Wednesday, December 21, 2016

About Vision & Strategy - How to develop it, other challenges and considerations

We had a motley crew of awesome people show up to the AppsJack Share gathering last in Kirkland to talk about Vision & Strategy. I got a lot of great input (see everything below) that will help me better direct the January version of the podcast.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Strategy and approach (what to do) depends on the stage and situation of the business
  2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) a good way to break down complex projects
  3. Internal and external lenses/views/perspectives key to understanding and thinking about strategy
  4. Personal and corporate authenticity key to successful implementation
  5. Aligning an essential skill
  6. Nuance and readiness for seeing, understanding, integrating and working with outliers and anomalies is another key
  7. Timeframe matters for strategic thinking
  8. Context matters (and therefore controlling/limiting scope and having focus)
  9. There is a general prerence toward rapid tests of assumptions (failing fast) rather than long and protracted 'strategic' actions but there are times when the latter tactics (strategic actions) matter
  10. We couldn't determine whether or not models mattered. Models are meant to be broken, so why manage to them or even think about them?
  11. The mitigation and reduction of risk is key to successful strategy
  12. Design thinking is a key and related skill
  13. Strategy isn't and shouldn't be thought of as linear

We wondered at the very beginning if we should start by discussing vision or strategy and the answer, perhaps not surprisingly, was 'it depends'.  Chris brought up a good point that it very much depends on the stage, phase or status of the organization.  Assessment and triage (qualification) is first needed.  Steve raised challenges he has about breaking down a compelling vision into the component parts.  To me, these are the skills of project managers and other leaders who make complex and challenging things easier, that can be communicated to the necessary suppliers.  Work breakdown structure is a common method.  Mike Pritchard shared that he thinks there is an internal and external vision.  Joe Okonek refers to the vision, values and valued behaviors as things that can / should be externally communicated and publicly shared.  Missions, for example, can be internal documents and communications that help internal relationships focus on comm and strategic goal.  Public/open and private/closed is another dimension on which to explore strategy.

Good parts / what attendees liked: mentions of sex, swearing, arguments, passionate discussion, British accents, food, beer.  Authenticity was brought up as a key factor in this area.  Without true authenticity (and value, quality) your audience will see you as a fake and disengage (won't authorize).  Berry talked about the importance of alignment.  For example, aligning yourself and your company with the market and environment and their vision, values, purposes, needs, interests, ideas, etc.  Dominic talked about the difference between power (which can be personal and thought of as influence) and force, which can be applied from the tops down if someone has a lot of money or ability to coerce.  10 types of power are discussed in this article.  David brought up the point that strategy usually requires a longer and more futuristic timeline.  For example, he said that it's hard to be strategic for two minutes.  

Dominic led us in a discussion of the definition of a strategy and there were many different thoughts and opinions.  Someone defined a strategy as choosing an approach or an approach chosen ie a decision and commitment was necessarily made. I brought up the notion that it is hard to create a perfect product but many people disagreed: that within a domain, there can be a perfect product.  But there is a context, and knowing this context well is critical for product success.  Dominic wanted us to separate 'strategy' generically with 'strategy with a purpose' (a clear why). I brought up an issue I was having at work making a decision to build a feature for a big customer or not.  I am in the process of determining whether their request is qualified or not.  There is much skill required in qualification of certain issues.  Many at the table believed that 'if you are going to fail, fail fast' and people didn't like the idea of dragging on some elaborate process but others believed that caution and due diligence, not just action, were required in certain ambiguous political situations.  There are also scenarios where people cannot afford to fail fast, especially when there is not yet a powerful coalition, agreement and a clearly articulated and communicated vision.  

Richard wanted to know, "How do you know you have strategy?"  It's a good question.  We agreed that force, power, belief, authenticity, conviction and in many ways consistency were required for strategy.  But flexibility and other leadership qualities are also required.  We talked for some time about whether models were important or not.  David did not believe they were beneficial.  I gave the example of NoSQL database strategies where the data gets stored independent of a rigid table schema.  Many new data storage strategies do not rely on a centralized schema.  Differences between abstractions and concrete proof, evidence or data were interesting.  "Insight" or mental models are interesting when derived from data or science.  Steve talked about millennials and their needs.  He says that they share a desire for a better world and have this impediment of the rest of the world who is still alive, their elders.  

Someone pointed out that it is important to seek out anomalies in your data and to test assumptions.  Andy Scott made the point about the import of assumption testing on Episode 2 of the podcast.  Assumptions are a category or area of risk.  Steve shared the saying, "The presumptuous assume, the sumptuous consume."  People do need to build and test (at least mental) models.  Jean brought up the saying to test early and test often.  I shared about test-driven development (TDD), which is about only writing enough code (doing enough) to pass the next test.  It is a Lean approach.  Richard talked about the Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) role at Netflix and how they have build their strategy and plan around mitigating risk.  Managing and reducing risk is a key element of good strategy.  We talked a lot about design, design thinking and its import and spent quite a bit of time talking about Steve Jobs as a visionary and who else he surrounded himself with that helped make him successful.  It was suggested that Jonathan Ive at Apple was very critical to Steve's success and controlled and manipulated him in many ways.  He did of course have many failures as well.  Someone shared the idea of designing for failure, not success.  

Dominic wanted to make it clear that strategy was not linear and that it runs off of principles related to non-linear dynamics and non-linear systems.  Berry shared that it is our intention as managers to create systems that control and constrain--and this is necessary--but does indeed rub up against the truly dynamic nature of people and systems; feedback loops and quality systems that continuously transform and improve systems are indeed required.  We talked about automation and its important and how design decisions like 'who does what' plays big-time into strategy.  In my opinion, users should be the preferred and default / de facto actor and some (many?) of them should have the option to do a task themselves (value add) or delegate a task to a computer or someone else.  We started talking about the podcast toward the end of the event and Bruce recommended The Boss Show, which is a Seattle-area recording about bosses.

Berry posed the question, "How do you know that your vision is not a unicorn?" which is basically to say that you are not living a delusion or tilting at windmills.  The book Black Swan was recommended.  Richard talked a lot about the many types of currencies which relates to the idea of non-monetary economies.  I wondered out loud and Steve agreed that there is some sort of harmonic mathematical equation that describes a leader's oscillation between hypothesis tests and failures.  Bruce brought up 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey and I mentioned that The 8th Habit is about "finding your true voice and helping others find theirs".  The book also talks a lot about connecting strategies of the head with those of the heart which is probably truly about authenticity, believe and conviction.

Questions and topics for further consideration:
  • A Strategy (noun) vs. Strategy (verb) - What are the differences?
  • The skill of qualification; how to qualify, what to qualify, what to ignore?
  • Modern automation thoughts - who does what and what to do with the displaced workers?
  • Why do the ideas of internal/private/closed and external/public/open help us in thinking about strategy?
  • How do you know you have strategy?  (What is strategy?)
  • What are the differences between real-world models and mental models and/or thought processes?  
  • Test-driven design in management?
  • The applications of flexibility and rigidity in strategy development

Which topics, ideas and points would like to see covered on the podcast about Vision & Strategy?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Managing External Relationships - The Skill of Balancing Clear Contracts With Open, Long-Term Communications

Open door policy or....

staying well protected....

or...well, like many depends.

Business leaders from the Seattle area and I gathered in Kirkland on Tuesday, November 22nd to talk about the "Managing External Relationships" category of the APQC's Process Classification Framework.  At the event were me (Eric Veal, Owner of AppsJack Corporation); Berry Zimmerman, Owner of BizEnrich; Richard Schurman, an Intellectual Property Attorney; Andy Scott, a Fortune 10 Executive; and Christian Harris, owner of a media and real estate business.  Richard and Andy were first time attendees and it was a pleasure to have them there.

Earlier in the month, AppsJack released its first podcast episode about the same topic.  On that podcast Leo Lam, Scott Davis, James Tuff and I talked about the issue in depth.  More information on the podcast can be found at  After the podcast I was left with a big question: "But what about compensation?  If we were to further understood and analyze the various forms of compensation, would we have a clearer answer about the nature of managing external relationships?"

We talked about a multitude of issues within the category and I noted the following ideas:
  • Andy shared that he prefers contracts to be "open".  Flexibility is a necessary part of business relationships.  Being overly controlling, not so much.
  • Berry shared with us some wonderful models that he has built and promotes:
    • The 7 Stakeholders (in priority order):
      • Employees
      • Customers
      • Owners
      • Suppliers
      • Community
      • Competitors
      • Government 
    • The 3 Assets
      • Relational (At the core)
      • Enrichment
      • Financial
    • More information about these models can be seen on Berry's Gifted Referrals website.
  • Andy has a list of 104 items that he has compiled and he could see how these items in many cases bit into the frameworks that Berry has built.
  • We talked about differences between improving-something-exising and building-something-new.  The Six Sigma process has Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) for improving-something-existing and Design for Six Sigma for building-something-new.
  • Andy made a good comment that the Japanese are good at continuous improvement but not necessarily quantum leaps.  There is an opportunity to smoothly and reasonably lead quantum leaps (big changes).
  • Someone told me that I should come up with a list of Guiding Principles to help me serve as the core of all of my contracts and business dealings.  Sounds fun.  Here's a first start:
    • Be fair
    • Choose relationships
    • Quality over quantity
    • Level up
    • Choose experience
  • We talked about the correspondence between compensation and identity.  For example, how someone compensates (makes promises) in business is very closely related to who the other party perceives they are.  Compensation is both the offered, promised, and actual value given, therefore it is a pretty loaded term.  Performance is the gap between perceived delivery on compensation (value) promises and what is actually delivered.  This is also known as quality.  There is a very close association between quality and performance.
  • When contracting, quality and performance very much need to be defined through good requirements.  Bodies of work abound about writing and managing requirements.
  • We talked a lot about negotiations.  It used to be about "winning" negotiations, and then it became about "win-win".  This is how I learned it at UW in 2005.  We now believe there is "continuous win-win" or process-oriented selling.
  • Berry liked the ideas of "invested" and "vested" and for employees to have skin in the game to encourage better performance.  But I would suggest that there is a class of worker that just works and has no skin in the game.  It might be best to always manage employees to have skin in the game...if only a little...because it makes work more fun and interesting and motivating.
  • Someone mentioned Daniel S. Peña, who I had never heard of.  Sounds like quite an eccentric fellow.
The next podcast recording is Sunday, Dec 4th at 2 PM and the next open meetup is on Tuesday, December 20th at 4 PM.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Managing Enterprise Risk, Compliance and Resiliency - Recap of October AppsJack Business Services Share meetup

The AppsJack Share team gathered on Tuesday, October 25th at Big Fish Grill in Kirkland, WA to discuss "Enterprise Risk, Compliance and Resiliency".  The guests were seasoned professionals who shared many interesting ideas about the topic.  Here are some of the biggest ideas and highlights.  Next month's topic is Managing External Relationships.

What is an acceptable level and/or amount of risk?

Risk can be scored and quantified but it is quite hard to measure.

Risk is comparative and/or relative, not absolute.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) can be a handy tool for looking at the dark side of situations and understanding potential impacts.

Risk Priority Number (RPN) is used, commonly in the automotive industry, as a measure of assessed risk and helps identify critical failure modes associated with a design or process. RPN values range from 1 (absolute best) to 1000 (absolute worst).  RPN is somewhat similar to the criticality.

Quite a bit of conversation was had about differences between risk (perceived negative impact) and opportunity (perceived negative impact).  Weighing both of these sides is critical for decision making.  Both live within the context of uncertainty.  Information gathering, research and assessment are  good tools to reduce uncertainty and increase the ability to predict outcomes.

David Slight brought up the point about the cost to mitigate.  Just because a risk could be mitigated, the question is raised "is it worth mitigating?"

Risk reduction is indeed a measurement and tool that is commonly used.

Paul, a first-time attendee and new Seattleite (welcome to the group, Paul), shared about the tool of Potential Problem Analysis.  PPA is a way that can help analysts anticipate problems before they happen and to identify the actions needed to be taken to prevent them from happening, or to minimize the effect.

David said that many people assume that there is a 1:1 relationship between the problem and its solution, which is a fallacy.  And that risk is oftentimes hierarchically decomposed, which presents issues since things are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted (do not fall into simple hierarchies).  NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) provides a Risk Management Framework that is common in industry.

Fred said that a lack of a Business Continuity plan is one of the biggest risks that companies face.  Without this plan, they have no plan and are therefore at risk.

There are many types of risk: financial, reputation, technological, infrastructural, contractual, relational, global, service, project, corporate, enterprise, operational.  This page has many of the risk types explained and differentiated.

Controls and compliance are big parts of the risk management process and plan.

Eric shared about extremely significant cultural differences about risk between companies in, say, healthcare, and those in, say, fashion.  Stark differences in language and behavior can be seen between these two cultures.

Jean, who was at the group for the first time and is currently taking a Building your Own Theology class at BCC,  shared about a big difference between the occurrence of the risk and the actual harm that results from it.  The risk event and the following harm or actions are two different areas, each requiring management, caution and care.

There are many situations and scenarios where we as humans choose to "look the other way" from a risk or issue so we maintain focus on our current projects and mission.  We "accept" (by ignoring) the other risk and therefore are at risk to its potential harm.  Risk and strategy are closely related.

We spoke quite a bit about authorization and systems including roles.  The BART system (Boundary, Authority, Role and Task) is a good way to clearly define roles.

We moved onto the topic of resiliency.  We agreed that scalability was related, as is the idea of "foreverness".  A clear plan that is aware of various thresholds, steps and milestones can help with communications about foreverness, a commitment to permanence and resiliency.

Many organizational and management-level issues can crop up in the topic of risk, authority and resiliency.  For example, there are many scenarios when people have a lot of responsibility but no authority.  Legitimate power delegated is a key to organizational success and growth.  (Managing down the chain).

Reba and others commented on individual-level requirements such as "if I found it, then I fix it".  Leadership and care at the individual level are required for organizations to survive and grow optimally.  Tableau has a core cultural value of "We Work as a Team" and that works well but it can also get into a blaming situation where no one (only the team) is accountable.  I felt that a similar cultural value of "I either hand-off well or I win." was a good one.

"I either hand off or we win."

Bruce, an always great contributor at the meetings, shared the phrase "you can't manage a secret".  And Leland, also new to the meeting, shared about the need for positive handoff.

Ultimately culture and individual attitudes, aggregated, play into the ability of an organization to identify and effectively manage risk, be compliant and be resilient.  Next month, we will talk about Managing External Relationships that plays into this topic very well.  Keep your eyes and ears peeled for our podcast on these and other topics coming soon.

We are considering naming the AppsJack Share Podcast "WonkTalk", "Community", "Communities of Purpose", "Practical Organizational Theory", "Building Communities of Purpose".  Do you have a preference in the name?  Plan is to have a podcast about the topic preceding the month's meetup.  The reason for it to be before the meetup is to prepare some, get a high level framework and understanding of the topic, get feedback from our audience on the most interesting areas.

We talked for over two hours.

At the meeting were Eric, Paul, Dominic Wong, David Slight, Fred de Boer, Chris Ingrao, Jean, Reba and Leland, Andrew Sengul.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Successfully Marketing Your Internet of Things (IoT) Idea

Recap of the 9/27/16 Kirkland, WA AppsJack Business Services Meetup

Last night we held the September AppsJack Business Services Meetup.  The meetup was held at the Big Fish Grill in Kirkland, WA and we had a good turnout.  The topic was Successfully Marketing your IoT idea and we had a great discussion on the topic.  Below are the highlights from the night.

We had a great turnout. At the event were:

  • Berry Zimmerman
  • Eric Veal
  • Richard Webb
  • Rex Chen (First time attending.  Welcome, Rex!)
  • Mike Pritchard
  • Christian Harris (First time attending.  Welcome, Christian!)
  • Andrew Sengul
  • Dominic Wong 
  • Steve Kubacki

Richard shared about three IoT products he uses (Tile, Cocoon, Amaryllo and Rex told us about his home automation IoT business.  Eric talked about his past IoT experiences with InKlood.  We talked about BlueTooth beacons and entrants from players like facebook to make this technology ubiquitous.  Also mentioned were local IoT companies like Pebblebee and Footmarks  Richard complained about the data from these devices being stored in China and joked about how these would be perfect tools for the government to monitor people.

Security and Privacy come up a lot in the conversation about IoT because they are such concerns.  There was a belief that the younger population had less concern about privacy.  But when it comes to security, surely we all have a concern there and want to be safe.  Some people might not know (perceive) what is and isn't safe.

We came up with five pillars of IoT.  They are:
  1. Sensors/Instrumentation
  2. Analytics and BI/Insights
  3. Data/Big Data/Storage/Persistance
  4. User Experience (UX)/Software/Telemetry
  5. Trustworthy Computing (Choice, Control, Notification)

Some of the best quotes from the evening were:

"Mind reading is a very good thing." ~ Steve Kubacki

"People want mediated relationships." ~ Christian Harris

"IoT is dead.  We have figured it out.  The next big thing is Augmented Reality.  And Pokemon Go." ~ Richard Webb

"We are seeking connection.  And meaningfulness." ~ Steve Kubacki

"I worry that IoT is selling drills, not holes." ~ Mike Pritchard

"Consciousness has changed." ~ Steve Kubacki

"What about an intranet of things?"  ~ Mike Pritchard

"My experience is not a thing." ~ Steve Kubacki

Mike P. brought up the idea about Ludites and Luditism; that they are actually a constant on the planet.  There will always people be behind the curve who want to go back to the way things were or keep things they way they are.

Dominic wondered which country was the leader in IoT.  Richard believes it is Europe.  Three of the devices that Richard has were created in France, for example.  Dominic also wondered which organization (company) was the farthest ahead on IoT.  Richard and Christian thought the government (intelligence) and also institutions like NASA where the space shuttle has IoT capability "down to the screw level".

Eric raised that he sees IoT doing a great job of providing "Just in Time" capability for many scenarios. Andrew raised the point of things NOT showing up just in time (just a bit too late).  There is risk in systems like this.  He raised the idea of Complementary vs. Competitive Technologies which was talked about on the Tim Ferriss Podcast.  The idea is that complementary technologies help humans be better even when they are not in use, whereas competitive technologies actually take some thing away (reduce our capability) after use (dependency).

"Visual Reality" as a category to include Augment, Virtual, drug-enduced and "real" reality.  The concept is probably best considered as "Sensory Reality" to encapsulate the various human senses.  The idea is that there are many channels / senses and ways to override or modify themm through technology.  So we need an abstract construct (Sensory Reality) to talk about the human's experience and the associated dyanimics / channels of that experience.

The practice / capability of "Airgapping" an environment.  In information technology, this is when information can go into an envrionment but cannot leave it.  Of course there are workarounds and ways areound this but it's an interesting concept for security at even micro scales.

The question "What are the things of IoT and what things are not the things of IoT?" was asked. The group concluded that pretty much all things were things in IoT at macro and micro scales.  Eric said that IoT is like an easy to use design tool / pattern that many people could employ by just talking about things (the world) and technology (the internet) and what's possible.  It changes, perhaps, focuses / normalizes the conversation in many ways.  Especially now that we have a platform of big data to support these ideas and scenarios.

Steve shared that there are two forms of perception: Direct and Constructive perception.

Possible topics for the next meet that were floated were "Risk, Compliance and Resiliency" (the scheduled topic), Cloud Computing (requested by Dominic), a follow up on Marketing IoT (requested by Rex), and something that ties into the pattern "Successfully Marketing your ______ idea."

For the next meetup, I will plan to capture the sound so it is possible to go back and pick out some of the great moments, exchanges and quotes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Managing Financial Resources for Businesses - Will FinTech Make Us Richer? Recap of March 24, 2016 AppsJack Business Share Meetup in Kirkland, WA

Tuesday, March 24, 2016

AppsJack Business Services Share

Big Fish Grill, Kirkland, WA

  • Attendees:
  • Samuel Rodriguez
  • Eric Veal
  • David Bleiweiss (first time)
  • Bruce Follansbee
  • Dominic Wong
  • Chad Oda (first time)
  • Fred de Boer (first time)
  • Andrew Sengul
  • TJ Elston

Welcome David, Chad and Fred to the group.  Please greet and welcome them!

No, we do not believe that FinTech will make us richer but there are a collection of tools and practices within this category that are essential for a productive business.  "You get what you measure" and you have to measure well.  So finance is a very key enabling process to businesses but without the proper values, vision, strategy, products, value proposition, sales, delivery and care for customer service, finance won't help you at all.

Main ideas covered:

  • Good quote.  From TJ, a line from the movie Aviator about Howard Hughes with Leonardo DiCaprio:
    • Mrs. Hepburn: We don't care about money here.
    • Howard Hughes: That's because you have it.
  • The purpose of finance.  Money is about measuring/weighing/sizing value(s) and not just about money.  Many things can get boiled down to an "apples to apples" model where money is the factor but many guesses need to be made in the model to put a monetary value to certain intangible values.  Finance is a measurement system that seeks to equate all things into a single system and common language to make businesses, transactions and discussions easier and more fluid.
  • Balance required and you can't only look at money, profit and greed anymore.  Approaches like Triple Bottom Line, Balanced Scorecard and AQPC look to balance out our measurements by breaking them into a set of categories.  Portfolio management, weighting and balancing matters.
  • AppsJack is about the Management of Things (MoT).  New idea: not just the internet of things but the Management of Things.  IoT proliferates irresponsibly and wastefully.  MoT seeks to balance and distribute technologies to places and industries and applications that need it the most.
  • Focus first, diversity second.  We agreed that businesses need to find focus, a value proposition, clarity, value, a product and some success first before they can get into the realm of diversification.  Diversity is a good thing but it can be misapplied.
  • Cool and new Financial Technologies.  Andrew shared about KDB and David shared about a new system called Aladdin from Blackstone that he uses that produces very amazing models.
Next meetup topic on Tuesday September 27th in Kirkland from 4-7 PM: "Successfully marketing your IoT Idea."  We are seeking people who have ideas for IoT products, or IoT products themselves and we would like to serve as a panel to build a model that helps them best invest in marketing efforts that will have the highest possible ROI for their product/service.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Managing IT in Context: Recap of July 2016 AppsJack Business Share Meetup, Seattle, WA

Well, the monthly fourth Tuesday AppsJack Business Share meet was held in Bellevue at Big Fish Grill on Tuesday, July 26th from 4 to 7 PM and went off without a hitch.  The event was well attended by new, familiar and awesome faces.  Thanks to Ruben Simpson for showing up, a new connection from Issaquah who is running an agency.

The new faces (first time attendees) at the event were Ruben Simpson, Ted Clark, and Karen Carnahan.  There was quite a bit of iced tea going around and the beer and wine seemed to flow fluidly as well.  I saw fish and chips.  "Regulars" included Eric Veal, Dominic Wong, David Slight, Joe Pham, James Tuff, Chris Ingrao, Andrew Sengul and Richard Webb.

The topic for the evening was MANAGING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Are you doing it right? and there was a star-studded cast of industry experts to debate it.  The topics under discussion were all hot in 2016: IoT, Cloud Computing, the industry, relative strengths and positions of cities, Smart Machines, Robots and Drones, AI, Context-Rich, Intelligent Learning Systems and Bots, Visual Analytics, BI and Tableau, 3D and 4D Printing, modern IT practices.  Below are the major points, lessons, areas of interest and takeaways we covered.

VUI is and is gonna be YOOOOGE! Voice user interface (VUI) is and will be a huge area for the industry in computing.  Successes from Siri, Amazon Echo, Kinect and the like are driving this and solutions from companies like Twilio.  Microsoft offers Speech APIs on Azure.  For users, rather than needing to look directly at a computer and be attached to it 1:1, the user simply speaks and has it respond in interesting or necessary ways.  The voice interfaces will become better and better and their responses will be delivered to us through connected user interfaces like Google Glass, Hololens, etc.  This is immersive computing.  Richard Webb and Eric met at a Six Hour Startup in Seattle in 2009 where we used Twilio and (now a Fujitsu company) to automate workflows.  The technology has been around and will get broader and deeper.  The ability now for the machine to respond to voice input is and will be a phase shift.

Use the right Strategic Frameworks.  We spoke of Red and Blue Ocean strategies, their applications and differences.  David Slight taught us about the differences in approach and the example of Cirque de Soleil was brought up as blue ocean strategy.  David and Richard Webb expressed the importance of the very simple VSE framework: Vision, Strategy, Execution.  Vision and strategy alone are useless and require execution; otherwise they are just ideas.  (Unrealized potential).

David and Richard carried on about the future of IT and told Eric that the BOST and BAIT (Business Aligned IT) frameworks were relevant and powerful areas to study. Surprisingly, ITIL was not mentioned though I saw it rise around 2007.

Richard joined us about 90 minutes into the evening and impressed everyone with his knowledge and opinions of the industry based on many years of experience and his current work with major clients making IT more modern and higher quality.  We talked about automation, policies and humans vs. machines including their associated ethics in this context.

The Future is near:  Governance and Regulation.  We started getting pretty futuristic.  Andrew brought up Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.  And mentioned that there is also a fourth (also referred to as the zeroth) law.  The laws are:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
  4. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
Mr. Slight and Mr. Webb talked about ISA, the International Society of Automation, and David's work building a 3D virtual reality room, like Minority Report, for working on business models like his BDN framework (Drivers, Objectives, Benefits, Changes, Capabilities, Enablers).  He is writing code as we speak for Hololens to realize this vision.

Webb griped about the pace of technology's advancement and the complexity of keeping up with all of the tools.  Eric shared that one of his visions is to be able to keep up with the tools and tech indeed and use that (which we already do as a computing substrate).  We need better linkage between our tools and our business processes.  Companies like are doing wonderful work in this area and will probably soon expose APIs that make model driven architecture in a tool-agnostic approach like has been taught at the UW Foster School of Business for years more of a reality.  Companies like Microsoft are extremely strong with their use of workflow frameworks and things like Entity Framework to make modeling and business automation a reality.  Salesforce is in that race, too.  And Microsoft has the goal to take on SAP.

New technologies abound. (collaboration around running automated tests in software) and Pickle (in Python, pickle is the standard mechanism for object serialization) recently came up in Richard's work.  Neo4j, the World's Leading Graph Database, was brought up in conversation as critical technology.  I believe Andrew is using it for some of his interesting projects.  Here is a listing of comparable technologies to neo4j

The book The Art of the Possible: Create an Organization with No Limits was brought up and Richard had a wonderful quote, "You are differentiating yourself by not being a prick."

Luminaries.  Richard talked about Grant Holland, a Senior Java Architect with Sun Microsystems, who is a close relation to the "Gang of Four" (GoF), Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides, who wrote the book on Design Patterns in software development.  Here are more resources on Grant's work.  Joe, who is running a startup about insurance reform to benefit the end users talk about the benefits of and their Advisor Template in particular.

Conclusion.  IT is a great topic but there were suggestions that "Digital" is a better word to describe it anymore.  David has strong beliefs that IT is going away as a function and that the capabilities of this function really.  This basically supports the idea of the AppsJack vision: the best tools for every practice.

Next AppsJack Share event: Managing Financial Resources.  AppsJack looks forward to the next meetup, which will be in Bellevue.  The topic will be Managing Financial Resources.  And the following month, the topic will be Managing Assets (they things that were attained with the money).  AppsJack looks forward to seeing you at an event soon and hearing about your ideas of the future, industry and what's possible.  Join the discussion today! RSVP for the August Managing Financial Resources event.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

AppsJack Share Human Resources Meeting Held in Seattle June 28th

Post-Meeting Recap
AppsJack Share Meetup: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 4-7 PM

WHAT: The June 2016 Monthly AppsJack Share Meetup
TOPIC: Human Resources Management
LOCATION: Big Fish Grill, Kirkland

AppsJack Share meetups are local business events that gather talented and interested individuals in the areas of business, management, and technology.  The events are free, fun and provide an opportunity for attendees to share their knowledge about the named monthly topic as well as glean insights from the others in attendance.  After the meeting, the attendees are connected and able to deepen their professional, working relationships.

14 Attendees

Fourteen contributors showed up for the meeting and enjoyed good conversation, community, food and drink.  Eric and Dominic Wong got there first and started chatting.  Jehan and his wife Arnaz joined next.  Then Berry, Michael Lazer, Richard, Bruce, Joe, James, and PJ arrived.  Berry introduced himself as “creating and enriching collaborative teams”.  Richard shared about his work on and passion for “Tiny Houses”. Some examples  This reminded Eric of his friend Corey’s tow-behind trailer business

The conversation got richer and richer.  Later in the event, Samuel arrived and shared about his Diversity and Inclusion business called  Steve Kubacki showed and shared about his interesting projects.  And finally, Andrew Sengul showed up and told us about his solutions for “learning about learning”.

Here is a complete list of the attendees and their contact information:

Dominic Wong  | LinkedIn
Jehan Bharucha | LinkedIn
Arnaz Bharucha   LinkedIn
Berry Zimmerman | LinkedIn
Samuel Rodriguez | LinkedIn

At least three books were mentioned during the meetup.  Bruce sited “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains” and “The Glass Cage: Automation and Us”, both by Nicholas Carr.  Richard mentioned "Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers" by Alexander Osterwalder.

Richard, a highly entertaining and intelligent man, is known for dropping wondeful, unique, newly-coined quotes and one from the meetup this month was, “Talent is like migrating birds.”

We discussed a variety of topics: “Humans and Machines”, “Is the resume dead?  Hiring for cultural fit.”, “Bad HR policies and practices”, “Social Networks and Personal Profiles”.  

We got into specifics about the recent acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft and also the potential applications, scope and scale of Crystal Knows (  Crystal puts people through a simple personality test (DiSC profile) and then provides services to help individuals best connect with and relate to others based upon their assessed types.  Richard also said that CK has algorithms to crawl users’ social medai profiles from Facebook and other sites to determine personality.
We talked about the technology of Human Resources Management and specifics about Learning Management Systems and applications like Enterprise Search.

Jehan led us in a discussion where he shared about differences he has noticed between India and USA.  He sees USA kids as “gullible” and the India kids as more street smart.  India has a bigger focus on STEM and he has seen India transform substantially (from “another planet” to what it is now) over the decades.  He sees India as “dog eat dog” and the USA is as “procured”.  Jehan said, “We [in America] live in a virtual world.”

Richard, always entertaining, talked to us about thinking of people as either A) talent or B) task worker.  Others made us think of the world split between products and services. According to Richard, two properties that he sees defininig millennials are that they have A) anger issues and BO( a plan.  Richard has Millenial children.

Richard shared with us a topic that I hadn’t yet encountered: 4D Printing.  Here is a TED Talk on it.  4D printing is concerned with micro and nano scales.  In watching the video, I learned about CAD Nano software  The speaker talked about combining the world of nanoscale with other worlds, talked about “self-assembly” and companies involved in the domain:,, and

We talked about 1099 and W2 relationships between employers and workers and were blessed to be led by PJ and Mike Lazer, both experts in the industry.  Solid contributions came from Dominic as well.  Some of the reasons that go into picking one or the other are trade secrets, risk management/mitigation (blame and culpability), as well as changes in business models.

The question was asked if Seattle the hottest market in the USA and many agreed that it may be.  Seattle has “the cloud” here (Microsoft Azure and AWS).  We are the platform.  Compare this to the bay area, for example, that has / makes many of the apps that run on the cloud.  Seattle is infrastructure and the rest of the world is the apps / things.  Where will this place Seattle in 5-10 years?

In all, it was a great and fun meetup, informative, and well attended. I am looking forward to the ongoing discussions about HR and upcoming discussions about IT Management, generally.


We look forward to seeing you and your pals at the next Seattle-area AppsJack Share meetup will be on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 at 4 PM at Big Fish Grill in Kirkland.  The topic will be Information Technology Management.  Discussion topic ideas should be shared with  The meeting will be an open discussion rotating throught the topic naturally with contributions and discussion-leadership from guests.  Sign up for the July 26th meetup here.  Some topics that may be covered at the July meeting are:

  • The Internet of Things (was also the 2015 topic, led by Garth Vander Houwen, Hsuan-Hua Chang and Marco Micheletti).
  • Wearables and Computing everywhere
  • Security, Privacy, Governance and Politics
  • Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure and Enterprise IT
  • Cloud Computing
  • Smart Machines, Robots and Drones
  • Context-Rich, Intelligent Learning Systems and Bots
  • Visual Analytics
  • 3D Printing
  • 4D Printing
  • Genetics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Robotics
  • Other topics that YOU bring to the table!

Full calendar of meetups this year is here.  Follow us on Twitter.  Like us on Facebook.  Contact Eric to join the AppsJack Slack community.  Also, please help us get the word out, invite friends, and help us make these events and this community even better and more vibrant.

Our illustrious June guests were: