How Web 2.0 is changing the way we work: An interview with MIT’s Andrew McAfee

EV infrastructure plan for Western Oregon

ECOtality reveals EV infrastructure plan for Western Oregon

More than 1,000 Blink charging stations will charge up
electric vehicles in Portland and other key metropolitan areas

PORTLAND, ORE. – Wednesday, September 22, 2010 – ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, today unveiled its Blink electric vehicle charging station as well as blueprints for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure deployment in four major metropolitan areas in Northwestern Oregon: Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene. The announcement marks the completion of a critical milestone in the planning process for The EV Project, the largest rollout of EV infrastructure in the world. As part of the project, ECOtality will install more than 1,100 publicly available chargers throughout the region.

ECOtality worked closely with its Oregon Advisory Team and area stakeholders—including Pacificorp, the newest EV Project partner—to complete deployment guidelines and develop maps showing potential charging site locations and density. The maps were created using criteria developed during the Micro-Climate™ process and take into consideration a variety of factors, including transportation routes, employment centers and zoning.
Portland ECOtality completes charging density/distribution map for EV Project locations in Northwestern Oregon. ECOtality will install more than 1,100 publicly available chargers statewide. (Pictured: Portland Metro Area)

“I have long known that Oregon was the right state to launch this next generation of vehicles and show the rest of the country that we can make this transition without inconveniencing or pricing regular citizens out of this market,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “With today’s announcement, we are taking that next step forward toward making electric cars – and the supporting infrastructure – available, affordable and accessible to Oregonians across the state.”

“Today, Oregon is ready to emerge as a pioneer in electric vehicle adoption,” said Jonathan Read, President and CEO of ECOtality. “The support of our advisory group has provided invaluable research, and allowed us to develop a smart plan for the installation of EV infrastructure that suits the needs of Oregon’s future EV drivers. By coupling our plans with the capabilities of Blink, we are creating the rich charge infrastructure needed to make electric vehicles a reality.”

The four Oregon cities were selected as host sites for The EV Project in 2009, and will play a critical role in developing a rich charging infrastructure for EV drivers. ECOtality coordinated with the state to develop an advisory team including representatives from state and local government agencies and utilities.

“Throughout the EV Project, ECOtality is developing more calculated methods to prepare cities and regional areas for an EV infrastructure foundation,” stated Don Karner, President of ECOtality North America. “With each blueprint ECOtality creates, we are able to move forward in paving the way for the national rollout of electric vehicles.”

ECOtality is the project manager for The EV Project, and is tasked with supervising the construction of the largest deployment of EV infrastructure to date. The $230 million public-private initiative is funded with a $114.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The EV Project includes 16 states and major metropolitan areas, and will result in the installation of over 15,000 charging stations, over the course of three years.

The Oregon Advisory Team includes representatives from the Building Codes Division; City of Corvallis; City of Eugene; City of Gresham; City of Salem; Eugene Water & Electric Board; Oregon Department of Transportation; Oregon Business Development Department; Oregon Department of Energy; Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium; Pacific Power; Portland Development Commission; Portland General Electric; Salem Electric; and the Unviersity of Oregon.


Moore’s Law and the Trajectory for Renewable Energy:


News Flash: 100 of 100 People Die (Succession Planning):


How to Cure Leadership Dysfunction

On one leadership extreme is absolute power which, as they taught us in school, corrupts absolutely. On the other extreme are so many checks and balances that decisions and progress come to a screeching halt. Either extreme is a dysfunction that affects more companies than you can imagine. Countries, too.

Just look at the U.S. government. When the president and both houses of congress have the same party affiliation, we end up, well, we end up here. Not to point fingers at either party; we’ve seen this configuration screw things up left and right.

Then, when voters get fed up with partisan legislation, they vote the opposing party into congress and boom, stalemate. Nothing gets done. Yes, there are exceptions, but all too often, this is exactly how it goes.

We’ve all seen companies fall into the same extreme modes. When the board isn’t independent, the CEO can essentially do whatever he wants. Typically, that’s not a good thing. Too much power and not enough checks and balances are a recipe for dysfunctional behavior and potential disaster.

On the flip-side, I’ve actually seen quite a few companies where the CEO couldn’t or, for whatever reason, wouldn’t grow a pair and run the show. Under the guise of autonomous business units, for example, the company gets pulled in multiple directions and, again, stalemate.

This is exactly why a company should never be run like a government … any kind of government. So how should companies be run? How can Boards, CEOs, and management teams avoid either dysfunctional extreme? By following these five rules:

The CEO alone is responsible for developing and communicating vision and strategy, but the process must include the entire management team in a way that fosters open expression of ideas that ultimately leads to consensus. And the board gets to weigh in before everything’s cast in stone.
The management team must be motivated, aligned, and held accountable to achieve the company’s strategic and operating goals. The CEO and head of HR co-manage the process with board oversight. No, it isn’t easy and yes, it can be done. If you can’t figure it out, hire someone who can.
Let VPs run their own show … to a point. The management team is called that for a reason. These are the folks with expertise and maturity to run their own show and that’s what they should do. That said, they often come into conflict with each other. That’s when the CEO needs to make the call without hesitation.
Never, ever have a two-in-a-box or office-of-the-CEO configuration. Two leaders often lead to schizophrenic corporate behavior. It’s simply not a stable configuration. Companies operate most effectively with one person in charge.
Maintain complete transparency to an independent, active board. There should only be one executive on the board of directors, and that’s the CEO. All directors should be active and engaged. And the management team should be completely transparent when communicating with the board.
That’s it. Five rules are all it takes to avoid leadership dysfunction. Don’t get me wrong; that doesn’t mean the company will grow profitably until the end of time. There are a zillion and one failure modes from internal and external factors. But this will at least eliminate the most common leadership dysfunction modes. And make no mistake, they take down more companies than you can imagine. No kidding."
By Steve Tobak |;load-section-river


Are you a Bad Manager?

One thing most bad managers have in common is they’re not consciously aware that they’re bad managers. And if they are aware of it on some level, they’re probably not willing to admit it to anyone, least of all themselves. That’s because nobody wants to believe they’re the problem.

It’s a common enough phenomenon that isn’t limited to bosses, but applies to people at all levels: executives, managers, employees too. I’m not a shrink, so I’m not sure why that is. But if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably got something to do with ego, denial, compartmentalization, self-delusion, lack of perspective, that sort of thing.

It would be all-too-easy to just label these folks dysfunctional and call it a day, but I’m not entirely sure that would be either accurate or helpful. I actually think we all suffer from this sort of myopia to some extent and from time to time.

* Your group is underperforming. Sooner or later, bad management will trickle down and affect the entire organization. Whatever the appropriate metrics are for an organization, poor performance can usually be traced back to a management problem.
* Your manager is turning up the heat. When a good senior manager thinks there may be a problem with a subordinate manager, he’ll inevitably turn up the heat and see what happens. So if you notice your boss putting the screws to you, it’s a sign that something’s up.
* Allies are distancing themselves from you. It’s one thing for your employees to talk behind your back and for your enemies to despise you, but when your work friends and allies start to back away, that’s an indication that you’re damaged goods.
* You’re behaving like more of a jerk than usual. You may be in conscious denial about being a crappy boss, but on some level, you’re probably aware of it. And that takes a toll on you, usually in terms of increased stress and anxiety that you’ll likely take out on others.
* Your decision-making is compromised. One of the most visible signs of poor management is poor decision-making. After all, decisions are actions, actions generate results, and results are highly visible. Pay attention.
* Your personal relationships suck. Dysfunctional managers are also dysfunctional people. Relationships are relationships, period. And while I’m sure that some bad bosses are just wonderful spouses and friends, I seriously doubt it’s very common.
* Your employees are miserable. Come on now. I don’t care how self-absorbed you are, you know if your employees are miserable. Do they stop talking and look guilty when you walk by? Do they invite everyone else but you for drinks after work?

By Steve Tobak | September 7, 2010 see full article at:


Jobs Data Provide Hope although recover is slower than past cycles

Jobs Data Provide Hope although recover is slower than past cycles.


"The U.S. economy lost jobs for the third month in a row in August, but modest hiring by the private sector eased concerns the economy might be tumbling back into recession.

The U.S. economy shed jobs for a third straight month, losing 54,000 non-farm jobs, but the losses were half as bad as expected. The unemployment rate rose to 9.6%. Kelly Evans, Dennis Berman, Paul Vigna, Phil Izzo and Sudeep Reddy discuss. Also, Jerry Seib discusses what has happened to the American job creation machine.

Private-sector employers added 67,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall, nonfarm payrolls fell by 54,000, as the U.S. shed 114,000 temporary Census workers and state governments also reduced employment.

The jobs report was consistent with other recent economic reports, including a strong factory report earlier this week, that show the economy continues to recover, though at a painfully slow rate.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6% from 9.5% in July, not because of layoffs but because more people entered the work force. Some 14.9 million people remain jobless, and the unemployment figure marked the 16th straight month above 9%, the longest stretch in a quarter-century.

That promised to keep the pressure on Democrats in Congress as midterm elections approach, with Republicans pressing the case that the party that dominates both Congress and the White House isn't getting Americans back to work.

President Barack Obama said the report was "not nearly good enough," and called on Congress to pass a bill designed to help small businesses get loans. On the GOP side, House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said, "A year that began with Americans bracing for a jobless recovery has instead turned into a full-blown search for both jobs and a recovery."

Investors, some of whom have grown worried that the recovery could be stalling out, reacted positively to the jobs report, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 127.83 points, or 1.24%, to 10447.83. Though the number of private-sector jobs created trailed July's, it was better than expected by the consensus of economists.

The stock rally capped one of the market's best weeks of the year as economic numbers, including reports Wednesday suggesting better-than-expected manufacturing activity in the U.S. and China, put bears on the defensive. A U.S. manufacturing index from the Institute for Supply Management, which surveys purchasing managers, rose to 56.3 in August from 55.5; a decline had been expected.

The report showing modest private-sector hiring took some pressure off the Federal Reserve for quick action to address the slow recovery. Fed officials have been considering whether they need to do more to stimulate growth, such as by trying to drive down long-term interest rates through purchases of long-term Treasury bonds. Most economists still consider it extremely unlikely the U.S. economy will slip back into recession, and Friday's report reassured many that the recovery, however weak, would continue.

Atlas Energy Inc. is among those doing some hiring. The natural-gas producer, based in Moon Township, Pa., has added 160 workers this year, bringing its head count to 680.

The company recently played host to a jobs fair at a Pittsburgh-area hotel, where a line to register spilled out of a ballroom and into the lobby. "It's sobering to see the number of people who don't have a job," said Jeffrey Kupfer, an Atlas senior vice president.

Most of the private-sector job gains in August were in the service sector, a broad category that includes everything from insurance brokers to nail-salon workers. Professional and business services added 20,000 jobs. Education and health services, which have held up better than any other sector, added 45,000 over the month.

A separate report Friday showed the service sector's growth slowing in August. The ISM said its index of nonmanufacturing industries was at 51.5 last month. That was down from the 54.3 in July, but, because it was over 50, still showed the sector expanding.

U.S. manufacturing shed 27,000 jobs in August, according to the Labor Department, ending a long streak of job gains by the factory sector. Much of that was due to losses in the automotive industry.

A positive sign was that the percentage of workers out of a job for six months or longer, the so-called long-term unemployed, declined for the third straight month.

And Friday's report showed temporary-help services added 16,800 jobs in August, after a flat July. Growth in that sector is often a precursor to companies adding permanent positions. Still, the slow pace has some economists worried that the job market continues to flounder.

Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economics professor, said the economy would need to add roughly 300,000 jobs a month to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-recession levels within four years.

He said Friday's report portrays a job market still in neutral, amid a recovery fueled largely by federal stimulus and inventory restocking.

"It looks like an economy that got a burst of stimulus and it's wearing off," Mr. Katz said. "The labor market isn't bleeding jobs like it did late 2008 and late 2009, but it's certainly not recovering at a rate that would do anything to...


Generation Gap widens - rooted in devaluation of accumulated wisdom....

Generation Gap widens - rooted in devaluation of accumulated wisdom....

Generation Gap widens. Older people have always offered advice to younger people, with words of wisdom culled from their memories of youth. And, of course, in every era, young people have found advice from elders to be outdated and ineffectual. These days, however, given how fast the world is changing, there's been a clear widening of the advice gap.
It's rooted in a devaluation of accumulated wisdom, a leveling of the relationships between old and young. On many fronts, people from Generation Y—now ages 16 to 32— assume their peers know best. They doubt those of us who are older can truly understand their needs and concerns.
This is a great article worthy of continued discussion...not only relevent for personal relationships, but also for business and management.

How to Say It

Among tips from young adults for their advice-giving elders:

Question your assumptions: What worked in your youth might have little relevance today.
Offer suggestions, not pronouncements: Say 'you could' not 'you should.'
Welcome a dialogue: Listen, don't lecture; you'll learn things and give better advice.
Resist saying: 'When I was young…'
Don't belittle technology: If you're critical of social media, young people may dismiss you as a dinosaur.
Accept your limitations: The young understand the world today. Sometimes, the best advice is: 'Trust your instincts.'