Jennifer B. Davis
So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.
- Peter Drucker

If you don't believe that is true, read this article on The Onion and tell me if you don't find yourself sadly relating.

Jennifer B. Davis
Related to my earlier post about selling statistics, here comes along a new tool that allows you to visualize that data in a new way (and make decisions with it).

The service is called Moody and it is in the category of iTunes enhancers. Using a color-coded tagging system, Moody filters songs according to your mood. You can select our own color indicators to futher personalize the experience.

It is free and you can donate to the developers, if you are in the mood.
Jennifer B. Davis
Flickr, one of my favorite photo sites, just launched some new statistics features for their professional members. When I followed the link that I read, it offered me the chance to upgrade my personal account to a pro account with the #1 benefit being "Be enthralled by graphs and charts!" You can read all the stated benefits of upgrading at this link.

This makes me consider two things:

1. Sometimes you don't have to offer people much to get them to part with their money. Sometimes the value-add that is required, isn't much in the scheme of things. You don't have to offer the world, just enough to provide value to the customer.

2. People will pay for their own information. Whether it be Flickr stats or American Express' specialized statements that allow you to categorize expenses for reporting purposes, sometimes it is the data around the main service that provides the differentiation. This is one of the popular features of Xobni's service (see your most frequent email communicators in an easy pop-up) or iTunes (what are your favorite/most frequently played songs).

So, what information do you gather that you could sell, package, or otherwise entice your clients with? Would your corporate clients be interested to know how often their employees called for technical support? Would your customers be interested to know what their buying preference say about them? Could you post some statistics and get positive press mentions (like Google and Yahoo! do when they issue press releases about what the most popular search topics are in any given year)? I suspect that your data would be more useful and insightful than the fact that lots of people searched for news on Britney Spears this past year!
Jennifer B. Davis
If I had a secretary, this is what I would ask them to do. I'd have their number on speed dial. When I was about town, I would see something and call him and leave a message. Let's say I saw a building and wanted to know what the company did or perhaps I heard friends talking about a movie and wanted to be reminded to view the trailer. He'd respond back to me (at a more convenient time and place) with a summary of more information and a list of additional links.

So, that is probably why I don't have a secretary. No matter. Now that Kwiry is in beta. You SMS something from your phone that you see/hear and it emails you what you typed, as well as a list of links where you can learn more.

Now, if only I could make sure Kwiry sent those text reminders to a real assistant would would go pick up the dry cleaning, download the song, or buy the gift. Then it would be perfect!

Jennifer B. Davis
One of the most creative books I have ever seen is the Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. It reads like a handwriting journal and includes illustrations of what appears to be real fairies caught and squished between the pages of the book. Some are a little graphic and perhaps the whole thing is a little morbid, but I thought it was very creative at the least.

I am really glad that the new book service, FlattenMe, didn't choose this approach. Instead, you upload a picture of your child and they integrate them into a beautiful children's book. The site is very friendly and they have gotten some great press. Too late to order for this year's holiday season, but perhaps for Valentine's Day?

Jennifer B. Davis
Archeologists have just discovered a well preserved dinosaur remains which is calling into question many assumptions scientists have made about these ancient reptiles. Specifically, the specimen's vertebrae, which museums commonly stack together, are actually "spaced 10 millimeters apart. The result implies that scientists may have been underestimating the size of hadrosaurs and other dinos."
It is strange to think that we might have been underestimating the size of something we assumed to be gargantuan. The dinosaurs in museums or the dinosaur models I used to visit as a kid, with their stacked together vertebrae, are terrifyingly tall. Can you imagine if they are bigger still?

It reminds me of many of the challenges in business strategy and forecasting. We make assumptions every day about the scope of some problem or the potential of some opportunity. We may assume it is big or minimal, but what if we are wrong. Not directionally wrong, but "order of magnitude" wrong. What if that customer satisfaction isn't just struggling, but is really horrible? What if the forecast isn't just a little soft, but seriously at risk? What if your employees are not just satisfied, but are referring their friends to new positions? What if what you know to be true isn't just true, but is understated?
Jennifer B. Davis
Regular readers of this blog know I am a fan of customizable products. Here is one that might be of particular interest as temperatures plummet and you are out shopping amidst crowds of germs: personalized Kleenex brand tissues.

$4.99 plus shipping and you can put your own image and text on a Kleenex box, select top cover colors, and more. I think it would make a very creative "Get Well Soon" card!

Sadly, Kleenex also launched a new tag line: "Let it out." I am not kidding (groan).
Jennifer B. Davis
"I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either."
- Jack Benny

"When you're young you believe it when people tell you how good you are. And that's the danger, you inhale. Everyone will tell you you're a genius, which you are not. And you learn that you're never as good as they say you are when they say you're good, but you're never as bad as they say you are when they say you're bad. And if you understand that, you win." - George Clooney

These two quotes strike me as interesting and telling. Life is unfair and sometimes it is a right-way unfairness and sometimes a wrong-way unfairness. You can't rely on people's opinions, comments, or accolades as an accurate indicator of your performance. You know what you deserve. Chances are, no matter how hard you work or how talented you are, when you really think about it, you are really lucky!
Jennifer B. Davis
After the day I had, I could not resist this quote from Peter Drucker.

"So much of what we call 'management' consists in making it difficult for people to work."

How true!