Saved by a Drone

Greetings. Most of us have a slightly skewed image of drones. Until recently we thought of them primarily as remarkable and lethal weapons of warfare…sleek, stealth, and precise unpersoned aircraft that could be launched from literally anywhere with the touch of a single key stroke and sent into unfamiliar territory to blow up a building or a bad guy in a fast-moving car. And hopefully with little or no collateral damage. Just like in a video game.

More recently we have been encouraged to imagine them as the handiest of personal assistants, cleverly dispatching our parcels with the greatest of ease for companies like in their quest to use technology to meet an insatiable desire for ever quicker response times. Need a new book or Fido’s vitamins this afternoon? No problem. We’ll fly them from the closest distribution center to your front porch in thirty minutes or less.

Super cool. I guess.

But what if drones could do more than blow things up and deliver packages? What if they could actually save lives?

In fact, they can. And one awesome application of drone technology is the work of Alec Mormot, a graduate student in industrial design at TU Delft University in the Netherlands, who has created a drone with a built-in defibrillator that can not only be sent quickly to the aid of someone experiencing a heart attack but also give their companion clear and effective guidance on how to zap them back to life. Take a look at his innovation in the video below and you will quickly appreciate the power of this idea, the level of thought that has gone into every detail, and the greater potential for drones as tools for delivering remarkable good…

It strikes me that his idea is just a starting point for thinking about all of the ways that drones might be designed and used to provide emergency services that include medical care. And it might be a fun exercise for you and your colleagues to imagine how this technology might enhance the work that you do.

We win in business and in life when we see the real potential of technology in not only making things easier for all of us, but also saving our lives.


Genius on Sale

Greetings.  If you haven't read "Surrounded by Geniuses" and own a Kindle or a Kindle-enabled device now is a great time to read one of my favorite books.  I mention this less as a promotional plug and more as a unique opportunity to buy the book for a mere $1.99.  Yes, the kind folks at have decided to put the book on sale which means that for a limited time you and every one of your closest friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members can have your very own electronic copy of this award-winning book for less than half the cost of a double decaf skinny mocha chai latte with soy milk.  Or roughly half the cost of a gallon of gasoline.  Or half the cost of a "Happy Meal" at MacDonald's or an "Unhappy" meal at another fast food restaurant.  Or less than half the newstand price of the latest issue of People magazine (which you can also read for free at your dentist's office).  Or roughly one fourth the cost of a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (which are tasty but a bit unhealthy and provide very little insight on innovation and business success).  

Seems hard to believe, doesn't it?

But before I get you too hungry to read, I'll simply leave this link ("Surrounded by Geniuses" for Kindle) and go back to drafting an even more substantive blog post for tomorrow.  After all, a sale like this won't last forever.

Or will it?

SbG Kindle Edition


Reinventing the Book Experience

Greetings.  This week's American Bookseller's Association "Expo" in New York City showed an industry in the midst of a major transition.  Changes in the nature of books and bookstores, along with changes in technology and what constitutes an actual "book," are fundamentally altering the business our buddy Gutenberg created back in the 1400's when he invented movable type printing.  To say that these changes are profound would be a dramatic understatement as books morph into a variety of digital forms that can be read and listened to.  And as the places to buy books morph as well with independent booksellers struggling to survive in the face of competition from the big bookstore chains, and other on-line stores, book publishers' websites, and even big box retailers.

Then add to the mix changing consumer needs and desires.  Armed with so many choices about what to read and how to get it, they are also changing their habits–reading fewer books from start to finish and opting to get ideas, inspiration, and content from an ever-widening set of sources.  All calling into question the very nature of the book experience.

I must admit that I still have a real fondness for buying a physical book, throwing it in my suitcase or briefcase, then taking it out to read while on a train, plane, or upon arriving at my destination.  I like the look and feel of a real book, the sense of its substance, the chance to turn real pages, and the ability to easily go back and forth in search of particular pages, ideas, and sections.  But I'm also getting more comfortable with the reality of e-readers and their versatility in letting consumers take a lot of books and content with them in an easy to carry package.  And I also enjoy listening to e-books and sometimes reading no more than an article or blog post without having to make the commitment to buy and read an entire book.

For those of us who are authors and readers, this dramatic transition is filled with challenges and opportunities.  How will things shake out?  Will there continue to be a market for our writing and ideas in book form?  Or will we also have to morph in a new direction…that could eventually earn us many more readers (or in Twitter terms "followers")?  So this year's book show provides an intriguing test of the promise of change and innovation.  And it's an issue that all of us who create and consume content will be an important part of.  But it's also an issue that all of our companies and organizations will need to address as we reinvent the future of our own industries.  Industries that will be recast by those with a new understanding of customers, needs, and the power of technology.

BEA 2010 

We win in business and in life when we create and embrace dramatic change.  And when we consistently provide products, solutions, and content that really matter to those we serve.

Cheers and happy reading in whatever form it takes!