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Showing posts from May, 2012

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!). My gromble is abo

How to Prioritise

Everyone's got a ToDo list. But I've always found that a long list of things to do (or even a short one) still leaves you agonising over where to start. Typically we use one of these strategies: Pick off the easiest first Start with the one at the top and work down Look for the most urgent and start there Randomly plunge in and hope you can get them all done Delegate them and play golf (by far the best strategy, but during the round you'll think of twice as many items to replace them) Do the one that someone is shouting loudest at you to complete All reasonable approaches perhaps, but I was taught a more logical way. It uses what's called a UI chart where you decide what's Urgent and what's Important. The method is beautifully simple and can best be performed in an adapted spreadsheet or perhaps on a whiteboard with post-it notes. It's a dynamic process needing regular reviews. It works like this. Take each item on your To-Do list and place

History will blame climate change on a wall

There is a nuclear power plant at Onagawa in Japan. So what, there are lots of nuclear power stations in Japan. There are two interesting facts about the plant at Onagawa. The first is that it was apparently built faster than any other nuclear plant in the world - and that was in 1980. The second, and this should surprise you, is that it is on the coast and only half the distance from the epicentre of the March 2011 earthquake that caused the devastating tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant which sent the world into a tailspin of terror about nuclear power. Onagawa not only survived unscathed by the tsunami, it even provided a refuge that saved the lives of hundreds of local residents. Japan has now shelved it's plans to build 14 new reactors by 2030 and every unaffected reactor in the whole of Japan has now been shut down . Angela Merkel has declared that all nuclear power in Germany will be phased out. The UK's nuclear programme has been shot to ribbons as a m