UW E-Business Consortium at a Glance

Two weeks ago I attend the one-day conference “Best Practices and Emerging Technologies” put on by the UW E-Business Consortium. I have attended this annual event for several years and enjoy the fact that it cuts across technology, customer service, marketing and supply chain disciplines.


It was a treat to hear two inspiring keynote sessions, one from a London-based futurist and the other from lead engineer for the Mars Rover Curiosity.

A key takeaway from the conference was the continuing and varied influence of millennials on business. Here are a few points that stayed with me:

  • McDonald’s corp opened offices in downtown Chicago, Silicon Valley and India for the sole purpose of attracting the young talent they needed to move information technology, marketing and related functions into the digital world. At that point, they changed from a very traditional dress policy to no dress policy.
  • As discussed in an earlier post, your smartphone home screen is your new inbox. I am increasingly finding others contacting me via multiple channels (LinkedIn messages, text messages, Skype, Yammer, Slack, Spark, etc.) and with invitations to connect on social media (Twitter and others).
  • Presentation styles have evolved to a TedEx-like standard (tell me a short and concise story). One outcome is that sometimes the younger speakers are often better than those more steeped in the traditional style of yesterday.
  • Both speaker and attendee attire at business meetings has shifted away from the old norm of business wear or business casual. The new norm is to wear to a conference whatever style you wear to work, whether that is company logo wear (think Harley Davidson), fancy jeans/shirts/stylish jackets, golf club wear or traditional business attire. Anything goes…regardless of age or rank.

Another interesting topic was the role of emotion and empathy as part of the product experience. Companies that can understand, appreciate and create an emotional connection with their target audience will win in the marketplace. Making an emotional connection to your user applies whether you are clicking on your phone, at an event, or at a business meeting. Additional resources:

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Passion in Business

Passion, follow your passion, what are you passionate about? This all sounds good in theory, but does it really fit in the business world?


Don’t get me wrong—I think passion matters, and is a very important ingredient in the recipe for your career path and job satisfaction. However, I personally don’t think it’s sufficient on its own.

Here are several different takes on business passion:

Weekly Download 15.17

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so. This edition is dedicated to Detroit entrepreneur Josh Linkner, who I was able to hear speak three years ago. Several of his most recent posts have hit home with me, and hopefully for you, too.

A New Theory of Relativity provides an updated formula for business success. This brief, but impactful article notes:

“…the success of your business or career will not be based on what you already know, it will be based on how fast and inexpensively you learn.”

How Bureaucracy Can Kill might seem a little sensational at first glance, but the pitfalls of blind rule following are legitimate. The key to taking an approach of thoughtfulness over compliance is understanding the situation the other party is in. I’ve recently been in training that applies this concept to customer service to reinforce that we need to make sure we are clear on the objective that our customer is trying to achieve and their current situation.

Instead of fear paralyzing us, why not Flip the Fear and leverage it to fuel progress? One way is to look at a longer-term horizon and realize how the fear may be focused on a narrow short-term window. Over the long haul, your particular fear may be irrelevant.