Dec 31, 2013

Wordle 2013

Here's this years wordle about from my blog posts. This is tradition to me and here are my previous wordles (2010, 2011 & 2012). Word cloud reveals what has been obvious to me the whole year, I've been mainly writing about books.

Because book stole so much from my words, I decided to do another wordle without the word book on it. I also took some other obvious words away from the cloud to see what really have been the subjects in books and other posts that have been raised up.

I was gladly surprised to see that people, business, development and world raised to be such a popular words. Also there were words like ideas, systems, thinking, training etc mentioned so many times. It is fun to see in this format what I really have been writing.

Happy new year to everybody.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 30, 2013

Review of my Web Wanderer Blog Posts from 2013

My blogging frequency have been going down from past years a bit this year. After the first months of 2013, I've been mainly blogging about books. I managed to read around 30 books, so I at least blogged from all of those.

Here's a review of what has happened in my blog this year. Which were the most read blog posts and which were the posts I personally liked the most.

Five most popular blog posts from year 2013


  1. The tempting "do not disturb" icon
  2. Book Review - This is Service Design Thinking
  3. Market Analysis - Cloud storage in ecosystem war?
  4. False security of documenting everything
  5. Book Review - To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

I thought the whole "do not disturb"-icon post was so silly, that I almost didn't publish it at all. It shows that the simplest posts sell. I guess from Book Reviews Service Design book got there due to my critical view about the book. If I would be looking for readers, I should be writing critically about books and making half funny posts. I do this blogging for my own fun, so I think I'll keep writing the same stuff than previosly.

My own five favorite posts from year 2013


These are the posts I'm most happy with. I think these posts have a good point and should be valuable to someone. It's hard to put those in order, so they are in random order:


I had bit trouble with my health this year and even though I completed my firsts half-ironman, I still was sick a lot. And when I'm sick, I can't really write. I hope next year will be much better and I'm writing much more about other things than just books. And certainly I will be writing about books.

Thanks for reading!

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 28, 2013

Book Review: Sand Hill Road by Timo Ahopelto

Sand Hill Road by Timo Ahopelto isn't a type of a book I would easily select myself to be read. This book interested me due to the background story. Timo Ahopelto is one of the founders of CRF Health and this book follows loosely the history of first years of the company. The reason CRF Health interests me is that I've worked as consultant with them for more than a year. Some of the people of this partly fictive story still
work there. That said, my review of the book is bit biased since I know bit more about the company than regular reader will.

CRF Health was founded to solve the problem of using paper and pen to get information from patients during medical studies. Most of us have at some point answered some medical questionnaires in paper and this company has focused on using tablets and mobile phones for this data gathering. In this book there are many medical companies mentioned, but it doesn't go in to too much details of how the stuff technically works. This book tells more about the mental side of building a start-up.

Timo Ahopelto writes in quite living way and story goes forward really rapidly, almost too fast. Some times I found myself wondering what happened to this and that which was mentioned earlier in the book. There are few loose ends in the book, which I would have liked to get an answer at some point. Book is fun to read, but it mixes serious things with comical aspects so that I got bit lost about the idea behind the book. At first I thought it as teachful real life story, then bit as guide for new start-ups, also  at some point it takes a bit political viewpoint and at the end it turns more to the the fictive side.

I enjoyed all the sharp observations and opinions about start-ups and business life what Timo Ahopelto brings up in the book. Those small, one or two paragraph mentions, were really good additions to the book. I would like to read more of Timo Ahopelto's thought about business life and start-ups.

I recommend this book to at least all the Finns interested in different businesses and companies in Finland. It's hard to say what percentage of the book is fictional and how much of it is true. Still I believe it gives good view on what it might be to create successful company. It's an entertaining story, so it's easy and fun to read. It's a story of Finnish start-up success and that makes it important for so many.

P.S. I believe the book is currently only published in Finnish and I read it in Finnish.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 22, 2013

Book Review: Adventures of Bystander by Peter F. Drucker

Adventures of Bystander was not a book I would have selected to be read myself, but when I got the book from my sister's husband when they moved abroad, I decided to read it. Author Peter F. Drucker was somewhat familiar to me, but this book was not.

Peter Drucker is famous management thinker, so I had expectations that this book would have had more about management. It really didn't. It's a book about Mr Drucker's life and interesting people he had known.
And he really had known many important persons from 20th century.

Book tells about interesting people, but also about life during and after World War II. Drucker is originally from Vienna and left Austria bit before nazis conquered the city. He lived in London and New York and worked with many magazines, universities and interesting companies.

Some people introduced in the book are genuinely interesting, others seem to mentioned because them being famous. The interesting people were interesting to read, the famous people not that much.

Book is divided to the stories going Mr Drucker's life through quite chronologically. Of course people are followed through their lifetime, but stories start from Drucker's order of knowing the people.

History is important and quite often interesting. Sometimes it's just plain boring with lots of names and happenings on politics. Time to time I was really keen on reading and sometimes I couldn't cared less to read. That summaries my thinking about the book. Half of it is really good, half quite boring.

It's difficult to recommend this book. If you are fan of Peter Drucker it's a must book to read. If you like history of Europe and US after 1930, this is a good book. If you like biographies, it's a different one and you might like it. For me, it wasn't that good.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 1, 2013

False security of documenting everything

People have this inbuilt instinct of keeping stuff in case those are needed later. In work life this is  seen so, that everything needs to be documented in order to use it later. In some companies this grows to be part of company culture. There are thousands of notes waiting for further use.

Documentation as such is not waste. There are many things that should be documented for later use. The hard part is selecting what is important. In many cases this selection is not done, but almost everything gets documented for further use. This starts to increase waste and eventually become a real burden to any organization.

This kind of company culture enables fire and forget mentality. It enable important issues to be set aside, because those are documented and will be handled later. This gives the false security that because I documented this important thing to the list of important things, it is not my responsibility anymore to take care of it.

This fire and forget mentality connected to high documentation culture creates environment where people get frustrated, start to blame the organization and even become bitter in the long run. As an example I've heard so many times, that someone proposed something to the documentation system and because no one took care of it, this problem now arrived. Even them saying something like the example, they don't understand the fallacy they have fell in to.

Organizations which rely less on documentation and more on individual responsibility, will actually get things done. Offering ways to move responsibility to documentation systems creates waste. It creates the false security of having things under control.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Nov 14, 2013

Book Review: Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch

Winning by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch was a book I wouldn't have selected myself. I got this book to my bookshelf while ago and decided to take it with me to a business trip. Book is about Jack Welch thoughts and for that reason book review is also mainly about Jack Welch.

Book itself is written in okay way and it's quite easy to read. Jack Welch is not that controversial person, but his position in business world has been so unique that I think his experience and thoughts are really suitable only for handful of people in the world. Years heading GE there where always 300 000 - 400 000 people working for him. That's quite unusual.

It's pretty hard to criticize a man who raised company value 4000% in 20 years. Still it's hard to say how much of the success is really coming from him. As an example, he mentioned in the book that he has experience in over 1000 acquisitions. If you count that those are from 20 years, when he was the CEO, it would mean 4 acquisitions in a month. With that kind of frequency his contribution to those must have been quite small.

I did enjoy some parts of the book. I love the way he tries to raise the importance of HR and hiring. He gives good tips about hiring and detecting the talent.

For me the best thing about this book was, that there is and will be people who are all about money and power. This book helps understanding them. I don't really want to work with them or become one of them, but once in a while I might need to. It's always good to understand different people, no matter how differently you value things.

If you don't read a lot, I recommend to skip this book. I only finished it due to being in airplane without having anything better to do. It's not an important book so pick something else to read.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Nov 13, 2013

Book Review: Small Is The New Big

I've read couple of Seth Godin books before and always enjoyed those. This Small Is The New Big got to my bookshelf almost by accident, but knowing the author I couldn't leave it unread. I'm so happy I did read it. Even though the book is bit old already the ideas in it are mainly fresh and valuable.

This book is not a real book actually. It's a collection of best blog posts from Seth. For the weirdest reasons it's in alphabetic order, but it still flows quite nicely forward.

It's hard to say anything actual about the book. The only thing I can say is that I felt really energetic reading this book. I was full of ideas and even made some decisions about my future goals reading this book.

I think I'll make it mandatory for myself to read one Seth Godin a year. Even I knew exactly what to expect from the book, still I amazed myself to feel so good reading it. Seth has a brilliant mind and good writing skills which makes the reading experience wonderful.

I recommend to read some of Seth Godin books. If you can't really concentrate on reading properly, this is the book for you. Stories are short but full with good insights. If you enjoy reading more take some other of Seth Godin books.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Nov 3, 2013

Book Review: Reach For The Sky

Reach for the Sky is a real life story about Douglas Bader, man who lost both of his legs in flying accident and still became one of the greatest pilots in the world. His story is inspiring in so many different ways. His journey through all the difficulties and his time in German prisons would be worth to read even without him losing both of his legs, but that makes it even more important.

Douglas Bader gives important lesson to everyone about the willpower. He knew what he wanted and kept trying long enough to get his answers. Some might say he was stubborn, but I would say he was consistent. He did realize that some of the things became impossible to him, but he had to learn it himself and didn't let anyone to tell him that. That's the lesson we all should learn, we shouldn't let anyone else tell us what we can and what we can't do.

The Author, Paul Brickhill, is a pilot himself. That has given him a skill to describe flying quite comprehensively. Also Brickhill was a prisoner himself in German prisons, so the stories about escapes are really authentic and detailed.

Story is good dive in to the World War II and to the incredible life of Douglas Bader. I haven't read many biographies, but I'm happy I read this one. I really enjoyed the book and I'm happy to recommend this book to everyone. It teaches about history, but also it teaches us about how important willpower and believing to your own skills is.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Oct 19, 2013

Book Review: Hot Spots by Lynda Gratton

Hot Spots by Lynda Gratton is a book about building well working teams and workplaces. It gives reasons why some teams learn to work together effectively and start create new innovative ideas. Also it tells why some teams don't ever get to this state and why even the most effective teams die away at some point.

I love the idea of the book. I think it is important to try to learn building more effective teams. The theories and ideas in the book are good ones, but still something is missing. Theories and ideas do make sense, but I'm not sure are those more than just theories. It is really easy to like the contents of the book, but still I didn't.

I had hard time to believe the contents of the book. Maybe one reason was the it used Nokia team as one of the main examples in all around the book. I've been working at Nokia for 7 years and I have seen few great teams there, but I didn't really believe the story in this one. It's so easy to use companies like Nokia as example, at the time of the example Nokia was doing so great that even the adequate teams were seen as great.

I didn't really believe any of the other examples in the book. Maybe it was the style those were written, but there was nothing really special on those teams. There was no actual prove that those teams really were hot spots as Lynda Gratton tells us.

I liked the ideas and theories, but I didn't get any actual prove that those really work. Maybe my expectations were just much higher for the book.

I don't really recommend this book. It's much praised and it has been getting good reviews, but I will not give it to anyone to read. There are good insights, but there's nothing that person who have seen many teams couldn't figure out themselves.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Oct 5, 2013

Book Review: Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion

I've had the book Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini long time in my reading list. That's the reason I had high expectations towards the book. It was a good book, but it didn't quite deliver to my expectations.

This book is a business classic and has been discussed and reviewed so many time in different forums. The contents of it are important dive to the psychology of decision making. Why some are better to sell and persuade than others? What are their techniques and why those work? There are many really interesting and important topics covered.

The thing is that this book is old. It was first published already 1984, nearly 30 years ago. Unfortunately this starts to show. The examples are not from this world and many have gone irrelevant already. The underlying psychological aspects are still relevant, but this book isn't anymore the best way to learn those.

Best part of the book for me, was the section of commitment and consistency. It opened up how giving a smallest commitment tricks you to do many following actions based on your unnoticed commitment.

I feel bit sad to give bad words of such a business classic. It's easy to understand why it had become classic and important book. World just have gone too far from year 1984. Psychology understanding has gone forward from those years, selling and marketing has taken huge leaps from those years and people's behavior is not what it was back then.

As good book as this is, I still don't really recommend it to many. The ones who want to read the business classics, this is a must read. For others, it's a good book, but please be aware that it's an old one.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Sep 9, 2013

Book Review: The Principles of Product Development Flow

I was told already about three years ago, that I should read some of Reinertsen books to understand much more about product development. Finally I read The Principles of Product Development Flow. I'm actually happy that I didn't read it earlier. It is a great book, but I have learned so much about product development during past years, that I was myself much more ready to understand the book, that I would have been earlier.

This book is not normal SW development book. I'm not sure if Agile or Scrum was even mentioned in this book. There is lot of talks about Kanban, but mainly because of queue's and because Kanban is great tool for better queue handling. This book dives in understanding where the value really is in Product Development.

One important part of this book is that it goes through why Lean is different for SW than it is for manufacturing. There are different economical factors affecting SW than normal factory. In both handling queues are important, but for example variation might even be valuable in SW, when in manufacturing it mainly waste.

I have to admit, that even with my economical background and interest in theories, still sometimes book got bit too technical to me. It really digs in deep to all subjects and make sure it has enough scientific or case study based evidence for the presented principles.

It is really important book for product development professionals. The ideas as such are valuable to everyone, but this book isn't the easiest to read. I recommend it to everyone who really want to understand how the whole product organization should work.

To be honest, I believe many of the readers of this book, will not understand how important this book is. If I will ever get to the level of understanding Reinertsen has for Product development economics, I'll be really happy. Be brave and take the challenge.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Aug 23, 2013

Book Review - Mindset:The New Psychology of Success

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck is a book about learning. It's a book about how people can learn their whole life when believing in learning and growth.

Book talks about two different kind of mindsets; the fixed mindset, which means believing that talent is given and born, and the growth mindset, believing that people can always learn to be better on everything. Book goes through examples and science behind it from many different views. It looks sports, business and arts. It introduces many good examples of people who are in growth mindset and some who are in fixed mindset.

Book goes through how this mindset difference affects on people's behavior in different challenges and daily routines. It also introduces reasons why people has grown in to either fixed or growth mindset.

Book has its own section for parents, coaches and teachers. I see parents to be most important ones. They can accidentally grow their children easily to fixed mindset with having good intentions to grow to be successful and open for learning. Giving credit for good grades for example can turn against the child, so that they are not taking challenges anymore in the future, since they become afraid of not being good at something. I actually believe this to be true, many of the people who got the best grades at school, haven't taken the challenge anymore at the work life.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who has kids, is a teacher or is a coach. There is lot of proof that genes don't mean everything and everyone really can learn. Also important is to understand that for learners, willingness to learn is more important than the immediate results and grades.

I really liked the book. It was entertaining with many good examples. I've read couple of books about the same subject from different perspectives , so the area starts to be familiar to me. Still I found some good new information from this book. It was entertaining.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Aug 4, 2013

Book Review: Green Illusions

Latest book I read was Green Illusions by Ozzie Zehner. For once it was a book I have no preconceptions and I didn't really have a clue what was coming. I don't even know how I actually picked it up and ordered it, but I'm glad I did.

Green Illusions is a book explaining what current green initiatives there are ongoing in the world and why many of those will never solve the actual problem of us ruining the globe. It goes through in very detail solar power, wind power and all other electricity based green thinking ventures.

Book is provocative and maybe even exaggerating about some of the things, but it definitely makes people think. Raising thought is the sole purpose of the book, so I at least forgive the colorful and bit overstating way on looking at these things. I don't believe all the things are so black and white as proposed in the book, but I do undersign most of the thoughts from the book.

Book goes beyond normal green thinking philosophies as it talks about women's rights, population growth, cutting consumption and lot more. It is a comprehensive look on what the problems currently are, why the current solutions don't work and what are the best things to start with for the future.

It is an excellent book and really glad I read it. It is bit too much looking the world from American perspective, but that is understandable from the writers background and also because US is big part of the problem and the solution.

I recommend this book to everyone. I don't see who shouldn't read this. I really hope this raises thoughts within everyone's head. Maybe this book gets people to not to buy the second car or from building too big house or even cutting the trees from shadowing houses. It is provocative book and no one should buy everything from the book without thinking, but there's a lot to learn for everyone here. Please read it.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jul 16, 2013

Book Review: Business Model Generation

I've been interested on business models for some time. I often try to understand what is important for companies for their success. For this interest I wanted to read Business Model Generation, highly appraised book about business models.

At first glance the book seemed bit too entertaining and easy to read for actually have valuable information. I admit being bit pessimistic to start reading it, but luckily I was wrong. Even though the design and layout of the book are far from normal business book, the actual content is 100% full of valuable information.

Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur have done a wonderful job of inventing and representing a good way to evaluate and invent business models. They also nicely compare their business model generation to other ways to evaluate business models.

Book is also filled with good real life examples of usage of business model generation and also mapping real life business models to the business model canvas, as they call it.

I think this book has raised to be one of the business books everyone needs to read. It's easy and fun to read and there is lot of value in different sections of the book. Authors have decided not to go deep in any of the subjects, but that's understandable for now. I bet they'll write another book going deeper in to the world of business models in the future.

I highly recommend the book for everyone, it's time well spent. And I really mean everyone, it is valuable to all employees to understand where the value is actually coming. Also it offers good ways to raise new business ideas within companies.

It's an excellent book and it will become part of everyday bookshelf. I will definitely reopen to check things from there in near future.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jun 30, 2013

Book Review: Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance

Once in a while I'll try to read something related to my endurance hobbies. This time I wanted to know more about tapering, preparing for competitions. From some blogs I run into Inigo Mujika and his recent book Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance.

Inigo Mujika is respected researcher and also have lot of practical experience from coaching many teams and individuals. His background made it is easy to believe what he is saying about the subject.

I did expect book to have more practical tips about tapering, but book had lot of scientific knowledge about the subject. It went through tapering from so many different approached based on scientific researches, that it was even bit hard to follow all the differences. Information was really valuable, but I have to admit sometimes I didn't fully understand all the nuances of different studies.

At the end of the book there were real life stories and plans from world class athletes, coaches and teams. It was excellent, that those examples were really from the best, olympic medalists and world champions. Those gave excellent practical knowledge on tapering. Of course tapering is different for world level athletes, than for normal amateur athlete, but same laws mainly should apply.

I recommend this book to all coaches and athletes who really want to make it to the top. For amateur athletes, like I, book is bit too technical. One need to be really into understanding small details, if they're going to read this. So I recommend this book, but with a small note aside.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jun 23, 2013

Book Review: Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku

I love futuristic estimates of what world will be in coming years. So often most of those are total nonsense, but from the reviews I understood that this book might be different. I was eager to Michio Kaku's book Physics of the Future.

Even though the idea of the book is to guess future, Michio Kaku does guessing with so much facts about current science and knowledge from the leading experts on their field, that many guesses will happen for sure.

Book makes estimates about future of computers, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, space travel, wealth and humanity. It gives estimates about all of the subjects for near future (next 20 years), mid century (2050-2070 timeframe) and end of the century (2100). All estimates are based on facts about current situation and from history of innovations.

I loved every page of the book. It was interesting to know about current situation about innovations and science in different areas. Also the predictions as such were fun to read. All the time I just kept thinking, will i live to see that happen. Hopefully many of the things mentioned in the book will happen on my lifetime. World needs many of the inventions speculated in the book.

 I can highly recommend this book to everyone. It is interesting, provocative and raises lot of thoughts. I can't remember when was the last time I hoped that book wouldn't have ended so fast. And the book was more than 400 pages long. I loved it and many others will too.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jun 8, 2013

Book Review: Little Book of Talent - 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills

I loved Daniel Coyle's previous book the Talent Code. That's the reason I wanted check another book from him, The Little Book of Talent - 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills.

Quite soon after I started to read this book, it became obvious that this book has the same contents as his previous one, just in much simpler form. For that reason, it is hard to review this one as a separate book. The ideas and information behind all the tips are good ones. Formatting these to the form of short tips although drops something out of the credibility of the content.

Formatting book in form of short tips about how to make things better, makes books easy and enjoyable. It hopefully then helps to get more people to read the message. Once in a while I do read books formatted like this, but I always miss the background information. Same happened this time, I would have liked to really get some more information about facts and stories behind each tip. I guess it just me, for many people this kind of formatting might be enough.

Content of the book is excellent. It tells about how people learn and gives good tips on learning. It is based on visits on, what Daniel Coyle call, talent hotbeds and actual scientific proof on nervous system studies. So there's a true basis where these tips are based, it just doesn't come out in a good form.

I recommend to read either this book, if you are bit lazy or the other one, if you want to know the backgrounds too. Daniel Coyle's message is worth of checking out.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 31, 2013

Book Review - Scaling Lean & Agile Development

I haven't lately read that many books on Agile and software development, since I have felt that I learn more about software development reading about other subject than software development. Also some of the books have been quite boring, but I wanted give Craig Larmans and Bas Voddes book a change based on good reviews I had seen.

Too often books about Agile or Lean say mainly the same things that all other books are saying. Scaling Lean & Agile Development was a fresh exception. Although it did explain many of the basic things, but it did those with easy and compact form, so it wasn't disturbing.

Book goes thoroughly through many different aspects of Agile development in larger scale. It does concentrate on Scrum in it's name, but it does look the things from really from organizational perspective. It doesn't only look from certain layers, but it tries to cover many different aspect. It actually tells about the agile transformation and thinking tools also to get into scaled agile development.

It is easy and fun to read, but it does require background knowledge of agile development, scrum and lean to  get most benefits from it. So it isn't the first book to read about agile, but somehow I feel it never is the first book.

I enjoyed it a lot and highly recommend it to anyone who are in organization which have more than one development team doing software development.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 19, 2013

Sometimes good service is to tell to the customer they are not right?

I was recently at US on a business trip. At hotel restaurant I put the bill to my room bill. It was my first day there and I didn't remember my room number correctly, which I didn't notice. Then few minutes later the waiter came back being really sorry that She had made some mistake and I need to sign the thing again. I wondered a bit with the bill but eventually noticed that, the room number was actually the issue there.

For me, as a European and Finn, that's a bad service. I would have been much more pleased if the waiter would have just come to say, that she thinks that I may have entered the wrong number.

At the trip there was even a second similar thing that happened. I'm pretty sure I was at the wrong place and others had to make changes due to me, but others just kept telling, it was their fault.

I admire polite honesty on a customer service more than a fake pleasing. There's enough faking in the world.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 9, 2013

Book Review: Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett

Evolution theory and all the things related to it, has been an interest for me. This time I wanted to dig deeper and read Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett. It is highly appreciated book with good reviews.   It was a book I wanted to check out.

I had assumptions that this book dives in to the subject deep, but still I got amazed how deep it went. It started from old philosophic thoughts and then worked its way to Darwin and to latest thoughts in 1990's. All the topics were covered thoroughly with scientific way of comparing things from all perspectives.

Book covers subjects from the beginning of the whole universe to meme's. It talks about God and evolution theory. It covers philosophical thoughts. There is almost anything one can think that affect Darwin's original thoughts.

As an ordinary, non biology or philosophy expert, I was sometimes overwhelmed about all the information there was. Even tough sometimes I wasn't able to understand everything, I just kept going and tried to catch up later on.

I did enjoy the book. It was pretty hard to read, but the contents were such a valuable and brilliant, that it turned the book to positive experience. I did learn a lot during this book. It raised a lots of thoughts all the time I was reading it. For sure this wasn't the last book about these subjects I read. I need to know more sometimes.

I can recommend this book to people who are genuinely interested on Evolution theory, philosophy or biology overall. Without this interest, book might get too hard to read and follow. It is an excellent book, but pretty laborious to read. 

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 7, 2013

Book Review - This is Service Design Thinking

Service Design has been an interesting topic for me for a some time. Finally I wanted to get more understanding about it and its basic. That's the reason I got my hands on a book that was saying to be "the book" for service design -This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider.

I was super excited to start reading about the wonderful world of service design. I read and read and read and became really bored. First hundred pages of the book the authors are trying to say WE ARE IMPORTANT. I knew it already, designing good services is important and doing it structured way with service design must be even more important. After this start, I wasn't anymore really sure. If someone needs to state in so many different ways that they are important, maybe they really are not.

In the middle section book got better. It told in short articles, bit like blog posts, methods to do service design. Unfortunately these were quite simplistic and didn't dig into most of those properly. If you think of a book like Gamestorming, that's about ten times more useful for these methods than this book.

My hopes was for the last section of the book, examples of service design. As the whole book, that turned out to be a disappointment too. Examples were not really interesting and the way those were presented was quite dull. In one of the examples the designed service never got in to use, but they stated project was still a success. I think the exact opposite. Service which was designed but never got live, is a failure, real big failure.

Book was planned by top service designers and that might have been that the reading experience also failed. They tried in top of everything to renew the concept of a book with coloring, icons and lines going here and there. That made the book complex to read. Maybe there would not have been need to renew a such a working concept that a book is.

I honestly don't recommend this book to anyone. I want to believe Service Design and the people behind service design. This book does no good to the practice. There must be better books about the subject than this one.

I don't think I learned anything about this book. At least not in the positive way. Do yourself a favor, mark this to the "no go" list.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Apr 19, 2013

Book Review - Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows

I've been wanting to get in to a systems thinking for some time already. As I often do, I'll try to find the best book for the subject. With systems thinking, book from Donella H. Meadows seemed to be it. Thinking in Systems was written already in 2001, but it feels as fresh as any book.

Book starts from very basic systems and theory round those. Even though it goes to very basics, it's not dull and boring, but interesting way to look on familiar systems. Via these basic systems book explains the underlying theories behind systems thinking.

Thinking in Systems builds cleverly up from the basics to more complex systems and to theories around systems. It is quite easy to follow, but it requires thinking to keep up with system feedback loops and other things affecting systems.

What is funny about the systems theory in this book, is that everything is actually quite simple and easy to understand as a system, but then on the other hand, no one can really tell how complex systems will actually work. I think this is actually how the world works, no one can really certainly tell how changes in system will at the end turn out.

Book introduces common pitfalls with systems. Most of are the things that can be seen almost everyday. People overcompensate on problems or react too heavily on some things. Often the underlying logic of system is forgotten and people are will fix something that has no effect in the overall or will make things actually worse.

It was an excellent book and I recommend it to everyone. This book will help everyone understand more about the world we live in. I'm bit sad to know that not that many will actually read this book. Systems thinking is not the trendiest subject out there. That's a pity. You can be different and read it.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Apr 3, 2013

Book Review: Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

Since my triathlon enthusiasm started I have been trying to get in to a lighter weight for better results. Losing weight has never been easy for me and with raising amount of training load, it has been even harder. That's the reason I got my hands in to a book from Matt Fitzgerald: Racing Weight.

Matt Fitzgerald is a sport nutritionist with a background of endurance sports, coaching endurance sports and working for food companies making products for endurance sports. For me that was background enough to prove he knows what he is talking about.

Book takes comprehensive, but simple enough approach to endurance nutrition. It talks through the basics of diets and different sources of nutrition. It quotes many studies from different points of view to diets and training. It also explains different trends in dieting and their pro's and con's.

Racing Weight ideology brings eating back to basics. It supports foods that are natural. It tells athletes to concentrate on quality of the food and then your own appetite.

Book offers simple methods to improve food quality. It recommends to think or even to calculate a bit what you are eating, but it still keeps things pretty simple. Book also offers good ways to manage your appetite and concentrate that you eat for real need of energy.

I loved the simplistic and naturalistic approach of the book. This type of methodology is not about trends or one truth about dieting. It is a comprehensive way to improve your diet and with that your racing weight. It will be easy to not lose weight or improve fat percentage after reading this book. This doesn't offer any magic tricks, but it makes you think of the elements what makes your body to lose or gain weight. For results that will last, that is essential.

I recommend this book even for the people who are not endurance sports enthusiastic. It gives so much good information to everyone about diets that it's valuable reading for all. It's easy and fun to read, so it's really for everyone

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 28, 2013

Book Review: Implementing Lean Software Development

For about half a year, there was laying on my table the book Implementing Lean Software Development by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. I was working mainly as a Product Manager for a year, so software development issues were not the number one thing on my mind. Now I have been for four months in a really
interesting project to improve software development of a company. I've been really excited about it and for that reason wanted to remind myself on excellent insights I knew Poppendieck's have.

I've read Poppendieck book's before and followed their teachings for some time already. This book had slipped my radar for some reason and I'm actually glad it had. It was really nice to go through thoughts from basics of Lean and Agile software development, without still wasting many pages on those. This book excellently reminds on the basics, but still give valuable information for the more experienced ones.

Book is full of excellent examples starting from the 70's and 80's, but coming back to the latest years. It explains all the things shortly, but understandably. It is excellent source for information and ideas for further information seeking.

What I've always liked about their thinking, is that they don't ever seem to get in to the hype's. They understand that hype's are hype's and Lean and Agile are something more sustainable. Getting better in software development is never about some specific ways of working. It is always about improvement and doing things better than previously.

I don't recommend it to be the first book about Lean or Agile software development. It gives something for everyone, but it is more valuable when one has got more experience to map the information against.

It was an excellent book and I enjoyed it enormously.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 12, 2013

Book Review: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson was addictive dive in the madness industry nowadays. Jon really knows how to grip reader to a journey with many interesting twists.

This was the first book I read from Jon Ronson, so I didn't know what to expect. Still I was waiting for more scientific approach to psychopathy, but the book turned out to be really entertaining. Book told a lot about psychopaths, but also about so much else in the whole madness industry.

I have to admit I got to know much more about Scientology and mental illnesses from the book that I could have never imagined. The best was, that everything was told in really interesting ways. Jon introduced many persons in the book, some with their own name, some with fake names. He did it so interestingly, that I at least had to go and search for more information about many of these people later on.

Maybe suitably for a book about madness industry, book jumps from subject to subject so rapidly, that sometimes it was bit hard to follow. For some other book it would have been annoying, but for madness book, it suits the picture.

I can recommend this to everyone who is interested in people and behaviors in general. It explains some of the madness's happening in the world quite well.

The worst thing for me reading this book was, that now I must find a book with more scientific information about mental illnesses and psychopathy.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Mar 7, 2013

Book Review: Dangerous Ideas by Alf Rehn

By a coincide I bought Dangerous Ideas by Alf Rehn. I had forgotten book I'm reading to home and I had to go to dentist waiting room that day. I didn't want to go there without any book and I stopped by in a local book store to pick up just some book. There this book was and as I knew the book already I quickly decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, it was excellent.

Due to Alf Rehn being a Finn I had followed his career from media for some time. For some reason it hadn't raised my expectation towards the book. I actually had decided not to read the book. I'm happy I gave it a second change .

The book is about creativity. It challenges the whole creativity business and is provocative towards many other things also. That's what I liked in the book. It at least tried to be different from other creativity and innovation books I've read. It made me think differently on many things.

One reason I liked the book was that it matches my thinking in many things. I've seen in many occasions, that these creative persons actually all think alike. Also they quite often hate criticism and questioning their thinking. Which I think is funny, they say to be open minded for all ideas, but can't work with new ideas from other people. I think Alf Rehn has similar message whole out the book

Dangerous Ideas was an excellent book for those who have to create new things once in a while. I highly recommend it to everyone. It is provocative enough to hate and love some parts of the book. I'm sure everyone will get something out of it.

I got the impression from the book that Alf Rehn wouldn't be always nice guy to work with. My own experience is that best guys to work with are really the ones who are not the nicest and easiest. With the guys who are hard sometimes, I at least have done the best work so far.

This is a book I do remember reading for some time in the future. That is what makes a book special for me.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

P.S I have to admit I read the finnish version: "Vaaralliset Ideat". Book was originally written in Swedish (as that's Alf Rehn's native language) and the Finnish translation was actually quite bad. It used language not suiting well to Finnish language. That's not Alf Rehn fault, but translators. That doesn't concern most of you, but I had to mention for those who can speak Finnish and might think of getting the Finnish version.

Mar 5, 2013

Yahoo's work from home ban has a purpose

Last week Marissa Mayer banned working from home at Yahoo. Journalists have taken talked about how Mayer used VPN data to see whether people were working or not. I believe that is irrelevant and only the way to do what she had to do to get company on track.

My guess is that Yahoo had grown to be a company full of workers not motivated enough to really make changes. I believe there has been too many workers not committed to make their best. Now Marissa Mayer have given a message to the company: "be committed to a common goal or please leave".

Other possibility Marissa Mayer had was to lay off people. Bad thing about laying off people is that, some of the good guys will go with the flush and some of the bad ones will still remain. Now the ones who want to slack, can leave to another company. And them who really want to take part to the future of Yahoo will stay.

Quote from claimed Yahoo's leaked memo
I believe what Marissa Mayer did is a part of greater plan to get the company back on track. I want to believe it's not really about working from home, but it is about the situation at Yahoo and what had to be done.

I know I would have been pissed off by the announcement Marissa Mayer had to do. I know I wouldn't currently, with two small kids, work in a company that wouldn't allow working from home. And to be exact, Yahoo's announcement didn't fully ban working from home, but banned the agreements that people would work from home. Occasional working from home would be allowed, with "best judgement".

It's easy to analyse the situation outside and either judge or agree with Mayer's decision. We do not know the truth behind the situation. At least Mayer has made a bold move on something that is not within the standards in the industry. Now we'll wait for the consequences in the future.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 27, 2013

Book Review: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

I've wanted to know about Zen for a while now. I selected my first contact with Zen to be a book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. It's a collection of stories from Zen master who taught in US for many years.

It might be the first book ever which is hard for me to review. It's hard to say anything about Zen teaching, because of I'm totally new to Zen myself. Also saying something about Zen book somehow insults the way I understand Zen. And then also the idea in Zen is to keep always learning with clear mind.

Book was really interesting to read. Almost every story told in the book got me thinking. It takes time to read the book and fully have the time to think on the teaching taught in the book. Good thing is that these stories are just short enough to read in ten minutes and then stop to think a bit more on what was actually said.

All I can say about the actual content is that it at least got me much more interested on Zen than before the book. I guess it has done it's job on that sense.

If you have any interest on Zen, I definitely recommend to read the book.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 21, 2013

Why people need mobile, tablet and laptop?

It took me long time to realize the need for tablets. I admit I thought that those are just for replacing the laptops for home. Obviously that haven't been fully the case, there's a room for tablets and laptops at the same time.

The best explanation for the usage purposes for mobile, tablet and laptops I've read was from Google multiscreen report. Here's one page from that report to explain really well the differences.


Of course it's simplification, as all good explanations. Magic with tablet is, that it's not pushing you the connections that mobile and laptops are. At least if you haven't enabled mail, chat and other connection notifications.

Maybe the guys at Apple had all this idea figured out before everyone else. What is certain is, tablet has found its market and it is here to stay.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 16, 2013

Mystery of Subway success

You all know Subway. They make good tasting quite healthy sandwiches. It's the most popular franchise in the world according CNN study from 2010. There is more than 37000 restaurants all over the world.  They are growing by thousand of restaurants per year. And still, I don't understand why people like go there.

Subway has a clear concept of letting people choose everything about their sandwiches themselves. First person chooses their sandwich, then the main theme of the sandwich  meaning the main ingredients. After that person selects the fresh ingredients inside the sandwich and at the end the sauce and other spices.

I hate this selection process. I truly really hate it. I hate it so much, that I only go there if I don't have any other viable choice anywhere near. It always makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't want to choose all the things inside my sandwich, I just want a sandwich.

I'm wondering that am I the only one feeling this way? Subway is such a popular that people must like something about it. This bothers me. I've always thought that limiting choices is the way for better results. There's even many studies to proof for it. Here is for example one of those studies stating that reducing available choices will get people to buy more. For some reason this rule does not seem to apply with Subway.

I do know that people are irrational. Purchase decisions are not made rationally, but more with feelings. Brand building is exactly about feelings. Could the reason then be that Subway have been able to build such a good image to peoples' head about them being the healthy cool choice for a meal, that people go there even they hate the selection process. Or then they don't hate the selection process as much as I do.

It's always hard to accept the facts that are against your own point of view. Subway is one of these good learning lessons for myself. Even though I really hate eating at Subway, it's one of the most popular dining places in the world. They must have figured out the receipt for success. It's better to try to learn from them than to ignore them.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 13, 2013

Divided media is the new media

Most of people all multitasking all the time. Attention is lost to multiple medias and screens constantly. Part of this is about the raising lack of skill to focus attention to one task, but part of it is real multiscreen usage. There are so many medias available instantly and people are learning all the time using those better and better.

As an example, when I'm reading a magazine and there's something interesting there, I pick up my phone and google it. Then if there's more on it to read later, I most often send myself email to check it later.

Google has made a really good report and enjoyable report on how frequent and popular this is nowadays. Here's the direct link to the report and below it is embedded. I encourage to check it through.


The main message I got from this is that whatever you are working with, you need to get your stuff together in all different medias. This report was about usage with different devices, but that's not all there is. Other than just devices there are so many different medias inside web also. There's this search based discovery, social media presence and video presence.

Even though it might seem complicated and laborious, it's not necessarily. What it means at minimun, that you try those out. Try googling your services, products or speciality with different devices. Try searhing youtube or social medias with those same. Walk the talk, try the multiscreen and multichannel usage. That gives already quite a good idea if it working for you or not.


Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 10, 2013

Book Review - To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

The first book ever I have pre-ordered was this Daniel Pink's To Sell Is Human. I have to admit, that I am a big fan of Daniel Pink. I waited for this book for some time and it was well worth it.

As the title says this book is about sales. Dan Pink tells how sales has changed in recent years due to the increasing availability of information. He also explains how we are all more or less in selling business. At least we are all everyday trying to persuade others for something. So at the end we are all in sales.

As the previous books from him, this was really enjoyable to read. It's fluent and fun to read. Examples are good and text is interesting. He also dives in to sales world nicely. He gets himself involved and tells about those experiences interestingly.

Main idea in the book is that, selling is changing from stereotypical sleek car sales to more human listening and true understanding of the needs of a person. But the whole book is not only about soft values of moving people, there are also many good tips on closing the deal with certain behavior. Even if you would be in the traditional mindset of sales, this book has valuable tips to think of.

I enjoyed the book. I recommend this to everyone. It's easy to read and I can guarantee you get at least some behavioral tips out of it. If you think you are not sales at all, think again. There is always some situations where you need to sell your own point of view to someone else. That's as much selling as all the other selling.

Worth of mention is the inspiring pre-order campaign Dan Pink and his crew had created. They had exclusive webinar, exclusive material available and signed bookplate for those who pre-ordered the book. That got me to pre-order also. Only sad part is that I haven't received my bookplate yet, maybe they didn't post it to outside US. Still it doesn't change the way I feel the book, it was excellent.

Update 27.2.2013: I did receive my bookplate this week. Now I'm a happy owner of signed book.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 7, 2013

Market Analysis - Cloud storage in ecosystem war?

Even though the social network war isn't over yet, latest war ongoing with the big guys, is who gets to own the data of people. The players are not totally the same than in the social network war, but most of them are there still. Social network war is about persons connections, which can't be easily divided to many services. Data on the other hand is personal and what friend select as cloud provider is not that important than social network. Both social network war and cloud storage war play big part on the big ecosystem game ongoing between Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

The main similarity to these both wars is, that changing sides is difficult when you have picked a side. When you decide to store all or most of your data to some cloud storage, it will take lot of effort to change it another. Same is true with social networks, when you build connections to one service, changing completely to another is near to impossible.

The second similarity is that big part of the companies offering their services today, will not be there in five years. There used to be many social network tryouts there five years ago. Some of them lived to see today, most of them not. Same will happen to cloud storage. Today, there's hundreds if not thousands of players offering cloud storage. Doing it profitably is costly and many services will go bankruptcy in coming years. I just hope people don't lose their data on that point.


Ecosystems needs ways to lock or at least tie people closely to their ecosystem. Until now physical devices and operating systems have been good ways to lock people to ecosystems. World is changing to the direction that completing a purpose is more important than the tool used. For example when you want to check what your friends are doing, you do it with any tool available. Or if you want to show your photos from last years vacation to someone, you just show those through cloud. Data needs to be available always.

So, will cloud storage play a role in ecosystem war by the big ecosystems and players?

Facebook


The market leader in social networks, Facebook, haven't gone to the cloud storage business yet. I see that as a bit of a surprise. It's not their core competence or not even close to core business, but still it's a pretty good way to lock people in. If they are not going for all the data, I would see owning the memories, like photos and videos would be a perfect match for their current offering. Connection with others are all about visual nowadays and what would be better way that to share photos and videos that having all those in the service already.

Definitely this would be big change on their strategy. Currently they are heading more on the knowedge business with open graph, than to data business. Still I wouldn't be too surprised if they would acquire some big cloud storage player.

Google


Google, the challenger in social networks war has taken totally different approach. They already have people's email and now they are trying to get to own their data. When they get people to load their data including pictures and videos, people will be tightly connected to Google services. Maybe their thinking is something like this: If we get them to trust their data on us, we get people to use Chrome and Android first. Next maybe they will buy a Chromebook laptop, because usage of their data is so much easier that way. Then eventually people might change also Google+. People don't really care about what social media they are actually using, if only they get connected to the people they want. If everyone would be in google+, why wouldn't they use that.

Microsoft


Then there is Microsoft. They seem to be losing the consumer business war. They are next to non-existing in the social network war (did you know they do have social network called So.cl? ). Internet Explorer is dropping it's shares. Windows Phone share of smartphones is ridiculously low. Microsoft Account counts for nothing. Their competitive edge comes from the Windows platform. They are still dominant on that with over 84% market share.

As long as data remains stored in local drives and applications are running on local machines, Microsoft will be important player due to Windows platform. When data will be in clouds and applications are run from clouds, operating system doesn't really matter anymore. On that point Microsoft will be in trouble. I believe they know this and have been aggressively trying to get into people's life's with Skydrive cloud storage and Windows 8 ecosystem. They need to tie people to some Microsoft brand soon, Windows OS will not be the tie it used to be.

Apple


Apple ecosystem is strong. Their way to lock people to their ecosystem has been through the proprietary OS and devices and excellent services they provide. When person have come in to Apple world, it is not have been easy to switch out from there. Still Apple haven't been able or willing to try to get to own the social networks of the people. They have been locking people in with data previously with their own OS. Now they are trying to get people to use their iCloud services. Main question with iCloud remains, will it ever be fully functional and available for Mac user's other devices. That's a key question on the ecosystem game. Winning the game with fully Apple created products will be hard.

Case Dropbox


Dropbox is the hot potato currently. It is a successfull service on it's own currently. Soon still there will be pressure to enlarge even more. On that point some one might buy it to get to own important part of people's life.

Best guesses who would have interest to buy them are Facebook and Amazon. Facebook, because they currently "only" own the social network of person, but nothing else. Having persons data would make Facebook even much bigger part persons life.

Amazon then on the other hand, doesn't really own much of persons life. They are trying all the time to connect more  and more with people with Kindle Fire, own currency and knowledge what you might like. So they do have a drive for having tighter connection to people, even at the end their profit would come from sales of physical goods. And on the other hand they already host the service for Dropbox.

Other big players


Eventhough Twitter is social media, it's not in the owning a persons data game. It is a strong player in the persons brand came, but that's a bit different game.

Mobile manufacturers have almost miraculously lost the game. None, other than Apple, have persons data or social network at their hands. Nokia had a change one day, but it lost it.

The small new players


Like stated, everyone is offering cloud storage currently. Within few years I believe there will be even more player in the field. In this playground there is more room for variety, but not for everyone. Definitely there will room for niche players who get people to store their data either with cheap price, extended security, really good privacy, back-up features, excellent user interface or something else that makes them special. This market is not only for few players, but still amount of players is not infinite. Services need certain scale to be profitable.

Conclusion


I believe owning people's data will play a major role in ecosystem war between Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft ecosystems. Data about people themselves, even though it is opening up all the time, it is still valuable to person. Contracts, bills, pictures, videos, resumes, contacts, medical history and other similar will always be important to people. All of these will never be opened for everybody else. Whom people will trust with their data will be a long term contract. Everyone will not see cloud storage provider to be so important at first, but when big part, if not all, of one's data will be stored in cloud, trusting the provider is important.

It will be interesting coming years to see how the cloud storage market will turn out to be. I have made my own journey to the cloud already. All the personal data that I own is stored in Google cloud. I trusted the big player.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Feb 6, 2013

The tempting "do not disturb" icon

In daily business usage of different chat engines have become a standard. I at least have google talk, skype and Lync open all the time for contacting people located currently elsewhere than I am. In these systems, green always indicates free, yellow about inactivity, red about being in a meeting and then there's this "do not disturb" icon.

This "do not disturb"-icon always gets my attention. There comes this little temptation to really go and ask whether one is really busy. It always gets me thinking, what is so important, that someone needed to change the status to "do not disturb". Is she in a meeting presenting something, is there something fishy ongoing or what's the deal.

Is it just me, but could this "do not disturb" icon, actually mean: look at me, I'm important. 

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 31, 2013

Book Review: Daniels' Running Formula

My latest reading was a sports training book for a change. I've read about triathlon and swimming training, so it was time to concentrate on running. I got my hand on, what was said to be the best running training book ever made, Jack Daniels' Running Formula.

Jack Daniels is a professor of physical education, coach of Olympic athletes and olympic medalist himself. That was proof enough for me, to take a closer look on his ideas.

For me there were two important things in this book. First one was the idea of training load. I've understood that there is different load for different type of exercises, but this book got me to understand more about it and quantify the loads to some extend. I took that part directly in to use on my training diary and will use it for this training season to know if it really works or not.

Second important thing in this book was the different running speeds and the VDOT index for those. VDOT wasn't totally new concept for me, but since it was invented for this book I got to understand all the background information behind it. Other than just running speeds, it gives pretty good tips for different type of running trainings.

Running speeds in VDOT are Easy, Maraton, Threshold, Interval and Repetition. From those, the separation between Interval and Repetition was not clear to me at all before this book. No it is much more obvious that those exercises and speeds are for different purposes; Intervals for training VO2Max and Repetitions are for speed and technique.

Big part of the book is also training programs. There are training programs from elite athletes to first time runners. Training programs also varies from short 800m runs all the way to marathons. So there are training programs for everybody, except for triathlonists. For me the best thing about training programs was to get some good ideas what kind of exercices could be done.

From content point of view, book was excellent. It's filled with good information and ideas about running training. Then from editoral point, it was bit messy. It wasn't as easy and pleasurable to read as it could have been. I blame publishers for that one. They should have put more focus on readability.

I still recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand running training. It gives such a good information about the endurance side of running training, that it is valuable to read. It's also quite quick to read, so I recommend to get it in to your hands and at least scim it through.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 22, 2013

Book review - Nonviolent Communication


This time I got quite different type of book to myself to read. Marshall B. Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life was really interesting book about communication. It is one of those books that hopefully changes the way I communicate with others.

Basics of nonviolent communication is observing clearly, understanding the feeling, recognizing the needs and making clear request. I explained it myself even more simply, try to, without judgment, understand what other is saying and why, then make sure you are understood as well. As easy and basics it might sound, I believe no one can always communicate that clearly and honestly.

The book explains with lots of good examples from quite normal and really extraordinary situations how communication can be the key to progress in many situations. M.B Rosenberg has seen really difficult situations, but seems to have handled those well with nonviolent communication methods.

Understanding these methods is not hard. On the other hand learning to use these in everyday communication can take years or decades. We are so learned to use judgments on our communication that communicating with open heart and mind can be difficult. We are so built to seek for acceptance, that we can't understand the true needs behind the things we say and do.

This book is easy to read, but it requires courage to digest. It requires a journey to one's inner feelings and needs. As much of I would like to recommend this to anyone, I feel that to get the benefits of this, one needs to be open enough for the softer values of live. If you've read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and liked it, this might be a good book for you.

I hope that I would learn to communicate with rules of nonviolent communication in the future. I'm especially keen on trying to use these methods with my daughters. As a parent it is so easy to use authority and judgment to get through wishes. I do know that it requires more than one book to understand and start using this methodology effectively. I added other books of nonviolent communication to my reading list to come to the subject later on also. Now it's the time to start practicing.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 9, 2013

No one is irreplaceable because of their knowledge

There are people in organizations that seem irreplaceable. Of course no one is really irreplaceable, but they can be important for organization to keep running efficiently. The fun thing is that often it is thought that these irreplaceable people are so knowledgeable about some subjects that it makes them so important. But that's not the case.

In information age, knowledge is available for everyone. Information about basically any subject is only few googles away. The same is true with organizations, information is available for most who are eager enough to find it.

The true value of the people is how they use and process the information they receive. Mapping information together and ignoring irrelevant information are highly necessary skills of todays organizations. Reacting to correct information and knowing how and with whom to process the information is the key what makes some people so effective.

People should concentrate more on putting information and sources of information to the context than trying to gain information to themselves whenever they can. I bet everyone knows these people who try to be involved in everything, but they don't actually give any valuable input to anything. Then at the same time, there can be people who are not involved in many things, but once asked they somehow always seem to give valuable input.

Information about where and how to find information, is more important than knowing yourself. That's what irreplaceable people are made of.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 6, 2013

Book review - Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman

I got as a Christmas present from my sister and her husband a book about common guy turning to an ironman. This book Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman from Andy Holgate was their interpretation of my current triathlon enthuasism. I guess they hit it quite close.

This book is a journey without any technical jargon about training. It's a motivational story about ones life and how triathlon bug can hit hard. Andy Holgate turns from quite normal, bit overweight, librarian to an endurance maniac.

Andy Holgate had first written a blog and based on that he decided to turn it into a book. Book surely is written in enjoyable way. It was easy to get in to moods of Andy's by his writings. He also introduces lots of his training friends and describes them well. It really is a sneak peak to quite a normal life, filled with endurance sports.

What I like in this book, is that Andy surely teaches everybody to appreciate endurance sports. He himself went all the way to be an Ironman, but still he seems to cheer everyone for all the different endurance sports.

Andy Holgate is living proof that everyone can do triathlons if they wish. It's a mindset thing, not anything else. That's the best part of the book.

It's an entertaining book, which suits well for vacation times. I can happily recommend it to everyone. It a fun thing to read. This might give an extra push to take a endurance challenge. This book is not a how to train for ironman book, it's a book that motivates you to take the challenge.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen