A Skill for your Toolbox

A Thought from Seth Godin:

Temperament is a skill
Throwing tantrums, calling names, not doing the reading, making things up, demonizing the other, impulsivity, egomaniacal narcissism, breaking big promises…

Waiting your turn, asking hard questions, thinking about others, slowing down in key moments…

Telling the truth, taking responsibility…

Giving others a chance to share their ideas, attracting and trusting talented people, trusting the right things and being skeptical of the others…

These are all skills (or the lack thereof).

Somewhere along the way, we accepted the baked-in, unchanging, what-you-see-is-what-you-get view of the world. It lets us off the hook, of course, because if this is the way we are, it’s certainly not our fault.

The bravest and most optimistic thing we can do, though, is see that each of us has the opportunity to do precisely the opposite. We have far more choices, far more control and far more responsibility than we give ourselves (and others) credit for.

Temperament matters. A lot.

Last in Math??

From the WSJ – Steven Rosenbush

Good morning. Much has been written about the trouble that American companies have finding and retaining tech workers. It seems that this skills gap, which is at the top of the agenda for many CIOs, reflects a much deeper problem in the U.S., where workers rank last among 18 industrialized countries when it comes to using technology to solve problems.

The consequences of that emerging competitive disadvantage are energizing the volatile undercurrent of this year’s presidential race, the WSJ reports.

Stephen Provasnik, the U.S. technical adviser for the International Assessment for Adult Competency said the results of a global survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reflect flagging literacy and numeracy skills, which are the fundamental tools needed to score well on the survey. “This is the only country in the world where it’s OK to say ‘I’m not good at math,’ ” he said. “That’s just not acceptable in a place like Japan.” CIOs, how is the skills gap affecting your organization?

Seth Godin on Urgent Vs. Important

Deconstructing Urgent vs. Important

A six-year-old who throws a tantrum and refuses to go to school is escalating into the urgent.

Going to school every day is important.

Mollifying an angry customer is urgent, building systems and promises that keep customers from getting angry is important.

Killing the bugs in the kitchen is urgent, putting in weatherstripping to keep them out for the long haul is important (as is avoiding carcinogens).

Fifteen years ago, Elian Gonzales was at the center of a perfect media storm. It was an urgent issue, one that involved heads of state. But it wasn’t nearly as important as eventually normalizing relations and the well-being of millions of people.

In fact, breaking news of any kind is rarely important. 

Important means: long-term, foundational, coherent, in the interest of many, strategic, efficient, positive…

If you take care of important things, the urgent things don’t show up as often. The opposite is never true.

Let’s start with this: The purpose of CNN’s BREAKING NEWS posture (caps intentional) isn’t to create a better-informed citizenry. It’s to make money.

The reason that tech sites, stock sites, scandal rags and others attract attention is because it’s fun. It’s emotionally engaging to be involved in a story when we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. When the story is unfolding, when it’s breaking, we become emotionally connected to it.

And so the BBC devotes plenty of air time talking to someone at the location of a plane crash, even though he doesn’t have a clue about what just happened. Because he might. Because we are there.

Unless you’re a day trader, though, this drama of seeing the news unfold right now (italics intentional) is not going to help you make better decisions–in fact, it’s going to make your decisions worse. It’s also unlikely to make you happier. Or smarter. We’re more likely to be afraid of terrorism than long-term atmosphere change, even though it’s clear that the latter kills and injures far more people than the former.

The news we consume changes us. Not just the news manufactured by CNN, but the news manufactured by our boss, our investors, our customers.

Our choice, then, is to decide whether we want to engage in the hobby of living through other people’s breaking news instead of focusing on what’s actually important.

Alpha UMi Attends Seminar on Cybersecurity

Carrie Root, Ph.D., and CEO of Alpha UMi along with Jerry Coleman, M.S., Operations Manager, attended the NDIA (National Defense Industry Association) breakfast meeting this morning to listen and learn from Sri Sridharan USF, Center for Cybersecurity in Tampa, speak about trends in cyber-security for 2016 and beyond. Some of the topics discussed were: Ransomware, Headless worms, jail-breaking the cloud, and devious phishing methods employed by the black-hats (unethical hackers).

Carrie Root, Ph.D. and Sri Sridharan

One of the main messages Sri Sridharan shared with the group was that 2.1 trillion dollars have been spent globally on cybersecurity.

The Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF focuses on three factors to help towards raising awareness of cybersecurity: Education, Research, and Outreach.

Thank you to the NDIA – Tampa Chapter and Sri Sridharan of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity for helping to raise the awareness of cyber-security.