January 23, 2012

Back to Business

If insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then this should come as no surprise to anyone: the people running RIM are completely insane. All that the new 2-for-1 CEO swap has done is replace a couple guys who got the company lost with a guy whose compass can't find North.

So I'll go out on a limb and say this out loud (in fact at a poker game more than 4 months ago I did just that). RIM should get back to business. Screw the consumer market. I mean, don't not have a camera and music player and integration with Facebook and Twitter, but don't sell those bits, sell the stuff you're good at. The stuff no one else can touch.

There used to be a time when RIM did something that no one else did. Wireless email. It was genius. Then along came text messages and mobile browsers and portable music and cameras and tons of gadgets were introduced to the market, Apple leading the way. Meanwhile, RIM kept doing what it did best, but by this time wireless email had turned into full featured mobile business communications, and they were still kicking everyone ass.

Then, someone over there at 175 Columbia Street thought to themselves, "Holy crap, if we don't get the consumers on our side we're done", and they started to try to play with the kings of consumerism, and they got their ass kicked. Big time.

The thing with consumers is they're fickle. They change their minds more frequently than a certain former RIM CEO tries to buy hockey teams. Corporations, however, take eons to make any sort of change, and guess what? Tons of them out there are using Blackberries. They're reliable, they're secure, and they allow business to happen.

If a hundred million dollar deal is in the works, do you want to send the draft to your CEO on a Blackberry, or with the same toy your kid uses to play Angry Birds?

You're working on a presentation to the board of directors and you need some financials from Larry over in accounts payable. Do you ask him to send it to the same device currently playing the new Justin Bieber video for your kid or do you use a Blackberry?

Hell, the  President of the United States  uses a Blackberry. Now that's saying something.

But what the hell do I know. I'm not a CEO, or a market analyst, I've never even so much as taken a single business class, and I use an iPhone.

January 01, 2012

Looking Ahead

Don't look back, but don't miss an opportunity to learn from the past.

This is not a year in review. This is a year in preview. Although, having been through quite a bit over the last year I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't learn something from the past 12 months. So with that in mind here's what's on tap for 2012, with a lesson or two thrown in to make sure I don't repeat the same mistakes I made in the previous year.

Let's start with goals. I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions, but I do think setting a target is important. That's what I learned last year with my big singing surprise for my wife. Put a date in the calendar. Set it. Make it permanent. Then do incremental things between now and then that bring you closer to that goal. 

A friend of mine uses the technique of working backwards. It's basically what I described above but works from the end back to the now. Establish your end. Example: By November 6th I want to be able to sing a capella on stage for my wife. Then, go to the step just before that. Between November 1 and 5 I will need to perform in front of a small group of friends. Then go one step before that, and so on. I will need to have taken lessons. How many? With whom? The key is to figure out what you will need to do to get yourself to that step. When you're done planning backwards, if you've end up back in 2011, then you have to re-work your plan so that you can get from A to B in the time you want (practice more, rehearse more, whatever...)

I've done this with my writing goals for the year. I've started with when I want each of my pieces to be done and worked backwards. The result is a writing schedule where I know how many words I need to write by which days and for what topic. My writing goals for 2012 are as follows:
  • Finish writing and editing 1 novel (100,000 words)
  • Finish and e-publish 3 short stories (10,000-20,000 words each)
  • Write 1 screenplay based on my finished novel (approx. 90 pages)
  • Write 25 blog posts - this one counts :)
Another thing I learned from last year is that I must leverage some key P's: 


Being off work for more than two months with a concussion taught me this one the hard way. Things won't happen overnight. There will be setbacks. 

You must work within your limits but always know that it's in you to do more

With that in mind I've also set some other goals for the year. All achievable, even with the above goals in play:

Finally, one thing I have learned over the past year is that nothing can be accomplished alone. No man is an island. Everyone needs a little help from their friends. I've drawn up three goals that supersede all of the above, and there's no special formula or methodology to accomplishing them. The road to success with these starts now and continues every day for the next year, and every one that follows:

  • Be a better father to my kids;
  • a  better husband to my wife;
  • and a better friend to all the people in my life.

Here's to a great 2012!