Friday, April 30, 2010

Put de lime in de coconut, and drink 'em all up

Bolivia Slips Coke Back Into "Coca-Colla" 

Any self-respecting Coke addict knows that the sugary soft drink once contained trace amounts of cocaine. Now Bolivia is putting coca leaves in a suspiciously similar-sounding fizzy drink: Coca-Colla. That's not a typo, the drink is named after the Colla people of Bolivia's highlands. A batch of half-liter 12,000 bottles was recently sold for $1.50 a pop in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba, according to the UK Guardian.

In the past, Bolivia has tried to banish the coca leaf--a mild stimulant--from production. But now that coca grower Evo Morales is president, the government has changed its stance. Morales' administration backs the coca leaf for legitimate uses, including teas, liqueurs, toothpaste, and now Coca-Colla. At the same time, the government has booted drug enforcement officials out of the country.

Regardless of whether or not it's fair to crack down on Bolivian coca use, Coca-Cola probably isn't too happy about the potential copyright infringement here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

They advertise differently in Asia

Here’s a Taiwanese Yahoo! ad. It sort of speaks for itself.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today's something or other #61

Great stuff from The Borowitz Report. Hat tip to JK for the find.
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA (The Borowitz Report) – Eleven indicted Somali pirates dropped a bombshell in a U.S. court today, revealing that their entire piracy operation is a subsidiary of banking giant Goldman Sachs.

There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the leader of the pirates announced, “We are doing God’s work.  We work for Lloyd Blankfein.”

The pirate, who said he earned a bonus of $48 million in dubloons last year, elaborated on the nature of the Somalis’ work for Goldman, explaining that the pirates forcibly attacked ships that Goldman had already shorted.

“We were functioning as investment bankers, only every day was casual Friday,” the pirate said.

The pirate acknowledged that they merged their operations with Goldman in late 2008 to take advantage of the more relaxed regulations governing bankers as opposed to pirates, “plus to get our share of the bailout money.”

In the aftermath of the shocking revelations, government prosecutors were scrambling to see if they still had a case against the Somali pirates, who would now be treated as bankers in the eyes of the law.

“There are lots of laws that could bring these guys down if they were, in fact, pirates,” one government source said.  “But if they’re bankers, our hands are tied.”  More here.
The Los Angeles Times says Andy Borowitz has “one of the funniest Twitter feeds around.”  Follow Andy on Twitter.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Music

Feels like a Guinness night... or perhaps Olde English 800....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today's something or other #60

How come we don't have Calippo's in Canada? Calippo's, a fond part of all my European vacations over the years.

Well, there's 30 seconds you're not getting back. Make it better with a Calippo. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Your Monday Quote

Smell that Ralph? That's the smell of justice. It smells like hot dogs.

- Chief Wiggum, The Simpsons

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Music

After work, on the streetcar southbound, headphones on, iPod set to shuffle, listening to 'Mykonos' by the Fleet Foxes with the sun setting across the valley. Today's moment of zen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Greater Pugwash Open (GPO) Google Search Story

Google recently released functionality that allows you to make your own version of the now famous, Parisian Love commercial. It is surprisingly easy. Here's a GPO Story (note: the GPO is an annual golf event).

Also, the comedic genius known as Down Goes Brown has created his own Leafs version.

I'm not crying, it's just raining on my face.

Today's something or other #59

Surely there are easier ways to get a free case of beer than agreeing to help your buddy move? 

Source: What Would Dad Say? blog

Monday, April 12, 2010

Your Monday Quote (Performance Management edition)

“You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make your dream a reality.”
- Walt Disney

“Your people make all the difference. The only thing your competitors can’t copy is your culture and your people.”
- Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics

Lesson:  Performance management can create competitive advantage. It's your people, stupid.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

An unbelievable Saturday at Augusta!

After a day or Masters’ highs (nice write-up here, complete with photo of a goofy looking Mickelson), I thought it would be a good time to revisit Jim Nantz’ personal low point:  “Did you hear that…? The locusts are coming.” How did they ever get him to agree to reading those promos back in 2005?

Today's something or other #58

Kids today....

Teen Sues Mom for Hacking Facebook Account

Suing your parents isn't just for celebrities anymore--a 16-year-old Arkansas boy is suing his mother for hacking into his Facebook account and allegedly posting slanderous remarks.
According to the boy, his mother hacked into his Facebook and email accounts, then changed both passwords. She also allegedly posted remarks that involved slander and information about his personal life.
New admits to changing the passwords, but denies hacking--she claims he left his account logged in on her computer. She also admits to making "maybe three, maybe four actual postings," but says the rest of it was a "conversation" between her, her son, and his friends.
New reportedly "hacked" her son's Facebook account because she was disturbed with the things he was posting--including a post that suggested he had driven home one night at 95 mph because he had been upset with a girl.
New plans on fighting the charges, as she believes she was fully within her legal rights as a parent to monitor her son's online behavior.
Click here to read the rest of the story. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Use Tagxedo to create cool word clouds

Here's my new word cloud for SWATE courtesy of Tagxedo:

Is something rotten in the state of Denmark?

Carlsberg staff strike over lunchtime beer rules

From People Management:  Brewery workers defend right to drink during working day
Over one thousand Carlsberg workers have gone on strike after their access to limitless beer was cut off at the Danish brewery this week.

Warehouse and production staff at the firm’s Copenhagen headquarters are now only permitted to drink beer in the canteen at lunchtimes, after the company removed work-site coolers from which employees could help themselves to a Carlsberg throughout the day.

Eight hundred workers walked out in protest at the move on Wednesday, and a further 250 downed tools on Thursday. Truck drivers at the Danish-owned brewer have also joined the strike in sympathy – although they are still allowed to take three beers from the canteen at lunchtime to drink on the road.

Carlsberg shipments from Copenhagen were cancelled on Thursday, and the company warned that the rest of the country would face beer delivery delays as transportation was disrupted.

Carlsberg spokesman Jens Bekke said the firm had been considering the new alcohol policy for some time, but pointed out that it had always been forbidden for workers to be drunk on the job despite the unlimited beer available. He added that delivery trucks had alcohol ignition locks preventing employees from driving when over the limit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Music

Sipping some Balvenie Doublewood scotch and enjoying the new Gorillaz album. In keeping with the Damon Albarn theme... from The Guardian:
Damon Albarn has confirmed that Blur will record new material for the first time in seven years. However, the Britpop legends only plan to record one song, which will be released on limited-edition vinyl.
There are no details about the new track, other than it will be recorded imminently for Record Store Day on 17 April. The song will be sold through participating independent stores.
Albarn told the Sun: "We want independent record stores to continue. They're an important part of our musical culture. Music is a simple way for Blur to show our support and we hope people like it."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Performance Management demystified

Sometimes it is helpful to see things visually. This chart should help.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A class well worth attending - why universities are teaching 'The Wire'

From Slate (via the National Post):
Not content to write about it and discuss it among themselves, academics are starting to teach The Wire, as well. Professors at Harvard, U.C. Berkeley, Duke and Middlebury are now offering courses on the show.
Interestingly, the classes aren't just in film studies or media studies departments; they're turning up in social science disciplines as well, places where the preferred method of inquiry is the field study or the survey, not the HBO series, even one that is routinely called the best television show ever. Some sociologists and social anthropologists, it turns out, believe The Wire has something to teach their students about poverty, class, bureaucracy and the social ramifications of economic change.
Two of the first courses on The Wire were offered last spring. One was taught by Jason Mittell, a media scholar at Middlebury, the other by Linda Williams, a film studies scholar in Berkeley's rhetoric department. What interests Mittell and Williams is the fact that The Wire works despite its subject matter.
To read the full article click here.

A problem of our times: Oversharing at the office

This has probably happened at least once to anyone who's ever worked in an office. Whether it is talking about weekend exploits (or lack thereof), their love life (or lack thereof) or some unknown hobby that should have remained unspoken, people get comfortable around their co-workers and sometimes share more than those co-workers would like to know (e.g. I once had a co-worker who we learned over lunch one day, was into illegal, night-time drag racing. True story. I guess he liked to live his life a quarter-mile at a time.). Not everyone can keep their personal business as secret as Don Draper.

Say it with me one time, too much information.

The Wall Street Journal weights in on this topic: 'Oversharing' Invades the Office
Patti Sweeney and a dozen of her coworkers recently went out to lunch to celebrate the completion of a project. Over burgers and salads, they chitchatted about their work, their families and their hobbies.
One colleague mentioned that he was training for a 20-mile bike race, adding that he had just purchased a new helmet and Lycra shorts. To the group's mortification, Ms. Sweeney says, he then described shaving his entire body to reduce aerodynamic drag.
"Why, why, why do we need to go there?" says Ms. Sweeney, a 36-year-old financial analyst for a communications company who lives in Bartlett, Ill. "This is information about a coworker, not someone I really consider a friend, and now it's forever burned in my brain."
It's official: The TMI phenomenon—as in "too much information"—has invaded the workplace. You can thank reality TV and social-networking Web sites for creating a culture where people are encouraged to share every sordid—or boring—detail of their lives. They have desensitized us to the idea that some things are meant to be private.
But we have to take responsibility, too, for mistaking our coworkers for friends. It's understandable, as the line between office and home has blurred in recent years. We work more now, so we spend more time with our colleagues and clients, sometimes more than we spend with our families or friends, and we socialize with them outside of work. 
Click here to read the rest of the article. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Some more reasons why we do performance management

  • Effective performance management increases goal visibility and boosts shared accountability
  • Setting relevant and achievable goals is the cornerstone of both individual and company success
  • Research has proven that if managers connect with their employees and offer them clarity of direction and feedback, employees remain engaged and more fulfilled in their work.
  • Employee satisfaction and retention – people want to know how they are doing and what they can do to improve
  • Develop and keep your talent
  • To prepare / justify future changes or promotions – supports Succession Planning
  • To increase productivity by properly prioritizing work – ensures employees are working on the right things
  • Ensures performance conversations happen (not just project status updates!)
  • Effective performance management is a hallmark of successful companies. You want the company to be successful, right?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Your Monday Quote

If I could only have one food for the rest of my life? That's easy. Pez. Cherry flavor Pez. There's no doubt about it.

- Vern Tessio, Stand by Me

Friday, April 2, 2010

Things Found

Written in my pocket notepad from April 2009:
Often it is the small measures that help to convey scope.
Subtly profound... or not.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why we do performance management

1. What is performance management?

It may be easier to think of the program as part of a three-phase cycle:  Planning, Performing, and Reviewing.
  • Planning:  Determining strategies and setting expectations through goal setting
  • Performing:  Doing the work that needs to be done
  • Reviewing:  Feedback and coaching on the “what” is being done and “how” it is being achieved
2. Why we do performance management

In the current business climate your organization is likely facing some tough challenges but also has some tremendous opportunities. Your Company must be sure that it chooses its strategies carefully and ensures that all processes and people are aligned and focused on achieving results. To do this, it needs all employees pulling together - to do that requires effective performance management. However, even the best performance management system will fail if managers focus only on the mechanics of performance management. It is not about the mechanics – it’s about on-going and honest dialogue.

Effective performance management increases goal visibility and boosts shared accountability. Setting relevant and achievable goals is the cornerstone of both individual and company success. Research has proven that if managers connect with their employees and offer them clarity of direction and feedback, employees remain engaged and more fulfilled in their work.