• Lessons,  Management

    The Circus of Performance Reviews

    “Out of all of the methods used to rate and grade employees, the dreaded annual or semiannual performance reviews are especially unhelpful and potentially harmful…” Performance Reviews. I’m not sure who hates performance reviews more – the managers who have to give them or the employees who have to receive them. They are loathsome all around. The well written and well-researched article from www.knowablemagazine.org is full of alternatives. The best alternative, however, is the hardest to implement: daily evaluation and feedback. Does that mean I have to actually talk to my employees? Yes. Yes it does. It very specifically means daily interaction. If you have more than about a dozen…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Growth via Simplicity

    “The lesson: Growth is best achieved by making things simpler for your customer rather than for you.”   Another great article from Harvard Business Review (register to read full articles).  The McDonalds case study is illuminating and I’ll let you read it, but the real less is making your product work for your customer, not for you. I love that stat that says 64% of cunsumers say they would pay more for a simpler and more convenient experience.  That reminds me of a recent tweet where a large desk phone manufacturer showed a video of a user ordering a pizza via the browser on the desk phone.  My response was…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Role of Luck in Business

    There was a lot of talk about luck this summer!  Mostly due to this paper outlining a well-done lab experiment on luck. Additionally the  MIT Technology Review  (a great resource for business information, especially if you are looking for advice and commentary with a technology bent) had additional analysis. Especially in America, we see success as the natural fallout of talent + hard work.  But does hard work always (or every) guarantee success?  How about talent?  If so, how do they factor in?  If I work 10% more than you (44 hours vs. 40 hours) will I earn 10% more?  How about investors who earn 1,000 times what some people…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Creativity and Boredom

    You find business advice in some of the most interesting places. Take this video for example: https://youtu.be/UzO56i7nUBs It’s by a YouTube artist know as Chris Ramsay. I found his channel one day looking at puzzle solutions. I have a friend, let’s call him David, who loves puzzles (as do I), but he’s always frustrated that he solves them too quickly – this is NOT a problem I have. I was hoping to find some puzzles that were real stumpers to challenge David with. Chris’s channel did not disappoint.  Chris has an easy demeanor onscreen and walks you through his solving process.  He also has quite a few videos on magic…

  • VoIP

    What is WebRTC

    At a high level, WebRTC is a way for browsers to have access to video, speakers and microphone directly without an intermediary like Java or Flash.  It’s most common use to-date has been for voice and video calling. WebRTC does NOT have a built-in protocol for call setup.  You can use an existing call setup protocol like SIP or make your own. OnSIP has open-sourced sip.js (https://sipjs.com/) as an OpenSource javascript library to add the SIP protocol to WebRTC. When using SIP as the call setup protocol for WebRTC, WebRTC is simply the conduit to the camera, speakers and microphone.  SIP does all the heavy lifting of notifying each end…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Why Employees Quit their Job

    In his book DRiVE, Daniel Pink takes a scientific view of what actually motivates us. The answer is simple: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. (Interestingly, money is not on that list. You need to make enough money to make it a non-issue, but after that, we are motivated by Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.) Autonomy in that we have some say over how we do our job, Mastery in that we are given the opportunity to learn and grow in our profession, and Purpose in that we are working for a greater good. In a recent Harvard Business Review post, they come to similar conclusions as to why people quit their jobs.…

  • Technology

    Do Not Play the Paperclip Game

    I saw The Link  at exactly 10:11pm last night.  I noted the time because the article I saw it in said that the game would occupy at least the next couple hours.  “No way,” I foolishly thought, but I noted the time anyway.  A couple thousand clicks and optimizations later I look up and it’s 12:33am.  I swore I had only been a few minutes.  An hour tops.  Nope, 2 hours 22 minutes.  I played until 1:11am and went to bed with the screen running.  I awoke to a couple trillion dollars invested and the planet slowly running out of resources left to turn into paperclips. Never fear, once you consume…

  • Lessons,  Management,  What I Learned from Yoga

    Handling Stress

    Stress.  As a CEO you’re supposed to be immune to stress.  You’re the captain of the ship; the general of the army.  Never let them see you sweat…all that stuff.  But, you’re also human.  All humans experience stress in one form or another and a various times.  The important thing is what to do about it.  The way you handle the stress that life presents is the key. The other issue as a CEO is that you rarely have people you can confide in.  No one really wants to hear about your troubles, and, see above, you are not supposed to have any troubles.  Many of the activities you can…

  • Technology,  VoIP

    MD5 Authentication – Working Example

    Ok – here is MD5 authentication: The PhD Course: SIP REGISTER is authenticated via MD5 authentication.  Everything you need to know is sent in the ‘Authorization’ line except the SIP Method which is at the top of the packet and in this case REGISTER – it could also be INVITE for example – and the user’s password.  That’s the key – that password. Here’s a sample REGISTER  Authorization string: Authorization: Digest username="agrabah_aladdin", realm="jnctn.net", nonce="5d02c49e00007aeb4d90b8fe974cf38a6d6a5b7515c24c19", uri="sip:agrabah.onsip.com", algorithm=MD5, qop=auth, cnonce="59f4a2601ec0874", nc=00000001, response="bb9ee2c392839058a01abcfa8192db47"   You create an A1 string for the user.  This string remains the same for the lifetime of the user’s password.  For this example we will assume Aladdin’s password is…

  • Technology

    Easily Create and Edit your Gmail Signature

    Gmail allows you to have an HTML markup e-mail signature.  That means you can get pretty fancy with how you sign your e-mails.  The only problem is that the area where you edit that signature does not have HTML edit tools and you can’t cut/paste HTML directly into that box.  You CAN, however, cut/paste from a Web page into the e-mail signature box and all of your HTML markup (tables, bold, links, etc) all come through. After a little work, here’s what worked for me to create/edit my own e-mail signature for Gmail. Take the code below and cut/paste into your favorite text editor.  I recommend TextWrangler.  Edit the information…