Entries by Mark O'Brien

Famous Last Business Words

Here are the five most popular phrases uttered by business people — not at the end of their lives — but at the end of their professional livelihoods: Yeah, but I thought …. You mean it didn’t …? There’s only one way to …. I know I’m right. Uh oh …. The pattern here is one of […]

The Elevator Pitch

We’ve been hearing about the trite notion of personal brand for longer than I thought. In fact, I recently found a column from 2011. It said this, part: Your personal value proposition (PVP) is at the heart of your career strategy. It’s the foundation for everything in a job search and career progression — targeting potential employers, attracting […]

Can We Talk?

I recently listened as an experienced salesman, employed by a software and professional-services company, bemoaned the fact that his prospects don’t seem to answer the phone anymore. He wondered if the phone had outlived its usefulness, if Alexander Graham Bell turned over in his grave at the thought of his most famous invention lying fallow while […]

It’s Not About the Office

On May 22, 2000, Lance Armstrong published the book, It’s Not About the Bike. He was right, of course. But it’s unlikely he’s developed a sense of irony since then. Similarly, on July 6, 2022, a gentleman named Ian Bogost published an article in The Atlantic. He apparently shares Lance’s lack of irony because he titled […]

Row Your Boat

It’s simply the nature of human nature to complicate; that is, give us something simple and we’ll create an unnavigable labyrinth of complexity. Case in point: This is the definition of value stream found on Wikipedia: A value stream is the set of actions that take place to add value to a customer from the initial […]

Hyperinformationalism

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’LL EVER READ! WE DON’T KNOW IF IT’S GOOD OR BAD! BUT IT’S REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT! THAT’S WHY IT’S IN BOLD-FACED CAPITAL LETTERS SO YOU’LL KNOW IT’S IMPORTANT! SEE ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS? NO?! THEN YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION! COME ON! WAKE UP! THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!!!!!! I made up […]

What’s Innovation?

Over the past three weeks, I’ve posted three polls about innovation on LinkedIn — first, second, third. As of this writing, they’ve garnered a total of 2,495 views but just 41 votes. Those stats suggest at least four possibilities. I only know the fourth one to be true. But here they are: First, the lack […]

Proudly Naïve

I have a theory. It goes like this: If I remain naïve enough, I’ll never get old. If that’s so, then I just found the Fountain of Youth. The German writer, Thomas Mann, once said: “It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available.” Given […]

Total Cost of Failure (TCF)

I recently saw a LinkedIn post from a gentleman named Oscar L. Martin. In it, he compared the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Elon Musk’s SpaceX to NASA’s. Mr. Martin wrote: Elon Musk proved the problem with space was not technological but institutional … NASA prefers to expend $40B after 15 years in known tech for a […]

Settled Science: Breakfast Edition

To understand how absurd a notion is settled science, we needn’t tread the politically inflammatory territory of weather, climate change, and global warming. Nor do we need go so far as to read — let alone comprehend — the one tract that utterly debunks the possibility that science can, should, or will ever be settled. […]