Cutting the Cord **TCP Family Edition**

Cutting the cord is an emotional decision — Rob Liles 

Simply put, people are looking to save money and have better control of their broadcast and content choices.   The cable companies are responding by increasing the content, your channel choices and of course the price.  It is frustrating no matter where you live and what cable provider you have.  It is currently estimated that 1% of cable subscribers are “cutting the cord.”

That is a small number but it represents a population that will grow leaps and bounds as cable becomes more expensive and money becomes tighter.

What do you do?

My friend Lloyd has collected some excellent material on “cutting the cord” that represents a lot of different areas of thought on what you can do.    For the sake of this blog entry, I am going to keep it simple.

Where do you live?

The first thing you should look to figure out is to determine what kind of reception you will get in your area and what kind of antenna you will need to maximize your channel options.  You can go to to get an idea of your situation.   You can start to think about whether or not you will need to put an antenna on the house or near the television.

Here are some examples of antenna’s built by Rob Liles. 
IMG_20111105_162336 IMG_20111105_162354 FracAntYou have indoor and outdoor fractal antenna that you can build. (Rob is handy but he works hard to keep things simple, practical and inexpensive).

I have a signal! Now what?

I live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, that gives me between 36-45 channels over the air that I can receive!  Due to geographic, terrain and environmental conditions and of course other factors reception will vary.   It is important to understand what you can receive up front because it will influence what you will set up for streaming.  For example, if I can receive NBC, CBS and ABC then I may want to think about a Roku because we can stream (USTV live streams from the can provide free streams from a lot of the major channels including, USA, Bravo, Scifi, TBS, and others.

What if I DON’T have a signal?

If you don’t have a signal over the air, you will need to go with a Roku.

I am not affiliated with Roku in any way.  I have been researching and testing lots of options including most recently the Raspberry Pi, which you essentially configure and set up yourself.

Configuration Requirements

Video for Setup but that may not be enough.

Call the cable company and tell them that you are done with them!  Take your box and &*@#!!.. (just kidding).

  1. What you can do is order a Roku from (
  2. If for some reason you don’t have an HDMI port on your television you can get a converter here (
  3. Hook up the device to your television and play with it for a little while!  Get comfortable with using it and start to ween yourself from cable.  Remember what Rob said?  It is an emotional decision to cut the cable for some reason and it may take you a month to just go ahead and cut the cord.   If you feel that the cost savings are “worth any risk” to you, then call the cable company and have them keep your internet services but cancel cable.
  4. Using a wifi is ok, but if you can actually use a wired connection from your router / switch to the Roku, that would be my recommendation.

There you have it!

You need a

  • TV -HDMI capable
  • Internet Connection
  • Roku
  • A technically oriented AARP member!
  • A desire to save a few bucks or some dislike of the cable company.

You are ready to go!  If you want other complicated configurations like (HTPC, or XBMC on a device) we can address that too!  I think the best configuration of all is an HTPC with a dual channel tv tuner, running windows 7 media edition and XBMC.  That being said, that configuration could set you back over $400.oo as opposed to the Roku which will set you back about $100.00 +/- the cost of video cables.


If you have a phone at home and you want to take the costs from $35.00+ dollars a month to $3.00 for taxes, you can get an OOMA and hook it up to your router and your phone base!    If you do that and you use this link



I have since built a RaspberryPi with XBMC (see this tutorial)



Organizations Bleeding Out (The Unknown Loss)

Paying Folks to Learn and Leave

It is easy to talk about statistics and point out numbers associated with employee turnover.  It isn’t easy for organizations to quantify what the turn over actually is costing.   Human resource information systems exist that can provide some numbers but those are numbers are essentially an average range.   That doesn’t give anyone a good idea of what is really going on.  It is just a number or set of numbers.    What does that mean?

I started working for Lockheed Martin in 2004, fresh out of working in a school division.  I was ready to learn, grow and take on the world.   Lockheed Martin was vast corporate mountain to climb chock full of options and opportunity.  As soon as I got on board, I immediately took to going back to school full time.  Lockheed had a tuition reimbursement program like a lot of other big companies.  All I needed to do was keep a “B” average and they would pay 100% of my tuition.   I had great ideas (actually it was the beginning of the 8 ideas a day) that I wanted to share with LM.

My management was very supportive and encouraging, in fact at the time my manager was doing the exact same thing!  One of the line managers would pull me to the side all the time and tell me to “get my education and get out as soon as I can.”

You should know the end of this story by now.   I gained valuable experience, I gained education and I became known to an industry that previously didn’t have a clue I existed.

The estimated cost to Lockheed Martin was $75,000, I would say the real cost to Lockheed was somewhere in the millions of dollars range.

National Labor Turnover Rates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate for separations in June 2011 was 3.1 percent. The separation rate includes employees who voluntarily quit a position, layoffs, retirements and discharges. While the rate of employee turnover did not change significantly from May 2011, the rate for June of 2010 was 2 percent.

Industry Turnover Rates

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports labor turnover rates according to industry and shows a 6.9 percent turnover for employees working in the construction industry in June 2011, which experienced the highest level of employee turnover. Government agencies and employers experienced the lowest level of employee turnover, with a 1.4 percent labor turnover rate. Employers in the arts, recreation and entertainment industry show a 5.4 percent turnover of labor during the same month.

National Quit Rate

The percentage of workers who quit a position in June 2011 in private industry was 1.7 percent. Government agencies experienced a 0.5 percent rate of employees quitting a position during the same period. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the finance and insurance industries as well as government employers showed a decline in the number of quits in June 2011 while the education industry showed an increase.

Retention Rate Calculation

The employee retention rate can indicate how well your business maintains employee satisfaction. To calculate the employee retention rate, start with the total number of employees on staff at the end of a period — monthly, quarterly or annually. For example, if you have 200 employees at the end of a quarter, and 25 of those employees left the business during the same quarter, subtract 25 from 200. Divide the result by the total number of employees, and multiply the answer by 100 to get the retention rate. In the example, the employee retention rate is 87.5 percent. Compare the retention rate in one period to the rate in other periods for an indication of how well you are retaining your employees.


The Value of Tacit

It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the details as to why LM lost out on millions of dollars because of my leaving.  What I can say is that my situation is not unusual. Companies are losing this kind of talent and money all the time and they just don’t realize it.   When organizations calculate “total value” or “total rewards” for benefits or costs of an employee they are not reversing those calculations and looking at how much the employee is of value to the organization.  They don’t do this because they don’t know how much a function or a capability from a role is worth.  They don’t do this because a lot of times they don’t know what their employees do.   That’s right!! I said it… they don’t know what their people actually do! 

Human resources can track the job title, role, responsibilities and costs of human capital but there is generally no feedback from an employee assessment back to the HR information system that updates the system to tell what the employee is actually doing.  In fact, it is likely that in a lot of cases when a leader or manager is asked what their people do, they have to inquire themselves first.   If you don’t know what they do and you don’t know how much they are worth to an organization how could you let them go?  If you let them go, how much did it cost the organization to lose them?   I am not talking about “employee potential value”, I am talking about “Employee REAL Value.”

Food for Thought

If you are an organizational leader, can you say that you know how much any one individual in your organization is valued or of value to the organization?  Do you have a measure for this?  Certainly you may feel that YOU are of value to the organization.. right?  How much are you worth (not in dollars earned for you) but in REAL dollar value to your organization?   How much would your company stand to lose if you train someone for a few years and they get up to speed and become an expert in their field, get educated both paper and organic and decide to walk?   How much have you already lost because you didn’t know this information?    It seems to me that the newer generations are less loyal to any one company and that they will be willing to bounce from place to place as they see fit, how much will this behavior cost in the future as tacit information becomes more of a premium?

The Final Point on the UNKNOWN VALUE OF..

Carla Dove is a forensic ornithologist, the last one…. If you read the article above you can get more details but the bottom line is

Dove’s keen eye and knowledge of feathers have come from more than two decades of practice. She’s the only person in the country with these skills, and she worries about the future of this kind of analysis.

“Unless I have someone to follow me around, and do some research on the microscopic structure of feathers, I think that one of these days the whole expertise in this field is going to go away,” she says. These days, she says, students are more interested in “instant satisfaction” and cutting-edge technology.

Dove inherited her lab from the only other U.S. scientist to do this work: Laybourne, who was already in her 80s.

Dove says she has yet to find the person who will take over when she retires — the special ornithologist who can continue the work in this unusual feather forensics lab.

We don’t know (or even attempt) to measure the value of certain areas of our work.  In this case,  there is no Carla Dove men-tee.  Maybe we will get lucky and she will find someone to follow in her footsteps or maybe her tacit knowledge will go the way of the lost tribes.  Regardless, ignorance is costly and introduces previously mitigated risk and loss.

Believing in Our People

My team came up with an idea, an essentially unoriginal and obvious idea. However, it makes sense, so much sense that most people believe that they already do it.
Knowing what you believe you know, doesn’t mean that your subjective perspective is reality. I was looking, at the time, to raise awareness and bring attention to concepts of collaboration specifically with regard to the relationship of collaboration and knowledge management.

It is all about perception and perspective

Working with various people and groups our team experienced and documented a lot of work activities around sharing and “intentional collaboration” which is managing and exchanging information with context (Knowledge Management/ Knowledge Transfer).

Our practices were growing and our work became more comprehensive and complex.   The work itself was something that our team embraced and we were and currently are very passionate about. Due to issues associated with budget and other factors the stress levels increased substantially.

Why won’t they (don’t they) listen?

I often feel like a salesman and during the process of learning and growing, it felt dirty and almost wrong to “sell.”  I enjoy giving much more than selling.  My team seems to feel the same way that I do about it as well. I always see myself as the person who comes in after all the selling is done.  I give my all to my projects and the people who are part of my group.  I take ownership and pride in my work.  It is always my hope that my clients and team knows this intrinsically and benefits from my efforts as I believe that this is the true foundation for growth and stability in work.  I have read Sun Tzu and firmly disagree with the concepts of war and business.   I don’t want to shoot my competition, I want to make them partners because we all need to eat.  My team has historically held great relationships with the people we serve and for years have their success tied to ours.  All that being said, I understand NOW that selling is good because it is tied to intent.  If we have good intentions, we should look to market and sell our work, even though it is more comforting to give.   We can always give as we grow!

I have wanted to stay with the same people (clients) over the years and share our team ideas and lessons learned back with my home (parent) organization.  I felt that my team could help our sister teams and enhance services and offerings that would build new channels and new opportunity.

They may not listen because…..

When you know someone in an intimate way, it may seem strange but there is a tendency to listen to that person less often.  I am guessing here but I bet it is because you can see when the person is wrong as well as when they are right.  One awe-shizz kills all the atta-boyz they say!

When I first approached leadership my immediate supervisor automatically saw value in our concepts and work.  He simply didn’t know what to do with the ideas.  Thinking back, he was asking me and our team what to do as well but we didn’t have it all planned out and so it seemed more like a brainstorm than anything else.   His position to me was akin to someone walking out of a diamond mine and handing a beautiful yet freshly mined diamond to the lead excavator.  The receiver may be happy to be handed this rock but the question is …. what does he do with it?

The other concern was “investment”, people need to take a risk or give some time to invest in others.  It doesn’t matter if this is related to leadership or peers EVERYONE has to invest and you have to believe it before you invest.

In the beginning my team was willing to invest and we invested a lot.  We asked for others to get involved and some chose in various levels to participate.


People have been asking me for the past few months why should they invest or care about the work they are doing or helping their companies if their companies don’t care about them.   What is in it for them?  What is in it for me?  I think that is a fair question and it is a question that companies across the globe are going to have to deal with eventually.  I believe that companies are dealing with this now but they haven’t identified this as an epidemic yet.   Long gone are the days that workers are loyal to companies.  Long gone are the days that companies are loyal to workers.   The shame of it all is that most people I know ARE willing to invest in their organizations but feel as if the organizations are not willing or able to invest in them.  As a matter of observation, most people I know believe that organizations are divesting in them.

Whether you believe it is fact or fiction my perspective concerning corporate caring is fairly common.

We all need love…

A friend of mine reminds me often that we all need love.   What he is saying is that we need to be respected and valued.  We need to have purpose.  We need to know that we have value from our leadership and leadership needs to know that we value them.   When there is a disconnect in either direction everyone ultimately suffers and there is a domino effect that echos throughout an organization that can be very costly for all involved.  **thx Joel**

Why should they listen?

In 1955 Boeing was demonstrating a 367-80 prototype at an airshow..

I learned something about Boeing when I went to their facility in Washington.

1955 Boeing had no orders for its new commercial airplane the 707..

the 367-80 was its prototype

Boeing was holding a demonstration flight in Aug 1955

The pilot was supposed to do a fly over

instead “Johnston is best known for performing a barnstormer-style barrel-roll maneuver with Boeing’s pioneering 367-80 jet in a demonstration flight over Lake Washington outside of Seattle, on August 7, 1955.[5] The maneuver was caught on film and was frequently shown on the Discovery Wings cable channel in a three-minute short as part of the Touched by History series, while the channel still aired. Called before then-president of Boeing, Bill Allen, for rolling the airplane, Johnston was asked what he thought he was doing, and responded with “I was selling airplanes”. He kept his position as a test pilot, and got in no legal troubles for his actions.”

Pan Am bought a bunch of planes after that (they bought 20)

Pan Am

20 airplanes

Sometimes leadership can’t see the value of risk and they don’t know to believe in us.

I think “Tex” proves that employees can have clear vision and should be able to execute without fear.


I will have to write more on this topic as I think this is just a primer.  I want to refer to my cousins here and what I recently learned from them and their experiences.   Both my cousins are brilliant engineering types who work in different disciplines.  Recently one of them faced a challenge with his job.  He reached out to his organization and friends at work to find out what was going on.   He was concerned and I know he felt that his organization values the shareholder over his individual contributions.   All that being said, his feelings about the work itself were never impacted.  As a matter of fact, I believe that he looks at the work as totally independent of his employer.   It brings to mind some thoughts about what we do for work and why we work hard.   What is in it for me?  There are intangible benefits in our work regardless of WHO we work for.  Some of us recognize those and embrace these benefits regardless of the behavior of our employers.    We need to talk about these and identify the drivers and understand what these mean to the individual employee considering so many people feel disconnected from their organizations.

More to come on this.. feedback and conversation is welcome.

PKM From Person to Enterprise (Business Book Summary Edition)

What is PKM?

That was the easy part.

How does PKM translate from the employee to the enterprise?

PKMExample #1

How to make beef jerky (steps Explicit

Example #2 (steps with video Tacit

Example #3 The list ( 

All personal. 

The real question here is HOW did I get this information and HOW can I use it?

The point of PKM is PKMShare

  • We search (discover) information.
  • We interpret this information and internalize what it means (to us).
  • We store the information (in our own way).
  • We share it (either as it is or through interpretation).

From “symbols” to “sense”

The Lord’s Prayer in Gregg and a variety of 19th-century systems


 Semantics, Ontology, Lexicon, and Language


  (We need to understand each other or find ways to translate so that we can understand each other.)

 Once in my head(information is personal).  It is the way (I SEE IT).


Punctuation Marks (NEW)

Understanding of words (data) and information require (internalization/ comprehension/perspective/context)

Even if you get the words right..

You may not get the meaning right!

All knowledge IS personal knowledge (that is how we work).

In order to share information with each other, we have to make a special and extended effort to express ourselves in common ways BUT that isn’t enough. 

The answer for the transition from PERSONAL to ENTERPRISE is….

  1. Enable content discovery. (search)
  2. Use common references (when you can).
  3. Link information to people. (content to context)

The “discovery” driver

If I need to find something to do my job.  I should be able to search for it.  I have to do this in order to perform.

The “discovery” enabler

(Search is required) Is that too simple?

Why does Google look like this?

Where is the dashboard with all of the lists?  Where is the taxonomy?  Where is all the complication? 

If you are a knowledge worker, you most likely use Google or Yahoo or some search engine every day.  The reason that you use this is because it is simple and effective.  As President Bush says” I’m the decider.. heh heh”  You determine what you need and how you are going to use the information.   You determine how you are going to repurpose and share this information.   You determine the fidelity of your information sharing and the granularity of the payload of information.  We already follow some common rules.  If you didn’t do this already my words and the meaning behind them would be unfamiliar to you NOW as you read this.

When common isn’t enough. All about the “P”

You knew where I was going with this.. didn’t you?

Personal KM to Enterprise KM meaning information that I am managing in my personal repository of stuff (my info stash) to what the organization needs to keep for (Our info stash).  It is back to PEOPLE again.  I need to be able to search, get content, interpret content, determine if I need more context, understand the relationship between the content that I have discovered and my desired outcome, and…. have information about the relationship between this content and the content creator or AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE.   I need to have the ability to talk to someone about what I found (from discovery).   

Tool Business

I am not trying to put anyone out of business.  In fact, I find value in semantics.  We need data and information tools, I use them everyday.  We need to share information and we need to understand the intent and context of the information provider.    All that being said, tools ENABLE us to do things, they shouldn’t DRIVE us to do things.   Even good ole’ Google shouldn’t drive us.   Discovery is independent of Google, it is an activity not a tool.
What have we learned today?  Knowledge Management and Knowledge Transfer is dependent on the person in the middle (literally).   Any information stored in a repository is always subject to interpretation and perspective regardless of how factual and explicit the information is.  If we are providing information or transferring information, it is our responsibility to make this information easier to find and provide as much (context) as possible.  When that is not enough, we must provide a communication link to the owner, provider, author, authority on this information in order to assist in our (personal understanding) and awareness of this information.


Awareness and understanding are key otherwise information no matter how well formed and governed may have little value.

Do you see the dreoilín teaspaigh?  That is a Irish word.  You can use google translate to find out what it means.   If you have a problem you can email me at the address on my about page.

The Great Cyber War 

The reason why we are having so many problems with cyber security is because we are treating cyber attacks like Missile Command.

  • We know attacks are coming.
  • We know where they come from.
  • We try to stop them.
  • They keep coming in waves faster and faster.

The roller ball simply isn’t enough.

We are doing but we aren’t thinking.   (

“Major U.S. banks have turned to the National Security Agency for help protecting their computer systems after a barrage of assaults that have disrupted their Web sites, according to industry officials.”

Why?  In short the answer is because banks are under attack all the time.   To hurt America, one must attack the wallet.    That is what has been happening for a long time but banks can’t afford it anymore.

There is always someone smarter and that is why the “Missile Command” approach won’t work.   We need to find time to think.  When I say think, I mean stop making laws and changes to address symptoms but to START addressing the root cause (#Sutton).

If you really want to win at Missile Command … you always have the option of (turning off the machine). ~ Just some thinking~

Quoting Scardino

do not resuscitate

we’re taught from the time we’re eating cheerios and pooping in our pants that we can do whatever it is that we want to do. with enough hard work and dedication, we can change things and we can be the person we want to be.

but that’s not always true.

there will be times when people and places and things and organizations will be trying to tie you down. they’ll systematically shut down all the parts that make you who you are like a chronic illness shutting down the organs in your body. there will be people telling you ‘no’ in the most polite way possible while asking you to keep doing what you’re doing—keep dreaming, keep brainstorming, keep working hard, stay focused—because it’ll pay off one day.


there will be places, towns, and cities (and maybe countries) which don’t have the resources you need to become the person you were meant to become, but you’ve already built a home there. it’s familiar to you.


houses, cars, televisions, and all the material things we’re told we need to have to be happy turn into anchors preventing us from taking risks. the things we own begin to own us.


it may even become that the organization you’ve built your life around and identified with for so many years isn’t the company you originally went to work for. or, as happens in life, you merely grew in a different direction and now your organization’s goals and ideals no longer match with your own.


and there it is. you’re dead inside. a shell of a person waking up in the morning and going to work with no real purpose aside from surviving another day. but there’s another option instead of trying to make it work like everyone taught you as a child.

do not resuscitate.

find more people who are like-minded and thrive off of their support instead of dying from the constant negativity you receive from others. move to a new town with similar interests and other like-minded people where you can be a part of, and thrive in, a community that shares the same ideals as you. leave the things behind you don’t really need (get a cheaper car, drop your cable television package, pay off your debt faster). and find an organization that aligns to your personal values and conducts business the same way you conduct business.

chances are you may have to do this all again in a few more years, but here’s the key truth in all of this: there’s nothing wrong with that.