Sidney Yoshida's Iceberg of IgnoranceThe problem is in the hierarchy.

The power resides at the top, while all the information resides at the bottom.

Sidney Yoshida quantified this in his 1989 landmark study, “The Iceberg of Ignorance,” where he found that only 4% of an organization’s front‐line problems are known by top management, 9% by middle management, 74% by managers and 100% by employees.

I’ve always asked my direct reports to be open and straight. If they tell me everything is perfect in their area/department the possibilities really are only:

  • They’re not telling me the truth.
  • They are ignorant.
  • They have low standards.
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  1. The more pretentious a corporate name, the smaller the organisation. (For instance, The Murphy Centre for the Codification of Organisational Software Applications, compared to IBM and Apple).
  2. You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard.
  3. Never ask two questions in a business email. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested in, and say nothing about the other.
  4. When bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.
  5. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a fool about it.
  6. Everything can be filed under “miscellaneous.”
  7. Never delay the ending of a meeting.
  8. To err is human, to forgive is not company policy.
  9. If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.
  10. At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens they are carrying.
  11. When confronted by a difficult problem you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, “How would the Homer Simpson handle this?”
  12. The longer the title, the less important the job.
  13. An “acceptable” level of employment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job.
  14. Success is just a matter of luck: just ask any failure.
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By not really changing the price of coffee the University of Winchester campus has used 34,000 less the disposable cups in the first year. How? By removing rewards and introducing penalties.

See the video here from BBC News.

This all feels a little counter-intuitive to me, but it appears to be a success. The University of Winchester changed the way their prices were presented. The old pricing had a 25p discount if a customer brought their own cup/mug. The revised pricing reduced the coffee prices by 25p and charged a 25p penalty if the customer needed a disposable cup.

I wonder how much of the success was caused by a general increased awareness of plastic pollution? It is also quite likely that 25p reduced price on the menu would have stimulated sales.

The key learning here for me is – experiment. There are many ways your pricing can be presented differently, trial some new ideas.

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CityVerve in Manchester

What happens when a city decides to make its data available to others to use easily? You get Manchester’s CityVerve.

CityVerve’s ‘platform of platforms’ treats the city as a living breathing organism by giving it a technology layer that acts as a central nervous system, smartly supporting and connecting independent systems and applications. It is the Internet of Things (IoT) working today.

Opportunities for projects are being identified to specifically meet the needs and challenges of Manchester’s citizens. CityVerve is needs driven and benefit-led. It focuses on four key areas: Health & Social Care, Energy & Environment, Travel & Transport, Culture & Public Realm.

There is evidence that projects are already delivery benefits. They say it’s about enabling a real community;
using technology to enrich the local experience for residents, businesses and tourists.

This is where, for me, it gets exciting…it’s about open innovation. Manchester City Council says, quite rightly, that collaboration is essential for innovation. That’s why CityVerve has run open calls and events offering challenges, opportunities and APIs to developers and innovators from all walks of life.

CityVerve is being delivered by a consortium of 21 organisations, including:

  • Manchester City Council
  • Manchester Science Partnerships
  • University of Manchester
  • Cisco
  • BT
  • and other tech players.
  • The project is also backed by Government and Innovate UK.

Look at this list of current projects:  They include:

  • Talkative Bus System
  • City Concierge
  • Road Safety
  • Sensing Trams
  • Smart Traffic Monitoring
  • Smart Parking.

Wishful thinking, but I look forward to my local council, Reading Borough Council, embarking on this type of initiative.

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Your disposable lenses will cost you a lot more than £5.99.

Is the pricing on this advert misleading?

The headline price of £5.99 is shouted loud and clear. In reality, the minimum transaction cost is £13.38.

£5.99 gets you a box of 32 disposable contact lenses. But you cannot buy one box, the minimum order is, in small print, 2 boxes.

Then you have to pay £0.70 shipping per box. As stated though, you cannot buy one box. So the minimum shipping is £1.40.

This feels like a slightly more overt version of drip pricing, as some ticketing websites are accused of.

Drip pricing is a technique used by online retailers of goods and services whereby a headline price is advertised at the beginning of the purchase process, following which additional fees, taxes or charges, which may be unavoidable, are then incrementally disclosed or “dripped”. Source: Wikipedia

Daysoft advert on London Underground, 19 June 2108
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Event management clipboard and stopwatchI will soon be talking to some students about events and event management. If you have a moment, please could you help me?

#events #eventmanagement #conferences #sportingevents #musicpromotion #eventscareer

What I would like is brief comments from you about the good and the bad of events. If you work in event management, feel free to join in. My core content is mapped out, but I would love to bring it alive with your words.


Testing 1212, glossary of terms for live sound engineersOne of the best ways to get to learn the dynamics of a medium and how things work is to get involved and try it. YouTube videos, books and seminars are all very helpful but they cannot replace practical experience.

I have been running a media experiment for nearly a decade now using a glossary of terms as the content. It is titled Testing 1212 and is an online dictionary of audio terms for live sound engineers. This part of the experiment was to see how much traffic could be delivered to a site with reasonably good static content. Today Testing 1212 receives thousands of visitors a month…with no maintenance.

My second fun learning exercise was to reversion the content on Testing 1212 to create an eBook. That was pretty straightforward. The learning exercise was taking the content from Testing 1212 creating eBooks on Apple and Kindle. A few swear words later, a bit of effort and the task was complete, the content uploaded to the platforms and the eBook put on sale.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about the eBook until an email arrived telling me about royalties earned. So not only am I now a published author, I’ve got income! We’re counting this in the low pounds at the moment, so it’s not life-changing.

The reason I’m really pleased is that I’ve learned a lot through the process. The pinch points and the successes can never really be discovered from other people. I recommend you consider giving this a go with a project of your own.

I’m not thrilled with the quality of the book, it’s okay but could be better presented. That will be my next exercise, creating a 2nd edition.

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