M5 Networks‘ president and CEO, Dan Hoffman, talks to NY Report publisher and CEO Rob Levin about selling his business and some past tough times
“Customers want holes, not drills”. Whurley reminded me of this old business saw while presenting to a group of Alan Patricof’s CEOs last summer. He provided a great first-person example of an iPhone app for kids that his chaotic moon studio recently built called “The Quiet Game”. Based on the insight that parents often hand kids their iPhones to keep them quiet, “The Quiet Game” uses the microphone to dock points for noise while playing. Problem solved. A hit.
I'm nervous! Tonight I have to sing in front of my closest friends, colleagues, and five rolling cameras. For a sneak preview, watch our Introduction video. Flashbacks to the last time I did this at the 4th grade holiday play.
The adrenaline, the racing imagination - that's what learning feels like. It's uncomfortable. It can't happen without putting your body in a new and awkward place. It can't happen without the other people looking at you either. Learning is a team sport, and rarely happens when you are alone with your thoughts.
Almost every business owner I talk to lately has experienced a tough year. Staffs were broiling, whining, anxious, stressed. Cuts hurt trust. And trust is the foundation of effective teams, so that's not good. I thought I’d repost this blog entry to give some props to Larry Smith, who is building a business around a fast and effective exercise we did a few months ago.
Teammates need to get to know each other, so they can have candid relationships. So we're back down to the foundation of Pat Lencioni's Pyramid from Five Dysfunctions of Teams. When they do, they care more about each other's approval, ask for help quicker, and hold each other accountable … and so up the pyramid to getting results.
I'd send everyone to a rope's course if we had time. (Or if they wanted to, or if there was a decent ropes course within 2 hours of Manhattan, or if it worked over video conferencing for all of our offices.)
What a treat - I got to watch the Green Day concert in “The Pit.” We stood a few rows from Billy Joe Armstrong, on the edge of moshing. Men, and a few women and children were slamming into each other, spinning, flailing, shoving, dancing. When someone went down, a hand and a smile picked them right up. It was intense and fun, an island with its own rules amongst a sea of Madison Square Gardeners.
There is no question that the Harry Truman was built using some of the most sophisticated technology on the planet.You feel it the second you step into the Command Center. So what do they use for the phone system on-board?
Funny. I've never seen more old-school analog handsets on one wall in my life. There's a different color handset for every process: landing planes, steering the boat, talking to shore, talking to weapons, ordering food (just kidding, I made that up).
A few Saturday nights ago I was four-stories up in the tower of the Harry S. Truman nuclear power aircraft carrier watching F-18s take-off and land in the dark. Admiral Fox was talking about the weaknesses of the military bureaucracy. You’ve heard it before: how can this massive institution of almost 3 million active and reserves plus contractors engineered to project overwhelming force be nimble enough to meet the new century’s dispersed and dynamic threats? As examples, Fox was bemoaning the recent disaster of spending billions and almost a decade trying to upgrade the President’s helicopter and the fact that it took ten years to make a minor upgrade to the F-18.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining a group of eight CEO’s for a weekend on the Harry Truman, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, during training exercises in the Atlantic. We were hosted by Rear Admiral Fox, Captain Clarkson and his officers. Since it is now Fleet Week in NYC, I felt especially fortunate to be afforded this opportunity. Aside from the thrill of our C-2 cargo plane taking off and landing by catapult and hook-wire on the Harry S. Truman 1(video), the trip triggered thoughts about culture, management and technology.