A Few Interesting Items

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A really great article about connecting with others can be found at How to Become Insanely Well-Connected. Consider:

  • Being a good listener is about two things: 1) Demonstrating that you’ve heard exactly what was said by the other person, and 2) encouraging them to continue.

  • I’ll often start that conversation saying, ‘I’m wrong all the time and I very well may be here.’” Acknowledging your own fallibility and human imperfection can go a long way toward making yourself relatable.

  • End every meeting or conversation with the feeling and optimism you’d like to have at the start of your next conversation with the person. “Assume you’re going to run into everyone again — it usually happens either by plan or happenstance,” says Fralic. “There are no closed connections. The world is too small.” When you do meet again, you want the person to think, ‘Oh great, it’s so-and-so!’

The Brightest People Do 9 Things That Really Stand Out, Says a Harvard Prof has a few brilliant, summarized things to consider. I love these points from the list:

  • When confronted with a new situation they ask questions that efficiently get to the heart of the unaddressed issues.

  • It is not uncommon for a very smart person to see deeply into a problem and say things that indicate such depth, even when they are not widely understood, and their insight only becomes apparent long after the fact.

  • Smart people are a constant source of surprises — in their ideas, in their wordplay, in their questions, or in some other way. Whatever fuels their smarts cannot be corralled, and leads to unpredictable moments (at least to mere mortals).

  • There is always something about an intelligent person that you cannot quite put your finger on. It is just out of reach, and it makes them inscrutable.

An interesting article about averages and how we are always comparing ourselves to others. Read “What Are You Hiding?” which has this wonderful line which we’d be good to embrace,

If you are lucky, you figure out you are not average, love that part of yourself and find people who will also love you for it.

I’ve read three other posts this past week that have caused me to really pause and think, but I’m not ready to post them yet. Perhaps sometime later. Maybe. One was about intolerance and anti-intellectual thinking and two were about male dominance over females in society and the effects and issues. Both need further processing by me.

Please share back with me if you find a thought-provoking article that meant something to you.

The Workplace and Simplification

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A friend shared a great TEDx Talk with me recently about the workplace and simplification and about asking the right questions.

I quit my job as CIO over a year for several reasons that I won’t go into here. Since then, I’ve thought about lessons learned and perhaps, things I might have done differently at different times in the role.

I think this talk gets to the heart of it. An organization must prioritize simplification, removing bureaucracy, be nimble and fast and create a culture where asking and answering hard questions is the way things are done. Seems like more could have been done on this front.

I really did love the people I worked with there and recently had a chance to see some of my colleagues for a visit. It was a great time.

 

A Suggestion for Purchase?

Monday I told a friend that I should get some chocolate chip cookie dough to cook at home. My wife is gone, I just ran a marathon, I deserve some freshly baked, hot chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday when using the Walmart Grocery app to order a few things for pickup, the top suggested item for me was Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I have never ordered such from Walmart and never searched for such. What an amazing coincidence? How is this possible? Options:

1) Using big data analytics, Walmart decided they should suggest cookies to me based on subtle hints and data gathered over time from web browsing, purchase history, zip code, time of day and what car I drive.

2) My mobile phone was with me when I made the comment about cookies on Monday. The microphone was being monitored by some cloud engine tied to Walmart and the request was turned into a suggestion next time I used the Walmart app.

3) Random chance suggested cookies out of the millions of options in the Walmart catalog.

4) Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie is one of the most shopped for items that Walmart fulfills so they suggested it to me.

Disturbing at the least.  Thoughts?

Change Coming Faster and Sooner

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I found this article a few days ago entitled This is How Big Oil Will Die which somehow I had not seen before. I read a lot about autonomous vehicles and have written several times about them elsewhere. My daughter and son-in-law have a Tesla.

There are big changes coming with electric vehicles and with autonomous vehicles. The disruptions to many incumbents are going to be huge and this will likely be starting sooner than expected. I know a friend who just sold his auto-related business over just these concerns.

The article above approaches it from an economics point of view and after sharing it with an advisor, he shared another think tank report that says the same thing only much deeper and with data to back up the points.

Really, the only question is how fast will this get here and will governments, in the interests of the incumbents, slow it down. Personally, I think governments should help accelerate this as much as possible. States and countries would be wise to make it happen sooner.

 

Mindsets and Focus

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There is a wonderful article to read and think about regarding our mindsets and how we think about our own limitations. Everything is not rosy all the time and for many life is hard, but for all of us, there are limitations that are self-imposed. It is probably important for us to be aware of this way of thinking and that for some of the things we think about ourselves, we are limiting ourselves and nothing else is limiting us.

I wrote a few week ago about my recent experiences in note taking on an iPad and Pencel. I’ve continued using this toolset and have not drifted back to pen and paper as of yet.

I’ve been fascinated with Sketchnotes and have purchased his book and worked through it. I wrote back in 2015 about my struggles and ideas with notetaking. I’m trying to get more visual and sketch in notes and I’m definitely capturing pictures and dropping them into my notes. The key to making this work with these tools is to be able to fast and relatively effortlessly (little friction) so you can capture the information on the fly while the talk/event is underway in real time. Related I read an interesting note about Da Vinci and how he took notes.

I find that I take the notes, but then rarely go back to them. I think the process of taking the notes is what keeps me focused while listing and helps me organize the thoughts I’m hearing. Very rarely do I go back and look at the notes. But sometimes I do…

How do you take notes? Do you take a lot of notes? Do you sketch as you take notes? Are you using any electronic tools to do this?  What have you learned about how to do this?

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Intergenerational and Diversity in Connections and Conversations

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Virgin published a wonderful piece that reminded me of something I’ve thought about a few times in the past few years. The piece is about intergenerational learning.  You can read it here. There is much to be gained by connecting with people from other generations.

Years ago we participated in a small group gathering at church and for a while, it was cross-generational where people from different age groups met together to get to know each other, to eat together, and to share life together. Those were wonderful gatherings and through that process, I met people I simply otherwise would not have met. Our church discontinued that practice quite a while ago and now most such gatherings are with your same age group or class. That has been disappointing to my wife and me.

I think there are huge benefits in getting to know people from other generations and places. I’ve written before about diversity winning and in life, diversity wins in general. Learning from other, hearing their stories, helping them, spending time with others is a great benefit for all of us. This is true across generations as well as across other political views, across faiths, across nationalities, and across educational backgrounds.

I have dear friends in Singapore, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, China, Thailand, Malaysia, France and across the US and other places and I treasure the conversations we’ve had, the times we’ve spent together and our common experiences. I remember arguing with a friend in Paris, France about the behavior of Bill Clinton and his need to be held to a higher standard due to his office.

All the #metoo messages of the past months have been earth-shattering to me.  I’ve noticed since these conversations began that movies I’ve watched for years are frankly speaking, horrible in their messages about relationships between men and women, particularly in the workplace. That which was funny to me before is not funny now. This was not clear to me before but because of these conversations, I now see some things differently.

The US political landscape is a mess with people screaming at each other and not listening. Let’s try instead to listen, make some new friends, engage in thoughtful discussion and try to be better people and citizens.

Inverted Tile Tracking

I’ve used Tile trackers while traveling to track my luggage through airports and hotels. I’m not sure if airlines approve, but if you put one on your luggage, you can then tell if the luggage is near your plane, or near baggage claim, or on our bus, etc. It is rather fun to know that your luggage is onboard your plane when flying somewhere.

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 2.41.52 PMA few months ago, I was traveling and had one in an outer pocket on my duffel bag. It arrived at the airport just fine and reported in as being there, but then it seemed to disappear and it has not been seen since. When I got the duffel, it was not there. The app still shows its last location as being at the airport.

One of the features of Tile is that if it goes missing, you can declare it missing and then if anyone running the Tile app passes near it, you will be notified that it has been seen with an approximate location. I reported this Tile missing, but it was never seen or reported on by anyone. I’m guessing it fell out of the pocket and was swept away in the trash at some point.

 

Two weeks ago I was at a conference and somehow the Tile that I had on my messenger bag came off my bag.  That night, I realized it was gone so I reported it missing on the Tile app.

The next morning, the app reported that it was seen in the hotel and a map was shown, but it was too complicated to figure out what this was telling me. Someone running the Tile app had been near my missing Tile.

An hour later, it was reported nearby again.  This time, I decided to go find it using the map and with some guesses, I managed to zero in on his approximate location. I entered a huge ballroom that was being cleaned out and re-set for whatever was happening net in that room. Men were all around taking down tables and chairs.

The app on my phone turned a light green indicating that my phone was sensing it. This time I activated the find function on the Tile and all the way across the banquet room, I could hear it playing its song. I walked through that huge hall around all the obstacles and found it sitting on a table singing away.

I have to say it was fun to track it down and find it. Just a dumb tracking device of limited value, but I found it using all this technology. I found a missing tracking device, not a missing bag.  Not your usual search.

These are interesting to try out and play with and you might give them a try.