Although I’m probably the last person on earth to have “discovered” this, I have found this podcast – EpiCenter – on blockchain and related items pretty useful. The quality of the guests is high, the questioning clear and the pace of the conversation unhurried. Worth a listen.
I had big hopes in picking up this book titled “The Amazon Way on IoT“. I had heard snippets of the author on a podcast and thought the book may shed light on Amazon’s IoT strategy.
Sadly, it doesn’t. Not only is it a painful read, it’s also devoid of any real new information that one can’t Google. It would more beneficial for someone trying to understand Amazon’s plans on IoT to read the documentation. Caveat emptor.
This may be interesting for consultants on the go. RoamFitness is apparently opening a bunch of gyms at airports for $40/day or $600/year. Right now they just have BWI (Baltimore) but plan to seem to have plans for a bunch more.
To avoid overcrowding they limit it to 20 people at a time. Plus, (thankfully for their fellow passengers), they have showers onsite too.
The end of a year inevitably causes many of us to reflect on the past and consider where we can improve. For consultants, and other busy professionals, one of the hardest and most rewarding thing to master is time management. Although there are dozens of good books on this subject, sometimes the answer is right in front of us in the classics.
I came across a great essay by Seneca – On the Shortness of Life – written ~2000 years ago which struck home for me. The essay (and indeed book) is full of great sayings, including:
I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself — as if nothing there is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life’s most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap — in fact, almost without any value.
Essentially, he suggests that we be frugal with our time and not waste it. Should be required reading for all.
It’s always good to step back and view the world from alternate viewpoints; for consultants this should of course mean our client’s perspective. I came across this great chapter on how clients choose consultants from David Maister’s book “Managing the professional firm”; a summary of how clients feel is in the table below.
If you haven’t read this classic book, you should. It’s full of great tips and insights especially for the more experienced consultants.
A few titbits caught my eye in an interesting little article in the Economist about the perils of over collaborating:
- Processing emails costs about 95 cents in labor costs. Something to think about when sending email (and cc’ing people!)
- Knowledge works spent ~70-85% of their time doing non-deep thinking – i.e. attending meetings, processing email, on the phone etc. Wow.
The ability to focus is going to be a critical differentiating skill going forward.
I thought I would never use the words great and HR in the same sentence. But I’m about 1/2 way through this book (“Work Rules!”) by the main HR guy at Google, and it’s awesome. It’s chock full of anecdotes, insights and practical tips on how to attract, keep and motivate people. You know, the kind of things HR is supposed to do but usually never does.
Their philosophy seems to be simple: Hire the people with the best potential, motivate them and get out of their way. Sounds simple, but very few companies (in my experience) actually do this. Their practices actually reminded me of what some of the best consulting firms do: Spend an inordinate amount of time / money on recruiting (Google spends twice as much as others), have a low acceptance rate (Google’s is 0.25%) and have a lot of perks (some of Google’s perks are in the image below).
Well worth a read.