王建民 我一球一球投

November 30, 2006

「又一個滾地球,二壘手接到後傳向一壘,封殺出局。這個來自台灣的小子真是太神奇了!」這是美國職棒轉播員,最常在球賽轉播中出現的讚嘆!一個年薪 只不過35萬美金的小子,不只拿下美國聯盟勝投王,而且在最重要的季後賽,帶領著年薪接近2億美金的隊友贏得勝利,寫下這頁傳奇的,就是王建民!從去年的八勝五敗,一直到今年的十九勝六敗,王建民的進步幅度有目共睹,連洋基隊總教練托瑞(Joe Torre)都稱讚王建民:「原本期待他拿到十二、十三勝就很好了,沒想到竟然可以拿下十九勝,他是我們今年最好的投手。」沒錯,王建民今年不僅打破亞洲 投手勝投場次紀錄,也成為第一位在季後賽拿下勝投的亞洲投手。

國手時期

別以為王建民的成功是偶然,他從小接受棒球訓練,除了國中之外,都當選過國家代表隊,棒球資歷可是一點一滴累積而來,甚至在進入大聯盟之 前,也在小聯盟打拚了五年,才能夠有足夠實力站穩大聯盟,拿下這麼好的成績。一直從事他最熟悉的事物及興趣,再加上這麼完整的訓練,應該就是他能夠成功的 首要因素。

王建民國小時身高就已經長到168公分,跟許多愛打棒球的小孩一樣,因為不喜歡念書而選擇打棒球,崇學國小的啟蒙教練劉永松回想當初怎麼 看上王建民,「看他長得高,手掌又特別大,應該適合練投手。」其實王建民的表現並沒有特別出色,但是劉永松卻對他「投得很準」印象深刻,當選軟式少棒國手 出征日本,還獲得了最佳投手獎。

從小就受教

國中時期,則是王建民特別幸運的關鍵。一般學校為了要求成績,多半會過度操練選手,導致選手長不高,不過建興國中卻希望孩子能夠均衡發展, 不要過度壓迫孩子成長。建興國中棒球教練張錫杰說,王建民就是「乖」得讓人有印象,一般打棒球的小孩總是橫衝直撞,像是關不住的野馬;王建民卻特別乖,不 像一般球員總是欺負學弟,所以學弟下課都跑到他的教室找他。「對於教練的要求他一定都會做到,可能是臉皮比較薄,不希望讓別人覺得他做不到。」

王建民這個特色大概從小就是如此,甚至進到大聯盟也始終如一。去年回母校時,建興國中校長劉丁洲還不時提醒他,不要只當競技場上的鬥士, 只懂得靠蠻力,終究有失敗的一天。既然能在美國打球,就應該把美國整套訓練方法學回來,當有一天不再當球員後,就會是一個受過完整訓練的教練,讓自己的棒 球生涯得以延續。

王建民在加入青棒、成棒時期,就已經北上就讀中華中學與台北體院,在兩位名師蕭文勝、高英傑調教下,漸漸浮現「巨投」雛形,尤其是高英 傑,更是塑造王建民最重要的關鍵。他不只讓手臂受傷的王建民整整休養了一年,最後在關鍵時刻,更臨門一腳地把王建民送進大聯盟最具知名度的紐約洋基隊。

小聯盟時期

「世界棒球中心在美國,美國棒球中心在洋基」,高英傑認為,以王建民的條件絕對可以在美國生存,即使洋基隊高手如雲,只要緊緊握住手中的小 白球,認真練習全力以赴,就算是在洋基隊也不用害怕。這幾句話如同填充火箭的火藥,讓王建民充滿一飛沖天的信心,在2000年5月正式以201萬美金的簽 約金,踏上征戰大聯盟之路。

當苦行僧練基本功

雖然王建民充滿信心,但還是得通過嚴苛的小聯盟選手生涯考驗。當上大聯盟選手,食衣住行都有專人伺候,但是小聯盟卻一切得靠自己,每天一大早起床搭車趕比 賽,一趟車程平均八個小時,比賽完還得自己清洗球衣,如果隔天是午場比賽,晚上甚至還得睡在車上,每天就是重複過著訓練、搭車、比賽的日子,所以球員在這 邊不僅要磨練球技、體能、比賽經驗,更重要的是透過這樣的心志考驗,才具備大聯盟選手的基本功力。

小聯盟高手如雲,通常從1A打起,球團再依選手成績、教練評比、球探報告,決定球員待在哪個層次打球。根據美國職棒大聯盟的統計,每年有 超過千名的選手投入小聯盟,但最後卻只有10%能夠踏上大聯盟的球場,在競爭如此激烈的環境下,王建民能夠出頭天,靠的就是過人的毅力與耐力。

王建民踏上美國職棒的第二年,就動了肩膀手術,整整休養了一個球季,每天重複的復健生活簡直就像苦行僧,甚至無聊到可以跟一個不認識的人 講電話,第一次就聊一個多小時,隨後幾乎一整年天天通話,還不知道這個人長什麼樣子。可別以為聊天對象是個女生,而是曾待過美國職棒、現在是國內職棒投手 的黃俊中。

大聯盟時期

王建民對棒球執著的態度決定了他成為巨投的主因,他總是每天最早到球場的球員,甚至於到大聯盟也是一樣,其他球星總是中午才到球場報到,這 個時候,王建民已經做完了體能與重量訓練,準備接受正常的操練,正因為這個原因,即使明星如雲的洋基隊,王建民也能很快得到隊上老大哥的認同,迅速地融入 這個團隊。

王建民每次上場前總是告訴自己:「我們一定贏得了,因為我們比對手強。」除了對自己有自信,更展現了對隊友的信任,在棒球這個以團隊為主 的比賽中,能夠把自己與隊友綁在一起,更能發揮團隊攻守實力。所以王建民在賽後接受訪問時,記者最常聽到的答案是:「還好啦,都是靠隊友幫忙!」

在他臉上看不到壓力

除了對自我的嚴格要求,王建民不畏壓力的球場表現,也讓隊友、球評讚嘆不已。洋基隊隊長吉特(Derek Jeter)就說:「他的表現不輸大聯盟任何球員,不管他被打擊出去、投得不好或是表現傑出,他的神情都是這麼鎮定如常,這就是致勝之道!」的確,在高手 如雲的大聯盟,王建民還是要靠專注力,才能訓練出一顆堅定無比的心臟。

「我一球一球投」、「在球場上我只看到捕手跟他的手套」,這些都是王建民專注力的表現,就算隊友表現失常,他還是按照自己的節奏繼續投下 去,即使成為敗投,他也是把責任往自己肩上扛,「棒球就是有輸有贏,下一次再贏回來就好。」這樣正確的職業態度,連總教練托瑞都稱讚:「當王建民投球時, 我唯一能做的,就是坐在休息區,什麼事都不用擔心。」

面對挫敗絕不被打敗

任何人都會有低潮,王建民也不例外。升上大聯盟後第一年因為肩傷休息一個月,今年球季剛開始時,一直找不到拿手的「伸卡球」球感,前五戰只 取得一勝一敗的戰績,他坦承一開始也有些慌,但最後還是依照節奏,一步一步調整,不躁進、不失意,最後終於能無痛無傷地投完整個球季,這些都是王建民最後 拿下勝投王的關鍵因素。

王建民最失意的一場,應該數今年6月18日對上華盛頓國民隊的那場比賽,王建民前八局只被擊出四支安打失一分,有效封鎖國民隊的攻勢,進 入到九局下半洋基還以2:1領先,眼看即將拿到個人大聯盟生涯的首次完投勝仗,沒想到卻在一人出局後被對方敲出一支逆轉的再見全壘打,回到休息區時很少有 波動情緒的王建民,氣得把手套重重甩在座位上,就連總教練都立刻前來安慰王建民。

這是王建民第一次在隊友面前發洩自己的情緒,雖然輸了,但是包括教練、隊友都很高興王建民能把情緒發洩出來,這是成為巨投必經的淬鍊,才能因此被磨練得更成熟,果不其然,接下來王建民拿下五連勝,開始勝率高達七成六的大聯盟之旅。

沒有人天生就適合做什麼行業,也許王建民很幸運,能夠走上他最熟悉的棒球這條路,但是沒有父母、師長的支持,以及他對自己的嚴格要求、面對 比賽的正確態度、堅定的毅力與耐心,其實王建民也只是一般人,但是就因為加上了這些特質,把一塊璞玉雕琢成了璀璨的寶石,在這個世界上散發光芒。

source [30雜誌2006.11月號]

Advertisements

神的左手 郭泓志25歲驚豔大聯盟

November 30, 2006

這是他第一次擔任大聯盟先發投手,這一場球,他以一百五十八公里的超高球速,三振了七位打擊者,最後,道奇以五:○打敗國家聯盟隊霸主紐約大都會。

他品嘗著人生中第一場大聯盟勝投的滋味。這一天,他足足等了七年。

三十日下午,郭泓志在返台記者會中,一掃陰霾,開始和記者談笑風生,而剛公布的道奇官方網站,郭泓志以包辦四一%的壓倒性選票,當選「明年球季道奇隊最被看好的年輕球員」。對他而言,現在的他「沒有什麼不可能(Nothing impossible)」。

天才投手:十八歲前一路順風 球速全球前五快,卻曾窮困潦倒

七年前,郭泓志不過十八歲,就被美國道奇隊看上,成為台灣最年輕赴美打職棒的投手,比王建民早兩年。因為,他是棒球界稀有的「左投手」,曾被國內棒球界譽為「神的左手」。

一般來說,一百個投手中,出現左投手的比例不超過八個,而年輕的郭泓志,最高球速更飆出一百五十九‧三公里,比剛開通的青藏鐵路時速還快,直逼全球第一好手蘭迪強森,更比王建民整整快了近六公里。

當時,所有人也都看好他一年之內可以直登大聯盟。

然而,老天爺給了一個人稀世珍寶的同時,也不忘送上更艱鉅的考驗,郭泓志也不例外。神,給了他「天才」的左手,同時也給了他「三次左手開刀」的試煉。

過去七年,他全身最有價值手臂上的「投手韌帶」,前後開刀了三次,上場投球不超過五十局,他隻身在美,因兵役問題無法回國,更曾窮困潦倒,兩千多個日子的冷板凳,如同困獸。

但這一天終於來了。從登上大聯盟後,郭泓志的年薪從不到七千美元,一夕間翻升為五十倍,成為三十五萬美元。

首度跌跤:違父命簽約道奇,經紀人卻捲款消失

人生至今不過二十五個年頭,郭泓志的前十八年,一路打順風牌,從小天分洋溢,在球場上所向披靡,甚至直接躍上世界級舞台。然而,後七年,卻硬生生的從世界屋脊上摔了下來。一般人,可能從此一蹶不振,他,卻站了起來。

十月十七日,美國洛杉磯寓所中,郭泓志返台前接受了《商業周刊》的越洋獨家專訪,道出這一個故事,他說:「不放棄,永遠有希望。」

時間回到一九九八年,郭泓志才十八歲,代表中華民國打亞青盃,面對日本明星投手松大輔。在本壘板後,球探們人手一支測速槍,郭泓志一球球投著,他們嚇壞了,「這個台灣來的孩子,球速竟然不輸松?」

一場搶人爭奪戰於焉開打。然而,這個在機運的糖衣裡,卻包著失敗的果。當時,年少氣盛的郭泓志不顧父親反對,即使離家出走兩個月,也要捨白襪隊,與道奇簽約。簽約後,經紀人拿了高額佣金,消失無蹤,更沒把他的兵役問題處理好。

這是他接受大社會的第一次洗禮,他才十八歲。一般的孩子剛結束高中學業,準備進大學就讀。

二度重挫:小聯盟首次登板,歡呼聲中韌帶斷了

那是二○○○年,他十九歲,首次在小聯盟低階1A的聖伯納納迪諾奔馬隊登板。他使盡全力,先發三局,就三振對手七次,更投出逼近一百五十八公里的球速。當 時在現場的白襪隊總經理Danny Evans(此人後來出任道奇隊總經理,也成為郭泓志一生的伯樂)氣急敗壞,立即打電話回總部問,「怎麼會漏掉這個人?」

瘋狂的嘶吼聲中,郭泓志投到倒數第二球時,「啪!啪!」兩聲,主宰他高球速的左手韌帶斷了!

「當時我根本不知道是韌帶斷了,」他回憶,因此,他還是忍痛投完。賽局結束檢查後,醫生告知他這個驚人的消息。

腦中一片空白,郭泓志久久無法回神。沒有這條韌帶,他的左手臂根本無法施力,更別提一百五十八公里的球速。若傷處無法癒合,他,將只是個平凡人,甚至連劇烈運動都無法進行的平凡人。

在命運之前,天才也顯得渺小。這是郭泓志生平第一次感到害怕。

所幸,道奇隊有一位全美權威的醫師,是韌帶重建手術的發明者,他不輕易替人動刀,除非他極度看好的球員。他告訴郭泓志:「不要怕,因為你年輕,帶可以再長。」

開刀這一天,特別漫長。在洛杉磯Centinela綜合醫院,郭泓志吸口氣進入了手術室,兩小時的手術,他卻花了五小時才醒過來。一切,彷 若隔世。也從這天起,他的人生進入停格狀態。「我就像一個不會走路的小孩,一切完全從零開始,」手術後,郭泓志花了六週才把手筋拉開,半年後,他才能重新 拿球,復健時間長達一年。

收穫:磨躁進性格,學會規律下苦功

這一年裡,他的球涯就像停了格的電影。一切都要慢慢來,急了,就會壞事。置之死地而後生,他原先躁進的個性,被迫改造。

每天早上一睜開眼,他就到復健室報到,復健師先拿出一個類似圓規的儀器,量手肘可以伸展的幅度,一厘一厘的算,再算出當天復健的重量訓練內容。郭泓志努力做每一個交代的動作,「我必須做,即使完全不知道這樣做究竟能不能恢復。」

過去,他是絕不繞遠路的人,怎麼可能下這種苦功夫。但在命運的洗衣機裡,他只能跟著被扭轉、搓揉。半年後,他復健後投出的第一球,竟然只投了「一個人」的距離遠!

老天爺收回天賦異稟,人們才會知道一步之遙有多困難,背後需要多少努力與專業。年少狂傲的郭泓志,慢慢不見了。他正在蛻變。然而,更嚴酷的考驗,不讓他有喘息的機會,一個大浪濤硬是繼續往他身上打。

三度挫敗:亞運救援失敗、父逝無法返台

二○○二年的釜山亞運,他二十一歲,卻碰上比手術更可怕的挑戰。當時,他為了解決兵役問題,即使身上還有不明的痛楚,他還是踏上征途,代表中華隊出戰。

在與南韓進入冠軍爭奪戰時,他擔任救援投手,勉強應戰的結果,他投出連續兩個四壞球保送,讓中華隊一分飲恨敗給南韓。頓時,郭泓志成了全民公敵,賽後記者會上,面臨媒體強大的壓力,他被逼著向國人道歉:他難過的說:「我對不起隊友,也愧對國人。」

隔天報紙頭條,以斗大的字寫著:「郭泓志提油救火」;還出現「郭泓志已經廢了」的字眼。「泓志當時真的好難過,比賽完他一直低著頭,哭著打電話回家問姊姊:『大家怎麼說?』我們當然瞞著他,但他後來還是知道了,難過到不行,」郭媽媽說。

手傷殘酷,心傷更難醫。以往的郭泓志,就像驕傲的獅子,一站上球場,代表的就是冠軍,沒想到,失去神的左手後,輿論竟如此無情。公開在國人面前跌跤,這一跤,讓昔日的獅子王只得低頭,並狠狠的在他心中烙下傷痕,卻也將他的稜角磨平了許多。

一波未平一波又起,因為第一次手術變化,他回美國後立刻又動了第二次組織增生手術。同時,台灣傳來父親過世的惡耗,郭泓志卻被擋在國門外(編按:兵役問題),無法見到父親最後一面,成了人生最大遺憾。

所有試煉同時降臨,大多數人很難熬住。「但我看到的是,一個人更大的決心,」郭泓志在美國的翻譯廖昌彥說。每天,郭泓志更勤快的復健,不論是重力訓練,冰敷熱敷,他低頭努力的做。

最後試煉:三進手術房,苦到一度想放棄

「我最大的心願,就是趕快站上大聯盟,拿出成績給父親看,」郭泓志說。父親臨終前交代要好好照顧狗,郭泓志思念至親,在美一度養了九條狗。

但是試煉依然沒有止歇。二○○三年,他又進行了第三次手術,重建左手韌帶。這次,郭泓志終於哭了!「他真的很苦,那種苦不是大家能想像的,」他的大姊說。

「我一度真的想放棄,」郭泓志說。

不止是手傷磨人,更磨人的是,看不見未來的恐懼。

很多人以為上了聯盟,就飛上枝頭。事實上,沒有登上大聯盟之前,窩在小聯盟裡的球員,薪水少得可憐。其中1A短季月薪不到九百美元,而且有球季才領薪,平 均一年只打五個半月,算一算,即使是3A的球員一年也領不到新台幣二十三萬元,就算之前有一筆龐大的簽約金,最多也只能熬五年。而且洛杉磯花費驚人,長期 坐冷板凳的郭泓志,簽約金幾乎用罄。

過年時,好友陳金鋒、曹錦輝一一回台團圓,郭泓志一個人窩在洛杉磯的小窩裡,淚水往肚裡吞。曹錦輝在回國前,特別在郭泓志住所前留了一張空白支票。「我真的很感謝這些年幫助我的朋友,真的希望有朝一日能成功報答他們,」郭泓志說。

就在他以為被老天遺棄時,道奇隊總經理Danny Evans敲開了郭泓志的門。他說:「我就是親眼見過你第一次登板的那個人,你放心,我們絕不會放棄你。」他不但找來曾開過兩次韌帶重建手術的知名投手 Darren Dreifort,親自傳授復健經驗,為了補貼郭泓志的生活,他還安排郭泓志隨隊移動擔任球隊記錄。

收穫:伯樂賞識,敲開大聯盟大門

郭泓志自此絕處逢生。現任經紀人張嘉元觀察,事實上,第三次手術後,即使郭泓志看不到未來,「他都沒有give up(放棄)」。在這段外人不知的歲月裡,長久處於受傷階段的郭泓志,努力的學習與「傷痕細胞」相處。

政大心理系教授許文耀分析,在心理上,手術後的傷痕細胞,會記憶疼痛,甚至誤以為帶再次斷裂;而在醫學上,手術容易產生內部結痂的增生組織,要克服生理或心理的陰影,難度甚高。

這種懼怕,唯有自己能夠克服。「我必須自己訓練自己,」走過七年低潮的郭泓志,平靜的說。

每天清晨六點,郭泓志永遠比別人提早三小時練跑;晚上大家搶著去吃消夜,郭泓志總是一個人留在重量訓練室裡。

二○○五年九月二日,人在佛羅里達道奇城的他,接到一通電話,「電話那端傳來,叫我立刻到丹佛報到,我什麼也沒想就立刻打包直飛。」這是道奇最後一天公布擴編名單,郭泓志,終於登上夢寐以求的大聯盟。

重返戰場:更懂沉著面對挑戰 領悟協調與平衡,才能延長運動生涯

過去一年,郭泓志重新披上戰袍,在大聯盟救援投手、小聯盟的賽局中,他珍惜著一次次上場的機會,重新掌握球感,一改過去如獅子般的炫耀性格。他的球風明顯轉變,不再故意引人注意的投兩好三壞。ESPN頻道著名球評曾文誠也說:「他的控球力已經有改善。」

九月,他的穩定度終於得到球隊肯定,首度登上大聯盟投手板擔任先發主投,展現有史以來最令人驚豔的成績單,在六局內三振了十一個人,一舉戰勝該季勝率最高的大都會隊。

在人生的棒球場裡,原本快被三振的郭泓志,在二十五歲重新站上大聯盟先發位置,脫胎換骨。他說:「其實沒有失敗這件事,只要你能在裡面學到一些事情,就是成功。」

source [商業周刊 989期]


互聯網十大最失敗和十大最成功的併購案

November 30, 2006

 互聯網歷史上的十大最失敗併購案

  1.Broadcast.com:1999年雅虎以57億美元的價格收購了Broadcast.com.這個價格折合到Broadcast的用戶上居 然高達710美元/每人.為什麼雅虎要做這個比收購AOL還要無聊的事情呢?而雅虎收購Broadcast.com後讓其創始人Mark Cuban瞬間成為數十億身家的富翁,並且成為NBA和電視上的令人頭痛的傢伙的.

2.AOL:2000年AOL與時代華納合併.儘管在合併六年後時代華納似乎最終扭虧為盈,但從一開始這起交易就註定是失敗.

3.Excite 1999年Excite被@Home以67億美元的價格收購,不知道還有沒有人記得Excite.com,它曾一度在門戶網站排名前三位.在被收購後的一年後,這個聯合實體便申請破產並永遠銷聲匿跡了.

4.GeoCities:1999年雅虎公司耗資35.6億美元收購了GeoCities,當時似乎也是人們最後一次訪問 geocities.com.在被收購後不久,雅虎對GeoCities的改革進行到一半就停止了.本來GeoCities完全可以成為MySpace, 但是它沒有等到社交網站革命的爆發.

5.Netscape:1998年美國在線以42億美元的價格收購了Netscape.當時,Netscape在提供免費網頁瀏覽器的微軟面前顯的很渺小,而之後美國在線對Netscape則沒有任何的計劃.

6.Lycos 2000年Lycos被Terra Networks以46億美元的價格收購.2000年5月份,Terra Networks宣佈的收購價格為125億美元,而在10月份的時候這個數字則一下子少了一多半,因為當時所有公司的
股票價格都在下跌.

7.BlueMountain.com:BlueMountain.com是一個在線電子 賀卡網站,1999年被Excite@Home以7.8億美元的價格收購.

8.MySimon:MySimon是於1999年被CNET以7億美元個價格買下的.CNET本想通過買下MySimon以加強購物比較的服務.但 不幸的是,CNET對於如何有效地結合MySimon沒有任何想法,現在MySimon已經差不多被人們遺忘了,而新的提供類似服務的對手已經出現.

9.Skype:2005年eBay以26億美元個價格收購了Skype.但是eBay似乎根本沒有打算做點什麼,一點也沒有體現出收購Skype的價值.

10.Hotmail:1998年微軟公司以4億美元價格收購了Hotmail.當時Hotmail還是第二大免費郵件服務提供商,微軟收購Hotmail後一直想將Hotmail發展成門戶網站,但幾乎沒有太大的效果.

互聯網歷史上的十大最成功併購案

  1.新聞集團收購MySpace的母公司Intermix 2005年5月 5.8億美元

2.紐約時報收購About.com 2005年2月 4.1億美元

3.Google收購Sprinks 2003年10月

4.雅虎收購Overture 2003年7月 16.3億美元

5.雅虎收購Inktomiin 2002年12月 2.35億美元

6.時代華納-美國在線收購Advertising.com  2004年6月 4.35億美元

7.eBay收購Paypal 2002年 15億美元

8.微軟收購Hotmail 1998 4億美元

9.Ask Jeeves收購Interactive Search Holdings 2004年3月 3.43億美元

10.aQuantive收購Razorfish 2004年6月 1.6億美元

source [cnbeta.com]


15 Ways to Use Software to Improve Your Knowledge Management

November 30, 2006

You’ve likely experienced the common symptoms: Staff members write documents from scratch without realizing that similar documents already exist. They spend time researching topics when someone else in your organization is already an expert. Decisions are made without full knowledge. Text, pictures, or other content doesn’t make its way to the places where it would do the most good. You have a nagging feeling that people aren’t talking to each other about things that affect them both.

These are warning signs that knowledge isn’t flowing optimally through your organization. What’s the treatment? Some would tell you that you need a “knowledge management system.”

That might be useful, if the term “knowledge management system” actually described something that you could go out and buy.

The need to share knowledge is a common problem that has a number of different causes. As such, there’s no simple way to solve it for all organizations. The term “knowledge management system” is so broad as to be meaningless — covering everything from processes to search solutions to reporting dashboards. What’s more, knowledge management isn’t primarily a technology problem. Process solutions, new workflows, and communication changes can help as much or more, so no software tool can provide a one-stop solution.

But software can certainly be helpful with the many and varied knowledge management issues that organizations typically face. It’s important to start with your goals: what are you actually trying to achieve, in more practical terms than “managing knowledge”? With your goals in mind, you can start to investigate the types of solutions that might help.

This article is designed to give you a head start by suggesting some of the ways other organizations use software to address four common knowledge management goals.

We’re just scratching the surface — each of these bullet points could easily be an article in its own right, and for every piece of software mentioned, there’s likely 10 more worth looking at. But hopefully they will inspire you with some ways you can help your own organization.

Goal: Encourage people to take advantage of other people’s knowledge.

Helping your staff connect with internal subject matter experts can be a great place to start a knowledge management effort. For most people, it’s more natural to call someone than to look up answers in a system. And it’s usually less complex to link people to someone who can answer a question or tell them what resources exist, rather than surface the answers or resources themselves.

What types of software solutions might be useful in connecting people to others with the appropriate expertise?

  1. Interest Group Email Lists. Email is a powerful and affordable tool. Setting up email lists for specific groups — using either through email software like Outlook, or external list tools like Google Groups or Listserv email lists — can allow those interested in particular topics to share relevant information or to ask each other questions.
  2. Blogs or Wikis. Ask staff members with knowledge in a particular area to manage a wiki or a blog to share information and resources with the rest of the staff. Check out WordPress, TypePad, or Blogger for easy-to-use and inexpensive blog tools. Consider MediaWiki, JotSpot, and Wikispaces as wiki options.
  3. Virtual group collaboration tools. Collaboration tools can help bring geographically separated people together. Working teams or interest groups could hold meetings via a conference call, online chat, or online meeting tools (such as WebEx or ReadyTalk). Or they could work together using wikis (such as those above), collaborative management tools (such as phpGroupWare or Zimbra), or online word processors (like Writely).
  4. Expertise repositories. You can also explicitly track expertise and allow people to search through it. For instance, you could ask staff members to fill out a survey (perhaps with SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang) that itemizes their areas of expertise, and then surface that information online or in a database. This information tends to get out of date quickly, though, and to suffer from staff modesty (i.e. “I’ve done some research there, but I won’t check that box because I’m not an expert”). Several vendors offer tools that automatically extract information about staff expertise from emails and document — these solutions can be very effective but expensive to implement.

Goal: Ensure everyone can find the documents and other resources useful to them.

This is one of the most common reasons that people investigate “knowledge management systems”: People can’t find the documents or resources they need. Or worse, they don’t what exists and proceed to reinvent things.

What types of software might be useful to an organization that wants to make their existing resources more findable?

  1. Enterprise search. If you’re like most organizations, you have useful information and resources scattered among different file servers, intranets, the company Web site, and more. A number of vendors (such as Google and Microsoft) offer search solutions that allow keyword searching across a multitude of sources and formats.
  2. Tagging solutions. Asking staff members to “tag” documents with keywords, and then allowing others to browse by those keywords can be an affordable way to surface key documents. De.licio.us and Flikr offer free functionality that allows you to tag resources in a public environment. Several vendors also offer tagging solutions appropriate for organization use. Note, however, that no tagging solution is likely to make all your documents easily findable unless every staff member tags nearly everything he or she touches.
  3. Intranets and shared document spaces. Consider providing areas where teams or experts can upload resources for others to use. These areas might take the form of an organization intranet (built through tools like Drupal or Sharepoint) or shared document spaces in a group collaboration tool (consider Google Groups or WebOffice). Keep in mind, though, that a staff member isn’t likely to voluntarily upload a lot of documents unless it saves her a lot of time to do so.
  4. Content management systems. If you formalize your methods of tagging and uploading documents, you enter the realm of content management. A content management system (CMS) is used to display text and documents on a website. While these applications are most familiar as a way to update text, more sophisticated CMS tools have powerful mechanisms for organizing and browsing through documents which make them very applicable in this space. Consider tools like Drupal, Plone, or CommonSpot.

Goal: Help staff easily answer common questions.

For many organizations, searches for information follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of people look for 20 percent of the possible information. Making it easy to find this frequently requested information can have a big impact on productivity all by itself. Ask staff what information they frequently look for and what questions they are frequently asked to identify the core questions.

What types of solutions might be useful in helping staff find the most commonly requested information?

  1. Create and distribute FAQs. The most obvious — and often very effective — way to address this goal would be to itemize the most common questions, answer them in a document, and then distribute the document to staff.
  2. Intranets. For many organizations, the list of FAQs becomes large enough that it’s difficult to manage in a document. The answers can instead be organized into a website viewable by your internal staff.
  3. Knowledge base. A system that carefully organizes answers to common questions, make them searchable, and allows cross-references is frequently called a “knowledge base.” This type of system can be particularly useful for people, such as like hotline or call center staff, who spend a lot of their time answering questions. A number of vendors offer software to help build knowledge bases of this type.
  4. Expert systems. The term “expert system” defines a knowledge base that includes logic to help diagnose problems. For instance, it might step the user through a series of questions to determine if a constituent should see a doctor, or if they’re eligible for Medicaid. These systems are most frequently used to help with complex questions that are asked over and over, and are typically built from scratch

Goal: Ensure senior staff has the right information to make decisions.

A good knowledge management strategy should do more than allow people to find the knowledge that exists. It needs to ensure that the right people can easily use that accumulated knowledge to make decisions. In practice, this often means pulling together information from a number of different sources to provide a quick overview. This is easier said than done, though — creating useful overviews requires careful definition of what metrics and information will best support effective decisions.

What types of solutions might be useful in quickly conveying key organizational information?

  1. Consolidated status emails or documents. At a basic level, it can be helpful to ask key staff members to provide periodic status reports that include the key metrics and information you’ve defined. These reports could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. They might be in the form of an email or a document saved to a central location. Perhaps a staff member could consolidate the status updates into a summary sheet of key metrics.
  2. Solid reporting systems. Take a look at the reports you are able to get out of the processes and systems you have. Do they give you the information to make decisions? If not, can they be tweaked to do so? Or can you build new reports?
  3. Online dashboards. If you automatically create an online version of the summary sheet described above, it’s called a dashboard. These dashboards typically pull information from a number of different sources and provide an overview via charts, tables, and indicators. This type of dashboard can be constructed using a portal software (such as Sharepoint or Plumtree), or it could be more cost effective to build it from scratch.

Finding a Better “Knowledge Management System”

Looking to better use the knowledge your organization already has? If you just send out an RFP for a “knowledge management system”, you’re headed for trouble. Instead, start by diagnosing your actual issues and identifying practical goals so you can treat the symptoms you actually have. There’s no one size fits all solution — but at least you can get closer to a treatment that will work for you.

source [techsoup]


Putting Damn Small Linux (DSL) on USB Pendrive

November 30, 2006

This walkthrough illustrates how to install Damn Small Linux (DSL) to a USB stick from within Windows. Damn Small Linus is perfect for smaller USB drives.

You’ll need the following:

  • 64MB or larger USB Stick
  • Damn Small Linux
  • HP USB tool (for formatting the stick)
  • Syslinux V2.11

The Process:

  1. Download the HP USB tool and format your stick with the tool using the Fat or Fat32 option.
  2. Download the dsl-embedded.zip
  3. Extract the files from dsl-embedded.zip to your USB stick.
  4. Download and extract syslinux.zip to a directory on your computer.
  5. Run the command prompt in windows (start/run/cmd) and CD to the syslinux directory. Once there simply type syslinux.exe F: (F: being the example drive letter of the USB stick in this system)
  6. Reboot your PC, go into your system BIOS and set your boot order to boot from any selectable USB device. (example USBZIP or USB_HDD)
  7. Save your BIOS settings. On the next reboot, you should have a sucessful launch of Damn Small Linux from USB.

Enjoy! ;)

source [pendrivelinux]


Project Management Podcast

November 30, 2006

Not exactly a techie post, but if you are working to become a project manager, you may be interested in this.Not exactly a techie post, but if you are working to become a project manager, you may be interested in this. From the Project Management podcast, Cornelius Fichtner the host has introduced the Project Management PrepCast. I’m not shilling for PMI here, but I do believe that if you want to be involved with Project Management, as I do, getting a PMP certificate is needed. Even while I’m utilizing agile methodologies, I still need to deal with heavier methodologies in my project management. If you need to study for the PMP, you can use the free section of this, or go whole hog and get the premium subscription.

source [corporate coder]


Simple storage with DropBoks

November 29, 2006

dropboks storageDo you need a place where you can upload and download files quickly? Without the features of an Xdrive or Box.net? DropBoks is a free (they do ask for a $1 donation for users) storage solution where each user account has access to 1GB of storage. However, uploading and downloading must consist of file sizes smaller than 50MB. It’s an extremely simple application to use, and signing up to use it takes 10 seconds. Browse to the files you wish to upload, and they get uploaded to a folder, similar to a Windows folder view, where users can click to download. Finished with the file? Drag and drop it onto the trash icon. You can’t get much simpler for this for online storage solutions. Is the storage space secure? That’s what they say.

Source [downloadsquad]