Backup Plans

When I was working in the corporate world I led a new product development team.  During the course of developing a product for an “unnamed” customer we had a new Program Manager (PM) named Gary, assigned to our team.  I had known Gary, from a previous life when I was working as a software consultant many years ago.

I brought Gary up to speed as to where we were and what the plan of execution was. After giving the lay of the land to PM-Gary he asked me a question that almost every PM asks, “What’s your backup plan?”.

“Backup plans are for losers”, is what I told him.

I almost laughed at the shocked look on his face. I doubt anyone ever said that to him before.  I will tell you that I stand behind my statement. As I explained to Gary, if I didn’t think my plan was going to succeed I wouldn’t be executing that plan. My goal was and is success and failure is not an option.  My advice is,  “Plan for success.  Don’t plan for failure”.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, how you envision your goal is how you will execute it.  If you have a backup plan, you are giving yourself an option to fail and you will most likely fail.  If you envision success, you’re on the path to success.  This is not to sound Pollyanna about progress.  Projects and plans will fail.  Course corrections (pivots as they are called) will occur.  In many cases the plan will radically alter during the course of execution.  However, no matter what happens, your mindset needs to be success.

Gary had my statement “Backup plans are for losers” written on the top of his office whiteboard.  It was still up there when I left the company.

Hacking And Short Selling For Fun And Profit!

Here’s an interesting video. It’s pretty boring and filled with techno mumbo jumbo, so you may not want to watch it all the way through, BUT the big takeaway is it shows a hack to remotely crash a St. Jude Medical pacemaker.

Sheesh you MIGHT be able to kill someone by remote control. There is a BIG MAYBE that I discuss below.

Okay it took over over 3 hours to hack into the device. I suspect the time indicated was just run time to allow a brute force attack as it looked like an open loop attack (one-way from the hacking device to the pacemaker). It might have crashed the pacemaker in less than 3 hours. An attack could be executed while someone was sleeping, which would allow plenty of run time.

Now for the truth in lending part. It’s hard to tell if this is a real threat. The company that released the video is Muddy Waters LLC which makes money by taking down companies and SHORT SELLING their stock as it plummets. St. Jude Medical is in a $25 Billion acquisition deal by Abbott Laboratories which means lots of “gamblers” are betting on the stock. Stock prices generally rise during the speculation time of a big takeover. If you take a short position and the price tumbles after this inflationary jump in price, cha-ching, big buck$ are made. With a $25 Billion dollar deal, BILLION$$ can be made with a huge short position.  This sort “investment behavior” is why I ranted earlier that the SEC needs to stop short-selling-gambling. You can read my earlier rant here.

To get my political musings in, think about which presidential candidate is in bed with big Wall Street money.  Do you think she will call for trading reform?

Second truth in lending.  There may be a real concern about a hack.  The company, MedSec, published their research that the St. Jude Medical devices have security flaws.

Third truth in lending.  MedSec has a financial deal with Muddy Waters to license their research and to share in profits derived from their research.

What a convoluted arrangement of money shifting and back scratching!

This reminds me of the great junk bond days.  Ruin good companies and make money!  The gamblers just found a new way to play their game.

And we wonder why we don’t have good jobs in this country…

Dream It. First Step To Failure

There’s a tagline spread around by one of the presidential candidates, “If you can dream it, you should be able to build it”. This is a loser’s mentality. Why is that you ask?

One of my earlier articles was “Imagine it. Build It!”. I was very specific when I chose to say “Imagine” versus “Dream”.  There is a wide gulf between a person who can IMAGINE something  and a person who just DREAMS about it.

When you IMAGINE a goal your brain CREATES and PLANS an IDEA.  IMAGINE something and you are taking positive steps towards your goal.  A dream is the brain firing synapses without a specific purpose, direction, or end goal.  Dreaming about something can be pleasing and relaxing but it doesn’t accomplish much.

Okay, you may say this is just semantics, but words have meanings and they affect your thought process which ultimately controls your actions.  In future post I’ll explain why this is.

Ask any athlete and they will tell you they use IMAGERY and VISUALIZATION in their brain which enables them to see how they will score the point, make the play, break the record. I used to road race motorcycles many years ago. One of things that I did was called a “track walk”. I would walk the course and I would VISUALIZE and IMAGINE how I would approach a turn, how much speed I would carry through a turn, where are my braking points, where to apex the turn, how I would link up a “line” through several turns, where I would pass other riders.  I would take notes and draw pictures to allow me to create and replay a plan in my head.  During the race I already knew how I was going to run the track.  I didn’t just DREAM about taking the checked flag. The images were very specific about how I was going to accomplish my goal.  Ask a chess player if they can see what moves their opponent will make.  They imagine the board in their brains and calculate what are the most likely moves to come.  This ability to IMAGINE and execute action applies to all walks of life.

The ability to IMAGINE a product, business, or goal is also a key part of LEADERSHIP.  No matter if you are an employee, a small businessman, the CEO of a corporation, or the leader of a country, the first priority of a leader is to have an IMAGE of what to accomplish and then have the ability to convey that vision to others.  LEADERSHIP is a topic for another day.

Don’t “Dream it”.  IMAGINE IT!