Listen Up! Podcasts You Can Learn From
White papers are either too dull or too much of an ad. Websites are often too much work to sort through with what you don’t want to know. Podcasts have much greater utility because of mobility such as in your car, while working out, or just sitting down somewhere with earplugs. The problem is, where do you find something worth listening to?
Well, one place that seems to have a decent collection of both entertainment and useful information is iTunes. More recently they’ve added something I find really interesting called iTunes U. If you’re not already familiar with this, these are lectures from well-respected professors and well-known business figures speaking at some of the best schools in the U.S., even the world. It’s sort of like eavesdropping on a very expensive education. What’s really great is that it’s free.
As it relates to technology and especially to making informed decisions, we’ve provided a sample of just three that we think you should check out:
1. Decisions – Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer’s (Stanford) lecture is titled ‘Evidence-based Decision Making’ taken from his book, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management. Dr. Pfeffer is funny, insightful, and downright entertaining as he goes through why companies make seemingly nonsensical business decisions and how that happens.
- Following deeply held, but unfounded beliefs such as Silicon Valley companies’ unwavering decision to tie compensation to stock price despite over 200 independent studies that contradict this.
- Executives who keep doing only what they know from their last job and invariably apply whatever they did before to their new company, even though there is no correlation or similarity.
- The practice of casual benchmarking - blindly copying what others are doing without thinking about why it works and under what conditions it will be successful.
2. Effective Negotiating – Margaret Neale’s (Stanford) lecture is titled ‘Winners Don’t Take All’ and along with her article Are You Giving Away the Store? Strategies for Savvy Negotiations in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we learn a great deal about how bad deals are made. Also an entertaining and insightful discussion, Prof Neale offers stories, examples, and demonstrations of how psychology plays a role in our negotiation decisions. Some examples of her talk:
- How AT&T purchased NCR for a stock price of over $140 when it started at $41 – with no bidders
- A group of bankers who in a negotiating exercise in one of her lectures, ended up bidding $352 for a $20 bill.
- Psychological keys that can predictably and dramatically alter outcomes when players are primed in the right way – either in a positive or negative way.
3. The iPhone Effect – Behind This Week’s Cover Story – Jim Ellis interviews Roben Farzad on his cover story, ‘AT&T’s iPhone Problem. NOTE: This differs from the actual story podcast that can be downloaded from BusinessWeek’s website. While the article is extensive in its description of AT&T’s wireless network problems, the interview provides a wider perspective that is more relevant to the wireless industry in general. Some examples are:
- The unforeseen impact of the rapid adoption by a concentrated demographic, such as young college students. Events such as college football games with audiences of 20,000-50,000 and with70% or more all simultaneously using data intensives apps at the same time, creating brand new network challenges.
- Because of its iPhone exclusivity, AT&T was the single benefactor and lightning rod for criticism on poor data network performance. Farzad, rightly points out with the android and other such platforms, the smartphone’s data consumption will be an issue for the entire industry.
- Farzad offers a balanced assessment of why wireless networks are and always will be different from landline ones through new applications, rapid growth, and highly coveted devices – all which drive up demand in an ‘all you can eat’ environment.
You’ll find both Evidence-based Decision Making and Winners Don’t Take All here, then choose to enter through iTunes U. Once in, on left, under Categories, choose Business, then the blue Business Management thumbnail. Open that and you’ll find both lectures.
Here’s the BusinessWeek interview, the date is 2/4/10.
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