Monday, November 10, 2014

ello, I Love Tsu, Won't You Tell Me Your Name

Almost as if right on queue a couple of new social networks have arrived in recent months. The last time I found myself between full time assignments, Google+ captured my attention and consumed a significant portion of my free time.

Perhaps I have missed some, and surely others will come along in time. But let me share some initial impressions of ello and Tsu.

ello popped up and when one of my good friends from Google+ days invited me to participate I thought I would give it a go. Signing up was quick and easy and I was in. It took all of about ten seconds to realize this was not a feature rich environment. In fact, I characterize the interface as rather spartan.

To be fair, I tinkered a bit, was not overly impressed and have not returned since. While I was "tickled" frequently for a few weeks, I have not received any recent notices of a new post or invitation to return. It seems to me activity there is quite low.

The promise of ello is a new place to interact with others of like minds without the fear of your content or data being exploited for financial gain. The operators promise the basic service will be free forever. They will never sell advertising on the site, nor sell data about their subscribers to anyone. Their plan is to up-sell with special features so compelling you will be happy to pay for them. This is a familiar business model sometimes called the freemium model.

Tsu, on the other hand, has a rather different approach. They will sell ad space and hope your content will attract eyeballs and drive revenue just like some other social networks we all know and love. The difference, though, is the 90 / 10 revenue sharing model. Yes, 90% of the revenue driven by your content will be credited to your 'bank' while the operators are only keeping 10% of it.

The interface looks like the what you would get if Google+ and Facebook got together and had a baby. It is very similar in appearance with a multi-dimensional stream, right side ad bar, and several other familiar features and functions including the like, share, friend and follow constructs.

I like Tsu and plan to continue to have fun with it, posting faux proverbs and the occasional story, graphic or video people might find amusing. I want to see just how many pennies I can accumulate under this novel business model.

Has someone finally come up with the magic to compete with Facebook? Will this new upstart grow fast and prosper, while its participants also prosper?

You can click here to sign up, explore and decide for yourself.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC

Sunday, November 2, 2014

No Lack of Focus

Often people view social networking as a waste of time or distracting. Sneaking a peek at your daughter's Big Bird costume or reading the tweet on who won the New York marathon is very likely to draw your attention away from whatever it is you are supposed to be doing.

Yet, I had an experience last week at the 2014 FW SIM CIO Executive Leadership Summit which suggests otherwise.

It was my plan to kick back and attend all the sessions, absorbing the wisdom and experience the world class lineup of speakers would share with us. I had no role in the formal agenda as a speaker, moderator or even panelist. But I did want to tweet and share an occasional nugget with all of you, my Twitter followers.

I have done this before at meetings and conferences when I saw an opportunity to pass along a catchy phrase, bit of news or novel concept in 140 characters or less. There are usually one of two pearls worth pecking out on the old iPad, even at the risk of missing the next sentence or two.

As usual, the CIO Summit lived up to its reputation with a long list of top notch presentations from the opening session on security with industry giant Whit Diffie and former head of the FBI Shawn Henry, right through to the informative and very entertaining close by noted columnist, author and TV host, David Pogue.

There was no lack of material to tweet. It felt like every other sentence was a sound bite that just had to be sent out to the world. But instead of this being a distraction, I found myself listening more intently and mentally digesting the ideas, concepts, facts and opinions of these thought leaders. I was paying more attention and remained more focused throughout the entire day.

In fact, at the close of the conference, our host and moderator had to catch a flight. I was invited to jump on stage and pinch-hit some closing commentary. With very little preparation, I was able to walk through the high points, still fresh in my mind.

Of course I refrained from tweeting while on stage.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stay on Task But Don't Lose Sight of the Mission

There is an old expression that goes you can't see the forest for the trees.

I was reminded of that the other day as I waited patiently behind a waitress who was diligently refilling the large coffee urn in the lobby of the hotel where I was staying.

I have been traveling quite a bit this year and stay in a variety of different hotels. Some are major chains like Marriott, Hilton, Westin, and Hyatt. Others are the "suites" such as Double Tree, while still others are independent hotels.

At this particular independent, the restaurant off the lobby offers full waitress service. Breakfast is included as part of the daily room rate. The usual fare can be found on the menu: pancakes, french toast, eggs and so on. But the deal includes a self-serve buffet, too. In the lobby, there is a coffee station where, after breakfast, I like to grab a cup of coffee to take with me on the ride to the office.

Dedicated to good customer service, this waitress was very carefully pouring in several pots of recently brewed coffee to make sure the urn was full. Her mission was to ensure customers could always fill their cups with fresh, hot coffee. That meant, of course, that she had to check the urn from time to time and, when necessary, fill it up.

She was concentrating so hard on her immediate task, filling the urn without making a mess, that she failed to notice anyone (like me) waiting to get a cup. She wasn't doing anything wrong, but she had become so focused on her immediate task that she lost sight of the overall mission; delivering coffee to her customers.

So it often goes in business that we get so caught up in the immediate tasks at hand we lose sight of the larger picture. Had my friendly waitress kept the overall mission in sight she might have paused for a moment to fill my cup with some of that lovely fresh coffee in the pot she held, allowing me to be on my way, and her to complete her task.

In my elementary school we were frequently reminded not to look down at our feet when we walked. While you could see where you were stepping, you might not know where you were going. It is good practice to lift your head and take in the big picture from time to time.

It will also keep you from walking into a telephone pole.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Spam, Bam, Thank You Man

After watching a segment on Sixty Minutes tonight about a computer virus designed to infect a computer at the BIOS level, I was reminded about the ever present and growing cyber threat. Especially during this time of year, one has to be alert and extra vigilant to avoid falling prey to one of the many tricks used to gain personal information you didn't want to share.

The story was about a foiled plot to spread malware to computers at the level of the BIOS, the very heart of every personal computer. This is the code that sits between the operating system like Microsoft Windows and the physical hardware such as the memory and hard drives. Worse than stealing or destroying the data on the machine, controlling this layer could render the machine totally useless. Imagine the impact of massive computer failures in major financial institutions, banks or utility companies. What if a massive amount of government computers suddenly all stopped working and could not be restored?

Malware is usually spread through some form of social engineering. Clever tricks are used to fool people into allowing the bad code to gain access to their computer.  Email disguised as a legitimate message from a friend in need, a bank, retail store or web-based company arrives in your inbox. It invites you in some way to click on a button or a link where the malware resides. You don't realize it but when you click you allow that program to run on your machine with all the rights and access you have.

During the holiday season when we receive so many electronic greeting cards, photos and other messages
from relatives and friends, the challenge is to be sure we do not click before we think long and hard about what may happen.

We receive a message that looks as if it came from our bank warning of an overdraft, our favorite retail store with a special discount or the delivery service (Fed Ex, UPS, USPS) advising of a delivery.  They are each brilliant recreations of the formats actually used by these companies including actual logos.  It is hard not to be taken in.

Before clicking examine the links carefully. Browsers will show you where you are about to go if you hover over the link or hotspot without actually clicking on it.  Look very hard at the address. Note when it does not end with the company domain.  Visit the company site directly to see if the message is legitimate, or if warnings of fraudulent messages have been posted there.

A great way to protect yourself is to create an account with limited privilege for every day use. Use a different, special account to administer your computer. That way, malware will not have deep privilege and you can limit the amount of damage it can do. Change passwords regularly and don't use the same one for every account you have.

When all else fails, be sure you have good solid backup for that long, hard road to recovery.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Fail to Understand

After enjoying a delicious meal at a local Chinese restaurant this weekend, I cracked open my fortune cookie to be amused by the content as is usually the case. But rather than the typical nonsense, my little white strip had words on it that made an awful lot of sense. It said something we have heard or read many times before.

Good people learn from their mistakes.

Whether great inventors like Thomas Edison, famous sports figures like Wayne Gretzky, US Presidents and their wives, or the granddaddy of all fortune cookie sayings, Confucius, you can find an endless variety of quotes that inspire people to try and espouse the value of failing.

All too often as leaders, managers, coaches or parents, we only focus on the negative, condemning the actions of an individual who may have tried but did not succeed.  This will dampen excitement, diminish enthusiasm and eventually reduce the motivation to take any risk at all..

Of course, we cannot reward stupidity, nor should we tolerate laziness. But allowing people to experiment, try new things and find the one in a hundred that actually works will lead to more innovation, creativity and ultimately a wiser person.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC