Say a lot with someone's name

A recent project created by Al Jezeera America, What's in a Name,  invites users to tell the story of their name and explore the meaning of others' names, and how they relate to identity.

Reading through the submissions shows how names can be laden with meaning, origin stories and history. What people are called can tell an elaborate story about them, their history and their culture.

This project resonated strongly with me. My mother chose to name me Jo ana and to spell my name this way specifically to show my preciousness when she feared another sad ending to a pregnancy.

When someone gets my name wrong, of course I take it in stride; I have grown accustomed to correcting spelling and pronunciation. However, I do make special note of when someone gets it right. It shows they are present in their work and notice the little things. 

In an increasingly global world, we are all exposed to names whose spelling and pronunciation might be foreign to us and with increased communication responsibilities, it is easy to not pay attention to the details, like how someone spells their name.

While we can all be forgiven for mistakes in this era overrun in-boxes, paying attention to the names of your coworkers, consumers and everyone else you come into contract with can create a large impact from such a simple gesture.

Unlikely place for KPI example plan

I was recently researching the use of Key Performance Indicators (K.P.I's) in keeping individual teams aligned with overall business objectives. When starting to learn about K.P.I's, an easy illustrative introduction of what a system would look like would be great.

Months later, I stumbled across an opinion piece that did just that when describing reforms seen recently throughout the Arab world, The Other Arab Awakening:

"...Talk about reform — in Dubai, the government has set a strategy for 2021, and each of the 46 ministries and regulatory agencies has three-year Key Performance Indicators, or K.P.I.’s, they have to fulfill to get there, ranging from improving the success of Dubai 15-year-olds in global science, math and reading exams to making it even easier to start a new business. All 3,600 K.P.I.’s are loaded on an iPad dashboard that the ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, follows each week. Maryam al-Hammadi, 48, the director of government performance, strikes fear in the heart of every minister in Dubai because each month she ranks them by who is making the most progress toward achieving their K.P.I.’s, and Sheikh Mohammed gets the list. You don’t want to be at the bottom. Hammadi showed me the dashboard and explained that Sheikh Mohammed is demanding that “every government agency perform as well as the private sector in customer satisfaction and service.” The public will get an annual report."

This example, maybe extreme, shows the importance of some basic needs of a robust plan for using KPIs effectively:

  • Clear overall objective/target
  • Clear indicators to measure the success of initiatives
  • A good reporting system that is rigorous, high profile, and very clear
  • Motivational system for reaching goals
  • Strong leadership dedicated to the plan and monitoring the reporting system

I also like that a powerful woman is at the hub of reporting.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/opinion/...

Karmic nature of getting your business goal right

  The Duolingo dashboard keeps track of your streak.   You can 'buy' a free day, but they are expensive.

The Duolingo dashboard keeps track of your streak. You can 'buy' a free day, but they are expensive.

I’m trying to learn French with the help of Duolingo.

Duolingo has done the work of knowing what business it is in, and its not Language Education. Its Resolution Keeping. It knows its business intimately and evidently invests in  building an experience to help its users keep their resolve.

Duolingo is successful because it makes the end user successful. It has many features but two stand out in doing this:

1. The Streak - the numbers of days you’ve consistently practiced. With a streak there is no wiggle room. Either you practiced or you didn't and nothing is more motivating then keeping your days-in-a-row count from going back to a very depressing "0".

2. Achievable streak-maintenance. In order to get a day’s practice to count, you must complete a lesson. Lessons are short, Duolingo access is everywhere.

This is an example of user-centric business and design. They will continue to succeed because its end user's do.

Take my information, please

Today we're all used to the annoying and creepy practice of businesses taking our information we give them to do one task and leveraging to sell you something more later. I'm sure I'm not alone in avoiding forms, new gated sites and promotions just so there is not yet another place with my information out there...

I recently had a welcomed use of the information I gave out. At Vin Chicago a wine store, immediately sent me an e-newsletter called "Grape Notes", that gave me information and pairings on my most recent purchase.

Not only would I give them my information again, I will read the next thing they send me and I will tell my friends about their business.

 Email from Vin Chicago follows you home to tell you more about your purchase:  " Grape Notes! While you can not take our knowledgeable staff members home with you, our new Grapes Notes! software offers the next best thing! Below are writeups from your recent visit to Vin Chicago:    Michel Gassier: 'Nostre Pais' Costieres de Nimes Rouge 2010 90/100 - Wine Advocate; 93/100 - Rhone Report. 'A blend 35% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Cinsault & 5% Syrah, the barrel aged 2010 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Nostre Pais is brilliant! Showing uncommon purity and elegance, as well as a rich, full-bodied texture and mouth feel, this has layers of blackberry, licorice, spring flowers, leather, and hints of chocolate all soaring from the glass. Dense and concentrations, this serious effort has the texture to shine now, yet also the balance and purity to evolve for 5-7 years. The quality to price ratio here is something, so do not miss this wine!'    Thank you very much for your business!, Vin Chicago"

Email from Vin Chicago follows you home to tell you more about your purchase:

"Grape Notes! While you can not take our knowledgeable staff members home with you, our new Grapes Notes! software offers the next best thing! Below are writeups from your recent visit to Vin Chicago:

Michel Gassier: 'Nostre Pais' Costieres de Nimes Rouge 2010
90/100 - Wine Advocate; 93/100 - Rhone Report. 'A blend 35% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Cinsault & 5% Syrah, the barrel aged 2010 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Nostre Pais is brilliant! Showing uncommon purity and elegance, as well as a rich, full-bodied texture and mouth feel, this has layers of blackberry, licorice, spring flowers, leather, and hints of chocolate all soaring from the glass. Dense and concentrations, this serious effort has the texture to shine now, yet also the balance and purity to evolve for 5-7 years. The quality to price ratio here is something, so do not miss this wine!'

Thank you very much for your business!, Vin Chicago"