Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cloud Culture 3: Reality has become a Video Game

[Collaborative Series 3/8]



This post is #3 in an collaborative eight part series by Brad Szollose and Rob Hirschfeld about how culture shapes technology.

 

Do Video Games Really Matter
That Much to Digital Natives?


Yes. Video games are the formative computer user experience (a.k.a. UX) for nearly everyone born since 1977. Genealogists call these people Gen X, Gen Y, or Millennials, but we use the more general term “Digital Natives” because they were born into a world surrounded by interactive digital technology starting from their toys and learning devices.

Malcolm Gladwell explains, in his book Outliers, that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to develop a core skill. In this case, video games have trained all generations since 1977 in a whole new way of thinking. It’s not worth debating if this is a common and ubiquitous experience; instead, we’re going to discuss the impact of this cultural tsunami.

Before we dive into impacts, it is critical for you to suspend your attitude about video games as a frivolous diversion. Brad explores this topic in Liquid Leadership, and Jane McGonnagle, in Reality is Broken, spends significant time exploring the incredibly valuable real world skills that Digital Natives hone playing games. When they are “gaming,” they are doing things that adults would classify as serious work: 

  • Designing buildings and creating machines that work within their environment
  • Hosting communities and enforcing discipline within the group
  • Recruiting talent to collaborate on shared projects
  • Writing programs that improve their productivity
  • Solving challenging mental and physical problems under demanding time pressures
  • Learning to persevere through multiple trials and iterative learning
  • Memorizing complex sequences, facts, resource constraints, and situational rules

Why focus on Video Gamers? 


Because this series is about doing business with Digital Natives and video games are a core developmental experience.

The impact of Cloud Culture on technology has profound implications and is fertile ground for future collaboration between Rob and Brad. However, we both felt that the challenge of selling to gamers crystallized the culture clash in a very practical and financially meaningful sense. Culture can be a “soft” topic, but we’re putting a hard edge on it by bringing it home to business impacts.

Digital Natives play on a global scale and interact with each other in ways that Digital Immigrants cannot imagine. Brad tells it best with this story about his nephew:

Years ago, in a hurry to leave the house, we called out to our video game playing nephew to join us for dinner.

“Sebastian, we’re ready.” I was trying to be as gentle as possible without sounding Draconian. That was the parenting methods of my father’s generation. Structure. Discipline. Hierarchy. Fear. Instead, I wanted to be the Cool Uncle.

“I can’t,” he exclaimed as wooden drum sticks pounded out their high-pitched rhythm on the all too familiar color-coded plastic sensors of a Rock Band drum kit.

“What do you mean you can’t? Just stop the song, save your data, and let’s go.”

“You don’t understand. I’m in the middle of a song.” Tom Sawyer by RUSH to be exact. He was tackling Neil Peart. Not an easy task. I was impressed.

“What do you mean I don’t understand? Shut it off.” By now my impatience was noticeable. Wow, I lasted 10 seconds longer than my father if he had been in this same scenario. Progress I guess.

And then my 17-year-old nephew hit me with some cold hard facts without even knowing it… “You don’t understand… the guitar player is some guy in France, and the bass player is this girl in Japan.” 

In my mind the aneurism that was forming just blew… “What did he just say?”

And there it was, sitting in my living room—a citizen of the Digital Age. He was connected to the world as if this was normal. Trained in virtualization, connected and involved in a world I was not even aware of! 

My wife and I just looked at each other. This was the beginning of the work I do today. To get businesses to realize the world of the Digital Worker is a completely different world. This is a generation prepared to work in The Cloud Culture of the future.

A Quote from Liquid Leadership, Page 94, How Technology Influences Behavior…
In an article in the Atlantic magazine, writer Nicholas Carr (author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains) cites sociologist Daniel Bell as claiming the following: “Whenever we begin to use ‘intellectual technologies’ such as computers (or video games)—tools that extend our mental rather than our physical capacities—we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies."

In other words, the technology we use...
changes our behavior!
 


There’s another important consideration about Gamers and Digital Natives. As we stated in post 1, our focus for this series is not the average gamer; we are seeking the next generation of IT decision makers. Those people will be the true digital enthusiasts who have devoted even more energy to mastering the culture of gaming and understand intuitively how to win in the cloud.

“All your base belongs to us.”

Translation: If you’re not a Gamer, can you work with Digital Natives?


Our goal for this series is to provide you with actionable insights that do not require rewriting how you work. We do not expect you to get a World of Warcraft subscription and try to catch up. If you already are one then we’ll help you cope with your Digital Immigrant coworkers. 

In the next posts, we will explain four key culture differences between Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives. For each, we explore the basis for this belief and discuss how to facilitate Digital Natives decision-making processes.

Tune in Next Wednesday... 

Until then, here's Chuck Norris on World of Warcraft:
http://youtu.be/gKYlARdbU1o



Our point of view: About the authors

Rob Hirschfeld and Brad Szollose are both proud technology geeks, but they’re geeks from different generations who enjoy each other’s perspective on this brave new world.

Rob is a first-generation Digital Native. He grew up in Baltimore reprogramming anything with a keyboard—from a Casio VL-Tone and beyond. In 2000, he learned about server virtualization and never looked back.

In 2008, he realized his teen ambition to convert a gas car to run electric (a.k.a. RAVolt.com). Today, from his Dell offices and local coffee shops, he creates highly disruptive open source cloud technologies for Dell's customers.


Brad is a Cusp Baby Boomer who grew up watching the original Star Trek series, secretly wishing he would be commanding a Constitution Class Starship in the not-too-distant future.

Since that would take a while, Brad became a technology-driven creative director who cofounded one of the very first Internet development agencies during the dot-com boom. As a Web pioneer, Brad was forced to invent a new management model that engaged the first wave of Digital Workers.

Today, Brad helps organizations like Dell close the digital divide by understanding it as a cultural divide created by new tech-savvy workers ... and customers.

Beyond the fun of understanding each other better, we are collaborating on this white paper for different reasons.
  • Brad is fostering liquid leaders who have the vision to span cultures and to close the gap between cultures.
  • Rob is building communities with the vision to use cloud products that fit the Digital Native culture.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cloud Culture 2: TL;DR?

Generation Cloud Cheat sheet [Collaborative Series 2/8]



This post is #2 in an collaborative eight part series by Brad Szollose and Rob Hirschfeld about how culture shapes technology.

 

SUBTITLE: Your series is TOO LONG, I DID NOT READ It!

This post is #2 in an collaborative eight part series by Brad Szollose and I about how culture shapes technology.

Your attention is valuable to us! In this section, you will find the contents of this entire blog series distilled down into a flow chart and one-page table. Our plan is to release one post each Wednesday at 1 pm ET.

Graphical table of contents


The following flow chart is provided for readers who are looking to maximize the efficiency of their reading experience.

flow chart
If you are unfamiliar with flow charts, simply enter at the top left oval. Diamonds are questions for you to choose between answers on the departing arrows. The curved bottom boxes are posts in the series.

Culture conflict table (the Red versus Blue game map)

Our fundamental challenge is that the cultures of Digital Immigrants and Natives are diametrically opposed. The Culture Conflict Table, below, maps out the key concepts that we explore in depth during this blog series.

Digital Immigrants (N00Bs) Digital Natives (L33Ts)
Foundation: Each culture has different expectations in partners
Obey Rules
They want us to prove we are worthy to achieve “trusted advisor” status. They are seeking partners who fit within their existing business practices.
Test Boundaries
They want us to prove that we are innovative and flexible. They are seeking partners who bring new ideas that improve their business.
  1. Organizational Hierarchy see No Spacesuits (Post 4)
Permission Driven
Organizational Hierarchy is efficient Feel important talking high in the org Higher ranks can make commitments Bosses make decisions (slowly)
Peer-to-Peer Driven
Organizational Hierarchy is limiting Feel productive talking lower in the org Lower ranks are more collaborative Teams make decisions (quickly)
  1. Communication Patterns see MMOG as Job Training (Post 5)
Formalized & Structured
Waits for Permission Bounded & Linear Requirements Focused Questions are interruptions
Casual & Interrupting
Does NOT KNOW they need permission Open Ended Discovered & Listening Questions show engagement
  1. Risks and Rewards see Level Up (Post 6)
Obeys Rules
Avoid Risk—mistakes get you fired! Wait and see Fear of “looking foolish”
Breaks Rules
Embrace Risk—mistakes speed learning Iterate to succeed Risks get you “in the game”
  1. Building your Expertise see Becoming L33T (Post 7)
Knowledge is Concentrated
Expertise is hard to get (Diploma) Keeps secrets (keys to success) Quantitate—you can measure it
Knowledge is Distributed and Shared
Expertise is easy to get (Google) Likes sharing to earn respect Qualitative—trusts intuition


Hopefully, this condensed version got you thinking. In the next post, we start to break this information down.  

Tune in Next Wednesday...

Our point of view: About the authors

Rob Hirschfeld and Brad Szollose are both proud technology geeks, but they’re geeks from different generations who enjoy each other’s perspective on this brave new world.

Rob is a first-generation Digital Native. He grew up in Baltimore reprogramming anything with a keyboard—from a Casio VL-Tone and beyond. In 2000, he learned about server virtualization and never looked back.

In 2008, he realized his teen ambition to convert a gas car to run electric (a.k.a. RAVolt.com). Today, from his Dell offices and local coffee shops, he creates highly disruptive open source cloud technologies for Dell's customers.


Brad is a Cusp Baby Boomer who grew up watching the original Star Trek series, secretly wishing he would be commanding a Constitution Class Starship in the not-too-distant future.

Since that would take a while, Brad became a technology-driven creative director who cofounded one of the very first Internet development agencies during the dot-com boom. As a Web pioneer, Brad was forced to invent a new management model that engaged the first wave of Digital Workers.

Today, Brad helps organizations like Dell close the digital divide by understanding it as a cultural divide created by new tech-savvy workers ... and customers.

Beyond the fun of understanding each other better, we are collaborating on this white paper for different reasons.
  • Brad is fostering liquid leaders who have the vision to span cultures and to close the gap between cultures.
  • Rob is building communities with the vision to use cloud products that fit the Digital Native culture.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cloud Culture 1:

How New IT Leaders are Transforming the way We Create and Purchase Technology. [Collaborative Series 1/8]

  Welcome to the FIRST blog article in my collaborative series with fellow tech guy Rob Hirschfeld of Dell's Cloud division. 


Over 3 years of back and forth discussion and white papers, long dinners at Chipotle and The Carnegie Deli to bring you the first in a series of collaborations. Enjoy...I hand the reigns over to Rob.

Why L33Ts Don’t Buy From N00Bs


Brad Szollose
Rob Hirschfeld
Brad Szollose and I want to engage you in a discussion about how culture shapes technology. We connected over Brad’s best-selling book, Liquid Leadership, and we’ve been geeking about cultural impacts in tech since 2011. 

In these 8 posts, we explore what drives the next generation of IT decision makers starting from the framework of Millennials and Boomers. Recently, we’ve seen that these “age based generations” are artificially limiting; however, they provide a workable context this series that we will revisit in the future.

Our target is leaders who were raised with computers as Digital Natives. They approach business decisions from a new perspective that has been honed by thousands of hours of interactive games, collaboration with global communities, and intuitive mastery of all things digital.  

This Next Generation is between
37 and 21 years of age. The Average
Buyer of IT Tech: 37.
Raised on Video Games, Computers
and The Internet.
The members of this “Generation Cloud” are not just more comfortable with technology; they use it differently and interact with each other in highly connected communities.

They function easily with minimal supervision, self-organize into diverse teams, dive into new situations, take risks easily, and adapt strategies fluidly. Using cloud technologies and computer games, they have become very effective winners. 


In this series, we examine three key aspects of next-generation leaders and offer five points to get to the top of your game. Our goal is to find, nurture, and collaborate with them because they are rewriting the script for success. 

We have seen that there is a technology-driven culture change that is reshaping how business is being practiced. 


Let’s dig in!

 

What is Liquid Leadership?

“a fluid style of leadership that continuously sustains the flow of ideas in an organization in order to create opportunities in an ever-shifting marketplace."

 

Forever Learning?

In his groundbreaking 1970s book, Future Shock, Alvin Toffler pointed out that in the not too distant future, technology would inundate the human race with all its demands, overwhelming those not prepared for it. He compared this overwhelming feeling to culture shock.

Welcome to the future! Part of the journey in discussing this topic is to embrace the digital lexicon. To help with translations we are offering numerous subtitles and sidebars. For example, the subtitle “L33Ts don’t buy from N00Bs” translates to “Digital elites don’t buy from technical newcomers.” 

Loosen your tie and relax; we’re going to have some fun together. We've got 7 more posts in this cloud culture series.  

We've also included more background about the series and authors...