For all of the hate and criticism of Microsoft, they are bringing in people who know what they’re doing. I was reading this post on Hugh MacLeod’s blog and it brought me to some thoughts from Microsoft’s Chief Architect Ray Ozzie.
1. Constraints are empowering
2. Accept threats as resignations
3. Never follow; either leapfrog or stop
4. Diversity means survival
5. Don’t tolerate intolerance
6. Strategy and architecture are inseparable
7. Short and direct earns respect
8. Delaying the inevitable inevitably backfires
9. A re-org will never cure what ails you
10. You needn’t be an #%@hole to get things done
Good brain food. Especially “Constraints are empowering”. If you’re given a huge white canvas and told to paint anything you want, it’s intimidating. Where do you start? What’s the goal? What are you trying to achieve?
If you are given a pencil, a 4×6 piece of paper and told to draw “Immortality”, you have a greater chance of creating something awesome. Having boundaries and goals focuses your work. Like the White Stripes. Look at the breakthrough music they create with one guitar and one drum set.
One of the best ad campaigns for beer in recent history was the “Unravel The Secret” campaign for Tiger Beer. I remember when I first saw the ads, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. They actually told a sequential story that seemed to be fraught with history, intrigue and mystery.
New York 2004
It’s rare that a company will pour this much money into production and not back it up with air time. I guess they were hoping for these videos to go viral, which never happened in North America. But these are still awesome video that makes me want to be part of the Tiger Beer society. Or is it the League of Tiger Beer? Whatever.
It got me thinking. What would be some cool ways to extend this campaign from these commercials into the real world? Here’s what I came up with:
1. Run an alternate reality game like the Art of the Heist. Get people to track down and protect the secret of Tiger Beer. 2. Create an actual secret society around Tiger Beer. 3. Have a bar in each major city in Canada with a secret room that you can only get into with a password. 4. Something with the tattoo? Spot someone with the tattoo when you’re out and they give you free beer. 5. Have a hidden code in the Tiger Beer label (like the Kokanee sasquatch)
What are you thoughts on these? Do you have other cool ideas to add?
It is a common misconception that the internet is populated mostly by socially introverted men. That may have been true in the 90s, but that “trend” has no place in the new millennium. I was reading Sean’s site and came across this article. It’s plum full of interesting facts about how women behave online.
Here are some interesting facts from Sean’s article. Did you know that:
1. 15 million women write blogs – of online women, 53% read blogs, 37% post comments to blogs and 28% write or update blogs (Compass Partners)
2. Women, young women in particular, are much more active on social networks (Rapleaf)
- 65% for fun
- 60% self-expression
- 46% to get info
- 41% to stay up to date
- 40% connect with others
- 39% keep a diary
- 28% to participate in the blogosphere
5. 70% of ringtones that are purchased are from women
6. The Internet is considered a women’s third favourite leisure activity after sleep and family (Yahoo)
7. 40% of gamers and 64% of online gamers are women (Nielsen)
I think that it’s funny when people are surprised by facts like these. Especially when we all know women who use computers in their daily lives. If you are actually surprised by these statistics, maybe you should have a real conversation with one of these “women” that we keep on hearing about.
Some days I dream of being a pirate. That’s because pirates are awesome. And not just because they talk with a swarly accent. They get to sail the open seas and live in a world of possibility. They are the masters of their own destiny. In my day dream, I realized that there’s a couple of things we can learn from pirates.
1. Plunder and steal.
Knowledge. It’s all around us. Ideas are published in books, magazines and blogs. The collaborative world has allowed information about new technology to flow freely. Take what you know. Combine it with what’s out there. That equals new thoughts. Each time the pirates had an encounter, they learned from it. Adapted. Got smarter.
2. Swiftness counts for a lot.
Pirates looked for the lightest and fastest ships they could get their hands on. Because when they wanted to overtake a foe, they had the advantage. And when things got too sketchy, they could flee the scene and not get caught.
Small and fast is the trend these days. It’s the small and fast companies that are overtaking the lumbering behemoths on a daily basis. Big has it’s advantages (usually when it comes to budgets), but small and swift is hard to beat.
3. Break the rules.
Pirates were rebels against authority, free spirits who made up their own rules. There’s a difference between thinking you’re breaking the rules and actually breaking the rules. You have to start by breaking your own rules. Then the rules of your category. Then your industry. Then the world. Rule followers never did anything for themselves but collected a paycheck and breathed. Rule breakers are few and far between. They disrupt. They forge ahead against all odds. They only listen to their gut. They check the wind, choose a course and set sail.
1. Any idea is possible.
If you can think it, it can be built. It’s just a matter of time and money. In watching Batman, you realize that he is just a normal human being with an abundance of resources. For those of us who aren’t billionaires with secret R&D departments, try to maximize the resources that you do have to bring your ideas to life.
2. Adapt ideas to a new medium
The best ideas occur when you apply an existing technology or practice to a new industry. Think about the Tumbler. It was originally supposed to be a bridge building vehicle for the military. Paint it black and all of a sudden it’s a kick-ass machine dedicated to fighting crime in Gotham.
3. Take a small idea and grow it When brainstorming around a large scale problem, why not start small? Take a look at smaller technologies that can be appropriately scaled to solve your problem. The cell phone SONAR mapping technology that Lucius Fox provided for a one-off operation was grown to provide Batman with the key to tracking down the Joker.
One of J-ho’s shots from the World Air Guitar Championships
Everyone has a friend who can run a marathon without training. You know how it is … you wake up early to run, eat right and prepare for 3 months leading up to the race. Then your friend shows up slightly hung over and smokes your time. It’s annoying, but some people are naturally gifted. My friend J-ho is like this, except for photography. And he ran a “photo marathon” a couple of weekends ago.
Here’s how it works:
You show up at Christie pits with an empty film camera at noon on Saturday
They give you a 12 exposure roll of colour print film (200), and a theme card with 12 themes on it.
You need to shoot your interpretation of each of the themes, but YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT for each, plus you have to shoot them IN ORDER
Return the film to the same spot in 24 hours.
You don’t get to see your shots until the exhibit.
Here’s what J-ho had to say about the experience:
It was interesting, but a ton of work, and actually quite stressful due to the time constraints. Took a lot more brainstorming and planning than actual shooting.
This Saturday they actually have an exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel. They post the photos anonymously for each them and people vote on them. Then the top three for each of the 12 themes are awarded. Be sure to check it out!
We are all looking for inspiration. Sometimes cheesy inspiration is the best kind. My friend Paul is working on a little project for TELUS and wrote some killer lines that I have to share. They are supposed to be advice from a dolphin. I know. It probably doesn’t make sense without context. More on that later.
1. If you reach for the sky, be careful not to pull your triceps, because that hurts.
2. Never give up, because if you do, you will have given up.
3. The world is your oyster and it tastes yummy with hot sauce.
4. If you’re having a bad day, someone else is probably having a bad day too, so at least you’re not alone.
5. If someone calls you a name, respond with “pineapple”. This will confuse them.
For more inspirational quotes/hilarity click here. Click on the dolphin.
When InBev decided that they wanted to takeover Anheuser-Busch, AB responded by proposing a flurry of cost cutting changes. A last minute bid by upper management to save their jobs. And now, for the astounding price of $52 billion, the beer monopoly of Anheuser-Busch InBev is born.
It got me thinking. Why didn’t they implement all of these “efficiencies” earlier? It’s too often that we wait until somebody complains to fix something. We are hoping that our customers, stakeholders or bosses won’t notice. But they always do. Take the Rogers’ fiasco with the pricing of Canadian iPhone rate plans. They took a home run and decided they didn’t want to walk the bases.
Here’s an idea. Everyone always notices when something is broken. They will probably not complain about it. As Canadians, we are too polite. But just because we don’t create hate website dedicated to your brand, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t ire us.
So why not fix it right away? You are going to incur the cost of fixing it eventually. And by addressing it immediately, you save yourself the potential of a bad PR backlash.
I play ultimate frisbee. This past weekend, a team that I play on attempted to qualify for the 2008 Canadian Nationals through a Regionals tournament. Although we didn’t make Nationals, we didn’t walk away empty handed either. Here’s a couple of things that I learned this weekend:
1. Desire Wins Games
Never underestimate the power of desire. When two people have equal resources (skill, intelligence, athleticism, time etc) to get something, it’s the person with the most desire who will win it. In some cases, pure desire can overcome disadvantages in other areas and steal a victory from a more qualified opponent. Whether it’s chasing down a plastic disc, or winning that new business pitch, desire is transparent. It strikes fear into your opponent when you show that you want it more. It impresses clients when you are able to produce awesome results on limited timelines because you want their business so badly.
2. Celebrating Builds Momentum
Building momentum is key, whether you are playing a weekend sports tournament or trying to grow your business. It is imperative that you take the time to celebrate all of the small wins with your team. Every time that you get a tough project out the door, a good review from your customers or an award, you should celebrate it. With your whole team. It grows confidence that you are on the right path. It builds excitement within the ranks. Most importantly, it takes the momentum from one instance in time and compounds it exponentially so that it definitively affects the outcome.
3. Good Leaders Motivate and Empower
The mark of a good leader is their ability to motivate you when times are tough. It can take the form of an awesome half-time speech, or a kick ass presentation that reminds you why you love your company. On the weekend, we were we were losing to a team 10-6. Our coach called a timeout to give a rousing motivational speech. We then proceeded to score seven unanswered points. The things that were said during the timeout challenged every single player to raise their game. It got in our heads and gave us the confidence to do what needed to be done to win the game.
Good leaders also empower. They empower you to make decisions and to affect the outcome. By empowering, you get people to put some “skin in the game” and commit to a common goal. Everyone tries harder when they have something on the line.