How Things Should Work . . . At Work 1

This is the first in a series of posts about how I think things should work at work.

In the ten years since I completed my undergraduate degree, I have worked for companies of all shapes and sizes. One thing that seems to be consistent between all of those companies is that managers at all levels have a lot of work to do in the area of communication. Communicating with employees is an immensely important part of management, and when it is not done properly or not done at all; employees become disgruntled and less productive.

Passing along bad news is never easy, and this is most likely a leading reason why managers (and companies in general) seem to have such poor communication skills. Unfortunately, it is most important to deliver the bad news as quickly as possible to avoid rumors spreading like wildfire. Employees respect managers that are upfront and honest and will do whatever it takes to help those managers get the job done. Employees that feel they do not have the whole story and do not trust their managers will not work up to their potential, and the company will suffer as a consequence.

So, I guess my whole point is that managers should keep their employees informed to the best of their abilities. If there is bad news, then give the employees the bad news and tell them what needs to get done to correct the problem. If there is good news, then celebrate it with the employees. If someone gets promoted or changes teams, make sure all of the employee’s coworkers know about it.

Communicate!

There Is Hope

In a recent blog post, I commented on how Gmail is not fully supported on the Safari web browser on the Macintosh. Well, there may be hope after all. It looks like Google has formed a Macintosh team. This is great news for the millions of Mac users around the world. Google makes some great desktop and web based solutions, and I am excited that the Mac is getting the attention it deserves from the company. Now, if they could only fix that Gmail mail thing . . .

What’s The Deal with Gmail?

Let me start out by saying I am a huge fan of Google’s Gmail service. It provides a ton of storage for free, and it doesn’t have nearly as many restrictions on attachment sizes as the other free email services. I also really like how they have integrated Google Talk into Gmail so I have a record of all of my electronic communications in one place.

One thing that really bothers me, though, is that Gmail does not fully support the Safari browser on the Macintosh. There is no rich text email or Google Talk integration in Safari. What can possibly be so different about Safari that Gmail cannot fully support the browser? It works on Internet Explorer 6, which is really a piece of junk. It works on Firefox on both Windows and Macintosh. Why not Safari?

I’m sure at this point, you might be thinking why doesn’t this dude just use Firefox on the Mac? Well, I do from time to time, but I prefer Safari not only because it is faster but also because of the RSS functionality.

I guess the whole point of my rant is that I want my favorite email service to work on my favorite browser. Is that too much to ask?

Google, get to work!

Apple iPhone Talk Heating Up

Well, the talk is heating up again for Apple’s all but certain entry into the mobile phone market.

ThinkSecret reported today that Apple has once again hooked up with Cingular to help them launch the iPhone. While this is great for me and millions of other Cingular customers, my hope is that Apple doesn’t tie themselves down to one service provider for too long. There are just too many potential Apple customers that use the other major cellular providers to ignore them for long, and I don’t really see people switching providers just to get a new fancy phone. It costs too much in fees and penalties to do that.

Of course, because it’s an Apple product, maybe it will be sweet and cool enough to cause a revolution in cellular phones just as the iPod has changed the digital music market for the better.

Is Wal-Mart Really Afraid of Apple?

So, I was reading MacRumors.com the other day and found their post about Wal-Mart retaliating against Apple to be very disturbing. The post cited a New York Post article claiming that Wal-Mart threatened movie studios so that they wouldn’t sell their movies on the iTunes Store. From what I’ve read about Wal-Mart’s tactics, this does not surprise me one bit.

Personally, I do not buy media from Wal-Mart because of their demands to censor albums and movies. Besides that, I can’t really stand going in to their stores in larger cities because they’re completely trashed. The employees or associates or whatever they call them couldn’t care less about the way the stores look. I wish I could say this is an isolated situation, but I have been in Wal-Mart stores all over the country, and they’re always the same. The only time I’ve enjoyed a trip to one of their stores was when I was in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. The people there had pride in their store, and it was a nice experience. Store managers from large cities should go out to these stores out in the country to see how to do their jobs.

Anyway, back to my main point. If Wal-Mart did indeed threaten their suppliers, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Time to take down the Goliath of Retail and let Apple take over the world (big sinister laugh).

The Bears Are 3-0!

So, today’s game between the Bears and Vikings was the first Bears game I’ve seen this season because I’m out on the west coast, and all they play out here are crappy west coast games. It was good to see an old fashioned central division game with great defense. There’s no need for finess in the black and blue division. Just give me some great defense, a great running game, and an occasional pass, and I’m a happy camper. I’m not sure the Bears had any of those things today besides a lucky pass that caught the Vikings off guard. At the end, though, the Bears managed to steal the thunder from the Vikings and pulled off a win for me (they must have known that I was watching).

VoidGame.com

A buddy of mine, who will remain nameless, is a huge Oklahoma fan. He started a website called VoidGame.com after Oklahoma was robbed of a win over Oregon. The officials really goofed up at the end of the game, and they’ve admitted it. Now, they’re only human, and I can understand that. We’ve all messed up something in our lives at some point. One of the biggest problems is there is no rule in college football that indicates what to do in this situation. What happens when a call is so blatantly wrong? As far as I’m concerned, the game is over when the whistle blows. Unfortunately, people will be talking about these blown calls for years.

Weeds!!!

Okay, it’s time to vent a bit. I have spent many hours in the last two days pulling weeds and grass from the flower beds around the house that we rent. They just keep coming back with a vengeance. One of the biggest problems I have is that the area around the plants is bare soil. There is no mulch or wood chips to block out the sun to stop the weeds from coming back. Anyway, I’m blogging now because I can barely grip the weeds to pull them out. I think it’s time to go out and get a cultivator and go to town on these bad boys. No more Mr. Niceguy! Okay, I feel better now.

Apple Gets It Right

Ever since Microsoft and PC makers started marketing and selling Windows Media Center PCs, I’ve thought that they were just taking the wrong approach. While a geek like me would want a PC in their living room, the average person most likely does not want to have a PC as the centerpiece of their entertainment center. Using a computer is a very active form of entertainment whether a person is surfing the Internet or playing games. Watching television, on the other hand, is a very passive activity. People just want to relax and enjoy the show, and they want it to be very easy. As Aerosmith once said, “Just Push Play.”

In comes Apple with the iTV. They’re going to change the name before the official release, and my bet is that it will be part of the Mac family rather than the iPod family. I’m sure Steve Jobs and co. will come up with a snappy, marketable name. The iTV allows users to stream movies and media from their Mac or PC that’s sitting anywhere in their house through a wireless or wired connection. There will be no need to have a computer sitting next to the TV. Using the handy little remote included with the iTV, users will be able to browse through their media and select the movie or media they want to watch.

Apple once again has taken something insanely complex and made it accessible to the average person. That’s how they won the MP3 player market and the digital download market. It is also how they will continue their dominance in the digital media age by bringing the media into the living room. Congrats Apple! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Scott Driza’s Blog

For those of you that keep track of my blog and read the comments posted here, you know that my buddy, Scott, has been pestering me about writing more. Well, I’m going to do my best to write more about everything that is going on around me. That’s the problem, really. I have too much going on in my life. If all goes as planned, I’ll have more time to write, but only time will tell.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Scott, who happens to be a really great writer, has finally broken down and started a blog. In his posts so far, he has related real life experiences to technology projects and working life in general. His blog almost has an Office Space kind of feel to it. It is most definitely worth a visit.

I found one post to be just vintage Scott. In the post, he writes about the first six days of a new job. It’s one of those it’s-funny-because-it’s-true moments working in corporate America. Anyway, check out his post and the rest of his blog. I think you’ll find it amusing to say the least.