Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 5 September 2014


You Can't Do Strategy Without Input from Sales • 25 August 2014

Libraries don't have sales groups, do they? Frank Cespedes jumps off from a well-known book about a year in a Xerox sales group to make some observations about the danger of having strategy disconnected from sales. He observes that "selling is, by far, the most expensive part of implementation for most firms. Yet, relatively few strategies carry through to successful execution and, on average, companies deliver only 50-60% of the financial performance that their strategies and sales forecasts promise."

This is a short read which makes the point that no matter how good the strategy is it can get undone by the behaviors of those closest to the customer. And further that it's not possible to have a good strategy that is not informed by the insights of those closest to the customer. Who's closest to the customer in today's libraries?

The book that he references, The Force by David Dorsey, is a non-fiction account which I'm told by former sales people is one of the most ethnographically accurate pieces about sales that you can read. Here's the original NY Times review. (Michalko)



Community Source Is Dead • 26 August 2014

Is this greatly exaggerated? I think not. The Kuali project which had aimed to develop via community source mechanisms a full-suite of higher education support software e.g., finances, human resources, library management, etc. announced recently that it would reform the effort as a for-profit corporate entity. That announcement and associated details have been getting lots of attention and commentary. This particular blog post focuses on the extent to which the change is an indicator that the Community Source dynamic is fatally flawed and essentially dead.

Absolutely worth your time even if you ultimately disagree with Feldstein. I found his observations about the Community Source model compelling. He fingers it as a direct and significant cause of the troubles that Kuali has had (understanding that to date quite a bit has been delivered). Here's my two favorite remarks:

1. "Community Source is essentially project management approach focused on maximizing the control and influence of the IT managers whose budgets are paying for the projects."

2. "In my opinion, Community Source is dead primarily because the Gantt Chart is dead." (Michalko)



Inside Why Good Employees Make Bad Decisions

Fast Company • 25 August 2014

These aren't excuses. They are explanations. This piece extracts a few major observations from the book Workplace Morality: Behavioral Ethics in Organizations by Muel Kaptein. It's a summation of the scientific literature that evaluates how different surroundings can affect decision making.

It's good to be reminded of these. Once again it's hard to overstate the impact of shared values and team interaction on enterprise success. I was amused by his example of cleaning up after yourself in the gym. I've seen that work both ways. (Michalko)




Thoughts That Can't Be Thought and Ideas That Can't Be Formed: The Promise of Smart Drugs

Pacific Standard • 25 August 2014

Are we asking the right questions about smart drugs? Marek Kohn looks at what they can do for us--and what they can't. In the process he makes the interesting distinction between cognitive enhancement as either about mitigating disorders or about reaching levels of performance that were previously unattainable.

Slightly long but I wanted to know more about these drugs and the prognosis. There's the pill favored by college students and the one chosen by always-on Wall Street types, both of which have traversed through medication to recreation to application. Both Adderall and Modafinil seem to be taken for a purpose but there's precious little evidence of their efficacy in that purpose or their long-term effect. They may just be causing a variation on The Drunker I Am, The Hotter I Get Syndrome. (Michalko)




Trolls, Taylor, and the Tawse

The Troll Slayer: Mary Beard Takes On Her Sexist Detractors | The New Yorker

“Problem,” “Royals,” and Other Pop Songs Transformed into Flowery Sonnets | Flavorwire

10 Strange Episodes In The History Of Schools | Listverse

A long one – because she is admirably sensible, smart, and amusing. An anti-troll.

A short clever one – “…But now that we are once again apart, I swear you shan’t again reclaim my heart.” (Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together).

A list, naturally – with genuinely strange facts including the Lochgelly. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some of the reasons memory institutions consume linked data?

Get the answer.