Monday, January 24, 2011

Unexpected Learning

Last week I had the opportunity to take some time off and take a cruise. Considering how cold things have been around here lately it was a great time to get warm and enjoy some sun. As expected I did that, but unexpectedly I also learned some things along the way. This was a cruise with unexpected learning. And maybe I should have expected it. So what did I learn on my Winter vacation?

Well to start with my ship offered seminars on a variety of topics. One was an Improv class. Seemed like a better option than the Rumba class. So we attended and I learned lessons on working in a team, listening to your team and focusing on your task at hand and not lose that focus while others may struggle. The most important thing was to ensure the team continued to function. Through some exercises that I plan to bring back to my colleges we can bring these unexpected lessons home.

I also had the chance to meet someone in a similar field as us at Thoughtcorp, in that he did retail analysis. It was interesting to exchange stories on how we solved problems for our respective clients and how to better use retail data. Today’s challenges in retail are one that we focus on at Thoughtcorp and we really started to look at ways that retailers need to bring data together to enhance businesses.

Then I started reading a book, named “Start-up Nation” about how Israel has become a leader in innovation and technology. It is an interesting lesson on how the ability to be innovative and creative and not to take no for an answer when all around say you are bound to fail. I read about a company that approached PayPal about a new concept to capture fraud. The concept was that by separating people into good and bad people you can detect fraud. Good people leave a trail on the Internet; bad people don’t. Somehow a small Israeli company was able to deliver more accurate results in a exponentially short time frame compared to PayPal’s own analysts. It was impressive and was based upon the way that governments find terrorists. This was an approach that PayPal recognized as revolutionary. The stories continue and the lessons one can learn from a book like this can be translated to everyday business.

A great time on a great ship and met some great people who helped me make some unexpected discoveries.

Celebrity Eclipse - Eastern Carribean Cruise 2011 168BTW….the picture above is our ship the Celebrity Eclipse parked next the HMS Bounty….imagine the difference in technology of these two ships….hmmmm. 

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