Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Direct TV Dumping Satellites for Blimps?

I look out my office window and see a Direct TV blimp fighting its way through the wind. I wonder: Is Direct TV dumping satellites for blimps?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rock and Roll Boulevard

Greetings from the corner of Rock and Roll Boulevard and Lakeside Avenue in beautiful downtown Cleveland. While I was in Vail, Colorado last December, an announcement was made that one of the main streets here (the one that terminates at Lake Erie with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, East 9th Street) was being renamed "Rock and Roll Boulevard."

This was pretty cool for me, as a charter member (and frequent visitor) of the Rock Hall, a native Clevelander, and someone whose office overlooks the Rock Hall. I'm not sure if they made a big deal of the announcement - I was out of town, but they have very quietly put up street signs underneath the East Ninth signs that say Rock and Roll Boulevard. Last week they also changed the signage on the building itself (see photo). Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Constitutes Technical Competance for an End User?

Unfortunately, IT people berate non-technical people all the time. Much of the time we don't understand why so many of them "don't get it" and why they are SO far behind. Although these attitudes are to be expected, they do not breed a good customer service environment. So try to put on your rose colored glasses and think that the glass is half full. There is (probably) a reason why this person is in the position they are - someone thought they were valuable (and people are WAY more valuable than machines - maybe not systems, but most machines - but that is a topic for another day).

With that respectful disclaimer in place, I have some ideas about good users vs. bad users. It's interesting, you have bitching and moaning from both of these. Good users bitch and moan constructively, and bad users, well, for many reasons. The constructive bitching and moaning is one way to tell the good from the bad.

What is the bad user bitching and moaning about? Sometimes it is everything. Nothing works. Everything sucks. Nothing is designed right. Everything is too slow. I have tried many times to turn such users away from the dark side and maybe I have even fixed a few of them - permanently - transforming them to competent users. Although this is a worthy goal, don't drive yourself crazy trying to save everyone from their (most likely self-inflicted) technological hell.

Just listen. Is there something they are doing wrong that you can correct? Is there something you can build to better accommodate their work?

Another way to differentiate the competent from the incompetent is by how well they can accomplish what they do with technology. Does it enable them, or get in their way? Most of the time we are not well qualified to make such judgments, but we are entitled to our opinions. Some people take what is given them and soar. Others get mired in problems they cannot overcome. I think we know which ones we'd rather have for customers, sponsors, etc.