Sunday, July 31, 2011

When does media impartiality become irresponsible?

The media in many democracies tries to be impartial in its news coverage. However, sometimes presenting a balanced view of two perspectives if one is wrong, is a disservice and betrayal of the reader or viewer. Giving equal time to flat-earthers may be one of those, or to those who argue that the moon landings were rigged. So at what point does it become irresponsible to not point out that Iraq did not have WMDs? In regard to the debt ceiling? It is wrong not to point out that to refuse to pay for debts which were incurred when Congress authorized the spending, will have bad consequences, as when a homeowner refuses to make mortgage payments, or a credit card holder refuses to pay even the minimum payment.
This suggests that the media now misunderstands its proper role in a democracy. Informing the audience of opinions is not mandatory, but it is of facts, and opinions should be marked as such.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Putting barriers between you and a prospective customer or client

It always amazes me that companies will put barriers between them and a prospect. One of the most common is forcing them to provide contact information before allowing them to download a brochure (even if you call it a white paper). If you really believe that a prospect will think more highly of you after they have read it, why create a disincentive? You should want to get it into as many hands as possible. Prospects want to buy! They would not be looking otherwise. So it is important to streamline the process by stripping out the obstacles in the way. Allow the prospect to buy by putting them in control of the process.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to land a corporate job after 50!

Conventional wisdom has it that people over 50 never land jobs with corporations. Yet, while it is immensely difficult, I do know many people who have. In fact, I was recently talking to a friend, who at 67, has just landed a senior position with a very well known corporation. With no college degree, he has landed about 4 times since he was 50 at major corporations. How does he, and all the others, do it? Quite simple - he has built a strong network of people who know and trust him so much that they reach out to him. This does not mean that he is passive - far from it. He has spent a lifetime building that network, and works hard to maintain it. As your friends and colleagues retire, or even die, the network must be kept fresh. Do favors for them, even unasked, and keep your skills fresh. No one finds a job after 50 by simply going through the routine application process (even at younger ages, this is rare), but through the networks you build.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Google+ How about "Friends" and "Close Friends'?

So far, I like Google+. I like how it splits Facebook's "Friends" into two classes. However, I hate "Friends" and "Acquaintances." It is almost an insult to label someone who may have been a friend on Facebook, an "acquaintance." Why did they not call them "Friends" and "Close Friends?"

How to bring optimism back

Events can be a function of attitude. Today, there is pessimism all around and no one who seems to have a big vision. There are those who have small visions, but the world and its component parts seem headed off a cliff. This need not be the case. It takes a catalyst to change this. One leader who can give people a sense of possibilities. This cannot mean just for a few, but for everyone. Divisions of class, race, income or religion hurt any vision.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What happened to hope?

In the 50s and 60s there was immense hope and optimism in the USA. It was not partisan, but applied to all Americans, and most of the rest of the world too. America, under a Republican President, started investing massively in infrastructure. The Interstate system, railroads (much of the current rolling stock was acquired during that period), electric grid, airports, all were built or rebuilt. The space program offered hope and inspiration to everyone, in particular budding scientists and engineers, culminating in the 1969 moon landing. Social progress was made, ranging from racial equality activism and legislation and gender equality to gay rights movements starting. While there was push back from the establishment, young people (and some old) took to the streets to push their causes. Woodstock and other youth events transformed the way we looked at the world. The Vietnam war created an anti-war activism which had been minimal during all previous wars. While there were many problems still - poverty, worker safety, voter registration, pay inequality and more, there was a feeling that these would get better.

Today, we see reduced optimism about the future. People see the decline of the USA, and indeed the West. Activism is reduced, even though as many people believe in change. So how can we change the mood? I will address this in my next post.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

If you want good ideas, show appreciation for bad ones

So often people complain that they do not get enough good ideas from subordinates, friends or consultants. Yet, most people have not learned that to ge good ideas you have to show how much you appreciate any ideas. If people give you ideas, which you ignore without explanation, they gradually give you fewer and fewer. This applies even to subordinates or consultants, who are paid to give you ideas.

When you get an idea that you decide not to pursue, you need to thank the originator, explain why you are not accepting it, and best yet, engage in a dialog to make it better. If people are rewarded for ideas, then they will work harder to come up with more.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Now why have I been so dilatory?

Firstly, I am a regular contributor to the MENG Blend blog,
but I cannot use that as an excuse since it only requires a post a month (next week I have one coming up about the accuracy of the data we use). Really, I suppose that writing regularly maintains momentum, stopping for a while makes it much more difficult to start again. There are so many other priorities in life, from work to family. I have also started getting heavily involved in a new software company which shows great promise. More about that in a later post.