Tag Archives: mobile technology

THE TYRANNY OF THE TELEPHONE

SmartphoneVERBATIM – Transcribed from a recording by Loop Lonagan

Everywhere I go, people bow their heads over their smartphones or hug ’em to their face like they’s worshiping pagan idols. And maybe that’s not far from the truth. It looks dumb. It rude. And a guy could walk into a truck. Nowadays you can’t have a decent conversation without getting interrupted five times by a phone call or text.

One time, long ago, an exec answered a call in the middle of our meeting. After I waited three days to see this guy in person, some yahoo calls up and takes front stage. That’s The Tyranny of the Telephone. That little incident happened before cell phones. Now it’s worse—we carry the little tyrants around in our pockets 24/7. Pretty soon these things is gonna be waterproof so we can carry ‘em in the shower—even take ‘em to the beach. I can picture some new venture raising money to make special smartphone holders for soap racks. With the screens growing in size, I wanna see ‘em try and develop a pocket to fit a string bikini.

Yeah, I know it—I’m no different from anybody else. I’ll remember to confess that to the Padre this week along with a buncha stuff I can’t talk about here. See, I’m what’s called an early adopter. Already on my third smartphone. Anyhow, I gotta get off this train of thought and focus on this speaker I came to hear.

HUGH JEDWILL on the FUTURE OF MOBILE

Hugh Jedwill, CEO of Mobile AnthemI’m listenen’ to a really smart guy talk about mobile tech. This ain’t no Madison Avenue sharpie. Guys got a shaggy pony tail. Roudy jeans. Nice sport jacket, though—just enough to show you he’s here on business. Looks like California big venture money–those guys dress like street bums but with sport jackets.  We’re all used to it by now. I think it’s an image thing and it seems to work. People go for it. Anyhow, he knows his stuff, which is what counts with me. He’s soft spoken with a good sense of humor and it’s easy to like the guy.

Mobile Anthem

Hugh’s big-time. Used to work marketing for Fortune 500 outfits. Now they seek him out. He’s CEO of Mobile Anthem—a marketing agency that helps these companies build a bridge between traditional marketing and mobile technology. There’s a big-demand for that. They need his help and need it bad.

Tektite GroupThe event’s put on by the Tektite Group. Jean Pickering moderates and she calls Hugh “her hero,” which is kinda weird, but I’m sure she’s got her reasons.

THREE KEYS to a SUCCESSFUL VENTURE

Hugh says with these, you got a good business.

Awareness
Trial of product
Repeatability

Smartphone

THREE STAGES in MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

He talks about what’s going on now and what’s to come:

Stage 1—We’re using the mobile internet NOW—not 15, 20 years from now. That’s way faster than the elite predicted. And mobile is ubiquitous. (I like that word.) Who ever leaves home without the keys, the wallet, and the phone?

Stage 2—Pretty soon, mobile isn’t just about phones. It’s ID wristbands in hospitals. ID devices at amusement parks—systems that pull down your Facebook profile and help you find your lost kid. It’s Clairol using an app to time your hair coloring perfectly. It’s Nike shoes reporting your running stats for you—and sending them to your accountability group.

Stage 3—In the future, it’s not even a phone. Hugh says it this way: “The idea of what is mobile will change dramatically.” Maybe it’s in your clothes—and you get to change the color of the fabric. Maybe it checks if your windows are closed. Maybe it monitors your meds. He quotes some futurist who expects it in nanotechnology. He’s talking really small, like IN YOUR BLOODSTREAM. Now just stop a minute and think about the positive and negatives of that.

Hugh says that not all these possibilities are so pretty. The opportunity for abuse by unscrupulous individuals, greedy companies, and repressive governments is huge. That gets my attention. And I’m wondering how it will all shake out.

He talks about innovations that don’t get used effectively. Here’s an example: The QR code was big for a few months then it fizzled. Reason? Poor use. People posted lots of QR codes that didn’t lead anywhere. So people ignore ‘em now. Cry wolf.

smartphone with keyboardTHREE LIMITERS

He talks about three limiting factors in mobile technology. (Hey, this guy thinks in threes):

Limiter #1—First is battery life. These things suck battery and everybody’s looking for a wall outlet wherever they go. The industry needs to get that solved. (FYI: Just happens I know a startup company’s got a way to make batteries last ten times longer, so the fix is coming—people just don’t know about it yet.)

Limiter #2—Next is privacy. There ain’t no safeguards now. Everything’s self-regulated and there’s some real bad actors out there—people who know your location and take advantage of that. Companies can pull down your personal profile. Think they’re not using that stuff? Think again. You walk down the street and WHAP—a lousy come-on from the bar you just walked past. Hey—it’s in the terms and conditions you never read when you downloaded that app, so it’s legit. Then there’s the illegal text spam—the kind you didn’t ask for at all. It’s already with us. Then there’s the fact that smart phones are computers. Won’t be long before the hackers and cheese-doodle-eating virus kids get busy. That kinda behavior slows down the industry. I wonder how fast it would be movin’ without these creeps.

Hugh predicts two major events in the very near future.

A major privacy incident

A major location-based incident

A mobile app is like a credit card transaction over the Internet—theft happens. The credit card company gives you some protection but nobody’s protecting the cell phone users. He predicts that both of these events will get a lota media attention and plenty of righteous indignation. It’s gonna be bad enough that the industry is gonna face a contraction, so watch your telecom investments.

That also means regulation is coming. Plenty of it. But Hugh sees it as the only way. Says this particular industry CAN’T regulate itself. He’s hoping for the kind of regs that worked real good for the food industry. Rules that make it easy to find out what’s in your food. But the government might come down with a heavy hand, like the way Sarbanes Oxley is screwing with our capital markets. Me, I’m betting the government will do something dumb. That’s their trend. But all I can do is wait and see how it shakes out.

Limiter #3—In the future, our location privacy and personal privacy is gonna be pretty much gone. That’ll be another limiter on mobile technology. Maybe somebody’ll solve it or maybe we just get used to it.

Pockets full of Smartphones

Now his time is shot and he takes Q&A. I think it’s a good presentation. I learned somethin’ and had a good time. Before we break into groups, I meet him one-on-one. Guys got FIVE—count ‘em—5 smartphones on his person. Pockets full of ’em.  What’s with that? So I ask him what gives. “It’s my business,” he says. Simple answer. Direct. Honest. One thing I learn dealing with this new crop of technical business people—they’re intense. And they get the job done.

Your editor invited me down here ‘cause he don’t own no smart phone and he wants I should meet with these people. Yeah, you heard right—no smartphone. Hard to believe but it’s true. Says his Palm Pilot ain’t broke yet. Palm pilot? That thing belongs in the Field Museum with the dinosaurs. The guy carries that piece o’—that piece of hardware around everywhere. Calls it a classic. I call it dumb. Weber GrillHe coulda been here, eatin’ this great food at the Weber Grill. www.webergrillrestaurant.com.  So, John, I raise one to you. Cheers!

CONTACTS

Find Hugh Jedwill, CEO of Mobile Anthem, at http://mobileanthem.com, an agency that bridges marketing with mobile technology. See him on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2oY4vrZFDc

Find the Tektite Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheTektiteGroup  and their blog at http://tektitegroup.wordpress.com.  These events are organized by Jean Pickering www.facebook.com/jean.pickering who for years has run most o’ the best stuff in this town. Was always behind the scenes till now. I might just mosey on down next time. Had a blast. This ain’t no waste-of-time networking group. I took in a terrific presentation and made three solid business connections.

And check out the great food at the Weber Grill.  http://www.webergrillrestaurant.com/

All my best regards,
Loop Lonagan

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GO TO – 3 KEYS TO GAMIFICATION

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Chicago Ventures, Tektite

TECH VS BRICK & MORTAR

Mug of BeerVERBATIM – From storied business consultant, J. P. Pierogiczikowski—affectionately known as Joe Perogi

As told to John Jonelis

Tonight I stop at a downtown Chicago drinking establishment and run into Joe Perogi. There are several good events going on the same time.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and find out about one I missed. Joe may come off as rough around the edges but don’t let that fool you. He’s a really bright guy. He’s coached plenty of startups to success. I respect his opinion.

I set my recorder on the bar. “So, Joe,” I say. “You pick up anything at BNC tonight?”

Joe takes a long draw on his glass of stout and smacks his lips. “Yeah, a number of things.Business Network Chicago

  •  “Old houses don’t need to waste so much energy no more.
  •  “Foot traffic is gonna be high tech.
  •  “Car dents aren’t gonna be a problem.”

He goes on: “These is high-tech solutions to everyday stuff. There’s this interesting company.”

He shows me their card then slips it back in his pocket.  I quickly scribble the contact info on a pad.

MyHomeEQ – Christopher Coleman – www.MyHomeEQ.com

“They wanna make old single family homes energy efficient. ‘Course you know, the biggest share of carbon emissions comes from older homes, right?”

That’s news to me, so I just sip my scotch and let him make his point. And he does.

“So you got all these old houses—fifty million of ‘em,” he says.

I take a slug of straight scotch right down the windpipe and bend over coughing and choking.

Joe pounds me on the back till I clear my throat. “You okay?”  When I finally nod and wheeze out my thanks, he goes on: “Anyway, these guys give you what they call an EQ score.”

“Energy quotient?”  My throat is burning and it’s hard to talk.

“Yeah it’s like MPG for a house. Here’s where it gets good. The multiple listing service is gonna want that score so’s they can post it along with the price. And who’s gonna buy a house with a lousy EQ? So you gotta fix it.”  He smiles and sips his stout.   “Now, maybe you don’t know what needs doing.  Probably don’t even know who to get to do the work. Maybe you call contractors and they don’t follow up. Maybe you wonder if you can re-capture the cost.  So waddaya gonna do?”

“Probably the wrong thing.” I take a gulp of water and it goes down good. “And maybe hire the wrong people.”

“Right—and spend way too much. These guys solve all that. You get on their website. Enter your address. That’s it. They got access to a lotta data. The specs on your home. Your history of energy use. What projects cost.  Which ones give the biggest bang for the buck. You get a list of ready, willing and able BPA and LEAD certified contractors to choose from—all free and confidential—and the company sets up an appointment for you. And the guy that shows up already knows what needs doing.”

“How do you monetize that?”

“Don’t play dumb with me. They handle all the logistics. Take a percentage off the contractors. Take a percentage off the material providers. The thing I like is they even make money off their advertising ‘cause the MLS pays ‘em for the EQ score.”

I finally get it and smile. Joe goes on. “Hey, they won a $400K competition for this idea, right here in Chicago,”

“Who else was there?”

Joe massages his brow with a finger as if trying to recall. “Gimme a minute—it’ll come to me, but the thirst—the thirst—”

I signal the bartender to refill his Guinness. When a tall glass of black beer shows up, Joe grins and downs three fingers worth then sighs with obvious satisfaction. “There is one interesting little outfit.” He plunks down a business card in front of me and I look at a thin sheet of paper made from a reused road atlas.

Green GuestbookGreen Guestbook – Ellie Carleson – www.greenguestbook.com

“This one’s really early stage—if you can stomach the risk.  Just two people right now: the gal and her developer.  But it’s a proven model. She’s already doing it for museums and it works. Now she’s pivoting from not-for-profit to direct marketing.” He takes another draw on his stout and I wonder how a startup that small can catch his attention.  Joe charges really high fees.

“It’s a digital guestbook for any arena with lotsa foot traffic. Customized. Uses touch screen technology insteada paper.  It gets your email addresses  Does surveys. Collects demographics.   All the stuff you wish you could do when you run an event. Some systems give you a list of who’s there but this one’ll let you send a message to the ones wearing pink neckties.

“Thing I like best about this outfit is the gal running it. Lotsa smarts. Lotsa energy. Good sensa humor. Says if ya ask people for their email, they usually give you a phony one.  She calls those “sacrificial lambs”—that was rich. Her system’s better.  Offers incentives so people cough up their REAL email. Central database. Good privacy protocol. Pilot projects in restaurants, wineries, park districts, trade shows. This one won an award too and got 92% of the votes.

“She needs a lotta help. And John, keep out on this one. You been takin’ too many jobs away. If you wanna invest, okay. If you want a spot on the management team, glad to have ya. I’ll be sure to call you when it comes time to get the writing done. But I’m coaching this one if I can land it. Like I say, I believe in Ellie.”

I go along with that because Joe is passionate about the company. But Loop Lonagan would be better still because he’s not so expensive.  I’m not sure he’s available–have to ask.  I signal the bartender to fill Joe’s glass and he continues his tale.

“There was one more outfit.” Joe shows me the card.

Dent ReconDent Recon – Brendon R. Halcott – www.dentrecon.com

“This guy’s really got his act together. University of Chicago. Harvard Business School. Former investment banker. Company’s already profitable locally and looking at a new contract with a major company. He needs to scale and do it fast.

“Okay, so I’m impressed. So what does he do?”

“It’s like Pea Pod for dent repair on your car.”

“You’re joking.”

“No listen. Say you lost an argument with a taxi.  It takes a lotta time and hassle fixing a fender-bender. Running around for estimates.  Driving a rental car.  Now lets say you pull into yer regular parking garage and they can fix your car while your at the office. Or maybe you want it fixed at your home. This guy inflates a special painting booth and works anywhere. Car’s ready when you are. No hassle. Oh yeah, these guys do the paint too, not just the dent.

“Anytime you needed their help, just use yer smartphone. Put in your VIN number and some info. Instant quote. Oh, yeah—you’re too cheap to own a smartphone so you gotta find a hotspot for that laptop you lug around.” He grins.

“I like my laptop. I like my Trakfone..”

“Okay, okay—don’t work up a lather. Point is, you get an automatic estimate instantly.  Complete the transaction right then.  And that’s just the retail side. They white label this thing for any company. Car dealerships, car washes, parking garages, anything. Their people are trained. Neat. Professional. I expect to see this one launch soon.”

My antique Palm Pilot lets out an alarm. Time to head for the train. I drop some bills on the bar, say my goodbyes and hoof it to the station.

Find BNC – Business Network Chicago at: http://www.bnchicago.com/Groups.php?group=8

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Go to – FUNDED TONIGHT!

Back to – RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITY

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Find Chicago Venture Magazine at
www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com
Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

© 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.

9 Comments

Filed under BNC Venture Capital

WHAT IS AN OFFICE?

MIT Enterprise Forum

As I heard it –

What is an office? Yes, I’m really asking that question. What makes an office an office? What might it be in the future, because it sure isn’t going to be what it once was. Sitting in the huge conference room at the IBM Innovation Center in Chicago, I hear serious ideas thrown around that question. The room dwarfs the oversized projection screen and four 60” flat-screen monitors flank the seats. The MIT Enterprise Forum is presenting THE FUTURE OF THE OFFICE, and tonight, this room is my office. There are more Ph.Ds. in the room than MBAs. MIT’s events are always as good as it gets. I like these events so much that I joined the executive committee and I never join committees. Tonight, I am treated to an outstanding panel:

  • Hugh Musick – Moderator – Dean & Director of Exec Education at IIT
  • Jeff Calusinski – IBM distinguished engineer – one of only 400 in the entire company
  • Brian Shapland – Forward thinker at Steelcase
  • Ross Kimbarovsky – Entrepreneur extraordinaire at CrowdSPRING

As moderator, Hugh Musick issues the challenge: What is an office today? What might it be in the future? If anyone can work with anyone, anywhere, anytime, what’s in the future? Further, what’s the value of culture in this distributed world? And how does culture promote work? Hugh turns it over to Ross Kimbarovsky of CrowdSPRING..

Ross starts with a story about a friend who asks a waiter to bring her special tea pot. Imagine having your own personal teapot and your own personal tea at your favorite restaurant. That’s a good analogy for the way people see the workplace these days, and the younger the employees, the more divergent their expectations about the ways they engage with employers and co-workers.

Next, Hugh makes a striking point. Work is now continuous—not the old 40 hrs. Productivity is no longer measured by time at a desk. A big cultural change is underway—not just in the works, but happening right now to you and me. The factory is no longer downstairs from office—it’s overseas. The middle class is growing worldwide. Management is becoming less top-down. Collaboration is the way successful companies do business today. Working is informal compared to anything in past experience. This is real. Practical. These aren’t dreams.

Brian’s company, Steelcase, makes high-end office furniture. How do they adapt to shrinking demand? He talks about stepping back for a new look and sees three key global work trends

  • Less square feet per worker. Yes, that’s already a fact despite the economy.
  • Today, only 72% of people consider the office as THE place to work.
  • There are 75M people in Gen Y. Today’s eighth graders will soon replace baby boomers in the workplace. These kids reject the traditional workplace.

Is your workplace ready for that kind of change?

Ross—people don’t know what they need. As they work in a new culture, their wants and needs change. Originally, people wanted video games and Ping-Pong tables, but that changed. Now people want flex hours, remote work. As the needs of the workplace change, companies keep adapting. “Thinking long term isn’t the real world anymore.” Whoa—they could do a big debate over that single statement, but I get his point.

 

TECHNOLOGY

To today’s young workers, technology is oxygen. Values have changed. To many, an iPad is worth 5K in salary. Ross points out that in the past, people needed all sorts of expensive office equipment. That limited what they could do away from the office and made remote work an obstacle. It was just too expensive to provide the essentials for every employee. Now, global telephony enables work anywhere, any time. Cloud Computing allows people to be productive away from the office. People sometimes work at 2am and take off the middle of the day. People are comfortable working where they want, when they want.

Hugh—The PC enables people to do things they never did before. Kids today are a true producer class. Tech lets them make anything they want. Movies, recordings, etc.

Jeff addresses the subject of technology in collaboration. Nobody needs to solve a problem alone any more. If two can collaborate face-to-face, many on social media can do even better. The old model was, get in front of clients, customers, employees. The new model is, get in front of community. Influence is key and sharing creates influence.

Ross points out a huge structural change. Because of technology, small companies can now compete with giants. His company, Crowdsping, is 19 people managing 100K+ people.

At the same time, traditional corporate environments are getting more and more entrenched. They don’t reward innovation. They don’t understand new structures. The way people want to work and the way they choose to work is vastly different from the way big corporations think people need to work. This gives small nimble companies a competitive advantage.

 

CULTURE

Today’s young workforce functions differently than their older counterparts. These people want a relationship with everybody in the room and constant feedback. They want the freedom to connect with the company president. But they’re satisfied with a relationship that’s digital.

According to Ross, you can’t legislate culture. You create culture by fostering the desired environment. Culture is defined by the way people cooperate, collaborate, innovate. It’s not done by building better offices. Culture drives work. Office space doesn’t do that.

Brian believes that if the culture doesn’t support the new ways of working, it won’t function in the workplace. Technology now lets you sit in a comfortable chair when 10 years ago people saw that as goofing off. Mentorship is huge in retaining workers today and a big part of encouraging collaboration. An interesting shift is the trend toward reverse mentoring. Reverse mentoring is more important than ever because experienced workers need to embrace unfamiliar technology. That’s a cultural reversal that can’t be denied.

Ross asks, if you have a non-distributed team, how do you design your office? One workplace may be fancy, another functional. Either style can work if it fits the culture. CrowdSPRING doesn’t have offices at all—just one big room and a couple of conference rooms. No cubicals, just open desks. Yet some face-to-face time is still needed to model collaboration. He freely admits that his model may not work for another company and recommends that you drive your structure by your company’s cultural needs, not by management’s needs.

 

TRUST

Trust is a different concept than it once was. Many kids today have online relationships with people they’ve never seen. What will be the impact of today’s eighth graders when they come into the workforce? These kids are comfortable with digital connections and a paperless office.

Sustainability is a big issue. People switch jobs at a higher rate than ever before. The successful companies will foster change that reverses that trend. The #1 priority is a company’s commitment to sustainability, and that comes from trust.

Ross makes a huge point: Trust is digital—“Do or do not,” as Yoda would say. Small companies ask people to do the work and trust that they can. To emulate that, large companies need to form small teams that have trust in each other, much the way Google does.

At this point, we go to Q&A. Ron May is saying that the panel is spooning out Pablum. Hasn’t he been listening? I know Ron May. His mama didn’t raise no dummies.   If he missed it, much of the audience must have missed it, too.  I admit that the subject is highly targeted but the abstractions the conversation throws out are nothing short of fascinating. We’re talking about the basic structure, culture, and human issues of the way we work. We’re at Point A and most of us didn’t even think about it. We’re heading for Point B, which will be really different. And that’s clearly the case once you recognize Point A. The ramifications are staggering. I lean back and recognize how glad I am that I came tonight.

QUESTION—“How do you address the issue that different parts of a large company may need different types of offices?”

Jeff—“IBM is 100% mobile.” What did I just hear? A hundred percent? Think about that for a moment. A big company like IBM. Then he points out that mobile means different things to different departments. For some that may be only one day a week away from the office. That’s still a big shift. Then he answers the question directly. “It has to vary by department.” Sales is mobile all the time while manufacturing can’t work away from the factory all that much.

Brian—Steelcase designs a different space to fit the particular group. People don’t want to be in cubicles, but there has to be privacy when needed. Imagine that. An office furniture outfit thinking in terms of company culture and human needs, using technology to make a fit on an individual basis. How many desk makers think that way?

QUESTION—“How do you measure value in a mobile collaboration? It may be easy to monitor sales, but what about everybody else?” As I listen to this question, I am keenly aware of the dehumanizing aspect of it. It’s a big corporate idea. How do you measure a human being?

Jeff—Many corporations, purchase technology, then put it in corner and tell their people, “Go use it,” with the expectation that people know how to use it. You’ve got to be purposeful in asking, “What is the expected outcome and how do we accomplish it?” It’s worth paying attention to this. People who are empowered download documents and do their own self-service. We no longer need to be directly involved in each function. Work is done in context. The real measurement is “outcome-based” And he’s right. We’ve come to the point where we no longer care about method. It’s the result that counts. That makes for acceptance of all kinds of eccentric work styles never tolerated before.

Ross—ROI is tough to measure, especially in social media. Ask instead, “Did this person contribute to revenue in a positive way?” That sounds to me like the previous answer. Results.

Brian—Companies are developing new metrics because customers are asking for them. We’re developing products to do the same thing. For example, an ergonomic chair that reduces repetitive stress injury. That outcome can be measured.

Hugh—”Metrics have changed. How do you measure what it costs to not do something you could have done?”  I’m struck by his question.  Clearly, you can’t, but the impact is massive.

Ross—It’s more difficult to measure productivity in large companies. Much of revenue these days is driven by exclusive projects—driven by people who spent a Friday doing “something else.” I find myself nodding in agreement. The best ideas happen at times that used to be seen as waste.

 

NEW MODELS

Jeff—“IBM’s Watson was developed through a collaboration across the globe, driven by mobile technology. Nobody had a budget.” No budget? Think of that. He goes on: “It took 4 years and represented a huge departure from the way IBM used to do things. Economic aspects are driving a lot of this. The question of “Where will we go?” is no longer limited to a small group of people. The old model legislated innovation. Now it’s all about people collaborating.” Yes, I can relate what he’s saying. This year I purchased mind mapping software that allows brainstorming and collaboration across the globe at a very high level.

Brian – “The Internet allows a synthesis of information. Information is power. Everybody can work better as a result. Even competitors are collaborating.” Again, I am struck by just how strange that would have sounded only a few years ago.

QUESTION—“How do you keep people from hiding in a big company? People work from home and get by with the minimum.”

Jeff—“You always have your A, B and C players. At IBM, one group produced a higher defect rate than others, so they had to move back to the office.” Jeff then ramps up the stakes to address the real problem looming over all of us. Help will soon be needed in the form of analytics because people need filters to deal with the overload of information. Something is needed to filter the masses of data. Watson did its job through statistics. Now the working environment needs to be smarter. It will tell us what we need to be doing. Does that sound like the Hal 9000? Then he shifts gears and talks about Amazon’s crowd sourcing model, built around ratings and reviews by the public that allows natural filtering. The same result using the Internet, but no Hal.

Jeff—today you are evaluated by manager who rates you at end of the year. That may change to another model—the way you are rated by your entire community. This is important. How are you rated by your network of 100 people?

Brian—“The way you motivate people and stop the cycle of hiding and doing nothing is actually very simple. It’s about being very explicit about expectations and goals.” That seems to sum it up for me.

QUESTION—“As the thinkers of tomorrow, how do you educate our children to fit what the world will become 5-20 years from now?”

Ross—Turns out his wife is a teacher. School districts have entrenched cultures, just like corporations. It’s even more difficult because of small budgets, small teams of busy people. There is a need to educate educators on new technologies as it becomes available. He compares Microsoft Word to Google Docs and points out the disconnect between what students already know and use and what teachers teach. His wife helps educators know what kids already know and use. So we’re back to the subject of reverse mentoring.

Brian—Steelcase Learn Lab is a classroom prototype, changing one-way directional teaching to three-screen multi-input. Students want to learn from each other. The technology makes every seat in the room seem like it’s in the middle. Nobody is at the back of the class.

Jeff—IBM and City of Chicago are working on this very concept.

QUESTION—“How do you encourage good work habits?”

Ross answers with a strong idea: If we were to create a company to compete with our company, what would we do? A lot of companies don’t ask their employees what the work space should look like. Keep asking what people need. Be ready for constant change. Don’t pass policies and build walls you can’t tear down.

QUESTION—“How does recession effect future of office and work? If people can’t get jobs, what will the office look like? What about the digital divide that doesn’t have access to Steelcase and IBM equipment?”

Jeff—Companies are doing more with less—using technology and fewer people.

Ross—CrowdSPRING has developed a network of over 100K designers. They are not pre-qualified. They do not need offices. Younger generations don’t want to work downtown in cubicles any more. Freelancing is more accepted. Companies are actually reducing office space.

Jeff—IBM is not just looking at your degree any more, but your multi-dimensional ability. Perhaps in the future you’ll work part time for two different companies and not in an office at all.

Brian tells us that half of his college friends either own their own businesses or work for a friend who does. The web has enabled an explosion in entrepreneurship. These are small companies. Because of technology, small can out-compete big. Today, you can buy a product online and assemble it yourself.

Afterwards, I talk with friend and luminary, Terrry Flanagan—a guy with an encyclopedic knowledge of business. He sums up the entire office topic in the words of architect, Louis Sullivan. “Form follows function.”

That’s what I heard.  What did you hear?  Comments welcome. 

Find Chicago Venture Magazine at
www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com
Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2011 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under MIT Enterprise Forum

MIT Event coming to Chicago

MIT Enterprise Forum

 

Future of the Office – How Technology Will Change the Way We work

Monday, September 26th 5:30-8:30 pm

As I heard it – The explosion of mobile devices, together with social technologies and smart apps, is creating a new distributed workforce. It’s transforming physical offices and how work gets done. Join us for our season kick-off event as we examine the implications of new trends for business efficiency and productivity. If you’re looking for the latest developments that will help you save time, work faster and produce better results this is an event you don’t want to miss.  
                                
Panel Moderator
Dr. Hugh Musick, Associate Dean IIT Design 
                                    
Panelists
Jeff Calusinski
, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Social Media& Client Technologies – How social media and mobile technologies will impact and change the way we work with each other both internally and externally.  
 
Ross Kimbarovsky co-Founder crowdSPRING – How crowd sourcing and a freelance worker for hire work force is changing the way we get work done. A look at cloud computing (tools and technologies that are shaping the way we work.

Sudhakar Lahade, Growth Initiatives Steelcase  – How the physical work place environment is changing to accommodate a new work force.

 

REGISTER

When
Monday September 26th
5:30 – 8:30 pm

Where
Hosted by our host sponsor, IBM
IBM Innovation Center
71 S. Wacker Drive, 6th floor 
Chicago
(Note that the Wacker entrance is closed. Enter from Franklin Street)

Cost
$10 for members.
$30 advance payment for guests

For details – http://www.mitefchicago.org/

 

That’s what I heard. What did you hear? Your comments are welcome.

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www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com
Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2011 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.

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