Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week

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Online MBA published a blog post and infographic about overtime, with some surprising statistics:

  • The more hours per week you regularly work, the less productive you will become.
  • On average, Americans now work 11 hours more per week than in 1970, but make $8,000 less per year (adjusted for inflation).

From the article:

In today’s ever-increasingly cutthroat work environment, a common notion among employees and bosses alike tends to be, “he who works latest works best.” And while it seems that the 40-hour work week has been largely dispensed with in our hardworking culture, new studies show that working more very seldom produces better results. Employees work many more hours now than they have in the past, but it’s coming at the expense of health, happiness, and even productivity. While it looks good to be the first to arrive and the last to leave work each day, it turns out that putting in 60 hours of work each week may do more harm than good in achieving end results. This infographic examines some of the lesser-known statistics regarding overtime work and its effects, and through it one thing becomes extremely clear: To boost productivity and foster excellent employees, the best thing businesses can do is to bring back the 40-hour work week. Continue reading

There’s a Difference, part 2

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In a previous post, I asked you to watch two commercials and determine what makes them different. Other than the style of the commercials, which is unimportant, there is a very major difference. If you have not watched the two commercials, follow the link above and take a minute to watch both of them.

Quite simply, the fundamental difference is that the Apple iPad commercial shows you “why” and the Droid commercial shows you “what”. The Droid commercial spends a lot of time showing the features of the latest (at the time) phone. As the girl breaks down the robot she tears out the dual-core processor, the 4G LTE chip, and so on. Who is the Droid commercial targeting? If they want to sell these phones to the general public, then the general public will not understand anything about the Droid phone. (Geeks and techs, myself included, like the commercial, but I don’t know that I would necessarily consider them a representation of the general public.) In essence, the Droid commercial is starting with “what”. Continue reading

Verizon’s 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report

I recently attended a presentation by Verizon where they discussed the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report. Anybody that has anything to do with computer security should download the report. It’s free and you don’t have to be a Verizon customer to get it. In fact, you don’t even have to register to download the report.

2012 is the fifth year that Verizon has compiled this report, so they have data to show some interesting security trends. There is a lot of good information and some surprises as well. A couple things I found surprising:

  1. No data has been breached as a result of cloud technology.
  2. Passwords are a relatively ineffective deterrent to currently used exploits.
  3. Any form of encryption, no matter how weak, deters hackers.

The report is about 75 pages long. As I read through it I will share some of my findings and expand on the ones listed above. If you find something interesting in the report, share it in the comments below.


Seth Godin – The “Broken” Speech

Without even realizing it, many things in our world are broken. What do you encounter on a daily basis that is broken? What have you created that might be broken? Was it accidental, or was it on purpose?

Here is an example of a product we all use that is broken on purpose: the QWERTY keyboard. From Wikipedia:

[The] “Type Writer” had two features which made jams a serious issue. Firstly, characters were mounted on metal arms or typebars, which would clash and jam if neighboring arms were depressed at the same time or in rapid succession. Secondly, its printing point was located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator, a so-called “up-stroke” design. Consequently, jams were especially serious, because the typist could only discover the mishap by raising the carriage to inspect what he had typed. The solution was to place commonly used letter-pairs (like “th” or “st”) so that their typebars were not neighboring, avoiding jams. A popular myth is that QWERTY was designed to “slow down” typists though this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed, allowing typists to type faster.

Seth Godin’s entertaining speech is below. I hope you enjoy it. Be warned: You will never look at the world the same way once you have watched this video.


You Are Being Watched!

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magnifying glass and footprintDo you get the sneaky suspicion that you are being watched? You’re not alone! Every action you take on the web is tracked in some way or another. Advertisers are some of the worst offenders of tracking your online activities.

The reality is that there is not much you can do today to limit what is tracked. There is little legislation around online tracking, so it is still a bit of the “wild west.”

But things are changing! Mozilla’s Firefox browser has an option to tell web sites that you do not want to be tracked (go into Options, then the Security tab). Unfortunately, the default setting for this option is to allow web sites to track you, and not too many people know to change this setting. Microsoft recently announced that Internet Explorer 10 will have tracking disabled by default when it is released. This will be a major benefit for personal privacy and help push back some of the tracking services. Continue reading

Neil Gaiman Commencement Speech

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Thanks to the internet, commencement speeches are easily found online. However, most of them are dreadful and unmemorable, worth forgetting as soon as they are heard. But some commencement speeches stand out for one reason or another.

Many people still search for and watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech from 2005 (if you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here). It continues to resonate with truth and gives the listener something to contemplate, whether a recent graduate or well past that point in life.

In the same way, I believe Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech will be kindly regarded for quite some time. He never attended a single college class, but he was honored as a result of his body of work as a novelist. I hope that he gives everyone watching the video something to contemplate.

Please provide your feedback in the comments below.

There’s a Difference

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We recently watched the Super Bowl, which many people say is “the time” to watch the commercials. Some of the commercials were memorable, some were forgettable. Some made us think, and others just made us laugh. And one or two probably made us wonder what the heck was going on.

Have you ever wondered what makes a commercial memorable? Better yet, have you ever wondered why you remember one thing, but forget another? There is a good reason for this, but I’m going to leave you wondering for a little while.

In the mean time, take a look at these two commercials. They’re a little old, as far as technology goes, but they get the point across quite well. Other than one commercial for an Android phone and another for the iPad, try to see if you can tell what differentiates them. Continue reading

News Travels Fast

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Over the weekend, the tragic death of Whitney Houston occurred. According to, the news broke on Twitter 27 minutes before the Associated Press reported it.

Last week, a new record was set for the most tweets per second during the Super Bowl.

Last May, a Twitter user live-tweeted the invasion of the Pakistan compound housing Osama bin Laden.

Today, you don’t wait for the “film at 11.” You don’t wait for the newspaper to show up on your doorstep in the morning. Today, you find out what is happening in the world as it happens.

Connected and plugged-in means informed. Disconnected and unplugged could mean that you are getting old news.

The Arab Spring. The Greek Riots. Politics. These are all being covered in real time, online, as they happen.

Can you wait until tomorrow to get today’s message out? What is the cost to your news/brand/product/etc. of waiting? How do you make sure your message rises above the noise?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting your message across

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miscommunicationDo you have problems getting your message across? I have a friend that works in a business unit of her organization, and she had problems communicating with the IT staff. They didn’t understand her requests, and she didn’t understand their reasons why they couldn’t fulfill her requests. She found someone that “speaks” both IT and business, and he told her what to say to IT to get what she wanted. She tried it and it worked. Problem solved. She got exactly what she needed and the IT tech was happy to help her.

Why couldn’t they communicate effectively the first time? Because they were not speaking the same “language” with each other. Just like two people, each speaking different languages, such as Japanese and Spanish, will not understand each other, the tech and the businessperson will often not understand each other.

Whose responsibility is it to interpret? The person that needs to get the message across. My friend needed to get her message across, so she had to interpret her desire into a language that the IT tech would understand. Continue reading