Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Have you ever heard of workers fighting for a CEO? When employees and customers went on strike in support of a sacked CEO

When Arthur T Demoulas, the CEO of Demoulas Supermarkets was sacked by the Board in June 2014, the company was stunned when the employees went on strike to demand his reinstatement. What was even more shocking was when even the customers started boycotting the store in support of the CEO and suppliers stopped restocking the stores.

source: wiki Market Basket protests

What then makes employees, customers and even suppliers so loyal to a CEO in an age when only money rules.

The CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas was perceived as a father figure. He was known for his ability to remember his employees' names, birthdays and milestones.

He is also known to check on ill employees and asking about spouses and children of his workers.

In this Boston Globe article one employee recollects the time he received a call from Arthur when his daughter had a serious car accident and was in the hospital. Arthur enquired about his daughter, whether the hospital was doing a good job and if they needed to move her to another hospital.

In this BBC story it says that Arthur seems to have attended every wedding and funeral in the Boston area.

The workers even made a protest song and encouraged customers to boycott the stores

Monday, September 18, 2017

5 days at an outdoor education camp without TV, computers or phones improved non verbal emotion cues recognition in preteens

Teenagers, ages 12–17, report using phones to text message in their daily lives more than any other form of communication, including face-to-face socializing.

The extensive time that children and teenagers engage with media and communicate using screens may be taking time away from face-to-face communication and some in-person activities.

A field experiment examined whether increasing opportunities for face-to-face interaction while eliminating the use of screen-based media and communication tools improved nonverbal emotion–cue recognition in preteens.

Fifty-one preteens spent five days at an overnight nature camp where television, computers and mobile phones were not allowed; this group was compared with school-based matched controls (n = 54) that retained usual media practices. Both groups took pre- and post-tests that required participants to infer emotional states from photographs of facial expressions and videotaped scenes with verbal cues removed.

Change scores for the two groups were compared using gender, ethnicity, media use, and age as covariates. After five days interacting face-to-face without the use of any screen-based media, preteens’ recognition of nonverbal emotion cues improved significantly more than that of the control group for both facial expressions and videotaped scenes. Implications are that the short-term effects of increased opportunities for social interaction, combined with time away from screen-based media and digital communication tools, improves a preteen’s understanding of nonverbal emotional cues.

When engaging in face-to-face communication, social information is conveyed by vocal and visual cues within the context of the situation. Nonverbal communication, defined as communication without words, includes apparent behaviors such as facial expression, eye contact, and tone of voice, as well as less obvious messages such as posture and spatial distance between two or more people (Knapp & Hall, 2010). The understanding of these kinds of nonverbal social cues is particularly important for social interaction because of the need to modify one’s own behavior in response to the reactions of others (Knapp & Hall, 2010). The capability to effectively process emotional cues is associated with many personal, social and academic outcomes (Knapp & Hall, 2010; McClure & Nowicki, 2001). In addition, children who better understand emotional cues in a social environment may develop superior social skills and form more positive peer relationships (Blakemore, 2003; Bosacki & Astington, 1999).

For more details on the research visit Science Direct

I Forgot my phone - changing behavior in the younger generation

In his book "Reclaiming conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age", author Sherry Turkle writes about how communication between youngsters is changing dramatically because of Technology. She cites an example of a short film where a girl does not have her phone for a day and she observes the behavior of people around her.

  • Her boyfriend is busy texting in bed
  • Her boyfriend chats about laughter at a comedy show without actually laughing.
  • At a bowling alley her friends do not hi five her when she makes a strike

Friday, September 15, 2017

How Music got free

How Music Got Free is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.

Journalist Stephen Witt traces the secret history of digital music piracy, from the German audio engineers who invented the mp3, to a North Carolina compact-disc manufacturing plant where factory worker Dell Glover leaked nearly two thousand albums over the course of a decade, to the high-rises of midtown Manhattan where music executive Doug Morris cornered the global market on rap, and, finally, into the darkest recesses of the Internet.

Through these interwoven narratives, Witt has written a thrilling book that depicts the moment in history when ordinary life became forever entwined with the world online—when, suddenly, all the music ever recorded was available for free. In the page-turning tradition of writers like Michael Lewis and Lawrence Wright, Witt’s deeply reported first book introduces the unforgettable characters—inventors, executives, factory workers, and smugglers—who revolutionized an entire artform, and reveals for the first time the secret underworld of media pirates that transformed our digital lives.

An irresistible never-before-told story of greed, cunning, genius, and deceit, How Music Got Free isn’t just a story of the music industry—it’s a must-read history of the Internet itself.

Why not give the workers spoons instead of shovels

When Nobel laureate Economist Milton Friedman was consulting with an Asian nation government in the 1960s he visited a site of a large scale public works project and found workers shoveling but not using any heavy equipment like bull dozers, tractors or heavy equipment. On enquiring he was told that the purpose of the project was to provide jobs. To which he drly remarked "Why don't you give worker's spoons instead of shovels?"

In the book "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the threat of a jobless future" the author cites this story and also speaks about the looming threat of a jobless future with advancement of technology creating a jobless future.

 In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren't going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.

How to Network with people

This Forbes Etiquette guide video shows you how to Work a Room and network with strangers
Some key points being

  • Talk to 3 new people
  • Learn 2 new pieces of information
  • Be a lone ranger
  • comment on the venue/food/program

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Judo - the gentle way

Ju do the gentle way. The philosophy is to redirecting rather than confronting the opponents energy. The similar tactic can be used in business or negotiation or confrontation when instead of confronting the opponents energy head on you redirect the energy.

Have a richer fulfilling life and be a better Leader

This HBR video speaks about a framework to lead a better and fulfilling life.
It emphasizes that one should strive for excellence in all domains and not just in one.
1. Work
2. Home
3. Community
4. Self

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How Management teams can have a good and productive fight

This HBR video explains how Management teams can have a good productive debate and fight to get positive outcomes

Teams that worked best embraced conflicts
It highlights 6 points
1. Work with more rather than less information. A healthy supply of information can switch the focus from guesses & personal opinions to a debate on hard facts.
2.Enrich the debate with multiple options. Having only 2 options can split the groups into 2 teams. Teams that have multiple options can expend their energies then into coming up with creative solutions
3. Establish common goals
4. Inject Humour. It releases tension and promotes collaboration.
5. Maintain a balanced corporate power structure.
6. Resolve issues without forcing a consensus

Planning poker - Technique of Project Management and resolving conflicts

Planning poker is a consensus-based, gamified technique mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals in software development. In planning poker, members of the group make estimates by playing numbered cards face-down to the table, instead of speaking them aloud. The cards are revealed, and the estimates are then discussed. By hiding the figures in this way, the group can avoid the cognitive bias of anchoring, where the first number spoken aloud sets a precedent for subsequent estimates. src Wikipedia. It is also called Scrum poker.

Planning poker is based on a list of features to be delivered, several copies of a deck of cards and optionally, an egg timer that can be used to limit time spent in discussion of each item.

At the estimation meeting, each estimator is given one deck of the cards. All decks have identical sets of cards in them.
The meeting proceeds as follows:

  • A Moderator, who will not play, chairs the meeting.
  • The Product Manager provides a short overview of one user story to be estimated. The team is given an opportunity to ask questions and discuss to clarify assumptions and risks. A summary of the discussion is recorded by the Project Manager.
  • Each individual lays a card face down representing their estimate for the story. Units used vary - they can be days duration, ideal days or story points. During discussion, numbers must not be mentioned at all in relation to feature size to avoid anchoring.
  • Everyone calls their cards simultaneously by turning them over.
  • People with high estimates and low estimates are given a soap box to offer their justification for their estimate and then discussion continues.
  • Repeat the estimation process until a consensus is reached. The developer who was likely to own the deliverable has a large portion of the "consensus vote", although the Moderator can negotiate the consensus.
  • To ensure that discussion is structured; the Moderator or the Project Manager may at any point turn over the egg timer and when it runs out all discussion must cease and another round of poker is played. The structure in the conversation is re-introduced by the soap boxes.

The cards are numbered as they are to account for the fact that the longer an estimate is, the more uncertainty it contains. Thus, if a developer wants to play a 6 he is forced to reconsider and either work through that some of the perceived uncertainty does not exist and play a 5, or accept a conservative estimate accounting for the uncertainty and play an 8.

A HBR article on "How self managed teams can resolve conflicts" also recommends this technique without escalating problems to bosses.

Designer builds a studio beneath a bridge

This designer Fernando Abellanas built a secret studio beneath a bridge in Valencia, Spain.

More on Fast Co Design and Dezeen

Monday, September 11, 2017

Paint in a sachet

This story talks about how an Entrepreneur started a paint shop but nobody would buy from his store.

In the evenings he used to hang out with mechanics and body shop owners and over the course of time figure out that their biggest problem was wasted paint in body touch-ups. As the minimum paint can was of 500ml a lot of it would get wasted during small touch up works.

He then pioneered the concept of packaging paint in small cigarette tin boxes (125ml) and thus the CT (cigarette tin) measure was born in Mangalore.