Showing posts from September, 2017

How a Book started the world's first Modern Environmental Movement?

Silent Spring, published in 1962, galvanized a whole nation, started the environmental revolution and brought upon the ban of one of the most valuable chemical ever, DDT. Once nicknamed as a "miracle weapon" against insect-borne diseases, in the 1950's DDT was extensively promoted by the US government and industry for use as an agricultural and household pesticide.

In 1957, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sprayed the northeastern forests with a mixture of DDT and oil to eradicate an insect pest – the gypsy moth. A month after spraying, residents on Long Island filed suit in federal court charging that the DDT was killing fish, birds, farm and garden crops. It was then that the Audubon Naturalist Society, a non-profit dedicated to conservation and education, actively opposed to such spraying programs, and recruited Carson to help make public the government's exact spraying practices and the related research. Carson began the four-year project of what would b…

IOT was coined to solve the sale problem of a popular Lipstick

Author Kevin Ashton, speaks about what led to the coining of "The Internet of Things"  in his book "How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery".

A popular shade of lipstick by P&G was not being adequately restocked on store shelves. Half of the stores were out of stock at any given point of time and it was the customers who were noticing it and either buying another shade or leaving the store without buying it.

In the late 90s inventory information was stored in computes and manually keyed in. Store workers did not have time to go and look at the shelf and key in information about availability or lack of it. He attached a small radio microchip to the lipstick and an antenna on the shelf which connected to the internet to update the information and initially called it the "Storage system". He later extended this to all P&G products like diapers, potato chips, detergent and coined the term "Internet of Things&q…

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 h…

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 grou…

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 bedHer 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

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…

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, n…

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 peopleLearn 2 new pieces of informationBe a lone rangercomment on the venue/food/program

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

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 overvie…

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

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.