Photo by IBM Quantum Computer

I just saw an interesting video on YouTube that helped me understand quantum computing – at least it is now easier to pretend I know :). Talia Gershorn from IBM explained Quantum Computing in a new and very powerful way. This post is actually a comment for Talia but I thought it might be interesting to see what other quantum computing physicists have to say. Failure Tolerance and Imperfection is something I got really caught up with and am fascinated to get opinion from others.

@Talia: You are looking for having fault tolerance. I fully understand because this is how we always looked at computing. The perfect 100% accurate result – any time. And I’m sure one day somebody will find the solution. In the meantime you may want to look at applications where this is not so relevant. Imperfection is a form of quality that we all see in nature and in the universe. It is indeed a quality. Only imperfection allows evolution, mutation, and variation. Without imperfection – funny isn’t it – we would simply NOT EXIST.

Here is how it goes: Think about a structure for an airplane wing that is ultra light, still strong enough that it holds the body of a plane, yet flexible enough that it does not break. Your brain comes up with a few ideas, you let it run through a computer, optimize the structure based on let’s say a heat map of issues and then build it. If it’s working safely, you produce it and we are all flying with it – actually for centuries. Guess what – the structure that was picked in the first place is absolutely imperfect, still too heavy but it just works. Let an AI system design it and go through a million iterations, It would come up with a perfect solution (see a video from @Maurice Conti in my recent post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/autonomous-machines-where-we-today-who-may-advance-most-schultze/ . IMPERFECTION however saved us time so we could have airplanes long before we even knew about the existence of AI.

Another example: Your own company (IBM) provided the computer to beat Kasparov in 1997 in chess. The software however was imperfect because it could not go through each and every possible move but used the ones with the highest probability to win. AlphaGO did the same with GO because here the possible moves where simply too many.

IMPERFECTION as a strategy.

How about letting the good old silicon based computers do their job and you focus on apps that doesn’t need that kind of perfection but an overall performance increase unreachable for today’s silicon based machines. Instead of computing a three dimensional image and simulating it to move, using silicon, take a quantum computer and ignore that few pixels that are lost or even whole frames that do not get perfectly represented. As we progress in AI with its more and more complex algorithms and neural networks, we may need to get used to imperfection in an even grander scale. Matching too humans has a great chance of being imperfect. But the meeting everybody from the opposite gender would and keeping the protocol for meeting each other would take approximately 5.5 million years if we allow one day for each person and assuming 25% of half the population is ‘available’.

Just a thought.

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I was struct the other day when I looked at the ways how AlphaGO, the GO playing AI based computer is actually working. It immediately resonated with a thought that I had years ago about the human imperfection and its results.

Now – GO is a game that is over 1,000 years old not really really complex but its permutation of moves is said to be larger than we have atoms in the observable universe. Well not sure this is really ‘accurate’ but it gives us the idea.

Related image

Image by Google Deepmind

In order to play GO a computer would need until the end of time to calculate every possible move. In order to solve this puzzle, alphaGo went through a series of more obvious moves, then calculated the probability to win for each move and took the one with the highest probability. Far from being perfect but a reasonable way. But this has HUGE implications. It now tells us that some actions of any computer that could not be computed to perfection, are possible but with a certain degree of imperfection.

Imperfection as a result of time

If we let a computer draw a realistic 3D image of the observable Universe we have two options. Making it accurate and have it ready for future generations in a thousand years or so. Or make it pretty realistic and have us look at it in a few months. Obviously the one we can actually look at would not be perfect but pretty OK.

I guess we have to make ourselves familiar with imperfection far beyond seeing it as a failure or error. Humans are imperfect. But that imperfection is actually a quality. It is the quality life itself has defined. Evolution, mutation and variance is a result of imperfection or vice versa. A perfect human would either be alone or has billions of exact copies, no more development. It would make absolutely no sense. So if imperfection is the root cause of evolution or the other way around is interesting because we will end of with an instant existence of a perfect “whatever”. But that is not possible. Imperfection is actually the very basis why we EXIST. We are on a trajectory of an evolution seeking perfection. And now learning that imperfection is not only the starting point but part of our evolution all along.

The best way to learn is making mistakes. ‘Fail and fail fast’ is a saying every entrepreneur knows. A piece of software that works immediately after the first test is the most uncomfortable feeling for the software developer. Imperfection is the hand rail of our forward trajectory. I guess we need to learn way more about imperfection to better comprehend its full implication.

 

 

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More and more people understand today, that our future is not accidentally happening but literally created by us and by the forces of our universe.

If a large asteroid is destroying our planet before we found an emergency exit, that future is created by the forces of the universe or whatever we call it and believe in, including by chance if you like. But if we find a way to either destroy such an asteroid before it hits us – or find a way to rescue people and escape to another planet, this is a future we literally create ourselves. Everything we have today, homes, running water, accessible electricity, cars, planes, hospitals, computer, artificial intelligence, robots, machines, cranes…. was created by us. The live we live in today was the future, created by our parents – for us.

With that understanding, we should help all people understand, that every single one is helping create our future. Whether it is building a rocket to the moon where thousands of people, engineers and metal worker created that future – or agreeing that the UK shall no longer be in the EU, was  created by the sum of all of the respective people. The responsibility of every single one is much grander than most realize. Their ever growing influence is way more powerful than most people can comprehend. It is our responsibility to help everybody, understand that we are a collective and we collectively create our future – in what way ever.

For those who fear that influence – I guess we can trust that there are more people with a common sense on earth than those with destructive or criminal energy.

 

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“Please listen carefully to this menu as the menu has changed”. “Your call is important to us but please leave a voice message”. “If you need more information go to www – dot – whatever dot com…”

Sound familiar?

Customer engagement automation is the first impression when engaging with a business. The rest is history.  The intentions were good – yet the results are telling us we made huge mistakes. Automation on the business relationship side didn’t really bring any progress in our business – but alienated our business from our most important asset: our customer base.

I’m not talking about automation on the production side of the world – I’m talking about automation on the business side, the relationship side, the interaction side. Businesses are spending more time, resources and money automating whatever a team is doing then ever before. All done with the intention to be more effective – yet the ‘effect‘ is that we are loosing customers – not winning them.

Billions get invested every year in:

Sales force automation
Low touch sales model
Marketing automation
Automated Phone Systems
Business process automation
Anonymous market surveys
Market research to find what our customers want
… 
and on and on

In the end much more money is invested in automation than in smart and human customer experience models.

If you stop automating your engagement processes – you force yourself  to create real relationships. And as you “re-invent” relationships it may lead you to new ways to engage, it may lead to better an deeper relationships and it may lead to a level of advocacy that you never experienced before. Automating garbage collection is one way – reducing the volume of garbage is a smarter way.

Automating customer engagement may had been a legitimate experiment in business improvement – but it failed. Focusing on relationships and customer experience shows much more success.

Just give it a shot!

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I’m concerned. With a defense budget of $690 Billion, the US spends more money on defense and armor than China ($129B), India ($44B), Russia ($64B), UK ($57B), France ($58B), Germany ($43B), Korea… all together. That means that every US family is paying $6,200 per year to defend – what?

In contrast, the US education budget is only $69B, infrastructure and everything else is even less.

If you restructure the budget, keep $250B for defense, you are still bigger than China, India, Russia combined, or bigger than all Europe and have $440B for making the US the nation with the biggest education budget, the biggest science budget, the biggest economic stimulation, the biggest traffic infrastructure development and make it the leading nation – again. And still have a few billion to revitalize a Space program.

I believe the most significant defense program for 2014 is to defend US internal poverty, under education and economic meltdown.

I wish you and all Americans a happy and prosperous 2014

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I’d like to expand further on an earlier post about the three priorities of a well run democratic government: Education, Infrastructure and Law. I made a short statement about separation of state and capital.

In recent year I saw quite some interesting posts about ‘separation between state and economics’ or ‘separation between state and economy’. Well first of all i see “economy’ as the mirror of how we conduct business and how business can flourish in a given society. Economy or the economics of a nation is a result of a carefully interwoven and networked interaction between capital or the business owning part of a society and the government with it’s responsibility to take care of ALL of its citizens. Hence I believe it is better to say “Separation of state and capital”. With this approach we will also see a major conflict right away in a political form that is called capitalism.  Capitalism basically fuses capital and state in one unit that has eventually the same problem than communism. In a capitalistic world less and less people control more and more assets to a point where there is no difference to communism from an economic point of view.

When capitalism becomes an economic communism

Let’s look into the United States today, end of 2013. The largest part, approximately 80% of the population works in large global enterprises. They are all public companies. Public companies means the public participates in the economic success of those companies, very much like in communism. The company leadership including the ‘real investors’ however work very closely with the government and have a huge influence in the government’s decisions. When we look at the investor structure of the food industry which is still the most essential industry to mankind, the 350 ‘individual brands’ in the US are owned by approximately 10 large enterprises and only a few people like Warren Buffet have a large stake in those companies. At present time, less and less people control more and more assets and build and incomprehensible wealth – while an unhappiness 99% seeing the chances to become rich rapidly vanishing away.   Some predict that there will be the first Trillionaires in the next two generations.

Unlike the idea of free competition – as seen by Wesley Gant – and a well self balanced economy, capitalism allows an uncontrolled gravitational force that allows one company gets acquired by another until there is no competition left and we experience monopolies that are not only as bad as communism, it’s actually worst. AT&T, Comcast Cable, Microsoft, Ford and GM, General Electric, super market chains are only a few of those examples. The US had once 26 world class auto makers and have been considered the world leading auto industry. A sales pitch from GM telling other companies that ‘economy of scale’ will crush them and they better merge with GM worked well enough to buy most of the car makers, creating an unmanageable behemoth, that was eventually unable to compete on the world market. Ford and Chrysler did the same and the US ended up with three brands, so inflexible and lacking of innovation that international brands took over and crushed the US auto industry. In just 16 years the US lost all it’s leadership, no more the leading auto industry, no more the leading home appliance industry, no longer the leading aerospace industry, no longer the best education, no longer a self sufficient energy producer, no leadership in environmental technologies, renewable energy, health care….

The end of the american dream? The end of the land of opportunities? It is certainly just a few seconds before 12 and when you see billions of US$ flow into countries like Africa and revolutionize the African infrastructure, you know that a large portion of that gigantic wealth is leaving the country.

Is separation of economics and state an illusion?

One of the very related and controversial discussed movies is Atlas Shrugged from Ayn Rand. The story was written in 1953 and the third movie of that trilogy is currently in the making. Also Ayn is a big proponent for a free and uncontrolled capitalism and is mentioning the separation between economics and state – as she is migrating from Russia to the fast emerging US. But now – 60 years later, where are we? There is no separation between economics and state and capitalism is at risk to collapse. Replacing “economics” with “capital” isn’t just semantics but a significant difference.

I believe capitalism and communism are both idealistic and extreme forms of an ideal world, described by people who would like everybody adopts what is ideal for them. As such I trust neither one will ever work. All too often freedom for one is a limitation to another. We need to recognize and respect that a peaceful coexistence requires compromises. And compromises need to be democratically decided and then respected (one may not agree but will commit).

Separation of state and capital

The government of a society needs to look at the entire population and be not guided by the capital. That a company such as GM can buy and destroy public transportation in the interest to sell more cars, should never be possible in a democratic and capital independent government. That a government supports the weapons industry to a degree that the arsenal is able to destroy the plant 60 times and sell weapons to countries that are simply unpredictable just to fuel war for their own business interest should never be possible. Infrastructure that is part of the foundation of a society’s success should not be privatized unless it can be insured that there are at least three independent competitors. Patent laws should be in the interest of an inventor not in the interest of the capital. Trade laws should be in the interest of all independent trader and need to be predictable.

EDUCATION
In today’s technological very demanding world education is not only a base right but a responsibility of the government to provide the best possible education to its society. That responsibility includes motivation why such education is so essential. Unlike in the US education system where higher education is almost in-affordable for an average family, the state need to ensure that all talented citizens are motivated and have access to the best possible education, including political education to grow a nation that is mentally able to execute their democratic rights and can contribute to the evolution of such a democracy. Political education also needed to ensure a society can maintain their democratic rights so that at least a large part of the society is able to comprehend the evolution of the law and rules and regulation the society is governed by. Since there will always be talents that come out of circumstances unable to afford first class education, it is the states responsibility to support those in the interest of the entire society.

INFRASTRUCTURE
From history we can learn that infrastructure has always been a keystone for prosperity. First cities in Egypt were build at the river Nile, where the river was a key transport medium. Harbors became the strategic infrastructure for prospering nations for thousands of years. Later on trading hubs emerged inland if good roads where available, expanded by trains and lately airports to be connected to air traffic. Public transportation systems are key in large cities to provide fast transportation within those cities. Phone connections, Internet, mobile phone infrastructure are the latest examples for key strategic infrastructure elements. Obviously handing those over to private businesses seemed to make a lot of sense, but the economic interest and the interest of a society as a whole are colliding also here. European countries for instance responded to those essentially just different monopolies with state regulations to ensure service needed for a prospering country. Germany, one of the most healthy economies, for instance took it even a step further and followed the principle to have communication managed by the department of traffic and infrastructure. Traffic, communication and energy are so critical to a nations success that it may make a lot of sense to make those carefully watched and co-managed by the state.

LAW
Obviously one of the most essential responsibilities of the sate is to create, maintain and enforce the law for its society. In particular maintenance of a law is a big challenge for most modern societies, that have still rules and regulations that are more than hundred years old and are completely outdated. Yet as one rule builds on previous ones it is very difficult to remove such outdated laws. More importantly is the need to create new rules for new behaviors, often triggered by new technologies. While the law is the foundation of today’s democratic society, all too often is the society not participating to execute their democratic rights by virtue of not even understanding what the law is for and what permutation it may have (see education).  I rising issue in the developed world is to understand and navigate business development. In today’s capitalistic societies it is easily possible that financially dominant groups can easily overpower less powerful groups for their own benefit but not for the benefit of the economy. For instance Microsoft was able to deliver Internet Explorer for free and killed innovator Netscape. This example is in particular valuable as one school of thought will suggest that any intervention of a government is negative for the economy and if the government would regulate at that level, where will it end? The other school of thought may argue that destroying innovation not in a competition of innovation but in a competition of capital is not in the interest of a thriving society and we need to find ways of fair competition in the base of the matter – in this case innovation. Obviously I’m not writing this to make a suggestion but to raise the issue and show the challenges that lay ahead of us.

In all of the above core elements, a well run government has deep connection between state and economy, yet not necessarily a need to have state and capital be as closely connected as it is today in many societies.

Economy, being “the wealth and resources of a country or region, esp. in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services” in accordance to Google, it would be hard to believe to decouple economy from state but separating state and capital as only one of the players of a nation seems to make a lot of sense.

 

References:
Market Watch, 11 Trillionaires in 2 generations
Currently richest people
Wesley Gant – separation of economy and state
Any Rand – principles of a free society
Recent theories of the capitalist state
What is economy

 

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CANCER IS A DISEASE OF THE MIND

from Johns Hopkins

AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY AND ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY …

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.

3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to STARVE the cancer cells by not feeding it with foods it needs to multiple.

What cancer cells feed on:

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Note: Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells will starved.

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes t o nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells.

To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water–best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines will become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Florescence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor.

Anger, unforgiving and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

 

Let me summarize with my own words:

Ensure a healthy immune system by getting lots of oxygen, workout, not too much meat or sugar or salt, instead eat fish and add vegetable, nuts, little fruits. Avoid too much coffee, tea or chocolate – take some green tea. Keep your mind free of stress and enjoy life!

 

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With the ongoing struggle of the US economy, the inner unhappiness and the many questions arising every day in the public web, I was thinking back and forth over the past 2 years about the essence of democracy and the top priorities of a democratic leader. The list is obviously almost with no end. But running a country is all about focus and complexity management.

 

I think there are three things a well run democracy provides for their citizens:

1) Education

Lowest cost possible education is essential. Education drives innovation and innovation drives the economy. Nobody can predict who are the next innovators. But one thing is for sure: limiting top education to a top class in the society is reducing the amount of possible innovation by order of magnitude. Most of the big tech leader and tech innovations in the US were essentially stemmed by people from middle class or lower families. If a country can’t support broad education it cripples its ability to innovate and as such it essentially reduces its competitiveness on a global scale.

2) Infrastructure

An omnipresent basic infrastructure for clean water, energy, public transportation and communication (i.e. mobile networks and Internet) is essential for a society to work and deliver a high value to the society. Communication, knowledge transfer and interaction via the Internet and mobile communication is in today’s world as important as air traffic was in the 60’s and 70’s. If you can’t go there easily you decouple yourself from the rest of the business world. If you don’t make it easy and encourage people to leverage the global Internet you disconnect yourself from the global business flow.

3) Common sense law

A law is helping citizen to collaborate and live with each other, keep freedom and prosperity. However like education models and infrastructure if it is not well maintained, there is a high risk of permutation that makes the law not the law for the people but against the people. The Headline in Wire Magazine a year or so ago: “Need cash – sue Google” is a funny yet devastating testimony for a law that is out of control.

All the other key needs including Jobs, Healthcare, Freedom…. will fall into its place if the above is a top priority. To the contrary if any one of the above responsibilities are a low priority, there is a high risk a society is at jeopardy.

Separation of state and capital

Very much like the separation of state and church back in the 1700’s a modern society need to care about the separation between state and capital. Societies in capitalistic nations are particularly at risk to outbalance democracy in a way where poor get ever poorer and less and less people get ever richer to a degree that the capital eventually controls what happens in a country and not an elected government.

 

Plausibility check

Jobs & Innovation

If we have many well educated kids from all kinds of levels of our society we will see a lot of creativity and start-ups driving the creativity to new business and new jobs. Jobs can’t be “created” for people to have a job. Jobs can only be created by demand to do things we haven’t done before. Innovation means developing the ability on a global scale and build more than we can consume ourselves.

Health Care

If we have jobs we can pay for healthcare and if we have agile and creative people, they find new ways to make health care more affordable, less complicated, more variety and more option. We can’t “generate” healthcare unless we put it back to a government function.

Prosperity

If the laws of a country help keeping the balance between a young generations innovation and mature capital we alleviate the risk of monopolies and support the growth of a middle class – which is essential for a stable and well balanced economy. If like in some countries over 80% of the food supply is concentrated in 350 brands that are essentially owned by 10 companies who have all one major shareholder in common, we live in a very dangerous system that allowed the prosperity development to get out of synch. It doesn’t make sense to finger point to people and call the greedy – when the system is build to make it happen.

Well – is our democratic model no longer working? No – our world and it’s needs and haves have evolved dramatically and our democratic answers need to evolve as well. Public companies for instance were a great innovation about 100 years ago to let the public participate in the gains of larger companies. Today public companies ruin more individuals than other investment opportunities, or no longer even give access to many citizens and investments have grown to a level of complication that it just doesn’t make sense any longer. Neither the laws to protect investors or businesses nor the laws and rules to run businesses kept up with the evolution of our globally connected business world.

Summary

While this is all very complex, if we distill it down to Education, Infrastructure and Law we can start working on it and get out of trouble easily within a few years.  Just thinking

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

 

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My LinkedIn account states: Member since: June 12, 2003
My LinkedIn ID is 8573

2003 – In My 2003 Konstantin Guerke, one of the LinkedIn co-founders asked me to join the network and give some feedback. His primary interest: Get some executives into the network, which so far was primarily consisting of engineers. To be honest, back then I had absolutely no idea what value it provided and where this could go.

2004 -I was searching for a VP Marketing and looking for candidates. Konstantin asked me to try LinkedIn to find what I’m looking for. I did. After some tips and modeling I got a pretty good search model and found the perfect candidate. Kathrine Hayes was VP Marketing, not looking and in most of the recruiters databases listed as VP Sales, her previous position. I would have never found here and  neither would our recruiters. We agreed to work together and not only I saved $30,000 recruiting cost, I got a perfect match. That was one of the key events when I realized that social networking would change everything. Not only the way we look for candidates but the way we sell, market, engage, service, promote, learn – simply every aspect of our business world.

2005 – I started my own blog and was considered one of the first executives blogging. I remember it was a bit of a debate in one of the board meetings as nobody could imagine what a blog is and why one would do that. I didn’t care. More so I tried to incorporate social media and social technology into our products. It was pretty clear to me that social technologies are the future life blood of any business application. Little did I know that it will still take years to get there.

2006 – Social networking was growing very fast within those early adopters and it proved helpful once one kind of understood how to use it to maintain existing contacts, develop new connections, get business introductions and even generate new leads. We all developed different techniques and had different opinion. And we all knew, that this is going to make a huge difference to sales and marketing. Yet we realized that most executives are still far away from recognizing the potential and the impact that social media already has on their businesses.

2007 – I heard about Twitter and the opinion that this is dumb and a total wast of time. In early 2007 I tried it out and agreed. This was really stupid. There was no way to form a meaningful sentence with 140 characters, let a lone a message for the public. But when I read in Wired Magazine that being forced to cram your thoughts into 140 characters and as a result we all will be less wordy, I looked at it again and signed up with a new account in June. I was surprised that the network has grown from roughly 50,000 just a few month ago to some hundred thousand users. I made new friends and began to really like it.

2008 – With the presidential campaign here in the US being massively using social media, many business executives woke up and were looking to explore its potential for their respective companies. A few business friends of mine, mostly CEOs from other Silicon Valley companies asked me to share my thoughts and experience about social media or just hired my as a consultant helping them develop a social media strategy. I have never been a consultant and didn’t really want to become one – but that was a lot of fun. The biggest problem was that nobody within those companies actually understood what I’m talking about.  I decided to provide executive level training to help managers not only make sense of Social Media but being able to create a strategy, create initiatives, define resource and budget plans and everything a corporate executive needs to make a decision. And of 2008 we started the Social Media Academy.

2009 – I continued to consult a few large enterprises to develop their social media engagement. What we did however was very different from what most social media agencies suggested. We did not run any fancy Facebook campaigns or moved the old coupon business to the new media. Instead we developed customer engagement strategies where parts of the sales teams or parts of the service teams strategically engaged with customers or even with customers of the company’s competitors. We couldn’t hope for more success. By now some executives realized that social media was no longer “just another arrow in the marketing quiver” it was a business strategy that focused on “Customer Experience Improvement”, “Near Real Time Market Research”, or “Online Reference Selling” and other similar business topics with either an objective to cut cost, create a competitive advantage or expand on certain markets. But the number of businesses who understood to benefit from those advantages is microscopic small.

2010 – One of the challenges we were facing by engaging with a large number of contacts was the lack of capabilities to get quickly and proactively to those accounts. Keeping them in a spreadsheet was not an option. And so we built an application on top of XeeMe a tool that we created for internal use. To us and our clients, 2010 was the year where social selling made some major turns. We were engaging with clients using this new tool we called “Flights!”. While still in an infant stage, we came to realization that sales people are the most social  beings in any business and giving them tools to engage online in addition to phone, email and face to face will make a significant difference in the future. The downside of the new social selling possibilities is that sales teams will want to re-structure their sales strategy, become socially engaged in a much grander way, which in turn requires to restructure sales processes and eventually the commission structure. We knew this will be a long, long way to go. Rather than exhausting us with a decade long evangelizing battle we decided to help one company at a time – whenever they are ready to make a change.

2011 – This year the first partner channel organization thought about using social media to improve partner relationships, drive more partner engagement and help partners engage with their clients more than in the past. In particular in the tech space, VARs, Resellers, System Integrator are not exactly marketing machines. But they keep relationships with their existing clients. And the social web will not change this. But partner channels have a huge influence in the market and can be engaged perfectly to amplify a brand message. Also partners can leverage the social web to get grander exposure for their competencies and technical skills and capabilities. We are seeing the fist vendors including SAP to make a big step forward.

2012 – No question, businesses are moving fast now to leverage social media in their ongoing quest to create a competitive advantage and widen their gap to the competition. But the number of businesses doing so successfully remains to be small. Unlike any previous technology inception where a few leaders started and the followers came in with a year or two delay, the social media adoption is a slow process. Mainly because it is NOT a technology but a mind set and a way of doing business. Main topics remain to be “Customer Experience Improvements”, “”Widen Market Reach”, Improve Channel Partner Engagement” and so forth. Initiatives in those areas make the successful companies even more successful and the struggling companies remain struggling and focus on their business survival instead of customer happiness. In 2012 it was clearer than ever before: ignoring customer engagement opportunities will bring struggling businesses even further in trouble.

At the same time we were experimenting more and more with large scale social media buzz marketing. The largest initiative was for the annual tech conference of the European Commission, where we created a buzz campaign wit nearly 100 Million in reach.

2013 – We decided to focus our future business on the B2B space in here on three areas: High Impact Marketing, Customer Experience Management, Partner & Alliance Management. The launch of our Buzz product is a major milestone and goes hand in hand with the new Buzz Master Training.

Today the gap between online savvy and online illiteracy has widened to a frighting level. When I work with European customers I see the same behavior we saw her in the US in 2007 / 2008  – that means a six year gap between the US and Europe. Australia on the other hand is so close to the US it almost feels they are even a bit further developed in using the social web than in many regions in the US.

“It’s an age thing” – I hear this over and over again. Well – there is a correlation between age and online savvy but it isn’t the age – it is the inability to learn new things and evolve. We had people in its late 60’s in our classes delivering excellent results and others in their early 40’s just couldn’t let go what they learned and were almost incapable to adopt the new behavior.

Well – there is so much more to talk about but, I want to keep it at a Blog level – not a book :)

At this point I want to thank all the wonderful people who I met and made friends with in those extremely exciting 10 years. I’d love to list them all but since you will find them on my friends list on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – I think it is much easier. THANK YOU my friends.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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I learned from my grandmother: “At one point in time capitalism is identically to communism. It is at the time when a tiny group of people control most of the assets of that society.” Are we there?

I think raising minimum wage is only one more action where the small group takes control. The free flow of economic forces has stopped. And now the worst thing is that the 99% point fingers to the 1% as the bad guys. In my opinion the real problem is a system that just have seen its days. To fix that it actually takes the 99% and not the 1%. But here is the real problem: zero political education for generations. The 99% does only know little to nothing about macroeconomic, economy dynamics…

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I love my yahoo mail account, which I use for spam and never have to worry it. Yahoo is so incredibly strict that most email doesn’t pass anyway. So I can actually find a response if I signup for a site I don’t know. Also I have set it up that all email older than 30 days gets automatically deleted. So I don’t have to sift through age old spam.

I use it primarily when I want to comment on a post from a traditional publisher such as magazines who are online now or the old news papers. Sure enough I get inundated with spam a few days after I registered. But who cares.

Nowadays approximately 96% of all email world wide is useless spam – up from 83% just a few years ago. On our corporate mail server we have strong spam filter, filtering roughly 90% of the companies inbound emails. My own spam setting filters an additional 75% and from the 30 email that finally make it each day, only 5 or 6 are actually really relevant. Out of – believe it or not 36,000 emails sent to my account every month. Plus the spam to my Yahoo account.

Now – if you are telling me email marketing makes sense, I just have a hard time to believe it. And the irony of all is that marketers trying to tell me email marketing is more popular than ever and the usage is constantly growing – ha ha ha – yes I absolutely believe it is.

If you pay $1 for an executive email address, and I get 36,000 emails a month, people paying over $700,000 a year just to send me their spam that I don’t even get into my inbox – let alone reading it. I’m sorry for the loss, so I thought at least I let you know.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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No question, Monaco hosts the most prestigious yacht show in the world. And being a “yachty” myself it is obviously the perfect match and pleasure to combine my social media business and this outstanding event.

We will starting share impressions, moments, interesting exhibitions as well as trends and many other aspects over the next few month.

A couple thoughts about your plans coming down here:

1) If you are anywhere in Europe, come and see us at Monaco Yacht Show September 25-28 2013 – Fly to Nice, France and hop over to Monaco, it’s just about 30 Minutes away.

2) If you are happening to be in Russia or anywhere in North Africa, think about coming too. It’s about two hours flight to Paris or Frankfurt and just another hour or so down here. And as you know, the Monaco Yacht Show has so much more than boats. You may meet the most interesting people you ever met in your life in just a few days.

3) If you come from China, Australia or the USA, plan a few business meetings all together in Monaco, we are happy to help making some spontaneous connections.

Not in the market to buy a yacht? You got to be kidding me. You won’t get one today anyway. Maybe in a few years from now. Enough time to get all your aspiration in order. But what aspiration if you don’t even get inspired in the first place :)

Xee you here soon

Axel
htt://xeeme.com/AxelS

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Take five chimpanzees. Put them in a big cage. Suspend some bananas from the roof of the cage and provide the chimpanzees with a stepladder. NOW – add a proximity detector, so that when a chimp goes near the banana, a water hose opens and the whole cage is thoroughly soaked.

Soon, the chimps learn that the bananas and the stepladder are best ignored.

Now remove one chimp, and replace it with a fresh one. That chimp knows nothing about the hoses. He sees the banana, notices the stepladder, and because he is a smart primate, he envisions himself stepping on the stepladder to reach the bananas. The moment he is trying to grab the stepladder… the four other chimps spring on him and beat him squarely. He soon learns to ignore the stepladder.

Then, remove another chimp and replace it with a fresh one. The scenario occurs again; when he grabs the stepladder, he gets mauled by the four other chimps — yes, including the previous “fresh” chimp. He has integrated the notion of “thou shall not touch the stepladder”.

Iterate. After some operations, you have five chimps who are ready to punch any chimp who would dare touching the stepladder — and none of them knows why.

  • We fight against same sex marriage, only because we get beaten from somebody who is telling us that this is bad.
  • We send our sons and daughters to war only because somebody telling us that war is for freedom – even if 100,000 die
  • We buy products on black Friday because somebody tells us: that day things which are otherwise more expensive are now magically cheap
  • We support “No child left behind”, not even wondering if now all children are behind

We don’t like the nay sayer (and I do too) but is there a risk to become too much of a follower?

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When I first shared the idea of living to 180, my friends laughed at me and my kids rolled their eyes. It was indeed a crazy idea but there was way too much evidence of the possibility to not follow the thought.

Recently Forbes talked about “The First Person to Live to 150 Has Already Been Born” An insurance company posts the message on large bill boards and one of the early proponents of that idea revisited his own thoughts from just 10 years ago and believes that we may even reach 1,000 pretty quickly. He shared is new thoughts in a BBC interview.

Why is it so important – regardless if it is 150, 180 or 1,000?

The day you start thinking in those dimension you will fundamentally change your future!

If you are 50 and older, you most likely act very different than someone in his or her 30’s or 40’s. You may ask yourself how long you can do the job you do. You ask yourself if you are too old to do this or that. You may not invest in certain things because the ROI comes too late for you. You may no longer plant a tree because you fear you may be dead when he is in his full size. You may not start a new career because you think you retire before you actually make a career. All those sad, frustrating and demotivating thoughts will vanish away, when you begin to adopt the possibility that you may live to 150. Now 60 that means you have another 90 years to go. OK thinking in those dimensions is not easy and doesn’t come overnight but the quality of live is growing so phenomenally it is worth exploring the options. See you at New Years Eve in the year 2,100.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, we lost the leadership but maybe in the future there is no more single world leader. Maybe there are different leaders in different areas. We don’t need a global leader we need global collaboration. With connections across all countries we develop friends across all countries. And with friends across all countries we are less likely to start yet another war just to make the weapons industry happy. There are over 300 Million Americans who no longer want war, instead want to see the tax money put into education and innovation, both being the no.1 driver for jobs and wealth.

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Today – July 12 – is world population day

I was thinking the other day about the growth of our population and what it really means. How can we deal with it and how far can we grow?

I did the math:

If we would take the space of the entire US and populate it with a population density like for instance Munich, which is a very green city, not too crowded and has a very nice standard of living for everybody. Guess what – we could have 370 Billion people on that continent and the rest of the entire globe would be completely untouched – no human being anywhere else.

In other words: With a rather moderate squeezed in super population of 370 Billion people, still 93% of the planet would be completely unpopulated.

If we take the population density of New York we could squeeze in 1 Trillion people (1,000 Billion) in our Super continent and still 93% of earth would be our farmland with no human beings living there.

Considering regions with high mountains are just 5 – 10% of the space – water was not taken in consideration at all – So space on earth surely isn’t an issue for a long long time.

Food for everybody and the billions to come?

About 200 years ago 80% of the western population was involved in food production feeding the 100% of all. Today only 7% are involved in food production and 93% do other things. We have food for every human on earth and another 10 Billion if we re-arrange things a bit with the food production that we have already today. So availability of food isn’t an issue either.

Food distribution and clean water is a different story.

Food Distribution

The way we distribute food is one of the bigger problems. Large corporations actually sell bad food that is no longer accepted in the western world into third world countries thinking “better than nothing”. But her starts the problem. It actually is so cheap that the local food producers get out of business and need to eat that imported rotten food that causes disease and even casualties. Our understanding of the global food production and distribution is so superficial that we often times damage more than we fix – even so we want to help. And this goes on for decades now. Fixing this would make a huge difference.

Clean Water

This is one of the biggest problems on earth. And it is not only a problem of third world countries – it is even an issue in highly developed California. There is simply not enough drinking water for all right now – given the way we consume water. But here again we mess with the resources in a COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE way. Every hour one billion developed households flush their toilet with millions of gallons drinkable water. The toilet water we flush would be enough to keep 20 Billion people alive. So also here it’s the distribution that is completely messed up.

It’s too expensive to help

I understand it is expensive. We would need to have a dual water supply system to every house where we supply drinking water to the kitchen and bathroom and even the lawn and a secondary system to provide sanitized regenerated water or even prepared salt water to the toilet, washing machines and other water needs. Then we would need to build pipes into these massively large continents with all those other people who are in desperate need.

Thoughts for a possible sustainable development

We have to accept that we will continue to grow. We will become 20 Billion and we will need to find ways to help all of them thrive. We will need to find ways how we can make them all happy and healthy, even rich earthlings. And rich is the key word. We need to think differently – instead of abusing their cheap labor which is always just a short term gain – we need to make them all happy and rich consumers.

If we think about emerging countries that want to grow and thrive like Uganda or Kenya and the hundreds of others we need to invest in helping those countries become world citizens and consumers of what we provide. China thrives and countries who are very engaged in bilateral relationships with China are thriving too. Coca Cola cost only a few cent in underdeveloped countries and it seems to work – why can’t other businesses do that?

If we stop thinking short term gains and begin thinking in sustainable development of the rest of the glob – we can all grow more than we can without them. Meaing it actually isn’t about accepting the growth – its welcoming that growth. All we need to do is make them happy, healthy and wealthy consumers and a world citizens. Think of a brand new market of 370 Billion people – lots to be produced and delivered there.

Learning from the Curch

The Catholic Church has the best business model in the world since over 1,600 years. With that much experience in building a sustainable growth and wealth we can learn one thing: A growing population is the best guarantee for long term wealth. We may not need to follow their methods or believe system but we can learn to thrive over centuries.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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