Friday, August 22, 2014

A Hackers Convention: Leaders, Pay Attention!

Hackers make up the counter-culture of the digital age, but their couture is positively old hat.

A hackers convention may or may not be your cup of tea, but you better pay attention to what they do.

Protecting yourself from hackers may mean shutting off your mobile... or wearing a tin foil hat.

Hackers expose flaws in your systems, so you can correct them and protect yourself. 

Just in case you were curious about how people pick (conventional) locks, a hacker shows you.

The "Wall of Sheep" is a public display of hackers who get hacked at their own convention (hmm).


I've known about encryption codes for a long time, and I hope their sophistication has evolved.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Charlotte Jones Anderson Advances Cowboys Star

Hublot is the Swiss luxury watchmakers, and as Charlotte Jones Anderson points out, its brand partnership is a win-win proposition:  Hublot wants to penetrate the US market, while the Cowboys wants to extend its brand internationally.  In a more impassioned way, Jean-Claude Biver echoes that complementarity:  The Cowboys are a prestigious, successful brand, and these are the magic words for Hublot.  But clearly what galvanizes these two brands isn't something that will appear in the balance sheet: Both Biver and his counterpart Jerry Jones are live-on-the-edge kind of guys, and the Jones family is the unique value proposition for Hublot.

Jones has proven himself to be quite a savvy, successful businessman, if something of an intrusive owner in direct football affairs.  The fact that his Cowboys haven't been a Super Bowl team in 20 years doesn't matter, according to Biver.  In fact, because Ferrari is such a strong brand, it too doesn't need to win a Grand Prix in order to be successful.  It may be a shocking reality for any football aficionado to recognize, but it's a fact that winning on the field doesn't quite equate to market value or business profitability. Consider an even more dramatic, arguably ludicrous disconnect between the two:  Under Donald Sterling, who purchased the team for $12.5 million in 1981, the longstanding laughingstock of the NBA that is the Clippers just sold for $2 billion. That's an ROI of a very tall order over 33 years. 

Curiously Forbes flashed this graphic, as Anderson spoke about what the Cowboys have always been about.  The stereotype may be about western culture, like cowboys and rodeos.  But the team is about the glitz and the glamor and the hope for the future.  The graphic is not what she is talking about, because the team's glory days are firmly ensconced in the past.  Even when she says, not surprisingly, that what happens on the football field is the most important thing, I say, that's just not it, either.  It's what they've done with the football team off the field that is in fact of utmost importance.  The brand, she emphasizes, has always been built on tradition and competition, on entertainment, innovation and business.

The life course of any leader is probably as unique as that proverbial snowflake.  For Anderson, it's wonderful to know what she went through.  A young woman may not know what she has to do, but she comes to know at the university that medicine isn't her cup of tea.  Her formal entry into the Cowboys was a series of initially amusing, but ultimately weighty incidents.  Just having bought the team, Jones didn't know a stitch about cheerleading and not that much more about football apparently.  But he needed people around him he could trust to do the right things, such as his daughter.  Anderson's leadership success had to do with the fact that she could, and would, deliver on his needs and expectations: (a) find a way to stop losing money, and (b) don't tarnish the Cowboys star (logo).  In other words, she had the requisite capability to start with, and the potential to learn, develop and grow into top leadership.  Plus, she had the commitment and ethics to follow through on what she had to follow through on. 

Tolerance for ambiguity was a particular lesson Anderson learned from her father.  It's a very difficult thing for Western CEOs and managers to adopt.  Their (our) culture is founded on clarity, certainty and predictability.  It is founded on the scientific principles of rigor, empiricism and rationality.  But clearly for Jones, Anderson & Co., the Cowboys had to depart from this culture and these principles in order to break new ground.  It's that old saying:  For us to sail to exciting far off places, we must be willing to lose sight of our own shorelines.  Clearly both father and daughter were comfortable enough to manage the initial unknowns of running a football team and also smart and capable enough to figure it out and make it happen along the way.  So with Hublot joined at the hip, along with Carnival Cruise Lines, the Cowboys look out into the horizon and see the skies as the limit. 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

CEO Paul Speaker Sees Surfing Holistically

ESPN is arguably focused on only three major sports - football, basketball and baseball.  Sure, hockey has a tab, as do collegiate sports, but the online, TV and radio coverage for these is second banana to that of the Big Three.  Take the case of surfing, and we're talking about a sport that is rarely on the radar.

Enter, Paul Speaker, CEO of the Association of Professional Surfers: After top stints in the NFL, at Time, and with RKO Studios, Speaker is undoubtedly battle-tested, sharp-eyed, and business savvy. 

In terms of absolute financial numbers, ASP is a paltry thing, when compared to the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL:  $12 million in revenues and $2 million in operating income in 2013.  But with an ability that I don't think many top executives truly possess, Speaker (a) saw a rather fractured sports industry in holistic fashion, (b) had a pulse on a large market of rabid fans, and (c) knew how to pick the sophisticated locks of media, social and digital.

But with relationships now with media giant ABC-ESPN and online beasts Google-YouTube, in less than two years Speaker and ASP have produced other crucial numbers that actually beat those of other sports:
Surfing is made for the digital and hand-held device consumption of content. The ASP produces more live sports event coverage on the web than any other sports entity, with an average of 1 million hours watched online per event in 2014, 3 times more than 2013. About 40% of surfing fans consume ASP content on phones and tablets, and surfing fans use social media 2.3 times more than sports fans and 8 times more than the general public.

There are also live TV broadcasts to 10-million homes w/ Fuel TV in Australia, ESPN in Brazil and MCS Extreme in France, and ABC event recaps reach an average of 824,000 viewers per show.
Reference:  Surfing Catches a Big Wave.

In another interview (April 2013) - New ASP CEO goes on record about the present and future of professional surfing - Speaker laid out a clear vision, set of priorities, and sure knowledge about the sport, media and technology landscape.  Moreover, people are very much on his radar, in ways that other CEOs seem to pay only lip service to and inevitably neglect to engage:
  • He has to bring onboard the best and the brightest of talent, for they are the knowledgeable foot soldiers and on-the-ground leaders who realize his vision.
  • To talk about grasping the DNA of what makes fans love, or not love, the sport resonates with Theory of Algorithms and The Core Algorithm
  • Last, but certainly not least, ASP must support, protect and celebrate the surfers themselves.  They are the show that ASP delivers to those rabid fans. 
I am not a surfing fan per se, but I admit to being a sports fanatic.  I love surfers' deft handling of their board vis-a-vis the waves, and I appreciate the harmony of men and women in the most foreboding, yet most beautiful of nature.

What Speaker has done, and plans to do, is definitely a great case study for any CEO.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Proper Sleep Under Girds Self-Management

In her TED Talk How to succeed? Get more sleep! Arianna Huffington relates how she collapsed and injured herself, all from overwork and insufficient sleep.  It's short and sweet, but chock full of wise advice for anyone with a hectic, demanding schedule.  Sleep is so fundamental, yet so under-appreciated, in American culture that people are more apt to get by with less of it than to give themselves what their body may desperately need.  Without it, any leadership program, management advice, or concerted effort in business or workplace begin to collapse.

Whether from Huffington, Entrepreneur, or any other speaker and magazine, heed the sleep suggestions that work best for you.  It may take time and effort, probably some research and conversation, to find out specifically what will work best for you.  But I want to emphasize that you are ultimately the judge of that.  It requires you to assess honestly and systematically how much sleep you need and to make sure you do what you need for proper sleep.

The foregoing screen shots are from:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Clarifying your Purpose for Becoming Smarter

I am most curious about they think about thinking (or meta-cognition).  This is the ability, willingness and commitment to step back regularly, look at the bigger picture, and see how we are doing in our own right and in relation to others.  The main thing about these habits, if you're inclined to adopt them in one form or another, is to clarify your purpose and aims for becoming smart.  What are you trying to accomplish, and why is it important to you?  This self-reflection can shed light on what you need to do, and not do, as far as raising your smarts is concerned.

These screen shots are from this Entrepreneur video:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Richard Branson on Leaders Listening

I love Richard Branson, especially his spirited, engaging persona and his informative, advisory efforts.  In the era of social media, he is tops in mine and anyone else's Timelines.  Google+, Twitter and Facebook are phenomenal forums for conversation among all sorts of people, so keeping a pulse on (i.e., listening to) such conversation is crucial for businessmen and women.

The foregoing are screen shots from recent this Entrepreneur interview:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Leadership Deep Dive

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In the past, in management, we've talked about the idea that strengths perform. But what about the idea that strengths do a lot more? That they TRANSFORM.

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Prepare [leaders], who may be experts in their industry, to really think outside that industry. To think about how their organization interfaces with society as a whole.

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80% of the characteristics that differentiate outstanding, from average, performing CEOs and leaders are these things we call emotional and social intelligence.

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When you think about a leader who needs to bring out the best in his people, or her organization, we talk about the idea of 'cooperative capacity'.

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What good is optimism, what good is hope, what good is inspiration? We're going to tie these new findings together with a positive leadership perspective, that I think is missing in so much of our education.

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It's hard work. It is not easy to change, or even to adapt, or even to maintain. You have to work with others.

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What is it about me as a leader that works and how can I use that to get the most out of the people that work with me?

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Leaders have to be open to possibilities. They have to recognize that the best ideas come from anyone, anywhere. They have to be able to channel those into a method and a practice that is inspiring to others.

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Leadership is about bringing out the best in people, energizing your workforce, energizing your team.
Reference: Immerse Yourself in `Leadership Deep Dive