Tag Archives: environment

Do You Have Trust Issues?

Remote working, social media and mobile computing are just some of the management issues impacting your business today.

Two months ago we relocated to a new office. The move itself wasn’t out of the ordinary. The reasons for the move on the other hand represented what I see as a sign of the times.

We doubled our office space, replaced every piece of our perfectly adequate furniture, added sofas (red obviously), a pool table, dartboard, large screen TV, and gaming consoles.

What happened next was a fascinating social experiment.

You see when you throw these items into the mix of a normal office environment, people don’t know how to deal with them. I mean seriously, should they be playing darts at 9am? Or are they all supposed to line up to play pool during their lunch hour? There was absolutely no rule book, and no frame of reference for anyone to work within. Its been absolutely amazing to watch.

Other business owners I’ve known for years thought I was crazy. Surely productivity will nose dive. People will treat the place like a social club and work will begin to slip. Client relationships will suffer, ultimately leading to a total business collapse. Presumably followed shortly afterwards by either a zombie apocalypse or devastating meteor strike (or both).

So what prompted the move in the first place?

Typically I spend 3-4 months a year out in Northern California. I’ve witnessed first hand an evolution (some might say revolution) in the way people are working in the digital economy. I’ve spent time with people who are almost evangelical about their employers. Not only do they benefit from phenomenal working conditions, they are much more importantly lavished with trust on a scale that I’d never witnessed before.

Up to this point, tradition dictates that the employer vs employee relationship is ultimately adversarial. Owners want to make profits, and employees want benefits. Its like some giant game of seesaw. As the list of benefits increases, so profits must fall. The more the owners give, the more is expected. Where will it end? Its a pretty bleak and depressing outlook at business life.

After 17 years I needed to change.

A relationship lacking in trust, is a corrosive thing. It eats away at things over time, its unhealthy for all parties. No one wins in the long run. It becomes all about short term victories. You wouldn’t accept this in your personal relationships, so why do so many people, in their business lives?

I read somewhere (forgotten where), that its unforgivable to be miserable in your own business. The power to change everything is within your grasp. I found myself with the conflicting goals of running a business to provide freedom, and at the same time felt trapped by a status quo that was eating away at me bit by bit.

I realised that in my rush to build a business that scaled (more on that another time) I had implemented processes and procedures that would allow me to manage a much bigger organisation.

I found myself managing a team of 10 people, most of whom have been with me for 5 years or more, utilising systems and rules that were intended to manage strangers. Procedures intentionally designed to remove the need for trust.

All of this seems really obvious to me now, but back at the end of 2012 this was pretty depressing set of conclusions to reach.

So far so awesome

So in 2013 I took the leap. I systematically began breaking down walls (even physically in some cases) and opened up the business to a new way of working. An office move was inevitable as we embarked on this new chapter.

Well that brings us up to-date. So far the move has been a fantastic success. The team is working better than ever. I’ve trusted everyone to know what needs doing. In return they get to work in a great environment.

In many ways all of the above is done with a selfish agenda. I too wanted to come to work and enjoy myself. I wanted to be around happy people enjoying their work and having fun. I’m “happy” to report that part of the experiment has been a great success too.

I’m all too aware that this works for us because we have such an established business and knowledgable team. I’ve no idea how things will work as we inevitably introduce new people to our environment. What i do know is I’d rather take that gamble than embrace the status quo for the sake of avoiding risk.

This probably isn’t for everyone.

Now I’m not saying this is for everyone. I’m not so idealistic to realise that some people own businesses where this model of working simply isn’t practical. I’m guessing the people that clean our offices would love the flexibility to take a break for a game of pool now and again (yes we thought the same thing, they probably do in our office)

What I’m really saying, is that ANY business can afford the time it takes to look at what they do and how they do it. To take time out to look at the people that together make things happen in their organisation. Then find a way to show them the Trust and Respect that your relationship deserves. I guarantee everyone will be healthier for it.

If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me if you hit the recommend button!

Written by

#Entrepreneur #Restless #Technologist #Traveler #Husband #Father of Twins #Racer #Storyteller, #SaaS #Cloud #Founder #CEO @Serchen & @KetchellDigital


The Paperless Office


Whatever Happened to the Dream of a Paperless Office?

It’s almost weird to think that technology could solve our environmental problems. Technology is usually powered by energy which often, but not always, comes from some dirty fossil fuel whether it be oil, coal or gas. But in an ideal world, we’d source our power from clean energy: the wind, the waves and the sun. Also in our ideal world we wouldn’t harvest trees for paper, but paper is in high demand and will continue to be. We have yet to find ourselves a real alternative to paper. Or have we?

I’ve spoken of the idea of being paperless in the past and it’s still an idea I very much believe in. If we were to utilize our technology and become paperless, we’d then greatly reduce the number of trees we need to chop down. On the technology side, there would be little change because we already have the tools to live in a paperless world. We, as people, just need to adjust and learn to work and learn in a paperless world. That surely can’t be tough but we’ve had some trouble getting there.

The idea of being paperless dates back to the seventies. In 1975 Business Week talked about the future of the office and in it they introduced the idea of becoming paperless and pushed it to become mainstream. Unfortunately it hasn’t caught on yet. This however could be set to change. While general technology has been available to the masses since the seventies, I believe that it’s only in the last five years has it been truly embraced through the advancement of social media, smartphones and the internet. Most people have access to some device and that’s what’s going to be the pushing force into a paperless world.

Since the introduction of modern printing (which is just printing from a computer), we have started to use more paper which is quite counter-intuitive to our goal of a paperless world. In 1975 data storage was more expensive than paper, costing well over $1,000,000 per gigabyte as opposed to under $0.10 in todays world. It will be a lot cheaper to store 100 documents on a hard drive than it would be to print those 100 documents.

We also seem to have some trust issues when it comes to going paperless. And I find this really bizarre compared to some of the other things we trust technology with. We happily trust it with our money through online banking, and our deepest darkest secrets through social media but whenever it comes to the issue of keeping our documents, photos and etcetera on an electronic media we totally freak out (See: “What if the hard drive goes down?”) a whole bunch of worries relating the safety of our items. Physical damage is more likely than electronic damage but it continues to be a worry.

We now have what they didn’t back then, most people have on-demand access to the internet and we often access to our documents or photos at our fingertips

Now, when you think of environmentalism, air travel doesn’t usually spring to mind. However United Airlines, as well as other carriers, have switched to using iPads instead of their usual flight bags. Now that doesn’t sound very impressive or environmentally friendly, does it? Nah. What you probably don’t know is that a flight bag weighs 45 pounds, and if you know anything about airplanes you’ll know that more weight equals more fuel — that’s the reason you have to pay for overweight baggage. They don’t carry a flight bag in reserve, as typical iPad has a battery for ten hours of use which is sufficient for most United Flights so the iPad is a realistic alternative.

By replacing their flight bags with iPads, United has made some impressive savings. It has spared 326,000 gallons of fuel that would have been otherwise burned and produced horrible and yucky CO2. It’s also not used 16 million sheets of paper, saving the lives of approximately 200 60ft tall pine trees. Save the trees. The use of technology here is directly impacting the environment and this is just one airline. Just one type of company. There are thousands that would benefit not only themselves but the planet from switching to a paperless world.

Not only is it better for the environment, it’s also more convenient for ourselves. Surely the easiness is a seller alone? Apparently not. When we talk about the environment, we need to talk about it collectively as a global society. Our desire and want for an industrialized and technologically advanced world is what started to pollute our air and destroy our rainforests. Hopefully we can learn to use the technology to sort ourselves out and one way is to use less paper. Let’s use technology instead.

This post is part of 5 Viridian Years, a month-long re-examination of science-fiction author and design critic Bruce Sterling’s attempt to engineer an avant-garde bright green design movement in the dying days of the 20th century. Five years after the project ended, we are revisiting its goals, methods, impacts, and offshoots. Want to take part? Contact tim@quietbabylon.com.

Written by

16-year-old Full Stack Web Developer and Writer on Medium for Futures Exchanges. Founder and Developer at @planrrapp


Education’s greatest pitfall should be its greatest strength

When I was young, I never found school interesting enough, so I read other books that I (actually) found interesting. The linear education model is broken.


Image representing Al Gore as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase




In late 2006, I was an unassuming young sixth grader. At the time, everyone on the news was stressing over Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” You might know a little bit about it.


We did not often talk about this climate crisis in school. In fact, I do not believe that the climate crisis came up in any conversations. I had History, Math, English, Science, and Religion classes. In none of them did we talk about renewable energy or the climate crisis.


I said to myself, “What is this climate stuff everyone is talking about? Why would a guy make a documentary about it? If this is a problem, why is no one trying to solve it?”


Because none of my teachers engaged us in climate change discussion and it was not taught in schools, I did some research on my own.


This climate change stuff was a clear and straight forward problem.


read more -> https://medium.com/lessons-learned-1/82c86796c61b



Experimenting Is The Best Way To Learn!

What my kitchen sink taught me about patience

I was doing the dishes today. Humming to myself. Thinking about the next thing on my list. After all, washing utensils is a mechanical job, right?


Especially, not when the tube under the sink decides to stop letting the water pass through and throws it right back at you. Suddenly my feet, which I thought were safe in my bright blue flip flops, felt a rush of water.

I don’t know — have you ever felt an unexpected rush of water on your feet when you least expect it, from a source you least expect it from? It is scary. Not as much as having the carpet pulled from under your feet, perhaps, but — weirdly scary. Like having a puppy come lick your feet,when you have no puppy.

Well, I looked down and to my consternation, found an inch of water where there should have been dry land. Oh well, I thought. Drain needs cleaning. And being the rather competent woman I thought myself to be, quickly picked up a packet of Kiwi Drainex from my store room and emptied the pack into the sink and followed the instructions, which said I had to add a cup of water. It also meant I had to wait for thirty minutes for the magic to get working.

I told my folks to stay away from the sink. Not a big deal since we had all just enjoyed lunch and dessert.


read more -> https://medium.com/what-i-learned-today/38c74b6f800b



Mike Tyson says he’s ‘on the verge of dying’ !!! (VIDEO) #SOSHITECH


On the outside looking in, it seems like Mike Tyson is doing well. He’s on the verge of a new career as a boxing promoter, and has lost over 100 pounds. During a press conference at the Turning Stone Resort in central New York, however, Tyson revealed he’s still battling drug and alcohol addiction, and his condition may be worse than ever.

“I’m a bad guy sometimes. I did a lot of bad things, and I want to be forgiven. So in order for me to be forgiven, I hope they can forgive me. I wanna change my life, I wanna live a different life now. I wanna live my sober life. I don’t wanna die. I’m on the verge of dying, because I’m a vicious alcoholic.

I haven’t drank or took drugs in six days, and for me that’s a miracle. I’ve been lying to everybody else that think I was sober, but I’m not. This is my sixth day. I’m never gonna use again.”


1/2 Of Earth’s Population Lives In This Circle

This map blew my mind. Look at what a tiny region of the planet contains more than HALF the living people! I then learned that if you took the whole planet and everyone lived at the density of Manhattan, then everyone would fit inside of Texas. And if all 7 billion people were shoulder to shoulder, we’d fit in Los Angeles.


(VIA. Bill Gross – Linkedin – Founder and CEO of Idealab)


Why Facebook would buy Waze: To fight Google for mobile search

The navigation app would give the social network a way to insert itself into the lucrative mobile search business owned by Google.


Rumors that Facebook is in late-stage talks to buy Waze for as much as $1 billion have many wondering if the social network’s next great ambition is to tackle the maps and navigation market. Maybe — but only because maps would be Facebook’s best way to route around Google and make money from mobile search.

Founded in 2007, Waze makes a navigation application for iPhone and Android used by roughly 45 million people. The app’s mapping service is powered by the people who use it. Waze ingests all types of location data as shared, either implicitly or explicitly, by drivers. The app also connects to Facebook and incorporates social-networking functions so drivers can see their friends’ whereabouts on the map, share their location, and even send private messages.

Should Facebook buy Waze, the social network will send a clear message to Google: “Watch out! We’re on your tail.”

Facebook would like to be a formidable force on mobile and not just capture attention, but ad dollars. If it has to get into the maps business to do so, so be it.

Waze Chief Executive Noam Bardin inadvertently said as much when he spoke at AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference last month. The full interview is embedded below.

“What search is for the Web, maps are for mobile,” he said. “The searches you do on mobile that actually are monetizable, and are different from the Web, are searches that have to do with location.”

The search mechanism on mobile devices is the map, he said.

In Bardin’s view of the mobile search land-grab, which revolves around great maps, there are just two players: Google and Waze.

“Google is out there creating a new standard in terms of quality, and we feel that we’re the only reasonable competition to them in this market of creating maps that are really geared for mobile, for real-time, for consumers — for the new world that we’re moving into.”

Enter Facebook, a company that surely doesn’t want to be left behind in the race to own mobile search.

By eMarketer’s estimates, Facebook is the No. 2 mobile ad publisher in the U.S — second only to Google. The social network accounted for 9.5 percent of mobile ad revenue in 2012 and will eat up 13.2 percent of the U.S. mobile ad market this year, thanks to its strength in the display category. Google, however, will take home more than half of all mobile ad revenue in 2013, according to the market research firm.

But when it comes to making money from mobile search, the real cash cow on mobile, Google is the uncontested leader.

The search giant netted 93.3 percent of all U.S. mobile search ad dollars last year, and it will continue to maintain a suffocating hold over this particular mobile ad market through 2015, according to estimates from eMarketer. The firm anticipates that U.S. mobile Internet search ad revenue will total $7.85 billion in 2015; it pegs Google’s share at around $7.1 billion, or 90 percent of the market.

Should Facebook buy Waze, the social network will have a way to insert itself into this lucrative business and help its 751 million mobile users better find what they’re searching for on their smartphones.

Waze would also make for an attractive addition to what Bardin called Facebook’s “meta operating system” for mobile, or the growing collection of Facebook mobile applications that ensure that no matter the phone or operating system, people will find themselves inside a Facebook environment.

It’s a strategy the social network has actively pushed forward with its nascent Android Home software suite, as well with single app releases like Facebook Camera, Messenger, and Poke.


Australian govt eyes Google, Apple tax avoidance

Australian govt eyes Google, Apple tax avoidance

Tech companies are likely to be the focus of an Australian government review into the taxation of multinational corporations, where profits are sent into other countries with a lower tax rate than Australia.


The so-called “Double Irish Dutch Sandwich” method of funnelling money through other countries from Australia in order to pay a lower tax rate has been a focus of the Australian government for the past few months amid significant tax revenue declines, in a time when the government is seeking to pay down the deficit. The federal government has previously called out companies such as Google and Apple for using this method to pay very low taxes in Australia, despite significantly high revenue from Google’s advertising and Apple’s products sold in Australia.

On Friday, the Treasury Department released an issues paper (PDF) seeking views on whether this is something the government should address.

“Tax laws that allow some companies, such as large multinational enterprises, to access more favourable tax treatment than domestic firms will distort the allocation of scarce resources within the economy, and imposes efficiency costs that are ultimately borne by all Australians,” the paper stated.

Australian govt eyes Google, Apple tax avoidance

“Similarly, gaps in the integrity of the corporate tax system can affect perceptions of the fairness of the overall tax and transfer system, and require other taxpayers to either make a larger tax contribution or accept a lower level of government services.”

The paper seeks to determine whether there is evidence that the practice is eroding the government’s tax base, and what actions can be taken to fix the issue, both in the short term and the long term.

The Australian government has stated that it will take action to ensure the integrity of Australia’s tax system, and guarantee that there are anti-avoidance measures in place.

The paper suggested that in the short term, the government could address gaps in the current system, such as through transfer pricing rules or fast-track initiatives out of the OECD on transfer pricing guidelines.

In the long term, systematic reform to the taxation system, a reform of institutions around taxation, and multilateral reforms have been suggested, as well as fundamental reforms of taxation globally, with bilateral taxation treaties taking into account the digital nature of the world today.

Submissions are being accepted until May 31, 2013. A Treasury Scoping Paper on the issue is due out in June.



Here’s What The Large Hadron Collider Looks Like Through Google Glass


If Google is worried about Google Glass being too nerdy, they probably wouldn’t be sending people rockin’ the Glass into the heart of the most gloriously nerdy thing in the world, the Large Hadron Collider.

Fortunately, Google doesn’t seem to care (nor should they) if their amazing little experiment gets a few knocks along the way. As a result, we get videos like this one.

In a just released “Explorer Story” video, Google sends physics teacher/aspiring astronaut/really cool guy Andrew Vanden Heuvel some 500 feet below Switzerland for a Glass-ified tour of the world’s biggest particle accelerator.

As if a bit of first-person footie of the LHC wouldn’t be enough, Andrew got to pipe-in his brother’s physics class through a Google Hangout, allowing students a few thousand miles away to join in on the adventure.

Andrew dives a bit deeper into his experiences with Google Glass in a blog post here. While he mostly focuses on his personal experiences during the trip, he grazes an important topic: “It’s not about the technology, but what you can do with it.”

Look. I’ve used Google Glass. Quite a bit, actually. Would I pay $1500 for it? Probably not. But do I think that Google is doing something worthwhile here? Absolutely.

The criticisms that keep popping up as of late — that it’s a waste of Google’s time, that it’s too nerdy/dorky/whatever — are a depressing affront to a group that’s actually trying to do something new. We demand innovation, then mock an attempt at something novel… even when that attempt has been clearly labeled as an experiment since day one. Blyeck.

Hell, this is probably a post of its own worth writing. Lets just watch the video and enjoy our Friday.

(VIA. Tech Crunch)

Marissa Mayer extends Yahoo's maternity leave

Marissa Mayer extends Yahoo’s maternity leave

Nine months after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer gave birth, she is extending Yahoo’s parental leave policy.

Marissa Mayer extends Yahoo's maternity leave

Both new mothers and fathers at Yahoo can now take eight weeks of paid parental leave, and the mothers can take an additional eight weeks. What’s more, new parents will also receive $500 to buy items like groceries and baby clothes.

It’s part of a slate of new benefits “to support the happiness and well-being of Yahoos and their families,” the company confirmed via email. NBC Bay Area first reported these changes. Other new perks include gifts for new pets, and eight weeks of unpaid leave each time an employee hits a five-year milestone.

Yahoo didn’t confirm its previous maternity leave length, but the new policy is more in line with those of other Silicon Valley tech companies. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), Mayer’s former employer, offers seven weeks of paid leave for parents who did not give birth, while new mothers can take off between 18 to 22 weeks. Facebook (FB) offers four paid months for both parents and a whopping $4,000 in “baby cash.”

Yahoo’s parental leave extensions come just two months after Mayer banned telecommuting at Yahoo, setting off a debate about the merits of working from home. Mayer later said the change “was wrongly perceived as an industry narrative,” when she felt it was simply the right thing to do for Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) right now.

But as a female CEO and new mother trying to turn around an aging former tech titan, Mayer faces increased scrutiny on every decision she makes — especially when it relates to juggling family and career.

Mayer revamped the company culture quickly after she took the reins in July 2012, encouraging Yahoo teams to work more quickly and offering Google-esque (GOOG, Fortune 500) perks like free food. Under her watch, Yahoo announced it will return $3 billion to shareholders after selling back some of its stake in Chinese company Alibaba.

Investors cheered Mayer’s business moves, but pundits panned some of her personal decisions.

Mayer was pregnant when she accepted the Yahoo job, and she gave birth to baby Macallister on September 30. She worked while she was out of the office, and came back to work just two weeks later.

Outraged critics slammed Mayer for setting a bad example for other mothers, and pointed out she has more resources than do most working moms — including a reported nursery built next to her office.

Mayer has a lot of turnaround work to do at Yahoo, and she seems to be focusing more on those problems than on gender politics and work-life balance issues. But the new parental leave policy should quell some of her critics.

(VIA. Money.CNN)