when bad is good

October 31, 2008 at 7:42 am | Posted in Business, Professional Development | Leave a comment
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Pop Quiz.  You’re the manager over the following situation:

  • Objective: Maintain maximum number of product downloads.
  • History: Product downloads have increased 10% each month for the past year.
  • Action: Change methodology that has been in place for the past year and measure for 6 months.
  • Result: Downloads have decreased by 5% each month for the past six months.

Easy one, right?  Fire the person who ran that campaign!  But in the words of Lee Corso on College Gameday: “Not so fast, my friend.” The answer should be: “I don’t have near enough information.”

What if the result of continuing the current plan would have resulted in a 20% drop instead of 5%?  If that were the case, then although things got “worse” they were actually “better” than what could have been.  Ah, but now you’re dealing with “hypotheticals” as our presidential candidates have become fond of saying. But business is often about hypothetical situations and trying to maximize or mitigate them.

Before you make a risky change, you should do all you can to build consensus from folks after you explain the risks of doing nothing, and of making the change.  Even then, you’re likely to get some (or most) people pointing at the raw data and calling it a failure.  But part of your job should be to do everything you can to ensure that doesn’t happen.  It takes a lot of guts to do that because it’s easier to just do nothing, play it safe, and hope for the best.  But as it’s been said many times, “hope is not a plan.”  So be aggressive, but do it in a way that mitigates surprise reactions to raw data that you know may seem unflattering at first glance.

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“bail outs” are vogue

October 31, 2008 at 7:40 am | Posted in Business | Leave a comment
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Looks like everyone is jumping on the bail out bandwagon.  Guess it’s just the thing to do these days.   I just thought this was an interesting use of words, and I’m sure quite intentional.

http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/081001/0439046.html

when clouds evaporate your data

October 10, 2008 at 7:31 am | Posted in Technology Trends | 1 Comment
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The surge to the cloud feels like a certainty (as much as anything can be a certainty in technology).  It reminds me of the momentum shifts felt when things were moving to client/server computing, and more recently around virtualization.  I think the media is largely in a frenzy precisely *because* it’s the newest thing we’ve had to talk about of “mass” interest since virtualization.  That frenzy feeds on itself (as evidenced even  by my own posts on the topic).

As such, as with any technology transition, it’s not going to be all rainbows and lollipops.  Here’s an interesting post on what, I’m sure, will be many painful side effects as we move into the world of cloud computing.  Also got some enlightenment from our IT leader at Quest regarding a conference she attended, which I’ll post in a later entry.

need help, go to someone who knows nothing

October 5, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Business, Professional Development | Leave a comment
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OK, so maybe not someone who knows absolutely nothing, but it may be a good time to connect with someone who has a fresh perspective on your problem. I was thinking about getting the best in the company, from multiple disciplines, into a room every so often to just think about problems. I think it would accomplish at least two things:

1) Makes you understand your problem well enough to explain it to someone who doesn’t know your particular field. That is always helpful.

2) They’re not jaded by any presuppositions in thinking about an answer.

Yeah, I’m sure some of the discussions will be eye-rolling fodder, but I think it would be a very interesting way to go about solving some tough market challenges. Oh, if we all only had 30 hours in a day, doing stuff like this would be no problem!

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