The Future of PowerPoint

Lawrence Lessig makes reference to a presentation by Dick Hardt here.

The presentation itself is quite unique and certainly presents an original way of using PowerPoint, or Keynote, to augment a speech. Follow this link to review his presentation. Although his topic is on identity, a bit of a niche topic and focused on a technology audience, I can guarantee you that you will walk away from his presentation with an understanding of the identity challenge and the technical approach that he is advocating.

Dick Hardt is a powerful communicator.

Dick Hardt

Future Careers

With my two oldest children into their university years, I am looking a little more closely at where the high growth/high income jobs are placed these days. What jobs pay well today? What jobs are the best ones to consider for the future?

We have always looked at university as non-negotiable. In our complex society, a foundation in education is really not an option. Some folks might succeed in life without such a foundation but most will not.

My oldest children will enter the labour market as the baby boomers begin their mass exodus. This bodes very well for them. The supply/demand curves will be out of balance for a while.

From Money Magazine, the top ten paying careers in North America listed in order of highest average salary:

  • Executives
  • Physician/Surgeons
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • Lawyers
  • Sales managers
  • Financial services sales agents
  • Financial managers
  • Dentists
  • Financial advisors
  • Natural sciences managers

No denying the value of a business degree and no denying the opportunities in financial services.

What about future growth prospects? The list may surprise you. Here are the top ten high growth careers and the percentage growth in job openings over the next ten years:

  • Physician assistant 49.65%
  • Software engineer 46.07%
  • Physical therapist assistants 44.20%
  • Dental hygienists 43.32%
  • Physical therapist 36.74%
  • Forensic science technicians 36.40%
  • Computer/IT analyst 36.10%
  • Veterinary technologists and technicians 35.32%
  • Occupational therapist assistants 34.10%
  • Medical scientist 34.06%

I guess it is still too early to write off careers in information technology. And perhaps there is still more opportunity for CSI spinoffs given the demand for forensic science technicians. I wonder if that means violent crime will also increase.

And, finally, what are the best jobs to hold in terms of career satisfaction, personal growth, and income?

  • Software Engineer
  • College Professor
  • Financial Adviser
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Physician Assistant
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Computer IT Analyst
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Pharmacist
  • Psychologist

I did not notice “blogger” anywhere on the list.

Mission Statement

I was reflecting on the importance of a corporate mission statement and the need for such a statement to accurately reflect the corporate protocol.

I found the following mission statement here. I think it can be used in almost any context where a mission statement is desparately needed.

We strive to deliver DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS to redefine the market place. With the power of disruption and change management, we take our customers PAST THE TIPPING POINT, merging our talents with other CHANGE AGENTS to achieve EMPOWERMENT and SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT of dynamic subsystems and CROSS-FUNCTIONAL WORKSTREAMS. Integrated infrastructures and holistic solutions based on long-tailed DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES are our specialty – yet we are DIVERSE and can capture new, emerging paradigms for novel transformations with knowledge-based system dynamics and rapid prototype development based on advanced Information Technology for effective and disruptive CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) in every workstream and especially in our market niche. We do it just in time and always right the first time, while exceeding customer expectations and establishing customer delight as we manage by objectives to make every effort a VALUE ADDED process that helps our shareholders reach their wildest dreams. This means we achieve GLOBALLY ROBUST total quality management (TQM) not only through statistical process control (SPC), Taguchi methods, and QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD), but also through Enterprise Resource Planning, Manufacturing Execution Systems, BEST PRACTICES, BENCHMARKING, and TOTAL EXCELLENCE. This is possible because we maintain a flat organization led by one-minute managers who are constantly in search of excellence. Our world-class employees – whether on-shore or off-shore – don’t just PUSH THE ENVELOPE, they mutilate the envelope, explode the envelope, and shove the envelope down our competitors’ throats. Sure, that leads to some problems in our mail room, but it’s a small price to pay for being a GLOBAL MARKET LEADER through transformational KNOWLEDGE SYNERGY and CUSTOMER CENTERED GROWTH.

Casino Rama and The Apprentice

We watched The Apprentice last night. I’m not sure why. But there it is. A family tradition of sorts. A frenzy of emotions occur whenever the infamous boardroom scene begins. Who will be fired this time? There are obvious candidates and yet there is no real substance to Trump’s performance management. He fires people on a whim. I guess that is part of the attraction of the show.

At the end of the show, the recently terminated folks hitch a taxi ride to some unknown destination. We were watching the show on Global TV. And I noticed that the yellow cab had a Casino Rama advertisement. “That’s funny. Why would someone advertise Casino Rama in New York City?” I thought.

So I switched the channel to the NBC affiliate and, lo and behold, the same taxi had a different sign. Global inserted their own ad on the yellow cab in post production. Digitized manipulation.

Why would anyone do that? Is there no end to brand promotion?

Yellow Cab

Sense of Identity

The first film to really highlight the serious issue of identity theft was Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?

Jackie Chan is a commando that participates in the hijacking of some scientists and special meteor fragments. He gets doublecrossed and left for dead in the middle of Africa. When Chan recovers, he has partial amnesia and can only ask the question: “Who am I?”. The rest of the movie is focused on Chan’s efforts to get his identity back. And, because it is a Jackie Chan film, there are a few hyperactive fight scenes.

As consumers, we will likely have a similar fight to get our identity back at some point in time.

ChoicePoint presents itself as the nation’s leading provider of identification and credential verification services. Choicepoint recently settled with the Federal Trade Commission. They were initially fined $15 million over a data security breach that led to at least 800 cases of identity theft. They describe their settlement with the FTC here.

An identity theft ring was able to obtain credit reports, social security numbers and other sensitive information of more than 163,000 consumers on ChoicePoint’s database. The identity theft ring made false applications to establish accounts with the credit reference firm. The number of accounts taken was quite low but the implications were significant.

ChoicePoint has a list of other such incidents of identity theft in 2005 here. Of note was the exposure of roughly 40 million MasterCard accounts.

To answer Jackie Chan’s question, who am I? It depends on what identity has been stolen. Another reminder to take steps to protect your digital identity. The Federal Trade Commission offers some suggestions here. Canadians can find some suggestions here.

Who Am I

Buy and Dump Microsoft Stock

This is a really odd story in Businessweek. Ken Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, is trying to rally support for a stock-dumping plan against Microsoft and a few other companies.

Experts said the pastor’s plan has no chance of hurting the stock price of a company like Microsoft.

No kidding. Microsoft stock hasn’t moved in years. Why would it change now?

Only in Canada, eh

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, made a recommendation on a Canadian stock a few days back. The stock? ATS Automation Tooling Systems. The stock trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ATA.

Apogee Technology, a small sensor company under threat of delisting from the American Stock Exchange, had seen its stock plunge over 80% from the beginning of 2005. It closed the year at 91 cents.

Apogee Technology trades on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol ATA. The same symbol as ATS Automation Tooling Systems. Different exchange.

That did not deter the investors who follow Jim Cramer’s recommendation. After all, a buy for ATA is complicated enough without having to worry about the exchange. And so the shares in Apogee Technology doubled in three days.

On Monday, Apogee’s volume was 2,700 shares. After Cramer’s recommendation on the Canadian ATA, the American ATA surged to 733,000 shares. It jumped another 16% on Thursday to close at $1.92.

A new way to make a quick dollar off the market. Wait for Cramer to yell a buy on a foreign exchange.