Hurricane Harvey dropped 52 inches of rain and 27 trillion gallons of water on Texas and Louisiana. And a new kind of “All-hands-on-deck” response emerged.
Glenn Reynolds, author of An Army of Davids, writes: “But the real difference isn’t citizens getting involved, it’s the willingness of responsible officials to see that involvement as a plus rather than a potential problem … the excellent record of civilian volunteer responders in the post-9/11 record is behind that willingness.”
The Cajun Navy flotilla of private boat owners demonstrated the value of government, the private sector and regular people working together. The value of such cooperation in earlier disasters like Katrina and Sandy increased the ability to coordinate when Harvey struck.
Do you remember The Prisoner?
If you are old enough and you were living in the UK in the 60s, I am sure the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
I am well aware the TV series was also shown in Canada and the US, but I think it’s one of those peculiarly English productions that didn’t translate too well. For those of you not old enough (most of you I am guessing), this is a key line from the show that always struck me: “I am not a number—I am a free man!”
Prescient, when you realize, to quote Wikipedia that …
a major theme of the series is individualism, as represented by Number Six, versus collectivism, as represented by Number Two…. McGoohan [the co-creator of the show], stated that the series aimed to demonstrate a balance between the two points.
Now if that is not a “discussion for our times,” I’m not sure what is! And as you can see, this debate has been occupying me for some time. Then, along comes Gaping Void to point out something similar.
On September 07, 2017, Equifax—one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies—shared a quiet investor relations document with information about a security breach that began in May, 2017 and was not discovered until late July:
[Criminals accessed] names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. [They] also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.
It took Equifax another 40 days to let people know outside the company.
The response from Equifax has been “corporately cautious” with little consideration for the effect on people. Continue reading
I just read a blog post, The Future of Work – Redux by John Philpin. It provides a nice, short look at what might happen as computers, robots and artificial intelligence become increasingly present in the workplace—what will people do when “all the work is done by robots?” As a result, I will be using computer, robots and AI interchangeably for the rest of this post.
John expresses a view that the future includes people working with robots, not simply people being replaced by robots. I happen to agree with that. I’ve written several blog posts on artificial intelligence (AI) and my skepticism about the capabilities and pace of the introduction of AI systems. AI has enormous potential, but I don’t see AI making humans obsolete any time soon (actually, I don’t see AI making humans obsolete—period).
Computers, and by extension, robots and AI, possess one important capability: they can add and subtract really friggin’ fast. George Boole developed what we now call Boolean Logic and it created an approach that allows us, following in the footsteps of Charles Babbage, Augusta Ada King-Noel Countess Lovelace (nee Byron), Grace Hopper and Claude Shannon, to stick those additions and subtractions together in such a way as to resolve any computable task (à la Alan Turing).
If we don’t care—why should the government or corporations?
Working through the news this morning, my eyes caught three different articles that I felt were pertinent to People First.
A fascinating article—if a tad ‘self’-repetitive from the thoughtful David Byrne. The final line from his piece that examines the role of technology is contributing to and detracting from human interaction and engagement. No specific solutions, which is good, since the answers lie with ‘we the people’.
“We” do not exist as isolated individuals. We, as individuals, are inhabitants of networks; we are relationships. That is how we prosper and thrive.