Image for post
Image for post

There have been a lot of things we haven’t been able to do during the last nine months. But it’s been a good time for reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks. So my on-again-off-again tradition of highlighting interesting books that I have read in the year is on again.

These books have not all been published during the last year, but are ones I’ve read this past year and thought worth mentioning to other folks who read this blog. …

Not that we have to be reminded, but COVID has certainly reminded us of the fact that we are all connected, in varying degrees, and have an impact on each other. This reminder from a pandemic shouldn’t be a surprise since some of the earliest and best work on real network effects between people has been done by public health experts.

Image for post
Image for post

The now-classic 2009 book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, by Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, Ph.D., MPH and James Fowler showed the ways that our networks with other people affect, among…

As a member of a couple of angel investor networks, a former software executive, and a teacher of a graduate course on new product/service creation, I have seen many financial projections from startup founders and new product managers in large companies.

Image for post
Image for post

One very common pattern for sales projections is a straight rising line (simple linear trend). Here’s one that shows consistent growth in sales, with expenses following along in a similar path. Breakeven occurs around the fourth time period — perhaps that’s the second half of the second year.

Product differentiation is often described as the key to business success. Companies are told that unless they really stand out from the crowd, their products or services will become “commoditized” — an undesirable position in the marketplace that results in little or no profit. This has been well-established guideline in the world of technology startups and even new technology-based product development in existing companies. And that guidance is mostly right.

Image for post
Image for post
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_find_strength_in_being_different

Distinguishing your products from the crowd of competitors often results in greater than average profits. …

I don’t think I have ever written about my teaching duties before. But circumstances change, so here goes.

I have been teaching online since before COVID forced most classes online. Each semester I have an online class I try to experiment and improve.

But the COVID pandemic has forced an extra dose of creativity and a re-thinking of ideas — some new and some old — about education. Here I want to share with other educators some of what I have learned in the process. …

Image for post
Image for post

This past week started the COVID-postponed Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit — now virtual and continuing over two weeks. As usual as Senior Fellow at ICF, I made a presentation yesterday and led a workshop on “Bringing Broadband To Your Community”.

I have previously reported on what is happening in cities this year. In the face of COVID-inspired video conferencing and the departure from offices and some previously popular cities, the question is raised again — can we level the playing field again between the biggest metropolises and elsewhere in the US that have not had broadband?

Many communities now…

If you have a new product or service in mind, you know that you need to find a way to differentiate it from the alternatives that people are already using or could use. But then maybe you have a hard time coming up with ways to make what you are offering really different and new.

This is a basically a challenge to your creativity. And many of us think we need to twist our brains to come up with good creative ideas, which is hard work we don’t feel we can do.

Although we have come to frequently expect new…

Today, something a little different, but not too different — it’s about one of the public policy implications of an important change in the economy that technology has enabled.

As we all know, the freelance and gig economy has been growing. According to a report this year from Upwork and the Freelancers Union, more than a third of the workforce is freelancing. Many of us make at least part of our living in the gig economy and most of the rest of us depend at least part of the time on people who are gig workers.

Image for post
Image for post
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/freelance-work-remains-an-important-part-of-the-us-economy/

In California, there has…

In business, we are frequently told that to build a successful company we have to find an answer to the customer’s problem. In government, the equivalent guidance to public officials is to solve the problems faced by constituents. This is good guidance, as far as it goes, except that we need to know what the problem really is before we can solve it.

Image for post
Image for post

Before those of us who are results-oriented, problem solvers jump into action, we need to make sure that we are looking at the right part of the problem. …

Norman Jacknis

Senior Fellow, Intelligent Community Forum; Columbia University Faculty. Former Director, Cisco IBSG Public Sector & CIO Westchester County, NY

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store