Quantcast
Subscribe!

 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Entries in work (83)

    Friday
    Jul252014

    REPRISE: PowerPoint for the iPad? Well that's no fun.

    Note: Caught a really interesting article this week on the Unofficial Apple Weblog, titled Microsoft still doesn't get why the iPhone succeeded, which breaks down Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's recent manifesto memo to MSFT employees regarding the tech giant's strategy and direction. Essentially, the author contends that Nadella's focus and emphasis on the device (smartphone, tablet, whatever is coming next, etc.), as a 'work' or productivity device misses the entire reason why people originally flocked to the iPhone and iPad in the first place. Here is a snippet from the piece:

    Consumers primarily buy mobile devices that make their lives easier and more fun, work be damned. Microsoft Office wasn't available on the iPhone until June of 2013. An iPad version wasn't released until four months ago! And guess what, hundreds of millions of consumers bought iPhones and iPads anyhow.

    The longer Microsoft continues to focus on the alleged allure of productivity software, the more it runs the risk of falling into the same trap as RIM, which remained so beholden to the notion of physical keyboards that it completely ignored the mass market to placate its beloved enterprise users. Just as RIM mistakenly believed that physical keyboards could fend off the growing popularity of the iPhone, Microsoft seems to believe that the abstract notion of "productivity" will help them garner more marketshare.

    The underlying problem with this train of thought is that it ignores the fact that the iPhone helped usher in the consumerization of IT, the dynamic where individuals themselves are able to influence the type of mobile devices supported in their work environment.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Steve here- The entire piece kind of read and felt familiar to me, and a quick look back at the archives here revealed I had kind of written a similar piece back in February of 2012, when early rumors of MS PowerPoint being ported out to the iPad first started making the rounds.  So since it is sometimes fun to look back, and because I think the gist of the argument I made in 2012 still applies today, here is that piece from 2012 in all it's majesty:

     

    PowerPoint for the iPad? Well that's no fun.

    Lots of chatter in the tech news and blogosphere this week about the possible launch of an iPad version of Microsoft Office.  First the news of the Office for iPad was broken by The Daily, denied, (kind of), by Microsoft, examined in more detail by ZDNet, then reconfirmed on Twitter by a staff member at The Daily. And I am sure there were lots of other takes on the potential release of Office for the iPad, most of which making it seem like it is not a question of if Microsoft will release the iPad version of Office, but rather when the apps will be released.Source - The Daily

    So based on the evidence, and the sort of non-denial denial from Microsoft, let's assume that indeed in the 'coming weeks' there will be a release of MS Office for the iPad. Most of the accounts about this possible new Office version herald this development as a positive one, both for Microsoft, essentially absent to this point in the rapid rise of the tablet ecosystem, and also for the millions of iPad users that now can become 'more productive' now that the ubiquitous Office suite will have a native iPad version.

    But for me, I have to admit I don't feel all that excited about having Excel, Word, or PowerPoint on the iPad. Even assuming that the iPad versions of these workplace stalwarts manage to leverage the best capabilities and usability features that the iPad offers, you are still crunching spreadsheets, writing (boring) documents, and futzing around with another PowerPoint. You know, working. And work, sadly, is often not much fun. And perhaps through no fault of their own, Excel and PowerPoint take a lot of reflected shrapnel for that if you get my meaning.

    People love their iPads because they are fun, (assuming you can mentally set aside how they are actually manufactured, but that is another story), they provide an amazing user experience, and mostly what you do with them either isn't work, or doesn't feel like work. It just seems cool, hip, easy. Not words we often associate with work. Especially when work takes the form of spreadsheets and slide decks.

    So when MS Office for the iPad comes out will I rush to load it up? Probably not. But I imagine I will eventually succumb, as the allure and utility of being able to tweak that presentation file on the iPad when sitting in the airport will prove too tempting and seem too necessary. It's work right? Need to get 'er done whenever and wherever.

    I just hope I won't have to drop Angry Birds to make room for Excel. Because that would really stink. 

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday
    Jul242014

    CHART OF THE DAY: Whose Labor Market is it Anyway?

    There is a simple answer to that question, really. 

    The candidates run the current labor market, at least for large, (and growing) swath of managerial, professional, and technical roles. 

    Check out this week's Chart of the Day, a look at how recruiters see the labor market - candidate driven or employer driven,  courtesy of the MRI Network's latest recruiter sentiment study, (as always, some pithy commentary from me after the chart)

    Wow - pretty simple and clear to see how at least this group of surveyed MRI Network recruiters have seen the labor market shift pretty dramatically in just two and a half years.

    From late 2011, when the sentiment was that that the power and leverage in recruiting was about an even split between candidate and employer, to one where now these recruiters see about a 4x advantage for the candidates, this shift will have some pretty profound implications for many HR/talent pros.

    Quite simply, offers to candidates with desirable, in-demand skill sets are going to have to get sweeter, and they are going to have to happen faster. Digging in to the MRI data you see that the primary reason candidates can't be closed is that they have accepted a different job offer. Sure, there are plenty of factors at play here, but the lesson is that just like in the market for desirable real estate in New York or San Francisco, the market for top candidates is likely to be super-competitive, with candidates holding signifcant leverage and multiple offers.

    One more nugget from the data - candidates accepting counter-offers to remain with their current employer are rising. Whether or not it makes sense to even make counter-offers is definitely subject to debate, but the fact that if you don't at least consider the practice for your in-demand talent, you are likely going to find yourself having to replace at least some of that talent sooner than you might have liked. 

    Looking back over this data, and the last few Charts of the Day I have posted and it continues to become more clear - job openings are up, employees are more willing to jump for a better opportunity, the competition for candidates is getting more fierce, and the strategy and tactics you were using as recently as 2011 probably are not going to work in labor markets where the best candidates have all the power.

    Have fun and be careful out there.

    Tuesday
    Jul152014

    CHART OF THE DAY: Unemployed workers per job opening

    The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) was released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it showed that US job openings as of May 2014 stood at about 4.6 million, up from 4.5 million in April.

    Taking the JOLTS openings data and combining it with gross unemployment data (also from the BLS), and you get the chart below that shows the trend over time in the ratio of unemployed workers per job opening. Take a look at the chart, (from Business Insider) and then some comments from me below.

    1. The latest ratio of unemployed workers to job openings is 2.11, the lowest level since early 2008, and extremely lower than the post financial crisis high water mark of almost 7 in mid-2009. 

    2. The trend seems to suggest a continued lowering of this ratio, as increased hiring will likely be only partially offset by more entrants into the labor marker, (students leaving school, folks getting coaxed back into the labor market due to improving prospects).

    3. As an HR/talent pro, you might start finding for more jobs a relative reduction in the number of applicants for your open positions. Unless you are offering so-called 'good' jobs, have a compelling employer value proposition, or have a proven pipeline of candidates, there will be, at least in aggregate, fewer available people for your jobs. 

    4. As a consequence of this labor market tightening, your Econ 101 book will tell you that wages are going to have to begin rising more steeply. Again, this is what the economists predict, but for you, all Economics is local. If indeed you are finding it difficult to attract adequate numbers of qualified candidates, then you are going to have to take a long, hard look at the compensation you are offering for these roles. More and more categories of workers are going to at least perceive they have more leverage, (same goes for existing employees too).

    5. With fewer unemployed people per job in the labor pool, it is going to be paramount, even for many entry-level jobs, that you get better at identifying talent from competitors and companies in adjacent industries in order to maximize your candidate flow. It could be the days of simply posting a job online, or placing a Help Wanted sign in the window simply to get the candidates you need are disappearing.

    OK, that is it on this from me. What do you think, are you seeing the markets for your open jobs getting tighter?

    Tuesday
    Jun172014

    NEEDED: The universal "Out of the Office" notifier

    I took a day off yesterday (a real day off, not that fake kind of half working/half not working but still checking email every hour kind of day).

    And since I am conscientious, I activated the requisite "Out of the Office" auto-responder on both my corporate email account, as well as on my Gmail account (where I do have lots of 'official' work-related correspondence going on as well). My OOO message basically said I was offline and if you had an 'urgent' matter that needed immediate attention to text me, otherwise I would get back to you as and when I could.

    For the most part, the strategy was successful - I did of course get a bunch of emails to both email accounts that my OOO auto-responder handled. Three people saw the OOO message and did indeed decide their issue was 'urgent' and elected to text me during the course of the day. Putting aside the fact that in the work that I do nothing is truly ever 'urgent' in strictest terms (no life or death decisions, etc.), let's just say that I had a slightly different take on the relative urgency of the items that were texted to me yesterday. But that's fine, I offered that up as a way to get in touch with me even when I was out, so it is really my bad if I truly did not want to be contacted all day.

    But what I didn't have a good way to address were the other 4 or 5 ways people seem to like to try and contact me these days. LinkedIn messages, @ messages and Direct Messages on Twitter - heck someone even sent me a Facebook message that was work-related. Aside - please do not send me a Facebook message about work. That is terrible. 

    I even got pinged with a message informing me I had a voicemail left on Google Voice. I did not even realize I had Google Voice.

    What I really wanted yesterday is a kind of universal, covering all potential ways of getting a message to me, "Out of the Office" auto-responder. So no matter if it was an email, a Tweet, even a random Google Voice (still can't figure out how that happened), anyone trying to contact me would have been informed that at least for one day, I was probably not getting back to them.

    Unless they sent me an urgent text. Then I guess I would have to. Even if it wasn't urgent.

    Have a great day!

    Friday
    Jun132014

    How far would you commute each day for your dream job?

    How far would you be willing to commute, (to keep it simple let's assume we are talking about commuting via driving your personal car), in order to work at your dream company/job?

    I have to admit it is not a question I have personally thought about very much these last few years as my 'commute', if you could call it that, has typically been taking a short flight of stairs to my lower-level office/lair/Fortress of Solitude.  But lots of folks, heck still the large majority I think, are making the pretty much daily grind to an office, store, warehouse or whatnot. Despite how much we like to talk about the nature and practice of work and workplaces changing, for most of us 'work' remains a place we physically go to just about every day.

    So how far of a drive is too far?

    I only thought about the question this week after reading a post on the LinkedIn blog titled, Inside Story: LinkedIn’s VP of Mobile on Driving in the Snow, Houzz and Anticipatory Computing. I clicked through to the piece because of the 'Anticipatory Computing' phrase, that just sounded really interesting and cool, but as it turns out the more interesting nugget from the post was about how this VP from LinkedIn (Joff Redfern) had a ridiculous commute his first four years with the company.

    How ridiculous? Check this Q and A from the piece:

    Q: What’s not on your LinkedIn Profile?

    A: During my first four years at LinkedIn, I had one of the longest commutes. I lived in Lake Tahoe, California, but worked out of headquarters in Mountain View, California. It’s about 250 miles each way, so I put over 110,000 miles on my car. That’s the equivalent of driving around the world more than four times. It gave me lots of time to think and one of the benefits is that I’m pretty awesome at driving in the snow. 

    Did I read that correctly? 250 miles each way to get to the office? Even taking into account the fact that there was probably no way Mr. Redfern was making a 500 mile round trip every single work day, even still, just a couple of times a week that kind of a grind will be almost impossible to sustain.

    How someone could manage a commute that crazy, and not go insane is kind of an interesting question I think, and you could substitute '500 mile commute' with, 'Has to work 18-hour days for a year in order to ship our first product'. I think there are at least three key elements you'd have to have in place in order to make it work:

    1. The work itself has to be an ideal (for you) combination of challenge/excitement/opportunity/reward that will set you up perfectly for the next 10-15 years of your career such that you simply have to bite the bullet and devote yourself to that work for a year or two (or four).

    2. You either have to have just about zero responsibilities outside of work (no spouse/significant other/kids/dog etc.) that might either literally starve (in the case of a dog) or be starved for attention (every other person in your life), since you are working all of the time. Or, you have someone in your life who has decided that they will take care of everything outside of work for you while you are working all of the time. I suspect it would be really tough for anyone to pull off a regular 500 mile commute if they had a spouse, a couple of kids maybe, at home that they actually wanted to see awake once in a while.

    3.  You have to be (reasonably) healthy before taking on such a grind. The combination of working crazy long hours and a long commute will start to break you down physically (and likely mentally too). You will eventually start eating poorly, not getting enough exercise, definitely not enough sleep and that combination starts to take a toll. If you are not set up to reasonably handle that kind of physical punishment you are more likely to end up in an ER somewhere than accepting a fat bonus check or a bunch of stock options for your hard work. Everyone can handle a long day or two or maybe five, but keep stacking them up, week after week and month after month? Good luck with that.

    So how far are you willing to commute for your dream job?

    Ok, that's it - I'm out for the weekend.

    Happy Father's Day to all the Dads!