The Brain Cloud

The more conferences I speak at, the more I become aware of two things with respect to cloud technology. Firstly, it is still a very misunderstood area that is becoming so ubiquitous in the IT world that one cannot afford not to understand the basic concepts. Secondly, many people are embarrassed to ask questions for a fear of looking uneducated.

With this in mind, I have put together a list of some great online courses and resources that will help anyone get to grips with all that is cloud.

Forget about setting your 2015 New Year’s resolutions, it’s still 2014 and there is still time to further your brain power this year.

www.coursera.org

This site hosts some excellent courses from the world’s top universities. In the area of cloud, I recommend the following:

Cloud Computing Concepts: A free five week certificated course. https://www.coursera.org/course/cloudcomputing

Cloud Computing Specialisation Course: A $196 specialisation course that takes you from concept to planning and implementing a cloud system.

https://www.coursera.org/specialization/cloudcomputing/19?utm_medium=catalog

An introduction to Cloud Computing on Alison

http://alison.com/courses/Introduction-to-Cloud-Computing

If you want to focus on VMware, they have their own introduction to cloud that focuses on their technology:

https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=det&id_course=189017

The Cloud Academy has over 25 online courses teaching you all about cloud, but these are at $29 a month. Comes with tests to check your skill.

https://cloudacademy.com/

And lastly, if you are just looking for some quick definitions to make you look smart at the next dinner party, then be sure to visit these glossary sites.

http://cloudtimes.org/glossary/

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/the-enterprise-cloud/mini-glossary-cloud-computing-terms-you-should-know/

As Technology Changes, Do You?

The Internet is awash with articles discussing the rapidly changing pace of technology. If we look back on how technology impacted our lives ten years ago, we see a very different picture compared with today. Going back to an even further twenty years ago, it seems almost unbelievable to see how we have advanced in such a short space of time.

So how rapid is the change? One thing for sure is that the degree or rate of change is speeding up. This indicates that major disruptive change that was expected to have occurred over a 10-year period could now happen over a 5-year period, or even faster. In 2010 Gartner predicted that Cloud Computing, Cloud/Web Platforms and the Media Tablet were 5 to 10 years away from mainstream adoption. In three short years I think we are already there. 3D Printing was positioned as a greater than 10-year period till mainstream adoption, and we are already seeing great strides and acceptance in this technology area. gartner-priority-matrix-09-10-111

The reason for the acceleration in technology development is probably two fold. Firstly we have a global IT industry that continues to broaden and diversify. Forbes places Tech jobs as one of the highest growing sectors, fueled primarily by Big Data, Cloud Computing, and a growing interest in molecular computing. The second reason for the rapid change is consumer demand. The consumers hunger for faster, longer battery life, lighter, more mobility, more features etc. is driving the pressure to manufacturers of both software and hardware to continually innovate. So as long as these two market forces persist, my advice is to fasten your seat belt and prepare for an awesome journey.

What do we have to look forward to? Gartner is positioning 3D Bio Printing, Human Augmentation, mobile robots, and quantum computing as the 10-year vision. We now know, we can probably expect these transformational technologies a lot sooner.

The question to ask yourself is, “How do you prepare for the technology changes that are going to impact your life?” One major decision you will need to make is, what is your consumer profile? Are you an early adopter, or will you wait on the sidelines to see if a technology will be worth your time and effort to invest energy into it? Lets face it, technology change does require energy and relearning. From something as simple as purchasing a new cell phone, to working the latest Business Intelligence tools, you will need to retrain the old brain.

To me the answer is simple. If you intend to be in the IT industry or want to ensure that you benefit from the latest technology, then you need to make the commitment to setting aside time to learn, and re-learn. Remember to forget what you learnt 5 years ago. That technology has moved on. For you to remain relevant in this market, view your knowledge as a depreciating asset. Unless you are adding new knowledge and skills continuously, you will be passed by, like last years cell phone model in a retail store.

Go ahead and make the investment in the most valuable asset you own, yourself.

Create your life.

Are You a Depreciating Asset?

Depreciation, a term commonly used in 42-15529695business when referring to fixed assets, is defined as “a drop in value”. When we own something like a vehicle or a piece of machinery, as it gets older so the value of the asset goes down. I would like to suggest that each one of us has the same ability to become a depreciating asset. Not only to the company or organizations we work for, but also to ourselves. The good news is, we have a choice and the control to ensure that we don’t “depreciate” in our value but actually “appreciate”. Like a fine wine we can get better and better with age.

So what are the aspects to look after to ensure that we take care of our most precious possession, that being, ourselves?  There are three main areas of our lives that were we are in danger of depreciating. These are:

  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Spiritual/Emotional

Intellectual

This aspect relates to the work that we do. Ask yourself the question. What is the value that you bring to your workplace? When last did you do something to improve your knowledge in the work that you do? If we are not constantly increasing our knowledge around our work, not only will we will not maintain the status quo but rather our knowledge will decline as the world around us moves on. Before you know it you will find yourself being replaced by someone who has better knowledge and continues to learn. It is therefore in our own interest to ensure that we set targets for learning and increasing our intellectual capacity.  I would suggest that a goal is set for each quarter of the year.  Certain areas of the brain have the ability to improve as we get older, so take advantage of this and continue to learn. This learning need not be limited to our jobs but can also include things like, learning a new language or skill.

Physical

We all lead busy lives. Unfortunately, when the going gets tough the first thing we tend to neglect is our physical form, our bodies. Stress, fast food diets, lack of exercise, these factors all take their toll, and we risk falling prey to the lifestyle diseases e.g. diabetes, heart disease etc.

It is critical that part of our “appreciation plan”, is to look after our bodies. Make exercise a regular part of your week. The recommended guidelines are 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. This can even be broken down into 3 x 10min sessions if you do not have the time to do 30min in one go.

The benefits are too many to list but include stress resilience, reduction in disease risk factors, natural anti-depressant effect, and even brain improvement and growth. Exercise should be top of your list for your “me” maintenance plan.

Spiritual/Emotional

The spiritual aspect of our lives is an extremely personal component. It is here that we find, not only the strength to persevere through tough times, but also our compassion and ability to support others.  To be in touch with the spiritual and emotional side of our lives can provide many gifts. Some people find this aspect through religious observance, other through meditation or even music. What ever your choice is, it is important to find that activity or inactivity (in the case of meditation) that provides you with the energy of regeneration and balance.

Many of us give more attention and care to our motor vehicles than ourselves. We would not think of letting our vehicle go 1000km past the service date. We do this to ensure that the value of the asset is maintained. We should do the same with ourselves, and I suggest this “service plan” is conducted using the 3 checks mentioned above: Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual/Emotional. By doing this and putting a plan in place we will ensure that our most precious asset not only is maintained, but actually appreciates and grows in value to ourselves and those around us. So be proactive and Create Your life!

Do you want to be a manager?

feeton desk

Most people enter into their business careers with ambition. Everyone wants to grow and achieve something. However, as the years go by, for some the ambition turns to disillusion, and they get stuck. Others cling onto the ambition and drive fore something more, and for many in business that something more is to be a manager.

In this article I would like to define what exactly it is to be a manager. To attempt to put aside some of the myths and really add an element of reality, so that young people in business understand what they are aspiring towards and what they will be getting themselves into.

So let’s cover the myths first. Management is not about:

  • Getting a bigger office
  • Getting a bigger pay cheque
  • Finally being able to boss others around
  • Working less hours because you dictate the times
  • An opportunity to bore others in meetings

Now many aspiring managers can be forgiven for thinking that the above is true, as they see many managers above them exerting this very behavior. However, the “Peter Principle” (rising to your level of incompetence) will eventually take hold and return the system to management equilibrium i.e. normally the person gets fired.

So if being a manager is not about the above points, what exactly is it about? Well, consider the following description. A manager is a person who needs to create an environment that maximizes the required outputs. Sounds simple enough? Not when you consider all the elements that make up the environment.

In a typical corporate company the environment consists of, people or employees, up-line managers (bosses), systems, education, customers, products, and mostly problems.

With this system and the definition in mind what does one need to do to optimize and maximize the required outputs? Here is the list:

  • Hiring the best people for the job
  • Managing the expectations of your up-line managers or bosses
  • Accepting responsibility when others in your team mess up
  • Giving credit to others when things go well
  • Accepting that your staff are human beings and as such come with problems and issues. You cannot ignore these, as they eventually become your problems too. Always be ready to listen.
  • Ensuring that your staff are always learning and growing in their roles
  • Mentoring and assisting with your staffs career progress
  • Handling customers complaints as now the buck stops with you
  • Being knowledgeable about your companies products
  • Acknowledging that you cannot ignore problems or you will become another managerial failure statistic.
  • Work the hours that are needed to get the job done, while maintaining a healthy life balance.
  • And lastly, manage your own career.

The last point is an interesting one, as although it comes last on the list, most people think they should put it first. This is so evident in large corporate environments where political infighting is the order of the day.

The irony is, if you look after all the preceding points, you will not need to manager your career success, as it will automatically and spontaneously occur.  That is of course provided you have selected to work for a boss that works accordingly to these principles.  So perhaps at your next interview, when it comes time for you to ask any questions, the one to ask is, “What do you consider to be important in management?”. After all, it has been shown that careers advance more rapidly with better bosses.

So, if you aspire to be a manager, give some thought to the points above. It’s not for everyone. More money is normally made in sales with less of a burden to carry, and open plan offices tend to be the order of the day. However, if you feel you will be fulfilled by the above list, management can be a rewarding and awesome experience. So go ahead and apply for that job. Create your life.