We need more humanities majors

We need more humanities majors

It has become oddly fashionable to look down on the humanities over the last few decades. Today’s students are being told that studying the classics of English literature, the history of the twentieth century, or the ethics of privacy are a fun but useless luxury. To best prioritize our scarce education resources, we ought instead to focus on technical subjects such as math and engineering.  […]


The Complex Science of Cyber Defense

The Complex Science of Cyber Defense

@ blogs.hbr.org

Traditionally, cyber security research has focused on technical solutions to specific threats — for example, how to filter spam or protect PCs and mobile devices against the latest malware. This approach has greatly enhanced our ability to defend information systems against attack. Widespread use of antivirus, intrusion detection technologies, […]


Cyber Attacks And The New Cyber Security Model

@ forbes.com

Sourcefire CEO -- Cyber Attacks And The New Cyber Security ModelCyber attacks not only are growing in volume, but in the last year they have hit major companies like Google, Bank of America, Northrop Grumman, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, LinkedIn, Tumblr, the Reuters news service and the BBC to name a few. Simply put, the situation is a cause for […]


An iPhone App To Turn Windows From Clear To Opaque

An iPhone App To Turn Windows From Clear To Opaque

@ fastcodesign.com

Blinds are a clumsy technology. And generally, they can’t offer privacy to your windows without cutting out light. So when your blinds are down, you might as well not have a window at all. A startup named Sonte has a solution–it’s Kickstarting a networked digital film that fits over […]


DNA hacking the biggest opportunity since cyber attacks

@ wired.co.ukbiocrime1

There have always been hackers. If we look back 30 years to the earliest days of the personal computer, the first iteration were DIY types with cobbled-together devices, tinkering in garages and basements and meeting periodically to share their stories. Their intentions were mostly non-malicious: they hacked for fun and to learn what was possible. From these dabblers came the first generation of technology entrepreneurs, such as Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. […]


“Say goodbye to anonymity”

@ successfulworkplace.com

facial-recognitionIn case you missed 60 Minutes on CBS last night, there’s a new challenge to privacy that is coming faster than people realize and was made more urgent by the terror attack in Boston a month ago. The 60 Minutes piece started with the following: The ability of computers […]


What is Personal Data and How Much Personal Data Exists?

@ technologyreview.com

In 1995, the European Union introduced privacy legislation that defined “personal data” as any information that could identify a person, directly or indirectly. The legislators were apparently thinking of things like documents with an identification number, and they wanted them protected just as if they carried your name. Today, […]


“To tell the truth, or let the bad news go unsaid”

I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with bon vivant and man-about-town Bob Ramsay (no relation, and more accurately a Toronto communications consultant and host of the locally famous Ramsay Luncheons) for going on 20 years now.  In today’s Globe and Mail, Bob distinguishes himself with yet another thoughtful piece Confession’s good for the corporate soulthat particularly resonates with the stated mission of this writer (me).  I leave it to you to read Bob’s article – it’s 3 minutes very well spent.

It is however, worth spending a few of life’s precious seconds contemplating a central thesis of the article, that is that ” …I have a feeling that the first major company out of the gate with a failure report would garner huge public and shareholder interest. Their failures would be washed away in a tide of goodwill.  After all, our cynicism about governments and corporations only grows because their means and ends aren’t what they profess.  And if companies regularly confess to failing, they would end up being just like – well, just like people.”

Like Bob, I believe that businesses especially need to perceive ‘crash reports’ and ‘crash reporting’ as an essential element of effective management, and of competitive differentiation.  I do appreciate that this is a daunting, even Sisyphian challenge, but I confess I am bemused by the initial comments that follow the article. Intellectually lazy cycnicism supports only the status quo and prevents the evolution of any organization, business or society.  How many times do we need to witness the failure of iconic institutions such as PennState (no explanation needed), Newscorp. (phone hacking) and JP Morgan (the London Whale) before it dawns on us that there MUST be a way to institutionalize ‘crash avoidance’ mechanisms.

Here’s the mantra.  Make a mistake once and you’re human.  Make the same mistake twice and learn from it – you are empowered.  Make it a third time? Refer back to Penn State, Newscorp. and JP Morgan.

Thanks Bob for elevating the discussion.


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