Weekend Video 09.12

Amazon gives some ideas of how Alexa could be used at the office, including scheduling meetings, ordering photocopying paper, start meetings, finding an available meeting room, finding a colleague’s desk, and more.

Weekend Reading 09.12

There are many people doing interesting work around the world. Here’s a selection of the interesting ideas I have come across this week. Find yourself a coffee or tea, pull out your digital reading device of choice, and go exploring.


  • Microsoft Teams Update for November (Anne Michels) … “Since we started to work on Microsoft Teams, our mission hasn’t changed – to create a hub for teamwork that provides people with a single place to communicate and collaborate with others so that teams can achieve more.” New capabilities for Microsoft Teams during October and November: PowerShell management, new usage reports, UK data residency option, new group chat functionalities, improved settings and notifications, and more. More

  • Alexa for Business (Jordan Crook) … “The interface is evolving. What has long been dominated by screens of all shapes and sizes is now being encroached upon by the voice. And while many companies are building voice interfaces — Apple with Siri, Google with Assistant, and Microsoft with Cortana — none are quite as dominant as Amazon has been with Alexa. At the AWS reinvent conference, Amazon announced Alexa for Business (as CNBC first reported). The new platform will let companies build out their own skills and integrations for both practical and business use cases.More

  • Flying in the Lawyers from Texas (Tanza Loudenback) … “Rent and home prices in the Bay Area are so high that one Houston-based law firm is using an alternative to hiring expensive local talent: a private jet. Patterson and Sheridan, an intellectual-property law firm headquartered in Houston, bought a nine-seat plane to shuttle its patent lawyers to clients in the Bay Area once a month.More

  • They Know (Steve Jennings) … An ode to the dark side of social media, ending with “They know more about you than you know about yourself.More

  • Dual-Screen Wallpaper (TwelveSouth) … A collection of photos for your computer wallpaper; you can get dual-screen versions too. More

Weekend Reading 02.12

There are many people doing interesting work around the world. Here’s a selection of the interesting ideas I have come across this week. Find yourself a coffee or tea, pull out your digital reading device of choice, and go exploring.

  • Making Cognitive Search Work (Martin White) … “The single major cause of poor quality search is not the incumbent technology but the lack of skilled information professionals. Historically, search vendors have been reluctant to identify the team skills needed to optimize the performance of their software in case potential customers take fright at the implications. This is certainly the case with cognitive search.More

  • LinkedIn and Office 365 (Jeremy Thake) … More on the initial integration between LinkedIn and Office 365. “…When a user opts-in to the integration, the organization cannot leverage the data, only the user can. What this means is that the organization can’t go through the users’ graph of connections i.e. internal recruiters won’t be able to connect to external people that their employees know. It also can’t start doing anything too scary, like predictive analysis on whether John Smith is looking to leave based on him connecting to employees from a competiting company or having LinkedIn message conversations with them.More

  • Updating Timesheets by Bot (Clarizen) … “Clarizen, the global leader in enterprise collaborative work management, today announced the availability of a new module for the Clarizen Bot that reduces the hours people spend every month updating their timesheets to a matter of seconds. Users can quickly and easily update their work and log their time directly in Slack.More

  • Daily Reality Check on your Checklist (Daniel Dowling) … “Do your best. If it sounds like advice from a kindergarten teacher, well, I get it. Vague goals produce vague results, right? So I thought, too. But over the past few years I’ve discovered that, when combined with a system of concrete daily goal-setting, there’s one nebulous goal that can prove a surprising punch-in-the-gut reality check, and lead to concrete results.More

Weekend Video 02.12

Air New Zealand has a bit of fun at the expense of the New Zealand accent. As a world traveller there is something magical about getting back on board an Air New Zealand plane and hearing the Kiwi accent again. But, yes, I get it that our accent is hard to understand.

My standard practice when talking to Americans, for example, is to say that my name is “Michael Saaaampson, no relation to Bart” in order to avoid it being heard as “Michael Simpson.”

Weekend Video 25.11

An overview of the new business apps in Office 365 – for small business clients.

Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Invoicing, and the Office 365 Business center are now generally available as part of Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium. The new apps are rolling out to customers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

These apps—together with Microsoft Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, and MileIQ—bring you seven new ways to manage your customer relationships and build your business. We’re also announcing new intelligence features for MileIQ that automatically classify drives as business or personal on your behalf.

Hopefully this puts another nail in the coffin of Office 365 being just the new name for the Office productivity suite.

Weekend Reading 25.11

There are lots of other people doing interesting work around the world. Here’s a selection of the stop-and-pay-attention ideas I have come across this week. Find yourself a coffee or tea, pull out your digital reading device of choice, and go exploring.

  • More on the Uber Data Breach (Paul Smith) … “Revelations that Uber covered up a hack of its systems that led to 57 million customer and driver records being exposed has demonstrated once again the darling of the disruptor crowd cannot be trusted, and puts its commercial concerns ahead of the community it purports to serve. The news is also an early taster of the flood of stories to come in Australia next year, when companies are finally forced to disclose their own breaches, and tough new EU rules come in that could see global operators here slugged with huge fines.” More
  • How Evil is Tech? (David Brooks) … “Not long ago, tech was the coolest industry. Everybody wanted to work at Google, Facebook and Apple. But over the past year the mood has shifted. Some now believe tech is like the tobacco industry — corporations that make billions of dollars peddling a destructive addiction. Some believe it is like the N.F.L. — something millions of people love, but which everybody knows leaves a trail of human wreckage in its wake.” More
  • Electronic Flight Bag at Pegasus … “Turkish low-cost airline, Pegasus Airlines, has enjoyed dramatic savings of €135,000 per aircraft, per year thanks to its partnership with Panasonic. The relationship, which has seen Pegasus Airlines’ flight crews equipped with fully rugged Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablets, coupled with Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) software, has resulted in annual savings of €11m thanks to reductions in paper, printing and copying costs as well as the crew’s ability to work in a faster, more dynamic and cost effective manner.” More / Video
  • Response to Drowning in Business and Life (Curtis McHale) … Three strategies when you feel like you are drowning in business and life: [1] get some support, [2] some exercise, and [3] just start again. “None of these ideas are magic. You’ve likely still got a bit of a road to walk until you can break out of the funk you’re in.” More

Weekend Video 18.11

Samsung pokes fun at Apple in the above, and it caused some laughing in our household. Make sure you notice the haircut at 0:52.

As a long-time iPhone user I have never stood in line on release date, have skipped generations of the phone, and yet have found it to fit well in the ecosystem of devices I use daily. Apple keeps updating the hardware on schedule, and the software frequently too; I appreciate the backwards compatibility to older devices. While the video calls out some good points of comparison in a humorous way, switching sides isn’t just about the phone, unless that’s all you use.

I won’t be buying a Note 8 (and “growing up” to use Samsung’s phrase), but full marks to Samsung for the ad.

Weekend Reading 18.11

There are lots of other people doing interesting work around the world. Here’s a selection of the interesting ideas I have come across this week. Find yourself a coffee or tea, pull out your digital reading device of choice, and go exploring.


  • 3 Collaboration Skills You Need for Today and Tomorrow (David Coleman) … “While collaboration has always been a needed skill in the workplace, increasingly distributed workforces, knowledge silos and new developments in technology have put renewed pressure on learning the art and science of collaborative work. Because today people aren’t only collaborating with people, they have the added challenge of collaborating with machines.” More

  • Two Google alums just raised $60M to rethink documents (Matthew Lynley) … “Two MIT graduates, coming in from Microsoft and Google, have built up a team that for the past three years has quietly been trying to rethink how we approach documents …. We like to describe it as a new document that blends flexibility of documents, the power of spreadsheets, and the utility of applications into a single new canvas.” More

  • Work and the Loneliness Epidemic (Vivek Murthy) … “There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher.” More

  • Alec Ross on the Book that Changed His Life (Alec Ross) … Interview with Alec Ross, a candidate for Governor of Maryland. Alec talks about creating and harnessing energy, finding productive time, books, and technology. More

The “Other” Consideration of Collaboration Tools; Welcome to the New World of GDPR

Collaboration tools provide amazing capabilities for helping people work together across time and space, and selecting the right tools for your organisation is important. However, there’s another side to the whole area that I haven’t often written about on this site: compliance. And if you or your organisation does anything with the personal data of European citizens – regardless of where your organisation is located in the world – you need to know about GDPR – the “General Data Protection Regulation” released in May 2016 and due to go into force from late May 2018. Given its wide scope, as the white paper below points out, it would be better to refer to it as the “Global” Data Protection Regulation. Seriously. And it has implications for how your organisation uses collaboration tools too.

Osterman Research recently published a new report on GDPR – exploring what it is, and the types of organisational and technological responses that will be required:

GDPR Compliance and Its Impact on Security and Data Protection Programs
Protecting personal data has been an important issue in the European Union (EU) for more than 20 years, and the recently ratified General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes data protection to an entirely new level. In addition to a new set of legal requirements that necessitate both organizational and technological responses, the GDPR is applicable to almost every organization around the world that collects or processes data on residents domiciled within the EU, including permanent residents, visitors and expatriates.

It’s worth a look … because it is likely to cause a lot of soul searching (data analysis, policy formulation, technology considerations) for organisations across the world. Including yours.

See: The Impact of the GDPR on Your Business

Martin comments on HP and Autonomy

Martin comments on the news out of HP about the write-down of the Autonomy purchase price by $8.8 billion:

The wording is very definite. HP are not just raising the possibility of misrepresentations but is stating that they occurred. The writedown for Autonomy is around $5 billion, or around half the purchase price. It seems that someone internally within the Autonomy senior management blew the whistle. HP have reported the issues to both the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK. HP states that it is still committed to Autonomy, but then it could not really say anything else without having to write down even more of the purchase price. It is also worth recalling that in September 2011 Oracle released a press release about a presentation given by Mike Lynch to Oracle in which the company stated that the market value of $6 billion was way too high, let alone the premium that HP paid on top of the market value. It is not only the Autonomy Board of Directors that will have some questions to answer but also Deloitte as Automony’s auditors and the senior management team of HP at the time and their advisors. There was clearly not enough due diligence on the part of HP.

It is sad to see this sort of problem sour the reputation of Autonomy.

Not good for HP. Not good for Autonomy’s customers. Not good for the industry.

Read more: Searching for the missing billions – HP reassesses its purchase of Autonomy