More random clips that I find of continuing interest:
Business Week finds an interesting observation about the changing nature of blogs:
There are dozens of Weblogs that seemingly anyone who is anybody in the technology industry reads regularly. Lisa Hsu’s blog isn’t one of them. A doctoral student in computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, Hsu occasionally pens a post about topics like “secure shell protocols,” a software standard for protecting data on a computer network. More often than not, however, she’s just musing about mundane things that only her friends would care about: details of a trip to the dentist, random Web discoveries, or maybe a new movie.
Hsu guesses that only five people tune in regularly, while occasional readers may number 25. But she’s far from disappointed about not having the mass following of the blog TechCrunch. “I don’t hope that I meet new people. In fact, a lot of times, if I have a random person comment, I get scared,” says Hsu. “All I really want is for my friends to see it.”
I’m sorry, I have more ambitions than this! But, my ambitions are so far unmatched by requisite deep thoughts. I want the world, and I have you, whomever you happen to be. But, I’m cool…
Same issue of BW has its quarterly special focus on its latest theme: innovation. The lead story is a bracing look at a company that was once respected everywhere for its successes in innovation: 3M. Look what’s happened lately:
McNerney was the first outsider to lead the insular St. Paul (Minn.) company in its 100-year history. He had barely stepped off the plane before he announced he would change the DNA of the place. His playbook was vintage GE. McNerney axed 8,000 workers (about 11% of the workforce), intensified the performance-review process, and tightened the purse strings at a company that had become a profligate spender. He also imported GE’s vaunted Six Sigma program—a series of management techniques designed to decrease production defects and increase efficiency. Thousands of staffers became trained as Six Sigma “black belts.” The plan appeared to work: McNerney jolted 3M’s moribund stock back to life and won accolades for bringing discipline to an organization that had become unwieldy, erratic, and sluggish.
Then, four and a half years after arriving, McNerney abruptly left for a bigger opportunity, the top job at Boeing (BA ). Now his successors face a challenging question: whether the relentless emphasis on efficiency had made 3M a less creative company. That’s a vitally important issue for a company whose very identity is built on innovation. After all, 3M is the birthplace of masking tape, Thinsulate, and the Post-it note. It is the invention machine whose methods were consecrated in the influential 1994 best-seller Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras. But those old hits have become distant memories. It has been a long time since the debut of 3M’s last game-changing technology: the multilayered optical films that coat liquid-crystal display screens. At the company that has always prided itself on drawing at least one-third of sales from products released in the past five years, today that fraction has slipped to only one-quarter….
Indeed, the very factors that make Six Sigma effective in one context can make it ineffective in another. Traditionally, it uses rigorous statistical analysis to produce unambiguous data that help produce better quality, lower costs, and more efficiency. That all sounds great when you know what outcomes you’d like to control. But what about when there are few facts to go on—or you don’t even know the nature of the problem you’re trying to define? “New things look very bad on this scale,” says MITSloan School of Management professor Eric von Hippel, who has worked with 3M on innovation projects that he says “took a backseat” once Six Sigma settled in. “The more you hardwire a company on total quality management, [the more] it is going to hurt breakthrough innovation,” adds Vijay Govindarajan, a management professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. “The mindset that is needed, the capabilities that are needed, the metrics that are needed, the whole culture that is needed for discontinuous innovation, are fundamentally different.”
There’s a lot of Six Sigma activity at the Heart of Corporate America where I toil, and it’s a good thing when applied to the manufacturing side of the business. I get concerned though that, as our top management seems to want to become middle America’s version of GE in every significant management way, that the same spirit crushing impulse to SixSigmatize the entire operation may lead to the type of angst that 3M has experienced.
Home Depot and now 3M have now been shown to be the victims of GE alumni — what is the attraction, people?
Back to the subject of blogging. Tim O’Reilly has recently published a proposed Code of Conduct for bloggers. Here’s an excerpt of the story, and the code:
When I wrote my Call for a Blogging Code of Conduct last week, I suggested some ideas of what such a code might contain, but didn’t actually put forth a draft that people could subscribe to. We’re not quite there yet, but we have a plan.
We’ve drafted a code of conduct that will eventually be posted on bloggingcode.org, and created a badge that sites can display if they want to link to that code of conduct.
Here’s the first draft:
We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean lack of civility. We present this Blogger Code of Conduct in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation.
1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.
We are committed to the “Civility Enforced” standard: we will not post unacceptable content, and we’ll delete comments that contain it.
We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:
– is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
– is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
– infringes upon a copyright or trademark
– violates an obligation of confidentiality
– violates the privacy of others
We define and determine what is “unacceptable content” on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. [We reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]
2. We won’t say anything online that we wouldn’t say in person.
3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.
When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved–or find an intermediary who can do so–before we publish any posts or comments about the issue.
4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.
When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we’ll tell them so (privately, if possible–see above) and ask them to publicly make amends.
If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn’t withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.
5. We do not allow anonymous comments.
We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves with an alias, rather than their real name.
6. We ignore the trolls.
We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don’t veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them–“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.” Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them.
We also decided we needed an “anything goes” badge for sites that want to warn possible commenters that they are entering a free-for-all zone. The text to accompany that badge might go something like this:
This is an open, uncensored forum. We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other “off color” comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk.
Works for me! But, read the full story, together with its responses, and think it out for yourself.
Well, enough clips for a couple of days, at least!
It’s it for now.
Powered by Qumana