The Nomination Effect

The Nomination Effect

For some people they say that flattery gets you everywhere and it can be true.

Who doesn’t like to hear good things about themselves and their work?

It fills the WIIFM need in all of us (What’s In It For me)—by providing for recognition and seeming purpose.

Some people know how to use this –how to take advantage of others by “cozying up to them” and telling them how wonderful they are.

As they say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!”

This is one of the marketing techniques–not really ethical–being used by some “event planners” to lure people to their conferences, meetings, and events.

They do this by not only showcasing the events great speakers, relevant and important topics, beautiful venue etc., but also by telling people they’ve been nominated for some prestigious award.

And it’s hard to tell which are real and which are fake.

The Nomination Effect (my term) is when event planners tell multiple people that they have been nominated for an award simply as a way to get them to come to an event they otherwise would not necessarily attend.

This plays to the ego of some execs by saying “somebody nominated you”—but there are few or no specifics.

And because so many execs get beaten up all the time at work, it’s certainly great to hear something positive. Plus it could be an easy way for some to add a nice credential to their resumes.

It’s all fine and good when it’s true and deserved for a job well done!

But some event planners misuse this to lure people to events and try to get a “30 minute call” with you to pick your brains for the event—what topics are hot, who are some good speakers, do you know any vendors that would like to sponsor it?

But when it’s just an “in” with people who may never otherwise give them “the time of day,” because of the important work they do, their genuinely busy schedules, and frankly because they are people they just don’t even know.

But the idea of The Nomination Effect is to tell execs that they can win an award at the event and how great they are so hopefully they will be putty in their hands and shell out money, time, and information to perhaps unreliable people.

Part of the scam is that the award winners aren’t announced until the event itself, so you must come—and pay first!

They tell the same line to the other nominees—maybe 5, 10, 25, 50 other people—or everyone they want to sign up—who knows.

This social phenomenon is enough to reel in many to pay for and attend events that may not be all that intellectually or socially enticing otherwise.

Here are the things I look for:

– People that seem genuine and not like car salesmen.
– Those with an affiliation to a well-established organization in the field.
– Nominations for actual contributions or achievements, rather than vague undertakings.
– Something on LinkedIn and/or the web that shows credentials and successful events prior tied to advancing the field, and not just making money.

A well-deserved award for hard-working professionals is something for all of us to celebrate.

But that’s different than promotional events and false—yet flattering kudos to manipulate lots of busy people. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to PennStateNews)

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Pets, But Not People

Pampered_pooch

I remember learning how the Nazi’s in the Holocaust and WWII would take great care of their dogs, while at the same time exterminating Jews, Gypsies, gays, the disabled, as well as political opponents and prisoners of war. 

While I fully respect people who are pet owners and love their pets, it is odd how even today the love of animals and their treatment can be elevated above how we treat each other.

Some recent articles about our pets that stood out:

– An article in the Wall Street Journal (2 December 2012) compares helicopter parents to now helicopter pet owners. One example given, from a pet-rescue site states: “All dogs must be constantly supervised in their yards for their safety…animals such as bats, bees, and snakes can gain access to yards” and threaten your dog. Another example provided was about a couple who wante dto adopt a dog, but had to complete an 50 question application. 

– Two days later, another article in the Wall Street Journal (4 December 2012) about people memorializing their pets by turning their ashes into diamonds. “Producing a one-carat diamond requires less than a cup of ashes or unpacked hair.” And “some gems start at about $250, while pet diamonds cost about $1,400.” No really!

In contrast, here were some recent articles about how we memorialize those who were gruesomely murdered and tortured by Nazis (may their name be obliterated):

– The Wall Street Journal (1 December 2012) presented an article on how “every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association (SMA) has [disgracefully] given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in space medicine” even though, “Dr. Strughold, a former scientist for the Third Reich, was listed as one of 13 ‘persons, firms, or organizations implicated’ in some notorious Dachau concentration camp experiments.” In particular, Dr. Strughold was implicated in the “infamous hypothermia, or ‘cold experiments,’ in which inmates were used, and typically died as subjects [brutally] exposed to freezing conditions” such as immersion in freezing water or in vacuum chambers that simulated altitudes of nearly 20,000 feet. Yes, the concentration camp prisoners exposed to these experiments at Dr. Strughold’s own instuitute, included “children 11 to 13 old [who] were taken from a nearby psychiatric facility” and subjected to oxygen deprivation experiments,” yet the SMA continues to use Dr. Strughold name as worthy of an annual award–yes, beyond belief and sick indeed. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (6 December 2012) describes how in India, a clothing store in Ahmedabad is named Hitler with a swastika used as the dot over the “i” in Hitler, and Mein Kampf is a bestseller. Similarly, in 2006 a cafe opened in Mumbai called Hitler’s cross and a pool hall named Hitler’s Den opened in Nagpur. Last year, a comedy was released called Hero Hitler in Love and there is a hit soap opera called Hitler Didi (or “Big Sister Hitler”). While the article states the “Hitler’s popularity in India is not a result of anti-Semitism” but rather that Hitler weakened the British in WWII, thereby freeing their country. Nevertheless, the hero treatment for Hitler stands out in stark contrast to his life as a notorious murder of millions.

So while many admirably love their pets and seek to treat them kindly and with care, there are those who still love for the likes of Hitler, the Nazis and the murder, cruelty, and chaos they inflicted on the world. 

What is commentary on and future of a world, when people love and respect their pets more than their fellow human beings? 

As the English Statesman, Edmund Burke, said, “The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Glenda Wiburn)

The Future In Good Hands

Ethics_bowl

I had the distinct honor to attend the first Washington D.C. High School Ethics Bowl at American University.

There were eight teams competing from local schools in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas.

My daughter’s team won 2nd place!

(Note: the trophys were identical except for the engraving of first, second, and third places.)

I was so proud to see that the schools are educating our students in ethics–both the theory and the practice.

The student teams prepared and competed using 10 case study scenarios that covered everything from oil drilling in Alaska to the death penalty. 

In lieu of the education of yesteryear that relied all too heavily on rote memorization, it was awesome instead to see the students analyzing real life scenarios, using critical thinking, debating ethical and philosophical considerations, and making policy recommendations. 

The students were sensitive to and discussed the impact of things like income inequality on college admission testing, the environmental effects of offshore drilling versus the importance of energy independence, the influence of race of criminal sentencing, and the moral implications of the Red Cross teaching first aid to named terrorist groups like the Taliban. 

I was truly impressed at how these high school students worked together as a team, developed their positions, and presented them to the moderator, judges and audience–and they did it in a way that could inspire how we all discuss, vet, and decide on issues in our organizations today.

– They didn’t yell (except a few that were truly passionate about their positions and raised their voices in the moment), instead they maturely and professionally discussed the issues.

– They didn’t get personal with each other–no insults, put-downs, digs, or other swipes (with the exception of when one team member called his opponents in a good natured gest, “the rivals”), instead they leveraged the diversity of their members to strengthen their evaluation of the issues.

– They didn’t push an agenda in a winner takes all approach–instead they evaluated the positions of the competing teams, acknowledged good points, and refined their own positions accordingly to come up with even better proposals. 

– They didn’t walk away from the debate bitter–but instead not only shook hands with their opponents, but I actually heard them exchange appreciation of how good each other did and what they respected about each other.

I’ll tell you, these kids–young adults–taught me something about ethics, teamwork, critical thinking, presentation, and debate, and I truly valued it and actually am enthusiastic about this next generation coming up behind us to take the reins. 

With the many challenges facing us, we need these smart and committed kids to carry the flag forward–from what I saw today, there is indeed hope with our children. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dance Robot, Dance!

This robot has rhythm and can dance Gangnam Style.

It is called CHARLI-2 (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence–Version 2).

Charlie was developed by Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa).

At five feet tall, CHARLI is the United States’ “first full-size humanoid robot.”

Charlie can do things like walk, turn, kick, and gesture–he is agile and coordinated–and as you can see can even dance and also play soccer!

One of the things that makes CHARLI special is his stabilization technology–where it can orient itself using sensors such as gyroscopes.

According to Wired Magazine (19 October 2012), The Office of Naval Research has provided a grant of $3.5M to CHARLI’s creator to develop a nextgen robot called the Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH) to work aboard Navy ships in the future and interact with humans.

CHARLI won the Time Magazine “2011 Best Invention of the Year” as well as the Louis Vuitton Best Humanoid Award.

While the CHARLI robots still move relatively slowly, are a little awkward, and are almost in a child-like “I dunno state,” we are definitely making exciting progress toward the iRobot of the future–and I can’t wait till we get there.

For me, I see the potential and this robot can certainly dance circles around me, but that’s not saying much. 😉

Best High-Tech Looking Couch

Space_invader_couch

Just want to nominate this couch for the best high-tech looking couch award of the year.

 

It’s called the Retro-Alien Couch by 27 year old, artist Igor Chak.

 

The couch is made of leather and designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, CA.

 

“Buy now” cost is $5000.00 with free shipping to the first 10 customers from here.

 

The website says that you can customize it–and I’d like mine with first-person shooter lasers and remote control that electronically rise out of of the armrests. (Zoom, Zoom!)

 

This couch so reminds me of the video game, Space Invaders, which I played on Atari as a kid my friends in Riverdale, NY.

 

In terms of it’s high-tech look and it’s retro video game feel–this couch is completely awesome!

 

Another favorite Atari game was Missile Command, how about some coffee tables to match? 😉

Helmet Hair–Thanks Borat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to nominate this product for innovation award of the week.

The UK DailyMail (12 August 2011) has an article about a Kazakhstan company that has invented “helmet hair“–a line of motorcycle hard hats that looks like a very real head of hair.
They have helmets that look like men, women, and bald guys.  
There are way crazier helmets–like the one that looks like a tush (and even one with a breast), a cracked walnut, a watermelon, a globe, a tennis ball, a golf ball, and let’s not forget the eight ball helmet.
 While I appreciate the creativity of the marketing agency Good! that came up with these, I do worry about a couple things:
1) A police officer will pull someone over for riding without a helmet, even though they are really riding with a helmet (but you just can’t tell with the look of a head of hair on it).
2) Other drivers and pedestrians will get distracted by these zany helmets and zig-zag or walk into traffic and have an awful accident.
Ever since Borat’s trip to the United States in 2006 to make a mockumentary comedy film and learn about our culture, I’ve wandered what he has been busy with back home in his native land and when he would once again come back and visit us in the U.S…I believe this must be his big return. 🙂
(Source Photo: here)

>CIO Ones To Watch Award

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Really grateful to be honored this week by CIO Magazine with 2010 “Ones To Watch Award.”

Also, met some tremendously smart, talented, and nice people at the conference and award dinner.

Among them–CIA, Special Forces, Fortune 500 CIOs, Social Networking Guru, Prior Professional Kite Flyer, and many others.

Congratulations to all the awardees!