Cloud Culture: New IT leaders are transforming the way we create and purchase technology. [Collaborative Series 1/8]

Subtitle: Why L33Ts don’t buy from N00Bs

Brad Szollose and I want to engage you in a discussion about how culture shapes technology [cross post link].  We connected over Brad’s best-selling book, Liquid Leadership, and we’ve been geeking about cultural impacts in tech since 2011.

Rob Hirschfeld

Rob

Brad

In these 8 posts, we explore what drives the next generation of IT decision makers starting from the framework of Millennials and Boomers.  Recently, we’ve seen that these “age based generations” are artificially limiting; however, they provide a workable context this series that we will revisit in the future.

Here’s the list of posts: 1: Intro > 2: ToC > 3: Video Reality > 4: Authority > 5: On The Game Training > 6: Win by Failing > 7: Go Digital Native > 8: Three Takeaways

Our target is leaders who were raised with computers as Digital Natives. They approach business decisions from a new perspective that has been honed by thousands of hours of interactive games, collaboration with global communities, and intuitive mastery of all things digital.

The members of this “Generation Cloud” are not just more comfortable with technology; they use it differently and interact with each other in highly connected communities. They function easily with minimal supervision, self-organize into diverse teams, dive into new situations, take risks easily, and adapt strategies fluidly. Using cloud technologies and computer games, they have become very effective winners.

In this series, we examine three key aspects of next-generation leaders and offer five points to get to the top of your game. Our goal is to find, nurture, and collaborate with them because they are rewriting the script for success.

We have seen that there is a technology-driven culture change that is reshaping how business is being practiced.  Let’s dig in!

What is Liquid Leadership?

“a fluid style of leadership that continuously sustains the flow of ideas in an organization in order to create opportunities in an ever-shifting marketplace.”

Forever Learning?

In his groundbreaking 1970s book, Future Shock, Alvin Toffler pointed out that in the not too distant future, technology would inundate the human race with all its demands, overwhelming those not prepared for it. He compared this overwhelming feeling to culture shock.

Welcome to the future!

Part of the journey in discussing this topic is to embrace the digital lexicon. To help with translations we are offering numerous subtitles and sidebars. For example, the subtitle “L33Ts don’t buy from N00Bs” translates to “Digital elites don’t buy from technical newcomers.”

Loosen your tie and relax; we’re going to have some fun together.  We’ve got 7 more posts in this cloud culture series: 2: ToC > 3: Video Reality > 4: Authority > 5: On The Game Training > 6: Win by Failing > 7: Go Digital Native > 8: Three Takeaways

We’ve also included more background about the series and authors…

Continue reading

Rethinking Play and Work: gaming is good for us (discuss in ATX, Dell, Twitter?)

Brad Szollose’s Liquid Leadership piqued my interest in the idea that gaming teaches critical job skills for the information age.  This is a significant paradigm shift in how we learn, share and collaborate to solve problems together.

At first, I thought “games = skillz” was nonsense until I looked more carefully at what my kids are doing in games.

When my kids are gaming they are doing things that adults would classify as serious work:

  • Designing buildings and creating machines that work within their environment
  • Hosting communities and enforcing discipline within the group
  • Recruiting talent to collaborate on shared projects
  • Writing programs that improve their productivity
  • Solving challenging problems under demanding time pressures
  • Learning to perseverance through multiple trials and iterative learning
  • Memorizing complex sequences and facts

They seek out these challenges because they are interesting, social and fun.

Is playing collaborative Portal 2 (which totally rocks) with my 13 year old worse than a nice game of chess?  I think it may be better!  We worked side-by-side on puzzles, enjoyed victories together, and left with a shared experience.

On the flip side, I’ve observed that it takes my kids a while to “come back down” after they play games.  They seem more likely to be impatient, rude and argumentative immediately after playing.  This effect definitely varies depending on the game.

I don’t pretend that all games and gaming has medicinal benefits; rather that we need to rethink how we look at games.  This is the main theme from McGonigal’s Reality is Broken (link below).  I’m just at the beginning and my virtual high lighter is running out of ink!  Here are some of her observations that she supports with research and data:

  • Gaming provides an evolutionary advantage
  • The majority of US citizens are gamers
  • Gaming teaches flow (state of heightened awareness that is essential to creativity and health)
  • Gaming drives UI innovation (really from Szollose) (yeah, and so does the porn industry)

If you’re interested in discussing this more, then please read one of the books listed below and choose another in the field.

Please feel free to post additional suggestions for titles as comments!

If you’re interested, let me know by commenting to tweeting – I’ll post our meeting times here in the future.

Note: I do not consider myself to be a “gamer.”  Although I greatly enjoy games, my play is irregular.  I suspect this is because I can achieve flow from my normal daily activities (programming, writing, running).

Go read “Liquid Leadership” (@bradszollose, http://bit.ly/eaTWa6): gaming=job skillz, teams=privilege & coopetition

I like slow media that takes time to build and explain a point (aka books) and I have read plenty of business media that I think are important (Starfish & Spider, Peopleware, Coders At Work, Predictably Irrational) and fun to discuss; however, few have been as immediately practical as Brad Szollose’s Liquid Leadership.

On the surface, Liquid Leadership is about helping Boomers work better with Digital Natives (netizens).  Just below that surface, the book hits at the intersection of our brave new digital world and the workplace.  Szollose’s insights are smart, well supported and relevant.  Even better, I found that the deeper I penetrated into this ocean of insight, the more I got from it.

If you want to transform (or save) your company, read this book.

To whet your appetite, I will share the conversational points that have interested my peers at work, wife, friends and mother-in-law.

  • Membership on a team is a privilege: you have to earn it.  Not everyone shows up with trust, enthusiasm, humility and leadership needed.
  • Video games position digital natives for success.  It teaches risk taking, iterative attempts, remote social teaming and digital pacing.
  • Netizens leave organizations with hierarchal management.  Management in 2010 is about team leadership and facilitation.
  • Smart people are motivated by trust and autonomy not as much pay and status.
  • Relationship and social marketing puts to focus back on quality and innovation, not messaging and glossies.  Broadcast (uni-directional) marketing is dead.
  • Using speed of execution to manage risk. Szollose loves Agile (does not call it that) and mirrors the same concepts that I expound about Lean.
  • Being creative in business means working with your competitors.  My #1 project at Dell right now, OpenStack, requires this and it’s the best way to drive customer value.  The customers don’t care about your competitor – they just want good solutions.

PS: If you like reading books like this and are interested in a discussion group in Austin, please comment on this post.