“Experience it forward. What employees experience, Customers… John Dijulius

“Experience it forward. What employees experience, Customers will. The best marketing is happy, engaged employees. Your Customers will never be any happier than your employees.”

John Dijulius, The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World

Because it’s Friday: “Structure: A Microscopic Landscape in 4k” by Drew Geraci

The ordinary things around us are extraordinary especially when we get in close.

This video shows the world of ordinary organic things like Kiwi, Strawberry, Blueberry ad Garlic at 1000x magnification:

It all started with a single shot – a small frozen snowflake I captured using a 100mm macro lens. I’ve shot plenty of macro photography in the past, but for some reason this image ignited my imagination and passion to shoot. So I did what any sane person would do — bought a microscope with camera capabilities and I started to shoot every day objects at 1000x+ magnifications.

It was like a whole new world for me. I ran out to the grocery store and picked up as many different and unique looking organic foods I could find so I could capture them up-close and personal

Because it’s Friday: MAPfrappe – how big is that?

Have you ever wondered how big California is compared to Italy? Or perhaps you’ve wondered about the size of the parks in central London compared to Central Park in New York? Windermere compared to Loch Lomond? Or even Australia to the Sahara Desert? That’s where MAPfrappe comes in.

It’s a really simple interface one side is a map where you can draw around the feature that you want to compare, on the right is a map where you can align the outline you created with the feature you want to compare it with. What could be simpler?

There’s also a set of examples, if you click on the eye icon in the top right-hand corner.

Be warned though, you could spend hours doing this.

Windermere v Loch Lomond?

California v Italy?

St. James and Hyde Park in London v Central Park in New York?

Australia v the Sahara Desert?

YouTube is now your Mum/Dad/Practical Friend

One of the things that fascinates me is the social change that is driven by the internet and internet services.

Once upon a time we would answer practical problems in one of two ways:

1. Ask someone we trusted

The question would normally be to our mum or dad or to that a practical friend who knows how to do anything. Their proximity would allow them to show us how to do something in person, or talk us through it over the phone. Sometimes their answer would be to talk to someone else that they know who is practical in a particular way: “Talk to your grandma she’s really good at buttonholes.”; “Ask Eddie he knows how to protect a Koi pond from herons.”; “Ask Mary she’s good for advice on home automation systems.”

As a result our wisdom was limited by their knowledge, or the knowledge of the people that they know. What’s more we only knew if their knowledge was any good when we tried what they suggested. We had to decide whether to try what the suggested by judging their level of confidence in their knowledge. I suspect we’ve all had friends who’ve confidently told us to do something that has later turned out to be the last thing we should have done.

This was the normal way of finding out how to do something.

2. Go to the library or take a course

If we needed to know something outside the knowledge of the individuals we trust we may go as far as to do some formal research. This research would have mandated a trip to the local library and wading through reference manuals and the like. In extreme cases we may even take a course on how to do something, but this was only for the truly dedicated.

This was not the normal way of finding out how to do something, it was only used in exceptional circumstances.

Along comes YouTube (other video sources are available)

For many YouTube has now replaced your mum, dad and practical friend. it’s even replaced the library and training courses for some.

I’ve had two situations recently where this was the case:

Windscreen Washer Failure

It’s been an interesting winter here in the UK with different whether each day, switching from warm and wet to bitterly cold. Windscreen washers have, therefore, become a vital part of road travel, when the washer in the car that my wife drives failed it was important that it was fixed.

My first instinct was that it was just a fuse problem so opened up the in-car manual to see which one, only to discover that the windscreen washer wasn’t listed. Fortunately YouTube had most of the answer – someone called Andy Robertson had experienced exactly the same problem and posted a video. I say most of the answer because the fuse box that Andy shows isn’t quite the same as the one that’s in our Polo, but it did allow me to know that it was a 7.5 amp fuse and following a short process of illumination to find the one that had blown.

iPhone Charging Problem

I’ve been struggling to charge my iPhone recently – I’d plug a lightening cable into it and leave it, when I came back to it later the cable would be slightly out of the socket and no charging will have taken place. Having tried a number of different cables I realised that the problem was with the socket in the iPhone itself, not the cables. Going to the Apple Store to get it fixed sounded like an expensive proposition so I took to YouTube for help. It wasn’t long before I found a set of videos from people all telling me that it was likely to be dust and/or lint in the mechanism and simply to get a pin and dig it out. Putting a metal thing into a charging point didn’t sound like a good idea, but the basic idea worked a treat and now my phone stays plugged in.

I’m not sure which of my practical friends would have known to do that, mu parents certainly wouldn’t.

The New Normal

These are a couple of personal examples of what I think is the new normal way of working out how to do something, but it’s not just me. The car fuse video has been watched over 27,000 times, the iPhone one nearly 700,000 times. A friend recently used another YouTube video to work out how to get a broken headphone jack out of an iPad. Another friend gives overviews of his allotment that people use to get advice on the technicalities of an allotment and allotment life.

I wonder how many of the 1 billion hours of YouTube video that is watched every day is so helping people with their how do I questions?

Concept of the Day: Creative Destruction

Do you think you know what creative destruction is already? I thought I had a pretty good handle on its meaning, but there’s always something to learn.

Creative destruction is an economic term which was derived from ideas put forward by Karl Marx (yes, that Karl Marx) by Joseph Schumpeter and published in 1942. Like many concepts that are developed within one field, with a specific meaning, the concept of creative destruction has been taken and used in many different fields resulting in a broadening out of the original meaning.

This is an extract of how Schumpeter described it in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy:

The essential point to grasp is that in dealing with capitalism we are dealing with an evolutionary process. It may seem strange that anyone can fail to see so obvious a fact which moreover was long ago emphasized by Karl Marx…

Capitalism, then, is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary…

As we have seen in the preceding chapter, the contents of the laborer’s budget, say from 1760 to 1940, did not simply grow on unchanging lines but they underwent a process of qualitative change. Similarly, the history of the productive apparatus of a typical farm, from the beginnings of the rationalization of crop rotation, plowing and fattening to the mechanized thing of today linking up with elevators and railroads is a history of revolutions. So is the history of the productive apparatus of the iron and steel industry from the charcoal furnace to our own type of furnace, or the history of the apparatus of power production from the overshot water wheel to the modern power plant, or the history of transportation from the mail-coach to the airplane. The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation if I may use that biological term that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in…

That’s a lot of words to get your head around, so I suspect an example is needed and there are numerous:

When was the last time you purchased a cassette tape to listen to some music? First there was vinyl, then along came cassettes, then the CD was the most popular format but that’s mostly been overtaken by online music and music streaming services like Spotify. In each of these changes there was a destruction of the industry that was the previous mechanism for transporting music. One upon a time there were thousands of people employed in the production, distribution and retail of the cassette tape, those jobs no longer exist because we no longer buy cassette tapes in anything like the volume we used to. Through all of those changes music has continued to grow, arguably those changes were necessary for that growth to happen.

Creative destruction is the process of tearing down what’s already there that is precipitated by the adoption of an innovation.

In 1850, 58% of total employment in the U.S. was in agriculture, today it’s 2.5%, since the 1960’s manufacturing has fallen from 27% total share to 9% today. Both of these being primarily driven by increased mechanisation and automation allowing the U.S. to produce more food than ever before. The old mechanisms for production had to stop for the new ones to become mainstream – they experienced creative destruction.

Recognising that a revolution is taking place, or about to take place, is powerful knowledge. There’s no point in investing in new cassette manufacturing machines if the revolution of digital music has already started. There’s no value in training a large manufacturing workforce if the work is going to be done by a robot. The wisest organisation is the one that gets out of manufacturing cassette tapes whilst the business still has a value, leave it too late and the value of the business will have been completely destroyed by Spotify.

Moving away from economics, how about all of those internal processes that have existed since they were created in 1998? What would a new entrant into your market do? would they carry the baggage, or do something automated or lean? We have to seek these situations out so that we can proactively do the job of creative destruction.

How about those ways of doing things that you regard as tried and trusted? Are they really relevant to the current world? Is there room for some more creative destruction?

If you prefer a video example this may help: