27 March 2010

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

No wonder this video has almost 1.5 million views, I never imagine this kind of thing would be possible, but the new Photoshop can do it:

24 March 2010

Electric highway

So, Brazilian researchers discovered a way to create electricity from the traffic of cars - it's a special material that can be covered by asphalt and remain with its electric properties.

If you have an increasing volume of electric cars and the movement of the cars generate electricity, that would be really cool, especially in a traffic heavy nation like Brazil, where most of the production is distributed by heavy trucks and such. What about if this would be distributed straight to the public lights?

Now it's just thinking how/when this can be implemented in a large scale that would actually make a difference?

Source: Fiat Mio.

23 March 2010

Dreams coming true

As this is my 2nd year in the national board of AIESEC Norway, I remember that, in my first year, we had this dream of exchange happening every day in AIESEC Norway. Being it raise of a new internship, matching some exchange participants or realizing a new exchange with some exotic country.

Looking back today, after almost 2 years, I can say that this dream we are almost fulfilling today. Exchange became the central part of our organization. Innovation around it is begining to catch up, today all local committees are into constant EP recruitment and the DT TN project had it's first sell: 4 TNs sold in NHH! These changes are amazing. Thanks to a lot to the hard work from different people: members in teams, local and national executive boards. But not only hard work, also passion and, lots of times, personal sacrifice for the cause. We are AIESECers.

Is a good feeling to be part of all this change. We are far from over, but results are showing up and they will keep growing.

Let's go, AIESEC Norway! Let's raise as hell and match fast as the speed of light!

10 March 2010

The 8 things people expect from their leaders

Sent to me by my "boss", from HBR:


1. Tell me my role, tell me what to do, and give me the rules. Micromanaging? No, it's called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.

2. Discipline my coworker who is out of line. Time and time again, I hear, "I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable." Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and isn't acceptable.

3. Get me excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.

4. Don't forget to praise me. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.

5. Don't scare me. They really don't need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don't lose your temper at meetings because they didn't meet your expectations. It's often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.

6. Impress me. Strong leaders impress their staffs in a variety of ways. Yes, some are great examples of management, but others are bold and courageous, and still others are creative and smart. Strong leaders bring strength to an organization by providing a characteristic that others don't have and the company sorely needs.

7. Give me some autonomy. Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity.

8. Set me up to win. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.

That's a quite good and to the point list. I like especially number 8. I have this "mantra" to myself, something like "if we are going to make mistakes, let's make them quickly, so we can also try something different quickly". I value so much people that can be decisive as leaders. It takes balls to do so, because, as a leader, "everything is your fault (dot)" and sometimes people believe it's more comfortable to not decide.

I prefer to take a decision, even not knowing if it's the right one (not even mentioning the "perfect decision", which is probably an unrealistic concept anyway). If we new all the answer and had all the information we needed to make a decision, even a monkey could run a business. Leadership is about uncertainty and belief, management is about certainty and facts.

09 March 2010

8/march was yesterday, but people still don't get what is women's day

My friend Jake sent us because it concerns the Norwegian reality:


Adding Female Directors Hurts Norwegian Firms' Value

Minus 18%. When Norwegian companies increased the proportion of women on their boards under a new diversity law, the firms' market value suffered, according to Amy Dittmar and Kenneth Ahern of the University of Michigan. If a firm achieved at least a 10% increase in the proportion of female directors, its Tobin's Q — the ratio of market cap to asset-replacement cost — dropped 18%. But gender wasn't the reason, the researchers contend; the decline was due to the new directors' young age and lack of high-level work experience.

Source: Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

Talk about understanding the importance of gender equality and doing it wrong by enforcing laws and regulations that demand unqualified people to take the job of qualified ones. We have the recognize the value in every individual, not force an idiot policy of "let's be nice to these poor little girls". Putting women in the board room that shouldn't be there is also undervaluing them. I can almost hear the male board members telling sexist jokes about the women who were put in the board room for questionable reasons. Is this better? Really?

When Project Managers have the key

When Project Managers have the key

2500 years after Sun Tzu, McKinsey Quarterly publishes: "Senior executives and nonexecutive managers are unhappy with the performance of their companies’ frontline managers, according to a McKinsey survey".

The frontline managers (aka as Project Managers, Line Managers, LCPs, etc) are the corner stone in translating the strategy into action. Sun Tzu said that Officers are to blame when orders are clear but not follow, when you know what it needs to get done but it doesn't happen.

The great front line managers are CEOs of their processes, projects and initiatives. The ownership they take on what they do and the acknowledgement that success is a direct consequence of the actions of their teams are the ticks for the turn around: "empowering frontline managers to make decisions, anticipate problems, and coach their direct reports (rather than simply following and giving orders and solving crises) generates higher productivity and other benefits"

- Manage the process: and you will get the job done.
- Lead the people: and you will be able to get many jobs done.
- Connect your team to others: and you will release a chain of success that will spread through your organization and your partners.


Leadership = self-sacrifice for the vision + take responsibility