This past weekend we finally pulled the plug on cable in the Coleman household. It’s an idea we’ve been flirting with over the past year or so, culminating in me starting to take it a whole lot more seriously over the past 6 weeks or so. Truth be told, we essentially cut cable in our house a couple of weeks ago when I unplugged the primary cable feed coming into the house in order to jack in the Over the Air (OTA) Antenna feed.
Over these past couple of weeks we haven’t missed cable at all. Sure the kids have missed having something like Teletoon or Treehouse always there as an option but the truth is, they don’t watch a lot of TV and when they do it’s usually at times when at least a few channels have some sort of kid programming on. In fact, I’d argue we’ve been enjoying the programs we do watch live a lot more because the picture quality is far superior to the compressed feeds you get through a cable broadcaster. We made the switch over Superbowl weekend so we were even able to watch the “real” commercials on our NBC channel without having a Canadian broadcaster air their coverage over it.
One place I consistently see people struggle is in creating an approach or work-plan for attacking a given problem. Often you see people try and drive straight to solutions without putting in the thinking or time to comprehend their motivations, goals or even where they are today.
But We Know What We Know!
I think a major reason for this is people tend to assume that they already know what’s happened, or what the strategy is or what their motivations are but the truth is, unless you have a clear, concise and CONSISTENT way of expressing those positions or goals you, and the people you work with, will never be as effective at delivering on your vision.
I’m sure by now, most of you have heard of Microsoft’s Photosynth technology – today’s iteration has been stripped back to a fairly straight forward panorama tool but for the purposes of this idea I’m thinking more of their early stages of the product as demoed here @ TED2007:
(The whole thing is interesting but skip to ~3:50 to see the specific use case I’m talking about)
Photosynth worked on a pretty basic premise; take a handful of wide establishing shots, then take lots of pictures from other angles and the software could then stitch them together and relate them to one another – resulting in what you see in the video above.
“Ideas are Cheap” is a maxim you hear with alarming frequency. For the most part it’s true, ideas are everywhere and yes, the real key is in the execution. The risk of this attitude though is that we begin to treat ideas as a commodity.
Ideas are living things, they start off small but cared for, and helped to develop, they can begin to take on a life of their own but to really be transformational your idea will likely need a little TLC before you even think about executing in it. That said, where ideas really need the TLC is before you even have them.
Nature vs. Nurture
Some ideas are born great, others need some help and hate to break it to you, most ideas fall in the latter category. It’s rare to have that ‘a-ha’ moment in a spontaneous fashion. Your ideas need time to grow. Think of the idea as a seed, often the idea gets planted and as soon as we see any green poking out of the ground we’re harvesting it (Get it done!) but have you really thought everything through? How often have you seen a team run with an idea only to hit a major roadblock that wasn’t anticipated? Have you even had the best idea yet?
If you go to many sites around the web today you may find that the site you usually expect to see has been replaced with a black screen (wikipedia.org, wordpress.org & http://boingboing.net/ being good examples). This is part of a day of protest against two bills being considered by the United States government called Protect-IP and SOPA.
These two bills arguably present the first front in a battle to keep the Internet open, free and uncensored. They threaten to hand the reigns of the web to multinational corporations, entertainment companies primarily, allowing them to have sites they don’t like blocked within the US and gives them the power to sue sites just for LINKING to other sites that may host or otherwise give access to copyrighted materials. The laws are vague, over reaching and variations of it will no doubt spread to Canada in short order if passed in the United States. Continue reading Get Informed & Help Stop SOPA. #stopsopa #sopastrike