Posts from: 2009

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How to Start Your Own Business Without Wasting Time and Money, Part II: Your Office and Tools

There are a number of things to consider when equipping your new business: in particular, quality, comfort and cost. Anything that's going to touch a customer or be part of how you portray your brand should be the very best. You also want to make sure your workspace is comfortable and inviting -- you're going to be spending a lot of time there, and it should help you feel professionally energized. But you don't have to spend a fortune.

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How to Start Your Own Business Without Wasting Time and Money, Part I

Starting your own business is a blast. There's so much to learn and try out, without the benefit (or buffer) of a team of people to help execute. I haven't had this much fun in years! It requires resourcefulness, resolve and resilience -- all great characteristics to develop no matter what your situation. It helps to be completely open to opportunity as well.

A few weeks ago, Computerworld ran an article titled, "Becoming an IT consultant: Do's, don'ts and disasters to avoid" for executives thinking of striking out on their own (or who find themselves there regardless of intention). It provides a great overview and shares the real-life experiences of some former CIOs, but it left me wanting more in the way of nuts and bolts.

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Experience Matters

In today's tough economy, many companies find they must lay off some of their most experienced (i.e., expensive) employees in favor of lower cost labor. But research -- and history -- shows that experience has value that can't be achieved any other way.

I'm reading a report just out on "Women CIOs & the Art of Influence" from the CIO Executive Council, in partnership with The Leader's Edge (you can access the report on the Council's website). One of the findings shows that when it comes to effectiveness and the ability to influence outcomes, age and seniority matter. Women with more than 25 years of experience and with senior IT leadership titles were more effective than those with less than 25 years on the job and lower level titles. The ability to influence, deemed "very important" by 92 percent of study participants, manifests itself in various ways, including that "more senior IT leaders consider what's in it for the stakeholder more frequently than do their less experienced counterparts."

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Best Blogs of the Week

I've been ignoring my feed reader lately, so I'm spending the morning going through the many (many) posts that have been written since my last review. Lots of great stuff. Here are my favorites from the past week or two:

Forrester CEO George Colony crowd-sourced development of his social media panel at Davos next week. This is a great way to find out what people are interested in learning about right now - I've used this myself to generate panel questions. He got some interesting and thoughtful responses.

Two of Nick Carr's recent posts were thought-provoking. Most recently he brought readers' attention to William Deresiewicz's article "The End of Solitude" in the new edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. I love the line, "Loneliness is not the absence of company, it is grief over that absence." Carr doesn't say much about it himself, but reader comments are interesting.

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A Sense of Well Being

Loss of any kind messes with your sense of well being. Job loss, loss of a loved one, loss of health.... Having experienced a few of those myself recently (not my own health, thankfully), I've noticed some things I might not have paid much attention to in the past. There are little things that help to create a feeling of security when they are full or empty.

I knew someone once whose mother raised seven children on her own, after her husband developed multiple sclerosis. She went back to school to get her teacher's degree, and during that time, the family lived on very little money. One of her "full" idiosyncrasies was she always bought a new container of salt when she went to the store. Her kitchen cabinet was always full, even if only with containers of salt.

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My New Twitter Friend: @comcastcares

If you're anything like me, you hate dealing with large corporate service providers. Phone company, cable company, insurance company -- it doesn't really matter. As soon as I pick up the phone to call, I start to anticipate that a) I'm going to have to battle my way through phone tree hell; b) once I eventually connect with a person, he or she is going to ask me for information I either don't have at my fingertips or don't want to divulge; and c) their first line of inquiry into my problem will inevitably put me into a defensive posture. So a lot of times I put off the call in the first place and suffer (or fume) in silence. Not happy. Not good.

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The Risks of Being Risk Averse

The paradox of tough times is they usually call for dramatic measures, yet it's human nature to keep a low profile and avoid risk, both corporate and personal. This is the dilemma facing CIOs today.

As I wrote in a column a few months ago, incrementalism won't cut it for many businesses in this economy. But according to Paul Gaffney, former CIO and head of supply chain at Staples and current COO of Desktone, that's the path most CIOs will take.

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Life After CIO

For 21 years, I've been involved with CIO Magazine - for the past 13 as editor in chief. Now that I'm independent, it's time to start my own blog. I can't believe it's taken me this long, but I guess my identity was so tied up with CIO that it just never seemed right. That and the fact that I was already working a gazillion hours a day.