Sunday, August 30, 2009

SharePoint survey results

I have been talking with Harry Brelsford from SMB Nation about the results from his recent SharePoint survey that he was kind enough to share with me. After going through all the results the most encouraging item I found was the following comment:

“We don't use Sharepoint. We hate it.”

Why would I ever say this is the most encouraging result? Simply it means one less reseller who going to bother with SharePoint. In essence this means there is more opportunity and revenue for me. Along the same lines here is another comment I find encouraging:

“I don't typically promote SharePoint unless my customer specifically asks for it.”

Excellent I say. Taking this attitude allows someone with SharePoint skills the potential to drive a wedge into the business by helping the customer understand the power that SharePoint can provide. Once another reseller has created a wedge within your customer, chances are it isn’t going to be the only thing they can leverage away from you.

The survey also illustrated to me that nearly everyone using or selling SharePoint still really doesn’t understand where the power of the product lies. Sure it is great at handling documents, knowledge, and structuring ad hoc data but in my mind the key aspect of SharePoint for any business comes down to one word – SEARCH.

Everyone knows that to find something on the Internet they use a search engine like Google or Bing. But what do they use to search their internal information? Wouldn’t you say that most businesses place greater value on their internal information than that found on the Internet? You bet they do, so where are the tools to search it?

SharePoint and Search Server Express allow you to index just about every document on your internal network and make it searchable, in many cases without having to change the location of the data. Now, here’s what separates the successful from the pack. Out of the box Windows SharePoint and Search Server Express don’t automatically index Office 2007 documents, Adobe PDF’s and the like. But guess what they can! Also, with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 will also be able to index scanned documents.

I can’t see how this is really any different from other technologies, they all need tweaking to extract the most benefit. However most resellers simply throw their hands up and cry that it is all too hard, which as I said before is absolutely fantastic for me.

Another massive over sight by most resellers is the opportunity presented by combining OneNote with SharePoint. Firstly, many probably don’t realize that if you capture documents in OneNote they are automatically indexed (even graphic files). If that OneNote file resides on SharePoint (which has been configured correctly) guess what? That information also gets index by SharePoint. So using OneNote you can get just about any information into SharePoint and make it indexable for the business.

Even better, as a recent Microsoft case study on the combination of SharePoint and OneNote highlights:


“Essentially, we’re using Office OneNote 2007 to provide an intuitive, user-friendly interface to the SharePoint Server 2007 document library,” Gardner explains. All content added to or created in OneNote 2007 is stored in SharePoint Server 2007. Users can continue to work in shared OneNote 2007 notebooks even when they’re offline, and the notebooks synchronize automatically when the users connect to the network. “All of the complexities are managed in the background, so the user experience is seamless,” adds Gardner.


Utilizing OneNote as front end for SharePoint removes a huge amount of the complexity for users. It allows them to be productive much faster by using something that is breeze to understand. I can’t figure out why other people can’t see this as the following survey comment illustrates once again:

“MS examples tend to lean toward the enterprise and that just isn't the same.”

Because here is a Microsoft example, to my mind, of exactly the benefits SharePoint and OneNote provide to a large business that also apply equally as well to a small business.

The most common response to what I’ve said here is going to be ‘this is all well and good but obtaining all the information about customizing SharePoint is just too difficult’. Again I couldn’t agree more and I thank my stars every day that it is because it means only people who see the opportunity are going to take advantage of it and put in the effort to learn. Only people who see the opportunity are going to subscribe to my SharePoint Guide for only $299. Only people who see the opportunity are going to attend my sessions at SMB Nation 2009. The fewer of these people there are the more opportunity for my business.

The final good bit of news I took from the survey was the following comment:

“Robert Crane's guides rock”

At least I know someone else out there understands it like I do and to them I say thank you and I look forward to providing you with more way to make money with SharePoint.

Kiva



There are so many worthy charities these days and everyone has their own preferences but for me I can’t go past Kiva.

What I like about Kiva is:

1. You can choose directly an individual you wish to help. You can see their circumstances and why they need the money.

2. The money that you provide is a loan, meaning the individual works to repay this amount over time. As with any loan there is a risk that repayments will not be able to be made but this is extremely small and you get advised of that potential prior to making the loan.


Once the loan has been repaid you can either choose to reloan the money or you can, if you wish, withdraw the amount. Personally, I like to keep reloaning the money because I like the idea of being able to keep helping people all via a single donation.

3. The Kiva web site allows you to easily keep tabs on each loan that you have made and the progress in which it is being repaid. You also get a page that shows you all the loans you have made. Take a look at my loan page as an example.

4. The Kiva site incorporates the concept of ‘social networking’ so you can see all the other people from around the world who have also loaned money to the individual, because any total loan is usually made up of many small donations.



5. Finally, being a entrepreneur myself I enjoy the concept of helping other entrepreneurs get ahead. I know how hard it can be sometime to get started, grow and expand so I feel a closer sense of attachment to people like these who are not simply asking for hand outs, all they are simply asking for is assistance to grow their business to provide themselves, and others, a better life.

I would ask you to have a look at Kiva and see the good that it is facilitating everyday for individuals who are not as lucky as people like me. I think that when you take a look you’ll find that it is a great way to help others help themselves which is really the best help there is.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More evidence

A while back I wrote a post about the Myth of Multi Tasking which illustrates how multi tasking actually decreases our attention and hobbles our performance. Well, here’s another article that again reinforces that notion. “Multi-media use muddles the mind” quotes a study from Stanford University that found that:

“People who regularly juggle between more than one form of media simultaneously have lower mental capacity than those who do not multi-task.”

It is amazing to me that most people seem to believe that the only way to cope with growing amounts of information is to multi-task. That only makes the problem worse! It is far more effective to simplify, streamline and focus on one task at a time and do it properly. As the study concludes:

“These results suggest that heavy media multitaskers are distracted by the multiple streams of media they are consuming, or, alternatively, that those who infrequently multitask are more effective at volitionally allocating their attention in the face of distractions.”

So, the more you think you can do actually the more distracted you become and in fact, after a while, it forms a behaviour pattern that reduces your ability to concentrate. So all those web sites you are visiting with flashing animations are really doing you no end of harm and the sooner you kick the habit of so called ‘multi-tasking’ the better.

SMB Nation 2009

If you haven’t already heard I’ll be going to SMB Nation 2009 in Las Vegas from October 2-4 2009 to not only speak about SharePoint but also to take advantage of the great content that is always on offer.

If you are still undecided on whether you should attend let me give some reasons from my perspective:

- I obtained a whole swag of information from last years event that I was able to immediately implement in my business. It wasn’t only just technical information but also some business information that really changed my perspective in how I run my business.

- It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with a wide variety of resellers and IT providers from all over the globe. Some of the ideas that these people shared with me during our discussions again made me think really long and hard about the way I do business.

- I was able to forge some great relationships during the time. I not only met many new people, I also met people whom I’d only spoken to online. In the end, most business comes down to human relationships and nothing beats the traditional ‘face-to-face’ conversation to build stronger bonds.

- It provided me an opportunity to speak with some vendors who were offering products and services I had never even considered. Many also conducted very informative sessions where you could not only see the product in action but also ask questions and get feedback from other resellers on how they may implement such a solution.

- I was able to step away from the day to day grind of my business and take some ‘time out’ and really think about my direction for at least the next 12 months. How often do we every really do that these days?

There are, of course, plenty of other great reasons to attend not the least of which this year is going to be the sights of fabulous Las Vegas. There is certainly no place like this anywhere else in the world. As a destination flights are cheap, accommodation is less than $100 per night and there is always something to do even after the conference closes for the day.

So what am I looking forward to this year? Well, the agenda is now available and what appeals to me the most at the moment is:

GS401: Virtualization for the SMB world - Dana Epp, Wayne Small
GS201: Alternative Solutions in the SMB Space - Eriq Neale
SM302: Twenius - The BIG BANG "How To" of Effective Twitter for Beginners and Pros!- Dan Hollings
SM401: Social Media Panel - Aaron Booker, Dan Hollings, Harry Brelsford, Jim Locke, others
BS301: Selling IT Services; How not to suck at it! - Stuart Selbst
GS202: SharePoint - You've got it now what? - Robert Crane (can’t miss this one can I??)
Podcast Karl Palachuk & Robert Crane Pod Cast booth in the Exhibit Hall - Karl Palachuk, Robert Crane (or this one !!)
GS101: Windows 7 are you ready? - Dana Epp, Oliver Sommer, Susan Bradley
SM403: Local Internet Marketing Strategies - Dan Hollings
BS401: BusinessSpeak Panel - Matt Makowicz, George Sierchio, others
GS402: GeekSpeak Panel - MVPs, Gurus, other technical notables
SM201: How To Use LinkedIn and Facebook for RAPID Business Development -
Harry Brelsford
Speed Dating - Meet the Guru’s "Up Close & Personal" – come and join me on a table

Clearly there is heaps of great content and more being added by the day. However, if you are still tossing up whether to attend don’t forget that the early bird discounts end soon so call 206-201-2943 or 1-888-SMB-NAT1 and ask for “Harry” for community discounts!

I can’t wait to get to Vegas and get focused on my business while having a ‘whale of a time’. If you’re planning to attend let me know (director@ciaops.com or http://www.twitter.com/directorcia) as I’d love to catch up and chat about business, SharePoint or whatever.

Roll on October!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do Email Less Course

My ‘Do Email Less’ course will be running this Friday the 28th of August at Macquarie Community College at Carlingford. It’s not too late to sign up. To do so just go to the web site:

http://www.macquarie.nsw.edu.au/index.php?action=course&course_action=detail&code=309M291&search=1&keyword=email&suburb=

Apart from teaching you how to use email more efficiently it will also help you understand the technology behind email, how it works, why it fails and what you can do to troubleshoot it. Attendees will learn how to not only cope with the ever growing volume of email but also how to send more effective emails so your message will get through. This is conducted in a hands on lab environment where you’ll get practical experience in working with Microsoft Outlook 2007. All attendees will also receive a copy of my ‘Overcoming email frustrations in Outlook 2007’ as part of the course.

If you are interesting in getting back in control of you time and out of your inbox then this course is for you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

SharePoint webinar

I’ve decided to try my hand at running a few test SharePoint webinars to determine whether I can make them work at my end and secondly, if they are in fact of interest to anyone. So the first cab off the rank that I’m going to attempt is “Installing Windows SharePoint Services v3 on SBS 2003 Standard”. Here you’ll learn how to do the “standard” Windows SharePoint v3 install onto an SBS 2003 system that currently doesn’t include a full blown version of SQL Server (i.e. SBS 2003 Standard).

The webinar will detail all the prerequisites, take you through a live installation and finally provide some tips and tricks to making the whole process go a lot smoother than what some documentation may tell you. If you also complete a feedback survey at the completion of the webinar I’ll send you a comprehensive set of notes covering the whole process with extensive screen shots.

I have been debating what I should charge for this webinar and whether, in fact, I should charge at all but what I have finally decided to do is:

Current Windows SharePoint Operations Guide Subscribers – FREE
Others – AU $39.95 ex

I believe that the session has plenty of value and I do need to cover the costs of using commercial webinar software so I believe this price does represent fair value to all. If not then contact me (director@ciaops.com) because I’d love some feedback on how to make this idea work commercially.

Now, the next question is when to hold it. Again a hard one but I have decided to try this:

Date : Thursday 27th of August 2009
Time : 10.00am – 11.00am (Sydney Australia time = UTC +10 hours)

This would mean it occurs at around 17:00 on Wednesday for those in the North America and around midnight for those in Europe. Perhaps not ideal, but not having conducted something like this again I’d like to hear feedback (director@ciaops.com) from anyone who can maybe suggest a better time.

So again in summary:

Webinar Title : Installing Windows SharePoint Services v3 on SBS 2003 Standard
Date : Thursday 27th of August 2009
Time : 10.00am – 11.00am (Sydney Australia time = UTC +10 hours)
Cost : AU $39.95 ex for non WSSOPS subscribers
Registration and further information : director@ciaops.com  

As always, I welcome people’s feedback on my hair brained scheme and hope to see you at the webinar.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bad guys win again (Part IV)



The Internet is a neutral place. For as much good as it allows it also permits equal amounts of bad. It is simply a medium. Probably the thing that most people have problems comprehending is just how ‘global’ cybercrime is. You can have your bank account details stolen by someone in Russia or you can have your server brought down by someone else in China. Given the growing speeds and pervasiveness of the Internet it is actually getting easier.

A recent program on 4 Corners “Fear in the Fast Lane” gives you some insight into the challenges faced. You can find a complete replay of the episode here:

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200908/r419212_1990446.asx

One of the cases it details is how an Alice Springs betting company was sent bankrupt because they failed to pay ‘cyber’ extortion money. Another instance shows how a simple drive through a Sydney suburb revealed about 20% of home wireless networks had no protection. So many people are using computers and networks these days but every few grasp the issues they face and the challenges security brings. If you are interested I created a video a while back that illustrates what can arise from insecure wireless networks after demonstrating the issues to a friend:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mknGP-TOFu8
In an interesting turn of events, it seems that the Australian Federal Police featured in the story, who took over an underground hacking site, had their sting turned against them as “Hackers break into police computer as sting backfires” details. It further illustrates that there are just too many opportunities available for people to exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses in computer systems. As I always tell people:

Q. How many different types of attacks and attackers do you have to protect yourself against?
A. ALL OF THEM.

now

Q. How many vulnerabilities or weaknesses does need to find to get inside your computer?
A. JUST ONE.

How can you win against these odds? Security is a huge investment that needs to be constantly maintained. Now consider your average computer user. Do they have the knowledge or the skills to even understand the threats they face – nope. As one of the Feds in the show says, it is probably about time that computer security be given same national priority as health but what are the chances of that?

As the show details, the problems are only going to get worse with the roll out of the Australian National Broadband network that will provide huge improvements in access speeds. I’m sure that the criminals can’t wait for that either because it means they can now achieve their ill gotten gains in a much shorter time period. A much better ROI.

Bottom line is that as we base more and more of our lives and society on computers without educating end users we are all losing out. It is typically the non-IT literate user who has their computer compromised without their knowledge. That computer is then added to a fleet of other compromised computers which are used to do the bidding of a cyber crim somewhere.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRhauoXpNSs
Because we all live on the Internet it is up to everyone to be aware and maintain the security of their own systems. People are just not doing that, which in effect impacts us all and makes the Internet a worse place to be. My contention has always been, imagine the roads if we didn’t have rules, cyber crime can reek just as much havoc yet we happily allow people to buy a computer and connect it directly to the Internet with no training or understanding. Don’t appreciate the problems this can cause? Watch the 4 Corners program and visit the accompanying site to see why the Internet is fast becoming a place that you MAY NOT want to be!

Monday, August 17, 2009

SharePoint versions

Many people think that there is only one version of SharePoint. They then get confused between Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). They get further confused between what features are and are not included in each edition.

As I get asked the question all the time I think the best answer I can give is to have look at “Which SharePoint technology is right for you” from Microsoft that provides a side by side comparison of all the different flavours of SharePoint. Be warned there is a lot of information to digest here. Perhaps an easier way to understand the different features set is to download the SharePoint product comparison spreadsheet that sets out the comparison using Excel which makes it much easier to understand.

In all of this don’t forget that a new version of SharePoint is on the way which will mean changes again to these charts (hopefully not too much).

One thing that all these documents don’t cover is the price. In simple terms, Windows SharePoint Services is available as a free download, while Microsoft Office SharePoint Server requires purchasing the appropriate licensing.

Hope that makes things a little easier to understand.

Five ways



Here’s a nice little document from Microsoft called “Five ways SharePoint can save you money”. Although it deals more with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) than Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) many of the concepts remain valid.

If are looking to understand the business benefits of SharePoint in general then I’d certainly have a look at this document and the resources it points to.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Plain English

I’ve always been a big fan of the YouTube videos that Common Craft have created. Ones like RSS in Plain English and Blogs in Plain English provide a really simply introduction to these technology in a fun and entertaining manner. In many cases these videos help explain some of the technology that comes with SharePoint. Well now there is a Common Craft video specifically about SharePoint called SharePoint in Plain English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s12Jb5Z2xaE

It gives people a good overview of what SharePoint can do and I like the way that is especially targeted at the typical use a business person would require from SharePoint, managing a project. I’ve always found SharePoint can be hard to explain to people because it accomplishes such a wide variety of things but I think this video does a pretty good job of at least making it a little clearer.

 

As always, don’t forget that my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide contains a whole swag of SharePoint videos and training as well as almost 1,500 pages of technical content on Windows SharePoint. The Guide is designed to help you get up to speed with not only using SharePoint but also helping your customers and business partners understand the benefits that SharePoint can provide them.

 

Finally, don’t forget that I too have created some free demonstration SharePoint videos which can be found at my old YouTube Saturn Alliance account or my new Director CIAOPS account. Also, visit Common Craft for their range of videos on a huge range of topics (not just technology).

Friday, August 14, 2009

SharePoint Thrives



If you wanted further confirmation that a major business opportunity exists in and around SharePoint then “Microsoft’s SharePoint Thrives in the Recession” from the New York Times is worth a read.

“We don’t claim we do everything,” said Chris Capossela, a senior vice president at Microsoft. “If we do 50 percent of the functions that these other companies do, but they’re the ones customers really want, that’s fine. The magic is that end users actually like to use the software.”

No technology can honestly claim to do everything and SharePoint is no different. Given how flexible it is you do have to say that it does a great many thinks pretty well and that is what makes it such a great solution for many businesses.

Microsoft declines to break out the exact sales figures for the software but said that SharePoint broke the $1 billion revenue mark last year and continued to rise past that total this year, making it the hottest selling server-side product ever for the company.

So if it is still growing while other software is declining why aren’t more people considering it? Imagine what will happen when more businesses find that Windows SharePoint is free to download or already included with their systems (i.e. for Small Business Server). When this happens the demand certainly isn’t going to decline.

Microsoft has managed to undercut even the panoply of open-source companies playing in the business software market by giving away a free basic license to SharePoint if they already have Windows Server. “It’s a brilliant strategy that mimics open source in its viral, free distribution, but transcends open source in its ability to lock customers into a complete, not-free-at-all Microsoft stack - one for which they’ll pay more and more the deeper they get into SharePoint,” Mr. Asay said.

This is exactly the reason that Microsoft provide Windows SharePoint for free, because it locks the customer into using more and more Microsoft products which is fine because they provide a solution and a great return on investment. Given that Windows SharePoint is also free it means there are far less hurdles to implementation.

By making these more sophisticated tools available to customers, Microsoft thinks it can keep pushing niche software makers out of the way and give business people, rather than just the tech folks, a way to work with business applications.

Again, here’s another key feature. SharePoint can easily be utilized by business users to suit their needs. As I have always said SharePoint is tool just like Excel or Word, it starts out blank but you really create something fantastic using it. Most business owners fear that if they implement something they will need to keep paying for any change required. With SharePoint they can do it themselves.

If you are a technology provider and you haven’t looked at the opportunity SharePoint presents then you are missing out on the hottest game in town. If you want to get up to speed fast with Windows SharePoint consider my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide (www.wssops.com) which is packed with all the information that you’ll need to install, maintain and manage Windows SharePoint. I’m pretty sure you won’t find another single location with as much information on Windows SharePoint as the Guide.

No matter what the economic conditions there are always opportunities for the savvy and clearly SharePoint is one of them. I’d also tell you not to forget the opportunity that OneNote presents but that is a topic for another post.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google everywhere


A new course I have developed called ‘Google everywhere’ will commence at Macquarie Community College this Thursday. If you are interested there is still an opportunity to sign up via:

http://www.macquarie.nsw.edu.au/index.php?action=course&course_action=detail&code=309M295

Google is now so much more that a search engine. It allows you to create custom calendars, schedules and to do lists. You can create and store documents you can access from anywhere. You can also use it as your primary email account. There are maps and street views of just about everywhere. This course will show you how to use all these tools and to enhance your online workflow.

When I started putting together this course I was amazed at how many products Google actually provide. Now whether that is a good or bad thing I’m not sure but when you actually sit down and work it out it is amazing.

So if you want to gain some insight into what Google applications can accomplish and what you can use to help yourself or you business then this course maybe for you. I hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

WOW factor



Many people consider SharePoint to be something that is only used within an organization. The fact is that it provides a very good platform for utilizing outside the organization as well. It provides a ‘standard’ platform on which developers can create some amazing sites. One of the best of these I believe is Ferrari.com.

Microsoft has now made a case study about Ferrari.com available which you find available at:

http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000004987

On there you’ll also find a nice video about the reasons and results of the web site. I do however find it frustrating that Microsoft only makes this video available via Silverlight. The problem is you need to download and install Silverlight v3 to view the video. This typically requires a browser restart which isn’t smart in my books because it takes people away from the web site. It would be much better to also offer something on YouTube in standard AVI format. Here’s something similar from YouTube about the web site but it doesn’t talk about the fact it is built on SharePoint technology.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lME2WIee-6s
I believe you should be making it easier for people to share your propaganda rather than requiring them to install additional browser components. How many ‘ordinary’ people out there are going to have SilverLight v3 already installed? Not many I reckon.

The point that I really do want to illustrate here is that many businesses are not only utilizing the functionality that SharePoint provides but also the platform it can provide to be easily extended and enhanced. There is plenty to recommend SharePoint already but when you see what people like Ferrari and those below are achieving you just gotta say WOW!

As I have always said, SharePoint is merely a tool – what you do with it is up to you.

Other examples of Internet facing SharePoint sites include:

 http://www.hawaiianair.com 

 http://www.carlsberggroup.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guide promotion

After some discussion with SMB Books we have agreed to make some special offers on my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide.

 

-> You can now purchase the product via a 3 instalment payment option. This means that it is only $99.99 over three consecutive months. This means that you’ll get access to the full Guide from your first payment and continue to do so for a whole 12 months upon making the remaining payments. Hopefully, this will make it a little easier for those who have been considering the guide but need to also keep an eye on their cashflow.

 

-> If you buy the Guide and any other product on the SMB Books site you’ll also receive a $20 discount off your total purchase price. There are plenty of other great reference books available on SMB Books covering all facets of technology and business. Unfortunately this offer can’t be used with any other offers (like the part payment mentioned above) and is a special offer unique to the Guide. When you make a purchase use the code CRANE09 at the checkout to take advantage of this offer.

 

-> When you buy the Guide you’ll also receive a free copy of my “Overcoming email frustrations for OUtlook” in PDF format. This is book that shows you 10 ways to overcome the most common frustrations people face when dealing with email.

 

The Windows SharePoint Operations Guide is now almost 1,500 pages in length and 4GB of information on the subscribers DVD and growing every month. Why spend time hunting around the Internet for information about Windows SharePoint? It is all here in one regularly updated location. From installing to maintaining and customizing the Guide contains it all and more so visit www.wssops.com or email me (director@ciaops.com) for more information.

 

Don’t forget all the other free documents I also have available on http://www.slideshare.com/directorcia about SharePoint and other topics.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Slave labour



The article “Work four hours, then rest” contains some interesting points that are worth highlighting.

- ‘Whoever has not two thirds of his day for him self is a slave,’’ declared Friedrich Nietzsche.

Take a step back and examine your days recently. Can you honestly say you had two thirds to pursue your own agenda? Unlikely I’ll bet. Welcome to the chain gang.

- We live in an age offering unprecedented opportunity for us all to lead the kind of flourishing, leisurely existence of which the ancients could only dream. Yet many work harder and longer than ever before.

This is a point I’ve been highlighting for a while. Look at all the technology we have today. Now tell me why we are working harder than ever? Why have we less and less leisure time? My contention is that we are not using technology correctly, we are merely accepting the defaults rather than customizing it to suit the way that we work. After a while, these bad practices become the ‘norm’ and we seem to continue meekly accepting it. How many dedicate time to actually determining whether there is a better way to do something or use technology to better automate repetitive tasks? Not many I’ve seen. It’s really driving a car constantly in first gear.

- However, for most people, working beyond a certain threshold (generally estimated to be between four to six hours a day), brings comparatively small real additional benefits; yet has substantial opportunity costs, including loss of leisure.

Here’s the real story. After a certain point the harder you work the less you actually achieve yet the opportunity costs increase inversely. It is again like the car in first gear analogy, more and more revs makes little difference because you are caught in the lowest gear, taking virtually no advantage of any leverage. However, the chances of blowing the engine increases as you increase the revs. The simplest thing is to change gear, so why don’t we?

- Long working hours may certainly increase overall gross domestic product, but the evidence suggests that it does not increase productivity per hour, and it generally makes us, and those around us, quite a bit less happy than we would otherwise be.

For me here’s the bottom like - ‘evidence suggests that it does not increase productivity per hour’. Why aren’t we working to improve our efficiency and doing more with less? Why aren’t we using the technology to reduce, rather than increase our workloads? I honestly can’t understand why we are doing this. We invented all this technology, surely we can’t be that stupid can we?

As my recent ‘Power on an hour’ document illustrates, becoming more productive with technology isn’t hard, however it is journey not a destination. You always need to be on your guard against time burglars like email, web browsing, meetings and so on. In an upcoming document ‘Enough time’ I examine some simple steps that you can use to understand to ensure your time is being used most effectively.

Every time I ask people whether they have enough time I have never yet had anyone tell me they have more time available than they need. It is always the converse - “I never have ENOUGH time”. However, when you examine how people allocate their time you find they are simply wasting so much. Why is that? Simple, they don’t value their time. In essence they are too cheap. Given that you can never create or obtain more time why do people value it so lowly? That’s one reason they work such long hours. They believe they will get more in return. Clearly the evidence indicates the complete opposite. Unfortunately, people appear oblivious to the obvious and allow technology to make it worse.

Until you start valuing your time more don’t complain that you don’t have enough. Surely you’re smarter than that? Until you start asking whether what you are doing is the BEST allocation of your time at the moment then you are destined to never have enough of life’s most precious resource.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The word



A while back I wrote a post about Windows SharePoint Services licensing. In there I said that I was still waiting on confirmation about Windows SharePoint running on Windows Foundation Server. Well now I have a definitive answer:

there are no restrictions, we want a customer running Foundation to be able to use all products, simply not for customers with more than 15 users.

Yeah! This makes things much clearer. So you can install Windows SharePoint on Windows Foundation Server but you must abide by the product’s normal licensing, which includes the limit of 15 user access.

Given the competitive pricing of Windows Foundation Server, this makes it a very good option to install as a second server in small networks to allow a stand alone installation of Windows SharePoint Server. Sure you don’t HAVE to use a second server but it certainly provides more flexibility and reliability for your installation in my opinion.