How To Eliminate Jet Lag: Jet Lag Formula

July 30, 2013

Turkish Airlines A330

I recently flew from San Francisco to Istanbul, Turkey, and back. It was a short trip of only 3.5 days with 10 time zones each way.  I left San Francisco at 2 pm Friday afternoon and arrived in Istanbul on Saturday at 5 pm local time. Total flying/connecting time was 17 hours.

My schedule called for an 8 am meeting Sunday morning (10 pm Saturday in San Francisco) and a presentation from 9 am to 1 pm on Sunday. I was a nervous about how my body and mind would react to such a short turn-around after having traveled 10 time zones.

I unpacked, had dinner and headed off to bed at 11 pm. I awoke at 5:30 am without my alarm and felt good and mentally ready for the day. I was really happy about that!  I went to breakfast at 6:30 am and continued with my schedule for the day.  I retired about 11 pm and was up again at 5:30 am Monday morning, alert and ready to go.

Adjusting to the time change was easier on this trip than, say, a trip to the East Coast.  Why?  What did I do differently?

I used a product called FlyRight Jet Lag Formula. as directed for my travel to and from Istanbul.  I repeated the use of the product for my return trip, arriving back in San Francisco at 10 pm and was up and ready to go at 6 am PT the next morning.

So, I’m hooked on Jet Lag Formula.  Ted Ray, the creator of this product, claims it helps on long and short trips.  So, if you’ve ever experienced jet lag symptoms, give this product a try!

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

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How Does The Customer Benefit?

July 29, 2013

IMG_20130722_101929_401

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: customers

Michelle sent me a note recently that really brightened my day:

“I talk about you all the time, citing your comment to me about how I need to always ask myself if the work I do is something you/a customer would notice. Still hits me right between the eyes.”

Thank you, Michelle!  I share it today hoping it will impact my readers.

At the time, I observed that the company Michelle was with was doing a lot of things in customer-facing groups but I wondered aloud whether or if a customer would ever notice.

I am not suggesting that process improvements in non-customer-facing areas are a waste of time. Everyone in business ultimately has a customer or a stakeholder who relies on them for the work they do. But, there are too many projects that yield little or no benefit for the customer.

If the work you are doing doesn’t impact your customers or stakeholders in a way that makes a difference in their lives, it is time to reassess. This one little idea can help you thrive.

Thought for the week:

“A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.”  – Joe Vitale
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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

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  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.


AT&T U-verse Deceptive Selling Practices

July 22, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: deceptive selling practices

Nothing irritates me more than deceptive selling practices, especially deceptions you learn about after a deal is struck and the transaction is complete.

My father needed to upgrade his home Internet service as what he had didn’t offer sufficient bandwidth to allow him to look at videos. We went to the AT&T store and were offered an AT&T U-verse package that would bundle his home phone and Internet–increase his bandwidth by a factor of 4– for $40 a month, down from the $74 a month he had been paying for years. There would be an installation cost of $199: $100 for the new Internet hub and $99 for installation. My father wanted this.

Ten days later, the installer showed up and completed the installation. My dad called me and asked if I would come over right away as he didn’t understand the nuances of what the installer is trying to tell him. I would soon understand why.

  • To offer the low price, AT&T changes his phone from a direct wired connection to voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP). His home alarm system doesn’t speak VOIP so now he either needs to either schedule and pay for AT&T to come out and restore what was there for over 50 years as a direct wired phone line or upgrade his alarm system at a cost of about $550.
  • His new VOIP phone has a limit of 250 minutes per month. He’s never had a limit on his local calls.
  • His email would not work. I called AT&T and, when a Level 1 tech couldn’t help me, they told me I’d have to pay for a Level 2 tech to assist me. I insisted on speaking to a supervisor and avoided additional fees. The problem turned out to be an AT&T issue.

No one mentioned that his phone was going to be converted to VOIP or that he would have a limit of 250 minutes for local calls. No one asked if he had an alarm system. Why didn’t they ask? It would have slowed or eliminated the possibility of an on-the-spot sale as I would have sought a different solution from other companies had we been told what they were going to do.

Bottom line: AT&T U-Verse didn’t disclose material facts about the transaction. That is deceptive. The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) needs to know about this.

Customers don’t like surprises, especially surprises that have significant implications. You can’t thrive if you treat customers like this. Set proper expectations and make sure there are no surprises.

Thought for the week:

“Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.” – Mike Ditka

Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You:

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  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.


Efexio: studio-quality creatures and effects for home videos

July 16, 2013

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Until today, if you wanted to add creatures, special effects, or digital props to your home videos, you’d need lots of money, copious amounts of computing horsepower and disk space, very specialized, complex software, and a highly-talented team of collaborative professionals to make the elements all come together seamlessly.

This is a new day.

It’s now possible to integrate studio-quality, three-dimensional, computer-generated images and animations to video and still images on your iPad®, iPhone®, Mac® or Windows® PC using Efexio, a free application coupled to a marketplace of high-quality three-dimensional computer-generated image (CGI) visual effects to support users ranging from novices to content creators and independent film makers.

An Efexio user need only (1) either upload or shoot a video file within Efexio, (2) choose an effect from their library, and (3) add the effect into their video using Efexio’s intuitive tools. An effect (a creature, prop, or special effect, e.g., an explosion) can be purchased for less than you’d spend on a large cup of coffee at your favorite caffeine emporium.

Here’s a high-level overview of the Efexio:


It is staggering to ponder how far technology has come in the last 20 years that enables this functionality.

A Look Back

Stephen Spielberg’s 1993 film classic Jurassic Park represented a watershed moment in film history. For the first time, filmmakers had the power to create creatures that appeared genuinely, stunningly real. The film was a huge commercial success and an even bigger technological achievement. The film pioneered the computer-generated image revolution in which artists and engineers challenged themselves to make better, faster, and even more spectacular effects.

Spielberg wanted to show his audience something they had never seen before—realistic dinosaurs! If the illusion wasn’t convincing, Jurassic Park would look like a low-budget sci-fi movie. Achieving this realism is far more difficult than you might imagine.

The secret of realistic monsters lies in the realism of their movement exceeding the realism of their appearance. Fortunately, Spielberg was able to achieve both kinds of realism. The appearance was possible as a result of computer-generated images (CGI) while the movement came as a result of 3-dimensional animation. Phil Tippett, Tippett Studio, produced a ground-breaking outcome. He won an Academy Award for his contributions and artistry to Jurassic Park.

Phil Tippett is one of the pioneers of go-motion animation where three-dimensional models were painstakingly animated frame by frame to bring life to the creatures. The CGI revolution made go-motion technique no longer viable but Phil’s knowledge of dinosaur anatomy and ability to visualize how a creature of that size might move and behave made him indispensable to Jurassic Park team. The revolution created by Jurassic Park changed everything for Tippett Studio.

High performance graphical workstations provided by the then high-flying Silicon Graphics in Mountain View, California, were key to making the production of Jurassic Park technologically viable. Even with with all this computing horsepower, rendering the dinosaurs took two to four hours per frame, and rendering the Tyrannosaurus rex in the rain required six hours per frame. Considering the film was produced at 24 frames per second, you begin to get a mere glimpse of the effort and complexity involved.

Special Effects Pioneers at Tippett Studio

Phil Tippett and Tippett Studio have been in business for nearly 30 years. While the tight-knit, family-owned Tippett Studio may not be a household name, you very likely know of their work:

Tippett Studio has a small army of people to bring a computer-generated images to life:

  • Designers
  • Modelers
  • Animators
  • Texture painters
  • Lighters and compositors
  • Coders and engineers

Hours of reviews and critiques are required to meets the standards necessary to make a creature, an effect, a prop, or an environment truly believable. In the pursuit of perfection, team members endure dozens, sometimes hundreds of iterations and refinements in order to produce the best possible image for the client and viewer. This sense of quality is apparent in the animations available for purchase in Efexio.

What Is Efexio?

Until Efexio, studio-quality special effects simply weren’t feasible for other than large production movie studios. Efexio is as revolutionary as the technology that made it possible to produce Jurassic Park, the next step in a long line of technology innovations.

Efexio is (1) a marketplace for special effects, and, (2) an application for integrating effects into videos. The Efexio Store offers downloadable, high-quality animations of objects including dinosaurs, penguins, robots, dragons, fairies and monsters. Multiple animations are available for each creature. With the Efexio application, users can, for example:

  • rotate and adjust the scale of the effect
  • change the lighting and camera angle
  • adjust the path of travel of the effect
  • capture and save still images
  • create an exportable, fully-rendered movie or photo that can be saved, shared on photo-sharing sites or shared immediately via Facebook, YouTube or email

The Efexio app employs an array of new and revolutionary technologies made available for personal computers and devices, while the library of animations provides users the benefit of Tippett Studio’s elite, seasoned team of animators whose skills have been refined through combined decades of work on feature films.

The Efexio marketplace is powered by ground-breaking technology from Pixelux Entertainment and optimized by Tippett FX to enable the integration of film quality effects in consumer created videos. Pixelux innovated a real-time material physics technology called “Digital Molecular Matter” (or DMM) which enables simulated destruction of buildings and cities such as those featured in blockbuster films including “Man of Steel” and “Iron Man 3.”

Just what are Efexio users getting?

  • The capability to leverage Tippett Studio’s years of big-budget movie experience in the creation of unique characters and animations for users at an extremely affordable cost and with minimal learning curve. Standard effects are $1.99 while Pro Versions, allowing output at full HD resolution, run $9.99. Once purchased, there is no limit to the number of times an effect may be used by the licensed user.
  • A rich visual effects marketplace built with an eye on not only quality, but also on price, performance ease-of-use.
  • The ability for people of all ages to get excited about and create video with special effects.
  • User support including video tutorials, FAQs, user guides, and technical assistance
  • A YouTube Tippett FX Community Channel for people to upload videos, share content and ideas and participate in contests. Tips and video creation tips will also be available there.

Here are some examples of video and still images captured using Efexio.

Efexio effects are licensed to a specific named user and may be used on different computing platforms by the same named user. Users may need to disclose to YouTube and other third-parties that they have licensed effects in their videos from Efexio, particularly if their videos are generated revenue from advertisers.
What’s Next?

In a digital world tied together with personal devices, social networks, and an incredible variety of video enthusiasts, video is truly ubiquitous. YouTube reports that one hundred hours of video content are currently being uploaded every minute.

Now, with Efexio, adding studio-quality special effects to videos is within the grasp of anyone who can shoot a video and use a slider bar.

As Phil Tippett offers, “What’s exciting about this tool is that it gives a new generation of filmmakers and storytellers a digital tool kit to activate their own imaginations.”

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

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Can Microsoft jumpstart growth via a reorganization

July 15, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: Microsoft’s big reorganization

Microsoft announced a major reorganization this week. A news report offered Microsoft is:

“organizing itself around key areas designed to make the company more nimble in a fiercely-competitive technology sector. The company said it will deliver multiple devices and services as a single company, rather than a collection of separate divisions, after completing its first major overhaul in five years.”

Oh my, Microsoft! I’m giddy with excitement and anticipation. Not! How many eye rolls did this news produce internally and externally? Raise your hand if you truly believe Microsoft’s “problem” can be fixed with a reorganization. Hmmm. Well, I saw Steve Ballmer’s hand go up.

Microsoft’s “problem” isn’t going to be fixed by a reorganization. Just what is the “problem?”

Microsoft is a legacy company with a status quo, complacent culture trying to stay relevant with its customers. What do customers really care about? Themselves. What does Microsoft really care about? Making money. Microsoft is all about protecting revenue streams. Microsoft isn’t much of an innovator. They are doing a poor job playing defense when they should be playing offense.

Microsoft has lost my attention:

  • I grew weary of the user interface changes in MS Office that added no value to my use of the suite. I use Libre Office, an open source, free tool.
  • One of my happiest technology days in recent memory was liberating myself from Microsoft Outlook. Why? I couldn’t find things in my email–the search function is horrible, wasted a lot of my time and added to my frustration. Now, I use Gmail which is fast and integrates seamlessly with my CRM system (ACT!) and leverages Google’s search capability. Search is fast and pretty foolproof. With MS Outlook, it was slow and a real crap shoot.
  • Sharepoint–a repository–is “free” and is pushed by IT as a collaboration tool. It has a horrible architecture and only serves to silo data and teams.
  • Skype was far more reliable before Microsoft bought it. Google Hangouts are free and offer much better service.

Microsoft is a follower and not a fast follower at that. There’s been little innovation perhaps in part due to Microsoft’s desire to not disrupt anybody. I’ll acknowledge Windows 8 has been a bit disruptive but not in a good way.

Microsoft suffers from big company syndrome. They have not given themselves or the marketplace a compelling “why” or vision that inspires Microsoft leadership, Microsoft employees, channel partners, shareholders or customers. That’s no way to thrive. And, certainly no way to accelerate growth. So, anybody excited about the re-org?

Thought for the week:

 “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffett

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___
Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com
© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved
Note:  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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Asiana Flight 214 Landing Reconstruction Video

July 11, 2013

This is an amazing video contrasting a normal landing with the approach and crash of Asiana Flight 214 on Saturday, July 6, 2013.

Really amazing to see.

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

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Landing A Plane Is Never Routine

July 8, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: landing a plane is never routine

If Asiana Flight 214’s crash landing teaches us anything, it’s that the landing of an aircraft is never routine. There is complexity via:

  • The aircraft, flight controls, flight instruments, systems, engines, etc.
  • Pilot performance, their ability to execute their checklists and properly execute directions from air traffic controllers
  • The ability to maneuver in a 3-dimensional world with weather and winds having potential impact on the aircraft
  • The airport, it’s monitoring systems and equipment
  • Air traffic control instructions

While planes land thousands of times each day throughout the world, many things have to be executed with great precision for there to be no problems. While we do not yet have confirmation of the crash cause, there are many potential points of failure in a complex web of human and system interdependencies.

Every business has complexity and interdependencies that, in total, create a customer experience. For each customer, that something is “routine” is of little importance–customers care not about statistics but about their unique experience. Delivering a great experience requires constant vigilance.

Thought for the week:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

A Fast Company blog post that may interest you:

How Dell Fights Cancer With Big Data

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___
Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com
© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved
Note:  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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