May 6, 2008

2nd Day of EBOs

What a good job presenting! I thought Scott and Mary did a phenomenal job of conveying our idea and the emerging business opportunity. This group, Immediate, really came together to put together a great idea that covered all the bases of what the project entailed. At first, I thought that we had too many leaders on our team and not enough doers, but I was happily proved wrong. The team did a wonderful job of researching all the facts an covering all the bases so when the questions came, we were ready. It was the best group that I worked with this semester and would gladly work with them again. Our team was very dedicated to the project and once we started running with the idea, everyone became involved with it and wanted to make sure it was great. After seeing everyone else present, I had a great feeling about what we had put together. (of course I'm bias) Also, once the presentation was done, I would have been satisfied with any score given. I felt this way because, we all showed great teamwork and it felt like it went great and that was all we could do. Once the rest of the class got into it, laughing and got the idea, it really gave us the proud feeling that we really had come up with something special! Great Work Team!! Now if only we could make Immediate real?!!

May 5, 2008

1st Day of EBOs

On the first day of the EBO presentations I was very surprised by the range of topics that groups came up with and discussed. I thought each of the groups did a good job presenting with a couple taking the feedback from the first presentation seriously. It seemed funny, how after the first one we talked about grabbing the audiences attention right away at the beginning and ending on a high note. On the first day, I think only one group, 2nd Life Therapy, did that. Overall, it was interesting to hear about all the different types of ideas that groups came up with and how some of them could be big in the future. It really stretched the minds of everyone in the class and got to think, how is this going to work.

April 24, 2008

Weisman

There were several cool things about Weisman. First off, it was neat to actually go into the place and check it out. I have been going to school here for about 5 years and walked by it several times wondering the inside was like. Also I thought it very interesting that about the background of the architect. How he was bucking the system and trying to establish a new style and a new standard of design.
Now I have been to several museums, but never an art museum and I found it fascinating. The different styles of art and the various images that each was trying to portray. I had the opportunity to get to the museum before everyone was there and check it out at my own pace and really had the chance to read through all the descriptions. I found the the walk-in exhibit with the sounds on the other side of the door pretty cool as well as the chicken coop painting. While I didn't get any ideas right then there, I think that each time a person goes outside their norm like this it opens you up for the next time to be more open minded and think about things in a little different light. Again, a great experience and without this class session, probably never would have gone into the Weisman.

April 21, 2008

IB

I know this is a reoccurring theme, but I believe that Peter trumped the other speakers. Cookies were a great touch, but the personal experience the shared with us was easy to relate too. He brought several stories about his personal life and work that translated well into the presentation. I could tell, he truly loves what he is doing. In addition, the stuff they do is cool! The whole process and much more complex than I ever would have guessed, but that is way IB is so successful. The ability to find that niche and work their resources in a way that enables them national success. I am curious though, if that woman does all their presenting.. If I were a communications or marketing/advertising major, this would be the company that I would want to seek out. Listening to Peter talk gave a very positive feel for the culture and daily life a IB. They are definitely a company that has the potential to grow for a long time to come.
Again, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him speak and learn more about the company. He's right, they are definitely the coolest company that you've never heard of. I will definitely be recommending to check out IB if I ever run across a Com. major. It was interesting to hear about an entire market I didn't even know existed and see how a local company is thriving in it. Thanks to Peter and IB. Great Job and phenomenal cooking!

April 11, 2008

IBM Day

Tom did an awesome job bringing in a different perspective to our class. Since he is from Canada and is very involved in both public and private policy, he is very knowledgeable on several subjects. When discussing globalization, I knew that Canada did a fair number of trades with us, but did not realize 83%. That number is enormous and as Michelle said, its not a good thing when you put all your eggs in one basket. The sneeze that the US is going through now is affecting them more than ever. I do like the way he brought up and discussed our thoughts on how things should be handled, whether through government or other means. I do like the emphasis he put on focusing on strategy, whether is was for the business or the big picture of how things could be handled. I agree with the topic of the government should not be constantly be bailing people out, but if the company has a strategy for the future that is both positive and well thought out and all well known reasons are know, like the NWA situation, it is ok.
As good as GMills was, Tom perspective and insight, was the most beneficial to date. Having him come in brings to light many different thing, especially to always think big picture. As a take away for ourselves, to specialize in something, be great at it, and make yourself special is quality advice that I will take with me when entering the workforce. Also, here in America as we only heare about jobs going out and blah blah, we always have to be aware of the other side of the story. Once again think big picture.
Again, Tom did a fantastic job and was able to offer advice and insight that will stick with me for the future!

Emerging Technologies

There was a lot of good class discussion on Tuesday about the emerging technologies coming into the workplace and our homes. The base discussion about virtualization, soa, and gridcomputing was great, but what really got my mind working was the technology of having the sensors on our proteins. This way of monitoring personal health and obtaining information about your body is so real, yet seems so out there. When you think of the size of a protein and how could you attach something to it that would be able to do some much seems so unbelievable. This type of work that scientists are doing today is crazy. Also, when talking about other technologies, such as the glasses that double as a monitor and can broadcast directly into a person's retina. What makes this so astounding to me is that, while I think of myself of a relatively sauvvy individual when it comes to what is new and upcoming. When in reality I don't have a clue. It is a good wake up for me to realize that I need to do a little more research and get with the times. Also, as sad as it sounds, going out to find the newest technology is interesting, but until it is in the market and ready for use, its not that appealing to me. So when we talk about it in class, it is awesome to learn about and sort of changes my thinking of, hey I should really get into this. This is what is going to keep me ahead of the time (somewhat) and would give me an advantage to be innovative. This is something that can make me special in my future workplace.

April 2, 2008

EBO Project

Today was the first day I got to meet all the members of the EBO project group. It was a goo experience and I think we really gelled on the during our short time together. Right away, everyone was very outgoing and introduced themselves and were eager to write down email addresses and contact information. Before we talked about any business, a few group members mentioned a few guidelines right away that set the tone for our group. This guidelines were very broad outlines that talked about respecting each others opinion and making sure to be open to giving ideas and not take it personally when not chosen. We collaborated right away that any idea is a good one and once we get a chance to meet and discuss the pros and cons of each, we should be open to anything. Next it was good to hear that a few of the members had already been thinking about ideas before we even got together. This really helped to give me a direction or a feel of the the assignment was looking for. After we all agreed on a time and place to meet, we made a agenda for the next two session and a tentative time line to finish up the project. This kind of structure in a group really makes me excited to work with this group. I believe that we are all excited to do the best job that we can with this assignment and give it 100%. I hope this enthusiasm runs throughout the project, because if so, we will be a difficult team to bring down. Way to go guys! Off to a great start!

March 31, 2008

Databases

This definitely was some of the most boring reading that I have gone through. It is difficult to become engaged in the discussion on a topic that is dry and of no interest to me. What I got out of class that day was that it is now time to start studying for the exam. The jeopardy trivia was a good jumpstart from the lecture and got me and everyone else involved. Going back to chapter 8, it is funny how much we still retain from the reading and lecture. This material was from several weeks ago and with a spring break in there makes it seems long ago. Much of the material that we were tested on I could somewhat recall but if it were not multiple choice, I would have had a difficult time answering any of the questions. Thanks for the cash. It was a motivator. I am looking forward to getting started on the EBO project, working with my new group, and getting the second half of this semester off to a good start.

March 17, 2008

General Mills Days

Incredible! Only way to explain the way that General Mills is using technology day in and day out. The ability to create the virtual store and monitor the hourly results. Again, knowledge is power. If you can tell throughout the day what is selling when, and what locations are the hot spots, a company can position their products to sell more efficiently. As he went through and gave the background how buying space on shelves work, it made me think back to the Marketing 3001 class I had a few years ago. Ceral products are always shelved in a certain way. The branded staple products located on the bottom of the shelf, then the sugar kids ceral in the middle, then the organix healthy foods are on the top shelves. It was nice to see that this was seconded by a person that actually works with the products. Going back to the virtual stores, having the capability to organize an entire store setup to be that way that you want it, and rearrange at the click of a mouse, is amazing. This gives people the opportunity to show companies how they want it and would prefer things to be laid out.
Another positive point for Mike was that when asked about if they would help out other companies that aren't competitors, like KMB. He real response "what are they going to offer us" was good to see that he wasn't going to fluff it up and in the business world, that is how it goes. The ability to have the leading technology for 18 months before anyone else is a long time to be working and collecting data with state of the art technology. As I mentioned in earlier posts, it can almost be scary to think about all the information that they are collecting every minute, and the fact that the still want to collect more.
On a side note, bringing all those shirts, cerals and bars really helped get people involved and I thank him for the Lucky Charms. It is hard to believe that a company like General Mills, after years of being in business, is still cranking out almost 75 new products yearly. While some of them flop, some take off and even though its food products, they still need to keep innovating their product line to stay with trends and fads. Now I also have an inside scoop with General Mills as my brother works in their IS department and I can tell you, that technology at this company is used and used and used. The things that those IS teams do is so far over my head, it makes my look like a rookie using a computer. Again it is incredible how a company like General Mills uses technology in every branch of their business and how when used effectively it creates a competitive advantage for them. Technology is a great tool, that when used by the right people becomes powerful.

March 12, 2008

Security Issues

The security issues that we face in today's age of the internet is enormous. How Doug was able to get those pictures was easy. Facebook and the social networks so often give us a false sense of security that only people we friend or in our network will be able to view our profiles. This is sometimes misleading, because anyone can be a pretend to be someone on any given network now and check out your profile. The levels of security that they have can also be gotten around that if one of your friends is tagged in a nonfriend's album, you have complete access to that album. The only way to ensure that your personal information is safe is to keep it off and only have it available when absoultely necessary.
Last year, before I signed up at my future firm, I was worried about the the numerous pictures of me on Facebook. I mean friends can post pictures of you without tagging you and then you have no idea that they are on there. Even though there was no serious photos of me, it can still be unnerving what a potential employer might think when they see these pictures. Is this guy out having a good time 7 days a week, does he even care about school, or is this the type of behavior we can expect at the company party? At first, I had my cell phone number current address and all that information on there, but since have really tried to take control of my information and my privacy. I have tried to put the controls on as far as I don't think my name can be searched and even if others can see my profile, my pictures can't be viewed. At least this is the impression I'm under.
Again it all comes down to responsibility and holding one accountable. If you are going to create a profile and thus open yourself up to have this type of problems, you have to be able to manage your risks. I am far from doing this effectively, but as I mentioned earlier I have tried to put some sort of control on my situation. I do like that quote the ended the class saying that anything that is put on a public domain, can and will be found. It also, will be put up at one of the most embarrassing time possible. (i.e in class in front of everyone)

Session with Mr. Ken Hylander

Ken did a fantastic job of showing how technology helps him with his job as well as the overall safety aspects of NWA. The background that he offered to start the lecture really gave me a solid background of the company. I had obviously heard of them and have flown NWA, but was unaware of the breakdown of planes and where their hub cities were. I think it is very interesting how they have positioned themselves to champion the Pacific Northwest. This seemed odd because of the lack of population currently in these areas. However, as he mentioned, why not focus on these areas and let the Deltas and such fight out over the major cities of New York and Los Angeles.
Continuing with his lecture, the safety part was by far the most interesting. Just seeing all those time when something did go wrong and the amount of time the company and crews put into understanding why it went wrong and how they can insure that it won't happen again in the future is incredible. At first, looking the pictures can scare someone away from flying, I mean it was plane after plane that was damaged, but when you hear that they moved an entire city in one day with their 300+ planes in inventory is pretty amazing. In a job such as his, I can't imagine there is any sleeping. It would seem that he would be getting a text message during the night or an alert of one thing or another. As one other person wrote, he should and I'm sure he does get compensated fairly.
Another point that was of interest was the fact that no matter what they do not allow any pilot to do any sort of maintenance work on the plane. This is comforting because although a pilot must know the aircraft, it is not their area of expertise.
Last point from his lecture. The amount of information that they are constantly collecting, analyzing and feeding back into their training programs is ridiculous. Every bit of information from every flight is monitored and looked at. If there is any unique situation or complication, they use it as a training experience for their fellow pilots. Having access to real time information such as theirs creates a huge advantage. Now I'm sure that every airline has that capability, but when it was first used, it was revolutionary and bettered not only pilots training, but also those in control towers, and maintenance. Finally, Ken's point rings true in any business out there, machines can do what they do, but in the end "its all about the people".

March 5, 2008

Day after Test Day

Knowledge management is very important in today's society. From the articles that we read for Tuesday, they pointed out several benefits and challenges that one faces when trying to implement the process into their jobs. The main challenge of having people openly give up their secrets at work. These secrets include ways of doing something faster, better, or just how to do it. People don't want to give up this information because they feel that once they do they will become invaluable and what made them special no longer exists. This is not true! If we can shake this attitude or fear that we have today, we will not only be benefiting ourselves but the company that we work for. As all good employees this will show the dedication and passion we have for our workplace and that we want the company as a whole to succeed. Yes, people will not have their special skill anymore, but what's to say that one can't be continually learned. If three different people had these secrets and one person was holding the piece that would but it all together, think how much faster innovation would occur. This type of state of mind would help people break out of their pillars that they work in everyday and share knowledge.
From a personal experience I can relate to one's reluctance to give "valuable information". When I did my internship last year, the company was going paperless. This was new for everyone and being new to the entire system, I found it easy to adjust and found quick ways to do something. At first I did not want to let anyone know because I was trying my hardest to look like a rockstar. After a few weeks, I decided against that and went and told a few people about this new ways. Then people started coming to me to ask questions and ask for training. So the entire worry was in vain. The whole process was initially a big headache, but once everyone started sharing their shortcuts and workaround, the whole firm was able to adjust faster and make efficient processes documented for everyone to follow. This was so beneficial to the entire firm, so rather than stumble and trudge through it individually, the shared knowledge helped the entire firm innovate its processes and become a better firm. So far in this class, I believe knowledge management (managing what's between the ears) is the most important concept we have discussed so far.

March 3, 2008

Test Day

My mind was definitely wondering during the test on Thursday. One thought that came to my head was how perfect it would have been to be able to use my notes during the test. I think if that were done, I would have done significantly better on the test. My thought throughout the test were pretty straightforward. Should have studied more. I went through the articles and the powerpoints a couple different times, but feel that I should have read a little slower. It got to be tough though, because by the second time you read something, you end up skimming. That is just a habit that I need to break and will help me for the final. Overall that test was pretty fair, it was a lot of material to spit back out, but nothing that was too extreme. Next time, I will study just a little bit more.

February 28, 2008

Ethics Day

Random thoughts from ethics day. There were so many different questions, that are so iffy that if you say one thing, it can really contradict another. An example of this is the "blogger terrorist". On one hand people are entitled to their freedom of speech as laid out in the Constitution, so that anyone can write whatever they want wherever they want. Blogging behind an anonymous title enables anyone to do just that. In some respects this is a good thing, certain people that are typically to shy or timid to come out and say something, are able to do so with the defense of no one really finding out who they are. This also gives people in a unique position, say an executive of a company, that ability to go write a blog somewhere that lets someone know what he.she thinks of the company without anyone finding out . (they hope) On the other hand, I believe that this needs to have some sort of limit on it, but have no idea where and when to draw the line. With such anonymity the public can write down some harmful, discriminating, or even incriminating things. For example, from the bus crash that happened lately. Individuals from one of the Minneapolis suburbs wrote a blog behind a anonymous name that told that the driver of the van should be killed how it should be done. This sort of blog to me signifies "terrorist". Freedom of speech or not, a person should not be able to do or write such harmful things without some kind of consequence or accountability. I'm sure everyone can agree, it was a horrible tragedy that people will not soon forget, but remember that when that lady left her house that day, she wasn't set out to do what happened. That is why it is called an accident. To have that sort of shield is a double edged sword. As we talked about in class and as I just mentioned. I firmly believe, that yes people should be able to write whatever, but we need to take accountability for what we write, especially if we expect others to be accountable for the actions that are being written about. There should not be that disconnect between the two.
This is something that people will continue to debate for a long time to come. In our society, no one wants to be responsible for anything. I'll state right now, that I guilty from time to time too. Its just that so many people that you talk to have excuses or it was so and so faults why this happened. In certain cases, yes someone else caused it, but you were still there whether by choice or not. Where are we going to place the blame and who's going to take it? Again where to draw the line?

February 24, 2008

Missed Day

I wasn't able to make it to class on Thursday to listen to Kurt from Thomson. I wish I would have been able to, but due to a horrible bus/van crash in my hometown Tuesday afternoon I did not. What ended up happening was that a van ran a stop sign and crashed into a school bus, filled with innocent kids, sending the bus tipping over onto and oncoming pick-up. Upon impact with the pick-up four kids were either trapped immediately or soon after due to injuries passed away. The ages of these kids were between 8 and 14. There has been a lot of publicity given to my hometown and former high school by the local and national media.Obviously, we would want this for a much different reason, but I am surprised and glad that the media has been involved and respectful throughout the entire process. I have watched numerous news programs in the last week, and found that even the anchors back up here in Minneapolis, are getting emotionally involved. Its such a powerful story of tragedy that in some way, ever person can see them being on that bus, or their children being there.
What made this whole story difficult for me was that I personally know the two brothers that died in the crash. Before this last weekend, I had only known them basically as an acquaintance. They are the younger brothers of one of my close friends. He had just gotten married last Saturday, with a wedding that seemed to go perfect and the two were so full of happiness when my girlfriend and I went out for supper with them on Sunday night. The next day, they flew out to Mexico to enjoy their honeymoon and get away from this cold weather. Then on Tuesday afternoon, he had to receive a phone call that his little brothers had passed away. There was nothing anyone could do. They had to wait to get a flight out of Mexico, which was no easy task, and had to wait an entire day to find one. Finally, they were able to arrive here in Minneapolis Wednesday night. My girlfriend and I decided that the only thing we could do, is drive them back home. When they got in the vehicle with us, it was weird because they didn't know any details of the crash. Tessa and I filled in all the blanks, since we had been watching and reading the news nonstop since the tragic event. After that was done, we continued to ride in silence for the next two hours. What can you say? I think just by having us in the vehicle made them feel better. Seems that I learned that it doesn't alway have to be a comforting word or hug that helps someone. Sometimes it is just being there. Now since Wednesday, a community wide service was held that over two thousand people attended to show their support for the families involved. Even our governor and senate members were able to be in attendance. Tim gave an awesome speech, filled with real words of understanding for the families and the community, and not some speech furthering his own political agenda. Next Coleman gave his speech, that was just as difficult for him to give as it was for us to hear. He has already lost his daughter and son to tragedy and was someone that could say, "I know how you feel." Since the service, people are trying to get back to their routine and get their lives back in order. Kids returned to school, community members back to work and the media back to the breaking stories of the cities. This tragedy has brought to light many advantages of being from a small town. This community wide support that people are showing is incredible and can not be matched up against anything. In addition to the community and citizens of Minnesota sending their support, flowers and cards have come from Alabama, New York, and California from schools and parents that just want to help. One of the most touching stories I've heard in the last few days was about a gentleman who drove up from Iowa to personally deliver flowers to each of the victim's families because he too has lost his children in a tragic way. All of these events, have brought together families and communities across the country. While one week ago, we were celebrating the joining of two people, this week we will be mourning the passing of two young people from that same family. My hope is that this does not dampen their joy about their future together, but take in stride and become even closer through it all. It is always hard to have those you care about hurting and you know you want to help, but can't do much. One just has to remember to be there for them, sometimes that's all you can do. Through all of this, the community reaction makes me proud to be from a small town were everyone does know everyone and everyone cares.