Monthly Archives: July 2007

activeCollab — o.k. now I’ve found something better than backpackit

I haven’t been more impressed with a Collaboration tool than I have with activeCollab found here: http://www.activecollab.com  I discovered the tool after signing up for 37 Signal’s BackPackIt tool for 3 months — boy, I wish I would of waited on paying that fee to 37 signals!  BackPackIt is a good tool, but against a free application like activeCollab, it fails hands down.  I mean, activeCollab has more features from what I can tell & again, the price tag?  FREE….can I repeat it again?  FREE, FREE and one more time for the record FREEEEEEEE!

You just have to install it onto your website for people you are working with on a project or business & it’s incredible.  It’s relatively young in development & so it still has a ways to go, but it’s great for one of the first releases.  It hasn’t even gotten to 1.0 & it’s pretty decent.

Anyway, this is my plug for the tool…so they get more support & I get more features later on.  No affiliate marketing here…not a single penny earned, but honestly, I’d invest if I had the money.  Some day I may since I can use their tool to build them.

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Filed under Online Tools, Website tools, Work tools

Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself…

I was looking for an article published by Business 2.0 or Fast Company where they profile some of the top “mavericks” or business leaders who did it differently.  Mark Cuban was profiled and one of the things he said was to surround yourself with people that don’t agree with you.  His argument was that if people are always agreeing with you, you’re never challenged & there’s probably a good chance you’ll put yourself in jeopardy.  A fire will be burning in your organization and before it’s too late, it will be burning your business down because people were too afraid to say anything about the fire.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t find the article. However, I found something similar that was a little dated. At the same time, the advice is timeless.

Back in 2005, Business 2.0 wrote this:

My Golden Rule
By Business 2.0 Staff, November 28, 2005

We asked 49 business visionaries, collectively worth over $70 billion, what single philosophy they swear by more than any other — in business, life, or both. Here are the secrets of their success.

Interviews conducted and submissions gathered by Michael V. Copeland, Krysten Crawford, Jeffrey Davis, Susanna Hamner, Carleen Hawn, Rob Howe, Paul Kaihla, Matthew Maier, Om Malik, Duff McDonald, Christopher Null, Erick Schonfeld, Owen Thomas, and G. Pascal Zachary.

The reason I post the entire article here is #1, I’m not profiting off of it. Secondly, the article appears to be NOT maintained. And I read a blog entry by the folks at Business 2.0 “Can Facebook save Business 2.0” where it talks about how there are a bunch of folks trying to help Business 2.0 survive. So, it looks like there may be a chance the magazine may not even exist any more sometime soon. Just in case, we have this text here for future leaders and people to take advantage of. However, if for some reason Business 2.0 doesn’t want this here, I’ll be happy to remove it & keep it in my personal blog only. I can’t believe this great resource for inspiration may die. It’s too bad.

FOR THE SHORT VERSION, I’VE JUST TAKEN THE QUOTES & THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THEM HERE. For the longer version that the person(s) who made the quotes elaborated on what they said, look to the bottom. Quotes first, then the famous/successful person who made the quote after it.

**WARNING – both versions are long…while the LONG version is worth reading, I’d recommend placing a 1/2 hour a side or a little less

“Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You”
CHRIS ALBRECHT, CEO, Home Box Office & GEORGE STEINBRENNER, owner, New York Yankees

“Remember Who You Are, Not What”
BRAD ANDERSON, vice chairman and CEO, Best Buy

“Make Hiring a Top Priority”
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

“If You Think You Can’t, You’re Right”
Carol Bartz, CEO, Autodesk

“Make Your Customers Your Sales Force”
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com

“Reinvent Yourself. Repeat.”
Alex Bogusky, executive creative director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky

“When People Screw Up, Give Them a Second Chance”
Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group

“Check With the Wife”
Po Bronson, author, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest and What Should I Do With My Life?

“There Can’t Be Two Yous”
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

“The Customer Should Always Be Happy”
John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems

“Don’t Be Interesting — Be Interested”
Jim Collins, management consultant; author, Built to Last and Good to Great

“He Who Says It, Does It”
Simon Cooper, president and COO, Ritz-Carlton

“Treat your customers like they own you, because they do.”
Mark Cuban, co-founder, HDNet; owner, Dallas Mavericks

“Educate and Obey Your Conscience”
Stephen Covey, business consultant; motivational speaker; author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“Get Out From Behind Your Desk”
Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

“Learn to Give Back”
Michael Graves, architect and designer

“Only the Paranoid Survive (Now More Than Ever)”
Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO, Intel

“Once a Day, Take Some “Beach Time””
Mireille Guiliano, CEO and president, Clicquot; author, French Women Don’t Get Fat

“Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself”
Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. secretary of commerce; former
chairman and CEO, Kellogg

“Never Bow to Precedent”
Gary Hamel, business consultant and author

“You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”
Phil Hellmuth, poker world champion, winner of the most World Series of Poker Gold Bracelets

“Don’t confuse luck with skill when judging others, and especially when judging yourself.”
Carl Icahn, billionaire investor

“Conventional Wisdom Is Always Wrong”
Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm

“Make Deals With People, Not Paper”
Penn Jillette, magician, author, and producer

“Get Your Timing Right”
Ray Kurzweil, inventor and entrepreneur

“Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Competitor’s Success”
Geraldine Laybourne, chairman and CEO, Oxygen Media

“Business Can’t Trump Happiness”
Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

“Don’t Trust, Just Verify”
Steven D. Levitt, coauthor, Freakonomics

“There’s something bad in everything good and something good in everything bad.”
Michael Lewis, author, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life

“Share and Share Alike”
Scott McNealy, founder and CEO, Sun Microsystems

“Get Face Time With the Customers”
Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO, Xerox

“Choose Your Mistakes Carefully”
Craig Newmark, founder, Craigslist

“Maximize the Compromises”
Hans-Olov Olsson, chairman, Volvo Cars; senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Ford Motor

“Whatever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap”
Dick Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner

“Never, Ever Forget That You Are a Servant”
David Neeleman, founder, chairman, and CEO, JetBlue USA
Jim Press, president, Toyota Motor Sales USA

“Learn to Trust Your Gut”
Paul Pressler, CEO and president, Gap

“The Next Big Thing Is Whatever Makes the Last Big Thing Usable”
Blake Ross, co-creator, Firefox

“Be a Problem-Solver”
Hector Ruiz, CEO, AMD

“Loyalty Counts as Much as Smarts”
Srivats Sampath, founder, McAfee.com; CEO and president, Mercora

“Hard Work Opens Doors”
Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO, Verizon

“Be the Person Who Steps Up”
George Shaheen, CEO, Siebel Systems

“Those Who Don’t Know Their Own History Are Doomed to Repeat It”
Ram Shriram, angel investor and Google board member

“What Gets Measured Gets Managed”
Stan Sigman, CEO, Cingular Wireless

“Quit Taking, Start Giving”
Russell Simmons, co-founder, Def Jam Records; founder, Rush Communications

“Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in an e-mail.”
Eliot Spitzer, New York state attorney general

“At the Height of Success, “Break” Your Business”
Ed Zander, chairman and CEO, Motorola

“Business Is Not About Ideas, It’s About Initiatives”
Sergio Zyman, marketing expert

—————————————
[THE MORE DETAILED VERSION OF THE ABOVE]
—————————————

“Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You”

CHRIS ALBRECHT, CEO, Home Box Office

Surround yourself with people smarter than you and be comfortable with that. I went to a high school for gifted students and went from being one of the smartest kids in the class to being near the bottom of the pack. I got very comfortable with being in that situation and realizing how much I could learn from people who are as smart as or smarter than I am. Now that I’m running HBO, it’s so important that the answers about how HBO continues its success come from the people sitting in the room with me. My job is to help guide them to the right answer.

GEORGE STEINBRENNER, owner, New York Yankees

This is a rule that my late father, Henry George Steinbrenner II, taught me when I was a young man. Most young men listen to what their fathers say, but they do not always put their advice into play. I was no exception. I didn’t appreciate the lesson he taught me until it had slapped me in the face several times. I guess I was a slow learner.

Not only was my father an outstanding athlete, but he also graduated first in his class in naval architecture, preparing himself for a career in shipbuilding. Even in light of his achievements, I wanted to navigate my own way through the waters of my early career, whether they were smooth or stormy. Mistakes were made, but the wisdom of my father’s counsel finally sank in.

So I pass his advice along: Surround yourself with amazingly intelligent men and women. The people I work with not only are smarter than I am, possessing both intellectual and emotional intelligence, but also share my determination to succeed. I will not make an important decision without them.

“Remember Who You Are, Not What”

BRAD ANDERSON, vice chairman and CEO, Best Buy

When a company starts its life, those who create it are very aware that it’s a people-powered effort. They’re a group of people with a good idea, trying to make something out of nothing. But as companies grow, something strange happens. They start to think of themselves in terms of what they are, rather than who they are. The irony is that just about every company that goes from “who” to “what” spends an extraordinary amount of energy fighting to regain that sense of “who.” Trying, with apologies to Lennon and McCartney, to get back to where it once belonged.

Every organization gets its energy from the relationship between the customer and the person who serves that customer. If a company makes the leap — honestly listening to customers — employees will bring the best of themselves and pour their energy into their work. At Best Buy, we don’t always get this right, but when we do, it’s a beautiful thing. I can recite dozens of stories about employees who transformed our business because they saw a need and had the freedom to use their own talents to fill it.

Any organization is a human endeavor, but most big organizations work hard to dehumanize, to depersonalize. Why? They’re scared, because we humans are unpredictable and messy. I say, Turn around and embrace it. Celebrate it. One of our employees said it best: Try to be “a company with a soul.”

“Make Hiring a Top Priority”
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Not long after I joined Microsoft in 1980, Bill Gates put me in charge of recruiting. The business was growing fast, but we were badly understaffed. I asked Bill to approve the hiring of about 50 people. He said no. I told him I thought we needed more great people in order to grow; he thought I was going to bankrupt the company. Bill was pretty conservative. He’s since said that he always wanted to have enough money in the bank to pay a year’s worth of payroll, even if we didn’t have any revenue coming in.

We didn’t hire as fast as I wanted, but we did hire, and I did all the hiring myself for a long time. No one joined Microsoft without my interviewing them and liking them. I made every offer, decided how much to pay them, and closed the deals. I can’t do that anymore, but I still invest a significant amount of time in ensuring that we’re recruiting the best people. You may have a technology or a product that gives you an edge, but your people determine whether you develop the next winning technology or product.

“If You Think You Can’t, You’re Right”
Carol Bartz, CEO, Autodesk

Often I’m put in the position of persuading people to do something I want them to do, but they don’t want to. So first I have to hear the “can’ts” — the limitations they carry in their minds. I always listen closely to the reasons why people feel they can’t do something. I’ll even bring them to the point where they say to me, “Now you’re getting it, boss! That’s why we can’t do it.”

When I hear that, I’ve laid my trap. I start by asking the person who is resisting me to tell me how much he or she can do toward the goal I’m expressing. That’s because I have this core belief that you can do anything if you try. That’s why we release new versions of our core AutoCad program annually — because when people say it can’t be done, I say we can, we just don’t know how. So we learn.

There are times, of course, when people convince me that something can’t be done. I’m really just trying to get a balanced view, to get people to be honest about both sides. My rule helps me to do that. It’s a gimmick, sure, but it’s a way to help people avoid getting stuck in the negative.

“Make Your Customers Your Sales Force”
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com

Why have a few hundred salespeople when you can have a few hundred thousand — especially when those few hundred thousand aren’t on the payroll? This idea, which proved to be one of the most important eureka moments for Salesforce.com, came to me while I was at Ozumo, a popular sushi bar in San Francisco, where I often go after work. I was dining with an important prospective client, and I was working hard to sell him on Salesforce.com and our future strategy when — without any prompting — an existing customer approached me and told me how successful his company had been with Salesforce.com. At that moment I realized that no amount of marketing or promotional gimmicks like T-shirts, buttons, and chocolate cigars would ever match that endorsement.

Word of mouth can make or break a product offering. While many companies have lost their market positions because of the well-known product failures they’ve experienced, just the opposite can also be true. It’s important to note that the first step in building this groundswell depends on having a great product that customers love. By offering customers an opportunity to talk about their success, companies can create what author Malcolm Gladwell calls the “tipping point” — a convergence that can propel a small company into a household brand. At Salesforce.com, this has meant developing our 308,000 subscribers into the biggest sales force in the business. Sure, our customers may be getting a free hamburger on us, but with their endorsements to prospects, we’re getting the ketchup and mustard on top.

“Reinvent Yourself. Repeat.”
Alex Bogusky, executive creative director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky

I was 24, working at a small ad agency in Miami and trying to become a junior art director, when I read Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout. One chapter talked about how people position you or a product in their mind, and how you’ve got to disrupt to get people to take you out of that position.

I wondered, what kinds of things did I have to do to disrupt people and make them think differently about me? There is a lot of change in people and in their careers, and people are reluctant to see it. It’s the way we think, the way we categorize things.

So I just embraced this notion that every six months I would radically change my look. I mostly did it with my hair, from a crew cut to a Mohawk to long hair to a mullet. I changed the color. It didn’t matter what I did — I just had to change it. I wanted people to have to take the trouble to reanalyze what I was offering.

I’m 42 now, and I’ve stopped. What does that mean? It means it isn’t about me any longer. Now it’s about the agency. Sometimes we change the titles of departments and people. We changed the planning department to the “cognitive anthropology” department, and the account service department to “content management.” We have to change just as often, so that we’re not being evaluated by the same standards as last year.

“When People Screw Up, Give Them a Second Chance”
Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group

To be a good leader, you’ve got to concentrate on bringing out the best in your people. People are no different than flowers — they need to be cared for and watered all the time. This is true whether it’s a switchboard operator or the chairman who just gave a bad speech. I should know; I gave a bad speech last night. The point is, people know when they’ve fucked up, and they don’t need bosses ramming it down their throats.

When I was 7 or 8, I took some change from my dad’s drawer and went ’round to the sweet shop. The shopkeeper called my dad and said, “We’ve got your son here; could you come down?” Here I am, with 50 pence, and the shopkeeper says, “I assume your son has taken this, that you didn’t give it to him?” My dad says, “How dare you accuse him of stealing!” My dad knew I’d taken it, and I gave it back — but I never stole again.

Years later, when Virgin was about 20 people, the manager of a secondhand music shop tells me that one of our staffers is selling albums that were new from Virgin. It was petty theft. Rather than sacking him, I brought him in and we had a chat. Today he is the head of marketing of one of our companies and one of the best people Virgin has.

“Check With the Wife”
Po Bronson, author, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest and What Should I Do With My Life?

I would never want to be the kind of luminary who admits that my wife is smarter than me, but alas, I am, and she is. My wife owes me no deference at all, and so she never hesitates to tell me I’m being ridiculous. I tend to check with her at these three stages:

1. At the very beginning of an idea, when it’s still so vague that if she does not like it, I can pretend I simply hadn’t thought it through enough to present it well.

2. Right before completing a project, when I’m up against the deadline and I can pretend it’s too late to change it even if she doesn’t like it.

3. Before going on television, in case she thinks I should wear a different shirt.

“There Can’t Be Two Yous”
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

When you get out of bed in the morning and think about what you want to do that day, ask yourself whether you’d like others to read about it on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. You’ll probably do things a little differently if you keep that in mind.

“The Customer Should Always Be Happy”
John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems

My golden rule is to focus almost fanatically on customer success. Living by this rule helped steer Cisco through the tremendous growth of the 1990s. It’s allowed us to fine-tune our acquisition strategy and anticipate many challenges and market transitions to stay ahead of our competition.

“Don’t Be Interesting — Be Interested”
Jim Collins, management consultant; author, Built to Last and Good to Great

I learned this golden rule from the great civic leader John Gardner, who changed my life in 30 seconds. Gardner, founder of Common Cause, secretary of health, education, and welfare in the Johnson administration, and author of such classic books as Self-Renewal, spent the last few years of his life as a professor and mentor-at-large at Stanford University. One day early in my faculty teaching career — I think it was 1988 or 1989 — Gardner sat me down. “It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting,” he said. “Why don’t you invest more time being interested?”

If you want to have an interesting dinner conversation, be interested. If you want to have interesting things to write, be interested. If you want to meet interesting people, be interested in the people you meet — their lives, their history, their story. Where are they from? How did they get here? What have they learned? By practicing the art of being interested, the majority of people can become fascinating teachers; nearly everyone has an interesting story to tell.

I can’t say that I live this rule perfectly. When tired, I find that I spend more time trying to be interesting than exercising the discipline of asking genuine questions. But whenever I remember Gardner’s golden rule — whenever I come at any situation with an interested and curious mind — life becomes much more interesting for everyone at the table.

“He Who Says It, Does It”
Simon Cooper, president and COO, Ritz-Carlton

I use this phrase whenever someone convinces me that they can achieve something I consider to be unachievable. In the past I’ve been known to add focus to a goal by making a bet to see if they can make it — sometimes with amusing consequences. I remember being at a mountain resort in Canada and proposing an incredible goal for the season. The team convinced me that they could achieve it, and I offered to jump into the lake if they did. It’s a long story, but they made it. There’s a great scene of a hole being cut in the ice and an ambulance on standby while I gave a whole new meaning to the term “dunking.” The cognac was very welcome.

One of the assets I look for in a team or a leader is a bias for action and a willingness to say “We can do it,” coupled with a solid strategy. The way I interpret it, execution and commitment are absolutely essential to any strategy or initiative in an era too full of plans, processes, and procrastination. The expression speaks to the need for individuals and teams to commit to goals and actions and be willing to be held accountable for them. There is a flip side that goes something like “No one is more apathetic than in the pursuit of another person’s objective.”

“Treat your customers like they own you, because they do.”
Mark Cuban, co-founder, HDNet; owner, Dallas Mavericks

“Educate and Obey Your Conscience”
Stephen Covey, business consultant; motivational speaker; author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I have huge stacks of books that contain a lot of the wisdom literature from all sources, including the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita, the text in Hinduism and Buddhism. It helps me learn to listen to people and to empathize within their frame of reference. In other words, to free myself from my own agenda, and get into their agenda.

Be extremely open and get your security from a divine source rather than human approval. It frees you. It gives you great courage; it also gives you more wisdom.

“Get Out From Behind Your Desk”
Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

At any company, it’s easy to get into a rut of spending your day reading e-mail and going to meetings. That’s not a productive way of doing business.

I talk to people in the elevator and ask them what they’re doing. I was talking to one of our heads of R&D and learned about a programming challenge they were facing with customer records. I said I’d write a procedure that does all the things we need to do and gave his team 20 lines of code.

My code ended up processing 100 million records. I wanted to challenge the programmers by showing them that, hey, if I can do this stuff, you can do this stuff. And I wanted to be able to converse with them at the basic, lowest level of programming on how this stuff works. I was so thrilled with what I’d done — so proud, I guess — that I gave seminars to all of our programmers on how to do it.

“Learn to Give Back”
Michael Graves, architect and designer

My parents told me that no matter how good you are in your work, you must make a contribution to society. Without that, you will only be selfish. My career has been an interesting mix of architecture, design, and education. I teach, which is a way to “give back” to the profession. I taught at Princeton University for 39 years and am gratified that many of my students have become teachers themselves.

But there’s another way of giving back. Architecture and design are professions that inherently address the public good. Since I became partially paralyzed nearly three years ago, and spent considerable time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, I have come to realize that some of those buildings are not functional at a basic human level and that durable medical equipment has rarely been regarded as anything but a necessary evil.

My colleagues and I can make a difference if we turn our attention to improving the functionality and appearance of the aids to living that many people need, even those with slight disabilities. We’re working on a collection of them now, a contribution that I never expected but hope will make many people’s lives more enjoyable.

“Only the Paranoid Survive (Now More Than Ever)”
Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO, Intel

By now most people in Silicon Valley know this is my mantra, but I’m not sure they know what it means. It isn’t as crazy as it sounds; it’s really a corollary to Murphy’s Law, which states that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. If that’s so, then the paranoid have an advantage.

I was always amused at how the phrase caught on — and who wanted to be considered even more paranoid than I am. Once, when I was receiving an honor at Harvard University, Bill Gates was saying some nice things about me on a video and said he had only one quibble: that he was the most paranoid.

I think the rule is more relevant than ever today. The U.S. economy is getting hollowed out, industry by industry. Health care is about to become one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and yet for the most part it’s an industry that has never taken advantage of digital technology. Our country’s infrastructure is fragile, even precarious. Just look at New Orleans. So I would say, Duh. We’d better be paranoid.

I know I am. But not about Intel. One of the benefits of no longer being the company’s chief “paranoid” officer is that someone else gets to do that now.

“Once a Day, Take Some “Beach Time””
Mireille Guiliano, CEO and president, Clicquot; author, French Women Don’t Get Fat

We have to take “beach time” — a space for ourselves — every day because we live in a world of burnout. Even if you take 20 to 30 minutes for yourself, you’ll be a better worker, a better colleague, a better person. It benefits the people around you as much as it benefits you. Don’t feel guilty to do your own thing during that time. And I don’t necessarily mean going to the gym. I never go to the gym. I have a view of one across the street from where I live in New York. It’s 7:30 at night, when you should be thinking about dinner and relaxing, and the gym is full of people.

I take my beach time each morning. I have a glass of water, and I walk along Bank Street to the Hudson River. A walk is the cheapest and best exercise, and it’s the best 20 minutes of my day. It’s an element of what I call “French Zen.”

“Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself”
Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. secretary of commerce; former
chairman and CEO, Kellogg

My experience and observation have shown that if people see you looking out only for your own best interests, they won’t follow you. You have to believe in doing good for those you serve, knowing that it will allow them to do extraordinary things. Another important lesson I learned from my father, who was the first great leader I observed. He taught me that you have to keep your perspective and have a sense of humility. As he used to say, “Tell me what you brag about, and I’ll tell you what you lack.”

“Never Bow to Precedent”
Gary Hamel, business consultant and author

Near the end of my Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan, a veteran professor took me aside and proffered these words of advice: “Gary, the surest way to get tenure is to build on someone else’s well-established theory, churn out as many articles as you can for leading journals, and avoid the temptation to do consulting, as this will only divert you from your research.” As I absorbed this bit of sagacity, I had to work to keep from frowning. “Hmmm,” I thought, “that might be the way to get promoted, but it sounds like a recipe for creative suicide.”

So in an act of rebellion, I signed up for a consulting project at General Electric while still a doctoral student (jeez, did I learn a lot), hooked up with a similarly contrarian-minded professor, C.K. Prahalad, and started working on the first of what would become 15 articles for the Harvard Business Review and two books. And as I looked around for role models and mentors, it quickly became obvious that the people who had really made a difference in the world of management — from Frederick Winslow Taylor to Mary Parker Follett, W. Edwards Deming to Taiichi Ohno — were all rebels. Constructive rebels, but rebels nonetheless.

As the pace of change accelerates, the value of precedent will continue to wane. Today the most important thing is to regard everything you believe as nothing more than a set of hypotheses, forever open to being disproved. A healthy disrespect for precedent is the ultimate advantage in a world where the future is less and less an extrapolation of the past. By the way, being a contrarian is usually not as risky as the custodians of convention typically make out. Somewhere along the way, I got tenure.

“You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”
Phil Hellmuth, poker world champion, winner of the most World Series of Poker Gold Bracelets

What we do as poker players is read people. People lie to us; they try to bluff us constantly. So we get used to trying to sort out all the bullshit. When I get pitched by people who are really good, like con men, they are not as good as the poker players.

You can’t cheat an honest man. I don’t know exactly why that is, but it’s true for me. My honor is unquestioned in poker, and if you have perfect honor in poker, it’s better than having it anywhere else in life because everyone remembers everything from 15 or 20 years ago. If you cheated then, they’ll remember.

“Don’t confuse luck with skill when judging others, and especially when judging yourself.”
Carl Icahn, billionaire investor

“Conventional Wisdom Is Always Wrong”
Paul Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm

The downside of this rule is that no one will believe you, so you’ll need to work much harder to sell your idea. The upside is that everyone else will be running in the wrong direction, so you’ll have a more open field in which to innovate. Find the incorrect underlying assumptions and you’ll create opportunities.

“Make Deals With People, Not Paper”
Penn Jillette, magician, author, and producer

This was the hardest thing to learn when I was 19. When we first started doing Penn & Teller shows, I thought that if you had a contract, it was enforced. I thought there were the contract police — so you’d sign a contract that says you’re going to give me a million dollars, and if you don’t have a million dollars, someone will step in and give me my million anyway. Right.

That’s one of the hardest lessons for a guy like me who has no interest in business but now runs a multimillion-dollar enterprise. A contract is not much of a legal document. It’s just an agreement that two people who trust each other have made. You can’t enter into a contract with anyone that you wouldn’t make a handshake deal with, because everything comes down to a handshake deal.

The more experience I got in showbiz, the less I read the contracts. Now I don’t bother. If I can’t make the deal in a phone call, and have them understand it, then it’s not a worthwhile deal. You’re making a deal with the people, not with the contract. That’s a mistake that people make a lot: “We’ve got it in writing now.” The contract is clarification, but it’s not enforcement.

“Get Your Timing Right”
Ray Kurzweil, inventor and entrepreneur

I had the idea that I would be an inventor when I was 5 years old. Now, 52 years later, I still fashion myself an inventor. After some youthful experiments, I realized that the key to a successful invention is timing. Many inventors succeed in getting their contraptions to work, yet most inventions still fail in the marketplace because the enabling factors needed for success are not in place when they’re needed.

With this in mind, I became an ardent student of technology trends over 30 years ago. Now I have a team of researchers who assist me in gathering key measures of information technology in a variety of fields. In addition to timing my inventions, the technology trend models derived from this data enable me to create long-term forecasts of what will be feasible with the information tools of 10 or 20 or 30 years from now and beyond. I say this not just looking backward now but with a track record of accurate predictions in a series of books going back about two decades.

“Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Competitor’s Success”
Geraldine Laybourne, chairman and CEO, Oxygen Media

When I was at Nickelodeon, we had 10 commandments whenever we started a new business. To me, the most important one was “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, thy neighbor’s donkey, or thy competitor’s success.”

This is especially true in television, where so many people just keep their eye on what the other networks are doing. They’ll try to find the next Desperate Housewives, but the look-alikes never amount to a whole lot. I’ve done that a couple of times and fallen flat on my face. So I try not to get distracted by what worked for others.

I always have an eye on the competition, but it’s not to do what they’re doing. It’s to see where the holes are. I’ve built businesses by looking at conventional wisdom and going exactly the opposite way.

“Business Can’t Trump Happiness”
Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

I am constantly asked by women how to balance careers with family. I know from experience that there is no silver-bullet answer; if there were, we would be seeing more women in the corner office. The truth is that balance is achieved through a host of individual dance steps, from being willing to suffer a little domestic chaos to insisting that performance be measured by results, not just time spent in the office. Unless you love your work, you won’t find the balance. How can you, if you resent the time away from family spent at a tedious job? I fell into a job and a company I loved. I never wanted to leave and never worried that my family suffered for it. Finding fulfilling work should be an early and deeply pursued part of everyone’s career path. This may sound soft and mushy, but happy people are better for business. They are more creative and productive, they build environments where success is more likely, and you have a much better chance of keeping your best players.

“Don’t Trust, Just Verify”
Steven D. Levitt, coauthor, Freakonomics

So much of what we hear and what we’re taught turns out to be false on closer scrutiny. Whether it is expert advice, what you read in the paper, or what your mother told you, if it is important, take the time to figure out for yourself whether it is really true.

“There’s something bad in everything good and something good in everything bad.”
Michael Lewis, author, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life

“Share and Share Alike”
Scott McNealy, founder and CEO, Sun Microsystems

You learn to share in preschool. Later you learn that if you make the pie bigger, everyone gets a little more. These lessons came together when we started Sun. We didn’t have the resources to do everything ourselves, so we shared what we had to attract customers and get their help in building the business. There are now 4.5 million Java developers and about 950 companies worldwide all collaborating on a technology Sun shared with the community.

This is possible because sharing creates communities, which create new markets. It’s also changing business models: Companies can no longer expect to lock in customers with proprietary standards. They must now compete on the value of their business execution. They monetize that value a little bit, spread over the entire community. With 1 billion people on the network today, and several million more joining every week, there’s a lot of opportunity. So while it may seem counterintuitive for a company to share, it’s the key to larger economic growth — not only for Sun, but for everyone in the world.

“Get Face Time With the Customers”
Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO, Xerox

Xerox’s founder, Joe Wilson, used to always say this, and it’s become my own golden rule. The way I see it, if you forget the customer, nothing much else matters. The brand deteriorates, employees lose jobs, and shareholders lose value.

My mantra around Xerox is to ensure that the customer is connected to everything we do. It’s why every senior leader — from our head of human resources to our general counsel — is assigned a customer account to cover.

I remember getting on the elevator one morning at headquarters around the time of a quarterly earnings report, and our chief accountant stepped in right before the door closed. I started to ask him how the numbers were looking, but he was more interested in debriefing me on a customer call he’d just made in Louisiana. Our elevator ride turned into a longer discussion about billing resolutions for this customer (though I did finally get the analysis of our earnings numbers out of him).

This is why I make hundreds of customer calls each year. Hearing firsthand from our customers about their relationships with Xerox changes my perspective on the toughest of business decisions.

“Choose Your Mistakes Carefully”
Craig Newmark, founder, Craigslist

When someone points out a mistake to you, deal with it — don’t go into denial. When I started running Craigslist, I made some serious goofs in hiring the wrong people, people whom I shouldn’t have trusted. As a result, though, I eventually found a guy who’s become a really good CEO and who has great judgment in hiring. I realized I wasn’t a good manager, so I got out of the way.

I also issued stock to employees, not thinking it would be worth anything. Big mistake — eBay was able to buy a 25 percent stake in Craigslist from a former employee. But eBay turned out to be a good partner; we share a similar moral compass.

“Maximize the Compromises”
Hans-Olov Olsson, chairman, Volvo Cars; senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Ford Motor

Maximize the compromises; otherwise you do not win in global business. My education along this path began during the six years I served as president of Volvo Cars in Japan. In Japanese culture, you do not allow one party in a negotiation to lose face. Trust grows from an honorable exchange, when everyone walks away from the table feeling good about a deal. To do that I had to master the art of listening. Actually, I thought I was a good listener before I went to Japan. Once there, I discovered that listening is not only about words but about observing body language and the nuances of give and take. Compromise, in Japan, springs from empathy.

I left Japan and moved to Brussels to head up Volvo Cars in Europe. Compromise is necessary in Europe as well, but it demands a different set of skills there. The cultures of Europe are extremely independent and rooted in their respective identities. Consider how difficult it has been to form a European Union and you get a sense of the obstacles to reaching consensus on any marketing strategy. Maximizing a compromise, however, does not mean losing yourself so that you can please others. You have to be fully yourself; never pretend to be someone else. From that position of strength, create a win-win solution for all parties. Then be very disciplined in the follow-up so that you leave nothing unanswered.

“Whatever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap”
Dick Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner

This came from my grandmother, and it was the best advice I ever got. If I think of anything on a daily basis, in terms of a moral compass, that is the one. You treat people the way you want to be treated. If you treat everyone with respect, somehow it comes back to you. If you are honest and aboveboard, somehow it comes back to you.

“Never, Ever Forget That You Are a Servant”
David Neeleman, founder, chairman, and CEO, JetBlue USA
Jim Press, president, Toyota Motor Sales USA

My grandfather ran a general store, and if a customer needed something that wasn’t in stock, he did whatever it took to get the item — even running across the street to a competitor — rather than ask the customer to take her business elsewhere. He never told me, “Take care of others, and they’ll take care of you” — he didn’t have to. I saw it happen.

When I entered the aviation business, I never thought in terms of “passengers” or “tickets sold” but of “people” and “customers.” It was distressing to hear airline colleagues complain about the customers — even going so far as to say how much easier it would be for them if there were fewer passengers.

When JetBlue started flying in February 2000, my goal was to bring humanity back to air travel. We hire nice people and train them in the skills they require to help run the airline. I don’t think you can train someone to be nice. We are all servants in the best sense of the word, which brings amazing personal and professional rewards.

JIM PRESS, president, Toyota Motor Sales USA

I really consider myself a servant leader. A servant leader works for his dealer network, for the associates in his organization, and for his customers. I mean, from a business point of view, if you put the customer ahead of all else, you’ll never make a wrong decision.

That’s the premise I worked from in deciding to keep a brand-new technology out of the current Prius. It was a remote information screen in the dashboard that operated via the driver using a mouse instead of by touch — and it offered some clear advantages. It could be placed farther away from the driver, leaving the interior feeling roomier. Fingerprints wouldn뭪 mark up the screen. Plus the technology could save the company money because it’s cheaper and simplifies the interior뭩 design challenges.

But you have to keep asking yourself, Is this innovation customer-friendly? And this one wasn뭪. I remember attending the demonstration in our parking lot and thinking, It may be better for the company, but who wants to concentrate on a mouse while you뭨e driving a car? I said this isn뭪 customer driven; we can뭪 do it, although perhaps in the future there might be advances that will help us find a way to make it work. Then I walked away, and that was the end of that. Instead we arrived at a setup that worked for everyone.

“Learn to Trust Your Gut”
Paul Pressler, CEO and president, Gap

I learned this from one of my first bosses, a legend in the toy industry named Bernie Loomis. I watched every decision he made, and it wasn’t so much what he decided as how he made the decision. Like most executives, Bernie was informed by financials, input from his team, and insights from customers. But he didn’t always follow what appeared to be the most logical path — he once sold empty boxes at Christmas, with the promise of a blockbuster toy to come later.

I once asked Bernie how he came to a particular decision that seemed like a strange choice. He told me, “I have no idea. I just knew what I felt in my gut.” As it turned out, his gut was almost always right.

Few business decisions are black and white. That’s why you surround yourself with smart people and listen to different points of view. But when it’s time to make the call, I rely on my instincts. Whenever I haven’t done this, it’s ended up being a mistake.

A career is a collection of experiences to get your gut ready. It’s the accumulation of knowledge from successes and failures that helps you to see what’s possible and build something great.

“The Next Big Thing Is Whatever Makes the Last Big Thing Usable”
Blake Ross, co-creator, Firefox

When Firefox began, the browser market was “dead,” client software was “outdated,” and many entrepreneurs were working on podcasting tools for goldfish and other “next big things.” We focus on the everyday problems that nag at everyday people. There are more than enough to go around without imagining new ones.

“Be a Problem-Solver”
Hector Ruiz, CEO, AMD

In a race for more megahertz, we forgot to ask if customers really needed higher processor speeds to get better performance. It turns out they didn’t. In introducing wholly new chip architectures, chipmakers forgot to ask if customers were willing to replace software and auxiliary hardware. It turns out they weren’t. Innovation is only worthwhile if it is focused on solving real-world problems.

“Loyalty Counts as Much as Smarts”
Srivats Sampath, founder, McAfee.com; CEO and president, Mercora

Starting and building a company is like going into battle — and I always prefer to go into battle with a team that is loyal to one another and to the cause. At Mercora, most of us have worked together for six to 10 years, and the trust and loyalty we have for one another makes an extremely difficult task enjoyable.

“Hard Work Opens Doors”
Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO, Verizon

My first boss — he was the building superintendent, and I was a janitor — watched me sweep floors and wash walls for almost a year before he mentioned that I could get tuition for college if I got a job with the phone company. When I asked him why he’d waited so long, he said, “I wanted to see if you were worth it.” The message: Work hard, have high standards, and stick to your values, because somebody’s always watching.

“Be the Person Who Steps Up”
George Shaheen, CEO, Siebel Systems

Approach what you do as a leader, not a participant. I’m talking about life. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to run a huge company, your family, a church choir, or the Indian Princess outing at your kid’s school. You will see that the most successful people are the ones who approach whatever they do with the mind-set and qualities of a leader. This means you need a vision for the outcome of what you’re doing, you must have the courage to act on your vision, and you have to execute.

I grew up in a small farm town in central Illinois. There were 49 kids in my high school, and at that time, many of us who did go to college flunked out. And the ones who flunked did so because of poor English skills. So our English teacher, Helen Mess, began tutoring us in themed writing in her home three nights a week. Three nights a week! She acted like a leader: She saw a problem, and she had a vision for how to fix it. But she didn’t ask for extra money, or for any programs from the government. She just said, “Come to my house.” That took courage. And she executed: Fewer of us flunked out.

“Those Who Don’t Know Their Own History Are Doomed to Repeat It”
Ram Shriram, angel investor and Google board member

I wish I had kept a personal diary from day one of my career. But I did get started in 1996, so I’ve at least documented the most recent history of my own follies and foibles. It’s intended not to correct personality flaws or change behavior — or even worse, self-flagellate — but rather to serve as a guide to the numerous aspects of running a business while avoiding the minefields of the past. For some things there is no substitute for experience-based knowledge, and documenting it ensures that we’ll always remember it.

“What Gets Measured Gets Managed”
Stan Sigman, CEO, Cingular Wireless

Whether you’re a network engineer responsible for making sure calls are completed or a marketing manager responsible for a new product, you need to know how to measure your success. That’s how we do business at Cingular, and that’s how we will reach our goal of being the most highly regarded wireless company in the world.

“Quit Taking, Start Giving”
Russell Simmons, co-founder, Def Jam Records; founder, Rush Communications

You get a lot of benefit from giving, not from taking. You have to fill a void, give people something that’s meaningful and useful. If it’s an entrepreneurial venture, find what people need and give it to them. Give them something that’s lasting. Be careful not to take a shortcut or give people what they think they need. My latest venture, UniRush Financial Services, offers a real benefit for people who are struggling. It’s for people who are mostly locked out of the system, and they need it to get on their feet. It’s not a way to exploit them because they are on their knees. It’s a way to pick them up.

“Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in an e-mail.”
Eliot Spitzer, New York state attorney general

“At the Height of Success, “Break” Your Business”
Ed Zander, chairman and CEO, Motorola

Companies that don’t innovate don’t survive, so the key to success is driving this innovation. This lesson is especially important to remember when things are going well. Though it’s counterintuitive, successful companies actually need to be more innovative than the competition. It’s like kids playing king of the hill — everyone aims for the kid at the top. Leaders that don’t innovate are displaced by those willing to take risks.

This is why, when a company reaches the height of its success, a good leader will shake things up by “breaking” the business. One example of this is moving people around. Changing the company’s organizational structure allows different people to interact and allows new, innovative ideas to take shape.

Every day I look for ways to break Motorola. Employees are excited to come to work every day because they, too, live, breathe, and imagine the next big thing. Breaking the business may sound like a strange thing for a CEO to do, but this strategy has sparked innovation at Motorola and it is the reason for our success.

“Business Is Not About Ideas, It’s About Initiatives”
Sergio Zyman, marketing expert

My golden rule of business is action. Ideas are nice, but initiatives move the business forward. Businesses must move forward and grow. If you are not achieving growth, you are not being successful — no matter how good your ideas are.

It may sound harsh, but this is not the Doris Day school of life — a “Que Sera, Sera” attitude is not rewarded. I have a reputation for being an abrupt kind of guy. Since my days at Coca-Cola, there has been a perception that I am incredibly demanding — and it’s true. I like people who can “point and shoot” when it comes to getting done what needs to happen. Business is not about ideas; it’s about initiatives and strategies. So cut all the niceties and pleasantries that really, in the end, drive you nowhere and focus on what keeps the business moving and growing.

Remember the “Mean Joe Greene” ad from Coca-Cola, and how warm and fuzzy it was? Everyone loved watching that ad while they drank Pepsi. I killed that ad because it did not help sell more Coca-Cola. It’s about driving growth, not entertainment. In today’s business environment, everyone’s destination must focus only on growth and making sure you have the right tools and team in place to achieve that. You have to be a growth insurgent to achieve growth, constantly attacking competitors’ weaknesses and winning the hearts and minds of the consumer.

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“Get a room!” I mean, “Get a bathroom!”

Alright, I just got back from a run at 3:30a … which is crazy in itself, but those are my hours here in South Korea.  I regularly go to sleep at 4a to as late as 6 or 7a.  I hate when I do, of course, and I’ve been feeling a little heart tension over the past few months.  I’ll keep on taking my mom’s heart tablets and hope that helps.

However, I had to write one more entry before going to sleep tonight. I was running up & down this hill near my condo (we call them “officetels” here in Korea). On the way down, I noticed this guy standing next to a tree. Yah, you guessed it, he was urinating on it … hmmmm, so he could fertilize it? No, he was just too lazy to go & find a bathroom. Continue reading

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What Judy’s Book and Tribe should of been…

I always try to print out a few articles to read on the train to work or home.  So, I usually print them from Business 2.0, Fast Company, or Inc. because I’m all about entrepreneurism.  I love creating new ideas and I have wishes to help improve the world with them.  Regardless, it’s what makes me happy.

This week, I printed an article from Fortune magazine titled “Business paradigm shifts and free tequila shots.”  I had no idea what the article would be about, but I’m glad I read it.  It helped me discover yelp.com  This site is what  a site in Seattle called Judy’s Book (which has since changed business models – now providing deals from businesses around you) and Continue reading

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Free MIT MBA? Free Masters of Science in Engineering?

I was recently reminded of something I knew as early as 2001.  It was the fact you can learn from MIT for free: online.  If you check out http://ocw.mit.edu, there are at least 1,550 courses available online from MIT (as of November 2006) from subjects ranging from Business to Science.  I was reminded of it again because I was teaching my Master’s class & explaining to them they can learn for free any day from even the best Institutions in the world.  Continue reading

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Busy building Asia’s information portal…

Sorry for the lack of posts here. I’ve been busy building the site http://Korpedia.info It’s my latest and greatest idea which will be a part of a family of websites that do similar things for different countries. However, I want to focus and make this a hit. Right now, I have a few people who are semi-dedicated, but the list is building & I’m hoping to have at least a thousand articles by the end of the month. The run rate on this will be much higher than I’ve seen others producing other wikis.

I started this 8 days ago and so far I have 330 pages where 187 are probably legitimate content pages. There have been over 1151 page views (probably 1/3 is from the creation of them). We have 10 users (I wish we had more than this), but it’s o.k. because most people like to be anonymous when posting. We’re fine with that. Continue reading

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“Back to the drawing board…” Volume I

Basically, I was thinking about the “Verification Systems” that most companies use when signing up for new accounts or making posts on Wiki or another publicly available CMS or other public collaboration. Well, I was wondering why they couldn’t just display a color and then have the user type in the color of the image. So, if it was red, obviously, you type in “red.” However, you don’t spell red in German “r-e-d” — I believe it’s “rot” or something similar. So, the color or image thing actually is defeated by globalization. At least with the jumbled up characters, people know in almost any language you’re just writing that into the verification box. The only caveat I would say is that sometimes the directions are in English for a foreigner. However, I think it’s becoming a standard for people that don’t even speak or read it can probably understand what they have to do. It’s become uniform.

So, back to the drawing board with this idea. Rather, some might just say “duhhhhhh”…some may not & that’s why I’m going to put it in the category of “back to the drawing board instead for learnings. I think we need to learn why some things are implemented and others are not. Some people say I have a knack for explaining it — thus, the posts. Happy surfing!

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This definitely doesn’t help my image, I’m thinking…

An article titled “Drinkers in Korea Dial for Designated Drivers” was published a few days ago.  There are an estimated “100,000 replacement drivers that handle 700,000 customers a day across the country,” according to the article. 

I guess it’s not a bad job…financially, that is.  The median income in South Korea is $24,500 a year (34th in the world) according to Wikipedia.com.  These guys who drive around drunks for a living make $2400 a month putting them $4300 richer than the average South Korean.  Continue reading

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Cell Phone Vibrator or Beeper

Prefacing this, I didn’t want to actually write this.  I honestly think this is a $10 million dollar idea I’m giving away for free.  If you understand this, I really think someone could leverage this.  However, I don’t have the right contacts right now to produce this.  So, I’m giving it up. 

—— 

Let’s face it, but the cell phone will never be small enough where we can slip it on our collar or on our watch or otherwise where we don’t realize it’s there.  So, we place our cell phones to the side and many times have no idea that an important message has come in.  However, we are creating devices small enough to clip on our collars, our shirts, our watches, etc.  which could vibrate or beep when we do get those important messages.

 Cell phones could be reduced down to the size of these devices, but we wouldn’t use them…we couldn’t input the phone number and we would look idiotic and feel uncomfortble talking into small things the size of a pen or an eraser.  So, this little device instead helps us with both the urgency of the messages & calls, but also lets us easily hide the small warning device when needed.  Think of it as a beeper for our cell phone.  Probably wouldn’t cost much producing these things in China or elsewhere. 

If you do end up leveraging this idea into a great business, I definitely want to pre-congratulate you!  If you would be nice enough though to return at least credit or a little bit of the profits, I would be so appreciative…or my twin boys would be & hopefully their college education funds would too.  🙂  ^^

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TheDayInTheLife.com

OK, this may not be one of the most positive contributions to society, but it may piggy back on the idea that people like to watch random videos of people doing stupid stuff.

The business concept is basically giving out relatively inexpensive “covert glasses” people wear around in their public lives.  Video can be taken of all the events that happen in their life.  We all see some crazy stuff & for everything they see that may be “interesting,” they can edit it & upload it to the site.  Some people may even consider putting the whole day on the video or maybe just their work day?  Maybe some will upload videos of a hillarious or crazy experience at the bank or with a loan officer.  Some may have some crazy experiences at the supermarket or maybe at work with their boss?

Anyway, I’m sure there will be things they will capture we’ll find interesting.  I could do this, but I have way too much going on right now to pursue this or the other ideas here.  I may pursue them, but the whole reason behind blogging these or sharing them with you all is because it’s not the idea that matters…it’s the execution of the idea and the constant upkeep of the business that matters.  You also need to constantly adapt to consumer needs and societal standards  So, it’s not just the idea, but they aren’t a bad place to start. 

p.s. If you or anyone decides to make a site or business around this, please recognize you’ll have to deal with all the privacy concerns and issues that may arise from this.  I don’t think Moore or Cohen had too much of a problem…so maybe this wouldn’t be bad either.  I think they may people sign release forms though…kind of hard making people sign release forms when they don’t know you’re watching them.  However, are public events in the private domain?  Something to ponder….

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A couple wikis that wouldn’t be bad to have implemented (if not done already)

So, I think we’re going to have many of these.  However, I was thinking that a couple that would be nice to have out there are:

  •  a book wiki — Amazon screwed up on this — getting information in an objective way on the internet…even Bezos admitted it in a recent article describing Wiki’s and the founder of the application.  Also, this wiki could replace basically all those “cliff notes” type of sites out there.
  • resumes wiki — how about putting Monster.com out of business?  What if we decided to just have a place where everyone placed their resumes for recruiters to look for & people to just do their best to publicize their own.  Then again, don’t we call this LinkedIn.com?  Maybe something less corporate would put LinkedIn.com out of business too?

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100 of the most mspelled, I mean mispelled words…

Guess I’ve been on the kick of words and their usage lately. Just saw this list recently of the most mispelled words. Words including “a lot”, “until” and even “mispelled” are among them. Take a look, if it “turns your crank.” Supposedly, they have another 150, if these don’t excite you.

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Filed under Linguistics, Lists, Search Engine Management, Word Usage

Hella impressed…

So, I just stumbled on this site: http://backpackit.com

After looking at the parent company, I see it’s also the same company that produced Ruby on Rails.  If you’re watching any development or somewhat connected with what’s going on with Web 2.0 and other recent projects that are going to be the size of Facebook or YouTube, you’ll know Ruby on Rails has been spread around the ‘net lately.

Anyway, I decided to email the founder.  It goes a little sumtin like dis… Continue reading

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Funny — a short follow up to WordCount…

So, Jonathan decided to do what we do with Search Engines…he also ranked how we use his Wordcount site with QueryCount.  Check out the #1 word — same word as the highest used word in most search engines. 

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What’s the #1 used word in the English language?

Well, according to a website called Wordcount it’s the word “the.”  How about #2?  “Of” holds that spot.  Wordcount is website created by I believe Jonathan Harris and tells us in his database of 86,800 words which words rank the highest in the world in the English language. 

According to the website: “WordCount™ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.”

He continues to explain the way the site was built: “WordCount data currently comes from the British National Corpus®, a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent an accurate cross-section of current English usage. WordCount includes all words that occur at least twice in the BNC®. In the future, WordCount will be modified to track word usage within any desired text, website, and eventually the entire Internet.”

 Anyway, I find it useful for my English classes.  The one caveat for me though is that I teach standard “American English” and so there may be differences between the U.S.’s version of English and the British. 

Enjoy…

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