Great New Kosher Food In Washington DC

So nice to meet this impressive young Jewish women today, Carly. 


A Sophomore at GW University, who had the brainchild for more and better kosher food options in Washington, D.C. 


Hence, Brooklyn Sandwich Company food truck. 


The kids are lining up for their whole brisket sandwiches on a pretzel bun with broccoli slaw and many other kosher sandwich and soup treats. 


This is awesome opportunity for some terrific kosher food in America’s capital. 


Great job to Carly and Rabbi Yudi Steiner!  😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

When Technology Is Our Superhero

Linux

I liked this Linux Cat Superhero sticker that someone put on the back of the street sign in Washington, D.C. 


There is something great about the promise of technology (with G-d’s help of course) to make our lives better. 


When we get excited about technology, envision it, invest in it, and bring it to market–we are superheros making the world a better place. 


While many technologies may be “pie the sky” invoking more hype than higher purpose, if we can discern the doers from the duds then we can achieve the progress for ourselves and our children that we desperately want. 


Technology should be a superhero and not a villian–when its about the mission and doing what we do better, faster, and cheaper.


While Washington DC is a long way from entreprenurial and innovative Silicon Valley, the nexus between IT and public service has never been greater or more important. 


For example, when it comes to ideological clashes between (the iPhone’s) security/surveillance and privacy or between the proliferation of robots vs. jobs for real human beings, balancing the competing interests is the soul of technology and public policy. 


Every truly useful technology should have it’s superhero to represent and advocate for it, while us mere mortals sort out the implications and make sense of it all for the real world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hyperloop Takes Us Supersonic

Hyperloop Takes Us Supersonic

Elon Musk in a genius — from SpaceX to Tesla to Paypal — he has us inventing like almost no one else can.

Now his concept of the Hyperloop is once again breaking all preconceptions of travel on Earth.

Forget planes, trains, automobiles, and boats–Musk’s promised open source plans would take us from New York to Los Angeles in under 45 minutes!

The system would be built based on the following premises:

– Safer in that it never crashe and is immune to weather

– Faster than any Earth transportation available today

– Cheaper than air travel

– Better using self-powered solar panels and energy storage

In business school, we were taught to think in terms of better, faster, cheaper–what’s amazing about Musk is he has a track record of not just thinking it, but making it so.

While the Hyperloop doesn’t exist today, I find it awfully exciting to think that one day, it will.

On the plus side, Elon Musk makes George Jetson our reality; on the minus side, now we have no reason not to visit the in-laws. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to booknews)

When TMI Is PC

Zombie_lego

An interesting editorial in the New York Times (19 August 2012) bemoans the state of affairs in the workplace, where generation Y’ers, take the liberty of sharing too much [personal] information (TMI) with others.

The author, Peggy Klaus, gives examples of young workers talking about their looking for other positions, recounting family birthing experiences, or discussing sexual exploits or a shortage thereof.

Klaus see this as a carryover of people’s online social behavior or what she calls “Facebook in your face”–where you “tell everybody everything”–whether appropriate or important, or not at all!

Similarly, this behavior is viewed by some as young people simply acting out what they learned from their helicopter parents–who instilled “an overblown sense of worth” on them–where every poop is worth sharing from infancy through adulthood.

Ms. Klaus refers to this as O.S.D. or Obsessive Sharing Disorder–and she instead calls for “decency, common sense, and just plain good manners” in deciding what to share and when.

While I agree with a certain amount of base political correctness and decorum in the office, I think too much control (TMC) over our workforce is not a good thing.

We cannot expect people to fit in, be enthusiastic about coming to work, and be innovative and productive in their jobs–when they have to constantly be on guard–watching what they say and what they do, and worrying about making any mistake.

Assuming that people are not doing anything that hurts themselves or others, I think we should give people more room to breath, be themselves, and to self-actualize.

Holding the reins too tightly on workers, risks developing a cookie-cutter workforce–where everyone must look-alike, talk-alike, and think-alike–like virtual automatons–and such a telling and controlling environment destroys the very motivated, creative, and entrepreneurial workforce we desire and need to be globally competitive and individually fulfilled.

Best practices for teleworking, flexible work schedules, and clubs and activities at work that let people be human and themselves–makes for a happier, more committed, and more productive workforce.

Creating climates of workplace sterility, and fear and intimidation for every miscued word or imperfect deed–is neither realistic for human beings that are prone to make mistakes–nor conducive to learning and growing to be the best that each person can be.

I am not a generation Y’er, but I appreciate people who are real, words that are sincere, and deeds that are their personal best–whether it’s the way I would do it or not.

Yes, don’t talk and act stupid at work–and shame yourself or others with hateful or abusive behavior–but do feel free to be honestly you as an individual and as a contributor to the broader team–that is better than a zombie army of worker bees who faithfully watch every word and constrain every deed.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irregular Shed)

Losing The Edge, No More

Copyright

For years, there has been all sorts of uproar about the U.S. and its citizens and businesses losing their edge.

 

From critics who point out to how our educational system (especially through high school) is not keeping up, how we are not attracting and graduating enough folks in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), how our inventions are freely copied overseas, and how innovation and entrepreneurship is suffering at home whether due to challenging economic or social conditions.

 

Yet, when it comes to losing our edge, nothing is more maddening than when the technological advances we do have are taken from us–this happens in numerous ways, including:

 

– Cyber Attacks: According to the Pentagon Strategy on Cyberwar as per the Wall Street Journal (15 July 2011) “each year a volume of intellectual property the size of the Library of Congress is stolen from U.S. government and private-sector networks.” Cyber espionage has affected a broad range of our prized national assets: from Space Shuttle designs to the Joint U.S. Defense Strategy with South Korea as del as the plans for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and more. Moreover and unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg. For example, this past August, McAfee disclosed a cyber spying operation dubbed Operation Shady Rat that infiltrated some 71 government and corporate entities of which 49 were in the U.S. and which included more than a dozen defense firms over five years, compromising a massive amount of information.

 

– Spies/Insider Threats: Spies and insider threats can turn over state secrets to foreign powers or entities causing a major lose to our competitive advantage. This has happened with convicted spies from Aldrich Ames to FBI agent Robert Hanssen, and more recently to Army Corporal Bradley Manning accused of turning over troves of restricted documents to WikLleaks. And despite the amazing efforts to catch these subversives, presumably, there are plenty more where they came from.

 

– Expropriations: We lose our edge to foreign nations and organizations when our high-technology or intellectual assets are used without our consent or otherwise seized and compromised. This can happen from having our copyrights trampled on, our designs simply copied and “knockoffs” produced and peddled, or even when we are in a sense forced to exchange our intellectual property for basic entry into foreign markets. But this also happens more explicitly and violently when our assets are literally taken from us. For example this happened in April 2001, when Chinese fighter jets intercepted (in international air space) and crashed a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance plane and didn’t return it until July in disassembled pieces. Similarly, when the tail of the stealth modified MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, with sensitive military technology, used in the raid in Osama bin Laden’s was recovered and held by Pakistan for weeks before it was returned to the U.S. And we saw this again this week when the Iranians showed off a prized RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone they now have seized, and which secrets presumably may end up in Russian, Chinese, or ultimately terrorist hands.

 

Developing an edge is not something we should take lightly or for granted–It is based on lots of talent, experience, and hard work and we do not have an exclusive hold on any of these.

 

We must prize our scientific and technological advances and secure these the way a mother protects it’s young–fiercely and without compromise.

 

No matter how much or fast we churn out the advances, it will not matter if we do not safeguard our investments from those who would take it right out from under us. We can do this by significantly increasing investment in cyber security, strengthening counterespionage efforts, and not letting any nation or organization take something that doesn’t belong to them without consequences–economic or military–that restore our edge and then some.

 

(Source Photo: here)

The Done Manifesto v2

The Done Manifesto with 13 principles of getting to done has been circulated since 2009 (and recently reprinted in LifeHacker). It was made into a poster and creatively illustrated with Rubik’s cubes.

 

Below are the 13 principles revised and presented as The Done Manifesto Version 2.

 

Done_manifesto_v2
(Copyright: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Of course, there is a 14th principle that could also be considered–I remember this from a poster that I first saw in the local newspaper and candy store in Riverdale–it was illustrated with a little boy on a toilet and a roll of toilet tissue and had a caption that said “No Job is

Moving Forward in Reverse

There is “more than one way to skin a cat” and there are those who take the high road, and others who take the low road to get to where they are going.The Wall Street Journal (28 November 2011) has two articles this morning on how how reverse is the new forward.“Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace” is about how “Top managers get advice on social media, workplace issues from young workers.” It’s a reverse on the traditional mentoring model where older, experienced workers mentor younger workers; now younger technology savants are teaching their older colleagues some new tricks.

According to the article, Jack Welch championed reverse mentoring as head of GE when “he ordered 500 top executives to reach out to people below them to learn how to use the Internet…fast forward a decade and mentors are teaching theirmentees about Facebook and Twitter.

Really this phenomen of learning from the young is not all that odd, when you think that many, if not most, of technology’s greatest advancements of the last 35 years came from college kids or dropouts working out their garages and growing whole new technologies, industries, and ways of doing business.

Another article called “Great Scott! Dunder Mifflin Morphs Into Real-Life Brand of Copy Paper” describes how Staples and Quill have teamed up to market a new brand of copy paper called none other than Dunder Mifflin (from the TV show “The Office” now in its 8th season).

Here again, we are in going forward in reverse. “For decades, marketers worked to embed their [real] brands in the plots of TV shows and movies. Nowadays, they are seeing value in bringing to life fictional brands that are already part of pop culture.”

This reminds me of when I started seeing Wonka chocolate bars–originally from the movie, Willie Wonker and The Chocolate Factory–showing up on store shelves.

Whether the young mentoring the old or fictional brands showing up in real life, changes that are the reverse of what we are used too, are not something to “bristle at”, but rather are the new normal.

There are many ways to success and we will find them through creatiity, innovation, and entreprenuership–any and every way forward.

(Source Photo: here)