Feb 28, 2010

Information has gone from scarce to superabundant

Special report from Te Economist on managing information.

Data, data everywhere. That brings huge new benefits, but also big headaches.

The world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on.

Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.

But they are also creating a host of new problems. Despite the abundance of tools to capture, process and share all this information—sensors, computers, mobile phones and the like—it already exceeds the available storage space.

Moreover, ensuring data security and protecting privacy is becoming harder as the information multiplies and is shared ever more widely around the world.

There are many reasons for the information explosion. The most obvious one is technology. As the capabilities of digital devices soar and prices plummet, sensors and gadgets are digitising lots of information that was previously unavailable. And many more people have access to far more powerful tools.

See the hole report...

Feb 7, 2010

Top 10 mistakes managers make with email

Many of us think we use email well. But the true is we don't.

Too many of us rush, causing confusion and requiring more time to clarify misunderstandings later.

We miss chances to build relationships, motivate others, close deals and convey important information.

Usual mistakes made by managers, at all levels:

1. Using vague subject lines. "Meeting," "Update," or "Question" provide no value as subject lines.

2. Burying the news. Convey the important points first: put dates, deadlines and deliverables in the first one to three lines of the message.

3. Hiding behind the "BCC" field. At best, the 'blind copy' field is sneaky and risky.

4. Failing to clean up the mess of earlier replies/forwards. Few readers will wade through strings of previous messages.

5. Ignoring grammar and mechanics. PDAs have granted us certain sloppy flexibility, which means you'll impress readers even more when you write precisely.

6. Avoiding necessarily long emails. Longer messages sometimes work best; they can help avoid attachments' hassle and security fuss.

7. Mashing everything together into bulky, imposing, inaccessible paragraphs. Length does not discourage reading; bulk does.

8. Neglecting the human beings at the other end. Email travels between actual people, even though we don't see or hear each other directly.

9. Thinking email works best. Email is not always the best way to communicate.

10. Forgetting that email lasts forever. Most of us read, send and discard emails at lightning speeds.

Read full article on

Feb 2, 2010

Survey of executives finds a growing fear of cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are a growing threat to the critical infrastructure underlining modern society, according to a survey of 600 computing and computer-security executives in 14 nations conducted by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Study director cites findings that 50 percent of respondents believe they have already been the target of sophisticated government hackers.

More than half of the polled executives say that their own country's laws do not adequately discourage cyberattacks, and the three most vulnerable nations are identified as the United States, China, and Russia.

Forty percent of executives are anticipating a major cybersecurity incident in their sector within the next year, while all but 20 percent project such an incident occurring within five years.

The report indicates that the growing use of Internet-based networks "creates unique and troubling vulnerabilities," although the authors stop short of urging a complete partitioning of systems and the open Internet.

Full Article (New York Times).