I am sick and tired of cyber security fear mongers hijacking so many technical discussions. Even meetings on STEM education seem to always devolve into a discussion on CyberSecurity. The last time this happened to me it reminded me of what it was like back in 1998 and 1999 when IT Consultants were spreading fear in order to charge huge fees to solve problems with the Y2K that many programs had. So I asked the question “Is ‘cybersecurity’ the Y2K of this generation?” and if the hysteria being spread is actually bad for solving these real and serious problems.
As we’ve seen, the threat of cyberattacks is not some abstract problem; it’s a real threat to our nation and our businesses. With each passing day, we learn more about the sophistication and intent of the attackers. For example, we’ve seen a number of malicious spam campaigns using “spearphishing” tactics in recent months, using forged emails and phishing campaigns to trick their targets into disclosing information or clicking on malicious attachments.
I’m an engineer. If pushed I will tell you that function should dominate design and that spending time and resources on aesthetics or styling is a waste of money. But a little voice in my head would be screaming “No! Wrong!” because there is value in the visual beauty of something. Nowhere is that truer than in architecture
Everyone has adjusted to the fact that these days products are manufactured and sold globally. What many companies have not accepted, is that fact that the product development process is also global. If you don’t accept that and adjust, your competition will. “Developing a product in a global market” goes over the basics to successfully leveraging global resources to develop new products.
Ten years ago PADT, deposited $1,000 into an online service called Kiva. Kiva makes small loans to people all around the world. We just made our 100’th investment, bringing us to $7,900 lent to different businesses in 40 different countries around the world. Take a look at “Using small amounts of capital to make a big difference with microloans” to learn more about how you or your company can make a real difference in people’s lives.
It is hard to keep up with all the news you need to know, and easy to fall into the trap of picking one online news source. But there is an answer, subscribing to RSS feeds is how I get the headlines from a dozen different sources, all in one place. I go over the ins and outs of this technology in “It’s time to take control of your newsfeed, leverage RSS feeds“
The world of 3-D printing is changing fast. New materials are announced and new systems are proposed almost every month. And as with any fast-growing technology, there is a lot of hype. When something is announced it will get a lot of press and attention, but what do you really need to know to follow the industry? In “Five 3-D printing breakthroughs everyone needs to know about” I take a look at the changes that should have the most impact on product development.
Reaching a high number of contacts on social media is one of those modern accomplishments that is not as simple as it appears. In “3000 connections on LinkedIn: Celebrate or so what?” I talk about my reaching such a threshold, and then what that really means for business. The connection you make, although superficial and weak, have impact. In my opinion, it’s a good thing. Read it and see what you think.
With all the talk about AI we sometimes forget that one of the most visible, and maligned, applications of Artificial Intelligence is something we use, or fight with, every day. In “What autocorrect can teach us about the application of AI” I look at my own personal struggle with correct communication, and some lessons that businesses can take from how autocorrect is used.
“What does your startup do?” Twenty minutes later I’ve lost interest and still don’t know why they do. A serious problem with most startups is that those involved with them are so afraid they might leave something out that they have forgotten how to be concise. So my advice: “Hey Startups! Be Concise!“
Truth is it feels great to hit a home run, but if you are trying to always knock it out of the ballpark you are going to have a lot of strikes. In working with a lot of people trying to come up with ideas for new products, it seems like we focus too much up front on trying to hatch a unicorn, and not enough on just having something that works. “Everyone wants to find the next great idea, what is wrong with just a good idea?” explores this and gives some examples of how trying to just solve a problem ended up being disruptive.
One of my engineering idols is Clarence “Kelley” Johnson. He led the design of many of the coolest aircraft ever made, and he was a pioneer in managing large engineering projects. In “Remembering Kelley Johnson, aircraft design icon and project management superstar” I talk about why he was such an important figure in technology, and some rules he developed for effective project management. Even if you are not an airplane person, it is worth getting to know his work and his methods.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it is one of those positions where you sometimes have take a different path to end up where you should. I “Why medical startups should not focus on patients” in order to in the end, deliver better products and better outcome to their patients. I’ve observed too many good ideas fail because the creators are not paying attention to the people who will pay for and deploy the solution.
People talk about automation, mostly with respecte to manufacturing, like it is something that is comming. But “Automation is here and we need to pay attention.” If you don’t understand how computer software, robotics, and sensors are changing every aspect of our lives, odds are you will miss how it will change your business.
Like so much else these days, the way that we deliver training to employees has changed over time to take advantage of new technologies. This is especially true for technical training on how to use hardware and software. The traditional classroom approach has been replaced with online and on-demand training. In “Technical training for employees is changing, is that a good thing?” I put on my curmudgeon hat and talk about why the traditional way has advantages that outway the negatives.
If you have ever implemented a Database appcliation at your business you know it can be a pain. In “5 things to think about when implementing a database product at your business” I go over some lessons that we have learned over time to make the whole process and outcome better.