Showing posts with label partnership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label partnership. Show all posts

December 26, 2018

Tired Of All The Whining About China

I don't know about you, but I am so tired about all the whining about China. 

- They are stealing our intellectual property. 

- They are hacking into our systems. 

- They are unfairly forcing us to transfer technology to them.

- They aren't opening up their market to us. 

OMG stop the complaining already!

If you don't like what they are doing, then do something about it. 

Tariffs are a start, but just a small one. 

Seriously, if you can't incentivize them to stop the harassment and unfair trade practices by adding them to the World Trade Organization, investing in them, and partnering with them, then you need to actually compete with China. 

- They steal our sh*t--you help yourself to a generous serving of theirs.  

- They break into our systems--you find your way into their systems.

- They try to unfairly take away our markets and jobs--you take away theirs big time.  

Everyone knows that to deal with bully, you must fight back!

The more we are scared into inaction, the worse it gets.

This doesn't mean that we should get into a military exchange with China, but we do need to get into a confrontation over what economic and global partnership should mean and look like. 

China is an old and truly great nation and their people should be highly respected.

However, the USA should also be treated right, and if that means it's time for a heart to heart and some evening up of the playing field then that is what has to happen. 

We have to restore respect to America, not by becoming bullies ourselves, but by standing up to them when we are being taken advantage of.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 13, 2018

Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:
We succeed or fail as a team.

It's not me. 

It's not you. 

It's not him.

It's not her. 
It's us!

No one can do it alone. 

- If we fail, we fail as a team. 

- If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 

So let's come together and be a team and give it our best shot! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 25, 2018

In the Know Or Dark

So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you--positively or negatively. 

They can help either to keep you "in the know" or "in the dark."

As we all know by now, information is power!

When you're in the know--you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what's happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization. 

When you're in the dark--you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter.  A colleague of mine put it this way: "Don't get between a man and his firing squad."   

So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare. 

To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn.  And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable. 

But to another extent, there are others--superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers--who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend...some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn't it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else.  What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!

Why some friend and others foe you--who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate. 

In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 12, 2018

Getting To Know You

So we recently took on a new function at work.

With that came a new group of employees.

Today, we had a wonderful breakfast as a meet and greet for everyone to get to know each other.

There was a tremendous spread of food laid out everything from bagels and smear, granola and yogurt, free fruit and vegetable salad, donut and muffins, and more.

There was enough food to feed a small army.

Aside from the group joining us, we had people come from other departments that support the process they are involved in--so folks from finance, legal, and even the front office.

The new lead assigned for the group that came over even gave out envelopes to thank their new team and 2 big boxes of gourmet coffee for them to share.

How nice this all was done and the investment that was made to bring the new team on board was really amazing to me.

I saw all the goodwill that was being built up from this event and the niceties put into it to recognize the people and make everyone comfortable together as a team.

I learned that an investment upfront like this in people and function can have tremendous benefits downstream in building a team and performing services that everyone can be proud of who is apart of this.

Invest not only in things, but also most importantly in people and relationships! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 11, 2018

Teambuilding S-Cubed

Awesome day today with my team at work. 

We had a half-day team building. 

Started off with a Play-Doh exercise where we had to answer things like what we'd like to accomplish as a team in the new year. 

This was my representation with a S-cubed for the new program implementing process improvements and enterprise service management using:

- Strategy

- Structure

- (Customer) Service

We followed up with a great team luncheon and then a game of Monster Mini Golf.

We broke into two teams and one team came in "first place" and the other team were the "winners."

I suppose whenever we genuinely come together as a team to appreciate each other and work collaboratively as a unified whole--greater than the sum of our parts--then we truly all come out as first place winners! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 11, 2017

Amazon + Teva = A Marriage Made In Heaven


Amazon has upended so many industries--and you can basically buy almost anything there.

And yes, what you can't buy today, you will be able to buy tomorrow. 

What started as books and DVDs is now virtually synonymous with e-Commerce itself!
Next up for Amazon is pharmaceuticals!

Some people may think that Whole Foods gives Amazon the footprint it needs to sell these and dominate.

But what people aren't considering is that Amazon can sell the pharmaceuticals online.

Amazon can do what other online drug distributors can't.

Why?

Because Amazon has the most unbelievable distribution network in the world. 

Currently, people can order drugs through the mail, but these tend to be for regular reoccurring prescriptions that have lead time. 

However, Amazon can outdo these mail order pharma companies, because they can get you the drugs you need when and where you need it. 

- You don't feel well and can't make it to CVS, Amazon will deliver to your door. 

- Need same-day delivery, no problem. 

- Plus do all your shopping together in one fell timesaving swoop. 

My prediction: 
Amazon the low cost, efficient online seller of everything to everywhere is going to partner with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the #1 world leader in low cost generic drugs.

Teva already produces 120 billion tablets and capsules every year, operates in 80 countries, and currently fills 1 in 6 generic prescriptions in the U.S. 
Together, Amazon and Teva can make beautiful music, that is medicine + money!

Who needs CVS when pharmaceuticals perhaps soon can be gotten at Whole Foods or at your Trusty Amazon.com.  

One more time, I see some radical disruption--and this time it will bring you cheaper and more convenient drugs--make a l'chaim to your health. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

(Endnote: I am a big fan + investor in Teva, and of course, all opinions here are my own.)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 30, 2017

Jewish In Florida



These were three beautiful Jewish things that I saw in Florida in 24 hours.

The first was a billboard touting the wonderful America-Israel friendship and partnership.
"Frontline in the global war on terror.
Best friend and ally of the US.
Providing religious freedom and liberty.
Thank you Israel for sharing American values."
The second were about 20 cans ("pushkas") for collecting charity for the poor in a local kosher Pita Plus restaurant.  

Have a great shawarma plater (with mounds of meat) and give back to others in need and hungry. 

The third was a sign in a discount beachy clothing store with the holy Jewish blessing of Shema Israel.
"Hear O Israel:
The L-rd is our G-d.
The L-rd is One."
There is definitely more than sun and surf and vacation here...

There is a feeling of G-d and faith, of charity and giving, and of special partnership between friends and allies, USA-Israel. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 24, 2016

Why Can't The English Be More English

The people of the United Kingdom voted in referendum yesterday for Brexit (British exit) or independence from the European Union (EU). 

Unity is a wonderful thing when values and vision is widely shared and the burden and benefits are more or less evenly distributed. 

But in the case of the UK in the EU, the vote for independence was anchored in the unsettling issues of mass immigration from the Arab Spring, the debt crisis of many of the poorer Southern EU states (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.), the decision of the UK to maintain their own currency (not accepting the Euro), and culturally (and language-wise), even though they all interact with each other, the UK has more in common with the US and Australia, then they ever had with Germany, France, and the rest of Europe. 

It is really very understandable that the UK doesn't want to lose their identity and sovereignty and just be another EU state--rather than be a unique, independent, and dominant entity of it's own, charting their own course and driving their own fate. 

While it's great to a part of something bigger, sometimes being yourself is more important, and you can still interact with the rest. 

No people should be forced to become a shadow of themselves, and if the call is for independence, then that is noble call even if it is inconvenient for those who would rather call themselves the EU. 

Unity may best be by alliance rather than strict integration...one for all and all for each and every one. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 5, 2014

Paper Thin

I took this photo to show something "paper thin."

Did this after my daughter told me a quote she thought was pretty smart and which I immediately liked as well:

"No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides."

- Jewish Philosopher, Baruch Spinoza

I think of the two sides in terms of peoples opinions.

And it's true, no matter how thin you cut the differences, there will always be at least two views about it--usually more! 

It doesn't make it easy to get to consensus, but I guess we all have to give a little. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal, excuse the glare)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day To My Very Feminist Wife

Just want to wish my lovely wife a very happy Mother's Day. 

My wife is a big feminist!


She doesn't like to do too much cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. 


More for good 'ol hubby--me--to do.  


For example, today I am painting my daughter's room. 


I did the heavy lifting on this. 


Now my wife and daughter and doing the corners and touch up. 


Hey, it's all in a day's work for a modern-day husband. 


But I love my wife and family. 


Even if there's a little more for me to share in. ;-)


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

June 29, 2012

Divided We Fall

Checks and balances in government is a great thing. 

Our founding fathers were brillant in building it into the constitution to place limitations and constraints on unbridled power.

Yes, we the people...of the people, for the people, by the people.

But recent fighting in government has shown that it is lately more about--of the politicians, for the politicians, by the politicians.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to be fighting everyone--not only across the party aisle, but between state and the federal government, and between branches of the Federal government, itself.

How does this work (or should I say maybe not working up to its ideal)--let's take an example:


Yesterday, the healthcare law passed by Congress more or less along party lines, and signed by the President, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a suit brought by 26 states, and is being promised or threatened (depending which side of the aisle you are coming from) to be repealed by the next administration

Ah, there you have it--everyone seemingly going against everyone else and fighting what is considered progress to one side, but is harmful from the other's point of view.

Let's try another one--also just from yesterday:

Attorney General Eric Holder is held in contempt of Congress in the majority Republican, House of Representatives, with Nancy Pelosi, members of the Black Caucus, and other democrats walking out of the vote.  And this is to release papers on "Operation Fast and Furious" in the Justice Department (the Executive Branch) that resulted in the death of a border agent, Brian Terry of another Federal Department, Homeland Security, 11 miles from the Mexican border. But the papers were held under Presidential Executive Privilege from being released to a Congressional oversight committee. Now this turns to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to pursue or drop, but he is a Presidential Appointee that reports up to Attorney Holder, and could end up the courts to decide.

I can hardly catch my breath now, but a third one this week on immigration:

The Arizona law, with controversial provision SB 1070 that permits law enforcement to check immigration status, when there is reasonable suspicion, of people arrested or detained was ruled on by the Supreme Court, and this provision was upheld. But other provisions were struck down, such as it being a State crime to be an illegal immigrant or to hire one. One presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has called the law a "model for the nation," while the current administration has felt otherwise.

Some would say this is the way it is supposed to work--this is the way we get issues worked through, grievances addressed and ensure fairness, equity, and that the right thing is being done.

But others may look at this and call it partisanship, ineffective, a waste or time and resources, one step forward and two steps back, a circuitous path to nowhere, a witch hunt or as Representative Alan Grayson said a "circus," at times.

With huge threats facing our nation on virtually all fronts--from unemployment and the stagnant economy, to our national deficit, falling global competitiveness, ongoing threats of NCBR and cyber terrorism, not to mention natural disasters, chronic illnesses, human rights, poverty, pollution, and food and water shortages--we certainly have a lot to deal with.

The concern is that if we cannot work and move forward together with common resolve--as partners rather than competitors--to create genuine solutions rather than to bicker about who's right, wrong, and to blame--then divided, we will fall.

We have a choice--unite and put the national and global commons above our own self-interests or yield to an uncertain and most frightening future.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Daniele Bora)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 27, 2012

Securing The Internet: A Historical Perspective

This week, I had the opportunity take a great class in Cyber Security / Information Assurance.

As part of the class, we had to do a team project and my part was to present a brief history of the Internet and how this best positions the Federal Government to take the lead in securing the Internet.

Here is my part of the presentation:

Good morning. I am Andy Blumenthal, and I am here to talk with you today about the wealth of historical experience that the U.S. Federal Government has with managing the Internet and why we are best positioned to govern the security of it in partnership with the private sector and international community.

As you’ll see on the timeline, the U.S. Government has played a major role in virtually every development with the Internet from inventing it, to building it, and to governing it, and it is therefore, best prepared to lead in securing it.

It all started with the invention of the Internet by the government.

Starting in 1957 with the Sputnik Crisis, where the Soviets leaped ahead of us in putting the first satellite in Earth’s orbit—this caused great fear in this country and ultimately led to a space and technology race between us and the Soviet Union.

As a result of this, in 1958, the U.S. Government established the Advanced Research Projects Agency (or ARPA) to advance our technology superiority and prevent any future technology surprises.

In 1962, ARPA created the Information Process Techniques Office (IPTO) for enhancing telecommunications for sharing ideas and computing resources.

Finally in 1964, the concept of the Internet was founded with the publication by RAND (on contract with the Air Force) of “On Distributed Communications,” which essentially invented the idea of a distributed computing network (i.e. the Internet) with packet switching and no single point of failure.  This was seen as critical in order to strengthen the U.S. telecomm infrastructure for survivability in the event of nuclear attack by the Soviets.

The Internet era was born!

The U.S. government then set out to build this great Internet.

In 1968, ARPA contracted for first 4 nodes of this network (for $563,000).

Then in 1982, after 8 years of antitrust litigation, the U.S. government oversaw the breakup of AT&T into the Baby Bells in order to ensure competition, value, and innovation for the consumer.

In 1983, ARPANET split off MILNET, but continued to be linked to it through TCP/IP.

In 1987, the National Science Foundation (NSF) built a T1 “Internet Backbone” for NSFNET hooking up the nation’s five supercomputers for high-speed and high capacity transmission.

And in 1991, the National Research and Education Network (NREN, a specialized ISP) was funded for a five-year contract with $2 billion by Congress to upgrade the Internet backbone.

At this point, the Internet was well on its way!

But the U.S. government’s involvement did not end there, after inventing it and building it, we went on to effectively govern it. 

In 2005, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) issued the Internet Policy Statement (related to Net Neutrality) with principles to govern an open Internet—where consumers are entitled to choice of content, apps, devices, and service providers.

And now, most recently, in 2012, we have a proposed bill for the Cybersecurity Act to ensure that companies share cyber security information through government exchanges and that they meet critical infrastructure protection standards.

You see, the government understands the Internet, it’s architecture, it’s vulnerabilities, and has a long history with the Internet from its invention, to its building, and its governance.

It only makes sense for the government to take the lead in the security of the Internet and to balance this effectively with the principles for an open Internet.   

Only the government can ensure that the private sector and our international partners have the incentives and disincentives to do what needs to be done to secure the Internet and thereby our critical infrastructure protection.

Thank you for your undivided attention, and now I will now turn it over to my colleague who will talk to you about the legal precedents for this. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 25, 2011

Turning IT From Frenemy to Friend

Fast Company (December 2008) describes Frenemies as a "thrilling intricate dance" of friend-enemy relationships.

Half a year later, CBS News (July 2009) reports that this words is added to the dictionary: "Frenemy--someone who pretends to be a friend, but is really an enemy."

Recently, I've heard the term applied to Information Technology, as in they they here to help (i.e. friend-like), but boy are they often an obstacle as well (i.e. enemy-like).

Obviously not the message any IT executive wants to hear about their folk's customer service and delivery!

Today, the Wall Street Journal (25 April 2011) writes about the "discontent with the [IT] status quo" and it calls somewhat drastically to "Get IT out of the IT department."

Why?

Based on responses from business and IT leaders, here are some of the key reasons:

- "IT is seen as overly bureaucratic and control-oriented" (51% business and 37% IT)
- "IT doesn't deliver on time" (44% business and 49% IT)
- "IT products and services doesn't meet the needs of the business" (39% business and 29% IT)
- "IT consists of technologists, not business leaders" (60% business and 46% IT)

Therefore, the WSJ states "both for competitive and technological reasons...business unit leaders need to start assuming more control over the IT assets that fuel their individual businesses."

This is being called "Innovative IT"--where "IT shifts to more of a support role. IT empowers business unit self-sufficiency by providing education, coaching, tools, and rules, which allow for individuals to meet their needs in a way that protects the overall need of the enterprise."

The result is rather than delivering IT to the business, we deliver IT "through the business."

In this model, there is an emphasis on partnership between the business and IT, where:

- IT provides services to the business (i.e. through a service-oriented architecture of capabilities)--systems, applications, products, tools, infrastructure, planning, governance, security, and more.
- The business exploits these services as needed, and they innovate by "dreaming up ideas, developing prototypes, and piloting changes" that will most impact on-the-ground performance.

I believe this is consistent with stage 4 (the highest) of architecture maturity--called Business Modularity--as described by Ross, Weill and Robertson in Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: In this stage, we "grant business unit managers greater discretion in the design of front-end processes, which they can individually build or buy as modules connected to core data and backend processes. In effect,managers get the freedom to bolt functionality onto the optimized core." The result is a "platform of innovation...[that] enables local experiments, and the best ones spread throughout the company."

Related to this are interviews in the WSJ today with 3 CIOs, that all bear out this IT leadership direction:

- Frank Wander (Guardian Life Insurance)--"We have IT embedded into each business and we have a seat at the table. We're partners."
- Norm Fjeldheim (Qualcomm)--"We're structured exactly the same way Frank is. IT is embedded in the business. I'm only responsible for about half the IT budget."
- Filippo Passrini (Proctor & Gamble)--"Our business partners are people outside IT....in the past we were always in 'push' mode...now...there is a lot of 'pull'."

So one of the goals of IT and business is to transform from a relationship of frenemies to friends and genuine partners; this will leverage the strengths of each--the expertise of our technology professionals and the customer insights and agility of our business people.

Share/Save/Bookmark