Category Archives: Technology & Organizations

The Reckoning

hwms.coverartThe arc comes to a close, even though the issues remain open.   At some point, the board has to make a decision – Take the path to the right, Take the path to the left, or Stand in the middle of the road, (which is a decision unto itself.)

Vinny’s board has taken the “maximize immediate return on investment” path, which was the obvious choice once they understood the situation.  The decision brings the SidePocket story to a close because there is no more SidePocket to discuss.  However, it leaves at least on human open, unresolved and visible for all to see.

Cast:

  • Maddie, the young entrepreneur  – Zoe Anastassiou
  • Vinny, the CEO of SidePocket – Geoffrey Grier
  • Molly of SidePocket – Caraid O’Brien
  • Thomas of IBM – Ron Bianchi
  • Carl of G&P – Josh LaForce
  • Jessie, formerly of SidePocket – Sahara Ale
  • San, a mover – Ron Bianchi
  • Julio, a mover – Jake Minevich

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The Corporate Goddesses

In this episode a pair of movers debate the meaning of a series of statues that are commonly called “The Corporate Goddesses”.   These statues are mounted on the top of 860 California Street in San Francisco’s Financial District.  They were done by sculptor  Muriel Castanis (1926-2006).   From a distance they appear to be draped female figures but closer inspection reveals that they are only the draping without faces or figures.

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Challenging the Board

hwms.coverartIt’s not a typical employee relationship – CEO and Board.

Sure, there’s an employee contract but it hardly covers all the circumstances of the job.

Vinny, the CEO of SidePocket, has concluded that his board is out of step with the software market and that he needs to take firm steps to show them a good strategy.  These steps will put him in conflict with the board, but it is an uncertain conflict.  He’s not directly disobedient.  Yet, he is not following the board strategy either.

Cast:

  • Maddie, the young entrepreneur  – Zoe Anastassiou
  • Vinny, the CEO of SidePocket – Geoffrey Grier
  • Molly of SidePocket – Caraid O’Brien
  • Thomas of IBM – Ron Bianchi
  • Karen the Banker – Debbon Ayer
  • Carl of G&P – Josh LaForce

[18145]

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Tech, Money, Betrayal & Bad Driving

hwms.coverartThings are never as clear as they seem.  Never as obvious.  Never as straightforward as you would like.

It should be simple.  You get an idea.  You make a product.  You take it to the market.  Let your customers decide for good or for ill.

But that simplicity masks the fundamental conflict.  A conflict over goals.  A conflict that is often deeply hidden in the acts and decisions of daily life.

Cast members Caraid O’Brien and Josh LaForce talk about the current series of the podcast and the challenges of preparing a podcast while driving through the streets of San Jose, California.

 

Cast:

  • Molly of SidePocket – Caraid O’Brien
  • Carl of G&P – Josh LaForce

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To Make A Point

hwms.coverartSometimes talk doesn’t work.

You’ve argued your case again and again. They hear your points, concede your argument but don’t accept your conclusion.

What do you do? And when do you do it?

And perhaps most importantly, what do you tell yourself about the risk involved? A key moment in the development of SidePocket.

Cast:

  • Maddie the 8-year-old Entrepreneur – Zoe Anastassiou
  • Vinny the CTO – Geoffrey Grier
  • Molly of SidePocket – Caraid O’Brien
  • Carl of G&P – Josh LaForce
  • Jim or Kim or Tim – Ron Bianchi
  • Violet of Marketing – Margaux Amie

[18140]

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Success & Temptation

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What’s success?  A million a month? A million a month in revenue for a young software firm? (Remember, this story comes from the 1990s, Podcastland.) It’s not a bad start.

But what do you do with success? Throw a party? Lease a new office building? Build your technical staff? Listen to your board and take a stab at controlling the market?

Such is the problem faced by Vinny, the CEO of SidePocket. He doesn’t know what path to take even with the siren call of temptation sweeps through the air.

 

Cast:

  • Maddie the 8-year-old Entrepreneur – Zoe Anastassiou
  • Vinny the CTO – Geoffrey Grier
  • Molly of SidePocket – Caraid O’Brien
  • Carl of G&P – Josh LaForce
  • Rick at the Converence – Ron Bianchi
  • Karen from CalFed – Debbon Ayer

[18135]

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Stories about Tech Governance

hwms.coverartTechnology & Governance?  What’s the big deal?  It’s just politics.  Right?

And why are we doing it with stories?  Why can’t we just give you the PowerPoints and be done with it?

Because Tech Governance is a key part of our age.  Without it, you don’t get the new products, the new services, the new tools, the new ideas.

By why stories?

Because you only learn this stuff by living it.  And if you can’t live it yourself, you can at least eavesdrop to someone who is living with those lessons and get the benefits of their experience.

A mid-series overview of the podcast.

Cast:

  • Maddie the 8-year-old Entrepreneur – Zoe Anastassiou
  • Vinny the CTO – Geoffrey Grier
  • Jessie of SidePocket – Sahara Ale
  • Rick of SidePocket – Noah Masur
  • Molly of SidePocket – Caraid O’Brien
  • Carl of G&P – Josh LaForce
  • Violet from Marketting – Margaux Amie
  • Dennis of Toolcart – Jake Minevich
  • Rick at the Converence – Ron Bianchi
  • Karen from CalFed – Debbon Ayer

[18132]

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Leaving Detroit

hwms.coverartHow do you make decisions about tech companies – especially tech startups?  It’s not as easy, or as straightforward or as rational as we might like to think.  Over the next 7 episodes, we will look at our long term CTO, Vinny, make decisions about his original startup.  

Vinny is making these decisions under duress, which doesn’t help.  His wife died just as he was starting his company.  No one trusts him to make good decisions.  And he’s not sure that he can make them himself.

Cast:

  • Maddie the 8-year-old Entrepreneur – Zoe Anastassiou
  • Vinny the CTO – Geoffrey Grier
  • Curt of SidePocket – Noah Masur
  • Dennis of SidePocket – Jake Minevich
  • Jessie of SidePocket – Sahara Ale

[18120]

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Machines that Learn Our Jobs?

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A metal lathe. A 40 year old clasp. A playlist of unfortunate songs. Most unfortunate. A suspicious relationship between Henry Ford and Thomas Alva Edison. All of these point to questions about what we know about our jobs and know that knowledge can be captured by machines. Deep learning. Big Data.

Capturing what we know. A new thing, right? Is it only the new generation, the millennial who squint into the future with the gloaming dread that there will be nothing for them in the future? Nothing at all?

The answer is “Not quite.” Those with the greatest fear of automation and smart machines are those at the end end of their careers, not at the start. Those that realize that their skills will not survive them. Furthermore, one quality of work makes it possible to capture knowledge, the fact that we tend to do jobs in sequence, that we have a set of steps that we follow to get things done.

To protect yourself, do you need to be good at things that are done out of order? That wander from task to task? So we ask in our story about captured knowledge.

Cast:

  • Bix the Master Scrum Master – Ron Bianchi
  • Molly the Podcast Consultant – Caraid O’Brien
  • Anna the Intern – Sarah Corbyn Woolf

[18520]

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