Apple & their culture of fear

April 24, 2010
This story is (or should be) an embarrassment for Apple. This action kind of exemplifies my entire perception of the company, which is partly why I still don’t own anything Apple.…


Extreme wind in Victoria

April 2, 2010
Crazy windy day today. Ninety kilometres per hour. So we took a drive to the ocean to check it out. Just awesome.

Download now or watch on posterous

VIDEO0027.mp4 (642 KB)

Management tips from Pixar

March 24, 2010
Today I tweeted about a great post from Mashable that distills a talk from Pixar's president about how Pixar manages to balance creativity with commercial success. It's insightful from a creative perspective, but, surprisingly (though perhaps it shouldn't be since the talk is from The Economist's Innovation Conference) it's also a good lesson on management.
Trying to accomplish creative work in a highly regulated or bureacratic environment can be a tremendous challenge. There are so many opportunities for roadblocks that getting something innovative or fresh cranked out can seem like an impossibility. Whether it's a government office or a production company like Pixar there are always going to be a ton of distractions and competing agendas that likely have little to do with an actual finished product. The real question then becomes how to create a space where people are supported and feel they have the resources (latitude, trust) to truly create something new.
Like it or not, this has to come down to management. Unless a person is creating a masterpiece all alone in their basement, there are going to be people to answer to and varying stakeholders to satisfy. This is part of the package. Yet, this management "package" can take so many forms that one wouldn't be recognizable to another.
This is at the heart of what Pixar president Ed Catmull is speaking about.
The Mashable article is short enough that it's worth just popping over and reading through. But here are a two excerpts:
  • (Catmull) believes in the old saying “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission,” but his corollary is that it’s better to fix errors than it is to prevent them, something that he believes many mangers do not get.

  • The need to control and know everything as a manager can stifle innovation. Having great people you trust is a far more scalable method.

At the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

February 21, 2010
Had a cool afternoon at this centre in Sidney. Very well done; the kids loved it.

Father DeSouza’s look at the Winter Olympics

February 11, 2010
Father DeSouza has a great take on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics that begin tomorrow.

My Blog Mentioned at Vancouver ChangeCamp

June 20, 2009

Though I don’t always tend to this space as much lately–mostly thanks to Twitter, which has stolen away most of the precious few moments that I devote to this sort of thing–it was a nice surprise to hear that at today’s Vancouver ChangeCamp a post from my blog was referenced during one of the sessions. Very cool.

The post was one about the BC Government’s new Spark! collaboration site.

Sounds like it was a good day in Vancouver. Would have been great to be there, but instead I followed along via–what else?–Twitter. The hashtags #vcc09 and #vanchangecamp kept me informed and up-to-date.

Three Social Media eBooks Worth Reading

June 20, 2009

I tweeted this yesterday, but I wanted to mention here that Amy Mengel at Mengel Musings has a good post linking to three social media ebooks. My favourite so far–though I’m not yet done them all–is Brink. They all are valuable, and Amy provides a useful quick rundown on each of the books. Well worth a look.