Friday, March 27, 2009

Internet Marketing In Dynamics Crm

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Color symbolism and psychology

Color symbolism refers to the use of color as a symbol throughout culture. Color psychology refers to investigating the effect of color on human behavior and feeling, distinct from photo therapy.

Color symbolism and color psychology are culturally constructed linkages that vary with time, place, and culture. In fact one color may perform very different symbolic or psychological functions at the same place. Color symbolism is a contentious area of study dependent upon a large body of anecdotal evidence but not supported by data from well designed scientific studies.

For example, symbolically, red is often used in North America to indicate stop, as with a stop sign, or danger, as with a warning light. At the same time red symbolizes love, as with Valentine's day. A person not familiar with the cultural coding of red in North America could possibly confuse the symbolism of red and mistake a red Valentine's day heart for a warning. Cross-cultural diversity is found in the symbolism of white, which historically has signified purity, virginity, or death (as in Herman Melville's Moby Dick). In North America it is the color worn at weddings. At certain periods in history it was the color worn at funerals in parts of Japan and China.

Common connotations

Gray - Elegance, humility, respect, reverence, stability, subtlety, wisdom, old age, anachronism, boredom, decay, decrepitude, dullness, dust, entanglement, pollution, urban sprawl, strong emotions, balance, neutrality, mourning, formality, March.

White - Light, Reverence, purity, snow, peace, innocence, cleanliness, simplicity, security, humility, sterility, winter, coldness, criticism, surrender, cowardice, fearfulness, unimaginative, air, fire, death (Eastern cultures), hope, Aries, Pisces (star signs), bland, empty and unfriendly (interior), January, celebration.

Black - Absence, modernity, power, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, style, evil, death (Western cultures), fear, anonymity, anger, sadness, remorse, mourning, unhappiness, sex, seriousness, conventionality, rebellion, anarchism, unity, sorrow, life, rebirth (ancient Egypt), slimming quality (fashion) January.

Red - Passion, strength, energy, fire, love, sex, excitement, speed, heat, arrogance, ambition, leadership, masculinity, power, danger, gaudiness, blood, war, anger, revolution, radicalism, socialism, communism, aggression, summer, autumn, stop, Mars (planet), respect, Aries (star sign), December, the Roman Catholic Church, martyrs, the Holy Spirit, conservatism (U.S. politics).

Studies show that red can have a physical effect, increasing the rate of respiration and raising blood pressure; red also is said to make people hungry; the red ruby is the traditional 40th wedding anniversary gift. Red is also the color of the devil in modern Western culture.

Blue - Seas, men, productive (interior) skies, peace, unity, harmony, tranquility, calmness, coolness, confidence, conservatism, water, ice, loyalty, dependability, cleanliness, technology, winter, depression, coldness, idealism, obscenity, tackiness, air, wisdom, royalty, nobility, Earth (planet), Virgo (light blue), Pisces (pale blue) and Aquarius (dark blue) (star sign), strength, steadfastness, light, friendliness, July (sky blue), February (deep blue), peace, mourning (Iran), truthfulness, love, sadness, aloofness, the Virgin Mary, liberalism (U.S. politics).

In many diverse cultures blue is significant in religious beliefs, believed to keep the bad spirits away.

Green - Great intelligence, life, nature, bad spirits, spring, fertility, youth, environment, wealth, money (US), good luck, vigor, generosity, go, grass, aggression, inexperience, envy, misfortune, coldness, jealousy, disgrace (China), illness, greed, corruption (North Africa), life eternal, air, earth (classical element), sincerity, hope, Cancer (bright green, star sign), renewal, natural abundance, growth, health, August, balance, harmony, stability, calming, creative intelligence, Islam, the ordinary.

During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil. Green is believed to be the luckiest of colors in some western countries including, Britain, Ireland, and the U.S.

Yellow - Sunlight, joy, happiness, earth, optimism, intelligence, idealism, wealth (gold), summer, hope, air, liberalism, cowardice, illness (quarantine), hazards, dishonesty, avarice, weakness, greed, femininity, gladness, sociability, summer, friendship, Gemini, Taurus, Leo (golden yellow, star signs), April, September, deceit, hazard signs, death (Middle Ages), mourning (Egypt), courage (Japan), God (gold). Yellow ribbons were worn during times of warfare as a sign of hope as women waited for their men to return.

During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil.

Purple - Envy, Sensuality, bisexuality, spirituality, creativity, wealth, royalty, nobility, ceremony, mystery, wisdom, enlightenment, arrogance, flamboyance, gaudiness, mourning, profanity, exaggeration, confusion, pride, Scorpio (star sign), May, November, riches, romanticism (light purple), delicacy (light purple), penance.

Purple is the color of mourning for widows in Thailand, favorite color of Egypt's Cleopatra, and the purple heart - given to soldiers who have been wounded during warfare.

Orange - Hinduism, Buddhism, happiness energy, balance, heat, fire, enthusiasm, flamboyance, playfulness, aggression, arrogance, gaudiness, overemotional, warning, danger, autumn, desire, Sagittarius (star sign), September.

Orange has less intensity or aggression than red and is calmed by the cheerfulness of yellow.

Orange is the Royal family of the Netherlands. As such in the Netherlands Orange symbolizes royalty and as William of Orange was a Calvinist orange symbolizes protestantism particularly in Ireland(Orange Irish).

Brown - Calm, boldness, depth, natural organisms, nature, richness, rusticism, stability, tradition, anachronism, fascism, boorishness, dirt, dullness, filth, heaviness, poverty, roughness, earth (classical element), October, Capricorn, Scorpio (reddish brown, star signs), down-to-earth. Brown can stimulate the appetite, wholesomeness, steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness, and dependability.

Pink - Spring, gratitude, appreciation, admiration, sympathy, femininity, health, love, June, marriage, joy.

Various cultures see color differently. In India, blue is associated with Krishna (a very positive association), green with Islam, red with fertility (used as a wedding color) and white with mourning and is generally worn at funerals.

In most Asian cultures, yellow is the imperial color with many of the same cultural associations as purple in the west. In China, red is symbolic of celebration, luck and prosperity; white is symbolic of mourning and death, while "having a green hat" metaphorically means a man’s wife is cheating on him.

In Europe colors are more strongly associated with political parties than they are in the U.S. The symbolism of color can also be seen in localized religious divisions, in the UK for example, cities such as Liverpool (England), Glasgow (Scotland) and Belfast (Northern Ireland) where Catholic and Protestant have a history of conflict, the use of green (Catholicism) or Orange (Protestantism) are seen as almost taboo by opposing socio-religious groups.

Colors, especially the natural colors are frequently associated with seasons and geographical cardinal directions, although the specific assignments vary widely among individual cultures.

Studies have shown most colors have more positive than negative associations, and even when a color has negative association, it is normally only when used in a particular context.

People in many cultures have an automatic negative perception of the color black, according to some researchers. Thomas Gilovich and Mark Frank found that sports teams with primarily black uniforms were significantly more likely to receive penalties in historical data. Students were more likely to infer negative traits from a picture of a player wearing a black uniform. They also taped staged football matches, with one team wearing black and another wearing white. Experienced referees were more likely to penalize black-wearing players for nearly identical plays. Finally, groups of students tended to prefer more aggressive sports if wearing black shirts themselves.

Why Mashups Matter

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Understanding the Fundamentals of Web Site Design, Part 1

It starts with an idea—not with a technology: In today's Internet-obsessed world, far too many people are becoming more focused on the latest and greatest Web 2.0 buzzwords than on the fundamental purpose of the Web site.

Whether that purpose is to provide information or allow for the purchase of a product or service, there is a main purpose for the site and that needs to be identified.

Building the Blueprint: How to Plan Your Web Site

Creating a Web site is not that far removed from other traditional marketing campaigns in that a thorough initial analysis is crucial to the overall success of the project.

Simple sketches to identify your information flow and user interface become the building blocks of how you will position yourself online.

The Web site design should be based on the content, not the other way around. If you look into any successful Web site, its structure and information architecture likely entailed a good amount of planning and research.

Having an understanding of this concept, you should blueprint your Web site with the following elements in mind:

  • Objective: What are you trying to do with this Web site? It's crucial that you identify your objectives and goals in order to determine the direction the site will take.
  • Competitive analysis: Understanding what your competition is doing will help you compile a knowledge base that can be used in strengthening your brand and creating a differentiation that will help you compete in your market. Marketing professionals will sometimes refer back to Marketing 101 and talk about SWOT analysis—a strategy used to quickly evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or business venture.

  • Vocabulary and message: Whom are you trying to communicate with? Is your message being heard by the audience you are trying to reach? This is where graphic design and fundamental marketing concepts matter. You have approximately eight seconds to captivate your audience before they grow tired and leave a page. Web site visitors that leave your Web site in eight seconds or less are considered a "bounce." It is reported that the average bounce rate is close to 50%. Web sites that heavily exceed this number are in drastic need of attention. When you are creating a Web site, always keep in mind that the content you are delivering on any page within the site will be a determining factor as to how long the user stays on the page.
  • Sitemap and wire frames: After gaining a solid understanding of your message, it is important to lay out the road map of how your information will flow throughout the Web site. A wire frame is the road map of your Web site and defines how visitors travel throughout the site. To reduce clutter and to streamline usability, be sure that your navigation and site flow are consistent with good navigation and usability practices. Wire frames also start to show "classifications" on a Web site. Information architecture exists all around us as users of the Web and various interfaces:

    • Lexicon classifications: A Lexicon is simply a complex way of describing labeling systems and classifications. The lexicon breaks up a Web site into various sections and labels the sections with popular verbiage such as "Resources" and "Support." These are functions of the various navigation systems, but these labels also help define and segment various pieces of information.

    • Organizational classifications: This is how the Web site's information is presented to the user with respect to organization—for example, how various navigation elements are grouped together.

    • Search: These tools, similar to how Google would search the web for content, give the user the ability to search the Web site and the content within the site.

    • Navigation: This is how we help users move through the content, digging deeper into the site as they visit the content areas of their choice.
  • Look & feel: Despite popular belief, having Photoshop or Dreamweaver doesn't make someone a graphic artist or user-interface designer. Having the "dorm-room" designer build your Web site can have a profound negative effect on your bottom line. Granted, you can cut costs by working with template-based solutions or hiring an inexperienced web developer, but this is not the route to take if you are serious about your Web site and the success of your business. Identifying the look and feel that will send the proper message to your target audience will have a direct effect on how visitors respond to your Web site.
  • Content: Have you ever visited a Web site and clicked on a number of things only to find the famous "Under Construction" message? Content, or should I say lack thereof, is one of the main reasons that a site fails or is never completed. You can have the best concept and layout in the world, but if there is no quality content to place into the site, at the end of the day all you are left with is dead air.
From Paper to Web:

Graphic Design and Web Page Creation

Once you have created the blueprint of where you are going to take the Web site, you now have the necessary pieces to get started on the "Concept Phase."
Depending on the designer, various applications may be used to compile the Web site design concepts. The most popular software suite by far for doing so is the Adobe Creative Suite, which contains applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. In addition, many users still use Macromedia/Adobe's Fireworks for Web site layouts.

By using a combination of the content and information presented in the above-noted wireframes, you can start to compile how the Web site will look and feel.

Generally speaking, it is best to finalize the look and feel aspects of your Web site before spending time and resources on having it programmed. Design concepts that will play a big role in your Web site creation include traditional design composition elements such as point, line, form, texture, color, and type.

Keeping in mind those various elements will ensure that your Web site possesses the needed attributes to clearly and concisely deliver your message. A clearly defined Web site message will result in a lower bounce rate—and more people will actually see and read your Web site.

The Importance of Color in Successful Web Site Design

The use of color in Web site design has a profound impact on the viewer experience. Colors affect people in a deeply psychological, and often completely subconscious, manner and have the power to make the Web site experience overwhelmingly positive or negative. Most professionals recommend choosing up to five colors and using them consistently throughout the Web site.
Color choices provoke different responses for different people. The color palette of your Web site should consider the age group, gender, and culture of your intended audience, while also reflecting the emotional response you wish to stimulate in the potential customer. Certain colors have the tendency to create calm, excitement, happiness, or distaste... again, depending upon who the Web site user is.

Another major factor in Web site color scheme is readability. The choice of background and type color should contrast well for readability without being harsh and glaring to the eye. Color can also be used to make certain phrases stand out within your site content or to indicate links within the text.
Following are some color choice basics to consider when planning the palette of your Web site.

Color-Choice Fundamentals
  • Use colors from nature. Using forest greens, sea blues, and the reds and yellows of flowers and fall leaves is much more alluring to viewers than harsh colors not seen in the natural world (such as shocking pink, electric blue, and neon green).
  • Color preference differs from men to women. Men prefer blue and orange while women are drawn to reds and yellows. Women also are capable of perceiving a much broader spectrum of colors and sense subtle shade variations much more easily.
  • Viewer age plays a role in color choice. Young adults and teens are often excited by bright, vibrant colors and contrast. Older people tend to be more interested in Web sites that have more conservative color schemes such as blues, grays, and browns, without glaring contrasts that can tire the eye.
  • Culture and nationality affect response to colors. In the United States and most European cultures, the color white symbolizes purity and marriage. However, in Japan and China, white is a color of bad luck and red is the traditional color of new brides. If your Web site is aimed at attracting international customers, make sure to research the cultural color beliefs of your target audience.
  • The universal safe color. Blue seems to be a universally safe choice among different cultures, ages, and genders, evoking feelings of peace and calm for most everyone.
  • Choose background and text colors for good contrast and readability. The best choice for readability is a white background with black text. Other good choices include gray or black backgrounds with a well contrasting text color. Avoid harsh contrasts such as red and green or blue and yellow, which have been shown to cause eye fatigue.
Keep in mind the most common meanings and emotions associated with color. Although different people react differently to colors, there are some common meanings and emotions associated with certain colors. Here are a few examples:
  • Red: Excitement, power, passion, or anger.

  • Yellow: Joy, happiness, light

  • Blue: Cool, peace, trustworthiness, loyalty, or sadness

  • Black: Sophistication, mystery, or evil

  • Green: Life, nature, health, wealth
Consider Web site viewers with color-perception problems. The most common form of color-blindness, most common in men, is blue-green colorblindness; that is, a person cannot differentiate between these two colors, even when they are next to each other. A blue background with green text will be completely unreadable to such a person.

Mashups: The Small Business Applications

While the business world races to catch up with Web 2.0 applications like wikis, RSS feeds, and widgets, the “next thing” is already here and starting to catch on fast: mashups

Mashups are a hybrid genre of Web applications that borrow from two or more other Web applications or data sources and then literally mash them up into one unique application. For example, a company called Infopia has developed a mashup that eBay sellers can use combining the data from their online stores with the tools of, such as customer relationship management (CRM), inventory management, and online performance analytics.

Anyone can do it

The beauty of the mashup is how easy it is to build them. It’s basically a three-step process:
  1. Choose the data sources or applications you want to mashup. This can be any combination of an internal database with a widely used application programming interface (API) from a source like, Google Maps, Flickr, or eBay. There are countless other APIs available to mix and match. Other ways to access data include Web feeds, like RSS, and screen scraping. Screen scraping involves using a simple program that “scrapes” data from the display output on a website.

  2. Take a feed from each source and aggregate it into one mashup. This may sound like the most intimidating step. It’s not. Actually, finding the tools to build the mashup is easy. It’s more difficult finding the data. Some of the most popular mashup tools and servers include Yahoo Pipes, Microsoft Pop Fly, and Kapow Technologies. Google has a mashup editor in beta, as well. All are easy to use for the non-techie.

  3. Host it. You’ll need a domain host or Web server technology that supports server-side scripting technologies like PHP or Ruby on Rails. Many mashup authors are using a company called Dreamhost. It’s cheap, well reviewed by customers and is easy to use.
Mashups may be good for business

Like social networking sites and other Web 2.0 trends, it’s consumers that tend to be the early adopters with the business community coming along eventually. The same seems to be true with mashups.

Some of the most publicized mashups include Weather Bonk, a mashup site that combines Yahoo! Traffic with Google Maps and various weather feeds that come up with one page featuring live traffic cams and a weather map customized by location.

However, it is the business realm where mashups will likely have their greatest impact. It’s already starting to happen. I see the following trends in business mashups:
  • Data visualization. So far, this means leveraging geographical information with other data feeds. Google Maps, by far, is the most popular API used in mashups. Imagine, for example, combining Google Maps with a realtor’s feed of multiple listings in her market, combined with school district borders and educational rankings.
  • Credit card processing. A popular mashup with online retailers is mashing up external credit card processing from the banks with internal e-commerce orders.
  • Call center applications. Customer representatives taking calls and following up on orders by phone typically are staring at more than one screen: one of the website and the online order, the other displaying the CRM screen. We are seeing more online retailers mashing up the two (the e-commerce component with the CRM) into one view, one screen.
Mashups and the IT department

Hybrid Web applications tailor made by the user? That sounds like the makings of a migraine for the IT department. Issues to be considered include security and integration with other applications on the company network, just for starters. However, most IT managers have already learned from the proliferation and easy access of Web 2.0 tools that they’re fighting a losing battle retaining control of what online tools employees use.

I would offer the following advice to antsy IT directors: “Think of it as experimental. If the mashup proves beneficial to the business, then IT has a prototype to take and perfect.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

Business Mashups for Financial Services

Business mashups - mashup applications for and by the business are new applications combining the best of consumer mashups and data mashups with a strong process component.

Business mashups are a key component of integrating business and data services, as mashup technologies provide the ability to develop new integrated services quickly, to combine internal services with external or personalized information, and to make these services tangible to the business user through user interfaces.

The financial services industry has been an early adopter of business-driven initiatives using SOA and mashups. Needless to say, this market has other things on its mind just now. The question we are all asking is, "What's in store for us given the meltdown?" I've been building mashups for a handful of global banks for the past nine months, and I've got some opinions about what we can expect for the next nine months.

Mashups in the financial sector aren't just for the back office. I understand that Financial institutions have to be conservative. When bankers and investment institutions stray from the straight and narrow, somebody will likely be in front of Parliament right before they go to jail. So while I understand their reluctance to adopt mashups on the front-end of their business, I think it is a mistake. I wouldn’t expose the banking systems until we get better mashup security. But financial institutions have a lot of other offerings that aren’t tied directly to their transactional back-end systems.

Financial institutions have to walk a fine line. They are in a constant struggle to balance the need for governance, the heavy load of compliance, and a cutthroat competitive landscape. And the financial sector depends heavily on technology to be competitive. And not necessarily technology within a traditional IT organization.

According to a study, for every rupee spent on ‘real’ IT, most industries also spend 60 paisa on ‘shadow IT.’ That is, IT funded directly by, and implemented within the business. In the financial sector I’d be willing to bet the ratio is much higher. One bank employee I talked to said that embedding IT within the business is a necessary practice just to stay competitive. When one bank innovates, the others have to be right behind. That means tight coupling between the technologists and the business so new and innovative offerings can be out the door fast.

This sounds like a perfect job for mashups.

As a consumer of financial services, I’ve got a number of ideas for how they could use mashups without compromising their core banking systems.

I have accounts with several investment firms, yet when I want to do any investment research, I have to search Yahoo! finance to get the financials and Google for any relevant news. I’d use a mashup that pulled that information together into a single page.

How about a mashup that pulls together many investment strategies? Mashing up books from Amazon and information from some of the leading personal finance strategists. How about a mashup that lets me compare and contrast a company’s performance against some of its nearest competitors? Then mash in some Google Docs to let me save my analysis so I can retrieve it later.

I’m not buying that mashups aren’t a good fit for the financial services industry. Most of the innovation, at least on the consumer side, isn’t in the back-end transactional systems. It’s out front, providing services, information and advice to customers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Peace agreement with pro-Taliban clerics has backfired in Pakistan.

The world's attention was focused on the pact between Pakistan's government and pro-Taliban cleric Sufi Mohammad which promised to reimpose sharia law in the country's war-torn Swat valley.

Swat, once known as the "Switzerland of Pakistan," had been consumed by a violent Taliban uprising and a tough government response that left 1,500 dead and sent 200,000 citizens fleeing. Under the terms of the agreement, the rebellion would end, the military would gradually withdraw, sharia law would be imposed, and the government would have a prisoner exchange. At least a dozen suspected Taliban have already been released.

Skeptics worried that the deal amounted to no more than a capitulation to militants; the Pakistani government insisted it could bring real calm. "There was a vacuum ... in the legal system," Amir Haider Khan Hoti, chief minister of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), told the Washington Post. "The people demanded this and they deserve it." Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi defended the move as a "quick dispensation of justice" and "not any appeasement towards militants."

One month later, it's clear that the deal is a disaster. The agreement was signed between Sufi Mohammed's militant group, Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi (or TNSM, meaning Movement for the Establishment of the Law of Mohammed), and the government of the NWFP, with the approval of the federal government. The two sides differ in their interpretation of it, and even as sharia courts began operating March 18, disputes over the judges remained. Violence continues, making the term "peace agreement" a misnomer. Worse, the pact has consolidated Taliban influence and set a dangerous precedent for further negotiation.

To be sure, the clamor for sharia was genuine. In the lawless environment, ordinary people readily considered appeasing the Taliban as a means of providing security for them and their families. And having served as the judicial code throughout the 1990s, sharia seemed to offer what the government (which controls no more than 20 percent of the region) never could: quick and fair justice for a community starved for exactly that.

Regrettably however, Pakistan signed the agreement from a position of weakness. The Army was hesitant to undertake another major counterinsurgency operation in Swat when two earlier ones had failed to dislodge the militants from their hide-outs. The secular Awami National Party in power in NWFP also preferred a negotiated settlement. And the population could hardly stomach further military action. Even if the deal meant significant compromises in their quality of life, people thought, peace would represent an improvement.

But the dispute over the deal's terms could be fatal. Sufi Mohammed has refused to accept the present panel of judges presiding over qazi, or sharia, courts. He has announced the formation of his own qazi courts, appointed nominees, and warned all lawyers to stay away. Many lawyers are reported to have fled the region on the threat. Far from compromising, the Taliban do not intend to integrate sharia into the existing judicial and bureaucratic structure. Their aim is nothing less than the transformation of the entire legal and administrative system.

Serious implications follow from the Swat deal. Already, Mullah Fazlullah, the son-in-law of Sufi Mohammed, has become a de facto ruler of the area -- the modern-day equivalent of the wali who ruled Swat until 1969 when the region became a province of Pakistan. Moreover, it will be impossible to prevent the demand for sharia from spreading to other parts of the country. If that happens, Pakistan could end up operating under two legal systems -- sharia in the west and civil code in the east. It is even possible that militant groups in Punjab will demand the right to impose Islamic law in their own strongholds.

Had the government been able to use the peace deal to secure a foothold in Swat, introducing a strong administrative structure that could provide a reasonable level of governance, the move could have been justified. But the opposite has happened. The militants have outsmarted both the government and the military. They have consolidated the Taliban's position. And this is only week four.

What are the implications for India, especially in the aftermath of 26/11, the US operations in Afghanistan and the forthcoming elections ?

How to Develop Your Vision - Part 3

Here's the third part of Developing Your Vision...


Now let's think about a series of vision pies over time to create a stack of them with a pie for each of the following three to five years (see below). With each additional year, the vision will contain less detail and the current probability of being right diminishes greatly. This is what I call the 'Vision Cone'.

Every vision needs actual validation in the real world for virtually all its elements. Certainly, the ones that have not been done EXACTLY that way before, and have not had great success, are a significant risk and deserve special testing in ways that will not disrupt the business if they fail. This testing is known as actively managing the risks, something any CEO should be doing. I have a separate system on this later.

Most venture capitalists insist on a 'seasoned' CEO at the helm of a new company; someone who, based on many years of experience, can actually run these 'vision simulations' or business models in their head. Many things can cause a business to fail. Even small things that fail to work because of typical personality types in certain jobs can delay or prevent a business from being successful. Only a significant amount of real-world experience can reduce this risk.

The next lesson will go over some practical steps on how to implement your vision...

Related Articles:

How to Develop Your Vision - Part 4

How to Develop Your Vision - Part 2

How to Develop Your Vision - Part 1

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Ten Things Successful People Know And You Probably Don't

What do extraordinarily successful people know about life that you don’t? Are they just a lot luckier, smarter, or harder working than you? Or is there something inherently different in the way that they approach life that propels them to unimaginable heights? The following list attempts to answer these questions. It contains the distilled wisdom from many years of trial and error by some of the most successful people modern society has seen. Some of what you’ll read might surprise you. Some of it – I hope! – will inspire you.

Either way, it just might light that fire under you. ENJOY.

Ten Things Successful People Know That You Don't

1. You are the CEO of your own life.

You are completely responsible for the level of success that you experience personally and professionally. You are equally responsible for the lack thereof. Your success will be defined by the vision you create and the choices that you make to support it. There may be no such thing as “control” in this world, but there certainly is “responsibility.” Take responsibility for your actions, your choices, your future – and watch success unfold.

2. It is next to impossible to exceed your own expectations.

If you want an extraordinary life, you have to set extraordinary expectations. Make extraordinary choices. Do extraordinary things. Henry Ford once said, “If you believe that you can do a thing, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right.” Whatever you expect – of yourself, your career, your relationships, your life – sets the limit of what is possible for you.

3. When you believe something is impossible, it becomes invisible.

The truth is that you don’t begin to know what’s really possible. The list of impossible things proved possible by the will and creativity of the human spirit is endless. We have walked on the moon. We’ve broken the sound barrier. We’ve outrun the 4-minute mile. We’ve created human babies from single cells in a plastic dish. We’ve compressed millions of bits of information into something the size of a safety pin.

Just because you can’t see it with your own eyes doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Possibility is everywhere.

4. Success has nothing to do with luck.

Extraordinarily successful people don’t waste their time wondering IF their dreams will come true someday. They concern themselves rather with HOW they’re going to make them happen. Ask yourself the same question. To get what you most want out of life -- how fearless are you willing to be? How creative are you willing to get? How much are you willing to compromise (or sacrifice)?

Extraordinarily successful people didn’t get that way through prayer or luck or pixie dust. They just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

5. Life gets much easier when you have a clear and personal definition of success.

Only you can truly define success for yourself. Your personal definition of success is not subject to the whims of your friends or family, your community or your culture. It’s not seduced or distracted by advertising, and it’s not confusing, arbitrary or vague. It does not define you or box you in. Your personal definition of success frees you to enjoy life completely by releasing you from priorities that are not relevant or meaningful.

If you don’t define success for yourself, rest assured that it will be defined for you. But it probably won’t feel quite as good.

6.The things we call ‘mistakes’ are life’s greatest learning opportunities.

The more mistakes you make, the more you learn. Why is it that children have permission to make mistakes, but as adults we are so ashamed of taking a misstep? Wisdom does not come from never erring. It comes from learning, adapting, and growing as a result of the many bumps along life’s road.

It’s one thing to make the same mistake over and over again – but where’s the shame in making new mistakes? Was anything extraordinary ever created on the very first try? Successful people are always making mistakes, because they know that without mistakes there are no successes.

7. You reap what you sow.

The successful person’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” If something isn’t working for you – if it’s not delivering the intended result – then stop doing it. Try something new. Change your approach. Get creative.

Stop asking ‘why me’ and start asking ‘how can I approach this in a new way?’ You can’t expect to plant oats and get barley. So stop the insanity!

8. The only ‘wrong’ decision is no decision.

Perfection is not your friend. Perfection will keep you spinning your wheels, endlessly ‘refining’ things until… your window of opportunity becomes tightly sealed shut.
wake up! There is no such thing as ‘perfection’. Or… from another vantage point… everything is perfect. Either way, make your decision and do something. If the fear of doing something wrong is what’s paralyzing you… refer to #6 above.

9. You are what you think.

Notice the internal dialogue that’s going on in your head at this very moment. Are you chastising yourself for not being more decisive? For taking the ‘safe route’ or for making the same mistake twice? You are what you think. Your thoughts create your emotions, which in turn impact behavior. Your behavior over time shapes and molds your LIFE.

Successful people develop their ability to monitor and mediate their own thoughts। They are skilled at noticing their own negative self-talk and systematically replacing it with positive affirmation; with a vision of their success. They refuse to accept limits on their potential. They expect the best – from the world and from others. They take full responsibility for the choices they make and the thoughts they think.

So if you want to be extraordinarily successful, start thinking of yourself that way.

10. You already have all the answers (you just don’t know it yet).

When was the last time you trusted your instincts? Or followed through on something that was “just a hunch”? Successful people develop an extraordinary capacity for recognizing, trusting and acting on their own intuition. They become highly skilled at tuning in to their inner voice and tuning out the multitude of external and often contradictory influences.

Does this mean they’re always right? No. Nobody is always right but with each mistake, that sense of intuition becomes more and more finely tuned.

If you’re facing a tough decision or a challenging issue, stop looking to others for advice and answers. Tune into your own inner voice. You already have all the answers. So listen carefully.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eight ways to get developers on board with SOA governance

Does ramming SOA down the development organization help the cause of service orientation? Of course not. But, many companies have taken this tact, attempting to coax developers to adopt SOA practices with little or no input, guidance, or training.

Too many organizations, attempt to take shortcuts to SOA, and in the process, shortchange governance, which would help get developers on board with the effort. Plus, many developers are bogged down with routine maintenance tasks — which still occupy a lion’s share of time. (Though SOA can help cut down maintenance costs and make more funds available for business-growth projects.)

Efforts to force SOA on developers — the top-down approach — without their active input into the design-time aspects result in frustration and cynicism.

Developer disenchantment, of course, cuts into the benefits we want to see from SOA, such as increased ROI on software investments, augmented organizational agility, and diminished IT maintenance burdens. Service-oriented methodologies can help organizations navigate through today’s rough-and-tumble economy, and be well positioned to grow as things pick up. (And they will pick up… there are green shoots already forming…)

Of course, as companies miss the SOA boat, the finger-pointing starts — and guess who gets the blame? Far too many enterprises attribute any SOA disappointments as being exclusively caused by recalcitrant developers sabotaging well-intentioned governance efforts. The real blame should be pinned on management, and a failure to actively involve developers in the governance process. (Or a failure to even have a governance process, period.)

Here are some recommendations to bringing developers into the SOA process:

1. Don’t compensate on the basis of volume. Recognize that number of lines of code written isn’t a valid productivity metric anymore.

2. Compensate for working smarter. Reward developers for reusing others’ work.

3. There are times when new code is needed, and recognize that. Also reward developers for writing reusable services when no applicable services exist.

4. But don’t let people go too far with rewarding reusable service creation. Penalize developers who unnecessarily create new services (or otherwise violate governance standards).

5. But don’t punish developers for the overhead (and inevitable schedule impacts) mandated by adherence to solid SOA design and governance methodologies.

6. Make runtime governance consistent across all teams — even consultants or outsourced development teams.

7. Recognize the need for new skill-sets (e.g., service and policy custodians, technical communications specialists, etc.) in support of SOA and related governance.

8. Educate development managers in cross-departmental support requirements.