Tag Archives: Shows

The Dramatic Downfall of Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn Shows 3 Pitfalls All Leaders Should Avoid
January 10, 2019 12:13 pm|Comments (0)

Why would somebody who had achieved so much risk everything by flaunting the rules?

Unfortunately, Ghosn is just the latest case of poor decision-making in the C-suite that has gone unchecked. Another recent example is Elon Musk, an incredible visionary who consolidated power as chairman and CEO of Tesla, then was forced to give up his chairman role after making inappropriate social media posts about taking the company private.

There is a lesson here: Passion and vision are vital to success in business, but they are not everything. There is a reason that barely half of all companies in the S&P 500 Index combine the roles of chair and CEO in one person. Absolute power corrupts.

That’s why, rather than insulating themselves from balancing influences, smart leaders build support systems that minimize their weaknesses and help them avoid falling prey to corrupting influences.

If you aspire to be a top leader in your field, here’s how you can follow that path of success.

Build a team of rivals.

One of the biggest mistakes powerful people can make is to surround themselves with colleagues who create an echo chamber, rather than with people who question ideas and push them to improve. Steve Jobs wanted to be challenged by Apple’s best and brightest; he said that when team members debate, “they polish each other, and they polish the ideas.

Jobs believed that team members needed to get comfortable with conflict to drive each other to do better. And, he was right. Building a culture of productive conflict keeps leaders sharp. The best team will take your strong ideas further and rein you in when you are headed in the wrong direction. If you build a team of enablers who support your every move, you will begin to think you are infallible. In mild cases, that mindset can inhibit growth; in cases like Ghosn’s, it can derail careers and tarnish legacies.

Think candidly about the people around you. Do they feel empowered to challenge you and polish your ideas? Have you done enough to promote productive conflict on your leadership team? The answer to those questions will determine the health of your organization.

Hire people who complement your weaknesses.

The best leaders are self-aware enough to know their own weaknesses and to gravitate toward people who minimize those shortcomings. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and President Frank Wells built a brilliant partnership because they complemented each other perfectly: Eisner was the visionary strategist, and Wells was the practical executor. Together they transformed the entertainment industry.

People are often drawn to those who are similar to them, but it is vital to widen your perspective. Colleagues with different backgrounds and skill sets can remind you of consequences you have not considered and provide viewpoints or ideas that might tip the scales in taking your business from good to great.

Establish clear governance.

Though it is less visible, a company’s governance can be just as important as its culture and vision. Make sure to have a strong legal team and consult with auditors to keep your business compliant with the highest standards. You should be following best practices long before anyone starts watching.

It can be easy to lose sight of governance, especially when pursuing exponential growth. Leaders have a responsibility to set the example. If employees see their supervisors treating governance as a low priority, they will be more prone to misconduct. What you permit is what you promote.

Remember that the consequences for ignoring governance can affect companies on a grand scale. Already, Ghosn’s behavior at Nissan has created tension in the valuable partnership between Nissan and Renault, an issue that could ultimately damage both companies.  

One of the challenges of success is that each accomplishment brings new problems to solve. It is all too common for highly successful people to think that they are infallible, that they are the smartest person in every room, and that the rules do not apply to them. Leaders owe it to themselves and their organizations to erect structures to guard against these pitfalls.

Do not fall prey to the corrupting influence of power. Surround yourself with people who challenge you to improve; hire employees who minimize your weaknesses; and remember the principles that govern your organization and keep your business honest. No matter what leaders achieve, they must continue to set an example for others to follow.

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This Brilliant Holiday Gift Guide Shows Us How Advertising Should Be Done
December 25, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

Every year, my inbox fills up with holiday gift guides, predicted buying trends, and everyone’s list of the “best of the best” stocking stuffers. I even follow suit at times, and create my own gift guides to help consumers navigate the ever-changing tech options… But this year, if there was an award for holiday gift guides, Digital Trends would be winning big, because their genius holiday campaign has everything and then some.

Expertly Targeted Content

The guide Digital Trends put out depicts products featured and told as stories in miniature scenes, thanks to a partnership with animation studio HouseSpecial. The stories and scenes offer gift ideas for the tech savvy, but in several different categories, like audiophile and foodie. Each scene holds tremendous attention to detail, and draws in the attention of the viewer for several different reasons. Not only are the scenes visually appealing, they are perfectly targeted, and feature products without the products being the actual focus of the scene.

Size Matters

MediaPost pointed out that the figures for the guide were designed in H0 scale. This is the traditional scale for model railroads (Hello Christmas trains and villages!), and this time of year, that is a genius touch, that proves 1) size matters, and 2) attention to detail on every level feels luxurious because we rarely see or experience that in advertising.

What + How + Where

It’s not only WHAT they are saying about the product(s) but HOW they are saying it that has determined the efficacy of their guide. This guide is intentional. It’s clear that the creators went in with a strategy, with intentions, and with clearly defined tangibles as outcomes. This is important because it’s so much easier to get it right when you have the what, how, who, and where answered before you begin.

This Guide Is So “Instagram-able”

This unique “Instagram-able” product advertising campaign is unique and perfectly targeted in the following ways:

  1. It’s visually impactful and easily shared. The scenes are done so well, they have feelings to them of nostalgia and something unique, and they are easily shareable, which allows consumers to easily create buzz for them.

  2. They are tapping into the nod to collectable holiday villages and model railroads, hitting right to the type of consumers they want to attract.

  3. They feature products without being product shots and really separate out and make products that are me-too, and available anywhere, special enough to be clicked and bought to reward the creativity. Point blank: the guide makes people want to buy items they may have scrolled past on Amazon more than once, because of the emotion and connection they feel to the scenes and campaign.

With more than 30 million unique monthly visitors, I’m happy to take notes from Digital Trends. Alana Wolfman, their director of production, who shared their strategy of using SEO search queries to stay in front of exactly what users are searching for during the holiday season. In addition to that, the scenes themselves were created by a team that has worked on campaigns for major players like Chipotle, Planters, noosa, and Dish Network.

Rising Above the Noise

The reason I really love this campaign, other than the adorable perfectly executed miniature displays, besides the fact that it is everything an advertising campaign should be in its ability to be shared and to capture attention, aside from it’s near perfect timing and magnificent attention to detail… is how the creators went outside of the box, to create something unique. That might not sound like much, but to be unique with intention, in a place where everyone is trying everything to be relevant, is a big deal.

The thought put into creation speaks for itself, and should push your goals for future product advertising. Don’t be afraid to be unique, to go big (or small!), and to pay so much attention to the details that your attention feels like luxury to the consumers experiencing your campaign.

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Russia says detention of China's Huawei CFO shows U.S. arrogance
December 7, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for a news conference on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Milan, Italy, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

MILAN (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the detention of Chinese technology giant Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada was an example of “arrogant” U.S. policy abroad.

Speaking at a news conference in Milan, Lavrov said the detention showed how Washington imposes its laws beyond its jurisdiction.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the daughter of the company founder, was arrested on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States. The arrest, revealed by Canadian authorities late on Wednesday, was part of a U.S. investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, people familiar with the probe told Reuters.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; writing by Tom Balmforth and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Peter Graff

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Waymo and GM Lead the Self-Driving Car Race, New Data Shows
February 5, 2018 6:03 pm|Comments (0)

Most of the questions surrounding the coming age of driverless cars pertain to practical things: regulation, insurance, training protocols for the cars’ remote human backups. Some are philosophical: What do we owe the people whose jobs will be annihilated? Do robo cars need ethics lessons? At least one question is practical and philosophical: How do we know when these things are ready to ditch their human safety drivers and roll about unattended?

No one has much of a response. You could say that as soon as the robot is safer than the average human driver—who crashes once every 238,000 miles or so—it’s wrong to keep it in the lab. Or you can argue that robo cars ought to be held to higher standards: Should they be 10 times better than the human? 1,000 times? Whatever the answer is, data will help us get there. And so we turn to the California DMV’s 2017 Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports.

The Golden State, home to many of the companies leading the robo revolution, has some of the strictest rules for AVs in the country. Operators who run cars on public roads must publicly report any crashes they’re involved in. And at the end of every year, they must hand over data on how many miles they drove and how many times their onboard human safety driver had to take control from the machine—that’s called a disengagement. Combine those, and you have a number approximating how far any company’s self-driving car can go without human help. Something like a grade.

The metric is imperfect, and this data comes with a crate of caveats. But before we get into those, know this: Waymo (formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project) and General Motors appear to be leading the pack and making rapid progress toward the day when human drivers, with all their inattention and distraction and tendency to crash, will be obsolete.

Ifs and Buts

You can read more about the shortcomings of disengagement reports here, but here’s the quick rundown:

  • They’re unscientific, because each company reports its data in a different way, offering various levels of detail and idiosyncratic explanations for what triggered the human takeover.
  • They’re packed with vague language and lack context. Delphi cites “cyclist” as the reason for a bunch of disengagements. Zoox blamed every disengagement on a “planning discrepancy” or “hardware discrepancy.”
  • They’re little use for anyone who wants to compare rival companies, because those companies aren’t running the same tests: Waymo does most of its testing in simple suburbs; GM focuses on the complex city. They’re better for tracking the progress of each outfit, but still not great, because those companies change how and where they test over time.
  • A disengagement does not mean the car was going to crash, only that the human driver wasn’t 100 percent confident in how it would behave.
  • They only cover driving on public roads in California. So we don’t know anything about Ford, which focuses its testing around Detroit and Pittsburgh. We don’t see data for Waymo’s increasingly important test program in Phoenix—where its cars are tooling about without anyone inside.

On the other hand, the disengagement reports are the best data we’ve got for evaluating these development efforts. No state but California demands anything like this, and private companies only share such info when the government demands it.

So, let’s sprinkle some grains of salt on the numbers and take a look. We broke them down into a pair of two-axis charts. The first looks at Waymo and General Motors. It notes how many miles they drove in 2016 and 2017 (in green) and how many miles they averaged between disengagements (in blue). (By the way, Uber didn’t have to file a report, because this data isn’t required until your first full calendar year of testing. Uber didn’t get its permit to test in California until March of 2017.)

The takeaway here is that Waymo’s software remains excellent, and it’s still doing tons of testing in California. For GM, you can see a huge ramp-up in miles driven, and a steep increase in miles per disengagement. That’s progress, and it’s a good thing: GM plans to launch a car without a steering wheel or pedals next year. Keep in mind that GM does nearly all its public street testing in San Francisco, a much more complicated environment than Palo Alto and Mountain View, where Waymo works.

HOTLITTLEPOTATO

Next, we have the data for Delphi (now known as Aptiv), Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Zoox, a San Francisco–based startup working to build a self-driving vehicle that looks nothing like today’s cars—not that it will say anything more than that for the time being. Each has a serious program, but they do so much less testing than Waymo and GM that we put them in their own chart. (Otherwise, the scales would just be totally out of proportion to each other.)

HOTLITTLEPOTATO

More caveats: Mercedes-Benz may not look so hot in California, but that data’s from just three vehicles. It does much more work in Europe: In 2017, it sent an autonomous S-Class on a five-month tour of five continents. Nissan does a lot of testing at NASA’s Ames Research Center, which doesn’t count as public land, so doesn’t require data reporting. And to get the most interesting bit of data from Zoox, you have to dive into its report.

In its first year of testing (thus the lack of 2016 numbers), it drove just over 100 miles through August. Over the next three months, it drove about 2,000. Yet its rate of disengagements remained steady. Overall, it averaged 160 miles per disengagement. But if you look at just November, when it was doing lots of testing in downtown San Francisco, that number jumps to 430. Even with the caveats, it’s a clear sign that Zoox is making impressive progress—and that more than one of these students is getting ready to throw on a gown, grab its diploma, and give you a ride.


Robo-Drive

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Fat girls dance. This beautiful Dove video shows why that’s so radical
July 28, 2017 5:20 pm|Comments (0)

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Fat girls dance.

That three word statement may seem simple and declarative. Yet, the assertion that fat girls do dance challenges a ton of assumptions and stigma around what plus-size people can and can’t do.

Cathleen Meredith, a self-proclaimed “fat girl,” knows the importance of dancing while people are watching. Meredith is the subject of the first video in an anticipated partnership between acclaimed producer Shonda Rhimes and Dove, called Dove Real Beauty Productions. The series spotlights real women redefining beauty — and Meredith is no doubt doing just that through her brainchild Fat Girls DanceRead more…

More about Social Good, Body Positivity, Shonda Rhimes, Dove, and Plus Size


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Microsoft Research shows off its augmented reality glasses
July 17, 2017 4:40 pm|Comments (0)

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Because we’re spoiled and don’t appreciate amazing technology unless it’s immediately convenient, some tech pundits are dismissing VR in favor of AR, but the fact is that we’re still years away from easy to use AR glasses. For now, mainstream AR is limited to your smartphone, like most other apps. 

However, a team at Microsoft Research is looking to speed up the progress on wearable AR devices and have introduced a prototype as proof. 

Before Snap can turn its Spectacles wearable camera into a vehicle for its augmented reality app filters, Microsoft’s team presented a pair of glasses on Friday that use near-eye displays to produce holograms to the wearer.  Read more…

More about Virtual Reality, Vr, Wearable Tech, Augmented Reality, and Ar


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Microsoft Research shows off its augmented reality glasses
July 6, 2017 2:40 am|Comments (0)

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Because we’re spoiled and don’t appreciate amazing technology unless it’s immediately convenient, some tech pundits are dismissing VR in favor of AR, but the fact is that we’re still years away from easy to use AR glasses. For now, mainstream AR is limited to your smartphone, like most other apps. 

However, a team at Microsoft Research is looking to speed up the progress on wearable AR devices and have introduced a prototype as proof. 

Before Snap can turn its Spectacles wearable camera into a vehicle for its augmented reality app filters, Microsoft’s team presented a pair of glasses on Friday that use near-eye displays to produce holograms to the wearer.  Read more…

More about Virtual Reality, Vr, Wearable Tech, Augmented Reality, and Ar


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Preakness 2017: What Video Replay Shows for Cloud Computing's Belmont Odds
May 23, 2017 1:05 pm|Comments (0)

Cloud Computing ensured there will be no Triple Crown winner this year after a thrilling come-from-behind victory at the 2017 Preakness Stakes on …
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IBM's Earnings Report Shows Big Blue Beating Q4 Estimates, But Quarterly Revenue Dropping By …
January 20, 2017 1:30 pm|Comments (0)

The growth is attributed to the expansion of IBM’s key businesses, which includes cloud computing and AI solutions. ( Ethan Miller | Getty Images ).


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Nest Cam Outdoor shows me the cat lurking outside my home
November 13, 2016 4:15 am|Comments (0)

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Seeing is safety.

I live in a relatively safe neighborhood, but some years ago, my home was burglarized. The thieves broke in through the back door. Since then, we’ve been more vigilant about locked doors and windows and installed a Nest Dropcam indoors to keep an eye on our house. It does a great job of showing my open-floor-plan kitchen, dining room and den, but is of no use for the space outside my home.

Nest Cam Outdoor takes everything that’s good about Nest Cam — easy setup, anywhere-in-the-world access and cloud-based footage recording – and adds in weatherproofing. It is an excellent addition to the Nest family of smart home devices. Read more…

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