RJH Solutions

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What We Can Learn From Chimps

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A while back I was reading a great post by SearchEngineMan on what we can learn from Chimpanzees.

This not only applies to internet tools, but in real life.

Below is the post in it’s unabridged form:

There are two kinds of chimpanzee’s: the ones that live in trees, and the ones that live on the ground.

When the chimpanzee’s in the trees look down, they see a bunch of smiling faces.

When the Chimpanzee’s on the ground look up, they see a bunch of ***holes.

There’s nothing worse when you are knee deep in your day to day tasks, when the HiPPO (Highest Individual Paid Per Organization(http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2006/10/seven-steps-to-creating-a-data-driven-decision-making-culture.html) dumps the latest emergency task on your plate, the one you hate. Never mind that they knew about the deadline weeks ago.

Since you’re such a smart worker you’ve already made allowances for these kinds of interruptions and race to get the task done. Again.

Your reward? Overtime catching up on your regular work.

What is truly annoying is that you will find this same situation repeats itself, but you’re too busy on the next task. “We just need to implement X-Technology to fix the problem!” – Everyone nods, nothing happens. Sound familiar?

Why Technology and the Internet fails in the Workplace?

How many gadgets on your cell phone do you actually use?

Is texting really an efficient use of your time?

Has email made your life less complicated?

This might explain the subconscious hostility arround Wiki’s, Apps, Blackberry’s, Schedulers, Calendar Software or Productivity technology. We roll our eyes when yet another technology enters the workplace.

This hostility by culture and refusal by management to embrace new tools is so ancient that we bump into our friends the chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee’s, Termite Popsicles and Power Tools

Chimpanzee’s developed a really effective method for extracting termites from a nest.

They take a stick, and lick it.

They plunge the stick into the termite nest

The termites get stuck on the stick

Voila! Instant termite Popsicle. Snack Time! (http://www.lpzoo.org/info/media-center)

A study was done to try to change the chimpanzee behavior, using better tools. Imagine what could be done to productivity?

They gave the chimpanzees power drills.

They took the power drill, and licked it.

They plunged the drill into the termite nest

The termites get stuck on the drill bit.

Voila! Instant termite Popsicle. Snack Time! Again!

(OK- we DIDN’T do this… PETA would not be amused. It’s an analogy…go with it…)

The problem is never the tools. Its the energy and investment and cost required to adopt technology and methods. Most HiPPO’s are not even aware of these problems, because they get someone else to clean up the mess (Chimpanzee’s in the trees). Your problem (as a ground dweller) is that you are rewarding bad behavior. It’s easier for the HiPPO to reach for his tool to get the job done…You!

Stop being a Tool!

To stop being a tool you must find a suitable replacement for your HiPPO’s habits. Not all of us have the luxury of saying no. Changing bad behavior means identifying the root of the problem, by gently showing the consequences to the HiPPO’s bottom line in a currency the HiPPO respects (Money, Ego, and Power).

The solution must be actionable by you and Dodo(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodo) simple, technology is your last line of resort.

Managing Client & Customer Expectations and get to the finish line before the HiPPO does.

Get somebody else (with power) to present your solutions to the HiPPO

Pulling a Scotty (Star Trek) -It’ll take 3 weeks (then do it in 1 week)

Swamp your HiPPO with details (They tune out and run away)

Show how the hated competition uses X method, so we should too. (EGO)

Be nice to your HiPPO, fix one of their problems in advance.

Make the HiPPO think it was their idea in the first place.

Say No (nicely)

The bottom line is you are not going to change the behavior with technology. It won’t work with Chimpanzee’s and it won’t work with your HiPPO. He still uses his uber-powerful computer like a type writer / TV crossover…

I’m curious if any of you have managed to get your chimpanzee to use any power tools.

Do you have any HiPPO stories? Feel free to share.

Ten ancient Greek tips for coping with our high-tech world

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The ancient philosophers knew a thing or two about life, and even in the internet age we can still benefit from their wisdom, says the author Mark Vernon

  1. Go with the flow

    To live in a high-tech world is to live in a world of change. It was not dissimilar for the ancient Greeks. The adventures of Alexander the Great reshaped the known world. Technologies that could build the Parthenon were being developed. So, said Zeno the Stoic, don’t resist the change; learn to live with it. If you can go with the flow, you’ll find tranquility.

  2. Remember that less is more

    It’s hard to do when everything is only a click away. Epicurus, who was known as a hedonist, didn’t argue that the pursuit of more and more pleasure was the key to happiness. Instead, he said he had learnt to be as happy as Zeus if all he had to eat was a glass of water and a barley cake. Less is more. That’s the test for a consumer age.

  3. Work to live, don’t live to work

    Cleanthes, who was a Stoic philosopher and also known as the water-carrier, worked by night so that he could do philosophy by day. He was quite clear that he would work enough, and only enough, to support his real passion, the philosophy. In a world of email and 24×7, it is far too easy to work so hard that you miss what you really want.

  4. Beware the transience of the internet

    It can make a hero in minutes, and destroy an individual in hours. The ancient philosophers were not against fame per se. Many, like Diogenes the Cynic, who resided in a barrel and lived like a dog, were not just famous, but infamous. However, they all advised that your life itself is the medium and message that really counts.

  5. Friendship requires face to face communication

    Aristotle is our adviser on this matter. He argued that good friendship – soulmateship – is only possible when friends “share salt together”. He meant that they sit down with each other, not just over the occasional meal, but over the course of their lives. Texting and telephoning may be necessary in modern friendship, but alone, they are not sufficient.

  6. Keep hold of common sense

    It’s easy, in a world of science, to be swayed this way and that with every new theory that’s announced. You see it with food fads. One week red wine is bad; the next it’s called good. Sextus Empiricus was a philosopher and doctor, and he advised his patients to measure new science against common sense. Bread might be made of carbs, but everyone knows it’s nourishing, so eat a little, he said.

  7. Be careful lest travel change you

    It’s so easy to hop on a plane and within hours be in a different time and place. Mostly, we do it as tourists, so don’t allow a culture to change us. However, the philosopher Secundus went travelling as a young man and changed so much that when he got home no one recognized him, not even his mother. A stranger in the places he visited, he’d become a stranger in his own town.

  8. Don’t believe all the rumours

    The web is a haven for them, though whether they are founded on truth is another question entirely. But it’s a vital question to ask. If there’s one thing everyone knows about ancient Athenians it is that they were democrats. If there’s a second thing, it’s that those democrats put Socrates to death. It was the action of the herd. And the great risk of those who enjoy freedom of speech – and a cheap means like the web to express it – is the same: rule by the rumour-merchants and the mob.

  9. Don’t forget nature

    There are all sorts of things you can learn from it. Heraclitus developed an entire philosophy of life based upon his observations of the natural world. He noticed that because the water flowed, so you can never step into the same river twice. That was a metaphor for nothing stands still. He noticed how new the sun feels every morning, and so sought to renew his love of life every day.

  10. Resist the virtual life

    The idea that you can have one – switching gender, looking handsome, becoming perfect – has grown with Second Life and the like. Plato is often associated with the existence of a perfect world, which philosophers call the Forms. But he was clear that this virtual place is not the real world. To live life in all its fullness, we humans must deal with this world’s imperfections, Plato said.

Mark Vernon is the author of Plato’s Podcasts: The Ancients’ Guide to Modern Living, to be published in October by Oneworld. For more information, seehttp://www.markvernon.com

Matt Cutts – WordCamp 2007 talk: Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers

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By the way, if you enjoyed Matt Cutts’ “Straight from Google: What You Need to Know talk from WordCamp 2009,” you might also enjoy his “WordCamp 2007 talk: Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers.”

For convenience, here’s the video below:

And here are the slides from the 2007 WordCamp talk:

Not everyone has seen this talk, so I hope folks enjoy this talk from 2007!

Source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/wordcamp-2007-talk-whitehat-seo-tips-for-bloggers/