Trump – It’s About Leadership and Leading

NOTE: Arrrggghhhh….. I just HAD to break away from my impartiality and write about leadership again, for this election cycle.  This post is about leadership, equality, fairness and progress, not to promote one specific individual over another. You must choose who you believe is the better leader for this country, to speak for you nationally and in the halls of other countries around the world. Do your own research, reach out to multiple different sources and do our own thinking. Do not let one news channel (TV, cable, paper, radio station) be your sole point of view or perspective. Broaden your horizon, then discuss and debate with others. Do not get locked into your own filter bubble (see Eli Pariser’s 2011 book on THE FILTER BUBBLE) because being in your own filter bubble will trap you and adversely affect your state of mind, on everything. Folks, please do your own deep, selfless and honest thinking.

Leadership! Yes, leadership. It is not something one can easily gain. Leadership is something one earns and this is basically what is at stake today – who deserves to be the leader of this nation… Successful leadership is one where people will want to emulate you as a successful role model.

First, yes, Hillary Clinton did create her own mess with her email situation. But do remember, other individuals before her at State Dept. also had their own private email servers. For this, if she is not going to be criminally punished as others of us would have (and others in the public eye should have), then she should be financially penalized. Then, we can move on.

Yes, she also may have previously had something going on with the foundation in question. If it is true, let the Justice Dept deal with it. Stop making allegations if they are not true. Then, we can move on.

Yes, Clinton is stiff, civil and formal but those traits actually are something that many people in this country (and around the world) want and prefer – at least she can become relaxed. Many people do not want to be associated with individuals who make it their mission in life to be:

  • rude/crass,
  • overbearing,
  • insincere,
  • name calling…,
  • unapologetic,
  • “politically INCORRECT”,
  • disingenuous (on an hourly basis),
  • divisive,
  • belittling (of various races, genders, religions, etc.)
  • inflammatory

Many people simply do not want to be engaged with individuals with these kinds of attributes ON A DAILY BASIS and NOT AT ALL if we can help it! Especially when these traits above have been a known trade mark of someone over decades…. And many people especially do not want someone with these traits to be the leader of a nation, a nation with the capacity to intentionally start a devastating and horrific war or become a police state. However, it is okay to sometimes be inflammatory, IF it is for a validly good cause and the end result is the success and/or uniting of disparate people/groups. 

Lastly, on Bill Clinton – HE IS NOT THE ONE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! Drop this aspect.  And let’s move on.

Many people in the United States (many of us wish we actually were a United people instead of all the many islands of uncompromising communities), many people want someone with at least some kind of history of working:

  • in politics
  • with the military,
  • with the intelligence community,
  • with state and local leaders and
  • with leaders of other countries.

Being a leader means:

  • working with people to obtain equality (financially or just in life), no matter the gender, age, race, religion or medical handicap.
  • bringing people together through a spirit of community, not through a spirit of free for all hooliganism at public events (which makes some of us believe we’re living in the U.K. during the height of hooliganism).
  • you have something to say and you have actual plans and methodologies to back up what you say. It does not mean saying you have something but you will not talk about it yet and then never talk about it again….
  • you want to enable others, from the very bottom and into the mid-levels of the economic and educational strata, to become better.  To enable them to in turn become enablers – for themselves and to help others.
  • you are willing to improve the living and working conditions across the entire country for everyone. Conditions such as roads (think infrastructure), pay equality, working environments. It is bad enough that minimum wage is going to take 2 – 4 years in many places to reach the nationally desired goal. The problem with that is, by the time minimum wages get there, inflation and general cost increases will put many of these folks in the same spot they were in 3 – 4 years ago…
  • compromising, even when you are the one getting the short end of the stick, if it means success for all

One has to earn the right to be a leader…

But to be that leader, one must show they are for everyone, not just for certain sections of a country – or for certain groups of people. There is no returning back to 1960, or 1930, where many, many people in this country were/were perceived as second class (or worse) un-equal individuals. From Chinese (from what, the 1800’s to the 1940s), to Women (for all time), to Blacks (since the 1600’s), to Mexicans – no one should be looked down upon as anything less than equal.

We need someone to bring us together, not cause a nation-wide situation of ‘us’ versus ‘them’.

That is leadership!

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The Pulse Night Club: A Sad & Horrific Day – Worst Shooting in U.S. History – June 12, 2016

Another Black Flag dayand it happened at the Pulse night club, in Orlando, Florida, America

49 happy people – no matter their race, gender or sexual preference – are gone now, possibly more over the following days. And all because one person disagrees with the lifestyle (possibly) and lack of Islamic faith (possibly) and decided to strike a blow in the name of ISIS (again, possibly) in the U.S. because of our western lifestyle. (UPDATE: June 13, 2015 – we definitely now know it was for ISIS/ISIL/IS)

We are all saddened and heartbroken that this happened.

What does this horrific event now mean for:

  • Americans,
  • Gays,
  • Non-gays,
  • The religious,
  • The non-religious,
  • The gun owners,
  • Non-gun owners,
  • Privacy (what’s left of it) and most of all
  • Freedom

Just because ‘you’ are against gays and the non-religious and women who wear scanty clothing and anyone of a different religion from yourself; none of these things gives anyone the right or justification to kill anyone else.

It is completely wrong and not up to you to make that kind of choice.

So, what will this mean for the people of America? Are more people from the small list above going to become targets…?

As the weeks progress, will it mean an immediate and much more intense crackdown on all known and wannabe ISIS sympathizers across the country? American citizen or not?

Will this tragic event mean that it is time to finally get down to brass tacks to create and implement a national registry for automatic weapons (and any automatic hand guns – i.e. machine pistols)? Will this registry be created, even if the gun lobby and the NRA are against this kind of tracking – even if dozens of people were killed with an automatic weapon…

Will it mean a further erosion of privacy for Americans? Let’s hope that it does not erode too much more of our privacy and freedom that we hold dearly.

 

Are people finally going to come together (as they always seem to in any tragic situation) but this time, forcefully and united, demand actual enforcement of current laws or implementation of tougher laws on automatic weapons, along with that national registry for law enforcement to use before another tragic situation occurs as it did in Orlando?

This should have taken place after the Sandy Hook shootings

 

What will transpire in the future after this shooting? Well, we – all of us – will need to come to grip with what will continue happening if nothing concrete is done about it NOW. And that could mean more mass shootings and maybe even robbing you of someone you know and love…

However, what could happen might be something meaningful. For example, having this automatic weapons’ registry means it could be cross indexed with anyone on a list such as the FBI’s list of ISIS sympathizers. We ‘will‘ need to collate as much data as possible in tracking down and stopping these individuals before they commit any kind of crime. This will mean even more usage of analytic tools such as Palantir, Analyst Notebook and the like to compile, analyze and spit out reports of likely candidates. It is clear that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed with the number of suspects to track and figure out who might do damage to the people of this country. We could also enlist the aid of something like IBM’s Watson to process the huge quantity of data that should be collected, collated and analyzed.

Now if this list were put together in a decent manner, using strategy and forethought, the list should well include, wherever possible, known associates (sympathizers or not) who most likely would buy the weapons if the shooter him/herself were unable to purchase the weapons – because of that list…

Just don’t try to start going around arresting all Muslims – because they, as everyone should know by now, are not all the sameO.K.???

 

The gun lobby, the NRA, members of Congress and many of the people in the U.S. will have to realize that we will need something like this registry to aid in preventing future shootings, such as their own family members.

Otherwise America, if we cannot create some kind of system where correlations can be made, nationally – we will see more and larger body counts of the dead from shootings that could have been prevented, if we tried better.

 

And yes, there will be many who completely pooh-poohs the idea of any kind of national registry for automatic weapons so they can buy 4, 5 or a dozen of those themselves without anyone tracking that information.

On the other hand, there will be a lot more who actually want something like a registry so they can have peace of mind that law enforcement knows who has automatic weapons in case anyone plans to (social media) or goes on a killing spree. Again!

 

I hope the gist of what I am trying to say comes across because I vacillated all day whether to write anything because of my raw state of mind. The next shooter(s) may not be an ISIS sympathizer but could be an ordinary American such as Dylann Roof who shot up the church in Charleston or any other individual angry over something trivial…

Finally, and obviously, I did but I am still so wound up due to all the needless deaths, all because of one person disagreeing (likely) with the western lifestyle… Sad and Angry…

Mitch McConnell – Supreme Court & the American People Having a Choice…?

Hmmm, this will be one my shortest posts.

Mitch McConnell, you continue to spout off about letting the American People choose the next Supreme Court nominee.

Mitch McConnell, since when has the American People “EVER” chosen a Supreme Court nominee?  Have you been partaking of water, spirits or illicit drugs in conceiving that nonsense about us, the American People choosing a nominee?

If the American People ever did choose a nominee, you, Mitch McConnell, will likely be the first one to block that choice should it not dovetail nicely with any of your Machiavellian  schemes / plots. 

Mitch McConnell, I will not call you any kind of name, that is not what open minded, free and independent thinkers do. That is (or should be) beneath us. Maybe individuals from the Trump side of the house would oblige in that sort of tripe. We, open minded and blinder-free individuals, see what the options are and make informed opinions. We do our own research as much as possible.

  • We do not listen to only one anchor / tv host / radio host and
  • We certainly do not watch/listen to only one TV station from fear of corrupting our mindset or personal filters of the world at large

Mitch McConnell, if we, the American People had a choice in the matter, we would do our own due diligence, just as you should be doing, in making any ‘possible’ choice.

Too bad that the “American People” do not have a choice or hand in the matter of choosing a Supreme Court nominee…

This is likely to get some flack from certain groups of people out there and it is most unfortunate. Instead of having true debates, discussions and free flow of ideas – too many individuals in our country (and in the world) have deep seated fears of change. These individuals do not want progress and devolve/resort to name calling, threats and even illegal bodily harm. These individuals, you can figure out who they are, want to go back to a time of distinct separation, discrimination and suppression in order to gain the superiority they gained by doing what is today – illegal.

Successful Corporate CEOs & Presidents… of the Future, 2016 and Beyond

 

UP FRONT

SUCCESS Through Employees

Disaffected Employees & Losses

Productive Employees & Investments

Disabled Employees

SUCCESS Through Yourself

Yourself

Vision, Creativity, Ethics

Knowledge

Communication

Connections

Conclusion                                                             

 

 

UP FRONT

This writing is for those individuals who aspire to become Successful corporate CEOs and Presidents down the road as I stated, in 2016 and beyond.

And if you really do want to achieve these prominent positions of responsibility, you must really want to and you have to be the type of person who can successfully thrive in those positions.

Success is not just about working hard for 70 – 80 hours a week (or more) in perpetuity; it is about working SMART and HARD in productive, efficient and success steps. And doing so means learning to delegate instead of micro-managing everything.

Many of you know that micro-managing does not work well in the long run and it sure does not help your staff and employees grow or your business. Nor is working 70 hours or more hours a week a permanent and sustainable solution, your health will give in whether you are successful or not. And you can bet, in nearly every situation, the family life will be a shambles.

Take care in being successful. There are three areas where you must tread with great and sincere care, you must be a willing:

  1. Champion / Sponsor to multiple ideas, some brilliant, some exotic and some seemingly crazy (not meant in a bad way) but exceptional while other crazy ideas are complete duds – this is the price for innovation and creativity
  2. Collaborator with great people as well as with highly odious people – you must bridge that gap and act professionally, not just for your sake but for the corporation as well
  3. Risk taker, not just an ordinary risk taker but an intelligent and calculated risk taker, one who listens with eyes, ears and brain wide open – then to be truly successful, you must do YOUR OWN due diligence in finding out the facts, truths, positives and negatives behind each risk for today, tomorrow and in the future – you cannot just take the words of others without information (that is what Big Data and Analytics can help with) – you have a fiduciary duty and obligation to all

And one area, due to today’s digital arenas, where you have got to be explicitly aware of – Information & Cyber security risks to:

  • Your employee’s Personally Identifiable Information (health, financial records)
  • Corporate financials
  • Corporate Intellectual Property (business processes, partnerships, R & D efforts and product secrets)

You need to be cognizant of the massively numerous digital risks as well as having on staff a CIO and CISO who are not only aware of those risks but are up to date as to what has to be done to protect the corporation. This means detecting, defending, deterring, mitigating and performing root cause analysis of what happened, why it happened and how prevent the breach from occurring again).

 

SUCCESS Through Employees

Do not worry, I will come back to other topics but this one prominent thought springs to mind time and time again. And yes, there will be some disagreement on this point. You absolutely have to take care of your employees first and foremost! Why? Because if you do not care for them, these unhappy employees can and will sink your company faster than a Mark VI torpedo striking an adversarial target of opportunity…

You must realize that caring for, nurturing and growing your corporate staff means your company can continue to flourish and thrive in tight economic times.

Employees should come first. Why would this be the case? It is the case because employees are the people who make your company hum. They are the ones who make customers happy and WANT to come back, continuing to do business with your firm. Employees are the face to the world and you most definitely want the best face facing out to the world. You want staff that is happy, satisfied and eager to do more. So care for them. 

Disaffected Employees & Losses

This paper is not to dwell on the negative aspects of employees, only to point out several items.

Unhappy, disgruntled, disappointed and unchallenged employees will make your firm drown in morass. This will manifest itself in myriad manners. Sure, you will see these individuals energetically working – while you are present but what about when you or other senior leaders are not visible?

These same unhappy individuals will revert to what they normally do, such as:

  • Sluggish or haphazard anemic work efforts, getting only the most pressing or urgent tasks completed and not at blazing speeds either nor at a sufficient level of competency either
  • Performing inaccurate work that is not as thorough or complete as it should be
  • High rates of absenteeism for any number of reasons but mainly to not show up to work
  • Spending more time searching the web for things that have absolutely nothing to do with work, just to pass the time
  • Low levels of morale
  • High levels of adversarial teamwork, combativeness, insubordination
  • Disgruntled employees could also walk out with your most highly prized Intellectual Property (IP) before you realize it
  • On, and on, and on – the list is long

And for any senior leaders, who do happen to have the time and inclination to read this, tell other readers the truth, “Do you by chance manage to catch employees in these various states of mind and attitude?” 

Productive Employees & Investments

For any new CEO and President, it does not take a rocket scientist or a brilliant psychologist to see that there are many things that can make employees ever more satisfied and productive at your firm. And all the while with investments that do not have to be super-significantly expensive. The investments will pay off in spades in the short term and in the long term, making your ROI a number you can trot out time and time again to your investors and customers.

Some of these employee investments can be minor for things such as:

  • Better noise abatement and cubicle designs to give workers some satisfaction of privacy from other nosy AND noisy neighbors
  • Computer Based Training (CBT) and online courses to improve the employee knowledge base or to stretch their skills to go to the next level
  • Communication, “honest,” communication from the top in a more frequent manner – even just managing by walking around to see what the current state of affairs is like throughout the organization – unannounced walkabouts, not to catch staff doing things wrong but to say ‘hello’ and see what can be improved – having open and honest dialogue with junior staff, with middle management and with other senior executives

Then there are employee investments which can be major but worthwhile:

  • Better lighting, brighter and full spectrum lighting – LED – to move away from the harsh or dull old style lighting still used in many organizations – it has been shown time after time that brighter and better lighting, which also mimics natural sunlight, cuts on depression boosting productivity – the better lighting rejuvenates people on an healthier, unconscious level – causing a lasting spring in their steps (and in their work)
  • Better and brighter paint schemes – too many organizations have dull, drab and even worn paint schemes throughout their buildings, who wants to be around that…
  • Windows – add more windows if possible, replace old inefficient and well, crappy looking windows/frames to allow more sunlight in and a view out to the world
  • Plants – bring in plants, “real” plants to bring color AND oxygen as well as absorbing some of the soul killing dead air
  • Skylights
  • Have privacy rooms for those who need to make short private phone calls without their cube mates hearing everything – or else, the employee who needs to make a call will go out to their car, taking off time from work
  • Have power nap rooms for those who need them, with strict policies – these can revitalize those who really want to work but could use a nap
  • Ergonomic chairs – these should not just be relegated to the senior and executive staff, comfortable workers are more productive workers

Lastly, there are significant corporate investments that benefit the corporation for the long term as well as the employees:

A faster network:

  • Yes, this will entail laying new cable, something like Cat 7 (category 7) or fiber optic to break up congestion and latency, specifically for those high peak times (employee work/customer access) – we will continue to see larger datasets moving across the network
  • Faster and more powerful – routers, switches, firewalls and wireless access points
  • Full or Hybrid Cloud infrastructure to complement your current data center (or to replace it) so you can scale up to as many resources as you require when you need them – including faster network bandwidth, faster CPUs for the computing devices and faster storage devices to store / retrieve data (solid state versus hard disk) – it may also cut down on your Capital Expenses
  • Better computers, tablets and servers that can function with a flow allowing employees to keep working, productively

Yes, it will mean replacing many corporate devices but it will ensure your network can handle heavier load over time. It will also mean that you do not hear about or see many, many, many of your employees sitting and watching a spinning hour glass or circle nearly every time they perform a print, retrieve or save task (not every single time but you get the point).

All of these instances across the firm will add up to wasted, unproductive time and significant revenue loss to operating expenses year over year that wind up being opportunity costs lost. By this last statement, I mean that employees could be more productive if they did not have to constantly wait for their computer system or network to respond. 

Disabled Employees

You should also be looking at the ranks of disabled employees; such as the blind who can help your company by listening to products you may produce that have an audio aspect to them. To hear how pleasing or unpleasant the product(s) may sound.

Look at deaf employees; they could help with the visual aspects of products and see things in a different manner to make those products more successful. The deaf could look for things such as color, layout and appeal to help make various products winners.

There are the individuals confined to wheel-chairs who may be mentally brilliant but are overlooked only because they are in a wheel-chair.

 

SUCCESS Through Yourself

Yourself

Now, as one who wants to be a successful leader, there are many tools you should have in your arsenal, ready to pull out and wield. Some of these tools will be tangible, while others are intangible.

You are who you are by the dint of all that you have done over the course of your life. 

Vision, Creativity, Ethics

It is necessary to be a person who is capable of having vision to look forward in time, through the hard times, to bring success to the firm. It is also a necessity in making connections where others do not see it, such as dual use for a product when the product was not originally designed for anything but what it is selling for.

You should strive to be able to see trends coming that you and your company can take advantage of to continue being successful. 

You need to have creativity, even to a small degree, to see, hear and understand what your staff is telling or presenting to you for any viable product that may come to market. This is not say you must be a marketing genius but you should be able to tie your vision to your creative juices to move forward with a product or product line.

It is also mandatory to have the ethics, strong ethics, to not bamboozle anyone – employees, customers, shareholders, no matter how dire the situation has or will become. You must be strong enough to be bold and upfront about everything. Dishonesty and deceit will never, in the long run, win you any awards. This principle of right and wrong, integrity, must be imprinted onto your DNA so that it is, well, just second nature.

Everyone fails at some point; you must be able to show your resolve and your ethics to be bigger than others when the time comes and move forward. 

Knowledge

Yes, you must be knowledgeable about EPS, ROI, Cash Reserves, 10K and 10Q statements, CapEx, OpEx – these are all a given. What is not a specific given is that you need to have other kinds of knowledge as well.

You should be curious, all the time and willing to learn more – when you make the time, which you need to pencil in. You have to be adept in picking up and learning new things and being adaptable, another requirement, to multiple instances you find yourself in and to new kinds of knowledge.

You, yourself, do not have to be the smartest and most intelligent person in the room but you do have to smart enough to know when to have the smartest and most intelligent people around. You should not be shrinking away from these smarter people; you should be embracing them and learning from them. To be successful, you must pick up knowledge in many unlikely places, not just the known and predictable places.

If you continue to try to be the smartest person in the room, it will show and many people will be repelled by it.

You should have gained, and continue to gain, your knowledge in a multitude of places, from school, in the streets (commonsense) to the many places you have been employed. You should also strive to continue learning to be better at whatever you do. 

Your knowledge, especially if it is broad based knowledge (or what can be called cognitive diversity) will continue to pay dividends for you as long as you live. Because of that broad background of knowledge and experience, you will have the tools you need in continuing to be successful.

Take for instance your school based education. Suppose you learned to play in a concert/marching band; that you played in one or more sports; you learned at least several hard sciences (advanced math, physics, areas of medicine, chemistry – male or female); you learned home economics (not to be minimized in the least); geography; languages (one or two); political science; technology based courses (male and female); history and English (if you are in the U.S.).

Then suppose you continued to learn more about these topics at least through college. With this multitude of learnings, you will have a foundation of knowledge that will last you a lifetime. You will be able to discourse on any number of topics in any setting with just about anyone who is willing to honestly hold a conversation with you and you with them. 

Communication

You should be a good to great communicator to get your point across or attempt to. The honesty of trying will win out every time in highlighting your sincerity. If you attempt to put on a choreographed, scripted performance that is not true or heart-felt, everyone will see it and make note that your brand, your reputation is not as sterling as it should be.

Your brand and reputation, after your ethics and integrity, is what defines you as a person. It is what defines you as a leader. You should bend over backwards in proving how solid your brand and reputation are, not only to yourself, but to everyone else. Those who are paying attention and looking beyond their own nose and selfish needs will see the truisms you have and will respond to accordingly. 

You are the kind of communicator that listens intently, respectfully and honestly to those talking to you. You must be acutely, but not painfully, sensitive to the needs of others. You must show some level of empathy to the people you deal with, no matter if it is on an occasional or irregular basis.

No matter the situation, in being successful, you must be an active listener. Sometimes, that is all some people really need or want, even if it does not require any action on your part, other than listening. 

You must be open and honest, as much as possible in whatever situation you are in. You must be affable at times because many people actually do like that, as long as you do not go overboard with it AND you do not make it a gimmick. But you must also be serious at the times when you need to and it should explicitly come across that you are serious and not wishy-washy to use a ‘highly’ technical term…  

One ultimate item of interest is that you have got to be a person who is willing to engage and very capable of collaborating with others, no matter who the other is.

The other could come from any walk of life, they could be a:

  • Woman/Man – just because the other is a woman or man should make no difference whatsoever (I’m not talking about lifting strength here)
  • Different age – this is meaningless because that person could be a better, smarter person than you, you will not know until you give them a chance
  • Race – now this, this is just a no-brainer – the color of the other should not matter in the least, it is what in the character and the heart of that person that should matter to you
  • Religion – well, this is a touchy one for which I will not get into much because there those where religion is not an albatross upsetting any engagement – then there are those where religion is a complete and intractable roadblock where they will not compromise no matter what you compromise on – so be careful in working with this latter group of people, it can be rather difficult.

The bottom line in regards to others is that you be respectful of who they are and what they represent. If you are respectful to them that is a big head start. 

Connections

To be successful, you have to be something more than average, you have to be not just a thinker but you also have to be a lateral thinker [1]. You have to be able to think in a multitude of directions, vertical, horizontal and diagonal in order to see things in a different perspective or through different rose colored glasses. You should work at and continue being a multi-spatial thinker. Do not look at just that one single tree (micro) but instead, look at that tree AND the forest (macro) for a holistic picture. This is a far better imagery to have instead of looking at a single tree, after single tree, after….. 

You will need to understand the multiple connections and axes of the organization and industry you are in. You need to understand the interrelationships between marketing and research, between research and operations, between business and technology and between technology and people – only to name a few here.

You must see those connections and see where there are possible pitfalls and negative entanglements. You must be able to strategize where there are possible successes in any number of those connections. This where predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and even visual analytics comes in handy – all these tools can assist you with doing ‘what-if’ and ‘what-about’ scenarios to fine tune various strategies.

 

Conclusion

Again, employees should come first because if you do treat them better, rather than as a resource to bring profits to the bottom line, they will reciprocate as they should by being better workers and not using as many sick days or excuses for not coming in to work, a place they loathe.

Look for good people, whether they are handicapped or not. Look for people who different than you because many of them could be or will be smarter than you. Surround yourself with smart or smarter people, they can help you and your company be more successful.

Continue being creative and if possible, try to be innovative to make disruptive and revolutionary changes, not just incremental and evolutionary growth. Try to combine the best of all worlds; the best of the best business practices; the best technological tools that can be used for best results and certainly not least; People and what they individually and collectively can offer. 

Ultimately, to be successful, you must continue to learn, strive in growing and engaging with others and at various points, others who have altruistic intents rather than vested selfish interests will help you succeed. You in turn, can help others be / become successful. 

And that is the crux of it all, if you help others succeed, you too will be successful. If you help your company succeed, you will be successful. It is a wickedly nice circle to be in…

 

Definitions

Cognitive Diversity – He (Scott Page) suggests that cognitive diversity has four dimensions: perspectives, interpretations, heuristics, predictive models.

  • Diverse perspectives: people have different ways of representing situations and problems; they who see or envision the set of possibilities confronting them differently.
  • Diverse interpretations: people put things into different categories and classifications. To some people, I might be someone who worked at the World Bank. To others, I might be an leadership storyteller. To others, I might be an author about radical management. All are true. They are different interpretations of the world.
  • Diverse heuristics: People have different ways of generating solutions to problems. Some people like to talk through their thinking about problems; others prefer to write out his solutions first and then talk
  • Diverse predictive models: Some people analyze the situation. Others may look for the story)

(Cognitive Diversity boils down to the broad base of experience/knowledge that an individual has collected throughout their lives and the differences in what others have learned – making the collective whole that much better)

Predictive analytics – Practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. Predictive analytics does not tell you what will happen in the future

Prescriptive analytics – A type of business analytics that focuses on finding the best course of action for a given situation

Visual analytics – A form of analytics in which interactive graphical displays of data are used to generate analytical results and insights – it can attack certain problems whose size, complexity, and need for closely coupled human and machine analysis may make them otherwise intractable

 

References

[1] – Dr. Edward DeBono – multiple books on Lateral Thinking

[2] – Scott Page – The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, (Princeton, 2007)

No Net Neutrality is “Kinda Like Discrimination”

BB

Well, let’s clearly state up front that if we do not have net neutrality in place that it is Kinda Like Discrimination!If there is inequality in how individuals and firms use the ‘Net, there will be discriminatory impacts as a result.

Also, this paper is not focused on entertainment value of the ‘Net but the power of the educational component of using the ‘Net and improving individual lives.

 

Now, let’s also be clear, corporations and companies should make a profit, there is no doubt about that. But when the profits come in the form of gains due to people here and there and companies here and there having to pay for a faster speed to get a leg up on their competitors, well, that could be problematic.

In the first place, aren’t the major (and minor) ISPs, Telco’s and exchanges (LECs/IXC’s), supposed to be improving their communication pipes with their own investments (culled from the profits made off of customers) in order to attract and retain current and future customers?

 

If lower income people around the world do not have a fair and equitable manner of accessing the ‘Net, in comparison to the more wealthier middle/upper income earners – these lower income folks cannot play ball at the same level. The less fortunate will either have to make trips to the local library or suffer from a much slower ‘Net.

Who wants to suffer in watching an hour-glass or spinning wheel on the PCs’ monitor? Who wants to wait for a connection that might well die and disconnect and reconnect and start all over again for what was originally wanted.

If you have a student in your home and they are watching an educational video, the value of that learning time plummets when the learner/viewer cannot have a solid, good and fast connection. The learning is drastically disrupted due to the vagaries of having to deal with the many network errors (sync errors, drops, slowness, etc.). And many, many of us have put up those kinds of problems in the early days of BBSs’ and the early years of the ‘Net. NONE of us enjoyed that at all.

 

We, the global citizens of the world, have put up far too many forms of discrimination in our time on earth. And whether you count time on earth in BC/AD or BCE/CE, it does not matter, we have seen discrimination in its many forms for centuries and many of which are still here today (sadly and pathetically so).

Do we need yet another form of discrimination? Should major ISPs, telcos, LECs and IXCs have the power to dictate pricing on the ‘Nets of the world, the U.S. at any rate and make those who cannot afford it, scrimp, beg and borrow money to pay for equal access to the ‘Net?

 

As it stands, there are many jurisdictions in the U.S. where any new company AND even the local municipality are banned from competing with the major broadband. This ban is due to those major telcos and their lobbyists spending gobs of money and getting laws enacted to end up in the favor of the telco/broadband carrier.

It also does not hurt these major providers – ISPs & Telcos – have congressional representation (i.e. Blackburn – see the references below) aiding them in blocking municipalities from competing, it is all well and good for the major providers but not so good for the rest of the country.

 

How can this be fair? Sure, again, all companies should make a profit. But when companies lobby to get other companies/municipalities banned from competing that just paints an unflattering picture for those major providers as bad corporate citizens.

Why wouldn’t these major providers allow competition? Is it to retain monopoly and duopoly control on a vital service? Profit, well, yeah….

When municipalities are blocked from building their own fast networks in their own cities/towns that flat out kills the spirit of competition. These municipalities have the interests of their constituents at heart and want to do better for them and by them.

 

But as long as the courts and some certain members of congress continue to allow major providers to have their way in controlling the communication pipes of the country and stifling competition, we will continue to see discrimination. Only, this form of discrimination comes in the form of access to a better (reliability and speed) network that may or not be as available to all as it really should.

 

Already, we, the U.S., are at #27* in the world, behind Estonia, as far as ‘Net speeds go AND paying a significantly more for OUR slow speeds. Either way, the U.S. is not looking so hot…

* The speeds, however, vary depending on who you go to and when you check them out:

— Akamai has the U.S. at #11 at 10.5 Mbps in 2014

— One writer, Sept. 4, 2014, wrote that the U.S. is listed at #30 with download speeds of ~20Mbps, http://www.dailydot.com/politics/us-broadband-speed-cost-infographic/

— Ookla has the U.S. listed with download speeds of 33.3 Mbps right now, Mar 1, 2015, http://www.netindex.com/download/2,1/United-States/

 

References

Municipal Broadband Roadblocks, Jul 18, 2014, http://broadbandnow.com/report/municipal-broadband-roadblocks/

FCC overturns state laws that protect ISPs from local competition, Feb 26, 2015 , http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-overturns-state-laws-that-protect-isps-from-local-competition/

 

Definitions

‘NET    Internet (what this writer has been using for years)

BBS     Bulletin Board System / Service (of the 80s & early 90s)

FCC     Federal Communication Commission

ISP      Internet Service Provider

IXC      IntereXhange Carrier commonly called a long-distance telephone company

LEC     Local Exchange Carrier

Mbps   Mega-bits per second

MBps   Mega-bytes per second (8 bits/byte)

TELCO Telephone Company

 

 

Vocal Fry (or Creaky Voices) – How Do We Make it Go Away…?

UPDATE Aug 27 2015: Ah well, it appears we are just flat out stuck with this ever increasing rise of vocal fry emanating from men and women and boys and girls – everywhere, in all countries. Vocal fry is in everything we hear; in person, on the radio, in the movies and on television. As a result, speaking only for me (without vocal fry…), I have simply resorted to not listening to many, many programs any longer.

What I have stopped listening to or watching much of are:

— radio programs, T.V. shows and even movies

that have hosts, contributors or guests that speak with vocal fry / creaky voice, such as NPR, CNN (I rarely watch any Fox), Bloomberg (many of their programs) and others. If I really want to watch some content on TV, I’ll mute to read the graphics / crawlers…

Yes, some of these men and women, boys and girls may have a legitimate medical reason for speaking so. But, there are many who use vocal fry to try to simply sound mature or sexy, look or sound cool or even to be manipulative.

For me, I’ve returned to the old stand-by, reading content I am truly interested in, in print or online without having to put up with creaky voice/vocal fry.

Oh and at conferences, if someone starts speaking that way, I’ll just leave. I’ve already left a couple… So, if vocal fry does not annoy you maddeningly or turn you off, bon voyage…

 

Okay then, Vocal Fry and Creaky Voice are on an ever growing uptick. And the use of either is not: sexy, cool, attractive, hip or appealing – not when so many people are you are using it at the same time, there is no differentiator.

Are you noticing this sound (like the painful raking of nails or fingernails across a chalkboard) more and more as you go about your daily life? Or have you heard it but did not notice it or pay attention to it? Or did you not know what to think of it when you heard it?

Look (or rather, listen) around you, there are more men and women, boys and girls, using this affectation. And quite a few of us do find it distracting but what do you say to someone using vocal fry? It appears that the only thing you can do is to stop listening or paying attention to them, or at the extreme end, walk away.

Can you, you specifically, realistically sit/stand through a discussion/dialogue when the other is using such a distracting manner of speech? If so, I definitely doff my hat to you.

For the rest of us, what we do as a reaction is to just stop listening and stop actively engaging with that person who talks in that fashion just to end the conversation. I know, I know, that could be a lot to some people, but it is a tactic some of us are willing to undertake.

Numerous other bad sources of vocal fry are on radio, television and cable where TV announcers, news anchors, talk shows, etc. employ and it is just bad. It seems as if the news station chief’s, program directors no longer seem to care about it and how it affects the listeners.

The thing is, some of us just change radio or tv stations and engage in something else. That is the only alternative we have, outside of writing a letter or email or website posting to complain about the use of vocal fry in that program. For some of us, that is not a problem in switching channels/stations to hear something else that is NOT vocal fry. For me personally, if it is a topic that I really wanted to hear, I’ll just find a print version online somewhere or buy the magazine where it may appear.

And the biggest factor is that of viewer/listenership loss of the various radio and tv programs as we come upon vocal fry/creaky voice speakers on those programs. That is, the loss of fans/followers and potential ad revenue.

For many of us, listening to someone with vocal is flat out painfully distracting, detracting, annoying, irritating, ummm, how many more terms can I use here…

There are several other articles on this topic noted below and I am sure there are many, many more.

In writing this piece, I do not focus on the untrustworthiness aspect as all the articles here discuss at some point in their stories.

Check out the June 2, 2014 “Vocal Fry” in the Washington Post story, posted by, Gail Sullivan, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/02/study-women-with-creaky-voices-also-known-as-vocal-fry-deemed-less-hireable/

Some of us actually enjoy the richness and varied ranges of voices in society.

We like hearing:

  • Women sound like women, whether it is soft, serious, throaty, stern or questioning or even feminine
  • Men sounding like men, whether it is soft alto, richly rumbling, high pitched at times, deep (not that some women don’t naturally sound that way), sometimes cackling or commanding (if that is how they sound at times)
  • Boys and girls sound like boys and girls, not vocal fry or creaky voice imitators

We want to hear all that varied richness from the many different voices around the world.

So, overall, speaking for myself, I just flat out dislike affected vocal fry in anyone. I really, really am not looking forward to a world of more people (specifically news anchors, commentators, sports announcers, etc.) sounding alike, where with vocal fry/creaky voice:

  • men sound like women or
  • women sound like men or
  • men sounding like other men or
  • women sounding like other women – for any affected reason…

It is, as Mark Liberman alluded to in his article (3), about being ones’ self…

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are those out there who do have an actual physical condition that causes this sound, whether it is a physiological situation or they are smokers. The first situation, well, many of can understand and sympathize. For smokers, they bring it on themselves and not for me to say anything more about individuals’ personal habits.

But, alas, sad to say, I am one of those that intentionally turn away, change channels and lose all interest in listening to people (not just women) who appear to be using that creaky voice or vocal fry affectation in hopes of sounding “cool” or “sexy.” None of us are sure what it is that so many people believe they are doing but it is, as Ms. Sullivan’s writing noted, distracting and annoying and I am one of those negatively affected by it.

Is there any way that this can be brought to a larger public venue with a spotlight on the increasing use of vocal fry / creaky voice and figure out a way to stop it? And get people back to using their natural, true, rich voice…

Additional References

1 – Vocal Fry May Women’s Job Prospects, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/employers-look-down-on-women-with-vocal-fry/371811/, 29 May 2014

2 – The Way You Talk Could Be Hurting Your Job Prospects, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/vocal-fry/, 30 May 2014

3 – Vocal fry probably doesn’t harm your career prospects, http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=12774, 7 June 2014

 

Oscars 2016 – White Actor(ess) Gifting Oscar(s) to Actor(ess) of “Another” Race…

UPDATE: Feb 28, 2016

Well, here we are in another year and another Oscar event – same situation as last year as everyone has noticed. I wonder if this year will be different, as far as an actor/actress of one race gifting their hard earned Oscar award to an actor/actress of another race – I do wonder.

Yes, I do know a great deal of work went into getting to the Oscar level, but still, I wonder? Will there be anyone big enough to gift their Oscar tonight…

Who Won This Year?

So…. it appears that the folks (and leadership) responsible for picking out the golden people to win an Oscar this year seem to have been, ahhhh, missing some brain tissue or at least a small bit of intelligence…

 

Were there really no ‘superb’ Black or Asian or Hispanic actors/actresses worthy enough of being chosen for such an illustrious award?

Were the reviewers who picked out the possible actors/actresses somehow, ummm, dissuaded or even persuaded to only pick white actors? Not sure on this one – will we ever know…

Were the folks who needed to review possible films in order to choose Oscar candidates clueless and/or asleep at the switch (screening room)????

 

Well, what if one of the white actors/actresses, onstage and live, gifted their Oscar to one of the black (or Asian or Hispanic) actors/actresses who were snubbed this year.

Wouldn’t that shake up the news cycle for a week or two? Wouldn’t that make Twitter go ballistic in the number of tweets during and after the awards?

Wouldn’t that raise the stature of the white actor/actress gifting their 2015 Oscar to another actor, due to the lack of color a person of the year…??? Wouldn’t that make that gifting individual appear to be the most gracious and generous person on the planet – in actuality…???

That gifter would become the best gifter on the planet in making the life of another THAT MUCH BETTER…

 

But what can we expect; this is all just wishful thinking. But, if it did happen, it would make winners out of some special people…

Many of us only hope that impropriety or, aaargghh, racist were not the primary causes of this oversight.