Category Archives: Tech Governance

Act I: What Big Tech Doesn’t Know

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They seem like such nice people.  

It’s just too bad that things didn’t quite go as planned.  

We have a young attorney advisor.

And a director of public relations .

And an mess they didn’t anticipate.  

The How We Manage Stuff audio drama tackles the issue of technology in government.  The leaders of an internet giant, Talking & Shopping, arrive in Washington in an effort to improve their public image and then immediately start taking steps to destroy it.  

They have no idea what they are doing.  None at all. 

And so they have hired consultants, the boutique group How We Manage Stuff, to help them in their perilous task.  Along the way they meet bureaucrats in love with their own voice, Congressional Aides in with political gossip, and interns in love with the mere image of leadership.  

So begins our tale.  The first seven episodes of the Audio Drama “What Big Tech Doesn’t Know.”

Cast:

  • Sahara Ale – Yasmin, Attorney-Advisor
  • Margaux Amie – Rachel D’Fino, aide to Senator Stassen; Senator Christine Stassen; Evelyne of T&S
  • Zoe Anastassiou – Faith of Beva’s Place; Waiter; Female Aide
  • Debbon Ayer – Abby Alton, CEO of T&S
  • Ron Bianchi – The Ancient One; Waiter; Bashir, the Uber Driver
  • Anastasia Deloret – Karine from the EU Office
  • Geoffrey Grier – Fitz Morris of NTIA; Vinny of HWMS
  • Kit Kusenok – Ed Kowalski, CTO of T&S
  • Josh LaForce – Sulley Bowman, Director HWMS Washington Office
  • Noah Masur – Buckley Williams of Federation for Digital Future; Male Aide
  • Jake Minevich – Victor Numerov of T&S; Chad Dockerly of Technica Publica
  • Skippy – Maggy, the Fury
  • Sarah Corbyn Woolf – Anna, once an Intern

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The Story of SidePocket, A Series on Governance

hwms.coverart A young entrepreneur. A new technology. All the temptations to make bad decisions. In the series of on the startup SidePocket, we explored the challenges posed by organizational governance, the authority wielded by investors. Our central character, Vinny, walks away from a company that was unable to make a decision and forms a new company, SidePocket, that will be under his leadership. He guides it to success but in the process has to face choices that have no obvious or unequivocally good answers. He builds a profitable firm but in the process, alienates his closest friend, reluctantly accepts guidance he would prefer to ignore and decides to sell the firm against the wishes of his board. A series that makes you feel the problems of organization governance and appreciate the issues at stake. Cast:
  • Vinny, CEO of SidePocket – Geoffrey Grier
  • Molly, of G&P Capital – Caraid O’Brien
  • Carl, Partner of G&P Capital – Josh LaForce
  • Max, friend of Florian – Jake Minevich
  • Jessie, the first CEO – Sahara Ale
  • Karen from CalFed- Debbon Ayer
  • San, Thomas, and Rick – Ron Bianchi
  • Kurt and a different Rick  – Noah Masur
  • Dennis and Julio – Jake Minevich
  • Violet, Director of Marketting  – Margaux Amie
  • Maddie the Entrepreneur  – Zoe Anastassiou
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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.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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
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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
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Success & Temptation

hwms.coverart 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
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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
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