Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada would shut its borders to almost all noncitizens, part of travel restrictions that have been implemented across the globe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday announced a nationwide shutdown of bars, nightclubs, theaters, museums, brothels, casinos, cinemas, swimming pools and gyms. Religious services also were banned.

Meanwhile, in the first public address from a Dutch prime minister since the 70s oil crisis:

‘It will take months to build this up and in the meantime we must protect people,’ Rutte said. ‘Our choice is to go for maximum control, to lower the infection peak and spread it out over a longer period while we build up immunity and don’t overload hospitals and intensive care departments.’

And, the coffee shops switch to take away (“to go” as we say in American).

Original source: The Washington Post

Trailing indicators

As a result, both travelers association ANWB and public works department Rijkswaterstaat reported no traffic jams this morning – an unprecedented situation, NU.nl reports.

Monday mornings usually see around 400 kilometers of traffic jams on Dutch roads by 8:00 a.m. “Now that was about four kilometers. And then these were traffic jams due to collisions or blowouts of trucks,” traffic reader Cees Quax said to NOS.


Airline Air France-KLM says it will ground virtually its entire fleet for at least the next two months and passenger numbers are expected to plunge by up to 90%.

  1. Holy shit.
  2. It me!

Original source: Netherlands on lock down: No traffic jams as schools, businesses remain closed

“Still winging it.”

I’m not a great planner. I wing it, a lot. I listen to the world and try to tell which way the wind is blowing. When I say “plan” I really mean creating the possibility of opportunity. I till the soil to try and grow my own luck. I create options. And I invent things, relentlessly. I am solidly a second-division writer, at best, by any model and definition. But I’m still here because I work and think, a lot, to make new things and try new things.

Meanwhile, something I have to remind myself of no matter what “The Current Situation” (because there’s always a “Current Situation” going on in my broken mind):

And yet, my own reality is that I tend to deal with stress by working. And I tend to relieve stress by writing.

Original source: The Orbital Operations For 15 Mar 2020

Separating the writing from your emotional state

My writing epiphany — which arrived decades into my writing career — was that even though there were days when the writing felt unbearably awful, and some when it felt like I was mainlining some kind of powdered genius and sweating it out through my fingertips, there was no relation between the way I felt about the words I was writing and their objective quality, assessed in the cold light of day at a safe distance from the day I wrote them. The biggest predictor of how I felt about my writing was how I felt about me. If I was stressed, underslept, insecure, sad, hungry or hungover, my writing felt terrible. If I was brimming over with joy, the writing felt brilliant.

Original source: Finding comfort in the chaos: How Cory Doctorow learned to write from literally anywhere

Java 8 considered great

Upgrading Java is, like, taboo for some reason it seems. “Java 8 Is Still the Standard”

Commercial support ended on Jan 2019, from Oracle at least:

From October 2014, Java 8 was the default version to download (and then again the download replacing Java 9) from the official website.[244] “Oracle will continue to provide Public Updates and auto updates of Java SE 8, until at least the end of December 2020 for Personal Users, and January 2019 for Commercial Users.”

Original source: What Tens of Millions of VMs Reveal about the State of Java – The New Stack

Six page memo HOWTO

Avoid digressions and pedantic detail. This isn’t a thesis assessment, stakeholders will trust the writer with some details if they are show they are being honest about addressing all sides of the problem.

And, on the mysterious ppendices:

Use Appendices: if it isn’t centrally important to the argument but might come up in discussion, move it to the Appendices. Now it is easy to abuse appendices and end up with a 6 page document which needs more than 6 pages to be understood. As an example, the following content is fine: Long Tables, Detailed Graphs, FAQs on exceptional cases, Long lists of specific examples. Importantly, there should be no narrative text in the Appendices.

Other advice and an overview of structure.

Original source: Using 6 Page and 2 Page Documents To Make Organizational Decisions

The virtual commute home

When my alarm goes off, though, I don’t go right upstairs to talk to my family. Instead, I have a sacred “commute” time, where I take half an hour and read a book, play a game, or have a nap to reset, so I am a pleasant human when my family sees me. I think I learned this from my dad, who would always come in the door and disappear into his room for 20-30 minutes after work.

Original source: Work from home, the Heidi Way

Cloud native infrastructure benefits

First, it is a vibe in the market. Customers ask for it and with the latest version of VMware vSphere you can purchase the install base. This is perhaps a somewhat boring explanation, but there is just market demand for containers and K8s.

Second, standardization: it is the de facto standard in the market for cloud-independent, infrastructure hosting. To me, it’s excellent a standard is being created and the best thing is: it’s a stablestandard.

Third, we see increased operational efficiency for our customers with a more self-healing, desired state infrastructure. So, you need fewer people to operate it and you achieve more speed for your developers.

Original source: Why we have a Cloud Native practice at ITQ

Kohl’s omni-channel progress, according to Kohl’s

Also, fun words:

Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS)

From what I can tell, omni-channel strategies are table stakes – ultimately they will be differentiated by working, not just existing. Integrating with loyalty programs is also a key, technical part. I'm sure all of the organizations are really thinking about what they can do differently than others, like integrating with Pinterest or whatever.

The problem with software, however, is that it can quickly and easily and cheaply be replicated. Us software vendors have known this for a long time – there are many databases, all which do the same thing; many “office” suites; countless ERP vendors. The only way to differentiate is on success (community, ecosystem, partners, people know how to use it), price (cheaper or easier to acquire than competitors), and simply working (software is error prone and buyers customize how they use it so much that software often just doesn't work well).

After all this digital transformation, when large organizations run on software, they'll have to get back to competing in execution and having unique features, or price. You know, Porter shit.

Original source: Amazon alliance is boosting footfall in store at Kohl's, but not sales to any great effect

Always start with the business case, the strategy

before you get wound up to upgrade, stop, take a breath, and ask the right question first: Where is our business going, and how should we transform? The ERP decisions will flow from this and not vice versa.

Also, beware of vendors that are focusing on profits and cash-flow and so cut spending on innovation:

Check if your current ERP vendor has undergone a material change of control. For more on a material change of control, see this Diginomica piece. New owners may take ERP innovation in different directions or may curtail needed innovation investments. Some ownership changes, like the appearance of private equity firms or activist shareholders, can radically alter one’s relationship with an ERP firm. In the last decade, we’ve seen a number of these changes and their effect on ERP product lines and management.

Original source: Assessing ERP upgrades in the 21st century

Bad tools get bad results, so fix them

Lack of access to robust digital tools in the workplace can frustrate employees who see productivity hindered by inefficient systems. An excess of workplace tools can be overwhelming too, and can alienate for millennial workers. When tools fail to elevate workers, output suffers.

This is an obvious truth. However, the managerial point is to not let it happen. I’ve always gotten the feeling that managers and executives don’t have much first hand use of productivity tools: they use email, for sure, but they have whole staffs (whole divisions and companies of people!) who do the tinkering work in Office and other collaborative tools.

At each large company I’ve worked at (just two) and several small ones the productivity and collaborative tools have gotten in the way or been less than ideal. Security handling is often a problem, file sharing, collaborative editing, and basic Intranet information sharing.

The last time I recall the industry focusing on this collaboration was in the Enterprise 2.0 days – the mid-2000s. I think what happened was that Google Docs (G Suite – whatever) took over and the. Slack. Google’s enterprise stuff is really good, not least of which because it takes a very consumer tech approach. To that point, most people are familiar with Google apps and style from their own life. Schools use it. The way Google enterprise apps “think” is known.

Slack is just another, more efficient email. Oddly, Google never won the IM and chat room competition – their stuff was terrible and seemed to be ignored.

Anyhow: managers and executives! Each quarter use these tools for at least week, if not every week. If you find them weird, if you keep thinking you’ll ask one of your staff to do the work for you because you “just don’t have the time,” that means your tools suck and you need to replace them. Think of how every day your employees have that same experience.

Original source: Are employees disengaged? Check the tech stack

Often, governance and rules turn out to be folklore, their origins long forgotten, even non-existent. Here’s a technique to expose that, and then start building up more helpful governance.

For example, we ran a leadership program with a set of senior leaders in a large, private-sector organization. They felt frustrated about the ways the organization constrained them from innovation, from collaboration, and from having the time and space to focus more on creating what they want for the future rather than reacting to what they have now. As they discussed these limitations together, they realized they each had a different sense of what, exactly, the limitations were. Each person had created in her mind a set of the limitations that came from outside, and all of them had been acting to ensure that their own staff lived inside those boundaries. Upon collective reflection, though, they discovered that none of them had a really clear sense of what the actual limitations were in the organization. Listening to their different perspectives on this day was boundary shattering for them; they discovered that most of what they were railing against was a phantom, a rumor, or other ghostly sense of what was allowed or not. They realized that they, too, had been unconsciously creating these boundaries for their people, even as they disliked them for themselves. Collectively, they began to play with creating new boundaries—with their eyes open and on purpose—that would enable some of the things they had previously experienced as constrained.

Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders by Jennifer Garvey Berger, Keith Johnston

Ask open ended questions, for stories

“Instead, ask about people’s interests. Try to find out what excites or aggravates them — their daily pleasures or what keeps them up at night. Ask about the last movie they saw or for the story behind a piece of jewelry they’re wearing. Also good are expansive questions, such as, “If you could spend a month anywhere in the world, where would you go?””

Original source: Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How.