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Archive for July, 2015

DIY Cooling for Summer

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

It’s summer; it’s hot and air-conditioning is expensive.

Heat pumps and ceiling fans are inexpensive to run, but not everybody has them.

And window unit air conditioners are expensive to run.

I saw a great DIY solution on Business Insider and thought I would share.

There is little initial investment, it’s cheap to use and very simple to make.

Best, especially in places like California, you can reuse the same water over and over in containers or use the cooler blocks (the ones you freeze) from a dollar store.

Here’s all you do.

Your Data — Your Soul

Monday, July 6th, 2015

How freely do you discuss the details about how you think, what you like, what you believe and the challenges you face with strangers?

Sites, apps, data brokers and marketing analytics firms are gathering more and more details about people’s personal lives — from their social connections and health concerns to the ways they toggle between their devices. The intelligence is often used to help tailor online experiences or marketing pitches. Such data can also potentially be used to make inferences about people’s financial status, addictions, medical conditions, fitness, politics or religion in ways they may not want or like.

How willing would you be to sell that information to benefit a total stranger?

What if it would benefit a pet company, such as Apple, Facebook or Hulu?

You already give up your personal information in return for better access to their products and services, but you do so with the idea that you won’t be packaged and sold.

In fact, most sites tell you upfront that they won’t “share your personal data with third parties.”

But, as they say, the devil is in the details and buried deep in the privacy statements is a giant ‘but…’

Of the 99 sites with English-language terms of service or privacy policies, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale or other transaction occurred, The Times’s analysis found. The sites with these provisions include prominent consumer technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, in addition to Hulu.

It’s a safe bet that if these sites have that caveat, so do thousands of others — both large and small.

The expansion of the Internet of Things provides companies a far more intimate look at your life than ever dreamed possible.

It’s a trend that is likely to widen as companies introduce new Internet-enabled products, like connected cars and video cameras, which can collect and transmit a constant stream of data to the cloud.

Your best hope (if you care) is to assume that caveat emptor reigns.

Generally, caveat emptor is the contract law principle that controls the sale of real property after the date of closing, but may also apply to sales of other goods.

Your data is ‘other goods’.

Stuff happens; economies go up and down and businesses wax and wane.

Any company, no matter how large or seemingly stable can find itself in the position of having to sell or transfer its assets.

Your data is an asset. Period.

Flickr image credit: safwat sayed

Entrepreneurs: What About Holacracy?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015


Jim Heskett is a very smart guy. At the beginning of each month he asks a question of his readers, then publishes a summation of the general ideas expressed the comments at the end of it.

The topics are always timely, of great interest and the conversation lively.

This month he asked about something that is on many founders’ minds thanks to Tony Hsieh actions at Zappos.

The question was, Is the Time Right for Self-Management.

Here is the summary. I believe you will find it of great value to read all the comments if you are considering adopting/adapting it for your company or just intrigued by the idea.

When and Where Will Holacracy Work Best?

Holacracy, or self-management, is an interesting concept and not entirely new. It can work, but only under the right conditions. And its applications will be limited. That’s what one might conclude from reading responses to this month’s column.

The more thoughtful of them provide a primer on applying the concept. Deborah Nixon’s comment echoed several others when she said the idea has been around a long time in other forms, by other names. “The larger an organization becomes, the tougher one model is to implement. The time has always been ripe for self-management and there are always people who will poke up their heads and insist on managing themselves. But it isn’t a quick fix.” Others cited its long-time application in the London taxi system (Andrew Campbell), the hospital ER (M Iqbal Gentur B), and even Aboriginal societies in ancient Australia (Kai Akerberg).

Stephens Jr., who loves the idea, said, it does not come without extensive time, cost, and involvement in employee development. “I not only say yes (to the question of whether the time is right for self-management), but ‘it’s about time.'” Dyan Porter added, “Holacracy strikes me as a positive way to manage professionals, especially in flat organizations where job advancement is limited.” Brooks Tanner commented, “Regardless of its level of success at Zappos, this form of organization is the way of the future. The rapidly increasing complexity and unpredictability of our world is such that only a highly distributed decision-making structure will be able to adapt and respond effectively, she continued. “Most of us don’t think a centralized planning type economy makes sense. Why should it make the most sense for organizations?”

Others saw limited potential in the concept. As Edward Hare put it, “There are some people capable of managing themselves in a larger organization … but many who can’t… This strikes me as another of those ‘ideas’ promoted by consultants and academics. ” Frank Fabela added, “Holacracy in its form of each individual taking responsibility for their own self-management is absolutely necessary, however it is the responsibility of ‘managers ‘ to ensure effectiveness of the organization through coordination of those objectives. Pure holacracy … absent management is destined to fail.” Krishnan Mak was more succinct when he said: “Culture will eat Holacracy for breakfast.”

Many comments addressed conditions under which Holacracy might work best. “It might not be for everybody,” wrote Maria Rosa Serra, “but if you hire employees aligned with your values and pay them fairly, it seems an interesting proposal for both the company and the individual.” Juan Manuel Salas Guevara commented that the challenge in Holacracy “is a strong communication process from the top level of the organization that enables each member to understand the company’s vision.” Charlie Efford added that “The key to self-management becoming embedded is changing the mindset of the management team. Most corporations haven’t made this shift.” Denis Collet suggested “it’s all about clear goals and deliverables, and the metrics for success. Absent of these it’s bound to fail.”

Personally, I agree with Krishnan Mak when he said, “Culture will eat Holacracy for breakfast.”

Image credit: HBSWK

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