Datenschutz beim Elternabend

Der Elternabend vor einer Woche war schon unterhaltsam. Die Tatsache, dass die Schule Microsoft Teams einführt um ggF. “Homeschooling” durchführen zu können, hat bei einigen Teilnehmern zu hochroten Köpfen geführt. Microsoft will nur an die Daten der Kinder. Klar.

Zwischenzeitlich hat jeder einfach nicht bloß das Geburtsdatum des Kindes, sondern auch noch Adresse, Telefonnummer und das eigene Geburtsdatum auf die zirkulierende Liste gesetzt.

Bei der Abstimmung, ob WhatsApp oder – der Datenschutzbedenken wegen – vielleicht Signal als Messenger Dienst zum Einsatz kommen soll hat natürlich: WhatsApp gewonnen.

Und der Ärger über den Datenschutz und Microsoft Teams ist seit dem einen Abend komplett verflogen.

Magic Email

Magic Email

It’s not like email has been a perfect solution ever, to start with. In fact, email has been broken for most of its existence. Imagine all the rules and filters you need to stay on top of your inbox. When Internet became popular, soon spam became popular.

Email lists were usable only before eternal September began. Just the other day somebody at my employer responded to an email list that has thousands of subscribers. And so did everybody else.

Not to mention those emails that come with a good intention and make it past all filters into your inbox. Those typically span many pages and make you feel guilty for not reading because you’re busy.

Admit it, email is broken.

With the advent of new technology, there are new solutions. Magic Email, as announced by Producthunt in it’s weekly newsletter, is something that I’m totally not sure whether it’s an improvement or total troll. Built on GPT-3, that created some bus on the Internet recently, Magic Email allows you to do two things:

a) It will summarize long emails for you. That actually seems to be a good idea for those emails you just couldn’t get around to reading full detail. At least it will tell you whether it’s worth it to invest more time and go into the details buried in long prose.

b) The much more interesting feature it is, that magic email can write text for you. You just give it a bunch of keywords a simple statement and it will extend to a long email. This is exactly that part that makes me wonder whether the product is meant as a troll. Imagine all those guys responding to an email list. Instead of replying “please unsubscribe me”, GPT-3 will write an exhaustive email basically saying the same. The same level of detail will pull much more of your time. Unless you have Magic Email installed yourself of course.

Nevertheless, the product is amazing.

Magic Email is your AI-powered email assistant that summarizes your emails and generates professional emails from brief one-line descriptions. Get through all of your emails 5x faster so you can free up more time for your important work.

From Producthunt

Source: Magic Email – Summarize and generate emails using GPT-3 in one click | Product Hunt

Tech for Managers

First, I was excited to see a “Web Technologies for Managers” course exists.

Then, I reminded myself how often I rant on the internet that “tech is dead” and all industries get digitized. It’s not too long ago that successful companies required their managers to have an understanding of the business they are in. That is mechanical engineers managing car manufacturers, electrical engineers managing electronics businesses. Only the digital industry seems to have technical managers and business managers.

I periodically remind people how difficult the question “are you doing business or technology” is any tech driven. Even McDonalds has their managers flip burgers to start their engagement with the company, to give them an understanding of how the business looks like really.

Next time you hear this question, or worse, ask this question, ask yourself: “Am I in the right business”. Likely, you are better qualified doing something else. The reasoning for this harsh thought is simple. Assuming you see yourself in the high tech business and expect your counterpart to do business with you, you need to radiate confidence about what you are doing. Asking this question high tech managers clearly transports you only know half of the story.

Being an engineer and a business person, I haven’t taken the course itself, hence I cannot recommend it. But I can recommend any person in the business to flip burgers for a few weeks, or the digital equivalent, follow a few technical tutorials. Preferrably from the company you are working for but also, Google, AWS or Github offer plenty of free courses to get your hands dirty. And all of these are free of charge, there is no excuse not to understand technology to that extent that it adds value.

Nevertheless, here is the link: “Web Technology for Managers“. Go learn something.

On Digitalised Product Management

Now the family left me here for the afternoon, I have some time to exercise blogging and put down a few thoughts on my recent job. To write in a cosy environment, a lit the fireplace at the house we are staying in. The result is as favourable as you may imagine. Only the missing bear fur could add to the feeling. The role in marketing, “Product Management”, hasn’t been that cosy recently, for a few reasons, that are more related to corporate behaviour than to individual contribution.

While I will need to avoid mentioning the actual product I am still working on, and it’s probably difficult even not to have any references, the below still tries to explain the tensions that exist in the world of traditional industry, moving towards a digitalised service business, in which tangible products get marginalised.

The primary reason for me, an computer engineer, having spent all his life in service business and so to say “in the cloud“, to come to a marketing oriented role is to design and develop – as in business, not as in a computer programming – a connected product.  The Internet of Things, if you want to. Whereas many companies have Things already. But they want to offer smarter things, that’s why everything gets connected. Now connectivity has to offer many benefits over traditional products, but they’re not the primary value proposition the customer pays for. The customer still pays for the product. And in the market, any customer will ask for the smartest product available. Just like I wanted to light a fire. One that was good and warm, and keep my cosy. And to do so, I had to collect some pinecones, that would easily catch fire. It was bothersome, but necessary. 

The things industry is not very familiar with service offerings. It’s actually something fundamentally different from the internet or services industry. To put it boldly, what a customer expects from a product: something solid. And what a customer expects from a service: something that is available anytime. (Like, literally, in the middle of the night!). While Things are sold physically and can be produced on stock, a service cannot be hold until the customer asks for it. Value through a service is created by making something more convenient. I’d have paid somebody to cut and carry the wood required to light a fire. But I had to do it myself, and that was  not only tiring but also heavy work. While, as a customer, the thing I’d buy is the wood, I would spend a premium for somebody to do the work. To add the service. Probably not much, but hey. The same happens for businesses.  While still everybody produces products, the more convenient products are in the customers favour, only at a small margin, though. Just to make an example, just recently Oracle, a business to a majority based on the sales of products, databases, announced to acquire Accenture, a consultancy service, to add services to it’s portfolio. Others have doubts this merger makes sense, exactly for the above reason. Margin driven things companies will have a difficult time appreciating low margin service as part of their portfolio.

Just like me. I wanted to sit in front of a warm fire when spending my time without the family. It’s very clear I’d need pinecones and wood to get that, and I’d pay for it. However, if some other guy selling wood sells cut wood and carries it to my house for a fee, I’d probably appreciate that more convenient offer. But that decision has to be made very conscious, and people responsible for the service in that organisation can’t be measured on financial goals as their product colleagues, but customer satisfaction.




The Practical Dev auf Twitter: "Chapter 1: Databases with cool-sounding names"

There is always that one guy in the development department, that knows that one database that’s the coolest|smartest|sexiest technology on planet earth. It scales, has best read and write performance and lowest latency and whatever. For an use case of 2000 rows.

The practical dev nails it:

Update: Apache Cassandra – WAT – Cassandra: Row level consistency #$@&%*!

Dogmen gegen die Digitalisierung

Sowohl in HR Strategieguides warnen Organisationen aktiv davor, wie auch in Karriereratgebern jeder Suchende davor gewarnt wird. Wenn “Dinge schon immer so gemacht werden”, meinen beide Parteien, ist etwas faul, weil eine Organisation sich damit der Konstante des Wandels verschließt. Und natürlich ist der Ratschlag sofort nachvollziehbar, es ist mittlerweile eine Allgemein-Weisheit, dass Wechsel und Veränderung gut sind, positives Klima für Innovation erlauben und für frischen Wind sorgen. Continue reading “Dogmen gegen die Digitalisierung”

Das Dilemma mit der Digitalisierung

Nun ist es  ja so, daß Digitalisierung seit Monaten, wenn nicht Jahren in aller Industrie-Munde ist. Man muss sich verändern, um den Konzernen aus USA, im speziellen dem Silicon Valley, mit Ihren neuartigen Geschäftsmodellen Schritt zu halten. Die Cloud ist der vermeintliche Treiber für diese veränderte Geschäftskultur, die eine nicht einzuholende Geschwindigkeit ermöglicht. Continue reading “Das Dilemma mit der Digitalisierung”

eMail. Still.

Year 2015. Still eMail is the predominant means of communication. Everybody hates it, most companies make an effort to ban it. Atos wanted to go email free, Telekom shuts off their servers, Daimler even deletes email for people on vacation. Even I receive emails, saying “I need this, but I cannot answer”, quoting the “email free day policy”. Despite all effort, nobody succeeds.

Why? Unclear. While I think email should be banned myself, I have difficulties offering a better option. But I develop a feeling for why this is happening. This morning somebody mentioned he’ll be posting into a channel. That company claims to simplify communication, make teamwork less painful and busy, all searchable. As if nobody else tried that. And even if does a good job in what they aim for, they are just another solution.

In my personal, active use are, Pocket, Salesforce chatter. While my company introduces a community, colleagues swear on private Facebook groups or WhatsApp for simplified communication. Not to mention the tools customers and businesspartners are using. Popular among these are Jive, Atlassian Jira, SAP Jam, but not limited, I’ve seen self hosted communities, bug trackers and ticketing tools.

It’s difficult to keep track of all these tools. But they all send notifications through email.

Which tool do you use to communicate?

Liebe @o2de

20130214-094010.jpg Liebe @o2de, in der Regel bin ich ja hinreichend zufrieden mit eurem Service. Ihr schafft es aber immer, richtig zu verkacken, wenn ich mit euch zu tun habe.

So ist das auch heute wieder passiert. Und zwar richtig, auf allen Ebenen, die man sich so vorstellen kann, keinen Fettnapf ausgenommen.

Es geht damit los, dass Ihr schon seit rund 2 Wochen versucht habt mich von einer mir (offensichtlich) unbekannten Nummer anzurufen. An sich rufe ich ja gerne zurück, in einem Callcenter ist das aber schwierig. Jedenfalls ist es heute Vormittag dann doch gelungen ins Gespräch zu kommen.

Das Gespräch wurde damit eröffnet, mir darzulegen, daß mein flexibler, alter Handytarif dieser Tage eher ungünstig wäre und durch die fehlende Flatrate für mich Durchschnitt monatlich etwa 43,50€ an Handyrechnung zustande kämen. Kurz im Kopf überschlagen kann das sogar stimmen. Und deswegen wolle man mir die etwas modernere Variante $(Produkt) empfehlen. In diesem Tarif ist dann eine Flatrate zu hier und eine Flatrate zu da mit inklusive. Genauso wie Internet als Flatrate dabei ist. Mein Einwand, dass ein paar hundert MB keine “Internet Flatrate” seien, ist von der Kollegin recht unfreundlich mit dem Argument abgebügelt worden, immerhin sei Internet verfügbar. Wenn ich meiner Peergroup und meiner Erfahrung so glauben darf ist Internet bei anderen Anbietern besser verfügbar. Übrigens auch zu – meines Erachtens – einigermaßen vergleichbaren Preisen. Das konnte ich aber nur schwer äußern, weil ich kaum zu Wort gekommen bin. Die Dame am Telefon antwortete sehr selbstbewusst, Sie wisse das besser als ich. Schließlich hätte Sie die Preise der Mitbewerber vorliegen und ich nicht.

Jedenfalls handele sich das alles nur um einen Vorschlag und der ist auch ganz toll, ganz viel toller als vorher. Kostet auch nur – wait for it – 44,90€.

Der Dame war aber wohl bewusst, dass das meine Zufriedenheit mit O2 nicht fördert. So verabschiedete Sie sich mit den Worten “Meine Zufriedenheit fördert es auch nicht”.