"Cubicle Slaves ... hack off your ties ... flip off your heels ... the Work can be Cool!" Tom Peters
Renewal: Tougher & Tougher: Upon finishing Seminar #117 [& last] for Y2000, in Copenhagen, I went alllll the way back to January and looked at #1. Of the 326 "slides" I used in seminar #1, 232 had been dumped & replaced by 12.13, my last all-day event. Thus: One year = 72 idea "turnover." [I think that # would have been about 25% just a few years ago … say, 1997.] RENEWAL! YEOW! ZOUNDS! YIKES! [HP banner ad: Invent. Reinvent. Repeat.]
Seminar#117/Y2000/RIWAALS: WhatamidoinghereinCopenhagenonthetwelfthofDecemberinyetanotherhotelroom devouringroomservicemilesandmilesandmilesawayfromhome??????????????????
Why: Work-is-what-I-do. I have a …compulsion to create [and tell] "my story." It is a … very … special … time. We are - in Clintonian terms - in the midst of a Permanent Campaign: It is fun to try and help people cope, engage, create, recreate, reinvent themselves. Forget Fortune magazine's recent, brutally cynical assessment of how I'm "wasting" my time with "middle managers" and "staff professionals." I know what I'm up to: Looking for RIWAALs [Revolutionaries-In-Waiting At All Levels]. And … if I can push 1 in 100 to step out … and bungee jump toward the COOL FUTURE … to initiate a WOW Project … I will be far more than satisfied! MESSAGE: I DON'T WANT TO SIT ON THE SIDELINES - FOR EVEN A MINUTE - DURING THIS INSANELY GREAT PERIOD! I WANNA PLAY! AND YOU?
Are You a … RIWAAL?
[Also, I am motivated by a couple of potent/Insanely Great ideas that I'm relentlessly pushing … and others aren't: WOMEN'S COMMANDING ROLE IN THE NEW ECONOMY … WORLDWIDE. THE OVERARCHING - AND WIDELY IGNORED - ROLE OF DESIGN IN TRANSFORMING AN ENTERPRISE.]
THE TOTALLY FORGOTTEN 5/6THS [OF HUMANITY]. Neither Presidential candidate talked about it … at all. [Hmmmmmmmmm?? WHY??? Too hard?? Or: Are we tooooo self-absorbed with our "cool stuff"????] I have just finished reading-ingesting a profoundly important book: THE MYSTERY OF CAPITAL: WHY CAPITALISM TRIUMPHS IN THE WEST AND FAILS EVERYWHERE ELSE, by Hernando de Soto. Opening lines: "The hour of capitalism's greatest triumph is, in the eyes of five-sixths of humanity, its hour of crisis." That is, from the former Communist bloc to 98% of Africa, this is decidedly not a great-age-a-dawnin'. It is an age - once again - mired in poverty and despair and crushed expectations and even starvation. [Look at Russia's precipitously climbing mortality stats.] Peruvian De Soto provides - with a back cover exploding with blurbs from Nobel Laureates of every political stripe - a compelling analysis … and a solution … aimed at empowering the poor … that makes sense. P.S.: This slim book is very readable! [I.e., there is no excuse for not reading it.]
Also see my summer's favorite non-fiction read: BANKER TO THE POOR: MICRO-LENDING AND THE BATTLE AGAINST WORLD POVERTY, by Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Bottom line: I LOVED EVERY PAGE OF THIS BOOK! P-L-E-A-S-E READ IT. [Grameen has successfully lent tiny sums to over 2 million impoverished entrepreneurs, mostly - 94% - women, to buy modest amounts of equipment to supercharge wee businesses. Quote unquote: "It's not people who aren't credit worthy. It's banks that aren't people worthy."]
I am an unabashed cheerleader for the new economy. [One recent book claimed that Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard and I are founding members of the "Party of Yeah."] BUT … I intend to focus much [MUCH!] more on the issue of those who are not blessed with Silicon Valley's gift. Yes, "we" have triumphed through v.hard work and a willingness to accept risk that makes others [in, say, New York] blanche. Still … as de Soto says … there is ENORMOUS ENTREPRENEURIAL ENERGY … in the less developed world … that is mostly going for naught thanks to defective property ownership systems.
Design (Again): You know how I am! I love v.cool "little" design stuff. Hence, this mini-report from Copenhagen. My view of conservation: WE SHOULD MAKE IT VVEEERRRYYYY EASY-BRAINLESS FOR PEOPLE TO BE "CONSERVATION MINDED." Thus, I loved the toilet in my Copenhagen hotel. There was a little button-device on top of the toilet. Push-depress the left side - with a half-moon symbol - and you got a modest water flush. [Pee.] Push the right side - full-moon symbol - and you got a power flush. [Other than pee.] HOW COOL!!!!!!!!!!
Design Again (Again): Read It I: an incredible roundtable discussion on DESIGN in the current [Jan2001] issue of WIRED mag, p.178. Title: "A Conversation About The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly," moderated by former I.D. editor & design guru Chee Pearlman. Quote unquote: "The good 10 percent of American product design comes out of big-idea companies that don't believe in talking to the customer. They're run by passionate maniacs who make everybody's life miserable until they get what they want." Read It II: Advertising Age/11Dec2000. TARGET [Tar-zhay] is named Marketer of the Year 2000. YES! YES! YES! [DESIGN RULES!]
p>Happy Holidays! Happy TRUE Beginning of the NEW Millennium!
- Tom Peters
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.