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Let’s fight the “conference call tragedy” !

Every day we are struggling to deploy new tools to collaborate better with remote teams (in my case using Google Hangouts but it could be skype or Lync or …).

What we try to avoid is the “conference call tragedy”.

This video explains perfectly what I mean by “conference call tragedy”.

Using a system like Google Hangouts mixing sound, video, document sharing is a strong help to improve this kind of meeting because :
– it’s easier to connect (no need for a pin number, …)
– every participant knows who is connected
– with some video, we bring some “humanity”
– we can share the document easily so be sure everybody is on the same page.

That said, switching from conference call  to Hangouts can be difficult because of some technical problems: you need a correct data connection which sometimes not the case, you need a correct earphone/microphone, people you are interacting with need to have an account or a piece of software, you also need to learn how to use it (even if it’s very easy, still some tricks to know…)
But the biggest barrier to switch is people resistance to change: we have been using phones for so many years…

The transformation is in progress, it will take some time, but companies who will be able to make the switch can improve dramatically the way they work!


[MUST SEE] Aaron Swartz – The Internet’s Own Boy

Tonight I watched the movie about Aaron Swartz.
This guy was a genius, I highly recommend you to watch it.


My new todo manager is todoist , I love it.

So I’m using a new application to manage my actions list.

Todos Santos - Greg Long

Todos Santos – Greg Long (Photo credit: nathangibbs)

I’ve been a happy user of wunderlist

for some months, but some synchronization bugs that impacted my lists (the lists were not the same between devices) make me lose confidence and that’s not a good situation for a todo manager!

Looking around I came to todoist

I’m using it for 6 months and I’ve even subscribed a premium account last week (first time for me !).

If you are looking for a todo application (and even if you are not) I highly recommend you to have a look at todoist, I promise you’ll not regret it.

The main reasons that make me happy about it are :


1- simplicity

todoist is very simple with no extra features.
The UI is ‘human-oriented’, for example, if you want to plan a task for tomorrow, you just write ‘tomorrow’ in the date field…
The interface is clean, no extra buttons.

2- all devices and Gmail integration

It’s a must-have for a todo manager to be accessible from all devices. Todoist web is very efficient, the Android and iPad applications gave me great experience.
I use it mainly for my android phone on mobility but also in chrome when I’m on my laptop.
The chrome extension is great.
As I’m a Gmail user, I appreciate the Gmail integration that allows me to transform an email into action in just 1 click.

3- projects, sub-projects, tasks, subtasks, labels

Managing my todo, I need to structure tasks to group them by topic or project, …
todoist is very flexible for that. It offers to create projects, and subprojects, and even subtasks.
It’s very nice.
It’s even possible to use tags (just by adding @tag) in the task description.
So I can organise my tasks very easily,

4- sharing with others

Even with the free version, you can share tasks with others.
You can share a project (everybody will see all the tasks within the project), and assign a task to a specific person.
It’s the first time I see a todo tool really good for sharing actions.

5- APIs

todoist offers a REST API to access your actions, it opens a lot of possibilities for future integration. I’m starting to play with it, and plan to integrate some statistics about my actions in my ‘personnal analytics’ dashboard (more about that soon).

6- and even fun!

todoist implement a metric ‘the karma’ that monitor your level of productivity. If you add action, complete them on time, the karma goes up. If you have late actions, the karma goes down.
It’s not very important, but it’s fun and gives some motivation when I tend to be out of control and don’t update my actions…

So know, just click here and enjoy!


The 3 promises of cloud computing

People often ask me what is cloud computing added-value.
My answer is :

 1- Lower cost of ownership

Going to the cloud means the big modification, infrastructure sharing, same software for all. This will necessarily bring lower cost of ownership.

2- Better functionalities.

Cloud based applications (Software as a service) are new software. They use last available technologies and implement new functional concepts. The major improvement is about collaboration. Because ‘file’ as we knew it for ever does not exist anymore, people can collaborate easily in a totally new way.

3- Better agility and flexibility

With cloud infrastructure can be started up or stopped on demand, applications do not need to be installed. They just need to be used. This brings a totally new dimension in term of agility and flexibility.


Federal cloud computing strategy : a comprehensive metholology to go to cloud.

People often ask me about which methodology I use to drive the migration to the cloud of IT systems.

In fact, the methodology I use is a public one. It has been published in 2011 by Vivek Kundra (former Federal CIO) and is simply called “FEDERAL CLOUD COMPUTING STRATEGY”.

This document cannot be found online but I kept it for you, it’s here :

It’s 32 pages, and it’s very easy to read.

It first explains the expected benefits of the cloud and then proposes a concrete approach to structure the migration.

A must read!


Just spend less to boost your innovation (source = Amazon.com)

This slide describe the 3 pillars of Amazon culture. Of course, Amazon is Customer centric. Of course Amazon is a company that innovate a lot. What is very interesting is that Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO) explains that frugality (spending less) is a boost for innovation. I like this concept and strongly believe he is right.

amazon frugality (This slide comes from the presentation “Amazon.com: the Hidden Empire “.)


The scribe

As a CIO I’ve sometimes to face crisis : a critical system is down, it has to be repaired as fast as possible.
In such a  case, a good organisation and good processes are mandatory to be efficient.
When the crisis in ongoing, people are under pressure. 
All the members of the crisis squad are working hard to execute actions to solve the problem. 
New events are coming about the environment.
1 key role is the scribe.
The scribe duty is (simply) to write  down what is ongoing : actions performed, news findings, new events…
This role is very important because : 
– this material will be used  real time by the crisis leader when he makes a status
– the person in charge of crisis communication will find there all informations he needs 
– new person coming on board during the crisis will be brieffed using it
– finally, these notes will be key material for the analysis after the crisis. The notes will be evidences that will be used during the debrieff to inderstand what happened.