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Rumination on medications March 26, 2016

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Miscellaneous.
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meds_rxAs consumers, big pharma ensures we have a wealth of choices to control/manage/cure a litany of ailments. I started a list of the treatment names available and the count to date is at 37. That is a big number from just one media source (television).

The high amount of ads on TV confirms there is a big market here. The ads are high quality and claim to treat a variety of maladies. Each medication uses a unique name to eliminate confusion by the consumer. Ah, sure. The names are totally random and are not indicative of the condition and use almost every letter from A to Z. I have not found a medication that starts with D, K, Q, S, U or V. That’s 6 out of 26. I expect some company will notice and will remedy that to use one or more those letters.

Side effects are mentioned at warp speed as the audio is sped up to get through the lengthy list on how a medication *may* affect you. Thoughts of suicide, vomiting and behavior changes and more might be worse than the treated condition itself. The combinations of medications can be as bad or worse. The ‘disclaimer’ to talk to your doctor seem redundant. How else would you get the medication if you didn’t talk a doctor?

The ads I have seen in prime time cover a gamut  – allergies, diabetes, sexual performance, depression, asthma and on and on. They are on a regular rotation on both cable and major networks.

In sports, a HOF football coach once said “You are what your record says you are.” In gastronomy, the adage is “You are what you eat”.

Does the same logic apply for medication? That is, does the medication(s) you take reflect who you are? Take that as a rhetorical question along with 2 aspirin/ibuprofen and call me in the morning.

Memorial Day, 2014 May 24, 2014

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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As everyone gets busy with family and friends this weekend, I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day. Memorial DayBe safe and remember those who served to protect our way of life.

Thanks to all those currently in active service!! We are proud of you and appreciate all you do for us. For those returning to civilian life, I hope your new normal works for you and those around you. Peace.

Blog Milestone – 5 years and counting April 16, 2014

Posted by Edwin Ritter in career, Miscellaneous, Social Media.
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So the other day, I saw a note from the fine folks at WordPress concerning my blog. The note reminded me that I have been blogging now for five (5) years. Woot! A good run and I have no plans to stop.

5 years bloggingWell, to be accurate, it said I registered 5 years ago. No mention of how active I have been on the blog. A quick check of my blog archive shows I have had at least one post every month since I started with one exception. That distinction belongs to December 2010. That is the only month I did not post. So that makes 59 out of 60 months with a post. My style has evolved and is different now than when I started. Hopefully, it is improved and continues to get better. Writers always say the best thing to do is keep writing.  I refer to this as Hemingway did as fighting the white bull. The archive shows there is a wide variety of blog topics – personal interests, professional concepts, business practices and social media changes. 

There a few posts I am most proud of. In no particular order, they include :

  1. Diversity and Potatoes
  2. Puzzle and Mystery
  3. Positive Change
  4. 2nd Day of Infamy
  5. Re-entry

The all-time traffic leader by far is my ramblings on diversity (#1 above). More about that in a future post. I am in a much different place personally and professionally from when I started. I plan to continue on this journey and post further ruminations going forward. I hope you enjoy my observations and invite your comments. Which post is your favorite?

Here’s to another five years!

Making Decisions with Data March 25, 2014

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous, Project Management.
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How familiar is this phrase “We are going to be data driven”? I have heard this a few times in my career. Great concept and useful to manage a business if you are serious and use it consistently. However, when crunch time comes, and everyone’s nerves are worn thin, how many managers stick with the data vs. using their instinct to make a decision?

No one intends to make a poor or bad decision. Assumptions can be wrong; risks occur that are not foreseen. It happens.

The concept is obvious of course, but, one of the most effective ways to make a decision is to use solid data. What is not obvious is the process to define, collect and evaluate data to make an informed choice. Other real world considerations like time, money and deadlines may circumvent staying true to a data driven process.

Decision Matrix

Decision Matrix

All things being equal and when there is adequate time, the process I most prefer uses selected weighting on a set of criteria. The process is commonly known as root cause analysis as a decision making  method. Most refer to this process as Kepner-Tregoe analysis. It is named after the two people who invented the concept and today, their company is a multi-national consulting company. This method is one widget in the Six Sigma toolkit and is considered part of ITIL practices for problem management.

An overview of process includes :

  1. State the issue, problem, and decision to be made.
  2. Explain the use of the decision matrix technique to participants.
  3. Draft a matrix … with candidate choices positioned as rows and criteria as columns.
  4. Weigh the criteria, if required (e.g., 1-5 weight).
  5. Rate each choice within each decision/selection criteria (e.g, 1-5 score – do not rank here).
  6. Multiply the rating by its relative weight to determine weighted score.
  7. Total the scores.
  8. Review results and evaluate, using common sense and good judgment.
  9. Reach consensus.

Once complete, you have criteria and weighting configured in the decision matrix. When evaluating choices, the score helps narrow the discussion to the best choice(s). The discussions on reviewing the results can lead to animated discussions. Ultimately, the best choice comes down confidence in what the numbers tell you. I like to include a tie-breaker or ‘other’ category in the matrix and give it a small weighting of 5 to 10%. That allows a way to include intangibles discovered during the evaluation. Depending on the score for that facet, it can illuminate the best choice and help the team decide between two otherwise equal choices.

This evaluation process can be used for a range of  situations where decisions must be made. I have used this for vendor selection, candidate interviews and for strategy roadmaps. In the end, having data can confirm your choice and give confidence. Using this framework also minimizes biases and leads to an improved appreciation of choices you would not have considered otherwise. Having data is always good; having a process to make a choice with that data is even better.

What process do you use to decide?


2013 review of my ramblings January 1, 2014

Posted by Edwin Ritter in career, Miscellaneous.
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A nice feature provided by WordPress and an easy way to share this summary. Their stats helper monkeys prepared this 2013 annual report for my blog. How was your traffic? What goals did you meet?

Happy New Year!!!

Looking ahead, what expectations do you have for your blog in 2014?

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 Year End Ramblings December 29, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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A quick post to indicate that I, like so many others at this time, am reflecting on the year past. In this rambling, I want to mention up front that I end the year in a good place. I have work and am surrounded by wonderful family and friends.

This year saw several transitions. The first deals with my goal to transition from a contract to a full time employee.  Instead, that contract ended abruptly in April. Good people, solid products and a vision for future growth with an established industry leader. Score that as an opportunity missed due to mis-management by the client.

Another transition was going back into job search. Having a solid network of contacts and a great reputation, I felt my chances were good to land quickly. As usual, things outside of my control dictated otherwise. So, I worked on refreshing my coding skills. A bit like bike riding and fell back into the developing mind set easily. It also improves my value add and increases my expertise in working with software developers.

The final transition occurred after landing another contract gig as a project manager. I began commuting long distance as part of that change. Having tremendous family support made this transition easier. Could not have done this without them.

That’s the highlights. Much more detail in between these transitions of course.

Goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. I hope you had a good year and wish you success in the new year.  Let me know how I can help and I will do the same.

Happy New Year!

Ramblings on Car Sales Infographic January 21, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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Just a few quick ramblings of 2011 car sales via an  infographic. Somewhat dated, I know but some insights worth noting. As the world population shifts from the old world, the new world and into the 3rd world, we now start to see the effect of a new ‘cluster’ known as BRIC.

That is the short version for the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. These ’emerging markets’ to many companies are an opportunity for growth in terms of sales, market share and of course, profitability. I’ve also seen references to the  growing middle class in both India and China. The economic impact of these world markets is already felt in banking, oil and manufacturing industries. Welcome to the global economy.

2011 Car Sales Statistics via Olathe Toyota Parts Center

If you are a global company, ignoring these markets can be a fatal mistake. As shown, GM is a big company. They are very aware of these markets as are the other well know auto manufacturers.

Any surprises with the  Top 5? I expect that most have an impression of who these manufacturers are in each region. So there is much press about China as a car market. Not so much with India but in 2011, it was in the top 10 in sales.

Does this changes your perception of BRIC? I will check for an update on 2012 sales. Updates may follow.

Year End Ramblings for 2012 December 23, 2012

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous, Trends.
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Another year has come and gone. I hope you read this post in good health. I had a good year with much to be thankful for. Like so many others, I find myself at year end in a different position from when it began. A few of the ups and downs of my journey I have ruminated about in this blog. As a tease, I invite you to check the archive to read those posts.

My best 2012 blog post, in terms of traffic, was about puzzles and mysteries. An interesting topic from a thought provoking book. I tend to cover a lot of topics and I was pleasantly surprised and appreciative at the reaction from this post.

new-year-image1There are a plethora of sites that have compilations of the year in review. Here is a small and very random sample of  topics that are top of mind for 2012. Summer Olympics. Presidential Election. Space Jump. Mars Rover. Linsanity. Hurricane Sandy. Newtown. SuperBowl XLVI. Costa Concordia. Social Media. Cloud Computing. Big Data.

A segue on that big data topic. This year, there are many posts that cover how our online behavior is tracked more than ever. This creates lots of data for analysis. Some of it is even useful. We continue to get smarter about ways to separate the noise from the signal. More on that topic in a future post.

How was your journey this year? Did you achieve your goals? How are you smarter now?

We will shortly put 2012 away and welcome a new year. 2013 will bring a round of new resolutions and their related expectations.

I hope you have a very Happy and safe New Year.

Ruminations on blog metrics June 16, 2012

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous, Trends.
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The old saw about what gets measured gets managed comes to mind when I think about blog metrics. When you collect and analyze measurements, that is part of the management. You watch for changes; learn what works and repeat those. You also learn what does not work and avoid repeating those.

So it was interesting to me watching the traffic for this blog grow over the past few months. I was measuring and managing very well for quite a while. Then, the floor on the blog traffic measures fell out. My blog posts stopped for a time. While I was measuring, I was not managing. Perhaps I had a few too many spinning plates and some fell and broke. I was managing other things but not the blog and there was a definite impact on traffic.

I also managed comments to this blog. Some real genuine comments submitted, many other comments that are just spam. The spammers are amusing in that they repeat themselves. Or, better yet, they repeat each other. Verbatim. So I manage the spam by deleting it. The positive comments are accepted and shown.  Thank You to all who take the time to submit those.

Since this blog started, I have been measuring using the metrics provided by WordPress. I also use tools from Google Webmaster and  Bing webmaster  (which looks quite different these days) to measure and then manage. From these tools and managing the comments, I learn what works and watch the traffic.

Perhaps this post will bring traffic back to more recent levels. I’ll be measuring and then manage from there.

What blog metrics do you measure? How does that drive how you manage your blog? Comments invited and I will share the good ones. 😉

Spoiling the Journey, updated May 6, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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Media Post Blogger CORY TREFFILETTI read the same article in Wired that I did. I have posted my comments previously here.Wanted to share Cory’s post on the same subject.

BTW, he enjoys the journey also. 😉