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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

How Mobile Makes Life Better and Easier

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 12:10 PM

SC_Moatti_100x100.jpgGuest post by SC Moatti

We are all wired with anxieties that get triggered when we least expect them. In fact, psychology professor Roy Baumeister explains that it takes a lot of energy to keep this stress under control. He calls that energy willpower, which is also the title of his best-selling book.

“Some people imagine that willpower is something you only use once in awhile, such as when you are tempted to do something wrong. The opposite is true,” he says. “Most people use their willpower many times a day, all day.”

It all adds up to depletion of energy. That’s when we most feel that we lose control. “Depletion seems to be like turning up the volume on your life as a whole,” Baumeister says.

Great mobile products turn the volume down on our life, and they do it by knowing a lot about us. The more they know about us, the more personalized they get. The more personalized they get, the better able they are to cater to our individual wants and needs.

Sign up for our free webinar May 5, 2016 with SC Moatti, "Human First: How Mobile is Becoming an Extension of Ourselves"

Click now to register!

(At the webinar, we'll also be giving away 5 copies of SC's new book, Mobilized!)

By being constantly connected to our environment, mobile products sort through the millions of information bits we are bombarded with to show us only the ones that matter right here, right now. We give them permission to make these decisions on our behalf because they know enough about us to personalize everything.

This personalization is essential to what makes mobile products successful. It puts us in complete control of the experience.

Sometimes, the experience we get from mobile is so personalized that we wouldn’t be able to reproduce it otherwise. Life suddenly gets easier, because we are no longer hampered by circumstances beyond our control. Our stress level goes down, as in this example.

Mobile personalization success

Not too long ago, I had an important meeting with a major partner, and as I was leaving my apartment it started raining. I decided to hail a cab.

Of course, there was no cab in sight. It took me a while to finally find one and by then, I was soaked and already late for my meeting. On top of this, when it came time to pay the fare, I didn’t have enough cash so we had to stop by an ATM.

All I could think about was that I was going to lose my client. I blamed myself for not planning enough. I was upset at the rain for messing up the traffic. But really, I was afraid of losing a significant source of income. All because I couldn’t find a cab.                                               

Now that I started using Lyft and Uber, I no longer get stressed when I need a ride. All I need to do is pull up the service on my phone when I’m getting ready to go somewhere, get in the car when I’m notified that it’s here to pick me up, and get out when I’ve arrived. It optimizes my itinerary in real time by routing around delays that before would have left me stuck in traffic. It even tells me ahead of time how much the fare will be. I no longer even need to “pay” in the traditional sense, because the fare is automatically charged to my credit card. I feel cared for, even pampered, because the service eliminates all the previous hassle of getting from point A to point B. It feels good.

Feeling taken care of in ways we cannot provide to ourselves is a reflection of what is important to us, of what has inner meaning to us. A bond naturally develops from this extreme personalization, similar to any relationship. This connection lifts our spirit, not unlike intense feelings such as love. And what gives us more meaning than being in love?

To learn more about the formula for mobile success, including how to apply it to your own company, read my book, mobilized: an insider’s guide to the business and future of connected technology, visit scmoatti.com, or join us at the free webinar May 5!

Sign up for the FREE webinar!

Topics: emerging technology, giveaway, Technology, business results, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, collaboration

A Visual History of Project Management (Infographic, and Free Webinar on 7/11/13)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 02:22 PM

Project management has been around for as long as human beings have endeavored en masse to complete tasks and projects of all shapes and sizes: from the Great Pyramid and Great Wall of China, on through 21st century workforce management by way of virtualization and the cloud.

Below is a brief, visual history of project management that illustrates a rich timelime of project management methodologies, advancements, and the overall evolution of the field. Now, more than ever, the ability to effectively manage projects large and small to successful completion is a vital and in-demand skill.

We hope you'll consider joining us at our next free webinar, "How to Use Visual Project Management for Greater Productivity" on 7/11/13 at noon PT where you'll learn the latest visual approaches to project management including virtual whiteboards, and much more.

—> Register now for the FREE webinar!

Click on the image below to enlarge:

A Brief History of Project Management

Topics: virtual teams, document collaboration, emerging technology, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, webinars

Interview with 'Cloud Surfing' author Thomas Koulopoulos

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Sun, Jul 29, 2012 @ 06:01 PM

You may have heard about the cloud, the "next big thing" in computing, virtual storage, sharing, and internet technology. And even if you haven't, you're likely using cloud-based services in your home or workplace already, such as Gmail, Skype, Dropbox, and more. In anticipation of "Living in the Cloud," our free webinar on Thursday, August 2, we interviewed presenter Thomas Koulopolous about his book, Cloud Surfing, the business and personal implications of the cloud, and where this innovation will lead in the coming years.

Thomas KoulopoulosPeople-OnTheGo:  What prompted you to write Could Surfing? And why now?

Thomas Koulopoulos:  The book started nearly three years ago with a simple premise that nearly every social, economic, academic, and business institution is being threatened by the intense hyperconnectivity of the cloud—and yet this hyperconnectivity will increase tenfold in less than a decade. The implications are beyond our wildest imagination.

You mention risk, innovation, scale, and success. Do you believe that the risk is well-managed now, and that success outweighs the risk?

I believe that the appetite for risk is very much a cultural norm that is influenced by the price of failure and the cost of experimentation. For example, the risks we took to put a man on the moon or to end World War II had enormous implications that we were willing to accept because failure was not an option. In some way we lament the progress made in those eras and we talk about how that appetite for risk has changed radically. However, what I see as a result of the cloud is that today young entrepreneurs celebrate failure and experimentation. They discount the risk and have much less fear of it. The reason is simple:  they can experiment quickly and at near zero cost, while also having a shot at changing the world à la Facebook or Twitter. It's no longer about just managing risk, it's about accepting it with open arms.

How do you compare cloud computing to the mainframe era from years ago? What are the resemblances and the key differences?

I often hear people say that cloud is just the old time-sharing model used in the mainframe era. That is an incredibly simple way to avoid the disruption that the cloud will cause. The cloud is not just about technology. The cloud is about connectivity. Mainframes did very little to connect people and machines. They were repositories of data and information which caused organizations to be inwardly focused on highly structured frameworks for how pieces of data worked together. The cloud is all about connections, a focus on the outside, and a lack of structure where data and information are being brought together in ways we never could have rationally anticipated.

What would be the top cloud services that businesses "must" explore?

Start with the basics:  storage and computing (aka Amazon); move onto processes and applications (aka Salesforce); from there go to private clouds (putting your apps in the cloud), then consider which apps you can provision to the public cloud. Having done that you have about 1% of the cloud under your belt. Again, the misunderstanding is that the cloud is all about technology. It's not. The cloud is about how you employ people, utilize talent, collaborate, predict, infer sentiment, shape and influence markets, and ultimately how you build your business model. That is a long journey.

Why should individuals explore the cloud?

The most amazing thing I see among individuals over the age of 40 is that they bury their head in the sand when it comes to the cloud. The only practical answer to how you will survive the cloud is to learn how to surf it. That only comes with using it. So rather then poo poo Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and instant messaging, I tell people to just use them. Even if they can't possibly see value to it. The reality is that the value of the cloud will change. While there may be much more effort involved in extracting value from the cloud today than most people think they will get back, it is still something you need to use to appreciate and to evolve with. If you sit on the sidelines you had better be ready for an incredibly steep learning curve.

Where do you see this phenomenon going 5 or 10 years from now?

I often joke that the best futurists are not the pundits, gurus, or economists but rather the science fiction writers. Wells, Asimov, Heinlein, Clark were all much better and much closer at predicting the future than the best pundit. The acceleration of the cloud will be unlike anything we have experienced. Yet, there are some telltales that show us the trajectory. The best one is to watch the way your kids behave online. Look at how they game, socialize, play. What you are seeing is how they will work. To me that is the best indicator of how radically different even the near-term future will be. The good news (or perhaps the bad news for some) is that most of us will be here to see that future. Whether we will be ready for it and be able to surf it is another matter all together.

Register now for "Living in the Cloud" with Thomas Koulopolous, our free Lunch & Learn Webinar on Thursday, August 2.

Topics: emerging technology, Technology, Lunch & Learn Webinars

Cloud computing: what does it mean to you? Chance to win a copy of 'Cloud Surfing' by Thomas Koulopoulos!

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 @ 04:32 PM

CloudSurfingBook ThomasKoulopoulosIf you Google “cloud computing,” you are likely to find more than 200,000,000 results. Yes, that is 200 million of them

But you don’t even need to Google it. Just look around your office, and you are likely to find many cloud services that are in place:  from web content management, to e-commerce, sales and marketing, storage and backup, financial applications, web conferencing, and the list goes on.

On one side, there are some compelling benefits for cloud services, ranging from significant cost advantages, to easy access across the globe, and offloading the operational headaches of these systems to someone else.

But on the other side, there are risks relating to security, confidentiality, content ownership, stability of providers, among others.

Have you adopted cloud computing and to what extent? Share your experience with cloud computing in the following survey for a chance to win a copy of Cloud Surfing by Thomas Koulopoulos!

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/cloud-services

Join us on Thursday, August 2nd for our Complimentary Lunch & Learn Webinar, "Living in the Cloud" to hear Thomas Koulopoulos, author of Cloud Surfing, A New Way to Think About Risk, Innovation, Scale and Success, provide valuable insights about this topic.

Topics: emerging technology, Technology, Lunch & Learn Webinars, webinars

3 Ways to reduce the e-mail overload using Microsoft SharePoint!

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 07:13 AM

E-mail overload! We all complain about it, but many of us are addicted to it, and the question remains whether we are taking the necessary steps to reduce it. Microsoft SharePoint can help tremendously reduce the e-mail overload and just as importantly enable information sharing, allowing us to harness the collective knowledge within our team and organization instead of keeping this knowledge buried in people's mailboxes.

Here are 3 ways in which Microsoft SharePoint can help!

First: Managing documents in Microsoft SharePoint

It is so easy to e-mail documents, and no wonder that most of us do it. The question I always ask in our Microsoft SharePoint workshop is "if you have a team of 5 people, and you are creating a marketing plan for instance, and you go through 10 revisions to finalize the document, how many copies of this document will be in your inboxes by the time you are done?"

The answer is anywhere between 50 and several hundreds. However, the more serious implication of e-mail documents is the confusion that is likely to happen when people aren't sure who has the latest version, who changed what, and not to mention the utter chaos that happens when two different "branches" of the same document are accidentally created.

With Microsoft SharePoint, the document can reside in a document library, and everyone has access to the same version. A revision history is automatically maintained for future reference. And when multiple people attempt at editing the same document at the same time, the second person will be gently notified and prompted to take one of the following actions:

SharePoint File In Use

Second: Managing meetings in Microsoft SharePoint

"Who has the latest agenda?  Did you add my agenda item? What happened to the design document that I sent out to everyone before the meeting? When are you going to send the meeting notes?"

These are only a few of the questions that come up when managing meetings via e-mail. Meetings and meeting workspaces in SharePoint allow us to have one central repository and again, it is not just about storing information, it is also the collaboration aspect. Everyone involved can contribute to the agenda to the background material, and follow-up material; all happening smoothly and in real time!

This is some of the information that the meeting workspace can hold:

SharePoint Meeting Workspace

Third: Managing tasks in Microsoft SharePoint

This is especially useful for tasks that involve multiple people; where each person contributes their part and then hand over the task to the next person. Managing such tasks in Microsoft SharePoint keeps everyone informed and up-to-date at all times. And coupling this with the alerts capability, each person can be notified as soon as a task is assigned to them.

Alerts are easy to setup in SharePoint:

SharePoint Alert

Additional Resources

Topics: document collaboration, emerging technology, Microsoft SharePoint Training

The new toolset for today’s mobile and virtual work environment includes the iPad

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Aug 09, 2010 @ 10:25 PM

In 2007 I waited for 24 hours in front of the Apple Store in Palo Alto to get the first iPhone, review it, and include the review in the Smartphone Experiment book that I was about to publish at the time. In 2010, when the first iPad was released, I wasn't ready to repeat the 2007 camping adventure to get the iPad. I also didn’t think that the iPad was more than a mega-iPod touch and not primarily a productivity tool. I even proceeded to skip the iPad for the time being and get a netbook instead in order to lighten up my load during travel instead of hauling the super duper laptop and its accessories.

When my netbook failed me, mostly being too slow with limited memory and limited processing power, both eaten up by the operating system and not leaving enough juice for my applications and browsers, then I resorted to the iPad. You have heard so much about the iPad, so I won’t attempt to review it or tell you how much I love it (which I do), but I would like to show a picture of the latest set of productivity tools (in which the iPad has claimed its place) that I consider crucial in the mobile and virtual work environment that we live in. 

The new toolset for today’s mobile and virtual work environment

ipad tools

Tool Ideal For

Pocket Device

 

Notification (texting, e-mailing, calling). Escalation. Quick replies. Quick searches. Quick documentation using camera. Quick idea capturing using notes, voice memos, or photos. Quick Social Media browsing and updates. All while in transit or in motion with limited real estate and one hand operation.

Tablet (iPad for now) Favored over pocket device anytime there is enough room and hands. Larger screen, better visibility, less scrolling, easier typing. Very fast. Stunning graphics. Freedom from the “chair+desk” position. Freedom from the mouse. Creativity.
Laptop

Processing power. Memory. Large documents. Complex applications. Enterprise integration.

Extra monitor

Viewing multiple data sources. Using multiple applications. Handling complex models.

The Cloud 

Accessing data and applications across multiple platforms and from remote locations (this also applies to remote access to enterprise systems)

The paper journal

Thinking. Strategizing. Reflecting. Drawing. Visual problem solving. New perspective away from the information overload. Playground for imagination and creativity. Output rather than input.

And now with us in the picture, the picture might look like this

ipad and brain

Your turn to add your pieces to the above diagram! Your input is welcome in the comments below.

Topics: emerging technology, tools and supplies

Question & Answer: What wiki platforms would you recommend for getting started with wikis?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Sun, Apr 25, 2010 @ 09:24 AM

wiki platformsMany wikis are available on the market today and they offer a wide range of capabilities. Some are hosted solutions and well suited for small teams who want to get started quickly and easily without IT support while others are enterprise solutions that can be setup within the company firewall and would require IT support.  

Here are some examples of wikis that we mention in some of our collaboration workshops:  

Many of the above wikis have free trials available and Twiki for instance is an open source solution which you can download and install on your server for free.

For an exhaustive list of wikis (more than 100 of them) and comprehensive feature comparison, refer to http://www.wikimatrix.org/  

By the way, if you are already using Microsoft SharePoint, one of the templates that are available is a wiki template. This allows you to create a new team site that is a wiki. While this is not a full featured wiki like the above mentioned platforms, it can serve your basic needs and can be a good starting point until a full featured wiki platform is in place.   

Additional Resources  

Topics: document collaboration, emerging technology

Virtual Worlds are bringing virtual teams together in ways that wouldn't be otherwise possible

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Mar 04, 2010 @ 04:02 PM

Second LifeIf you haven't explored Virtual Worlds yet, or if you have but still seeking more ways to leverage them, the observations below, from one of the workshops that I conducted in Second Life, shed some light on how Virtual Worlds can provide virtual teams with unique experiences and benefits that aren't otherwise possible. Keep on reading!

The workshop was the same but the setting was very different. Instead of people gathering in a training room or around a conference room table, we were gathered (as avatars) around the conference room table in Second Life. The level of experience varied, some being first timers in Second Life, while others having many hours of experience. However everyone got a chance to attend the orientation session and learned what they need to know in order to navigate and communicate properly.

The assignment

The next team-building exercise was about to start. We divided the team into small groups. Each group is assigned a task which involves searching for specific clues and relevant information around the island, collecting them, and reporting back to us within a specified time period. This requires that the small group members strategize on how they would approach this assignment and then execute and continue to communicate and collaborate during execution.

The challenges

In addition to the assignment itself, the group members had to deal with many group related issues:

  • Some team members were more experienced than others (in Second Life). Accordingly the experienced members had to make some difficult decisions: Should they help their group and stay all together, or should they proceed on their own to get the assignment done faster?
     
  • The groups were not given enough data about the assignment so they had to make some assumptions and decisions based on insufficient data.

The debrief

The time is up and some groups made it back on time while other didn't. Once everyone got back, we compared the results and discussed what went on.  This discussion was as rich and insightful as any discussion I have seen in person. We got to the core issues quickly and it was no longer about avatars but more so about the people. The issues became real. We reviewed what went on and how the different approaches and communication styles contributed to each person's experience and to each group's performance. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate these discussions.

  • Someone made the decision to stay with the group even though her skill level is much more advanced. She could have gone much faster searching for the clues and relevant information on her own. However she saw more value in helping her group members and working as a team instead of getting the task done. We discussed her approach and the pros and cons of this approach. This brought some constructive discussions about how to manage daily situations where there might be significant discrepancies in skill level, and how to creatively balance between individual performance and group performance.
     
  • One group member was frustrated with the above assignment because he wasn't "getting it right." He seems to have misinterpreted the assignment, and his group seems to have jumped into the execution phase without much strategizing. This was poor team work with incorrect assumptions which resulted in frustration and poor performance. Does this sound familiar? However, having observed this in the Virtual World, the group members got some valuable insights into how they can do it different in their daily work.

Got it?

There is nothing "virtual" about the above learning. It is as real as it can get. It is only possible because of the rich 3-D environment and rich communication tools that Virtual Worlds offer. Virtual Worlds are opening up the possibility for virtual teams to interact and strengthen their working relationships and collaborate more fully than ever before!

Topics: emerging technology, collaboration

Are you still wondering how a wiki can help your team better collaborate?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 @ 09:56 PM

As we continue to promote collaboration technologies (such as blogs, wikis, and Microsoft SharePoint) and help teams use these technologies to reduce their reliance on e-mail and on meetings, we are always looking for easy ways to introduce these concepts to first time users.

This video "Wikis in Plain English" by Commoncraft continues to be top on our list when it comes to explaining what a wiki is and how it can be useful:

Even though the video is about a camping trip, the same concepts apply to any initiative or project in the business world! So instead of adding to the e-mail overload, get your wiki going and get your work done with less e-mail!

Additional resources

Lunch & Learn Webinar: Structured Wikis at Work- Enterprise 2.0 in Action

Emerging Collaboration Technologies: Blogs, Wikis, SharePoint, and more!

Topics: document collaboration, emerging technology

Question and Answer: When should I use Microsoft SharePoint and when should I use a wiki?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 @ 11:48 PM

document collaborationThis question comes up often during our workshops. Participants see that both platforms can help with document collaboration and information sharing, and they start to wonder which platform is more appropriate for their needs.

While this can be a long discussion, I am only going to provide a few key insights here, and please add your comments below so others can benefit from your experience.

What is SharePoint best at?

  • More appropriate for managing "documents."
  • More appropriate for managing calendars and tasks that are structured.
  • More suitable when you want to setup several levels of user permissions.
  • More suitable when you are using Windows and so is your team/company and therefore integration with Windows, with Microsoft Office Applications, and Exchange/Outlook is desired or mandatory.

What are wikis best at?

  • When you want to co-create content at a more granular level (quickly and easily update sentences and paragraphs, expand and branch into new pages).
  • When you are at the early stage of an idea or a project and flexibility and innovation is more important than structure.
  • When everyone is on equal footing and involvement/engagement are key as opposed to having a hierarchal structure and a structured review process.
  • When users are using a variety of platforms (Windows, Macs, others).

Having said the above, it is common to see teams use both tools. Some projects and initiative require the flexibility and ease of use of a wiki while others require the more structured approach that SharePoint offers. Sometimes it is easier to start a project using a wiki and then when the project develops further and formal documents start to take shape, SharePoint can then be introduced.

More resources to check out

Topics: document collaboration, emerging technology, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft SharePoint Training