Who’s Getting The Attention Now?

Pink Shoes and Socks

I took this photo of this couple online in Starbucks this morning. 


It was very hard not to notice this guy’s sneakers and socks (on the left). 


Hot pink sneakers with matching Homer Simpson pink socks. 


I thought to myself that you’ve got to be pretty bold to go out and wear that. 


It’s funny how people love attention, and often it seems like they will say, wear, and act any which way they have to in order to get it. 


Maybe (good) attention is like currency:


– It’s valuable when your noticed (you become instantaneously cool, one to follow, maybe gets into the school or job you always wanted, oh and don’t forget all the likes on Facebook or the paparazzi).


– It feels good to have some (who wants to be ignored or looked down on? Positive attention is like an addictive drug to many people).


– You can trade attention with others (they give you some and you give them some–it’s like rubbing each others backs, but in this case it’s your egos instead). 


– Perhaps, you can even save some up in the (memory) bank (where people remember what a great gal or guy you are). 


Think about what do you do to get attention and is it something you are proud of or are you acting a little mischievous, naughty, and outlandish to get it? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Social Networks–Online and At The Beach

Social Networks--Online and At The Beach

There was a comical editorial in the Wall Street Journal about Social Networks.

This guy, Farhad Manjoo, is addicted to Twitter.

He writes: “I check it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and about a billion times in between.”

And he admits he doesn’t understand his own addiction: “I’ve never been able to explain what I get out of Twitter, or exactly why I find it so enthralling.”

Manjoo is afraid of what an IPO will do to Twitter–will they have to advertise more, become more like Facebook, favor pictures over text, lose it’s strength in the area of breaking news–hopefully, he is referring to more than what he ate for breakfast!

People are spending inordinate amounts of time on social media–friending and following people they don’t even know!

Perhaps, it’s the fantasy–compliments of virtual reality on the Internet–of being associate–“friends” or “connected–with the rich, famous, powerful, and wise or with the kids who would beat us up in the schoolyard only years earlier.

Online–we’re all sort of friends, aren’t we?

Our avatars or online profiles don’t differentiate much between those we really like or not–we are free to pretty much follow anyone, anytime–unless they block you because you are annoying!

Virtual reality in social media–perhaps the great equalizer–the freedom fighters in the Middle East can post videos of the Sarin attacks as easily as the President can post his inaugural message.

The material is there and free for the ingest by everyone.

Social media has a purpose in bringing us together and spreading the word, videos, and pictures of the times–it make the big world smaller for us to get our arms around.

Then again, a social network of a few close family members or friends on the beach–also good, maybe better for the soul. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>The Three I’s and Enterprise Architecture

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One question that is frequently asked in enterprise architecture is whether new technologies should be adopted early (more cutting edge) or later (more as quick followers). Of course, the third course of action is to close ones eyes or resist change and simply “stay the course.”

The advantages to bleeding edge technology adoption is having the early advantage over competitors in the marketplace (this head start provides the ability to incorporate innovation into products early and capture a hefty market share and quite possibly dominance), while the advantage to quick followers being learning from mistakes of others, building from their initial investments and a more mature technology base (for example, with software, one where the bugs have been worked out) thereby potentially enabling a leapfrog effect over competitors. The advantage to staying the course is organizational stability in the face of market turmoil; however, this is usually short lived, as change overwhelms those resistant, as the flood waters overflow a levee.

The Wall Street Journal 5-6 July 2008 has an interview with Theodore J. Frostmann, a billionaire private-equity businessman, who tells of Warren Buffet’s “rule of the three ‘I’s,” which is applicable to the question of timing on technology adoption.

“Buffet once told me there are three ‘I’s in every cycle. The ‘innovator,’ that’s the first ‘I’. After the innovator comes the ‘imitator.’ And after the imitator in the cycle comes the idiot. So when…we’re at the end of an era it’s another way of saying…that the idiots have made their entrance.”

I relate the innovator and the early adopter in their quest for performance improvement and their sharing the early competitive advantage of innovation.

Similarly, I associate the imitator with the quick followers in their desire to learn from others and benefits from their investments. They recognize the need to compete in the marketplace with scarce economic resources and adapt mindfully to changes.

Finally, I relate the idiots that Warren Buffet refers to with those that ignore or resist change. Often these organizations mistake their early market success for dominance and in their arrogance, refuse to cede to the need to adjust to changing circumstance. Alternatively, these enterprises are truly ignorant of the requisite to adapt, grow, mature, and transform over time, and they mistakenly believe that simply sitting behind the cash register and waiting for customers is the way to run a business (versus a Costco whose warehouse, wholesale model has turned the nature of the business on its head).

In architecting the enterprise, innovation and imitation, while not without cost and risk, will generally speaking be highly rewarded by superior products and services, greater market share and more loyal customers, and a culture of success in the face of constant change. You don’t need to look far for examples: Apple, 3M, P&G, Intel, Toyota, Amazon, and more.

>Types of Followers and Enterprise Architecture

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A leader directs or guides and is in charge or commands others. Almost by definition, a leader must have followers. An enterprise architect leader influences and guides decision-making and direction of the enterprise business and IT planning and governance.

Harvard Business Review, December 2007, reports “there is no leader without at least one follower” and “increasingly, followers think of themselves as free agents, not as dependent underlings.

HBR provides an interesting typology of followers based on their engagement—there are five types:

  1. Isolates—“completely detached…scarcely aware of what’s going on around them. Moreover, they do not care about their leaders, know anything about them or respond to them in any obvious way. Their alienation…by knowing and doing nothing…[they] support the status quo…[they] can drag down their groups or organizations.”
  2. Bystanders—“observe but do not participate. These free riders deliberately stand aside and disengage, both from their leaders and from their groups or organizations. They may go along passively when its’ in their self-interest to do so, but they are not internally motivated to engage in an active way.”
  3. Participants—“are engaged in some way. Regardless of whether these followers clearly support their leaders and organizations or clearly oppose them, they care enough to invest some of what they have (time or money, for example) to try and make an impact.”
  4. Activists—“feel strongly one way or another about their leaders and organizations, and they act accordingly. These followers are eager, energetic, and engaged. They are heavily invested in people and process, so they work hard either on behalf of their leaders or to undermine and even unseat them.
  5. Diehards—“are prepared to go down for their cause-whether it’s an individual, an idea, or both. These followers may be deeply devoted to their leaders, or they may be strongly motivated to oust their leaders by any means necessary…they are willing, by definition, to endanger their own health and welfare in the service of their cause.”

Some lessons for leaders:

  • Follower engagement–“Followers who do something are nearly always preferred to followers who do nothing.”
  • Leadership support–“Good followers will actively support a leader who is good (effective and ethical) and will actively oppose a leader who is bad (ineffective and unethical.”
  • Organizational contribution—“Bad followers will do nothing whatsoever to contribute to the group or organization.”
  • Power and influence–“Followers act in their own self-interests, just as leaders do. And while they lack authority, at least in comparison with their superiors, followers do not lack power and influence.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, it is helpful to focus not only on leadership qualities, skills, and their development, but also on the types of followers and on their engagement, support, contribution, and power.

To lead an enterprise–establishing a target architecture, transition plan, and governance–the chief architect, must be able to develop a high energy, synergistic, A+ team of individuals that care, can perform, and are engaged and committed to drive effective change and organizational excellence.