25 September 2008

business values

Everyone talks about corporate values, business values...
Every offsite I've been to has had sessions about values.

At times I've described this as bullshit.
At other points it's seemed at least interesting.

The thing is that the values are, really, always the same. Once you reduce them down, they're Respect, Professionalism, Commitment, Passion and Thoughtfullness.

The trouble is...
None of those are what is seemingly the single most important value of all.
The desire for work to be fun.

You want to talk business values that create a great company?
That's the one.

15 September 2008

Innovation is Evil

Bruce Nussbaum on the BusinessWeek site makes a truly absurd claim...

He claims that "innovation caused the current financial crisis."

So first of all... I suppose I'm too much of a semanticist to find this an acceptable or even vaguely intellectually supportable. And that's just my own issues cropping up.

But beyond that... it's an insane statement. Seriously.

While his argument is compelling at a surface (and facile) level (seemingly all that matters in much of mainstream media these days), saying that the crisis was "caused by innovation" not only stretches the currently understood meaning of "innovation" but also stretches credibility to the breaking point.

By his logic, here are some additional disasters caused by "Innovation":
  • The Hindenburg blimp explosion/fire,
  • The dot-com crash,
  • Global Warming,
  • The war in Afghanistan,
  • Black Monday,
  • The Second World War,
  • Avian Flu.
I would love it if Innovation had the power to do all this.
It would certainly make life easier to understand - and would make me one of the most powerful people in the world (at least by title).
But it's just dumb to make this claim.

If I were going to be reductive to the point of ridiculousness and say that a single word could define the (incredibly complex and inter-related) causes of the current crisis - the word I would choose is not Innovation but rather Greed.

04 September 2008

Google changes the world (again)

OK... perhaps the headline is a little bit sensationalistic.

But the (accidental) release of Chrome shows that the world of the web as we know it (and for that matter the world of everything that touches the web) is about to change radically.

To understand Chrome a little better - read this.

The more important thing to understand is this... Google has created a browser the is specifically designed to improve the experience of its applications and to allow it to extend those applications in directions that Google finds valuable (and which other browsers currently prohibit).

What does that mean?
Think about it this way...

If you were in management at Google - what is your dream of what Gmail should be like? What would Gcal be like if you were not constrained by the browser? How would Google Docs work if the current constraints of the web were removed?

Make the list.
Figure out what is stopping Google from getting to these goals.
Go look at Chrome.

It's all there.
Making online stateless applications function like desktop apps? Done
Making AJAX and JS based applications as robust and high performance as C++ desktop apps? Done
Eliminating the challenges presented by Flash and Silverlight (blackbox applications and content)? Done
Centralizing data? Done


And they were smart enough to realize that they needed to give the users true reasons for switching (which MS has lost sight of recently). Chrome has a very real value proposition for users - and that's going to result in some massive adoption numbers in sort order. Once that happens... watch Google flex its marketing muscle and its reach to capture market share in the browser space.

This is going to be a battle royale people.