Echo Dots for Everybody

Amazon has hit on something huge with the Echo. Something that is here to stay.

They are sold out through Christmas.

Google has jumped feet first into the market.

And the best leading indicator of them all, the Development community is on board. There are more than 3,000 “skills” currently available and growing rapidly.

The newest and smallest iteration is called Echo Dot. It currently sells for $39.99.

I believe it would be worth it if Amazon just gave them away for free.

Outside of the marketing burst it would garner, Amazon would then have a microphone, speaker and network appliance inside of everyones home.

Always listening.

Always interacting.

Always collecting data.

Always learning, becoming more helpful.

And of course, placing the entire World of Amazon just a shout away.

The battle for this space is the battle to control the home, and although they may not know it today, customers are choosing their ecosystems for life.

1 + 1 + Everyone

A mobile app I would love to build.

Live video conversations hosted by verified thought leaders. Everyone can watch, but more importantly, everyone can participate.

Say Snoop Dogg is hanging on his tour bus. He can fire up 1 + 1 + Everyone, “Go Live”, and begin a session.

He can then commence a chat with someone from the audience.

Everyone can watch their conversation.

audience-1
Audience member view.

Snoop is in complete control. He can cut it off whenever he wants or move onto the next person.

Who gets chosen next? It could be first in-first on, but it could also be a business model.

Thats it.

A new way to learn. A new way to entertain. A powerful way for software to shrink the world.

More or Less: Donald Trump

It is always frustrating thinking about the future.

 

Whether in business, politics or just life, planning out a couple of years seems like a futile guessing game. But I would argue that we can foresee much more than we believe.

 

We definitively know the answers to a lot of seemingly simple questions about the future that when answered should guide the decisions we make today.

 

I call these thought experiments “more or less”.

 

With that…

 

In the next 2-3 years under a Trump administration…

 

Will America rely on diplomacy more or less?

Will America have more or less democratic allies?

Will America be more or less likely to respond forcefully to perceived slights?

Will the Pentagon have more or less sway over foreign policy?

Are wars now more or less likely?

Is a compulsory draft now more or less likely?

Is a nuclear confrontation now more or less likely?

 

Will the rich become more or less rich?

Will we have more or less income inequality?

Will regulators have more or less power?

Will corporations be more or less reckless?

Is an economic catastrophe now more or less likely? 

 

Will our environment get more or less attention?

Will renewable energy get more or less attention?

Will fossil fuels get more or less attention?

Are environmental disasters now more or less likely?

 

Will guns be more or less accessible?

Will guns be allowed into more or less places?

Will there be more or less gun violence?

With America now have more or less gun deaths?

 

Will more or less Americans have access to quality affordable healthcare?

Will mental health get more or less attention?

Will opioid abuse become more or less prevalent?

Will there be more or less suicides?

 

Will science be valued more or less?

Will technological advancement be valued more or less?

 

Will the 4th estate be more or less of a check on government overreach?

 

Will more or less Americans have access to an affordable college degree?

 

Will Americans in the minority be treated more or less fairly by our criminal justice system?

Will community policing be adopted by more or less Police departments?

Will there be more or less violent encounters?

Will there be more or less dead Police officers?

Will there be more or less dead suspects?

 

Will the NSA intrude more or less into our lives?

Will that information be used more or less responsibly?

 

Will women have more or less control over their bodies?

Will the government have more or less control over women’s bodies?

 

Will intellect be valued more or less?

Will honesty be value more or less?

Will truth be valued more or less?

Will respect be valued more or less?

My Amazing Body

I have been alive for 40 years, 14,693 days, 352,652 hours, 21,159,166 minutes and 1,269,549,964 seconds.

My heart has never taken a break. Not for a single second. It has worked perfectly on over 1.5 million ins…and outs. Every chamber, every pump. My lungs smoothly filtering each breathe.

Thump-thump, thump-thump…Thump-thump, thump-thump…

Without fail, my 10 billion, 25 miles of capillaries have delivered the fresh oxygen, the fresh nutrients needed by my organs to perform their functions, while at the same time play trash collector and haul away the used-up oxygen, and the nutrient waste. Without. Fail.

Even though sometimes I beg it to, my brain has not taken a siesta since it began firing in the womb. Continuously experiencing, Continuously sensing. Oy.

My digestive system has rarely stumbled. It has beautifully ingested, distributed and cleansed 45,000 meals, 7,500 gallons of water and too too many beers. And when it did “fail” it let me know unequivocally. Which is a feature, not a bug.

My muscles and my skeleton have enabled me to live the world in 3D. A very active 3D. Only when pushed past the breaking point have they ever given way.

My manly parts are more than adequate at doing what they were intended to do. They have actually created a family where one had not existed prior.

And to top all this off lies my most outer layer of cells, my epidermis. It protects me, keeps me warm, keeps me cool, and literally heals itself Terminator 2-style.

So whether these carefully orchestrated systems continue to work harmoniously for the next 40 years, 5 years or 5 minutes, I will forever be grateful, humbled and in awe of my amazing body.

Thump-thump, thump-thump…Thump-thump, thump-thump…

Unreal.

Today, In America

There were zero terrorist attacks.

There were zero mass school shootings.

Zero countries attacked us.

Zero people died of starvation.

.02% of the country was homeless.

Zero Teslas crashed on Autopilot.

Zero people died of Ebola.

Zero people contracted malaria or polio.

Zero people died of cannabis use.

Everyone had access to an education.

Everyone had access to healthcare.

Everyone had access to the judicial system.

Everyone had access to the national parks.

Women were equal.

Gays were equal.

Zero cops murdered an African-American.

Zero African-Americans murdered a cop.

Zero planes crashed.

Zero trains crashed.

Zero people were killed because of their religion.

Zero people were breathing toxic air.

Zero people lacked clean water.

Access to firearms was unfettered.

Zero people were denied access to a book.

Zero people were denied access to a song.

Zero people were arrested for their political views.

98% of the country had access to the Internet.

92% of adults had a cell phone.

Average life expectancy was approaching 80.

The violent crime rate was at a decades low.

The stock markets were at all time highs.

95% of the population had a job.

We had Silicon Valley.

We had Hollywood.

We had New York.

We had a black president.

We are about to have a women president.

This was an ordinary day.

It’s time we were grateful for the country we have inherited and all of the opportunities we have been afforded. It’s time we recognized the reality of reality.

There has never been a better time and place to be alive, in the history of the Earth, than right now, in the United States of America.

Vacation 2.0

One week vacations are not vacations. They are breaks. They are wonderful, but rarely do we actually “vacate”.

Two weeks is the way to go. To come back revived. To come back creative.

So if starting from scratch, is there a vacation policy that would enable, no force, all employees to take 2-week breaks (yes, plural) throughout the year and at the same time make the company more productive?

Maybe something like…

3 2-Week breaks: 1 in April (Spring Break), 1 in August (Summer) and 1 in December (Holidays)

Everyone in the company must take the identical time.

Done.

The thesis here is that vacations do not hurt a companies productivity, everyone taking vacations at different times hurt a companies productivity.

Say there are two identical projects, 4 members each, each contributing 25%.

Project A – Conducted under the 1-week-max American standard vacation

A team member takes vacation. You’d think that the project would be losing 25% movement per day. But in reality the other 3 team members are relying on her to make her decisions. If she does not, the other 3 members need to rebalance, thus lowering the entire team’s (and their projects) productivity. Losing one member slows you down 50%.

Project B – Conducted under Vacation 2.0

First off, everyone is there all the time (unless sick). That means simpler scheduling plus the entire company’s work is focused towards a single point in time, 3 times a year.

You would lose 100% productivity for 6 weeks per year but you would have a guaranteed 100% productivity 46 weeks of the year. Compare that with the constant stifle from Project A.

The breaks would be a rallying point. Something that people are excited about, look forward to and share experiences from.

And lastly, and the point of this whole thought experiment, every person would get the downtime that us humans require.

A rested staff. A healthy staff. A creative staff. A focused staff. A productive staff.

Yammer Stammer

4 years ago Microsoft bought Yammer.

For those unfamiliar, Yammer looks/feels/works identically to Facebook with the main exception that your friends are your co-workers instead of your “friends”. Similar to Facebook you are able to post whats on your mind, ask questions, create groups, chat and share a link to external content. Yammer users are also able to upload documents for group discussion.

When the $1.2 Billion sale was announced I proselytized that this was a genius move by what I hoped was a forward-thinking behemoth.

I am an advocate of  “over-communicating”. As the world speeds up the companies that can focus the most brain power towards a clearly defined, tiny set of goals will most certainly have a competitive advantage.

<yammer sales pitch>Being able to harness every individuals ideas, questions, resolutions while making the entire thing searchable…well, its hard to envision that not being powerful advantage.

If you need more, with Yammer people can collaborate regardless of time zone or even whether they work inside of the same company. Its accessible through web browsers, a desktop app and almost all mobile devices. Combine this with the familiarity of Microsoft Office and you have next generation Cloud OS. With Yammer as the spine!</yammer sales pitch>

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to today and from what I can tell (I check semi-often) Microsoft has done close to nothing with Yammer. The interface, collaboration, communication and most importantly the integration with other Microsoft products has not come to bare.

Three quick examples of “I can’t believe this hasn’t happened yet”:

Create a Web-based Document

Yammer Add DocSave it in the cloud, index it. Add some meta data for easy locating.

Real-time Collaboration

collaboration-Google-docs

Anyone who has ever used Google Docs collaboration knows what I am talking about.

Skype Integration

My main communication tool is Outlook followed closely by Lync. I know Skype is now their thing but I still associate it with video chatting my in-laws. Regardless, using the native IM in Yammer is a whole other application and social graph. How cool would it be to create a doc, share it, and then have a video chat with your group all while viewing and editing the thing in real-time!?

These examples don’t even speak to just the general document storage, email or project management functionality that would harmonize naturally. They should just charge $XX.xx per month per seat, end of story.

Microsoft always has their Office handcuffs but they should be wary of their Enterprise Desktop OS market. There is still time but the likes of Slack, Asana, HipChat, Trello and others are currently winning.

Microsoft just purchased LinkedIn for $38.92 Trillion. It just makes sense that that will now be their main focus when its comes to “Enterprise Social”.

It’s disappointing because it does seems like such a missed opportunity. Yes, financially, but more importantly the opportunity to build some super-disruptive software.