Adm. William H. McRaven: Life Lessons From Navy SEAL Training


When it comes to leadership, the US Special Operations Command is probably about as good as it gets. I had the privilege to see Gen. Stanley McChrystal speak once and was impressed not only by what he had to say, but also in how both practical and nuanced his points were.

This WSJ piece includes Adm. William McRaven’s recent commencement address at the University of Texas. Now as an Aggie, I won’t comment on the UT elements of his remarks but the lessons from SEAL training are worth hearing—summarized in his conclusion below (Source):

It will not be easy. But start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world, for the better.

Now I’m off to go make my bed.

Falling Asleep to Statistics

While following a thread about Bid Data, I came across this interview with Sir David Cox, and loved this gem about problem solving (Source):

There is a well-established literature in mathematics that people who thought about a problem and do not know how to solve it, go to bed thinking about it and wake up the next morning with a solution. It’s not easily explicable but if you’re wide awake, you perhaps argue down the conventional lines of argument but what you need to do is something a bit crazy which you’re more likely to do if you’re half-awake or asleep. Presumably that’s the explanation!

Suddenly I feel a little better about falling asleep to statistics back in college.

Firms Find Ways to Cut Big-Data Costs

Interesting to read in this WSJ piece that corporate data projects are expected to double in four years. (Source)

As large companies collect, analyze and store increasing quantities of information, the expense of adding servers, hard drives and other equipment is threatening to crimp their big-data plans. Indeed, hardware sales related to corporate-data projects are expected to more than double to $15.7 billion in 2017 from $7.16 billion last year, according to Wikibon, a Marlborough, Mass., research organization.

Also how Riot Games is using Facebook’s Open Compute:

For example, Riot Games might be able to buy a commercial enterprise server, after discounts, for roughly $4,000. A comparable server bought wholesale and equipped with Open Compute software might run about $2,000, according to Mr. Williams.

More details on the barebones server design are on the Open Compute Project site.

Theodore Roosevelt sets a high bar for slacker America

I enjoyed this article about how productive (one of my personal heroes) Theodore Roosevelt was in a time before modern technology. (Source)

We live in an age of great distraction. Everything from Facebook and email to video games and binge TV watching can give us the sense we have done something useful with our time when, in fact, we have merely wasted a lot of days we will never get back. Many young American men, the slacker generation, would benefit from adopting Roosevelt’s “strenuous life” as a model of manhood, but it is not just a boy problem. Most of us have a slacker inside. We could do worse than to strive for the energy, disciplined time management and moral core that made Roosevelt a man worthy of a place on Mount Rushmore.

What better inspiration than that to get this blog moving again.

One on One with JB Holston of NewsGator

From this article in Fierce Content Management… (Source)

The market has moved very rapidly. The preponderance of the Global 2000 have structured enterprise social initiatives today. Organizations see changing their collaboration paradigm from document- or artifact-centricity, to people-centered, as a vital competitive advantage. Companies talk to us about their need to ‘roll out the social fabric’ as broadly and quickly as possible. They understand that their workforce now expects to work that way, and that the advantages to ‘social’ increase exponentially as a function of the number of people who have access to the capability.

A guide to Jack Dorsey’s 80-hour workweek

As a fan of having a weekly framework to drive productivity, I loved this article about Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey’s weekly routine that accommodates 2 full-time jobs… (Source)

Monday: Management meetings and “running the company” work

Tuesday: Product development

Wednesday: Marketing, communications and growth

Thursday: Developers and partnerships

Friday: The company and its culture

Weekends are a bit slower: Saturdays are for hiking and Sundays are for “reflection, feedback and strategy,” Dorsey said. But from Monday to Friday, he clocks in eight hours at Twitter and then walks two blocks over to put in another eight hours at Square.

Neal Stephenson: Innovation Starvation

In his piece in World Policy Journal… (Source)

Today’s belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation-killer of our age. In this environment, the best an audacious manager can do is to develop small improvements to existing systems—climbing the hill, as it were, toward a local maximum, trimming fat, eking out the occasional tiny innovation—like city planners painting bicycle lanes on the streets as a gesture toward solving our energy problems. Any strategy that involves crossing a valley—accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance—will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure. In short, a world where big stuff can never get done.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, Auburn University Commencement Speech 2010

From this Fast Company article… (Source)

But even if you can’t plan, you can prepare. A great batter doesn’t know when the high-hanging curve ball is going to come, but he knows it will. And he can prepare for what he will do when he gets it. Too often people think about intuition as the same as relying on luck or faith. At least as I see it, nothing could be further from the truth. Intuition can tell you that of the doors that are open to you, which one you should walk through. But intuition cannot prepare you for what’s on the other side of that door. Along these lines a quote that has always resonated with me is one by Abraham Lincoln. He said “I will prepare, and some day my chance will come.” I have always believed this.

Doculabs: SharePoint vs. Documentum as the Pharma Platform for ECM

Spot on analysis from this Doculabs whitepaper… (Source)

What should you do if you’re a pharma at this inflection point? We recommend the following:

1) At a minimum, consider a two-platform consolidation strategy. Over the next few years this approach would bring you to SharePoint for management of uncontrolled documents, a single application suite for management of controlled documents (probably CSC FirsDoc), and a single platform for controlled DM (Documentum).

2) But also consider a one-platform consolidation strategy. This would bring you to SharePoint for management of uncontrolled documents, and either FirstPoint or NextDocs for management of controlled documents – both based on SharePoint.

3) Do a formal empirical evaluation of the three solution options at your organization. Do a bakeoff between FirstDoc/Documentum, FirstPoint/SharePoint, and NextDocs/SharePoint. It will require some time and resources, but the stakes are high enough to justify it. In my next post on this topic, I will explain exactly how to conduct such an evaluation.

How Microsoft Partners Are Selling Office 365

From this Redmond Channel Partner article… (Source)

Cutler, of Slalom Consulting, says his company sees an opportunity to deliver numerous new services, especially as they relate to building applications on top of SharePoint Online. “There’s a lot more in the application development space, so now that you’ve got a platform like SharePoint, people are now saying, ‘Well, you’ve got this great platform. Now we can enable all kinds of business processes.’ So we can build the applications on top of that. It’s actually expanding the work that we can do with our clients and the value they’re getting out of that work.”