Losing Our Tech-osterone


So a vendor comes in and does a pitch and demo for a product we were interested in. 

But this technology vendor, a Fortune 100 company, couldn’t figure out how to plug in their laptop for the demonstration. 

The presenter is holding his plug from the computer and comparing it to the ports on the monitor and going, “Is it a male or is it a female?”

It’s almost like he’s going innie or outtie…

And he’s repeating this over and over again as he keeps trying to plug in his cord to the various openings. 

Everyone is sitting sort of uncomfortably at this point, and so I try to break the tension and say, “I didn’t know we were going to be getting an anatomy lesson today.”

Well, we got the guy some technical help–the government to the rescue–and before long, he figured out the males and the females and the presentation was on the screen. 

The only problem, the title slide for his presentation had a misspelling for the product they were selling. 

At this point, all I can say is, this is why American business is getting soft!  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Just want to recognize all the wonderful women who have touched my life:

My beautiful wife and daughters.

Also my beloved mother and grandmothers A’H.

As well as friends and colleagues. 

I still remember the saying I used to hear growing up that girls are “sugar and spice and everything nice!”

In the bible, women are men’s “ezer kenegdo” literally translated as helpmates, and figuratively as companions. 

There is a nice Jewish teaching that the word “kenegdo” has a double meaning that if a man is good then the women stands as his aide, but if he is bad that she stands against him–so men have to merit the love and kindness of their wives, and not just expect it, dutifully. 

An interesting article written by Melvin Konner in the Wall Street Journal says that with women taking over more and more leadership roles in the workplace and in politics, the world will be a better place!

What served men well in a hunter-gather society–the male testosterone-driven biology–prepares men well for physical aggression, reproduction, and dominance, but also leads to overreaction to small threats, exaggerated violence, and recklessness that has brought “war, corruption, and scandal.”

However, in the current information technology society that we now live in, men’s physical strength and prowess is largely obsolete replaced by machines, robots, and drones. And women’s emancipation and rise to positions of power has led to situations where saner heads and compromise prevail, and as Senator Susan Collins (Maine) said:

“While male colleagues cross their arms and sulked, women crossed the aisles with phone calls, emails, and social media.”

From my experience, women can actually be the fiercer gender (testosterone or not), and a wise man does not mess with them! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Posture Matters

Posture Matters

So the military got it right when they teach their cadets to stand tall “at attention.”

“Chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in.”

The Wall Street Journal (21 August 2013) says that “posture can determine who’s a hero, [and] who’s a wimp.”

Research has shown that striking a power pose raises testosterone levels that is associated with feelings of strength, superiority, social dominance, (and even aggression at elevated levels) and lowers cortisol levels and stress.

Power poses or even just practicing these have been linked with better performance, including interviewing and SAT scores.

Body language or non-verbal communication such as standing erect, leaning forward, placing hands firmly on the table, can project power, presence, confidence, and calmness.

It all ties together where saying the right thing is augmented and synergized by looking the right way, and doing the right thing. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Official U.S. Navy Imagery)

>Fear, Greed and Enterprise Architecture


Fear and greed can have a huge influence on our decision making processes. Rather than making rational, informed decisions, we are driven by fear and greed and herd mentality to do stupid things.

Irrational decisions driven by fear and greed are the antithesis of rational, well-thought out decisions driven by enterprise architecture planning and governance.

In an interview with Fortune Magazine 28 April 2008 (and on a day of teaching students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business), Warren Buffet stated: “when people panic, when fear takes over, or when greed takes over, people react just as irrationally as they have in the past.”

Similarly, in The Wall Street Journal 18 April 2008, an MIT financial economist, Andrew Lo, stated: “You have to understand the mechanism of how fear and greed impact market decisions.”

Fear and greed are affected by our endocrine system. According to Andrew Lo, “for better or for worse, biochemistry makes money go to our heads. ‘We need to understand that physiological aspects of brain behavior really impact financial decisions.”

Testosterone is the hormone that makes us irrationally exuberant, confident and greedy, and another hormone, cortisol, causes us to feel fear and gloom.

Do these hormones and the resulting emotions we feel impact our decisions and behavior?

Your bet!

“Among males and females, testosterone is a natural component in the chemistry of competition…it enhances persistence, fearlessness, and a willingness to take risks. Among athletes it rises in victory, and falls in defeat. “

Endocrinologists have identified “the ‘winners’ effect,’ in which successive victories boost levels of testosterone higher and higher, until the winner is drunk with success—so overconfident that he can no longer think clearly, assess risk properly or make sound decisions.” On the opposite side of the spectrum, “too much cortisol, secreted in response to stress, might in turn make them overly shy of risk.”

In the face of fear and greed, decision making is impaired and becomes irrational. Decisions are no longer driven by the facts on the ground or by judicious planning or sound governance that comes with disciplines like enterprise architecture. Instead, people become slaves to their hormones and emotional effects.

In Fortune Magazine, Warren Buffet warned against falling into the fear/greed trap of decision making. He stated: “I always say you should get greedy when other are fearful and fearful when others are greedy. But that’s too much to expect. Of course [at a minimum] you shouldn’t get greedy when others get greedy and fearful when others get fearful.”

Rather than optimizing decision making, our fears and greed destabilize our ability to think clearly and rationally. When this happens, we need to rely more than ever on our enterprise architecture target and plans and on our governance processes, so that we stay focused on our goals and path to them and not be sidetracked by, as Alan Greenspan stated, “irrational exuberance” or irrational fears.