Saturday, 29 December 2007

2007 at Work Matters - Bob Sutton review

This is first part of the end of year reflection focused on issues arising from the book Bob Sutton published earlier in the year "The No Asshole Rule ".

I was struck throughout the year by the level of recognition that raising of the subject provoked. We are often talking here of behaviours of people who are entrusted with large funds, have big presence in public and take charge of significant number of staff. Yet, while abuse of money is clearly punishable by law, verbal abuse of people clearly goes on regardless.

Perhaps, 2008 will bring more recognition of the difference supportive colleagues and bosses make.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Top 3 Related pages

Judge Business School: People - CEO in Residence - Thoughts from the Edge
Thoughts from the Edge

This was second post from Kevin Roberts, CEO Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, current CEO in Residence at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. So, unintentionally, top link is with branding - hence with Norman Strauss.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

I leave to carefull readers here to see the link - I really like it, especially for the James Dean and Natalie Wood appearances IMDb Video: Trailer for Rebel Without a Cause.
A little Hollywood magic never hurts, and a link with Syvia!

Random thoughts from the Edge
News and Moos from a minister factory in Belfast...

I have no explanation for this one!

What can I say - they can not be more different than these three.

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Finally an explanation for affinity of Jews for Chinese food

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal
Jeff Weintraub Goes for Chinese Food...

As always Brad de Long comes up with unexpected gems. Well, now I know why mum likes to come to our Chinese restaurant.

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My first YouTube video

Wow, so I posted a video in response to The Davos Question! Another first. Let's see whether it gets watched. s for rating - no great expectations as quality is not good.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

How Smart is Your Company

I have just spent several hours listening to two fascinating lectures given by Paul Strassmann on Google video. He is a fascinating man with great ability to penetrate complexities of the world of information, organisations and knowledge. Unlike so many others, he is scrupulous to base his observations on careful examination of data. Even more importantly, he has an long honed ability to get beyond usual measures by creating indicators that provide much better explanation of the phenomena he is tracking.

Rather than talk about specific lectures, I would urge a visit to his website, a true treasure.

Strassmann, Inc. Home Page

Several points stand out for me from the talks I heard:

  • Big applications like NHSFIT are already obsolete because the whole architecture is based on the old paradigm (Microsoft and Intel, desktop, etc)
  • Network-centric architecture requires fundamentally different thinking in every aspect: organisation, design, technology, timescales, security, speed, reliability, connectivity, upgrading and innovation
  • Knowledge capital dominates solutions
  • Data need to be assembled in context to respond to user questions
  • Bad publicity for an organisation shows that its knowledge is evaporating
  • Perverse Law of Knowledge: The more knowledge you have the less its incremental cost
  • The thing that separates companies when it comes to differences in the Net Worth of Employee are their organisation and their leadership qualities that reward and promote excellence

Finally, he said something worth repeating verbatim for its intrinsic wisdom:

"Lots of theories of this world are based on some simple assumptions that do not stand up. Nevertheless they become the way people look at their reality at great cost."

We live now in such times!

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Friday, 21 December 2007

How Google thinking changes your environment

Paul Strassmann is a very special man. He has been involved in various aspects of IT for many years. He has amazing and deep perspective on the conceptual and actual developments in the field. Hence, his lecture below to George Mason University students in December 2005 is very informative.

Google: Model for the Systems Architecture of the Future

I will add specific points of note.

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From 'experts' in talking to experts in walking

Finally, in USA voices are being raised about the damage wrought on the economy and country in general from the rise and unchecked influence (even in the White House) of Professional Manager as a panacea. The book The Puritan Gift: Triumph, Collapse and Revival of an American Dream by Ken Hopper and Will Hopper was just portrayed on BBC World Service.

As I have not read it, but only peaked into it with the help of Amazon, I can only say that it gives me great hope one can start to have a proper conversation about the damage Taylorism and unrelentless push for achieving simple numerical targets by UK Government are causing to all our public services. Unfortunately, civil service is both complacent and emasculated. Yet, similarly to US, the voices of dissent are being heard from the military.

From Amazon:

"The best thing about The Puritan Gift is that it is a real book, full of fascinating insights, intellectual rigour and challenging, authoritative arguments that remind us that there is nothing new about the responsibilities of management." - Richard Donkin, Financial Times

Book Description
The Puritan Gift traces the origins and the characteristics of American managerial culture which, in the course of three centuries, would turn a group of small colonies into the greatest economic and political power on earth. It was the Protestant ethic whose characteristics--thrift, a respect for enquiry, individualism tempered by a need to cooperate, success as a measure of divine approval--helped to create the conditions which led to America's managerial and corporate success. Thus, the authors contend, the drive, energy and acceptance of innovation, competition, growth and social mobility, all have their origins in the discipline and ethos of America's first wave of European immigrants: the Puritans. And, the authors warn, as Americans distance themselves from core values which produced their nineteenth and twentieth century business and economic successes, they endanger the basis for their prosperity and security.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Charles Leadbeater says it is time for we-thinking

openrsa: Charles Leadbeater says it is time for we-thinking

This talk was delivered at the inaugural open space event at RSA where attendees discussed ways to reinvent RA from outside in as well as inside out!

I wish them good luck. It deserves our full support. Yet, if we are to judge by the number of messages left after very informative blogposts, they are relatively few - 39 over two months.

This compares to 200 responses over 5 days to 2 blog posts of British Ambassador in Bosnia and Hercegovina (and they were exclusively made by the registered members of the bosnian

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


Hello and welcome to all those who happen to visit here. The purpose of this space is to explore the story part of Hi-story.

I have no idea where it will go, so please bear with me. Today, it is about the ideas of Professor Odd Arne Westad in his latest book "The Global Cold War" .

It is strange and humbling to read about the era I have lived through and
still find it all quite new. The sense that so much happens around us
in the world and I have no clear understanding of the reasons why or
what caused it is both worrying and exciting. Worrying, since I
consider myself really well informed. Exciting, as it opens new avenues
for learning.

Why this interest now? Well, first it was rekindled by my daughter undertaking research in Modern History. And then I realised that the work I have been doing on Organisational Learning in the last ten plus years is intimately linked with his-(s)tory! Yet, I never saw it as such.

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Saturday, 31 March 2007


Finally got a working Nokia N73 phone from 3. Saga is too long and at times farcical. Suffice to say that even this specimen is 'refurbished' and does not have installed the features one expects (and I DEFINITELY) wanted - like Radio. However, it does have Visual Radio - WHAT? I thought they called this TV!

So, looking through what is on Nokia site, I came across this nifty application called Lifeblog. At least it looks great - will have to read up about it before trying it out. Hmm, so not so nifty then if I have to resort to a manual peruse.

Watch out, next post should come with a photo from my N73 on the move - I hope!

Thursday, 8 March 2007

How did they do it?

I have been trying to work out a big puzzle. How is it that old Egyptians shared accurately stories over a period more than 1,300 years apart? Yet, corporations routinely fail to share specific knowledge that is critical to their successful survival.

Case of BP and maintenance (both in Texas refinery and of Alaska pipeline) are indicative here. Perhaps it is the time to remind Lord Browne why it is essential to have a Keeper of Coprorate Stories. Larry Randall asked him over 15 years ago who it was and did not get a proper answer. Proof is now here and very costly to company reputation as well as share price. Lord Browne leaves under the cloud - and all for want of understanding the power of stories that engage.


COMMENT AND ANALYSIS: A corroded culture? How accidents in Alaska forced BP on to the defensive

By Sheila McNulty in Houston, Financial Times
Published: Dec 18, 2006


COMMENT AND ANALYSIS: Blowdown: how faults at BP led to one of America's worst industrial disasters

By Sheila McNulty in Houston, Financial Times
Published: Dec 19, 2006

So why this gap?

Yes, travel and then awe!

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