Don't be an Ogre

Thursday, 24 May 2012 17:42 Written by
Don't be an Ogre

Ogres can exist at any level in an organization.

Ogres come from many backgrounds and can be any color, gender, or orientation -- but they are easy to spot.  Whether you are an Ogre or the victim of an Ogre, here are five Ogre specific disruptors of performance:

1.  OGRES dominate the clock and calendar. Ogres do not trust in the maturity of adults to schedule their events. While they rabidly protect their own schedule, Ogres are monstrous to the priorities and deadlines of everyone around them -- often "appropriating" crisis, abusing meetings, and interrupting projects.

The people and processes the ogres disrupt must compensate to offset the dominating influence.

2.  OGRES demand superfluous reporting. Ogres lurch about and are basically stupid. Ogres will bash what they cannot observe.  So they require volumes of "activity" reports -- instead of focusing on reporting real "results." Ogres get lost in their own activity until it becomes more about form over function... presentation over substance.

People and processes must compensate for emerging dual standards of performance (real and perceived) and moral/ethical storms brewing about the ogre.

3.  OGRES tell you HOW to work. You will do the work the way work “has always been done” in the swamp. No ideas, no experience, and no knowledge will contribute to greater productivity. Ogres know best -- everything. Ogres dismiss ideas to be sure things are done the "right way.”

The people and processes must compensate to accommodate dynamic business conditions, staff retention becomes challenging, core competency declines, and innovation suffers.

4.  OGRES share responsibility, never authority. Ogres champion unnecessary approvals and layers of bureaucracy. They are the gatekeepers in any workflow; however, rarely are they the responsible party for process delays.

The people and processes must compensate in order to evolve and maintain the management of change and the service management lifecycle.

5.  OGRES wield raw power. Ogres fling power about casually -- "just because it suits them to do so." Ogres need to control others. Ogres struggle to subordinate themselves. At the same time, the power often consumes them; the power makes them very self-interested, uncompromising, and myopic.

This is at the heart of the ogre frame of mind. Ogres believe they have a sense of entitlement -- instead of having a sense of duty and teamwork. Ogres believe the organization (the people, processes, and/or technology) is there to serve their career and/or personal needs... and ogres will make every excuse to justify and defend selfish reasoning.

People and processes are forced to compensate for an ogre and expend organizational energy to transform "raw" power into something focused and meaningful.

With an ogre positioned comfortably behind a gate (any gate), the question you must ask yourself... when torch-bearing customers march, who is really guarding that gate?

Are you the Ogre? Ogress? Does your (inner) ogre serve the organization? Or is it the other way around?

America's Most Profitable

Sunday, 05 May 2013 11:23 Written by
America's Most Profitable

Successful companies frequently rely heavily on just one product for the majority of their sales and profit. Because each product represents such an outsized share of their respective company’s revenue, the products’ tremendous margins are the foundation of the company’s profit.  The most profitable products tend to rely on the power of their brand, which can command a premium price and sell extraordinary numbers of units.

These products are the most profitable for several reasons. Nearly all of them are the market leader in their sector and are mass produced at an unprecedented scale. As a result, the companies can apply significant pressure up and down their supply chain, ensuring they can manufacture the product at the lowest cost, and sell it to customers at the highest possible price.

What are the most profitable?  And why...

Facebook Cuts Deals to Track Your Online Activity

Facebook has announced that it’s teaming up with four of the world’s largest corporate data brokers to “enhance” the ad experience for users. Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai obtain information gathered about users through online means (such as through cookies when users surf the web) as well as through offline means (such as through loyalty cards at supermarkets and product warranty cards).

Through the new relationship with Facebook, companies will be able to display advertisements to Facebook users based on data that these data brokers have on individuals. In practical terms, this means that limiting how much information you put on Facebook is not enough to limit how ads are targeted to you on Facebook.

Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Friday, 15 March 2013 13:33 Written by
Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, announced yesterday that they’re even more certain than they were last summer (like, more than 99.999999999 percent sure) that they've seen a Higgs boson particle—even if it’s not the Higgs boson particle.

Why does it even matter? Well, let's start with, this is a discovery that could potentially change our entire understanding of how the universe works. So, to avoid being a complete nub on this issue, what do you need to know and what can you say if someone brings up the subject?

Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:05 Written by
Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Significant flaws in Microsoft Operating Systems and programs are becoming a smaller portion of the total. Secunia reports that 86 percent of active vulnerabilities in 2012 affected third-party products such as Java, Flash and Adobe Reader. In 2007, third-party vulnerabilities made up less than 60 percent of the total.

On the plus side, the dangerous window between discovery of a vulnerability and creation of a patch is getting smaller. Secunia reports same-day patch availability for 80 percent of these threats in 2012, up from a bit over 60 percent in 2007. 

Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:40 Written by
Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

"Tell no one, compromise everyone" -- Hackers exploit security vulnerabilities in software for 10 months on average before details of the holes surface in public, according to a new study based on a paper [PDF] on the research - Before We Knew It: An Empirical Study of Zero-Day Attacks In The Real World.

Two researchers from Symantec Research Labs identified 18 zero-day attacks between 2008 and 2011, and 11 of them were previously undetected. “A typical zero-day attack lasts 312 days on average and that, after vulnerabilities are disclosed publicly, the volume of attacks exploiting them increases by up to five orders of magnitude,” the researchers noted.

Romney and Obama MobiApps Threaten Your Privacy

Saturday, 01 September 2012 10:58 Written by
Romney and Obama MobiApps Threaten Your Privacy

John Leyden at The Register reports that security experts uncovered privacy concerns in mobile applications available from both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns. Researchers at GFI Software examined the Android versions of both products and are alarmed at the invasive nature of the offerings.

Obama for America and Mitt’s VP request permissions, access to services and data and demonstrate capabilities beyond product expectations.  Each of the apps cross-posts on users' behalf and report back to base.  More alarmingly, both apps slurp the details of users' contacts and log location data. The Romney app even requests permission to record audio for unspecified purposes.

Useless Business Jargon

Monday, 11 June 2012 19:36 Written by
Useless Business Jargon

The next time you feel the need to reach out, touch base, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it.

People use jargon as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction they wish to give others.  Jargon masks meaning.  Jargon can mean different things to different people.  You might be saying one thing -- while your audience is hearing another.

Flame, the Cyber Weapon

Monday, 28 May 2012 22:37 Written by
Flame, the Cyber Weapon

A highly sophisticated computer virus is infecting computers in Middle Eastern and North African countries.  It appears to have been at least five years ago.  Is this state-sponsored cyber espionage?

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber-security software maker, said it discovered the virus, dubbed Flame, after a U.N. telecommunications agency asked it to analyze data on malicious software across the Middle East in search of the data-wiping virus reported by Iran.

Yahoo Leaks Private Key!

Friday, 25 May 2012 15:54 Written by
Yahoo Leaks Private Key!

Yahoo released its Axis extension for Chrome and accidentally leaked its private security key that could allow anyone to create malicious plugins masquerading as official Yahoo software.  The result is that a miscreant could forge malicious software to run amok on unsuspecting victim computers and it would appear to be coming from Yahoo.

An Australian researcher exposed the certificate mistake, and said users should not install the extension "until the issue is clarified." He examined the extension’s source code and found the private certificate, which Yahoo uses to sign the application to prove it is genuine and unaltered.

Banking Malware Hijacks Webcams and Microphones

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:50 Written by
Banking Malware Hijacks Webcams and Microphones

A new variant of SpyEye malware allows cybercriminals to monitor potential bank fraud victims by hijacking their Web cams and microphones, according to security researchers from Kaspersky Lab May 21. SpyEye is a computer trojan that specifically targets online banking users.

Like its older cousin, Zeus, SpyEye is no longer being developed by its original author but is still widely used by cybercriminals. SpyEye’s plug-in-based architecture allows third-party malware developers to extend its original functionality, a Kaspersky Lab malware researcher said.

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I don't agree with all of this, but it's food for thought. -rw