Movie Review: Fog of War
There was some news today about the U.S. starting to think about withdrawing troops from Iraq. It was somewhat fitting then that I watched Fog of War
last night. Fog of War is documentary that consists mostly of interviews with Robert McNamara
. It chronicles his life with specific emphasis on both WWII and Vietnam. What is most interesting is how much McNamara discusses his rationale and internal thinking about so many issues.
I know the idea of watching a two hour interview may not sound all that good but trust me it is riveting.
Metrics on mail
I really like the idea of email stats
. Given how much time everyone spends sending, reading, and responding to email, it's surprising something like this doesn't already exist. Some stats I would like to know are:
- How many emails did I get broken down by day or hour.
- How many of those emails do I respond to.
- How many emails did I compose and send broken down by day.
- How long it takes for me to respond to an email on average.
- Who sends me the most email.
- Who do I send the most email to.
- How much time I spent in my email client.
- How much spam I get everyday.
As they say before you can improve you must measure. Maybe it is time to start measuring email...
Freakonomics is a great book and I highly recommend it
. The New York Times just published another Freakonomics column
. Looks like all these child safety seats may be unnecessary.
There is something very refreshing about someone just fact checking everything from car seats to the fall in crime rates. It got me thinking that every company should have a Chief Freakonomics Officer (CFO). A real CFO who fact checks all the stuff about a corporation. When the CEO says we missed earnings because of external economic conditions then that gets fact checked. Or when the CEO says earnings are up because the new corporate strategy it taking hold then that gets fact checked too.
I bet the results would be interesting...Orginal link was from Seth
Odeo is open
finally opened it's doors to the public this week allowing me to get an account. I know there was some invite-only beta but alas, I was not chosen for it. With iTunes rolling out it's new podcast version
of iTunes last week, I figured Odeo wouldn't really be that a big a deal for me. As Cote put it, the iTunes release was "the last nail in the coffin for other podcasters
." Since I love both iTunes the app and the store, I tended to agree with this analysis.
Having used Odeo for a few days now, I must say I was wrong. I find the Odeo interface to be a lot simpler for finding and subscribing to podcasts. Also, they have done a nice job minimizing page reloads. This is going to be weird to say but iTunes the client app has more latency than Odeo the web app. Don't believe me? Search a podcast on both iTunes and Odeo. In Odeo you can subscribe in one-click and the page does not refresh. In iTunes it takes about 3 pages to subscribe and each refreshes.
Odeo also has tags built right into the app. That's nice since tags are the new defacto way to organize and find information. Tags allow for the creation of a community that shares information and makes it simpler to find information. Odeo will undoubtly benefit from this and it should become even easier to find new and interesting podcasts.
Apple did do a great service for us all by adding the podcasts features though. It's a lot simpler to just have iTunes update the feed and download the podcasts. That's a great feature and the native integration in iTunes is much simpler than either iPodder
or the Odeo Syncr.
Personally, I see iTunes and Odeo as excellent complementary tools. I am going to use Odeo to manage all the podcasts that I subscribe to. I am going to use iTunes to download just my Odeo feed. In the end, it is about using the right tool for the right job and luckily these are some great tools. Congrats to both Apple and Odeo for great products.
Good T&C's practice
Here is the kind of language that should precede all online terms and conditions legalese stuff:
"Okay - here's the deal - we want to keep making everything you do with us simple, efficient and convenient. We've created a way for you to get all your account information electronically, via email and secure messaging at ingdirect.com. All you need to do is click the "Accept" button below to let us know that you want communications sent to you electronically and to enroll in our cost saving paperless way to bank. It's that simple. Here's all the legal language that goes along with any good idea, but basically it just says that you are okay with electronic communications:"ING Direct
Agile equals trust, Waterfall equals CYA
Where there is low trust, there must be documentation, verification, audit and potentially punishment. Where there is a lack of trust, there is fear. Where there is fear, there is a lot of people taking cover and protecting themselves. Such protection is waste - muda. It takes the form of overly long schedules, overly detailed specifications, precise plans and elaborate change procedures to track all of the changes, audit trails and assigned accountability and responsibility - there must be a scapegoat.
There is a lot written about software development processes and methodologies. I think in the end it comes down to trust. In an organization where there is trust, things will get done quickly. When you lack trust then you have CYA syndrome and everything crawls. Does your organization have trust?