Tag Archives: Google

Thirty Leaders and Two Followers: Can We All Be Leaders?

A few weeks ago, I was preparing to teach by re-reading the chapter for which the material we’d be covering in class. Part of the class session was going to be spent on leadership. Granted, this is an undergraduate textbook in organizational behavior, I was truly disappointed to find that of the 30+ pages on leadership, there were only two — 2 — pages spent talking about followers. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a successful leader without followers.

One of the broader issues here is math. Of all the people in the world, how many of them do you think will be leaders? Of all the people in the world, how many of them do you think will be followers? I’m not saying that people shouldn’t strive to be leaders or be the best they can be, but based on our current definition/understanding of leadership, not everyone will spend a great deal of their time being a leader. In fact, most people will spend the majority of their lives being followers — and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, many of the people that we think of as great leaders were — in fact — once followers. Some say you have to be a good follower before you can be a good leader, but I’m not really going to get into leadership philosophy right now.

Instead, I wanted to draw to your attention to the amount of time we spend thinking about, talking about, and teaching leadership and the absolute void with regard to following. For instance, a quick Google search returns over 450,000,000 results for leadership, but only 420,000 for followership. You might think that’s not a fair comparison, so what about how to be a good follower or how to be a good leader? Follower returns: 54,000,000 (though I think some of these might be returning religious results). Leader returns: 1,350,000.

While leadership is more revered, it certainly seems like there’s room in the popular literature for a few great books on followers and how to be a good one.

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Want a Pair of Google Glasses: Just Write a Convincing Essay

One of the co-founders of Google, Sergey Brin, was on stage at TED2013 talking about Google Glasses. It’s like a smartphone, but in a pair of glasses. If you haven’t yet seen Google’s latest promotional video, you’re probably going to want to check it out:

Cool, eh?

One would have to imagine that the possibilities for use are endless. Can you imagine putting these on athletes, say baseball players, and watching the gameplay from their perspective. Obviously, we’re a long way off from that (or are we?), but it’s fun to think about the potential uses. Anyway, in this post, I wanted to talk about something I read in an article about Google Glasses:

The company will sell the glasses for $1,500 each to people who write a convincing essay on what they will use the glasses for.

This is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Google is getting its customers to evangelize about its product and then ‘rewarding’ them by letting them pay $1,500 to buy the product. More than that, Google is crowdsourcing its customers for ways to market its product. By aggregating the best essays (and the themes of the essays), Google will see best how to market its product to other customers.

Close Your Email — Right Now!

If you’ve read anything about productivity, the appeal in the title of this post will not be new. While this is something that I’ve known for years, it’s not something that I usually practiced. I’ve had my own computer for more than a decade and in that time, I’ve probably almost always had my email open — while at the same time, trying to get work done.

Of course, there would be times when I would be under some sort of deadline, so I’d close everything, but the report I was working on. Aside from those times, I’ve almost always had a tab open in my browser with my email. The ironic part is that when Google Chrome added extensions, I immediately picked up one of those extensions that would let me know when I had email with a chiming sound. Like Pavlov’s dog, I would immediately flip to my inbox.

I’ve read lots and lots about how to be productive. I know that being a slave to your inbox is not an effective way to get anything done (other than keeping our inbox empty, but that’s debatable).

Recently, I’ve had some trouble with the extension in Google Chrome that chimes  when I get a new email. As a result, I experimented with some other extensions, but none of them seemed to work as well as the one I had. I finally came to an extension that was by Google, so I thought that one would probably work really well and forever be compatible with Google Chrome. Before I go on, I should say that the extension I was using had worked for… well, as long as I can remember. So, the new extension. This new extension by Google doesn’t chime the way the old one did.

At first, this was kind of maddening because I was so used to hearing the chime and then going to my Inbox. Mind you, the extension still has a small indicator directly next to the address bar, so I could see if there was a new message or not.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well — because I’m converted.

I no longer have my email open. After 10+ years of having my inbox open all the time, I’ve realized (by accident?) just how much more effective and efficient it is to not have your Inbox open all the time. So, if you were a long-time hold out like me, I implore you — try it — test it out — you may like it!

Note: If you need another reason to close your Inbox… you should know that having Gmail open will slow down your computer — as it takes up quite a bit of RAM.

In The End, Everything Will Be OK – If It’s Not OK, It’s Not Yet The End

It’s no secret that I like quotes. Since converting my Facebook profile to a Facebook page, I’ve gotten into the habit of sharing a “quote of the day.” If my calculations are correct, I’ve been sharing quotes of the day for over 80 days now. As you’ll notice that I also have a quotes category, I’ve shared a number of quotes here on this site, too. And if I think back to the days of AIM (AOL Instant Manager), I often had quotes as my “away” message. And even before then, I remember really liking quotes in high school and in elementary (or grade) school. So, like I said, it’s no secret that I like quotes.

As you may have noticed, the title of this post is a quote. I’ve seen this quote in many places — most recently, on a Harvard Business Review comment:

Failure is seldom fatal or final. I loved the line in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie. “It will be alright in the end and if it is not alright, it is not the end.”

Some may quibble over the word “alright” vs. the word “OK,” but the essence of the quote is the same. After seeing it there, I felt motivated to find the original author. Not that I was planning on digging through reams of archives at an historic library, but just that I thought with some Google-sleuthing, I’d be able to figure it out. It’s a quote that I often see unattributed and I thought to myself that someone had to have said that at some point, right? I did something like this about 18 months ago, when I wrote a post about a great quote being often incorrectly attributed to Howard Whitman — when in fact it was spoken by Howard Thurman.

So, after some Google-sleuthing, I came to a Wikipedia page for Fernando Sabino, who was a Brazilian writer. On that page were a few quotes, one of which read:

“No fim, tudo dá certo. Se não deu, ainda não chegou ao fim.”

The translation follows:

“In the end, everything will be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not yet the end.”

Having seen how incorrect Wikipedia can be sometimes (pranksters, of course), I thought I’d wait for a while before being sure that this was correct. [Note: I originally wanted to include a link to an image I uploaded to Twitter that showed “Buddha” as the author of The Hunger Games, but apparently old images on Twitter are deleted — or something like that. So, you’ll just have to imagine that there was a screengrab showing “Buddha” as the author on The Hunger Games Wikipedia page.] And then I thought, this Wikipedia page probably isn’t visited nearly as often as The Hunger Games page, so I thought I could trust it. So, I plugged the same Portuguese from the page into Google Translate (just to see if it was the same), and I got a similar quote to the English that appears on the page.

My next step was to see if I could find this quote attributed to him somewhere else on the Internet. Since this quote is often unattributed, this took a bit more time. When I noticed I was hitting a bit of a roadblock, I thought I’d see if I could find other pages on the web of Sabino — and I did! I found a Facebook page for him. While it doesn’t take “too” much effort to create a Facebook page, I noticed that there were almost 2000 likes and that the page has been around for 3+ years. I noticed that the quote was also on the Facebook page. And next to the quote was  this:

– Fonte: “No fim dá certo”

When I plugged this into Google Translate, it said, “- Source: “In the end it works.” So, now I had a source! In looking for that source in English, I didn’t have much luck, so I used the Portuguese. One of the first Google results was a book! The book was also available on Google Books, (but I couldn’t see very much of it, so searching the book for the quote was difficult). Not to mention that I don’t speak Portuguese and sometimes, when you look for words on Google Books, they don’t always show as being there (even though they are there).

It’s still quite possible that I fell victim to some sort of hoax (not as elaborate as Lance Armstrong or Manti T’eo, though). I am fairly confident (at least 90%) that Fernando Sabino is the original author of this quote.

Wanna Be Productive? Avoid Email, Twitter, and Facebook First Thing in the Morning

Hello hello! It’s been almost two weeks since I last posted. I’ve been out-of-town for the last little while without reliable internet connectivity, so my posts were sparse. In fact, I think I only wrote the one about authenticity while I was gone. Well, you’re in for a treat. I’ve got at least a dozen new things to write about since I’ve been gone, one of which will be a series (I’m excited for it!)

Today, I want to talk about an aspect of productivity. I could be conflating things, but I think the first time I read about productivity, with respect to time of day, was in the 4-hour work week. The idea is that people are most productive (or can be the most productive) when they get to work in the morning — straight away. However, many of us, myself included, check email, Facebook, or twitter, before we get down to working on what we’ve got planned for the day. Ferriss (if I’m remember correctly) argued that this is the best way to harpoon your productivity.

So, he advocated not turning on those things until after you’ve done the “key” thing you wanted to get done that day. In fact, he has a whole specific thing about email that you might want to look into (only checking email twice, once, or less [!] a day). By staying away from these black holes of time, you’d be able to get at least that one thing you wanted to do that day and feel good about it.

I know that when I wake up in the morning, email/twitter are two things that I almost always check before I do anything else during the day. This is, in part, because twitter is the way that I get my news/learning, but also because — well — it can be a bit addictive. By checking twitter/email in the morning, I can sometimes get sucked into a problem/task or a series of articles. Before I know it, I’ve spent 60 minutes on things that I hadn’t necessarily planned. As a result, I sometimes don’t get to writing a post that day — and I’d like to write something (at least) once a day.

Let’s make a challenge of it, shall we?

Remember that meditation challenge I wrote about a few months ago? Let’s do the same thing with productivity! Let’s commit to doing the “key” thing before we get into other things (like email and twitter). Of course, I understand that some of you may not have the luxury of not checking your email (based on your jobs), but otherwise, let’s see if we can do it. You’ll be able to check on me because the one thing that I’m going to do before I check Twitter is write a post.

Markets Are Cyclical: Why the Internet Monopolies Don’t Matter (that much)

Survival of the biggestThere was a nice feature on Technology in this past week’s Economist. In fact, there were a number of articles I found intriguing (medical tricorders was a good one!), but I want to draw your attention to one in particular: Battle of the internet giants – Survival of the biggest. The case is made that these internet behemoths are getting too big and that their scope needs to be curbed. Okay, I understand that, but I think that the fear is a bit unfounded. Here’s why.

Remember back to when railroads were the only way to get around? Remember when all commerce and long-distance travel was done by locomotive? Now, I don’t know if this is a perfect comparison, but bear with me for a second. There were at least a few big players in the railroad game back in the 19th century (Union Pacific, Central Pacific, and Southern Pacific). I’m sure that there were people back then who were irked that there were monopolies in the railroad business and probably wanted there to be more regulation (like is being argued in the article about the internet).

However, with the turn of the 20th century, a new form of transportation was starting to emerge: the automobile. It didn’t happen overnight, but the automobile eventually became a much more preferred method of transportation.

There’s another example: television. Remember in the early days of TV, there were just a few channels? If you had a TV (and you watched it), you probably saw the same program that everyone else who had a TV was seeing. Again, I don’t know, but I imagine that some folks were pretty peeved by this monopoly. Although, slowly but surely, there came to be more and more choice of TV channels. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where we’re unlikely to ever see the most watched television program eclipsed because there’s so much choice.  Though, some would argue that there still are monopolies in television.

And now what’s starting to breach the monopolies of TV? The internet and online media. There was a slide deck that was passed around courtesy of Business Insider earlier last week that shows the future of digital. There were lots of graphs and lots of data. One of the graphs showed that the percentage of live TV watching has dropped 25% in just the last 4 years. Conversely, recorded TV watching is up over 50%! And a new category has emerged: streaming TV. Whereas there was no streaming TV watching in 2008, it now makes up 7% of primetime viewing in the US.

So, even with all of this choice in television, there is still room for newness and growth.

Tying this back into my argument about the internet behemoths: maybe we can’t see it now, but based on history, I would bet that there’s going to be something that comes along (eventually) and unseats these internet behemoths. Of course, that’s not a reason not to regulate them, but it is something to keep in mind when you see articles like the one in last week’s Economist.

Shouldn’t “Work” be About Production not Hours Completed?

I have to ride an elevator to the 20th floor for my . There’s also no restaurant on the floor and I don’t usually bring my lunch, so I find myself riding up and down the elevator quite a bit during the week. There was one interesting conversation I overheard this past week riding in the elevator.

On the way down, the elevator stopped a few floors after I got on and two gentlemen walked on. The elevator began descending again and I one of the guys said that he finished his “code” (work product) an hour early. (The hour early referring to how much time before, presumably, he was allowed to go home.) After a short pause, the same guy then said that he should have waiting an hour and then submitted his code. There was then a long pause and the other guy called the first guy an idiot.

While I didn’t exactly care for the unnecessary demeaning term, there is most definitely something to be gleaned from this situation.

Even with the all of the that has been done allocating time at work, the numerous of companies implementing it, and the various published on the subject, there are still companies that operate under the impression that giving an employee autonomy, mastery, and purpose is a non-optimal solution.

On account of this example, I wonder how many similar companies/organizations there are out there that don’t operate under these principles. More importantly, I wonder what the state of the business world (and by extension, the rest of it) would look like if a great majority of companies gave their employees autonomy, mastery, and purpose.