Crowdsourcing Best Practices

October 26, 2014

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Crowdsourcing is about obtaining input or ideas by asking for input from a group of people.

My favorite example of crowdsourcing is Waze, a GPS tool I rely on for driving and getting up- to-date feedback from other “Wazers” to tell me when traffic slows, when I will encounter delays due to a traffic accident, where there is a road hazard, where a policeman is parked on the side of the road perhaps using a radar gun, etc.

Waze, a Google company, also tells me how many miles I have left and the anticipated remaining time to arrive at my destination given what Waze knows about the route ahead. Waze also re-routes me if needed to avoid travel delays.

It’s best to trust Waze–it will occasionally make recommendations that make you shake you head but Waze is right. The brilliance of Waze is its reliance on real-time input via crowdsourcing.

How can you take the metaphor Waze provides to take your company to the next level? Waze’s tagline is “Outsmarting traffic, together.” Does this give you any ideas?

If you don’t consider crowdsourcing, you may find you are breathing your own exhaust which won’t help you accelerate growth.

Photo Courtesy of  Alexander Baxevanis on Flickr

 

Thought for the week:

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” – Anais Nin
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


I Wanted To Be Ebola Czar

October 20, 2014

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Damn the bad luck. I wanted to be the Ebola czar. It didn’t happen. I didn’t even get a call from the President. I’ll be talking to my therapist about this next week.

Who better than me to quell the deep fears related to this out of control, menacing epidemic in the U.S.? I mean c’mon–we’re up to a total of 3 people out of 320+ million of us who have been confirmed as having Ebola. You just can’t be too careful. Here is my short list of ideas to conquer this peril:

  • We need to build a wall around the entire U.S. including all the coasts. This will prevent Ebola-carrying terrorists from entering illegally.
  • Planes will fly along the edge of the wall 24-hours a day spraying Ebola disinfectant. [Ebola disinfectant is our new growth industry for those of you looking for an investment tip. You can thank me later.]
  • We need to cancel all the direct flights from Africa to the U.S. (in spite of the fact there aren’t any). This suggestion comes from an esteemed member of Congress.
  • We need to immediately put into quarantine anyone who knows any of the people on the Ebola watch list even if they are only friended on Facebook and have never met.
  • You sneeze, cough, have the slightest fever or display an instance of flatulence, and boom–you’re in a 21-day quarantine in Kansas. It will be a bit like the Guantanamo Bay facility, not like a 4-star hotel.
  • The TSA agents must wear the Ebola hazmat gear at all security checkpoints and in any of their “behind the scenes” work. It won’t make us any safer, but, at least it looks like they are doing something to make us safer which is what they are used to doing anyway–make us think they are making us safer.

My bulleted list is a work in process. I hope the real Ebola czar will see this and call me–assuming he’s not contracted Ebola and in quarantine. Stay safe out there!

Photo Courtesy of Jordi Beernabeu Farrus on Flickr

 

Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

25th Anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

 

Thought for the week:

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” -Theodore Roosevelt
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


25th Anniversary of 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

October 17, 2014

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The 6.9 magnitude quake struck at 5:04 pm on the 17th of October, 1989. It was, by far, the largest quake this native Californian had ever experienced. I was at my office in Milpitas standing in the doorway of the Customer Service Director’s office talking to a couple of colleagues back east. I remember my exact words:

“Wow. We’re having a earthquake. It’s a big quake, Pete—we’re out of here.” And, we hung up.

I thought the false ceiling and fluorescent lights might fall on me. I dove under the secretary’s desk just outside my colleague’s office (she had headed home early that day to watch the Giants play the Oakland A’s in the world series at 5 p.m.). While the earthquake was still shaking, I pulled the phone off the desk above me and called my house. We didn’t have cell phones 25 years ago and I knew the phone lines would be jammed for hours. I immediately reached my house, confirmed everyone at home was okay, that I was okay, and I would start driving home immediately.

I didn’t know at the time my usual 20-minute commute would take 2 hours that night. Why? With all the power out, traffic built at all the intersections. I didn’t want to drive under any overpasses on my way home out of concern they might not be safe. I thought carefully about how to select a safe route home.

The vast majority of drivers were pretty courteous under the circumstances. I stopped by the retirement home where my grandmother lived to check on her and was nearly hit by a driver speeding in what would have been the parking lane without any headlights on.

That night was a bit scary. The evening was warm so we had the windows open. We had no way to circulate the air, so, it was a very long, warm night. All we heard were first responders (fire, emergency medical services) making runs all night long. Nothing but sirens.

Our power came back on about 11 a.m. the next day. We were very fortunate. Some would have to wait for days or weeks.

We had a few thousand dollars worth of damage. It was 10 years later we learned that our brick chimney had been damaged and needed to be rebuilt. We were lucky that hadn’t toppled over the course of the 10 years and cause extensive damage to the house.

I remember thinking we had no way to protect ourselves if someone wanted to loot our house. I wondered if I needed to acquire a gun. I never have. We were home and didn’t work the next day—the power outages would have made it impossible.

I did get a voice mail from one of my employees, Judy. The call was haunting. She drove home to the Big Basin area near the epicenter of the quake the next day. She lived in an apartment built over a 3-car garage. One end of the garage collapse throwing all her stuff from one end of the apartment to the other. Her voice mail message revealed the horror of what she had just seen. As she drove to her place, all the other homes were fine. It wasn’t until she reached her place that she saw any devastation. Her landlord lived in the main house, a 4,000 square foot, multi-story home. That home had been pitched off its foundation about 10 feet down the mountain. It, too, would have been a total loss.

While most of the major media was located in San Francisco and showed pictures of fire and destruction there, we live nearly 50 miles further south and much closer to the earthquake’s epicenter. Our friends and relatives worried that if San Francisco suffered the impacts it did, Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz must have been removed from the map. It was an understandable concern for the next day after the earthquake.

All in all, the Bay Area was very fortunate—the deaths and injuries from the quake could have been much worse. Here’s a link to a very good article about the earthquake.

Dave Gardner

© 2014 Dave Gardner


Pay Inequity Is Inexcusable

October 13, 2014

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Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, awkwardly noted that women should “have faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along…that’s good karma.”

The “system” Nadella is referring to is broken. Women earn 78% of what men in comparable positions make not just in tech, but across the board. It is noteworthy that he made the remark addressing women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference.

Years ago, I was personally ranked within the engineering department at Tandem Computers for my value-add. My boss called me to his office and told me that, based on my ranking, he had to give me an immediate 22% salary increase. I was surprised, delighted and most grateful. I didn’t have to wait months or years for my pay to align with my value-add–it happened instantaneously. Lesson learned: Salary adjustments can happen rapidly if a company is so inclined.

An immediate salary adjustment is what is needed. Why should a woman accept the idea of achieving parity with her male counterparts over a period of multiple years? The reality is a women is not going to achieve parity with their male counterparts relying on the same raise percentages the men receive each year.

Karma isn’t for women to worry about. The karma is to be faced by the men who allow salary inequities to continue one day longer than they know the problem exists.

It’s time that women be able to say, “Thank God It’s Monday. I’m being paid what I should be and I’m no longer being paid inequitably.”

Photo Courtesy of TechEdLive on Flickr

Recent Blog Posts You Might Enjoy

Who Wins With HP Breaking Into 2 Companies?

Getting Maximum Impact From Video Marketing

Thought for the week:

“Most people are paralyzed by fear. Overcome it and you take charge of your life and your world.” – Mark Victor Hansen
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


HP Splits Into 2 Companies–Who Wins?

October 7, 2014

I’ve written a number of articles about HP.  You can find them here on this blog by searching for HP.

Here’s my latest article here.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

 

 


Going Through The Motions

October 6, 2014

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It’s not easy to find organizations that are true standouts in what they do. When I find them, it feels great. The contrast, of course, is too many companies just seem to be “going through the motions.” Their raison d’etre is indifference.

One organization that needs to be a standout right now isn’t: The U.S. Secret Service. They can’t afford to have a bad week, day, hour, minute or second. It took mere seconds for an intruder to leap a fence and enter the White House.

The Secret Service was caught flat-footed in this recent incident as well as several others that have recently come to light. They can’t let their guard down. Ever. And, they certainly can’t be merely “going through the motions.” Yet, this is seemingly what is happening.

Some functions within companies can ill afford to have a bad week, day, hour, minute or second. When customers have a choice, they will take a bad customer experience and use it as a call to action to do business with a competitor.

Your challenge is to identify and take corrective action whenever your product or service isn’t what it should be or needs to be. To accelerate growth, you must be ever vigilant. Rest assured–your customers are paying attention.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Drost on Flickr

Thought for the week:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Don’t Be Complacent About Customer Experience

September 29, 2014

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Dell recently invited me to participate in a discussion with customers and executives to learn about areas where Dell needs to improve the customer order experience. This is a continuation of my participation on Dell’s Customer Advisory Panel.

Dell is now over 30 years old. While it would be easy to believe that a 30-year old company would have everything worked out to perfection, Dell continually seeks input to improve customer experience. During the conversation, Dell heard about areas that have improved and areas where improvement is still needed.

It takes courage to ask customers questions and to listen to their answers. The real challenge goes beyond listening. What action will be be taken to address issues identified? Understanding and, then, responding effectively to customer input, will accelerate growth.

Photo Courtesy of Celestine Chua on Flickr

 

Thought for the week:

“It’s possible to have big impact without big size. What matters is the size of the idea.” – Rosabeth Kanter
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


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