Everything on Demand #Instant Gratification

Do you see me- (1)

The world is a place of amazing possibilities and more often than not, we have the ability today to do things we only dreamed of as kids.   Our children are growing up with the idea of “instant everything.”

If you want to purchase something and have it the same day or the next day, it is very possible today that you can order what you want online and get it that day or even that next hour.   Uber has become a household name beyond simplification for picking people up.   The reality is that instant gratification happens in multiple directions.   The people receiving a service, the people providing a service and the people that potentially own the franchise or organization that governs the service.

It is easy to do almost anything today and we the people are consuming these services in both micro transactions like in application purchases or services fees and in high quantities like Amazon.    Regardless of how we feel about these services, they are here in our world and changing the way we behave and do business.

Something that strikes me here is that a lot of these services have been around for a very long time, they just weren’t application based and they weren’t available to the general public.  One of the key factors here is accessibility in terms of affordability.   Limo drivers were around for many years, you would have required enough money to have them “be available” for you as an individual.   Take a look at the list below of “uberfied” businesses and think about who the target audience and accessibility was prior to application based availability.  (source: http://digitalintelligencetoday.com/the-uberfication-of-everything-master-list-of-uber-inspired-businesses/)

  • Uber for Liquor Delivery: SauceyDrizlyMinibar
  • Uber for Cannabis Delivery: EazeCanary
  • Uber for Errands: TaskRabbit
  • Uber for Odd Jobs: GladlyDo
  • Uber for Hotel Rooms: HotelTonight
  • Uber for Beauty Services: SwanStylebeeStyleSeatManicube
  • Uber for Home Cleaning: HandybookHomejoy
  • Uber for Car Repairs: YourMechanic
  • Uber for Babysitting: Urban Sitter
  • Uber for Pizza Delivery: Push for Pizza
  • Uber for Medical Equipment: Cohealo
  • Uber for Quiet Spaces: Breather
  • Uber for Vet (Home Visit): VetPronto
  • Uber for Dog Sitters: DogVacay
  • Uber for in-home Massage: MassageUnwindMeZeelSoothe
  • Uber for Doctor House-call: MedicastPager
  • Uber for Doctor (Remote) Consultation: Doctor on Demanddvisit
  • Uber for Courier Deliveries: DelivPostmatesShyp
  • Uber for locksmiths: KeyMeKeysDuplicated
  • Uber for Childcare/School Run: KangaDo
  • Uber for Dry Cleaning/Laundry: CleanlyDashlockerWashioFlycleaners
  • Uber for Hotel Dry Cleaning: Oliom
  • Uber for Mobile Repairs iCracked
  • Uber for Removals: Moveline
  • Uber for Lawnmowing: LawnstarterPlowz&Mowz
  • Uber for Restaurant Home Delivery: Seamless
  • Uber for Taxis: LyftSidecar: This ridesharing company, also based in the Bay Area, promises the “lowest prices on the road.” Available in 10 major U.S. cities, Sidecar aims to match riders with “everyday people” driving their personal cars. But unlike other services that rack up a fare as you go, Sidecar asks riders to enter their destination and offers a selection of pre-set prices, along with ETAs, which the rider can choose from. The company also offers a cheaper “Shared Rides” carpooling option like Lyft Line and Uber Pool.
  • Flywheel: Taxi companies are using apps like Flywheel to re-disrupt the disruptors. Currently in San Francisco, L.A. and Seattle, Flywheel allows users to order a taxi on-demand and have payments made automatically through the app. The ride likely won’t be as fancy as an Uber black car or as cheap as an UberX, but there’s no surge pricing and the company is brokering deals to allow scheduled rides to airports, places where ridesharing companies are typically non grata.
  • Curb: In August, Taxi Magic launched as the rebranded Curb, broadening their focus beyond providing licensed taxis on-demand to include fancier cars-for-hire (like Uber black cars) in some of the 60 markets where Taxi Magic was already working with fleets. Unlike most of the other app-based services, customers have the option of paying with cash rather than through the app. The refreshed company is also working on launching pre-scheduled rides, to the airport and beyond.
  • HailoAnother e-hail company that works with licensed cabs, Hailo is focused on the European market, having launched in London in 2011. (betrayed by their slogan, “the black cab app.”) In October, the company announced it would be closing operations in U.S. cities like New York, Chicago and Boston, shifting their eye to growth in Asia and, perhaps, re-entering the U.S. market in a few years. In September, the company launched an innovative feature that allows users to pay for the bill in a street-hailed taxi through the app.
  • SummonThe rebranded and overhauled InstaCab, Summon is an on-demand service that has a hybrid approach, offering both taxi e-hails and cheaper peer-to-peer “personal rides” with a no-surge-price promise. Summon is currently available only in the Bay Area, but the company said earlier this year they plan to expand to L.A., Boston and New York. The startup offers pre-scheduled rides through their Summon Ahead program, including fixed-rate rides to surrounding airports, with a journey to San Francisco’s SFO costing a mere $35.
  • RubyRide: Based in Phoenix, Ariz., and founded in 2013, RubyRide is a fledgling subscription-based startup that bills itself less as a taxi replacement and more as a replacement for owning a car. A basic plan that allows unlimited pre-scheduled pickups and drop-offs within certain “zones” like Downtown Phoenix costs $299 per month. The company offers limited on-demand service but plans to expand their options—including replacing rides to and from the dry cleaners, say, with delivering members’ dry cleaning—as they grow.
  • Shuddle: Dubbed “Uber for kids,” this San Francisco startup positions itself as an app for lightening Mom’s load. Parents can pre-book rides to take kids (who aren’t old enough to drive themselves) to sports practice or school. With safety the obvious concern, the company institutes layers of checks beyond thoroughly screening employees: drivers are given passwords they have to use before picking up kids; parents are given photos of the drivers and cars and can monitor the trip through their app. Drivers must have their own kids or have worked with kids. The company’s first 100 drivers, which they call “caregivers,” are all female.  (SHUTDOWN)
  • Uber for Home Maintenance RatedPeopleHouseCallRedBeacon
  • Uber for Home Decoration: PaintZen
  • Uber for Home Deliveries: AnyvanDoormanInstacartUberRUSH
  • Uber for Dog Walking: WortheeSwiftoUrban LeashTrottr
  • Uber for Private Jets: BlackJet
  • Uber for City Parking: ParkingPandaMonkeyParkingSpotHero
  • Uber for Language Tuition: Cambli
  • Uber for Storage [Valet]: CaddyMakeSafeBoxbee
  • Uber for Bodyguards: Bannerman
  • Uber for Tow Service: Honk


Build Your Own, Be Your Own, Do Your Own

Another aspect of this on-demand concept is that we can do things on our own now more than ever.  The ability to build things, learn and do are in our hands.   Justin Bieber came from YouTube and many others emerged from everywhere.   In fact, today you can create your own music or raps right from an application.  I did one for you guys in 3 minutes called “Instant Gratification

The Struggle

Making things “easy” is why different businesses exist in the first place.   Think about it.  You do something and you are trading it with someone else that does something else so that you don’t have to do it.   I believe this gets lost in concept.   Now we are making things easy that shouldn’t be.  We are setting expectations for our children that everything is “instant” and “on demand.”     At this moment as I write,  we can’t get fat or fit in a day.  There are natural mechanisms that are intertwined with our humanity.   I have to ask,  when should we make certain things more difficult as opposed to easier.

The instant mentality resides in our corporate world today.  If something goes wrong we want immediate results to resolve the problem.  Even if nature doesn’t allow for instant results.    I suppose the Japanese would want Fukushima to be resolved immediately, but there is no app for that.   A recent story in the Japanese news talks about revival of some business in that area .   We should be cautious and temper our desires for easy, fast and instant.

Another aspect of this is the immediacy of a rise and fall in businesses.   The tale of Theranos comes to mind as Elizabeth Holmes became an instant billionaire and now she is becoming an instant example of how fast is too fast.

An Idea

What if we consider a dialogue on waiting.   In other words,  consider and focus on long term strategies with long term goals and long term considerations.    The need for immediacy is clearly important as well but not for everything.   I enjoy going to an online store and getting my shoes the next day.   At the same time, when I go to the doctors office, I don’t want to be placed on a conveyor belt and automatically diagnosed by the doctors mobile application.  Today you can be diagnosed remotely without even being touched.  That being said, my last doctor spent more time tooling around on his IPhone vs asking me questions.   I asked if I should pay him or WebMD.

We must consider that easy doesn’t always mean electronically delivered and lacking personal touch.   We should also consider that “on demand” should be tempered with “the right response”   To give the best response possible, it still takes critical thinking and human intervention.   We must strive towards balance as we digitally engage in that we should not digitally decouple.





Project Black Box – 1 -2 -3

Team to the Center..

It isn’t exactly what it seems..  About 10 years ago, my team implemented one of the first fully virtualized computing environments on a defense oriented platform.   It was a pretty complex system with a 4 tier architecture.  The software that we were sharing for end user productivity was called TeamCenter Requirements.

When our team realized what it was going to take to make this system work as an enterprise level capability that was available worldwide to users as far as Korea, we knew that our plan to get us the capability we needed were going to take imagination.

We needed a robust operating capability that had a good responsive speed of service, available to DoD architects, planners, and engineering oriented teams.    We needed to meet DoD security requirements and function on DoD infrastructure.   We were constrained by budget and we had an aggressive agile like schedule.  At the time, the concept of Agile development was not even something we heard of.

Fast Forward

AND.. We did it!  Our team pulled it off! … But what happened next is why this story is important.

Now that it works.. Take it all apart..

We had to transition the whole enterprise solution to a cloud based platform and as we moved all of our software and licenses, we quickly found out that the IaaS platform that we were moving our software to was not going to be enough to hold up the building.

We had to transfer equipment and licenses and…

After months of work it was done but the level of effort was so great that the team supporting the cloud platform was fed up and frustrated and they left.  Yes, they quit!  Our team had to essentially take over the work which mean’t they all had to shift to other companies and  it was a mess.

After a while.. they got frustrated and they left.. and what they left was explicit documentation (limited in scope and instruction).  The systems and support services were lacking and there wasn’t enough man power to support their capabilities no less the system that we brought in.

 Last man standing..

I went from a team of over 12 people down to just myself.  During the transition process I was pulled into a different project and I was no longer managing the system work.    I watched as the team left for other projects, one by one.  Now leadership came to me at the end when they had no one else and said “what do we do?”   When they initially asked me to work on the other project it was for a good business purpose and I understood, although I loved my team and I felt close to them.    Now they had shed everyone for one reason or another, they still needed the capability and they needed help.

Unfortunately, this project was under budget constraints that did not allow for new hires.. and they needed to maintain a capability for as long as possible without bringing in new people.   That is 12 down to 1 in support.  We did have a few people left on the cloud side of the house supporting virtual technologies but no one that understood TeamCenter except for me.


Black Box –> End of Life

  1. Created a virtual set of appliances using the existing software.
  2. Created documents to support the effort.
  3. Defined some operating guidelines.
  4. Set expectations on performance.
  5. Came up with a transition plan.

Eventually,  the capability was replaced.  The work was able to continue and all of the staff involved had a successful transition.


Lessons Learned

  1. People are not as replaceable as advertised.
  2. Knowledge Management must occur over the long term and the life of a project.
  3. When shifting project ownership, the incoming PM should maintain and grow KM.
  4. Trust is key and when it is broken, your staff will leave you.
  5. There are methods to convert and maintain a “Black Box” solution but they are all stop gap measures.  (Triage over a long term resolve)

If you have questions on specifics, please reach out!






For Your Company – How much do you depend on Google? ~KM

Jake used to get his searches for free....
Jake used to get his searches for free….

The Value of Internet Searches

This is something to think about in relation to how organizations use external search tools.  This doesn’t apply to Google alone and I am not stating that Google will in fact charge us for search.  I am asking what would happen if they did.  I am also wondering out loud what the impact would be if they charged a subscription?   We live in interesting times, where water costs more than soda even though the water we get out of our tap may be better quality.   Communication apps are selling for BILLIONS of dollars while communication companies can’t make a buck.    More money is invested in technology companies on tech that entertains us over tech that would save us and heal us.   It is very possible that our personal and professional relationship with companies like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and others could change and that our reliance on these companies could give them the leverage to charge for searches.   Why not?  Just a thought..   Better yet.. What would that do to the knowledge base of your business?


Innovative Company A with Super Awesome Brilliant Employees

Fred: Hey George!  How do you flig flam the whatsamazzoozit? 

George: Ehh.. I dunno..  Let me google that…


What just happened here happens ALL THE TIME in companies and organizations all over the world.   What would happen if Google AND other search companies decided to realize their magical hold on us?

  • Are you prepared to function holistically without an external search capability?
  • What is the value of Google and/or Bing, Yahoo, Dogpile, Refdesk etc?
  • What does this capability or this knowledge base represent in terms of support to your organization?
  • How would your staff manage less Google?
  • Would you pay for a subscription license to search the internet?

More over

  • How does external search create NEW capability and NEW opportunities for your organization?
  • Should these search companies get a piece of new business because they helped you get it?
  • What if they decide that this is something they want to do?

Even if you have a closed organization and you have great concerns for sharing corporate intelligence this does not impact the requirement or the desire of staff to consume data from the outside.

When **cough** I mean if this happens.. what will you do?



The RIGHT Data Could Be More Valuable

The power of purpose

Good data does not mean good analytics.  Larry Lorenzoni – “Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.”    Without purpose data is useless.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt.  Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, according to Schmidt. That’s something like five exabytes of data.

Let me repeat that: we create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.

“The real issue is user-generated content,” Schmidt said. He noted that pictures, instant messages, and tweets all add to this.

An IBM report on big data states, “Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”

What about RIGHT DATA for the RIGHT purpose?   The hype on “BIG DATA” and concepts


We also have a lot of discussion this year about “Smart Data”  http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682757/turning-big-data-into-smart-data-5-lessons-for-marketers-from-the-obama-campaign

Joe Rospars, co-founder and CEO of Blue State Digital, the agency behind both of Obama’s campaigns, says harnessing the power of big data is not about simply analyzing antiseptic information, it’s about using whatever information is at your disposal to understand the people behind it all. “Big data is about having an understanding of what your relationship is with the people who are most important to you and an awareness of the potential in that relationship,” says Rospars.

Open Knowledge Foundation says-

What do we mean by “small data”? Let’s define it crudely as:

“Small data is the amount of data you can conveniently store and process on a single machine, and in particular, a high-end laptop or server”

– See more at: http://blog.okfn.org/2013/04/26/what-do-we-mean-by-small-data/#sthash.dVM0dqPF.dpuf


Small data are derived from our individual digital traces. We generate these data because most of us mediate or at least accompany our lives with mobile technologies. As a result, we all leave a “trail of breadcrumbs” behind us with our digital service providers, which together create our digital traces. The social networks, search engines, mobile operators, online games, and e-commerce sites that we access every day use these digital traces that we leave behind extensively. They aggregate and analyze our digital traces to target marketing and tailor service offerings and advertisements and to improve system performance…

…but none of these services currently consider the value of providing these personal traces back to the person who generated them. Consequently, they do not yet have a ready made vehicle to repackage their data about me, in a useful format for me, and make it available to me!  http://smalldata.tech.cornell.edu


Mining for gold in the ocean — http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/gold.html

Ocean waters do hold gold – nearly 20 million tons of it. However, if you were hoping make your fortune mining the sea, consider this: Gold in the ocean is so dilute that its concentration is on the order of parts per trillion. Each liter of seawater contains, on average, about 13 billionths of a gram of gold.

There is also (undissolved) gold in/on the seafloor. The ocean, however, is deep, meaning that gold deposits are a mile or two under water. And once you reach the ocean floor, you’ll find that gold deposits are also encased in rock that must be mined through. Not easy.

Currently, there really isn’t a cost-effective way to mine or extract gold from the ocean to make a profit. But, if we could extract all of that gold, there’s enough of it that each person on Earth could have nine pounds of the precious metal. Eureka!

If we invest the time and the money we could all have our nine pounds of gold. Better yet, we could come up with a technology to mine the gold from the ocean from the business perspective. It is possible that technologically we could mine the ocean for gold. Why don’t we do it?

I have to start asking the same questions about data. Why are we looking to focus on big data and ignoring or leaning away from the discussions on “the right” data? I think small data is akin to strategically looking for gold already in a cluster. It is easier to access (even though it still may be difficult). In the short term it is more valuable and generally the cycles in labor put against gaining this precious metal pay dividends immediately. Same could be said for small data. We have access to small data, we can easily identify what this data is contextually related to and this data has more immediate value.


The focus on data for purpose is starting to get lost on organizations that don’t pay attention to personal knowledge management or enterprise knowledge management.

Seeking data + 

Personal and Enterprise Knowledge is the key to Knowledge Transfer which enables Organization Resiliency, Sustainability and Growth.

In a recent meeting with a high level executive,  I discussed collaboration, knowledge management, knowledge transfer and the power of facilitation.   After an intense exchange of ideas the exec asked “what is the deliverable”?  That my friends is the problem here.    Big data, small data, smart data, some data, something has to be delivered in an explicit package to be of value.    The problem with that is not everything is tangible and not everything can convert to explicit data.

You go on a trip to a beautiful island resort and you have a wonderful time.   The clear blue waters were warm and inviting, at night you sank into a comfortable chair and watched the stars dance for hours.  The trip not only rejuvenated you but it also forever changed your perspective of the world and life as you know it.    At the end of the trip, there was a survey;  you were asked to rate different areas of your trip from 1-5.     At no time did a person interview you and there wasn’t a diary or historical writing of your experience, just the numeric reference for feedback.     It is possible that through the lens of numbers the resort could gain valuable insight on what they are doing right and wrong or where they could adjust BUT I suspect that the story of your experience would be of much greater value.  That story would be told from person to person and not through analytics.   It is not a “deliverable” that is accounted for.   This is what we miss all the time.     Everyone knows about it, everyone seems to “get it” and tell me that they understand the value in the stories or the value in the human element.   If that is the case and people “get it” how come so many organizations ignore it?   Why are we ignoring the emotional and more tacit considerations?

I can understand why big data is a big deal.   What about the best thing you never knew YOU had?

What about the information that you knew you had but now have lost track of?

Data has no value if it is “just data”, you could have ownership of all the gold in the ocean and never make one bar.

Maybe we overlooked the value of the ocean within itself and should never have been concerned with the gold.   The reality is that we continue to devalue people, relationships and context or work and we seek tools, technologies and STUFF.    There is nothing wrong with the usage of tools but the idea that everything is tangible, explicit and readily available is bologna.

Personal KM to Public KM (Do you like cold liver?)

We are even greater than the sum of all our parts  (Downloading our minds to machines) This will solve the problem.   What problem are we looking to solve again?

Have you ever thought or said words that can’t convey how you feel?

How does it feel to watch your child win at baseball?  How did it feel to graduate?  When you walked into your first job what did it smell like?   How do these things factor into your life at work and home?  How do you convey these concepts to others?  Five steps to understanding your thoughts or 10 best practices for doing something aren’t going to always get the message across.   In knowledge management, most of the time everything boils down to a list.  That is great!  What does it really mean though?  

We are lacking in passing on inherently tacit information.   We aren’t converting personal knowledge to public knowledge.   There are books and books on mechanisms associated with these concepts but I am writing today to simplify the message and bring some clarity of the situation out for YOU TO CONSIDER.

We are gathering lists today in organizations across the world to share information to make things go faster, work better, work smarter, increase a person’s knowledge, skills and abilities in short order.    Yet, with all this great and valuable information we are finding ourselves still missing something.  We are overlooking people themselves.   How can we communicate faster, better, more effectively, more efficiently..etc ?  Make a list!

Ok.. here is a list

Context = Food

  1. Go to store
  2. Get food that is yummy
  3. Put food in cart
  4. Place food on conveyor belt
  5. Pay for food
  6. Take food to vehicle
  7. Take food out of vehicle
  8. Get food to house
  9. Cook food
  10. Put food on table

Result = No one in the house likes undercooked liver and collards.

I will solve this problem RIGHT NOW

I am calling Microsoft and buying me a Sharepoint!

Here I go!


What did I get?

A secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device.

OH.. .so … umm did I just buy a place to err umm build lists of stuff?

Now I didn’t solve my problem..  What do I do?

Well, you see if I define the words or classify the list better.. I will solve my problem!


What is a Taxonomy?

A classification into ordered categories — see the link for more details



What it really means?

Spend more money..

How about now, did I solve my problem? NO? What do I do?

Add a search engine with semantics!~

Now I can search my lists better with more fidelity and I can even get lists of lists! I can even bring lists together and build new lists automatically!

What it really means?

Spend more money… 

How about I add a little to this..

Why does it matter?  Further, why does it matter to business? 

I heard recently that for some companies “everyone is disposable and/or dispensable” (Narcissist

For the Narcissist-You are Disposable

Each human being is unique. No one will ever be born who is exactly like you. Each human life is a precious mystery. There are many people who appreciate the special qualities of individuals.

Within families, it is fascinating to observe, that although the members share many common genes  and were born to the same parents, they can be very different in every way: physical constitution, temperament, disposition, physical stamina, attention span, sensory acuity, psychological resilience, emotional expression, empathic qualities. Appreciating and celebrating the uniqueness of each person is an integral part of our being fully human.

For most narcissists, one person is interchangeable with another. Everyone is disposable. The narcissist is only interested in what your uniqueness brings to his table. If you don’t fill the bill, he or she will find someone else. In his world everyone is expendable. He is the unique irreplaceable exalted being. Narcissists use people up. Their constant demands, cruelties and demeaning behaviors cause incredible stress to those who are living with them, especially spouses and children. Many of those who share close quarters with narcissists suffer from a variety of stress disorders: insomnia, anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, backaches. If the narcissist is given free rein, he or she can make you physically ill, mentally confused and psychologically distressed. It is up to you to decide that you deserve much better than this.

When the narcissist has used some one up—he has gotten everything he wants from an individual—valuable social and business contacts, property, access to wealth, entrees into circles of power–you will be discarded. The narcissist knows when the time is right for him to show you the door. After you have been thrown away in a cold and calculated manner, you are shocked, hurt, enraged; your life has been turned inside out. The narcissist doesn’t spend a moment on your psychological and/or financial demise. You are a non-person for him, not even a glint of memory. He has moved forward to embrace his next human narcissistic supply.


Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Now the people making the lists and putting lists in your Sharepoint sorta feel that they are worthless!

What problems am I solving now? 

What it really means?

Spend more money… 

OK.. Howie.. .I get your point.. enough already …  !~

Nope..  Let me add some other stuff here for you to consider.. Now to really make matters better you start a CHANGE initiative.  So, now you throw in big big changes over short periods of time.  Also, you are hiring new people who are young and fresh out of school.  There isn’t a lot of time to get them trained so you ask the older generation to hurry up and make lists!   While they are making these lists you are asking them to change, change, change and work longer hours and take pay cuts and also understand that they are actually worth less because they are replaceable.  They are old and they aren’t as valuable to the organization as they once were.

Those close to or over 40 years old are already actually economically challenged (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/generation-x-has-suffered_n_1600178.html) they may be forced like a lot of Boomers to stay in the workforce longer.  That means if they will have to be on their best while doing the job and they will need to shut up and color as well.

What it really means?

Whether a business is a large corporation, mom and pop, military or other, they need to STOP FOCUSING ON TOOLS and START FOCUSING ON 

Final Thought:

Can technology enable?  The answer is emphatically (YES)  

The technology can’t be the driver, it has to be an enabler…  I am not against Sharepoint or any other technology but I am against wasting untold amounts of money, time and effort on process, methods and tools that ignore people.

Enjoy your liver. 

Am I LinkedIn™ or LinkedOut?

Hampton Roads is taking a beating when it comes to jobs.  I guess that isn’t news to anyone but the folks getting let go.  People that work for the government are getting furloughed.  The current news reports that the days that government workers will have to take off will be reduced; it still has an impact on them that in some cases will be very harmful.    The defense industry work force that supports the government is getting cut not furloughed.     Defense workers are getting pay reductions, two week notices or less.

Whether you are sympathetic to this situation or not within itself doesn’t matter.   The reason is that it may and most likely will affect you.    In my post (https://cohenovate.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/of-mice-and-weeble-wabbles), I linked to a congressional report that estimated over 2 million jobs being impacted.   I think those estimates are themselves short sighted.  Let me give you an example, if I am buying a book today, I go to Amazon or B&N online or another online store.  Those items that we are buying are not part of our local economy.   It is certainly reasonable to think that the loss of a few jobs or diminished income for a few would have little impact on the many.   It is unreasonable to think that wide sweeping job loss and income reduction would not impact other areas of the US and potentially other markets.

I have no idea what the real net impact will be but frankly, I know that I myself alone can’t change the economic and political climate.   What I do know is that I have a network.   It is a network of friends, family and work acquaintances that I made through my years of work.    What I have been able to do through this network is help individuals find work and/or at least an opportunity for an interview.

What is different today?

Normally, we have to look out for one or two people and what that may amount to is a phone call or a simple email.   Today is different; there are a lot of people coming off contracts, and being cut.   As an individual, I alone can’t manage as a recruiting, retention and transfer service.   Additionally, dealing with recruiting services has some of its own challenges.   I am thankful that they exist but also understand that in a lot of cases, they are a last resort.   For the record, there is nothing wrong with headhunters or technical service providers.  They provide a service to their clients and labor respectively and they are normally upfront about the conditions of the service.    The bottom line here is that under these circumstances and conditions we need to start pulling our networking efforts together and shift into a new gear.


In December of 2006, I joined LinkedIn™ and I started using it as I believe it was intended.   When I meet people or if I have a relationship with them already, I ask if they are on LinkedIn and I connect with them.  I check LinkedIn on a regular basis and I update my status.  I have LinkedIn™ connected with Twitter and I am a part of many groups including a group that I have on IT concerning the defense oriented computing.   I also started the Forge.Mil group when I worked with the team supporting DISA on that effort.   All in all, I have a professionally established network on LinkedIn™ of over 1000+ people.   In the past I have referred to Dunbars Law which states that people can only manage about 150 relationships with any real depth of context or tribal type of relationship. Seth Godin talks about this on his blog at (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/10/the-penalty-for-violating-dunbars-law.html) if you have any additional interest on this subject.   I have in previous posts linked an authoritative source for this study.   Essentially, you can know of a lot of people and you can have a large network but it is not possible to push the relationship boundaries for normal people over the 300 person mark.   What this means is that on LinkedIn, the people that I know who have chosen to use this service are mostly acquaintances.   It doesn’t matter if I met them at a party and they got the essence of Howie, they mostly don’t know to care much more about me than somebody that they used to know (there is a joke in there Goyte http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY ).

In addition to LinkedIn™, I have an application that I use to manage relationships called “The Brain”, feel free to ask me about it but I have over the years advertised for them enough.  I just use it to tie people to areas of work or systems and other things.   In addition to this I have other social media outlets.   I try not to use Facebook for anything business related except that when I blog it does go to Facebook.  I also use Google+ the same way as Facebook.  I will say that Google+ does seem to appeal to me more.  All that being said, LinkedIn™ is the place where I expect to pull most of my professional network together and the place I can go where people keep their information up to date.

It Seems to Be Failing Me

It is taking me a long time to get here, I apologize.   LinkedIn is not working the way I expect.  Is it because I use the freemium version?   If Jeff Weiner CEO of LinkedIn™ wants to double tap me, I think not.  I am giving him content, in my view that content is worth more weight and value than the $240.00 a year that he expects me to pay them for the service.  As a matter of fact, he should incentify me to put information into LinkedIn™ by offering me something.     Last week was the first time that I have ever reached out to my whole LinkedIn™ network at one time for anything.  I didn’t reach out to them for myself; I did it for someone else.   When I put out a post asking for a response for a person who I know has skills that are in demand at this time, I got very little back.   When I say little, I will be clear (two likes and one email ).    In order to get some opportunity going, I had to work as hard as usual to make phone calls and send emails and do all of the things I would have to do regardless of LinkedIn™.    Maybe I am using LinkedIn™ incorrectly?  I get hundreds of appearances on search and I get about 7-10+ views over the course of a few days.  Most of them don’t amount to anything unless I initiate a conversation.  I could do that without LinkedIn™.    The discussion threads in LinkedIn™ are almost useless.  I said almost because I haven’t found the value in them for the most part.  On occasion there have been good threads or linkages.   Those occasions are fleeting.   In terms of social analytics or metrics, I wonder what the ratio of active engagement is relative to named use.    I digress.

Outside of LinkedIn™ and Beyond

If LinkedIn™ is just a resume service, I have one of those with VisualCV™ and that service does a better job of resume management within itself.   I get more responses or hits from Facebook and Google+ on my blog than I do from LinkedIn™.  Maybe Google+ or Facebook can replace it?

On Jobs

“It is very hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”

If you are still reading this blog, I am going to assume you care about others.   I am also going to assume that you care about yourself.   In other words, there should be the realization that we are all connected and that those connections and tethers far exceed our ability to understand the cause and effect relationships in our current view.    I believe that it is our personal responsibility to help each other.  I am not talking about a charity or hand out.  I am not talking about a donation of GoodWill or a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.  I am talking about helping each other with a micro transaction.   A little help can go a long way.  Do you know that (insert name here) they losing their job or getting cut?  Is (insert name here) a good person?  Is he/she competent?  Can he/she benefit another organization or group that you know?   If so, make the connection.  It is good for them and it is good for you.  It is a situation that is mutually beneficial.   I haven’t always been successful in these efforts but I am not going to quit doing it.  I am not a recruiter and I don’t make any money from my efforts.  I am no better a person than anyone reading this.  I simply believe that helping others is a responsibility and a blessing.   Helping others pays dividends, not necessarily to you or me explicitly but it may help that person in a big way and the world in ways that we can’t comprehend.


A lesson From Matt S (You know who you are dude)

Matt teaches “Howie, if you want people to do something, you have to tell them what you want them to do and it has to be actionable.”

If you see that I post something on LinkedIn™ or any social media outlet and I am referring to a person that needs some attention or help.  I want you to pass that on.  If I have 9 million people in my extended LinkedIn™ network, there is no reason why one person out of 9 million won’t have an opportunity to offer.    At the very least pass that name on and tell them when you pass it on that you don’t know the person but you have a second or third degree connection.    Results will vary but the effort itself as small as it may be is that something that you can do that will make a difference even if that difference is simply to you.

Why People Leave Online Communities

As a Forge.Mil Community Manager, I wanted to understand the psychology of online communities.   I spent a lot of time reading posts about why people stay online or leave communities.  I also wanted to develop measures and metrics that would create a clear picture at any given time for our leadership and other Community Managers.  I posted a discussion about metrics here in June.


I was looking at the community from the perspective of a Community Manager and even though I worked really hard to empathize with the community.  What I came to realize was that I may have been part of the community but not the part that really counted.   I did have experience with being part of new online communities and I have a long history of interacting with people online in many forms.  The point is that I was a Community Manager and that I have experience with the technical, social and human factors concerning this subject area.

Now that I got that out-of-the-way, my friend Matt asked me this week to write about why people LEAVE online communities.   I recently left a work related community and he felt that it would be good to share some why people leave.

 I apologize profusely ahead of time if I offend anyone. 

Community 3

Oh, did I just apologize?

When a community starts up, you get the early adopters.  These are people who are really interested in making the concept of the community work.  They work hard to be flexible and understanding.   If something comes across inappropriately in text, they will more likely than not help a community member self correct or they will as a group help govern the community in tactful and thoughtful ways.  Not.. “You are an ass#%^@ get off this page.”

One of the biggest attractions to using online communities is FREEDOM!  I can say what I think or believe within reason and that is bound by social norms and culture.  In other words, if I am on a church forum, I probably wouldn’t post about that girl I met last night and what happened after she got me all tipsy.   Well, maybe if I were the Pastor.. ohhhhhhh nooooo..  I shouldn’t have said that. **humor alert**  I wish all my words had context tags.

Bottom line, you can say what you want unless it is offensive to the community itself.   The community is a body and this body can and will deal with outliers as needed. “If you don’t stop your behavior you are OUT of here.. ”

Once early adopters get some traction, you start getting a lot of other people.  If you are interested in measures or why people come to communities or any of that stuff, you can find some thoughts on that in the other link. This post is about why people leave.  Now to the meat and potatoes, unless you are a vegetarian then it is on to de beanz and rice.

  1. I am bored 
  2. I am hurt
  3. I offended someone
  4. I am getting angry
  5. Oh, I shouldn’t have done that
  6. I was hijacked by corporate
  7. There is little or no value in spending time here

1)I am bored

If you want to know the SECRET to online communities I could tell you the answer.. it will cost you a million dollars if you click this link or.. I could just say that it is all about feedback.   How does the community relate to you?  What is the context?  When you post or publish something did anyone notice or respond?  If not, it won’t be long before you are bored or other factors drive you to stop participating.  It is like talking to the wall, unless you have the need to talk to yourself in a public space, why do it?  People leave because they are bored and there is no feedback.

2)I am hurt

More than me hurting you, I am upset because you hurt me.   This is the way things are..  Once you hurt my feeling and it is possible to hurt my feelings with words, I am leaving.  Why should I stay here and take this kind of abuse?  People leave because they are hurt.

3)I offended someone

Just imagine on a company website someone posts a picture of themselves in a suit but they are disheveled, obese and holding a turkey leg in one hand and a can of diet soda in another.  Someone is bound to say something funny, I mean offensive and that isn’t going to work out when the picture becomes contextually relevant.   Like you find out that the guy was at his fathers funeral and he is of a cultural background in which they celebrate life and death.   If I made a joke or comment.. I am now feeling bad and I may leave the community, especially if this is a company site.  I could take this a step further, we can’t talk about religion, politics, sexual orientation, economic issues, company concerns, current issues we are facing or the weather without someone being offended.  Next step.. leave the community.

4)I am getting angry

I am trying to deal with an issue or something I need help with and I post a question about it and instead of getting help I get a reprimand or it turns into something that is totally out of context.  I was trying to deal with one thing and I got hijacked.  Yep.. happens all the time because PEOPLE want attention.  Some people want to be the mayor of the community and they fight hard for it.   Watch this.. ready.. I am out..  Yeah and other people leave for that reason too. 

5)I shouldn’t have done that

Offending the community is one thing, making a big mistake like posting something that you shouldn’t have is another.   One time when I was working at Forge.Mil, I posted a tweet that was meant for my personal twitter account.  I had to delete it but not before a lot of people saw that tweet.  Needless to say it wasn’t something that would have gotten me terminated but certainly something that I should have been more careful about.   If that happens on an online community people try to delete it and close their account to make-believe it never happened. It did happen.. whoops.

6)I was hijacked by corporate

It was bound to happen, companies realize how cool all this talking and communication stuff can be.  They realize that people are self organizing and making things happen so they want to get involved.  Makes perfect sense, except that it will suck the soul out of the community.  People will operate under a different set of conditions and the reality is that FEAR may devalue the community.  I said “may”, this is my blog so I will say that corporate getting involved in a community even though that community is related to the business is a recipe for a “Stepford Community.”

Post#1 “Hi, got my timecard done today.”

Post#2 “cool, me too.. remind everyone to get theirs in by 3:00.”

Post#3 “wow, being online is great #iluvthis.”

7)There is little or no value in ME spending time here

I can’t say what I am thinking, I have to filter through 100 posts about how people love their cats and babies and when I do post something that is about the work or something that is interesting that adds value it is carried away in a sea of words.  If the community doesn’t provide healthy and useful feedback to ME then I leave.   “Oh Howie.. the community is not about YOU, it is about the COMMUNITY.”

A community is a group of people and people are individuals that make the community with individual choices and so it is ultimately about YOU and ME but since we are individuals it has to be about ME first then YOU.  Those aren’t my rules, that is the way it is.   We can’t help others until we help ourselves and this is no different.  You could argue around that communities themselves are the body but the fact is that we can’t be a WE until there are a bunch of me’s involved. Then it becomes the greater group or body.  There is an order to these things.

Clarity of..

Disclaimer, I am for the record speaking generically about communities with some discussion of corporate communities.  This isn’t specifically about any one company.  Because if it were then I would be on #5.   I don’t want to be on #5 because I stepped on #2.


There are more reasons that people leave online communities.  I just put a few to consider.   Just remember that anything you put online will stay there until the “Singularity” occurs and then your thoughts and comments will be part of the machine anyway.  Don’t put anything online that you don’t want to be accountable for.  I can’t even get my Intel friends to send me a note in email.

Community 4

What are your thoughts?  Do you think I am right or wrong?  If you have a different perspective, please share it.