The 5 Minute Tech Break : Jan 18


Obviously most of my resolutions have evaporated already but I have remained 'dry' so far in 2019 ...

Good points - better sleep, clearer thinking, bit of weight loss, general smugness.

Bad points -  watching my other half drink and, I'm only half way through!

Dumb product of the week - alcohol free Gin & Tonic!

Enjoy the read.


Alarming Book : Fire and Fury

Because the Trump story moves so quickly this book is already feeling a little dated but, Fire and Fury is a fascinating read as much because it's about a highly dysfunctional organisation.

We've all been in those types of organisation where every decision is illogical, or made off the cuff without any thought of the consequences.

Whilst the book is not brilliantly written, it lives up to the hype and provides some amazing and worrying insights. 

As an example, that DJT does not read and makes decisions based on the last person he saw.  Can you imagine working for this guy?  It means that many of the edicts that come out of the White House, are as surprising to those on the inside who had little knowledge prior to their release.

Now that's a team I'd never want to work for!

Managing a Team (and their external pressures)

So much of how you manage the team dynamic, is about how you read and understand the individuals involved.  Everyone of them is complex and occasionally unfathomable but, if you've recruited well then you have a better chance than most of it working productively and collaboratively. 

But this week's blog on "Managing a Team" looks at situations I've encountered where external factors have played a significant role in the behaviour of individuals.  It includes the time someone requested some extended 'sick leave' to care for a family member, only to hear on the grapevine it was less about looking after granny, more about serving time.

Relationship, criminal, drug and mental health issues have all been factors impacting on some of my teams over the years.  

Spotting that a change of behaviour is more about external pressures, is a key element of how well you manage and handle the (hopefully) temporary turbulence within a team.

Reliving the hell of trade shows

With CES finished and some interesting/bizarre tech en route, it reminded me about the mixed views I have on trade shows.

Excitement and loathing.

Trade shows generally have two purposes.

If you're a large company then it's about showing off, VIP meet and greets, free flowing champagne and some whizzy VR games on your over sized forecourt.

If you're a small company, it's about trying to get your head above the parapet and driving lead generation. Sales come later.

I've worked for many a small company that enters a trade show with the wrong expectations and often burns money taking an expensive stand with the wrong approach or training. 

The latter is often a major problem.  I sometimes weep when I see smaller companies who have taken an expensive stand but their representatives are sat slouched in a corner, texting.

It is exhausting, it is repetitive but it's also crucial to have a team in place who are motivated, enthusiastic and trained.  Trained to spot the potential lead versus the tyre kicker.  Trained to understand and articulate your key value proposition.  

From an attendee's perspective, it's often a familiar experience.  You prepare well and walk through the doors keen, but after 10 minutes the novelty wears off as there are too many people in the gangways, queuing up for the best stands, the business that you want to meet you can't find the stand and when you do, the only person free is the marketing intern who is a little confused by your first question.

Soon you're slumped in a corner texting, alongside one of the interns.

But hey, it gets you out of the office and who knows, if you have a decent co-founder ... they might even approve a trip to Barcelona (see previous newsletter!).

Stats on Computer Science Degrees

In UK higher education enrolment, computer science make up 10% of science subject students. Seems about right.

However, there are 3 times as many business & administrative as there are computer scientists.

Do we really need 3 times as many managers as scientists?  Seems like we've allowed the managers to take over the asylum.

Learn a productive skill, use it, develop it and then manage those who have it. 

Two Surveys : "Doh" conclusions ...

Saw two surveys this week that concluded with what I'd describe as "doh" moments ....

Firstly, Open planned offices were supposed to provide a better environment for workers to communicate, breaking down the physical barriers of partition and wall.

Research now indicates the opposite, with interactions allegedly dropping by 70% and from that, the implication of a reduction in productivity. 

The loss of privacy makes us clam up even more by putting the headphones on and trying to ignore everyone. Doh - it does seem pretty obvious.

Next time you have an office refurbishment/move, think about a mixture at least. Communication is more about culture than open plan offices and privacy can be an under rated element for a successful team. 

Secondly, with the fear of skin cancer, people have been covering up more and applying sun cream liberally. Result of this is we produce less Vitamin D (manufactured by the skin in sunlight) and not common in most foods.

A lack of vitamin D has historically meant higher chance of most lifestyle diseases and so, an industry of vitamin D supplements arrived.

New evidence suggests that lack of Vitamin D is a correlation and not a causation, as no clinical trial has proven the effectiveness of supplements. It is the lack of sun exposure that is potentially the causation of higher risk of life style diseases.

More meetings in the park anyone?

Quote of the week

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" - Anonymous

A regular issue within the software industry, me thinks. The same processes, used again and again without improving results.

Another week, Another 5 minute tech break.

For you insatiable types who can't get enough of the '5 minute tech breaks', go visit our archives.

Until next time have a great weekend, and a fun filled week.


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