Liu Xiaobo: China’s Nelson Mandela?

FREE_XIAOBO.gifWhat a wonderful world. While you were wrapping Christmas presents, China decided to lock up Liu Xiaobo and throw away the key.

Xiaobo’s crime?  He drafted Charter 08, which demands the open election of public
officials, freedom of religion
and expression, and the abolition of
subversion laws.

His wife’s cell phone mysteriously stopped working so she could not be reached by the press. Nice touch.

See Wikipedia >>

More info from PEN >>

Emotions and Decision-Making

Insights on Anger, fear, and escalation of commitment
via strategy-business.com
“…angry employees are more likely to commit further resources to a failing project or choice. By contrast, fear makes people second-guess themselves and often abandon support for efforts that have gone even slightly off the tracks.”
OK. What happens when you have other emotions like sadness, joy, or just plain happiness? Do you make stupid decisions when you delude yourself? Or does a cynic make better decisions?

IBM: Keys to innovating your business model

This is something that keeps happening with IBM’s FTP server.

ibm_oops.gif

I was just trying to download this report: Seizing the advantage. When and how to innovate your business model”…

I have to say, this happens all the time on the site.

What’s going on IBM? This is not exactly the best way to win friends and influence prospects.

P.S. – will let you know if I ever get to the document!

UPDATE: Not sure if this is the same document, but I found it on the UK site.

UPDATE #2: Look what I found at Booz >>

UPDATE #3: And this from EY >>

Bet You Can’t Eat Just One: Addiction as a Strategy

Listen to this:
Junk food elicits addictive behavior in rats similar to the behaviors of rats addicted to heroin, a new study finds. Pleasure centers in the brains of rats addicted to high-fat, high-calorie diets became less responsive as the binging wore on, making the rats consume more and more food. The results, presented October 20 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, may help explain the changes in the brain that lead people to overeat.
So is this another example of addiction as a business strategy – similar to what the tobacco companies were doing earlier?
Maybe that’s why the IT geeks have such a hard time implementing Lean IT >>

Alan Grayson’s StopSenateStalling.com

Alan Grayson makes the case for reconciliation at StopSenateStalling.com:

Throughout the administration of President George W. Bush, the Senate passed much of its key legislation by majority vote:

* The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 passed 54-44
* The Energy Policy Act of 2003 passed 57-40
* The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 passed 51-49
* The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 passed 54-44
* The FY2006 budget resolution and Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 passed 52-47
* The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act passed 55-45
* The FY2007 budget resolution passed 51-49

Today, under the administration of President Barack Obama, the House has passed bills preventing climate destruction and reforming our broken health care system, while the Senate searches for 60 votes in the face of Republican obstruction. Every day the Senate delays, more people die from lack of health care.

The filibuster should apply to the initiatives of both parties or to neither. Why should launching wars, and cutting taxes for the rich, require only 51 votes while saving lives requires 60?

Why indeed? Go to StopSenateStalling.com >>

free2work.org: The End of Business As Usual?

free2work.gif

If you haven’t heard about free2work.org, you will. This is part of a growing explosion of consumer-education organizations dedicated to exposing “worst practices” among multinationals.

The hope is that if consumers know what is going on, they will vote with their purchasing power and seek out the companies that are doing good. I’m all for it. Who wouldn’t be? Oh, I forgot about the US Chamber of Commerce

On the academic side of things, we see the same story emerging:

Rosabeth Moss Kanter‘s latest book, SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good argues that “the model of American capitalism that worked so well to raise the fortunes of millions of people last century appears to have hit a wall. What’s good for General Motors may no longer be good for the country. In its place must arise a new model of the company, one that serves society as well as rewarding shareholders and employees.”

Maybe Doug Smith was just a little ahead of the times when he wrote On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We in an Age of Me – which to me is still the best book in this space.

Monetizing Bob Marley

BobMarley.jpg

Now we see that Bob Marley is going to be sold like soap.

Is this the end of the Marley brand?

Are we going to see Marley toilet seats and diapers?

Here comes Marley Cola, extra sharp.

Or: Marley chewing gum.

Or: Marley underwear:

Or: Marley real estate.

Or: Marley leisure wear.

Or: Marley golf clubs.

Rasta don’t work for no CIA, but he’ll work for a private-equity firm.

Shame on you Rita and Ziggy. Shame.

This could kill Bob for real.

The Lying Cheneys and the Republic of Lies

The lies are simply who the Cheneys and the Republicans are. 

Why is anyone surprised at this any more? 

The entire structure of corporatism is built on these lies and astroturfing:

energycitizens.gif

And now we have Liz “Liar 2.0” Cheney and that lying Fox – Rupert Murdoch – continuing in this tradition of lies:

Here are some more lies:

Hunger and Republican Values
Healthcare Reform: Shameless Lies
When Lies Become the Truth
GOP Gone Wild
How Much Does that Senator Cost?

Apparently you can fool 30% of the people all of the time.  Coincidentally, that would be the same number of people watching Rupert Murdoch’s FOX News.

Of course, you have to listen to a comedian to learn about how FOX operates:

BTW, those “energy teabaggers citizens” at EnergyCitizens.org, you know, the ones that got their “grass-roots” organizational act together and raised enough money to advertise in the NY Times, they’re brought to you by your concerned lobbyists from the Oil & Gas industry and chambers of commerce everywhere. They really want you to know that carbon-dioxide is a good thing!

How can companies and businesses keep doing this? Funding these lies? 

Is it time for a shareholder revolt yet?  This isn’t going away.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

It’s Time to Quit the US Chamber of Commerce

Simply put, it’s a values issue.
The irrational position of the US Chamber of Commerce should cause member companies to rethink their position within the organization. PG&E, PNM Energy, Apple, and Exelon Energy have already quit the Chamber, rather than continuing to support an organization which is so out of touch with reality.
Ultimately, companies must ask themselves – is it worth my company’s reputation and brand to stand on the wrong side of science and history?
The following companies are still part of the US Chamber of Commerce:
AT&T
State Farm Insurance Companies
United Parcel Service
The Charles Schwab Corporation
Edward Jones
FedEx Express
Pfizer Inc.
Xerox Corporation
ConocoPhillips
Massey Energy Company
Spencer Stuart
American Water Works Company, Inc.
Landstar System, Inc
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Deloitte LLP
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
DonahueFavret Contractors Holding Company
Ryder System, Inc.
Cargill, Inc.
Leading Authorities, Inc.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Emerson
My Chef Catering
AEGON N.V.
VAST Solutions, LLC
Walker Information
Allied Capital Corporation
Telcom Ventures, L.L.C.
The Coaching Group, LLC
Deere & Company
The Robertson Foundation
Nortex Holdings, Inc.
CAIVIS Acquisition Corp.
CVK Personnel Management & Training Specialists
Sunrise Senior Living, Inc.
The Dow Chemical Company
US Airways
Eastman Kodak Company
Alcoa, Inc.
Buffalo Supply, Inc.
HARM GROUP LLC
Quam-Nichols Company, Inc.
FACES Day Spa
PERMAC Industries
Hawk Corporation
Southern Company
Vulcan Materials Company
A.O. Smith Corporation
Alpha Technologies, Inc.
Fluor Corporation
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLC
Paper and Chemical Supply Company
Incorporated AGL Resources Inc.
Arnel & Affiliates
J.R.’s Stockyards Inn
Entergy Services, Inc.
Oldcastle, Inc.
Siemens Corporation
PEPCO Holdings Inc.
Anheuser-Busch Companies
Fox Entertainment Group
Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.
IBM Corporation
Accenture
3M
Amway
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
New York Life Insurance Company
American Medical Association
CVS Caremark Corporation
Stanwich Group LLC
Kirby Financial, LLC
The Carlyle Group
Rolls-Royce North America, Inc.
AGCO Corporation
Caterpillar Inc.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Tandy Leather Factory, Inc.
High Companies
Norfolk Southern Corporation
CUNA Mutual Group
KCI Technologies, Inc.
International Bancshares Corporation
Hutchison Advisors
Ingram Industries Inc.
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Memphis Chemical & Janitorial Supply Company
Awkard & Associates
UniGroup, Inc.
Nana Development Corporation
Pool Corporation
48hourprint.com
Duke Energy Corp.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation
Ruan Transportation Management Systems
CNL Financial Group, Inc.
Navistar, Inc.
HPA Strategies
Ford Motor company
Trailmobile Corporation
Human Genome Sciences, Inc.
Con-way Inc.
Peabody Energy
Mountain Plains Equity Group, Inc.
RPM International, Inc.
Tramco, Inc.
Melaleuca, Inc.
COMSYS Information Technology Services, Inc.
MI Industries
Mindover Corp.
Authentix, Inc.
You can help urge them to quit – here >>

Misplaced Priorities: Six Strategies for CEO Failure?

American style management has been under some considerable stress these last few years. Now the nerds at Bain have some advice for the CEO. Apparently there are six dilemmas CEOs must face and – surprise! Bain has uncovered six strategies to help the CEO manage these dilemmas. Check out the cool diagram below:

ceosdilemma.gif

I personally think the CEOs would be better off following VG’s 3 box strategy and executing on it.  This other stuff is fine, but it doesn’t seem to be the stuff of great leadership. Nowhere do we see anything about creating great products or obsessing over your customers or sustainability.  I bet Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos do not manage their companies this way.

The Rise of Employee Unhappiness

From the Economist:
A survey by the Centre for Work-Life Policy, an American consultancy, found that between June 2007 and December 2008 the proportion of employees who professed loyalty to their employers slumped from 95% to 39%; the number voicing trust in them fell from 79% to 22%.
At France Telecom, 24 of the firm’s employees have taken their own lives since early 2008.
What’s up with this craziness? Of course, the recession is partly to blame, and industries like the automobile industry and the telecoms are under real stress. But to decide that you can’t live without your sorry job?
Everyone needs to get some perspective.
Sure, the Great Cycle of Failure is spinning away as fast as it can go at your company, but don’t let it mess you over.
Ask yourself, if I was starting today, would I join this company? If the answer is no, then you need to rewind and reassess. What do you really love doing and are good at? Are you better at it than just about everyone? Then go do it.
Sure it sounds simple, but it’s a lot of work. Back in 2004, I ended up quitting my steady corporate job to start a new company with no prospects and no customers in hand. I wasn’t even a good salesman. And yet, I survived. Not because I was so clever, but because I did what I thought was best for each customer. Sometimes I even told them that what they wanted wasn’t the right thing. And now I have a handful or two of loyal customers who work with me through rain and shine. I really do see their successes as mine. And that’s my job description: help my customers succeed.

Is the US Chamber of Commerce irrelevant?

We know they’re just another Republican puppet organization, and now it’s so obvious it’s hurting them.
But don’t expect them to back off.
Global warming is a hoax to these people, and nothing short of a memo from Exxon-Mobil will make them change their views.
Yes, the US Chamber of Commerce is irrelevant.

Keith Olbermann tells it

Keith Olbermann shows us what compassionate journalism looks like.  Too bad the mainstream anchors have been bought off. 

Olbermann’s transcript here >>

My evil thought: perhaps Rupert Murdoch will truly suffer when his turn comes to leave. 

And here’s a fun petition to help the Blue Dogs make up their minds about what’s right >>

How Much Does That Senator Cost?

If it wasn’t tragic, it would really be funny.
Our politics is based on lies and pay-offs. The Republicans we don’t even question any more – we know they’re just corporate hacks. On the Democratic side, the blue-dogs are making it fairly easy to see just how much it costs to buy off a politician ($3 million for Max Baucus; that’s the going rate these days).
In health care it seems we like monopolies, says Dylan Ratigan who points out the following:

a health care system was created in which a single health care company controls at least 30 percent of the insurance market in 95% of the country, including states like the following:
– Maine, where Wellpoint controls 71% of the market.
– North Dakota, where Blue Cross controls 90% of the market.
– Arkansas, where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 75% of the market.
– Alabama, where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 83% of the market.

Your insurance company is the death panel, America!
Here’s a dollar from Mr. Wendell >>
Meanwhile the Supreme Court is plotting on corporate free-speech
This plot needs a deus ex machina – Obama, wherefore art thou?

Michael Moore Meets Peter Drucker

I wonder what the late Peter Drucker would have said about Michael Moore‘s Capitalism: A Love Story?

I think he’d be very sympathetic. Drucker’s disillusionment with the level of executive greed he saw and we see today makes it very likely that he’d be a supportive fan.

And here’s an interesting quote from the man himself:

The leader cannot act in his own interests.It must be the in the interests of the customer and the worker. This is the great weakness of American management today.

[from A Class with Drucker: The Lost Lessons of the World’s Greatest Management Teacher, William A. Cohen, AMACOM 2008]

When results are poor, executives don’t deserve bonuses, right Peter?

What Global Warming?

Corporate fascism? What’s that?

Listen to this Henry Wallace quote from 1944:

“The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power…

Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion…

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

Hard to believe? Not.

Here’s an example of the latest garbage: CO2isgreen.org. What global warming? 

Go Michael Moore!

Breaking The Cycle of Failure

Why do companies behave like Hyatt Hotels and Circuit City?

By treating employees as costs they minimize their investments in employee training. The result is poor employee morale, substandard performance, and customer dissatisfaction. [Once again, here’s Drucker >>] 

I first met this idea in an article I read in the Bechtel library in Houston. I was new to the corporate world, and I was trying to figure out what companies should be doing to be the “employer of choice” in their particular industry.

cycleoffailure.gif

Of course, now I know this as an example of a vicious circle.  The opposite of this approach, a virtuous circle – seems far more rare – in business, non-profits, and learning institutions as well.

I now see this as Management 101. In fact, it seems so obvious, you wonder why anyone would choose to destroy their company this way. 

My guess: the culprit is executive pay. And in government? It’s the lobbyists.

Nerd 2 Nerd: Arrington’s Laws of Networking

Michael Arrington‘s tips on how to network are basic, but sorely needed by the nerd community:

1. Never underestimate the power of an introduction. A mutual friend who introduces you by email or in person is far more effective than a cold self-introduction at a crowded event. Approaching someone randomly should be your last option.

2. Don’t approach someone when they are clearly in the middle of something. If I’m throwing a conference, there likely isn’t any time at all that is appropriate to approach me. But there are 2,000 other people there you can hit up who aren’t as busy as I am at that time. Hit me up at the event that I’m attending but not running.

3. Don’t approach someone when they are in the middle of a mob trying to get their attention. This is usually after a speaker has just left a stage, and everyone hits them at once. If you must grab them then because you have no other way of meeting them, make it very, very quick and aim for nothing more than their business card so you can email them later.

4. If you get someone’s business card, never call them. That mobile phone number isn’t for you, the person who just met them. A random call to their cell phone is never welcome. Send an email. (I kinda messed up on this one. Larry Hagman gave me his card once, but it didn’t have his email… so I never called! Ha.)

5. When you approach someone, don’t assume they know you even if they do. You see them across the room, note them, approach them and say hello. You’ve had a few moments to think about it, but all they see is a face in front of them, a thrust out hand and a “hello!” It’s not reasonable for them to decide if they know you, remember your name and where you work in a half-moment.

Instead, say “Hey Bob, It’s Mike from TechCrunch, good to see you again” slowly and clearly. You’ve just told them your name, where you work, and the fact that you’ve previously met. Trust me, they are thankful for all that information, and everything will go smoothly from there.

6. If you forget to tell them who you are, don’t get offended if they don’t know. There will likely be a few sentences of very unspecific conversation as they try to remember any detail about you, or even if they’ve met you before. If they start off with “how are you?” or “what do you think about the event?” then things are going badly. They should be asking “how’d that financing with Sequoia go?” or something much more specific.

7. If you’ve blown it to this point, for the love of God fix it. Drop in something like “yeah, since I met you at the whatever event we’ve been rocking at TechCrunch. We finally launched that new blog on bicycles.” Bam, you’ve saved the situation. Notice how much better the conversation goes from there.

8. Look for body language. If you pay attention you can tell how engaged they are. If they aren’t engaged (looking away, never talking, etc.) don’t try too hard to get them to focus. Instead, move on to what you want. Get their card, see if a meeting or a call is possible and ask for the best way to make that happen. Some people think the more time they spend with a person the more likely they’ll get what they want. In reality, it’s the opposite. Don’t take time just because they are too polite to end the conversation.

By this time, you’re probably asking: am I a geek, dweeb, dork or nerd?

Thanks to John Hagel for clarifying:

nerdvenndiagram.gif

Communicating Change

It’s not enough to work hard and do your best when the Becks and Limbaughs of the world are doing their best to destroy your arguments with rage, hatred and lies.
What’s needed is a simple framework to communicate what it is you are doing and why.
Vijay Govindarajan‘s post – Obama’s Challenge: Communicating a Framework for Change – shows us what Obama should be doing to communicate more clearly.
And he’s got to find some of that campaign passion as well.

The Gospel of Getting Rich

Unfortunately, there are far too many believers in this Gospel of Getting Rich.
The main idea: wealth is a reward for following God.
So that makes Halliburton, Exxon and the health insurance companies all paragons of virtue. They are doing god’s work – ripping off the rest of society.
And people like Stephen Hemsley must be a saints.
Nice.
So how come Jesus was a poor carpenter? Or the Buddha had nothing but a begging bowl? Must be because they weren’t very blessed… Poor beggars.

Here Comes The Big Oil Lobby

It’s nice to see how democracy works, or not.
First the insurance lobby, now Big Oil.
Let’s allow the insurance companies to deny people health care in order to maximize profits.
Let’s look the other way while Oil companies stop alternative energy strategies from taking off…
Is this a last gasp for Capitalism 1.0?
Why is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation silent?
Where’s the Pope? Again, the silence of “the church” is deafening.

Boycott Whole Foods: John Mackey’s Branding Problem

A few weeks ago I gave up on Silk Soy.
Now, I’m done with Whole Foods.
How does the CEO of a company justify his “politics” when it goes against the brand of his company?
The short answer is: he’s not the right person for the job. I mean, you won’t see the NRA electing Howard Dean as CEO. So how does Whole Foods have a CEO so out of touch with his customers values? Or his company’s values? On Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ no less. What’s next, FOX?
Bye-bye, Whole Foods.
Additional Reading: On Value and Values by Douglas K. Smith

Fact Check on Health Care Reform

The New York Times reports:
A patient in Illinois was charged $12,712 for cataract surgery. Medicare pays $675 for the same procedure. In California, a patient was charged $20,120 for a knee operation that Medicare pays $584 for. And a New Jersey patient was charged $72,000 for a spinal fusion procedure that Medicare covers for $1,629.
Whew.
Wake up everybody!