Lying to your kids and a Kodak Moment

Today I learned:

1. Don’t lie to your kids: If you accidently break one of your daughter’s toys you need to own up to it. The other natural alternative – telling her it was destroyed by the wolves in the backyard who ate it when it was left out last night – is just a story full of holes that will be picked apart by your highly analytical child at roughly 3:17 am.

2. A Kodak Moment: On the drive to work I listened to an article from the Economist contrasting Kodak’s failed attempt to transition its brand from a dying industry, with that of rival firm Fuji-film which has successfully altered its course, surprisingly, towards a position within the cosmetic industry (among other ventures).

At lunch I found another Kodak article, this time by Seth Godin, that addresses the difficulty successful incumbents have in identifying a new course – my favourite quote being Kodak was “so in love with their success that they insisted the world change in their favor, as opposed to embracing the future that was sure to arrive.”

The lifecycle concept applies to every company in every business and (simplistically speaking at least) only the speed of transition for the industry really differs. Despite that, it is amazing to see how many companies live in the present rather than planning for tomorrow.  Personally, it certainly made me think about what percentage of my day I spend in the present and what percent I spend planning for the future. I decided to setup a simple reminder – a bit of “Kodak Time” is now scheduled into my monthly calendar.

As a aside, a special message to the strategists at Kodak:

Dear Kodak,

Digital printing will not save you guys, either.  It might not even be viable by the time you get good at it.




Email: Butt-covering and Productivity Measures

Today I learned:

1. Covering my butt:  I spend alot of my day preaching transparency, open communication, and the need to nurture trusting relationships. Simultaneously I save just about every incoming and outgoing email, and am I required to call on my stash all too often to cover my butt. I don’t like it, and never have. Today I learned I still need my stash and I have not figured out how to kill the endless loop. If only we could all delete them and start actually talking instead of documenting.

This gives me an idea: Would it be possible to go one single day at work without sending an internal email?  A worthy experiment for next week maybe…

2. First thing in the morning: On Seth’s Blog yesterday there is a post about the first thing when we sit at the computer in the morning. Essentially the question is this: Do you consume or do you create?

This got me thinking about a simple change I made a few months ago and how it is truly working. I setup my Outlook to open to a folder I labelled as Priority Inbox which holds those items that I decide are critical for the day ahead. Before I leave at night I make sure my Priority Inbox holds the key tasks for tomorrow and, most importantly, absolutely nothing else. That way when I sit down the first thing I see is what I need to see, and not what other people might want me to see.  Seth’s Blog help remind me that this little trick is working like a charm.

(Note: I don’t use task lists – I email myself things that need to be done, calls to return etc. If it is important enough, then those “tasks” are in my Priority Inbox, along with everything else.)