Weekly Download 16.1

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

A giant demographic bulge is about to enter 20 years of peak earning power. This is a generation that likes its on-demand services, which means the coming decades will almost certainly see more Uber rides and same-day deliveries than ever. How Aging Millennials Will Affect Technology Consumption offers a glimpse into the future.

Can you say New Year’s resolution? Taking a cue from 10 No-Fail Ways to Tame Your Email Inbox might be a start.

Beyond Windows: Microsoft in middle age reflects the ever-shifting landscape in the technology sector with a powerful graphic reminder of how things change.

Dress the Part, and It’s Easier to Walk the Walk delves into how the way we dress affects the way we feel. I was taught this early in life and find it to be true.

Many years ago, someone mentioned to me that golf needs to appeal to more than middle-aged white males, and if the powers-that-be don’t address the game being too difficult, too expensive and too slow, there will be a lot of people leaving the game. The Death of Golf addresses some of the reasons why, over the past decade, the number of golfers has declined roughly 20%, with younger golfers declining even more. Although I played a lot in high school, more than a handful of years ago I decided to spend my free time cycling. It seemed to be a better form of exercise, took less time, was more convenient and less expensive. My wife may debate this rationale with me—and she has the data to back it up—but the point is that I, like many others, have left golf behind.


Weekly Download 15.21

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

7 Pieces of Wisdom That Will Change the Way You Work is written from the perspective of a writer, but the helpful, universal reminders can be applied to any career.

The Age of Disinformation addresses how to filter hype in broadcast and social media. It’s no easy feat.

Here’s a blast from the past: the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism,” which I recently heard on talk radio. Its first known usage was in 1970 by Vice President Spiro Agnew, in a speech penned by White House speechwriter William Safire. It summed up his often-hostile relationship with the media and how he viewed the incessant, negative chatter by this prominent and influential group. Learn more from this entry in Taegan Goddard’s Political Dictionary.

The convergence of cloud technologies, the Internet of Things and big data analytics is real. As World Crowds In, Cities Become Digital Laboratories spotlights interesting applications in New York City. Their interactive graphics are incredible.

The capabilities of data mining seem to be only limited by imagination. Here’s one quirky, but interesting application: Data Mining Reveals How Smiling Evolved During a Century of Yearbook Photos.

Addicted to Distraction offers this definition: “Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life.” Reality check time—are you due for a detox? This is one addict’s tale.

I knew my journaling habit was a good thing! Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary agree.


Weekly Download 15.20

download-150965_640

Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Gene Amdahl, Pioneer of Mainframe Computing, Dies at 92 pays tribute to the “father” of the IBM System/360 line of mainframes. My early career started in large mainframe environment, which was my first significant exposure to technology. In fact, the name of this blog “ZMAB15” represents my first username in the work environment, for a VM Machine running on an IBM System/360 mainframe.

Attention, Addiction, and Technology delves into what happens when we give technology too much importance and lose harmony and balance as a result.

“We have become so obsessed with technology — particularly in its digital form — we have forgotten the primacy of purpose, the importance of compassionate action taken with flesh and bone. Instead, we seem to seek only distraction from the challenges (and yes, the ugliness) of the real world, and to embrace instead a virtual world where we are queens and kings and constantly pleasured.”

I Don’t Own, I Uber provides one individual’s comparison of the costs of owning a car vs. using Uber as your primary transportation. My two millennial daughters interested in big city living intuitively understand the convenience of not owning a car. I, too, lived in Chicago for seven years before purchasing a car. I believe this shifting model is here to stay. What other large purchase items, which are frequently viewed as a right of passage, might be better to rent rather than own?

This article’s title speaks for itself: 7 Drawings to make you feel better.


Weekly Download 15.19

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Workplace Culture vs. Climate – why most focus on climate and may suffer for it painfully points out that much of the current focus is on rather superficial “climate” issues, not on the deeper culture of an organization. As part of the ongoing theme that the definition of work matters, this article does a great job of pointing out the difference.

Predicting the Future and Exponential Growth shatters assumptions. Our intuition, based on a natural tendency toward linear forecasting, is that the next five years will grow (or change) at the same rate as the past five years. That’s a pretty significant amount of change. However, when growth is exponential, this is not the case. In simpler terns, this rapid construction of the future happens because the tools that are built today for tomorrow make it easier to build the future the next day.

Uber and AirBnB get a lot of press about their new and innovative approaches. They are providing access to services without owning the assets—they provide a technology platform without owing the underlying service. Uber offers access to thousands of on-demand drivers as an alternative to a taxi company. AirBnB connects travelers with accommodations without having to build and market hotel rooms. All with a very different pricing model, and (dare I say?) a superior customer experience. Networks and the Nature of the Firm explores the huge economic shift generated by adapted software and connectedness.

But, is this so new? There have been many iterations of low-cost networks or platforms replacing large organizations or fragmented providers.

  • Travel agents aggregated knowledge on travel, and then services like Kayak and Expedia replaced travel agents.
  • Ebay was a platform for individuals to sell things that were previously sold through local outlets, classified ads or hobbyist conventions. Etsy and Amazon have subsequently expanded on the model.
  • Digital media has given rise to an exponential number of individuals providing reporting, opinion, and content where large-scale organizations just 30 years ago had the only national and global platforms.

How can networks and platforms, especially digital ones, impact your organization and role. Isn’t the driving factor a superior customer experience?


Weekly Download 15.18

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Where do great ideas originate? I always obtain clarity and focus or sharpen ideas while in the shower (how unoriginal). 8 Habits of People Who Always Have Great Ideas has some great tips on how to create that space for insight. Connections are another big area for me—connecting concepts, people and/or experiences. Perhaps that’s why I always use analogies to illustrate messages.

What is a Master Penman? Even a pen aficionado like me didn’t know there was such a designation. There are only 12 in the world, and Jake Weidmann is the youngest by several decades. I was amazed at the precision in his art—such detail and creativity. I’m glad there are people like Jake preserving and advancing these art forms. Check out Master Penman Jake Weidmann and Why write? Penmanship for the 21st Century 

Your Job Title Is … What? “Overlord of Entertainment Infrastructure” struck my fancy. I love the graphic as well as the article that followed.

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Illustration by Ron Barrett, The New York Times, October 23, 2015


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.


Weekly Download 15.16

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Lean Innovation Management – Making Corporate Innovation Work provides a nice overview of language and frameworks to look at innovation across different levels of organizational maturity. This infographic depicts the key takeaway.

The title 12 Hidden Gifts of Not Pursuing Happiness confused me for a minute—I thought “not” must have been inserted by mistake. Instead, I found a very powerful and useful list of ideas that resulted from turning conventional wisdom on its head.

Cartoonists take on Hillary and the email scandal in Reply scrawl: 5 cartoons about Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails worth sharing

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Sketch by Mark Baker

Two Phrases That Can Change Your Life just begged for a sketch of these secrets to improving business and personal relationships.