There’s lots of lists like this of suggestions for how to set up your home office and such. I’m not going to try to re-hash a comprehensive list of such things; rather just share some items that I’ve found especially useful. Personally, while I have somewhat frequent business travel or meetings elsewhere, most of my work time is spent in my home office. Here’s what I’ve found. (Some of this obvious of course, but perhaps not always, or maybe there’s a useful perspective or two here. You will judge for yourself of course.)
Alright then… here’s the last entry, Part 3, in my series on my tips for international business travel. Everyone’s got their own stories and techniques so I might not be breaking any new ground here, but, it’s the Internet so who doesn’t need some more random opinions, right? There’s a Part 1 for Getting Ready and a Part 2 for En Route if you’re interested.
Just suck it up cupcake. There’s probably not a lot you can do. Tons has been written about this. Some say to manage your sleep cycles in a certain way, take this pill or that pill, use various types of blue colored light therapy, etc. etc. Any or all of these may work for you, but just realize… you’re in for some crappy times. Your circadian rhythm controls your body’s daily agenda. So the comings and goings of the sun define our days and nights. When we mess with our time zone, we’re just going to feel it one way or the other. And then there’s just the discomfort of travel in general. Maybe you’ll love catching up on some books or movies in all that in between time. But basically, even in the better seats you’re going to have hassles. You’re going to be either bugging the person on the aisle because you have to use the bathroom or you’re getting your elbows smashed by the drink cart or whatever because you’re in the aisle. You weren’t so sloppy in planning that you ended up in a middle row for 10 hours, did you? Wow. That sucks. (Done it. Hate it.) [Read more…]
Welcome to Part 2 in my short series on Tips for International Business travel. And once again, (as if there were any doubt), I’m no expert here. But I do have some hard learned lessons to share, so here you go… (oh, by the way, if you like to do things in order, check out Part 1: Getting Ready.)
Terminals, Missing Flights, Customer Service
There’s apps out there like GateGuru that can help you figure out what might be available at various terminals in terms of snacks and services. Unfortunately, you really can’t fully trust these things. They’re really good. And useful. But things do change and as much as they may try to stay up to date through buying syndicated data sources, doing their own research and crowdsourcing, they don’t always keep up with all changes. [Read more…]
When I was first starting to travel for business I got really excited about my first business trips. While I still like to explore, more of the practical comes to mind before bouncing off to wherever. There’s a lot of stuff I would have liked if someone had told me way back when. For any seasoned business travelers who come across this, chances are you’ll either just nod your head or maybe have a couple of changes or things to add. But if you’re early in your career and end up headed for wherever, maybe some of this can help. My motivation for doing this? Just yet another trip with some excess time to kill. My experience? Years ago, spent a couple of years on a plane at least every few weeks. Then add a couple of gigs involving weeks long stays overseas. Anyway… this will be a three part series… Getting Ready, En Route and Being there. Here we go…
This is too obvious perhaps, but it should be at the top of any such list. Copies of your passport, plus copies in some online service. Personally, I bring my passport card as well as my passport. It’s technically not valid for use in crossing for many places, but as ID it’s fine for the most part and this way I can leave my passport in my room safe. (Which maybe can’t be wholly trusted, but better than in my pocket all the time.) Note, however, there are some countries where foreigners are required to have their passports with them.
Maybe enough digital ink has been spilled already, but here’s the thing… something else showed up in my newsfeed recently that made me think, “You’re kidding, right? No one’s buying this.” (It was the AdAge Article: Out-of-Home Viewing Erased the NFL’s Ratings Deficit Last Season.) As product people, some of us focus on features, functions, benefits. And others on marketing. However, all of us should at least be interested in marketing and what the NFL faces now is a really interesting marketing business case. Whatever your level of interest in football might be, or your belief in some of the league’s issues, the legal monopoly that is the NFL has massive economic impact. While there’s some argument as to whether a stadium or Super Bowl has net positive impact on a city, (when you add in taxpayer subsidized stadium builds, etc.), football nevertheless generates massive economic activity overall. As a result, the challenges the marketplace faces should be of interest from a marketing perspective.
This – long – post is a reaction to more than a handful of recent conversations I’ve had with friends or networking friends who have had some sub-optimal experiences lately in various company’s recruitment practices. (Actually, these have been some piss-poor really @#$@#$ experiences. I’m just trying to clean things up a bit.)
What’s the Problem?
There’s some big, obvious reasons you could have trouble recruiting. Maybe your company/brand reputation is lousy. Maybe you’re not paying enough. Maybe you have some crappy managers and one or both online networks and the whisper network knows it. (After all, it’s become a cliche that people often don’t so much leave a job or a company so much as a manager. Not always true of course. But often enough the case.)
There could be a whole lot more reasons you’re having challenges getting the right people in the right seats. But here’s a new pair for you to consider. Horrible initial contact and really bad Application Tracking Systems and Candidate Evaluation Processes. As a hiring manager, you might have limited control over this sort of thing at a larger company where Human Resources is in control of such systems. But if you’re senior enough at your company, you may want to take a peek at these things because they may be hurting you. This blog post was motivated by a couple of my own experiences along with discussions with others who’ve had similar – or worse – experiences. It could be just a statistically random blip with a raft of recent issues of which I just happened to become aware. Or things could be getting worse in some cases. So I’ll just throw these thoughts out there into the world and you can take them as you will. [Read more…]
If you’re in an older company suffering from Innovator’s Dilemma type issues, you may have hidden costs beyond what you realize. (If you’re not even familiar with Innovator’s Dilemma issues, then you have hidden costs and major hidden risks far beyond what you realize.)
Over the past few years, I’ve had some interesting experiences interacting with companies attempting various types of innovation strategy that struggle to do so. I’m not talking about my Clients of course. They’re innovating for real. Some of my more negative experiences have been via pitching business or participating in various networking events.
Anyway, here’s some of what I’ve learned about companies that are doing a poor or at least a sub-optimal job of new product development or innovation. (Even if they have so-called Innovation initiatives.)
You Can’t Recruit the Best
I go over a variety of issues regarding recruiting in this post Another Reason You Might Have Trouble Recruiting so some aspects of this section may be a repeat for the two of you that hungrily eat up each and every post.
The short version of that other post is that your company has a reputation and it’s both public and on the whisper net. The whisper network is that cohort of potential employees and recruiters in the industry who talk to one another. For real. As in on the phone; not just via posts on Glassdoor or whatever. They’re networked in ways not always obvious on LinkedIn, but they know the deal at your place. If you have crappy managers or if you talk innovation, but don’t really do it, they know. And they take a pass when the recruiter calls. To get past this, you might need to hire a serious disruptor that’s at least somewhat known in the industry or at least can quickly demonstrate that you’re really going to be doing some interesting things.
This cost to a company may be the greatest ever. Because you won’t be able to get the best people to show up. Or even really good people Without that, how do you produce great new products? And the thing is, you won’t even know this is going on.
You’re Not Really Innovating
Let’s also remember there’s different types of innovation. The cool kids in tech and startup land like to think of themselves as the Super Innovators and think just about anything old school corporate is ripe for disruption. (And ok, a lot of times they’re correct.) But there’s another reality as well. Large corporate does innovate. All the time. There’s a constant flow of new products. And those products come from doing world class core basic research from materials science to semiconductors to whatever. Product ideas also come from piles of customer service information, working with customers and hearing their problems, and so on. Startups likely have a lot to learn from such companies. Just as one of many examples, 3M is what most would consider to be a fairly old guard manufacturing company. Yet, they’re increasing R&D spend to 6% of revenue in 2017. (See Forbes: R&D: One Of The Driving Factors Behind 3M’s Growth.)
3M actually invented the Vitality Index to use as a KPI, and it measures the percentage of sales that are coming from new products. What is “new” in terms of a product and how long something is new might be debatable and different by company. But assume we’re talking about at least a material improvement and within three years. What’s 3Ms current number? It’s a bit over 30% in 2015. I’d argue that in this case, 3M is definitely innovating! Are you? Really? What’s your vitality calculation look like? Don’t have one? Figure it out. If you’re in single digits that’s maybe a problem.
What about you? Are you really innovating? Minor “new and improved” changes are probably not going to take you to the next $100M or beyond. Or maybe they will if your volume is high enough. But will what you’re doing be enough to hold back a true disruptor? Are you listening carefully enough to get a sense that something might be changing in your customers’ needs? Are you trying to do the hard work of changing cultural DNA to include innovation? Or do you have an elite innovation team somewhere? If a team, are they able to get anything done? Or do they face overwhelming pushback everywhere in the organization?
It’s possible you have “Innovation” on some business cards. And a few consultants training some special teams. But if new products or services aren’t being pushed out within months or if none of them are making inroads, chances are you’re not getting new things done very well just yet. This could have a triple negative effect: 1) Cost of the effort resulting in nothing; possibly not even much learning in terms of failure, 2) negative momentum in the marketplace, 3) a feeling that nonetheless you’re doing something even though motion certainly doesn’t equal progress.
Planning an Event? Great. I’m sorry to say I can’t help you much with the event itself. What I perhaps can help you with is avoiding some major mistakes with your online presence. During a recent project, I’ve had occasion to look at a lot of events sites. And I’ve come to realize that there’s way too many folks out there damaging their prospects. Starting with the obvious; make sure to communicate the What/When/Where asap! Amazingly, many just don’t do this. [Read more…]
In some of my past work, I’ve help lead product teams or design sites for various types of direct selling of products. And a few past posts discuss some aspects of ecommerce. But you know what? Ecommerce in some ways just isn’t that hard. Yes, it has its many complexities and there’s all kinds of technology coming out all the time to help from the top of the funnel through the bottom and ongoing support, etc. Still, what you’re left with – when you get done with multi-channel attribution, multivariate testings of every element on a detail page, etc. – is a fairly simple binary thing: A prospective customer bought from you or not. And you should have the data to know that. Also, ideally, some direct and inferential knowledge as to where in the sales funnel you’ve lost shoppers along the way. [Read more…]
Welcome to Part 2 of Finding Web Page Publish Dates when they’re not displayed on a page. Why would you care? Well, you have your reasons. Please see Part 1 of this topic to get a sense of why we’re bothering to look at this stuff.
In any case, continuing then…
- See if images have a date stamp.
- Click on an image or right click and open in a new window. See if the URL has a date stamp on it.
- A more extreme option might be to look at image info to see if there’s EXIF data in the image with a date. This doesn’t necessarily tell you much as the image could have been taken any time. Maybe it’s years old stock photography.
- Try Google’s Structured Data Tool.
- The tool is to help web site creators validate data within their pages. But it can also be used for discovery.