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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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We praise our phones by calling them "smart" then we toss them away, replacing them in their adolescence.

by Rick Baker
On May 9, 2021

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Our technologies are becoming as fragile as our relationships. 

Puppy Love used to apply to puppies...then it morphed toward hand-holding teenagers...now it has morphed toward hand-touched technologies. 


Humour | IT & TECH | Thought Tweets

IoT: an unlimited supply of hands holding utensils ready, waiting and able to feed product and service development.

by Rick Baker
On Oct 29, 2020

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

The Internet of Things [IoT]: Are your products and services hungry for improvement?



Definitions - Spirited Words Defined | IT & TECH | Thought Tweets

Stopping to think about CRM tools

by Rick Baker
On Dec 5, 2016

Most small businesses want to gain advantage over their competitors.

Most small businesses want more sales.

Most small businesses want to keep track of their operating activity.

And - the operations of most small businesses become far more complicated than outsiders [and most insiders] would have guessed or expected…and much of that complication is unnecessary. Considering this from another perspective, most small businesses do not perform basic planning activities such as SWOT analyses and 80/20 Rule analyses.

Consequently, most small businesses struggle with business development actions and business development results.

CRM to the rescue...

Well, maybe not!

Here's why [not].

There's lots of small-business talk about finding simple and user-friendly CRM tools and using those CRM tools to improve management of actions, improve monitoring of results, and grow a base of satisfied customers. Yet, relatively few of these small businesses are ready to use a CRM system. In addition to the lack of planning introduced above, there are two main reasons why they are not ready for CRM tools:

  1. they cannot [clearly and concisely] describe their existing operating actions
  2. they lack knowledge about CRM tools, in some cases they cannot even define what the abbreviation 'CRM' means

So - let's start by defining CRM.

Here's the definition-picture provided by Wikipedia -

Now, that picture introduces CRM...as long as you agree "CRM" is an abbreviation of "Customer Relationship Management". And, for now, let's work from that base, CRM = Customer Relationship Management. If we accept "CRM" means "Customer Relationship Management" then we should also be able to agree CRM tools/systems do not include business tools/systems for on-line sales/ordering or inventory-control. While CRM does not include these tools/systems, CRM may or may not link with these and other tools/systems.

More about CRM in future Thought Posts...




Business Plan: Writing Plans | IT & TECH | Marketing | Sales | Thinking as in Think and Grow Rich

The Internet of Things: Our IoT Vision

by Rick Baker
On Nov 7, 2016

The 'Internet of Things', you've heard about it.

You may be talking about it, asking “What exactly does it mean?

Recently, that question was discussed at our office, “What does 'Internet of Things’ mean?

At our meeting, Chris Labrador posed a vital question, "In the Internet of Things, what is the main thing?’" 

After some discussion, we agreed - the ‘main thing' in the Internet of Things is People

The Internet of Things [IoT] exists to serve people; IoT exists to deliver value to people…to enhance people’s lives.

IoT is an advanced, multi-faceted tool.

What other things does IoT contain?

The IoT has some fundamental components:

  • data/information,
  • connectivity in the form of wires, routers, switches
  • computer hardware, and
  • software

For more technical details, see Wikipedia’s IoT description.

Why have IoT?

What value does IoT deliver to people?

On the macro scale: IoT will soon be the most powerful tool devised by Mankind…embraced around our planet…by billions of people…delivering value for personal use and delivering value for business/organization/government use.

On the micro scale: IoT will present unique value to each person who decides to put it to good use…imagine advanced person-by-person concierge & valet services…customized thought-concierge & valet services…decision guidance…action recommendations.

The thought-concierge & valet value you obtain from your IoT activity will be different than the thought-concierge & valet value I obtain from my IoT activity.

The First Level of Value is: IoT provides information to people; IoT connects with information and delivers information to people.  This information helps people understand their situations and environments and improve their decisions. Information-value is a subjective thing; decision-making process is another subjective thing. So, to provide the first level of value IoT will learn what information-value means to each person. Then IoT will gather pertinent information for each person. Timing of information delivery will always be a key thing, in summary - the quicker the better.

An example of IoT’s first level of value: today, we use software apps to control our sprinkler systems. These software apps are programmed to ensure the zones in our property are watered at pre-set times for pre-set durations. Without us taking any action, these software apps monitor local weather stations, override the pre-set watering instructions and stop the watering when a certain level of rain is expected or has occurred. These software apps notify us every time our pre-set watering programs are overridden. This very-basic IoT has been created to ensure we do not over-water our lawns and gardens…this basic IoT saves/conserves electricity and water…and that helps our environment and saves our money.

The Second Level of Value is:  contextual consciousness.  In the not too distant future, IoT will gain a level of consciousness…let’s consider that to be the first ingredient of intelligence. Soon, IoT will go beyond understanding the data you are interested in, how to gather that data for you, how to combine it, how to package it, and how to deliver it to you. Venturing beyond these things, IoT will begin to understand why you want this data and your IoT will understand all of the nuances around your 'why', i.e., your IoT will understand your specific 'why'. Your IoT will understand your preferences and why you make certain decisions. Your IoT will be able to extrapolate and interpolate, understand why you change your mind, make basic decisions for you, and hone recommendations to help you as you make your important/advanced decisions. With contextual consciousness, your IoT will automatically improve your personal organization and mentor your personal growth.

An example of IoT’s second level of value: Consider the water-sprinkler example presented above and let’s add a complication: let's say we have two little dogs and one of the watering zones in our yard is called ‘The Dog Walk’. We want to ensure that zone gets as much water as possible. So, every time the software app notifies us it has turned off this zone we [using our smart phone or computer] visit the software app [web-tool] and we manually water The Dog Walk zone. In the not-too-distant future, the software app will gain a small piece of contextual consciousness…it will recognize/learn that we have special needs in The Dog Walk zone and it will automatically adjust itself to (1) leave the watering ‘on’ at The Dog Walk zone when it shuts off the other zones and (2) adjust its note to let us know, “Rain is predicted so we are turning off your sprinklers but, don’t worry – we will continue to water your Dog Walk zone”.

Then…a little later, but still in the not-too-distant future…

IoT will expand its ability to extrapolate and interpolate – it will do even more reading outside the lines and reading between the lines of our actions, understanding why we change our minds, making basic decisions for us, and honing recommendations for our important/advanced decisions…improving our personal organization and mentoring our personal growth.

As IoT uses its contextual consciousness to gain intelligence we will see it take advanced steps. The history of technical advancements, strongly suggests these advancements will happen rapidly and be exponential.

An example of an advanced step: again, consider the above sprinkler system examples. As sprinkler-control companies build IoT value for their clients their software apps will send notes like this to our neighbours who use sprinkler systems, “Some of your neighbours choose to water their Dog Walk zones even when it rains. If you see merit in this strategy, press this button and we will make sure your Dog Walk is watered rain or shine.


The Internet of Things - what amazing things now on all our horizons...coming our way so quickly.




Beyond Business | IT & TECH | Vision: The Leader's Vivid Vision

Curiosity bolsters self-confidence.

by Rick Baker
On Aug 5, 2016

Curiosity opens the door to alternative realities: this is discovered when you are curious, when you ask questions and when you listen to other people's self-stories. 

When people see your [sincere] curiosity at play, most will reciprocate and share their realities with you - realities that are as true and accurate as yours...but, often, remarkably different than yours. 

There are, of course, other ways to learn about other people's realities. We live in the age of The Internet of Things and enormous volumes of information are available online. Consider Facebook and Twitter. These two online social media venues offer insight into people’s realities, or at least insight into the way they want to present their 'realities' to you in pictures and stories. 

To really get a full perspective on other people's realities it is better to interact with them face-to-face. Have real conversations. And to maximize those conversations, it is best to be curious and to ask good questions then observe and listen intently. 

Give people plenty of time to share their stories with you.

Curiosity is an innate talent. We all possess it. At least, at one time when we were young we certainly did.

Curiosity is also a learned skill. 

If life experiences have beaten curiosity out of you – don’t give up. Your curiosity can be resurrected. Your curiosity can also be enhanced so it will become a lifelong tool. Curiosity will help you understand other people in ‘your world’. Curiosity will allow you to understand how you differ from other people in very fundamental ways. And curiosity will help you understand why other people disagree with your views and sometimes refuse to embrace your views. As you gain understanding of the differences, the knowledge you gain will build your self-confidence. 

When you understand your perspectives differ from other people’s perspectives, you have the ability to construct your messages in ways that do not threaten other people’s perspectives. At the same time the messages embedded in your questions will help others understand your views. In effect, communication preparation – question preparation – is the key to building both self-confidence and personal relationships. Choose to deliver your viewpoints in ways that will be understood [questions] rather than in ways that will be poorly received [instructions]. When you develop skill in this area you will grow self-confidence. 


You know what you need - or, you don't? [Introduction]

by Rick Baker
On Jul 12, 2016

Some people know exactly what they need. They know the details. They know their 'must haves', their 'nice to haves', and their 'fantasy wish lists'. And - they know exactly how to communicate those 'levels of needs' to other people. 

In relative terms, very few people actually live in that zone. 


There are a number of reasons:

  • most people do not take the time to thoroughly think through the things they need, want, and wish to have
  • most people avoid details to the extent that is possible, particularly when under stress [which visits them regularly]
  • many people live more in the moment than under a plan [i.e., they do not have plans to serve as guides for their lives, their needs, their wants, or their wishes/dreams/'visions'] 
  • many people struggle to communicate their needs, wants, and wishes [as a result of their lack of skill to expressing these things or others lack of skill at listening...or both]

So - many people really do not know exactly what they need. They may have a good idea of where they want to go but they lack clarity on how to get there. As they work hard to get to where they want to go, they lack clarity on how to obtain help from other people. They fail to present their needs properly: so, they do not achieve their objectives.

Over the last few years, I have seen this have very negative impact in 3 business processes:

  1. Delegation
  2. Project Management
  3. Software Solutions

Now, I am going to take a tangential leap and introduce some thoughts. These thoughts are tied to today's topic [you know what you need - or your don't] and the 3 processes mentioned above.

Auftragstaktik [Commander's Intent] – check out this Thought Post from November 2011. When you think about it, how does this Napoleon-inspired approach [to ‘needs’] mesh with processes for delegation, project management and software solutions? As you think about this, bear in mind – some people believe ‘the devil is in the details’ while others believe ‘rules are made to be broken’.


More details on Delegation, Project Management & Software Solutions to follow [in a Thought Post, next week]…






Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.