People as a focus, novel idea?

Going back through all of my papers written for ICS 601, I wanted to highlight one of the more interesting.  Please enjoy, as I enjoyed the book How Google Works.

Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg explore the foundation of Google’s success and what facilitated its growth into the global powerhouse it is today with the book “How Google Works” (2014).  The book, not a technical guide to how Google “works”, is an overview of theories, relationships, and values that worked for Google.

Google’s core value is “focus on the user” (Schmidt and Rosenberg, 2016).  While this is not unique in a consumer driven market, the way Google facilitates adhering to the core value is unique.  Embracing the “smart creative” as an employee is the way to do this.  They focus on hiring talent and give them the freedom to use that talent.  Google has a culture in which creativity, autonomy, collaboration, and ownership is expected and appreciated across the organization.  In this culture, their smart creatives work with different departments, either working on new ideas or more importantly improving upon the successes that are central to their core business.  They encourage inter-department collaboration to facilitate the flow of ideas and creativity.  Employee input is encouraged.  Google gives a voice to every employee creating a sense of ownership and responsibility to deliver a product in line with their core value, focus on the user.

The focus on hiring the “smart creative”, giving them the freedom to act and the ability to communicate positive and negative feedback creates an environment at Google geared toward success.  Schmidt and Rosenberg (2014) showcased the environment of what makes it all work and yet they did more.  They stated that it is the responsibility of leaders within the company to create this environment.  The focus of hiring the right people is only part of the equation.  Communicating, listening, firing when needed, networking and nurturing employee strengths and ideas at all levels facilitates an environment for company and individual success at Google.

Glass Houses Need Insulation

For anyone pursuing a career in technology, politics, research and development, finance, etc., Glass Houses by Joel Brenner is a must read.  The book takes us on a journey through the world of a technological system that is vulnerable.  More and more industries are plugging high value data into the internet without protecting it properly.  Companies are becoming targets, attacked from foreign cyber attackers.  Government intelligence data is at risk from internal theft and cyber-attack.

Recent attacks include the hacking into the DNC database and DDoS attacks through IoT devices.  These attacks are not new nor are they going to go away.  They are increasing and affect every market.

As an individual working in the field of technology, I will be working with companies that need proper security planning to make sure valuable data is not stolen.  Cyber-attacks can cost millions of dollars whether in lost revenue or stolen secrets.  If we as managers/leaders in this field don’t insulate or secure databases sufficiently, company revenue and research will “leak” offshore shifting the innovative edge to other countries and companies.

Noise Theory in an Election Year

What is human communication?  I recently began developing my own theory.  The Shannon-Weaver model of communication: sender, encoder, channel, decoder, receiver, and noise is the simplest form of communication and serves as launching point for my own professional theory.

The recent presidential election illustrates my theory that Noise does not only affect the path we use to communicate, it effects the intention, perception, existing bias, and stated bias.  We had two candidates (senders) on the campaign trail sending messages (information) to citizens (receivers).  They communicated their information at rally’s, televised debates, and social media.  Whether backing the democratic nominee, republican nominee, or third party candidates we can make a choice on who we will vote for.

I found myself getting upset, railing at the perceived ignorance of people who do not check on the credibility of those they decide to back.  Then, SMACK, it hit me.  I was making assumptions based on my point of view and perspective.  I assumed the reasons people voted for candidates was blind faith, not the cry for change, the cry for status quo, or any other reasons guiding them.  Assumptions I made based on the noise of my experience.

I summed up my theory with my own assumptions.  If I am the writer, speaker, or audience I bring my “noise baggage” to the communication I am involved in.  Likewise, others are part of the noise as well.  If there is a lesson to be gained from the recent presidential election, it is that there is noise all around us.  Everyone is a part of the noise due to experiences that shape us and we have a responsibility of awareness to facilitate moving forward.